UPDATE: X’s to O’s closed in 2015, but Sarah isn’t done being an amazing vegan! Check out her new blog, Bomb Ass Vegan, for recipes, tips and a whole lot more.
I’ve talked about X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery a few times before, most notably when they were at the Albany Vegetarian Expo last year. When it comes to amazing vegan baked goods in the Capital District, you can’t go wrong with their wide variety of offerings. They wholesale to all sorts of places, including Honest Weight Co-op, where I often find myself picking up a gluten-free chocolate chip blondie whether I need it or not. I’m at Honest Weight more often than I’m in Troy, but I make it a point to grab a friend once every few weeks and make the trip to the bakery itself for some shameless buying of vegan baked goods. This past Saturday, my Mom and I decided to head over after hitting the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market to check out the bi-monthly brunch.
X’s to O’s has been in its current retail location at 97 4th street in Troy, NY since October of 2009, and it is the vegan bakery in my area. Seriously. You can find a few vegan options here and there, but if you want a smorgasbord of treats to make your blood sugar go zing, you want X’s to O’s. They’re known for their canoe boats (think vegan twinkies) in flavors like vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream, and carrot cake; but you’ll find everything from double chocolate brownies to gluten-free pumpkin spice cupcakes in their bakery case on any given day. And since X’s to O’s is a dedicated vegan facility, there’s no chance of cross-contamination with non-vegan ingredients!
Sarah Preston is the talented baker behind this case full of vegan awesome. She was kind enough to answer some questions about the history of X’s to O’s, her personal journey to veganism, and what it’s like being vegan and gluten free.
Two Saturdays a month, X’s to O’s offers a 100% vegan brunch which, if what I saw is typical, effectively turns the bakery into a community hotspot, drawing people from Troy and beyond to enjoy delicious vegan eats. The menu this past week? Tofu scramble with veggies; cheesy hash browns made with Daiya; and kale salad (dubbed “kale-lujah”) with tomatoes, shredded carrots, and ginger-tahini dressing. Everything is served buffet-style, priced by the pound with coffee included.
The kale salad alone was an experience. I probably could have eaten a whole pound of just that and rolled out of the bakery in a happy fog of kale-y bliss. My mom and I were both very impressed with the hash browns, as well. Eating them made me wonder why I’ve never thought to put vegan cheese in potatoes when I make breakfast stuff for dinner! The tofu scramble was a little cold, but that’s probably my hangup since I like my food hot enough to take the skin off the roof of my mouth. The flavor certainly didn’t suffer for it. I don’t know exactly what seasonings were used, but the scramble as a whole tasted awesome. To top it all off, the coffee was rich and the presentation nicely colorful.
The entire brunch cost me less than $6, not including the half a cupcake I scarfed down afterwards. Treats at X’s to O’s range from about $1.50 to $4, depending on whether you get a massive chocolate chip cookie or a slice of the featured cake. There are also several vegan items available in their small retail section, including Go Max Go Foods candy bars, Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso, and Raw Revolution snack bars. (There’s also Scheese cheese and Teese vegan mozzarella sticks, but I forgot to take a picture of the cold case.)
I really can’t say enough good about this place. I’ve been a huge fan of their baked goods since trying my first canoe boat, and now I think I can fairly say that I’m addicted to their brunch as well. Two thumbs way, way up for X’s to O’s! Check out their Facebook page and follow Sarah on Twitter!