A chance encounter for quick out-of-town lunch becomes a new favorite


By: Crystal Hallwood

Generally speaking, dining out vegan takes a little planning. It’s not usually a big deal — we know how to navigate a menu.

When you are on your home turf, it’s easier. Traveling, well, that’s a different story. Not unlike real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.

With smartphones it’s getting easier. There are websites like Travel Zoo where you can pull up menus, and Happy Cow, where you can see reviews from fellow traveling vegans.

But when you find yourself at a specific location (Indianapolis Court House) at a specific time (lunch break between Indiana Mock Trial competition rounds), then add a time limit and the fact that approximately 250 other people are trying to do the same thing, suddenly you are Vegan In A Hurry (think super hero cape, theme song and possibly my hair billowing in the wind).

So we all rush to City Market. This is a gigantic food court in a beautiful old brick building.

It has multiple vendors and fantastic loft seating upstairs. Most of the stalls are walk-up-and-order, a few have counter seats, and one or two have a few little tables. It’s got a really good mix of users.

Imagine my joy when I walked in from the east entrance and saw a sign that says, “Three Carrots.” That had to be a good sign, right?

Yes, yes it was.

I ran to the stall and was happy to learn it was a vegan food stall. Vegan, baby. With a little line, even. They were doing good business.

The menu is limited (it’s a food stall), but I struggled with the sandwich choices. I ended up selecting the banh mi sandwich.

Guess what? For $2 you can upgrade to soup. You bet I did: seitan and dumplings. It was fairly priced ($10 for soup, sandwich and water), the service was prompt and the crew was friendly.

I love it when people who work in restaurants want to talk about the food. These guys were great. Better yet, so was the food.

The bread was bakery bread: chewy, crusty yumminess. The filling was delish and had both tenderness and crunch with fresh veggies and tons of cilantro.

The soup was really, really good. I haven’t had good dumplings in three years. Tasty. Really tasty. 

I manage to make it to Indy a handful of times a year, and Three Carrots is definitely going on my go-to list. I highly recommend.

Let’s see if I get just as lucky when we spend next weekend in Bloomington for the Indiana Science Olympiad.

For more tales of dining vegan in Michana (and beyond) from Crystal Hallwood and her fellow meatless maven Crystal Hallwood, subscribe to the Vegan at the Bend email newsletter.
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