Ciao Thyme is one of those local restaurants that have been around for awhile now and yet they still consistently generate a positive buzz. It seems like just lately, I can't go anywhere without hearing someone talk about how wonderful they are. Despite all of this it wasn't until just last week that I was finally able to see for myself just how amazing they are. One reason it took me so long is that the cafe is only open Tuesday through Friday between 11am and 3pm. And another reason is (I am ashamed to admit) I think I assumed they wouldn't have anything vegan... And oh how wrong I was in this assumption! (You would think after all these years of writing this blog I would stop assuming such things!)
At any rate, at the most recent vegan potluck, I learned that Ciao Thyme is indeed vegan-friendly, and then a friend of mine offered to treat me to lunch there just last Thursday and I jumped at the chance to go. And I truly I cannot tell you how impressed I was. Not only is the cafe at Ciao Thyme vegan-friendly; they are everyone-friendly, be you omnivorous, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, or what-have-you! I have often said the most talented chefs and sincere restaurant owners are those who want to share the gift of food with everyone, no matter who you are or what your dietary needs may be. And Ciao Thyme fits that description perfectly.
If you are interested in checking out their menu, you may notice a number of vegetarian items that can be made vegan. In fact, it even says in several places on the menu to ask about vegan options. After a bit of deliberation, I selected the vegan version of the eggplant caprese and I cannot adequately convey with words how amazingly delicious this dish was. The tomatoes had that garden-fresh flavor you can't get from grocery-store tomatoes, and the eggplant was cooked PERFECTLY. Everything was so fresh and so tasty, and the balsamic vinaigrette inspired so many complementary flavors.
Beautifully presented, the food was as delicious to eat as it was gorgeous to look at. It was the kind of meal that left me almost speechless with every bite; the experience of every taste was so satisfying and easy to savor. I also shared the grilled stone fruit salad for dessert, and while technically not completely vegan because it did have drizzled honey, I am still including it in this post because I bet you could request it without the honey and it would still be sweet, juicy, and amazing.