50 States of Vegetarian Food
From virtuous salads to indulgent tempeh bacon and cauliflower "wings," it's never been easier or more enjoyable to eat green in America. It's enough to make even hardened carnivores reconsider their orders! Here's where to veg out in all 50 states.
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New York: Dirt Candy
"Anyone can cook a hamburger. Leave the vegetables to the professionals." That's the motto at Amanda Cohen's critically adored Dirt Candy, a pioneer of NYC's flourishing plant-forward movement. And, goodness knows, you won't find anything so obvious as veggie burgers on the menu here. Produce is manipulated in all manner of innovative, eye-popping and all-out scrumptious ways to create dishes like popcorn beets, zucchini takoyaki, kale matzo ball soup and Brussels sprout tacos, which are served on a sizzling stone with lettuce wrappers and a slew of accoutrements.
Raleigh, North Carolina: The Fiction Kitchen
After testing their concept through a series of pop-ups, The Fiction Kitchen's owners determined that Raleigh was ready for a restaurant offering thoughtful, meat-free cuisine. It helps that they pay affectionate homage to the state as much as possible, through dishes like the apple cider vinegar-soused pulled "pork," served with sorghum molasses Dijon slaw, and the Carolina Gold rice risotto, topped with basil pistachio pesto, grilled king trumpet mushrooms and wilted local greens.
Miami: Soul Tavern
Gastropubs tend to conjure images of thick, juicy burgers, gussied-up chicken wings, and fish and chips, all accompanied by plenty of craft beer. Comfort food — with a refined, global twist — is on the menu at this Miami hot spot, but the difference is that it's entirely plant-based. So raise a glass to jackfruit gyoza, Korean BBQ pulled-tempeh sliders, yam-noodle ramen, and hemp-crusted edamame cakes with black tahini sauce, shaved fennel and celery root.
Fargo, North Dakota: BernBaum's
A certain movie may have helped put Fargo on the map. But locals know this Nordic-Jewish deli is even more delightfully quirky than a Coen brothers flick. The salmon-free appetizing options here are so much more interesting than a bagel schmeared with veggie cream cheese. Instead, hand-rolled orbs come anointed with tabbouleh, radish shoots, beet hummus and baba ghanoush — or, even better, with dill whipped tofu, black garlic tahini and smoked carrot "lox."
Denver: City, O' City
In addition to having you covered whether you need a latte at 7 a.m .or a whiskey at 1:30 a.m., Denver's stylish City, O' City masterfully caters to veggie cravings at any time of day or night. Most notably, the kitchen here works round-the-clock magic with waffles in a wide array of dishes — teaming them with chicken-fried cauliflower, pressing them into grilled cheese with green apples and tempeh bacon, sousing them with coconut sofrito and Hatch chile salsa, or transforming them into a Cubano with smoky jackfruit and seitan ham.
Iowa City, Iowa: Devotay
Despite the widespread popularity of Spanish tapas menus, they've remained a bit of a minefield for vegetarians. Not so at Iowa City's 20-plus-year-old Devotay, where the small-plates lineup is informed by a daily produce shipment from Green Share Co-op. With a menu that includes the likes of poached carrots with almond pea-shoot pesto and Noble Bee honey, crispy poached eggs with red-wine caramel, baked Old Capital tofu with sauteed mushrooms, and grilled summer squash showered with Manchego cheese, there's no need for the meat-free to subsist on patatas bravas here.
Takoma Park, Maryland: Mark's Kitchen
The restaurant itself may be diminutive, but its size belies the mind-boggling range of dishes that magically make their way from Mark Choe's Takoma Park kitchen. Frequently Korean-inflected and heavily vegetarian, the menu includes such standouts as mung bean pancakes and vegetable mandoo dumplings, jap chae cellophane sweet-potato noodles and kimchi fried rice, and seaweed bibimbap and ssam spreads, featuring lettuce cups wrapped around tofu.
Portland, Oregon: Farm Spirit
This acclaimed eatery eschews mock meats completely, in order to concentrate on the infinite variety and versatility of vegetables. It's also a true multisensory experience: You purchase tickets in advance for seats at the chef's counter, where set, multicourse tasting menus are composed before your eyes, illustrating the bounty of Oregon's Cascadian bioregion through forest, farm and field.
Minneapolis: The Herbivorous Butcher
The name says it all — this brother-and-sister-run business specializes in small-batch, plant-based meats. The siblings have crafted entirely animal-free alternatives to everything from sausage and jerky to roast beef and steak, available online or at their store or food truck. (Also check out their line of nondairy cheeses, such as smoked Gouda, dill Havarti, ricotta and pepper Jack.) And there's no better showcase for their brilliant creations than the towering Italian Cold Cut sandwich, stacked with The Herbivorous Butcher's plant-based takes on mozzarella, pastrami, pepperoni and capicola ham.
Little Rock, Arkansas: The Root Cafe
Now that Bill Clinton has cleaned up his diet, we can imagine him being a regular at this Little Rock cafe where the menu pulls off the trick of being both good and good for you (we're talking shiitake mushroom burgers, seasonal-veggie cracklins, purple hull peas and cornbread, and country-fried tofu with vegan gravy). The Root also serves as a focal point for sustainable activities in the area, with a mission to build community through local food.
Omaha, Nebraska: Modern Love
Upscale vegan comfort food? It may sound like an obvious concept for Brooklyn (where this place boasts an offshoot), but for that Midwest/Great Plains straddler, Nebraska? Give it up for Modern Love, which has brought a bit of veggie-adulating swank to the Cornhusker State, by way of mushroom stroganoff, kale Caesar with pepita Parmesan and cornmeal-crusted tofu, and the Chickpea Bacon Ranch sandwich, featuring chickpea cutlets, mushroom "bacon" and avocado on a bolillo bun.
West Hollywood, California: Gracias Madre
It takes a lot to stand out with veggie-forward fare in La La Land. Yet this West Hollywood staple has managed to rise above the pack with its plant-based Mexican cuisine made from locally grown organic ingredients. You'll find elevated, wholly meat-free interpretations of regional, homestyle classics here, such as posole with ancho chile broth and cashew crema; tamales filled with sauteed squash, black beans and escabeche; and potato-masa sopes crowned with mango habanero salsa.
Anchorage, Alaska: Middle Way Cafe
Not only was this Anchorage maverick among the first city establishments to champion vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine, but it also created a new standard for sustainability in the local restaurant industry. This means that when you order your blackened tofu Reuben, basil cauliflower rice unicorn bowl or faux-chorizo breakfast burrito to go, your meal will be packaged in recycled, compostable and petroleum-free boxes and cups.
Newark, Delaware: Home Grown Cafe
A frequent "Best of Delaware" honoree, hip Home Grown has been a downtown Newark mainstay for over 18 years. Between boozy brunches and hopping happy hours, the folks here are always down for a party. And with a menu containing tofu banh mi, spicy bourbon peach barbecue cauliflower wings, and creamed chipped seitan over garlic-and-cheddar biscuits (a modern take on the Mid-Atlantic staple), this place further proves that vegetarians really know how to cut loose.
Charleston, South Carolina: Dellz Uptown
Just like its beloved big sibling, Dellz Deli, this all-veggie offshoot is lavishing Charleston with fabulous wraps. In addition to carryover favorites like the Hummer (black bean or roasted red pepper hummus, field greens, green goddess dressing, mango salsa and sprouts), you'll find the Snobby Joe (marinated meatless crumbles, tomatoes, avocados and cukes), the Chik'n Bacon, lacquered with a mix of vegan cheese, and the Steamin' Beemin', bursting with vegan shrimp, vegan sour cream and long-grain rice.
Indianapolis: Three Carrots
Proving that the Hoosier State's got more to offer, foodwise, than just fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, Three Carrots executes amazing feats with wheat gluten and soy. Tofu comes cornmeal-crusted over grits or deposited in po' boys, while seitan appears in banh mis, BLTs and, yes, a veggie version of that local favorite — The Seitanderloin, served on a bun with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles and roasted garlic aioli.
Atlanta: Cafe Sunflower
Tired of being relegated to salads and sides at restaurants, Lin and Edward Sun changed the face of vegan cooking in Atlanta. A plant-based pioneer for over 20 years, Sunflower provides inspired solutions for meat-free cravings, such as pan-seared mushroom scallops at lunch, kabocha squash and tofu-ricotta ravioli for dinner, and seitan "chicken" biscuits with mango-orange-passion fruit jam during Sunday brunch.
Phoenix: The Coronado PHX
Located in Phoenix's historic Coronado district, and in close proximity to the arts district, Arizona State University and a sizable Sikh community, it's no wonder The Coronado has become a haven for area vegans and vegetarians. It makes excellent use of Southwestern ingredients and influences, in dishes such as masa-battered cauliflower tacos with avocado dressing and pepitas, local goat cheese and jalapeno marmalade quesadillas, and a vibrant beet burger topped with poblano corn relish and served on a buttermilk bun.
Maplewood, New Jersey: Sprout
Newly germinated in up-and-coming Maplewood, Sprout specializes in totally customizable salads, wraps and bowls — made with love and fresh, local ingredients. You'll understand why Jersey is called the Garden State when you tuck into the Endless Summer salad, composed of spinach, mint, basil, avocado, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, tempeh and romaine in a miso ginger dressing, and the Shuka + Spice, featuring falafel, spicy peppers, kale and purple cabbage over cauliflower rice in a tzatziki vinaigrette.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi: Mellow Mushroom
Lacto-ovo vegetarians will have their eyes on the pies at Mellow Mushroom. The Holy Shiitake pizza arrives bearing mountains of the joint's signature, truffle oil-infused funghi, and the Great White (fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, ricotta and provolone cheeses), Kosmic Karma (spinach, feta and pesto) and Veg Out (onions, peppers and black olives) varieties offer their own ample incentives for sidelining pepperoni.
Nashville: The Wild Cow
The wildest thing about this cow is that beef has no place on the menu, which proves there's more to Nashville than hot chicken and "meat and three." You'll find a wide array of vegetarian options here, including vegan queso and quinoa bowls, seitan and portobello mushroom French dips, and a top-rated veggie burger: a housemade, soy-free black bean patty with the works, on a whole-wheat bun.
Lakewood, Ohio: The Root Cafe
The Root Cafe is a day-to-night gathering hub for the community, showcasing local artists and musicians, and featuring a tea-and-espresso program, an organic bakery and a vegan/vegetarian kitchen. Keeping that neighborhood-y throughline going, the owners procure as many ingredients as possible from area purveyors — some even come from their friends' backyards. This means you'll be getting a true taste of Lakewood when you tuck into the mock-tuna boats (made with walnuts and sunflower seeds) served in romaine shells, the zucchini noodles dusted with "rawmesan" cheese, the Sunburst Salad composed of spinach, oranges, beets and apples, or the hummus served with baked-to-order flatbread or gluten-free crisps for scooping.
Louisville, Kentucky: Heart and Soy
Huong "CoCo" Tran is a true Louisville groundbreaker. Not only did she open the city's first Chinese takeout spot and first Vietnamese restaurant, but she introduced Asian-style vegetarian menus to the region as well. At Heart and Soy, besides traditionally meat-free eats such as green papaya salad, tempura vegetables and fiery red curry with butternut squash, you'll find quirky alternatives such as smoked caprese with Lapsang Souchong-infused balsamic, and steamed banana leaves and summer rolls brimming with snips of veggie ham.
Michigan: Detroit Vegan Soul
The first fully vegan soul-food restaurant to bless the Motor City (although we'd guess the concept is unique just about anywhere), Detroit Vegan Soul is committed to making healthy food accessible to everyone and disrupting the cycle of diet-related diseases in the community. The dishes served up here present a compelling argument for embracing plant-based cuisine, with choices like smothered tempeh, "catfish" tofu and expansive Soul Platters brimming with mac and cheese, smoked collards, maple-glazed yams, black-eyed peas and tender cornbread muffins.
Oklahoma City: The Loaded Bowl
The Loaded Bowl was launched as Oklahoma's first vegan food truck, but you can now get your bowl on at a brick-and-mortar location as well. Made from ethically sourced and cruelty-free ingredients, assembled in sustainable, eco-friendly packaging, this is some feel-good, taste-great fare. We're talking cashew mac and cheese, layered enchiladas with lentil chorizo, and the Spaghettie Okie: grilled spaghetti squash sauced in a seven-veggie marinara, tossed with peas, broccoli and spinach, and showered with cashew Parmesan.
New Orleans: Seed
Considering how many of the delectable, classic creations in the Creole-Cajun canon are shellfish- and sausage-centric, New Orleans can be a frustrating place to be a vegetarian. Enter Seed, which embraces traditional flavors in sustainable, environmentally friendly fashion, in dishes like the Southern-fried nuggets with agave mustard, the eggplant or tofu po' boys, the beignets with powdered sugar and even the roux-thickened gumbo, packed with okra, peppers, mushrooms and collard greens.
Burlington, Vermont: Revolution Kitchen
Asian flavors are culled from Vermont ingredients here at Burlington's first all-vegetarian restaurant. This unique mash-up results in goat cheese-and-fig wontons, with the wrappers folded around Vermont Creamery chevre; the Prik King stir-fry, featuring seasonal farm vegetables; and Vietnamese salad rolls, with bits of mango, herbs and lettuces tucked into rice paper.
New Haven, Connecticut: Claire's Corner Copia
A far cry from your average college-campus feed stop, this New Haven staple is organic, sustainable and kosher, and offers vegan and gluten-free options. It's been this way at Claire's since 1975 — the same year the owners got married and decided to spread their love via tofu scrambles, refried-bean tostadas, spicy Buffalo soy-chicken bowls and broccoli rabe pizzas.
Missoula, Montana: Scotty's Table
It would be easy to assume that an eatery showcasing Montana's best producers would be an all-out temple of meat. And certainly, Scotty's Table shows plenty of support to state ranchers. But farmers get their fair share of love as well, thanks to artisan cheese trays, an anchovy-free Caesar and a seasonal-vegetable risotto with cashew crema, not to mention the pan-fried polenta with seared kale, grilled asparagus, olive tapenade and marinated local feta, which can even be served vegan on request.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Veggie Galaxy
Veggie Galaxy is just your everyday, all-American diner, save for the fact that it's 100 percent vegetarian (and any dish can be ordered vegan). You won't bemoan the lack of animal products in its decidedly green takes on diner classics, such as biscuits with "sausage" gravy or "corned beef" seitan hash Benedict for breakfast, chickpea "tuna" melts at lunch, Chick'n and waffles for dinner, or vegan mozzarella sticks as a snack. And if you've got a sweet tooth, keep in mind that the adjoining bakery is entirely vegan too. Believe it or not, there's no actual cream in its version of that Massachusetts staple, Boston cream pie.
Kansas City, Missouri: Pirate's Bone
With vegan riffs on Latin drinks (Dirty Horchatas, Mexican Cold Brews and the Sweet Misery latte with guajillo chile skin), Pirate's Bone is a Kansas City must for those in search of a creative caffeine fix. But it would be a shame to sleep on the equally inspired food menu — flush with papas enchiladas sprinkled with sesame seeds and lime; "chix" salad sandwiches and steamy pozole, both utilizing shreds of starchy jackfruit; and scarlet beet burgers underscored with strands of zippy pickled cabbage, on activated-charcoal buns.
Wichita, Kansas: Kind Kravings
So much more than a food truck, this is a full-on double-decker bus offering seating on top and a panoply of vegan delicacies on the ground floor, such as taco salad, lentil loaf, Asian noodle salad, roasted cauliflower tacos and marinated portobello mushroom PLTs.
Las Vegas: Vegenation
Following a battle with bone marrow cancer, accomplished chef Donald Lemperle (Le Bernardin, The Quilted Giraffe), decided to completely change his lifestyle, including adopting a plant-based diet. And at Vegenation, he treats his customers with the same TLC he gives his own body, nourishing the community with Buffalo cauliflower wings, mushroom pho, African yam stew, and non-GMO masa tamales that were voted the best in Las Vegas.
Belfast, Maine: Chase's Daily
Sure, Maine is blessed with food hubs like Portland. But who'd have thought sleepy Belfast would house one of the best-known vegetarian restaurants in the state? You won't miss the lobster for a second at this tiny, family-run eatery and bakery, which sources the lion's share of ingredients from its very own farm. That means the menu is entirely dependent on the seasons; you might find hearty minestrone with sage pesto in winter, shelled soldier beans scattered with Parmigiano-Reggiano in spring, an heirloom-tomato tart in summer or roasted fennel pizza in fall.
New Mexico: Annapurna's World Vegetarian Cafe
The cuisine at Annapurna's is not only vegetarian but also Ayurvedic, based on an ancient Indian health science intended to create balance in the body by introducing elements of fire, air and water. And while you'll find kitchari — a blend of basmati rice, mung beans, greens and spices that is believed to be the ultimate healing Ayurvedic dish — here, the menu expands well beyond that. At Annapurna's locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it includes everything from classics like masala dosas, idli sambar and saag paneer to creative offerings like cardamom pancakes, chapati quesadillas and spice-dusted masala fries served with housemade ketchup.
Vedge counts as a top meat-free option for a true special-occasion meal. A crown jewel in Philly's dynamic dining scene, the James Beard Award-nominated boite defines vegetable-forward cooking through seasonally inspired dishes like portobello carpaccio, eggplant braciole, pole bean carbonara and rutabaga fondue.
Providence, Rhode Island: Garden Grille
The Yaffe family have been healthy-diet trailblazers in Providence since the early '70s, when they opened The Golden Sheaf, the area's first full-scale natural foods market. The next generation has continued the tradition with the 20-year-old Garden Grille (and the adjoining vegan bakery, Wildflour), which serves as a community hub for organic, good-for-the-earth grub, such as Korean tempeh tacos, cauliflower risotto fritters, cattle bean and beet burgers, and peppercorn oyster-mushroom pizzas with sweet potato and leek spread.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Sanaa's 8th Street Gourmet
Given that South Dakota's signature dish is chislic — cubed and grilled skewers of lamb or beef, similar to shish kebab — a Middle Eastern restaurant may not seem out of place in the city of Sioux Falls. Yet meat takes a real backseat at Sanaa Abourezk's extensive buffet. In fact, the nutritionist and health-focused cookbook author extensively explores the veg-friendly side of her native Syria, with roasted squash hummus, mjadara (lentil and caramelized-onion pilaf), and fatayer: baked pita stuffed with spicy eggplant, sumac-spiced sweet potato, or feta, tomato and mint.
Dallas: Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Can't imagine going veg in the heart of the Lone Star State? Not only can you eschew meat at Blue Sushi Sake Grill (which has additional locations in other bastions of beef, such as Nebraska, Kentucky, Colorado and Kansas), but you can actually sidestep fish as well. Look for a sizable selection of veggie maki, such as the V.L.T. (lettuce, cherry tomato, avocado and vegan mayo), the Cowgirl (pickle tempura and Sriracha-fried onion rings) and the Shiitake Happens — wild mushrooms sauteed in coconut milk and stippled with truffle oil, Thai basil and sweet soy.
Salt Lake City: Zest
Zest is a real standout in Salt Lake City — not only for its organic, plant-based, soy-free, gluten-free cuisine, but also for its innovative cocktail program utilizing fresh juices and other ingredients from the kitchen. So as long as you're 21 or over, be sure to order an earthy beet sangria to accompany virtuous comestibles such as a vegan cheese board, manicotti made with translucent wheels of zucchini, and even a hearty Irish stew made up of Brussels sprout and kale mashed potatoes in gravy, layered over beets, yams and local mushrooms.
Arlington, Virginia: Galaxy Hut
Arlington's craft beer and karaoke bar gleefully rejects the idea of vegetarian fare as being wholesome. Instead, you'll find flesh-free takes on drunk-food favorites, such as Beyond Burger patty melts, mushroom cheesesteaks, vegan chili cheese dogs, a Reuben stacked with smoky tempeh "pastrami," and a fried eggplant and cauliflower Parm laden with marinara, mozzarella and provolone.
Seattle: Sunlight Cafe
Sunlight is Seattle's oldest vegetarian restaurant — at 42 years and counting! It's been preaching the vegetarian gospel for almost a half-century, with sesame crunch waffles, black beans over polenta, herb risotto with organic vegetables, and desserts sweetened with locally produced honey. No wonder so many area eateries have gamely followed suit.
Charleston, West Virginia: Bluegrass Kitchen
If you stop in for "supper" at this 1920s-styled establishment, you'll find a number of elegant, vegetable-centric dishes with components sourced from West Virginia and the Appalachians. So while the carnivores in your party may be well-pleased by the pickle-brined chicken and double-cut pork chops, don't be surprised to find them picking at your housemade ricotta drizzled with Villa DiTrapano olive oil and made with J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works brine ... or the roasted, burrata-stuffed tomato over farm-egg pasta ... or a bed of organic pinto beans topped with a poblano filled with Spring Gap Mountain Creamery cheddar, consorting with green tomato chow-chow and creme fraiche.
Madison, Wisconsin: Tex Tubb's Taco Palace
You better believe everything's bigger at Madison's ode to Tex-Mex eats. And that includes flavor, which owes very little to animal products. Think Teese vegan queso blended with yellow pea protein and green chiles (which can be ladled on nachos bulked out with black beans, olives and corn relish), along with sweet potato flautas, fried avocado burritos and, of course, an array of tacos, folded around ancho carrots, grilled mushrooms or fried Brussels sprouts.
Keene, New Hampshire: Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant
It can be a tall order to construct a nourishing meal from an average in-store buffet, or a farm-fresh melange from a salad bar. Luckily for Keene residents, Peggy Schauffler keeps her chafing dishes filled with hand-cooked, down-home, local, non-GMO and frequently organic offerings. Oh, and did we mention that her restaurant is fully vegetarian, too? Depending on the day, keep your eyes peeled for chickpea a la king, vegetable pot pie, Mandarin "beef," broccoli quiche and Russian potato soup.
Laramie, Wyoming: Sweet Melissa
States made up of plains, deserts and mountain ranges aren't exactly reliable bastions of leafy, produce-focused fare. That's why, since 1999, Sweet Melissa in Laramie has taken seriously its responsibility of "serving comfort food for the homesick vegetarian" — such as cashew queso, "crabless" cakes with hearts of palm and artichoke hearts, Gorgonzola blueberry salad and cauliflower po' boys.
Chicago: The Chicago Diner
Proudly "meat free since '83," this Chicago stalwart has all the trappings of the classic luncheonette — it simply flies in the face of tradition by leaving animal products out of the equation. Yet it's still perfectly formulated for the Windy City's countless lovers of game-day pub grub. Teese and "bacun"-gobbed poutine, vegan ranch-doused seitan wings and the famous Radical Reuben are all constants on the menu. You'll also find seasonal specials like a good old Chicago-style hot dog — with the works, but sans the melange of mystery meats.
Kamuela, Hawaii: Under the Bodhi Tree
It's kind of easy to eat cleanly on the Big Island, considering Hawaii's access to pristine produce like that served at the totally green Under the Bodhi Tree, which turns to area farmers for most of its menu needs. Vegetarians undoubtedly shout "mahalo" over the V-BLTs with smoked coconut "bacon," avocado and housemade cashew cheese; the Nakhon noodles tossed with curry, Hamakua mushrooms, macadamia nuts and sprouts; and such sweet endings as raw banana soft serve and black bean brownies.
Boise, Idaho: BBQ4Life
Of all the cuisines to be reimagined for the veg set, barbecue seems most unlikely. Yet this family-owned Boise biz has realized the near impossible, by opening a down-home destination of pecan-smoked (not) meat. Believe it or not, baby back ribs, pulled pork, tri-tip and sausages are all here for the taking, assembled in sandwiches or served by the pound, along with vegan potato salad, gluten-free cornbread and nondairy mac 'n' cheese.
Birmingham, Alabama: Delta Blues Hot Tamales
After Fawn Freis was diagnosed with Hashimoto's and celiac disease, navigating restaurant menus became a nightmare for her. Wanting to create a place where diners could let loose no matter their allergies, restrictions or choices, she and her husband turned to tamales — boiled, naturally gluten-free pockets of masa dough that are popular in their home state of Mississippi. Yet because Delta Blues is based in Alabama, you'll find plenty of Southern comfort cooking thrown into the mix, such as roasted-poblano pimento cheese dip with turnip greens, fried dill pickles teamed with comeback sauce, butterbean hummus tacos topped with tangy slaw, and of course black bean tamales, crafted from local purveyor McEwen & Sons' blue cornmeal.