A Vegan Oasis in the West
Posted on 10 / 04 / 2009
I was glad to make it to Fei's Health Café just before she closed (7pm is closing time). It was a Friday night, but the place was empty: Fei explained to me that she does a good lunch business and that a lot of UofNM students leave town on the weekends. Fei's has been in business for about 6 years.
Fei's is entirely vegan, and the prices are very low. For a mere $5.95, I ordered a "House Special" (a combo plate with various options), which included "special seitan," cold sesame noodles, steamed broccoli, pot stickers, a small piece of "veggie ham," and some homemade bread. Though I'm not a fan of fake meats, I enjoyed the veggie ham (made of soy). The seitan was good but too salty. I liked the bread. A $2.00 pot of jasmine tea was excellent.
For dessert, I ordered a purple-colored pastry made with taro. It was quite tasty.
I found Fei to be charming, though I had a bit of trouble communicating with her due to the difference in our native tongues. She is from Taiwan, and she informed me that she orders most of her food from Taiwan. That got me wondering about the quality of the food: Is the soy gmo, for instance? I was very surprised to see packets of Sweet 'n Low on the tables--to me, something totally out of place in a cafe that caters to vegans.
Fei's cafe is small, with about 5 tables and no apparent wait staff (just Fei and a cook).
One final comment: The men's restroom was shockingly dirty--dirtier than some gas station restrooms. It appeared that the sink had not been cleaned/scrubbed for months. It made me wonder about the cleanliness of the kitchen. I looked around the cafe for a health dept. rating notice but did not see one.
Driving across the country from NC to CA for the second time in 3 years has made me appreciate even more the vegetarian food options I enjoy in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of NC, where we have many health food stores and many vegetarian options at local restaurants. Not so in states such as Arkansas and Texas, even in the major cities.
I love what Fei is doing and told her how much I appreciated her offering vegan foods. But the bathroom situation may be enough to keep me from returning.
totally vegan, low prices, charming owner
dirty restroom, closes at 7pm