Confession: Until last week, I’d never properly explored Baltimore Avenue. But unsurprisingly, Baltimore proved itself to be a gem—and one with lots of vegan options.
If you only check out one place on this list, make it Ice Cave. The owners, a married couple from Taipei, rival Lyn’s in friendliness, and the treats are amazing. As an ice cream addict, I didn’t think it was possible for a frozen treat to rival Ben & Jerry’s. The traditional Taiwanese shaved ice at Ice Cave changed my mind. I tried the Mt. Fuji ($4.29), matcha shaved ice topped with milk chocolate toffee bits, mochi, and condensed milk. Not quite ice cream, but not quite ice either, each bite is light and refreshing, melting on your tongue. I’ve never been a mochi fan, but I was pleasantly surprised when it complimented the other flavors perfectly. Even the photographer, who is lactose intolerant, couldn’t resist trying a bite or five. Next, I sampled their tropical tea ($3.19). Ice Cave offers teas with tapioca, jelly, or bursting boba. The tropical tea has jelly in it, and while I enjoyed the tea, the jelly was not my favorite—I’d probably go for the tapioca next time. I then sampled the strawberry wheel cake ($2.19), which was reminiscent of strawberry shortcake, but with a less dense pastry. I’d highly recommend it, and, next winter, I’ll be back to try one of their seasonal offerings: the hot wheel cakes. In addition to these treats, Ice Cave also offers popsicles ($3.50) and plenty of vegan options for all types of treats.
TL;DR: Delicious, traditional Taiwanese treats
Location: 4507 Baltimore Avenue
Monday – Thursday: 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday: 1:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Dottie’s is slightly off Baltimore, located on Springfield Avenue just behind the gas station and auto shop. While we hd a little trouble finding the place, we eventually located the bright and inviting storefront. We tried three of their most popular flavors: Boston cream ($3.25), strawberry pistachio ($2.50), and chocolate Oreo ($2.50). If I hadn’t known these donuts were vegan, I wouldn’t have guessed it. The dough is a bit denser than Beiler’s, but the donuts are still light and fluffy. My favorite was the strawberry pistachio—the icing was flavorful but not overpowering. The chocolate icing was very similar in taste to Krispy Kreme chocolate icing—a bit sweet for my taste. The Boston cream was good, but it was more of a vanilla cream center, with a filling that was much thinner than I expected. Overall, I probably would only go back for the strawberry pistachio, and while I enjoyed the Boston cream and chocolate Oreo, they weren’t anything worth making a trip out for.
TL;DR: Vegan donuts that don’t taste vegan!
Location: 4529 Springfield Avenue
Monday–Friday: 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Nestled beside a bike shop and Dock Street Brewery, Satellite Café is a cozy little coffee shop that offers delicious and inexpensive food with plenty of vegan options. The Bike Shop ($3.24), a tasty combination of cream cheese, roasted peppers, pesto, and spinach, is their most popular sandwich. I tried it on a wrap, and I would definitely recommend it, though the portion was a bit small. If you’d like it on a bagel (the preferred choice of regulars), get there early—their bagels usually sell out before the afternoon. For a sweeter treat, try the chocolate peanut butter brownie ($3.10)—it’s very rich, but well worth the extra calories. While the food was excellent, the service leaves a little to be desired. The barista was not outwardly rude, but he was definitely standoffish. But if off the beaten path dives are your thing, check out the Satellite Café.
TL;DR: Cozy cafe with tasty food
Location: 701 S 50th Street
Monday–Friday: 7:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.