Helio Terra Vegan Cafe and Wine Sipping at Heinen's

A few weeks ago we decided to drive up to Cleveland to experience the newest vegan cafe to arrive in the up-and-coming veg-friendly city: Helio Terra Vegan Cafe. Located inside a gym, the trendy spot offers both a raw and cooked menu, as well as smoothies, juices, and sweets. In a city so focused on its wings and burgers and other artery-clogging fare, this place is quite the breath of fresh air.

The hip chalkboard wall-menu shows the down-to-Earth vibe of the place and its ever-rotating selection of goodies.

Being the only guests there at that time, we were able to chat with the owner, Austin, about the success of the cafe in the bustling location downtown since its opening. From the sounds of it, Helio Terra Cafe is just the beginning and Cleveland is definitely the setting of the next big vegan cityscape.

But what about the food?! Being a sucker for anything cheesy, without question I went for the Awesome Grilled Cheese: Daiya provolone and cheddar, fig butter, agave, roasted tomato, truffle salt, and caramelized onion on sourdough bread. It's as good as it sounds, and you know you want some of that. There's nothing like a "grown up" grilled cheese!

The beau decided on the Reuben: mustard marinated seitan, natural kraut and pickles, tomato aioli, and Daiya swiss. Usually used to toothsome tempeh reubens, this convinced him that we need to start making our own seitan at home so he can enjoy it on the reg. So tasty!

To our surprise, Austin presented us with some samples from the raw food menu, as well: cuke slices with sunflower seed pate, raw ranch, and mung bean sprouts and the raw flatbread with cashew cream dip and sprouts. These were so flavorful and delicious! Overall, Helio Terra is a must-eat for anyone looking for quick, healthy, vegan fare in the city.

Following Austin's recommendation, we finished out our night by walking over to the newly renovated Heinen's, which just recently opened in the historic Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building. You wouldn't think that the 100 year old structure could artfully contain a high-end grocery store, but it works surprisingly well. And the interior is simply stunning. The second floor, with its wrap-around balcony, is home to the beer and wine section.

We couldn't resist purchasing a "wine card" to sample and taste a variety of different beverages. It was a fun and fascinating way to round out the evening.

Cleveland is an up-and-comer in the vegan world, with so much yet to explore. Stay tuned for more adventures!