Welcome to Lifestyles of the Poor and Vegan!  

My name is Kristi.

I am: A constant work in progress, a wife, a dog-mom, a lover of adventure, and an aspiring writer.

This is my adventure log, recipe book, photo album, and more. 

I hope this blog inspires you to explore new places, try new foods, and experience new things.

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Strong Hearts Cafe Review

Strong Hearts Cafe Review

On a recent jaunt to Syracuse, NY to visit the Chinese Lantern Festival, it was practically required that Josh and I check out some local restaurants. After a quick Google search, I found two places to try. One of these was Strong Hearts Cafe. (The other was Funk 'n Waffles, which I will write about next!) 

This small but remarkable vegan eatery is a gem in the heart of Syracuse, New York. A modest spot with a sizable menu, great hours (open 'til 11 PM or 12 AM nightly), and friendly service, this place was an instant hit with Josh and me.


We initially strolled in with mixed expectations after a long day of driving and walking. (They have a 4.6 star average on Google, but you never know…) However,  when we walked in at 10 o’clock at night and the place was busy, we had a feeling that we were in for a treat. If the locals were loving it, surely we would, too.

And love it we did.

Right off the bat, I was struck by the pleasant atmosphere. They had Guns n’ Roses playing over the stereo at just the right volume - Loud enough to hear, but not so loud that you’d have to raise your voice to be heard. The lights were dimmed to just the right level - I can’t stand abrasive nighttime lighting and I love when restaurants set a mood. There was plenty of seating available even though there were several other customers in the room. The dining area was simple, but somehow also a little romantic.

As for the menu, we found the large, chalkboard list on the wall to be clear, concise, and packed with delicious sounding options. There were soups, salads, sandwiches, sides, tofu scrambles, and something like 40 different milkshakes to choose from. After much debate, we made our meal choices:

Josh went with the spicy tofu scramble and the Thai tofu salad, with a Harriet Tubman milkshake on the side (maple, vanilla, and oreos all mixed together in a glorious, creamy concoction).

Strong Hearts Cafe Review | Lifestyles of the Poor and Vegan | www.poorandvegan.com

The tofu scramble was indeed spicy as advertised, but not excessively so. It was flavorful with a pleasant texture and a hint of smokiness. With banana peppers, jalepeños, crushed red pepper, and onion, this dish was Josh tested, Kristi approved ;) (Anyone else remember those Kix commercials??? Kid tested, mother approved? No? Okay, moving on...)

My dark, cellphone photos definitely do not do any of the food the justice they deserve, but a food post without any photos is sad.

I went with the BBQ tempeh sandwich and an Ernie Davis (“Butterfinger” flavored) milkshake to wash it down. The sandwich was stacked with BBQ marinated tempeh, caramelized onions, spinach, and garlic butter on toasted marble rye bread - absolutely fantastic! I have been saddened by limp, bland sandwiches in the past, but this one was a winner winner tempeh dinner! Everything was flavorful, fresh, and very filling, which can be tough to find in a vegan sandwich.

Strong Hearts Cafe | Lifestyles of the Poor and Vegan | www.poorandvegan.com
Strong Hearts Cafe Review | Lifestyles of the Poor and Vegan | www.poorandvegan.com

And that milkshake - Oh MAN that milkshake was good. Why do “real” milkshakes even exist? Both Josh’s and mine were thick, creamy, sweet, and flavorful, just the way milkshakes should be. (Sadly, we didn't get any photos of our shakes...I guess we are just going to have to go back and try again. ;)) 

Not only was all of our food great, it was also exceptionally well priced. It can be tough to find great vegan options, let alone affordable ones, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Strong Hearts Cafe was so wallet friendly.

Another thing that I really like about Strong Hearts is their environmental friendliness. They use no Styrofoam and no plastics, serving food only on regular, reusable dishes or in one hundred percent biodegradable or compostable packaging. On top of that, any of their food waste is composted.

As if all of that wasn’t enough to make you want to eat there nearly every day, Strong Hearts also makes a great effort to contribute to their local community. Whether they’re donating 50 percent of proceeds to Habitat for Humanity for a day, or donating to Rescue Mission (a local homeless shelter/food kitchen), they’re supporting their community in big, generous ways. Other businesses could really learn a thing or two about compassion from these wonderful folks.

With all of that said, don’t you think it’s time to check to out Strong Hearts Cafe? You could also consider checking out their second location, Strong Hearts on the Hill - I know I can’t wait to do so! If you need further convincing, check out their Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/strongheartscafe/ (Just FYI, don’t look if you’re already hungry!)

So, what do you think? Have you been to Strong Hearts Cafe?  Do you want to go now? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

*Cover Photo Credit - Strong Hearts Cafe Facebook Page*

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New York State Chinese Lantern Festival

New York State Chinese Lantern Festival