Bull City Vegan Challenge: Meal Three–Beyu

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Eating at Beyu usually culminates in me being reminded of all of the reasons I heart Durham. Friendliness exuding from the fellow diners. An attentive waitstaff who remember that I like my soda water with no ice. And eclectic palettes–from the goldenrod, chocolate, and teal walls, to the sultry art by Franco and Barksdale, to the playful plates that Beyu’s new chef, Chef Juan, dishes up with a bright smile.

I was excited to taste the gumbo and the chocolate mousse with coconut cream, as both dishes have created more buzz among Challenge diners than a bumble bee on honeysuckle in the spring. They delivered. Majorly.

The gumbo was deep brown in color, reminding me of ‘ah cacao’ in Mexico. The flavors were delicate, they melded together into a unified whole. No one flavor predominated. They were a team, and the Shiitake mushrooms and cactus made for great texture. (I personally loved that the gumbo was made sans okra…).

The dessert blew me away. The texture of the chocolate mousse was spot on–creamy and substantial, each bite lightened ever so slightly by the airy coconut cream that laid a top it. Seemingly simple additions, the blackberries and mint transformed the dessert from tasty to delectable. The blackberries added texture and tartness, and the mint added freshness and cut the richness of the mousse. Blackberries and chocolate were a new collabo for me, but by the last scape of my spoon, my verdict was that the pairing was quite genius.

To make a sports analogy (despite Michigan and Boston College losing today), anyone who knows anything about sports knows that you cannot win a game (or a Bull City Vegan Challenge) with defense alone. In the end, when all is said in done, defense with no offense ends in a ‘L’ (unless perhaps you’re playing soccer). Beyu brought the offense with their gumbo, and especially with their vegan dessert. And I’m personally hoping that they’ll stay in the game by adding both dishes to their more permanent menu.

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. Thanks for the great feedback Tiffany. I'm really proud of our staff and new Chef who are really sincere in providing a great experience for all of our customers! I've sent your posting to our entire staff and we look forward to seeing you next time. =D

  2. I second the vote for the Vegan Challenge items to be moved permanently to the menu… i really enjoyed the savory gumbo, and I would treat my lady out to a vegan dessert anytime.

  3. Yayy!!