Yesterday my mom and I arrived in Charleston, SC for a “last hurrah” vacation before the end of summer. Since going vegan (Two years ago! Has it been that long already?), I’ve made it a habit to scope out places to eat before heading off anywhere. I was particularly impressed by the vegan wraps on the menu at the Black Bean Co. Since we were slated to arrive in Charleston right around when I normally eat lunch, Mom and I decided to give the place a shot for our first meal on vacation.
It’s a cute little place, nestled in a brick building on Spring St. Black Bean Co. bills itself as an “energy food restaurant” and puts a lot of emphasis on organic, local ingredients. Of course I could get behind that! One other thing that caught my eye was the note on the board over the dessert case: all desserts and treats there are vegan-friendly. Score two for Black Bean!
I had a hard time deciding which wrap to get. There are 8 vegan wraps on the menu, along with salads that can all be made vegan on request. Eventually I settled on the Super Asian: tofu with spinach, carrots, candied almonds, snow peas, and crispy noodles with a hoisin dressing. (I’ll admit, it was the crispy noodles that got me.) I went with couscous as a side; the other vegan side available was pasta salad with veggies.
I’ll admit my first reaction wasn’t positive. I looked into the box the wrap came in and was disappointed by its apparently small size. But guys, this wrap was deceptive! I picked it up and found an amazing amount of food stuffed inside. So much, in fact, that I was only able to eat half of it and had to save the other half for dinner. (Also, don’t be alarmed by the takeout-style serving. If you want to throw something out when you’re done, they recycle it!)
The side of couscous, I ate all of, and it was very good. There were nuts of some kind–I think they were pistachios–and raisins mixed in, giving it a lightly sweet zip that made it almost like a dessert.
The wrap…where do I start? Hoisin sauce is great on its own, and so are crispy noodles, but tossed together in a wrap with all the other ingredients they were especially awesome. The crispy noodles were placed right in the center of the wrap, so there was a sudden burst of crispness after biting through the soft green crunch of the spinach and the tender tofu. And I really have no idea why the wrap itself was red, but it was soft, too, and not weird and salty like some I’ve had.
I didn’t have any dessert, but my mom picked up a peanut butter chocolate bar. In the case, it looked like your basic, innocuous choco-pb-brownie-type treat. The girl behind the counter warned us, happily, that it was “very rich,” so of course I had to try some. Again, major wow for the taste buds! It turned out to be a thick, two-layer bar with a fudge-like texture and bits of puffed rice in the peanut butter part. Just a few bites was enough to feel like I’d had a full-on dessert experience.
I really enjoyed eating at Black Bean Co. It’s the sort of place I wish there were more of in my area of NY, where you can just go, grab fresh vegan food, and be happy with what you’ve eaten. It would also be a nice place to go and sit with a friend, have some coffee, and just hang out. Give them a try next time you’re in Charleston; I know I may have to go back again before Mom and I head home!
You can like Black Bean Co. on Facebook here.