Reviews


You may remember a few months ago when I posted about a new trend in American bars and restaurants: drinking and eating both responsibly AND sustainably. The Huffington Post devoted an article to highlighting nine of America’s greenest bars. One of these bars was Bambara located in Cambridge just across the Charles River from Boston. Bambara is conveniently located within walking distance of the Green Line’s Lechmere T Station and is tucked into Hotel Marlowe on Edwin H Land Blvd. Autonomie Project is fortunate enough to have Bambara in its backyard and I could not resist visiting the restaurant this past weekend.

Bambara is listed on EcoDrinking, a website devoted to establishing bars and restaurants as being green based on numerous factors such as sustainability, organic food/drink options, energy efficiency, and other green initiatives. The website specifically notes Bambara’s use of local ingredients to create organic drinks and entrées as well as their LED lighting and recycling program. Bambara lists numerous “environmentally friendly practices” they are currently using to further their mission of creating a “greener future”.

From the wine list to the take-out containers, Bambara has it covered when it comes to sustainable business practices. Their wine list only features wines that are sustainable, organic, or biodynamic. Recycled cane fiber makes up the content of Bambara’s take-out containers. In addition, the restaurant refuses to use disposable packaging when storing food. Styrofoam is essentially banned from the restaurant. Better yet, Bambara prides itself in its use of local ingredients purchased from local farms, ranches, and fisheries. Bambara has every reason to pride itself in its ingredients; my entire dinner was outstanding.

Thankfully, my friend, Christine, and I chose to venture to Bambara during Boston’s Restaurant Week. We made our reservation on a Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m., but we found that it was unnecessary. We were able to choose a nice high-top table across from the bar along the restaurant’s windows. For $33, we had numerous options to choose from for an appetizer, entrée, and dessert combination. It was immediately confirmed that the ingredients of their dishes were completely organic and fresh when we took our first bites. Christine and I raved to each other about the pasta we ordered. In fact, our waitress kindly noted that all of Bambara’s pasta is made from scratch in-house. You sure can tell!

Bambara’s dinner menu was extensive and impressive, but I think they could definitely improve their selection with additional vegetarian and vegan options. Many of the salads would satisfy a vegetarian’s needs as well as a vegan’s needs sans the various cheeses. However, every dinner entrée has some kind of meat or fish. New vegetarian and vegan options would definitely improve the menu and attract a larger market of customers. It would also add to Bambara’s green mission! I also noticed that the drink menu contains only conventional beers. Local breweries like Harpoon or Peak Organic would be excellent additions to the drink menu. It would also further Bambara’s mission to partner with local businesses. Despite this, Bambara’s cocktails sure do catch your eye on the menu. Bambara’s ‘Mother Earth’ is dubbed as an eco-friendly cocktail. It contains organic Tru vanilla vodka, Makers Mark Aperol, agave nectar, and orange juice. With more cocktails like ‘Mother Earth’, Bambara is sure to expand their customer base.

Overall, our experience at Bambara was outstanding. We did not feel too guilty about the food we ate since we knew we were being a bit greener and more sustainable by dining at Bambara! What more justification do you need? So next time you’re in Boston, take the T just one stop into Cambridge for a great drink and meal. There is no better way to enjoy time with friends and family than over an ethical and superbly tasting dinner out on the town.

-Derek Rogers

While on a recent vacation, we decided to expand our restaurant reviews to the international scene. Montreal is a lovely, artistic, and interesting city that feels like a mixture of Paris and San Francisco. Not surprisingly, a major city such as Montreal has a wide array of vegan options and a few all vegetarian restaurants. Located in the Latin Quarter, we passed a delicious looking restaurant a number of times before deciding to try it.  Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant (although the Y is missing from the sign, in true urban fashion) is situated in the basement of a building housed by tourist shops and clothing boutiques. From the outside it may appear a bit shabby, especially since the Y is missing from the sign, however, once you enter the spot it has a tranquil, modern, and has a classy appearance.

We arrived around 8pm and the joint was packed. The busy wait staff seemed a little confused and stressed with the crowd. It was my impression, they aren’t normally this busy. When we first arrived, we were quickly sat at a nice table and given water, however, we were not noticed again for about 20 minutes. We were willing to forget this, because their menu looked absolutely delicious. The menu has a wide array of vegetarian and vegan Pan-Asian options. With menu offerings such as Lemon Crispy Fish, Pan Fried Steak, Japanese Eel, and Sushi Pizza, how could one not immediately be intrigued? It appears their online menu does not encompass all they offer, but do not be fooled, this place has an extensive menu!

Buffet Menu

The truth is there are several vegan Pan-Asian restaurants, in fact it may be the most common style of vegetarian cooking. No matter how common they may be, we still love to try them out! There was one thing incredibly unique about this place, it was buffet style. Not just any buffet style, but you were given a huge list of dishes and you checked which ones you wanted from appetizers to entrees, as many times as you like.  You just check off on a piece of paper each time and order as much as you want for $20 a person. I am definitely not used to this ordering technique and coupled with my minuscule knowledge of the French language, this created some confusion. Once we figured it out and were no longer ignored by the staff, we were really excited to order but nervous not to let our eyes be bigger than our stomachs (as they charge you extra for leftover food and do not allow you to take any to go).

Sushi Pizza, Seaweed Salad & CA rolls

For our first round we ordered Miso Soup, BBQ Tofu Briquettes, Raviolis with Peanut Sauce, Stir Fried Mushrooms, Crispy Lemon Fish, Seaweed Salad, California Sushi Roll, and the Sushi Pizza. It may seem like a lot of food, but each dish was split between two people and the portions were pretty small. Even though it is listed as buffet style, every dish appeared to be made fresh to order. So fresh that it took a while to receive each dish and they often came out of order. Our sushi came first, followed by one entrée and soup, then the appetizers, and finally our last entrée. It was definitely a different style of eating for us! The sushi, soup, and salad were all tasty and the vegetables were really fresh. We especially enjoyed the Sushi Pizza, which was unique and delicious. Basically, it was seaweed battered, fried and covered in a vegetable vegan mayo sauce. It was tasty and crunchy for the palette. This may have been my favorite dish we ordered at this restaurant and certainly one I will not likely find anywhere else.

Fried Mushrooms

About five minutes later our first entrée was served, Fried Mushrooms. The older I get the less I enjoy mushrooms and I had a suspicion I would not enjoy this dish completely. My suspicions were right! Although the flavor was good and the mushrooms were mixed with goji berries and some sort of yellow bean, I couldn’t get into the oyster mushrooms. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was cooked deliciously but I just personally did not enjoy it. However, quickly following this dish were our two appetizers which were incredibly scrumptious. The BBQ Tofu Briquettes were delectable shish kabobs with plenty of flavor and the Raviolis in Peanut Sauce were almost perfect. Really, the peanut sauce was superb and I could have eaten it on every dish. Unfortunately, it seemed the kitchen staff forgot about our Lemon Fish and we had to wait another ten minutes or so for it to be prepared.

BBQ Briquettes & Raviolis

As we waited, our appetites grew for some dessert, so we received a new buffet ordering sheet. Much to our surprise the buffet did not offer dessert! Feeling a little defeated, we opted for some fruit based sushi to satisfy our sweet cravings. Both our late Lemon Fish entrée and Mango Rolls provided a little sweet ending to our dinner, although I think they should definitely add dessert as an option. We are happy to announce we did not over order and finished our plates, while still being satisfied. Despite the odd ordering technique, Yuan’s provides its patrons with a variety of unique and flavorful fare, as well as a classy and cool environment. Although, not the best vegan pan Asian I have ever had, I  definitely recommend it to those visiting Montreal. Bon Appetit!

-Gina Williams

In the first scene of her award-winning documentary Flow, Irena Salina uses the sounds and imagery of water to demonstrate its power and beauty. Our world’s oceans are hearts with many rivers and streams serving as arteries and veins. Just like water gives the earth life, water gives us life. Both the earth and our bodies contain about the same percentage of water. For this reason, Salina documents water’s vitality around the globe videotaping how we as humans have altered the flow of water.

Salina notes that of the 2 million annual deaths brought by waterborne illnesses, most are children. How is this occurring? Salina discusses how countries like the United States are not removing industrial chemicals and pesticides from our water. While you might filter your water from your tap or choose to purchase bottled water, the majority of waterborne diseases are transmitted to us through showering. The water directed from our water supply to our sinks, showers, and toilets carries almost everything you originally put into it. Think of all the cosmetics you put into the sink such as mouthwash, contact lense solution, and makeup. Even the drugs we take end up in our water supply. In Texas, an entire fish population in a river tested positive for Prozac.

Don’t we have a department in the government protecting us from these dangers? Unfortunately, Salina notes that we do not. Furthermore, less than 1% of the FDA oversees bottled water. There are less federal regulations for bottled water than tap water. This would explain why bottled water is not necessarily safer to drink. Indeed, the picture of the glacier or mountain on a label is not always the source of the water in the bottle. Despite the misleading marketing, $100 billion is spent on bottled water annually. The entire water industry is worth $400 billion.

But is it ethical to put a price on water, a natural resource, Salina asks. According to global water corporations, the answer is yes. Salina interviews people of developing nations who have felt the effects of water privatization and commercialization firsthand. Water corporations have entered countries like India, Bolivia, and South Africa, charging locals for a water supply that was free only a few decades before. Originally, the water companies were to provide potable water and sewage to the villages and towns in return for use of their water supply. However, in Bolivia, 1 in 10 children will die before the age of 5. A majority of these deaths are a result of waterborne diseases. Also, a majority of people who lives in these privatized areas resort to filthy, unsafe water because they cannot afford the clean water.

Why do the developing nations allow water companies access to their water supplies? According to Salina, the World Bank promised to cut water development loans and other support if the developing nations did not privatize. Salina asks if it is a coincidence that the World Bank works with the World Water Council on issues of privatization. The World Water Council president is the current president of Marseilles Water Company and the former International Monetary Fund’s president’s 2 advisors are the Vice Presidents of Suez and Vivendi, major water companies in Europe. Indeed, the dams, plants, and facilities built by these huge corporations in developing nations displace thousands of people annually and lessen the quality of their water.

Salina ends her frightful documentary by discussing the increased strength of the water literacy movement, which teaches people the threats of privatization and commercialization of water. When the United Nations state that $30 billion can provide safe, clean water to the world, why do we continue to support global water companies by purchasing $100 billion of bottled water annually? Like air and sunlight, water is a natural resource for all the earth’s inhabitants. No one person is more entitled to water because they happen to be able to afford it. To end the privatization of water, Salina asks that you sign a petition asking the United Nations to add the Right to Water to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To learn more about Article 31, check out their site and remember to sign the petition! And definitely take the time to watch Flow (currently out on DVD), it is an alarming film, which will open your eyes to the water crisis our world currently faces.

-Derek Rogers

Roadtripping across the United States, CA to MA.  The Southern route.  Highway 10.  The sun splashes the evening sky with an appetizing palette of color, and after a long day’s drive through the desert, my girlfriend, Gina, and I are getting hungry.

Entering the megalopolis of Phoenix, AZ, we scour the internet for local vegan options but our initial searches come up short; Phoenix seems not to be much of a vegan-friendly town.  Nearly giving up, I follow a seemingly disconnected path of links into a remote area of the interwebs and come upon a little place called Green Vegetarian, technically in the city of Tempe.  Perhaps a good sign.  Confused as to whether that was a description of the restaurant or its actual name, we decide to try it.  It’s right off the 202, in true megalopolis fashion.

Passing a few corner-strip-malls in a low-lit neighborhood we initially drive right past it; turning back around, we see how easy it is to miss, tucked away in the far corner of a little shopping plaza.  The sign, in green, says “green RESTAURANT.”  Kinda funky, but our rumbling stomachs cannot be questioned.

Walking in is a pleasant surprise.  Warm, low-hanging lamps lit the deserty color scheme.  Rows of dynamic black and white photos line the walls, an installment from a local artist.  Small racks and shelves sell independent, eco-friendly foods, wares and local art, a touch of the corner store vibe but healthier.  The space is open and lively, filled with people of all ages and social persuasions.  And an extensive, ALL-VEGAN menu.  Not just vegetarian.  We can choose anything.  Amazing.  And the menu shows a dude on a bike.  Points.

Crab Puffs

The place bills itself as “New American Vegetarian.”  Perfect description.  The list of starters has dishes like Artichoke Gratine, Samosas, Spicy Peanut Tofu and Buffalo “Wings.”  Salads like Jerk Tofu and Ranchero.  Flatbread pizzas, pan-genre noodle/ricebowls and po-boy sammies.  A little something for everyone, or any mood you might be in.  They thought of everything.

We decide to start with the Crab Puffs, curious to see how they might approach a vegan crab imitation.  Delivered shortly by a friendly server, the flaky, crispy dough wraps artfully around the warm crabbiness inside.  I dip one in the sweetish red sauce provided and take a bite.  Very good; the mock crab meat and vegan cream cheese are perfectly melted together and deliver a mellow, satisfying taste without too much “fishiness.”  The dish only comes with four puffs; we could have eaten fourteen.

Meatball Po'boy

No sooner have we finished than our entrees are on hand.  We decide to stick with the sandwiches: Mum’s Meatball Po-boy with a side of fries and The Mexicali Burger (already missing home a bit) with a side of slaw.  Slightly lacking in fixings (lettuce, tomato, etc.), the Mexicali is decently sized and super tasty.  On paper, the combo of vegan mayo, spicy chipotle sauce, nacho cheese and hummus seemed like condiment overkill, but the result further confirms that Green Veg has a plan, and that plan is to destroy your tongue with flavor.  The slaw is made with tahini instead of mayo, which prevents it from being drippy and adds a complimentary tang.  Onto the Meatball: probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.  The soy cheese melts perfectly over the tangy marinara, the ample, sandwich-size mock meatballs spiced perfectly with a proper consitency that stick together without being gummy, all on a soft sourdough roll.  It isn’t difficult to savor every single bite.  The fries are shoestring style, crispy and seasoned well; not my favorite kind of fry but great for those who prefer them that way.

PB&J Tsoynami

Perhaps the most interesting and exciting course is our meal follow-up: the strange and beautiful Tsoynami dessert shake.  Essentially a large cup of vegan soft-serve ice cream with ingredients added, the Tsoynami menu is extensive and creative, combining a number of sweet toppings that blend together to make something between a milkshake and a sundae.  There are a number of scrumptious options, including a S’more and a wacky Captain Crunch concoction.  We decide on the PB&J, which is peanut butter, sugary whole strawberries and graham cracker chunks, all whipped together with the soft serve.  Yikes, it was satisfying.  We thought the price was a tad steep until we tried it and totally forgot the $4.50.

Our meal is so good from beginning to end that, even though full and finished, we linger at the table for awhile, not wanting to give up the welcoming atmosphere and secretly hoping we will impossibly get hungry again and try more of the offerings.  But alas, it is time to move on; we must make it to New Mexico before midnight.  The temperature is dropping and we’ll be pitching the tent by the light of the full moon.  Fortunately, Green Vegetarian is on our side, keeping our bellies comfy and our spirits high for the rest of the evening.

-Jeremy Pearson

photo-1This weekend marked the 14th annual Boston Vegetarian Festival and we had a blast! It was wonderful to meet some of our fans and make new friends! We also enjoyed sampling the many vegan goodies from around the country. With tasty bites from Teese Cheese, Crazy Camel Dessert Hummus, and many local eateries, the festival was a bountiful display of veganism. We definitely enjoyed every second of the goodies, however we must say the highlight of our time there was meeting and tasting the desserts of Vegan Treats Bakery from Bethlehem, PA. This amazing bakery is every vegan’s dream offering the old staples of doughnuts and pies to more involved items such as French pastries and whoopie pies!

IMG_1651

Death By Chocolate

Although we have yet to visit their storefront, we tried several different treats from their very full display of mini cakes! The first day we had the honor of diving into a delicious Carrot Cake and a Death By Chocolate. We tried the Carrot Cake first and it was flavorful and very moist! However, we couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into the Death By Chocolate. It was chocolate cake with a hardened chocolate shell, sprinkled with crispy balls, sprayed with gold dust, and a pretty chocolate star to top it off! One bite and we instantly went into a choco-gasm. This mini cake was packed full of chocolaty flavor and the crisps were just a perfect touch. It was extremely hard to believe these were vegan!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

The second day we knew we had to try as many mini cakes as possible, since we don’t know the next time we will be in Bethlehem. For Sunday we thought we would try the Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. Both were so creamy and there was no way you could tell either of these desserts were “lacking” any ingredients. Although we enjoyed both cheesecakes to their core, the Peanut Butter Cheesecake floored us! There are almost no words to describe the fudgy chocolate and gooey peanut butter mixed with the creaminess of cheesecake that touched our tongues! This was is by far the best cheesecake, vegan or not, we have EVER come across!!

We can hardly wait to feast upon those delicious little cakes once again and have been brainstorming on how we can travel down to Bethlehem for AP. That way we have an excuse to overeat and spend our money on these incredible vegan goods! If you are ever passing through the area, this Vegan Treats Bakery is worth visiting. We unfortunately didn’t have a chance to try all their items, but one look at their menu will make one want to make a special trip to the town!

We want to thank our new friends at Vegan Treats and look forward to indulging in many more of their desserts. In fact, until we taste another Vegan Treats cake, we’re not sure anything else is comparable.

Ipanema Cafe Richmond, VAOn our road trip to Richmond, VA we couldn’t help but take in all the local scene. And of course this means satisfying our palate with some tasty vegan foods. We were trying to figure out which restaurant to try from the list of many  and came across a recommendation from the Richmond Vegetarian Society for the Ipanema Cafe.  I have to say this right now: I believe this to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants I have ever experienced, well at least in my Top 5. The food is American, yet healthy style with a little International flair! The cafe is located near the VCU campus in quaint little spot with an outdoor patio. We arrived pretty late in the evening for dinner, so the bar crowd had already moved in. The cafe is a perfect mix of bar life, vegetarian restaurant, and local meeting place. In fact the night we were there, it felt as if everyone knew each other with all the hugs being given.

At first glance the atmosphere of the place is this seedy, kitschy, thrift store decorated bar. But really the place is quite hip and vibrant upon further investigation. The decor is something worth mentioning as it literally looks like a flashback to the late 60’s; in fact the whole vibe of the place was very 60’s, including the patron’s style. The only thing that was a bit tough, if its your first time, is the menu. It is written on a chalkboard in the entrance. So you have to take turns getting up to read the menu before placing an order. This inconvenience is actually hardly one after you realize what is on their menu, which I believe changes day to day. It was a bit cluttered and a tad hard to read in the dimly lit bar, but the choices (not all vegan but easily could be)  seemed all around enticing.

Vegan Ceaser Salad

Vegan Ceaser Salad

We decided to start with a salad as an appetizer and my eyes were drawn instantaneously to the Vegan Cesaer Salad! I must say it has been years since I had the chance to indulge in a truly satisfying Ceasar. This one lived up to my expectations! In fact, I didn’t want it to end. Their Ceasar is topped with the typical croutons but also grilled marinated tofu that was simply delightful! I can only recommend this appetizer as I didn’t have the chance to try more. But they also offer such tasty treats as Zucchini Fritters, Polenta and Grilled Vegetables, and Foccaccia. I hope to try more of their selections on a return trip to Richmond.

Fried Green Plantains

Fried Green Plantains

Next up, the entrees! There wasn’t a whole huge list to choose from but we settled on two great dishes: Crispy Fried Green Plantains and the Cantonese Noodle Bowl. The Crispy had the perfect mix of Caribbean and Southern flair. It included fried plantains, tempeh, sautéed sweet potatoes and zucchini with Caribbean spices. This dish was a flavor explosion in my mouth, its too bad I accidentally left the leftovers on the table. We also tried the Cantonese Noodle Bowl which consisted of wok seared noodles, crispy tofu, and garlic soy covered vegetable.  This was beautifully arranged with a side of dipping sauce next to it. The tofu in this dish was perfectly cooked and we were impressed with their seasoning style.  They also offer sandwiches and plenty of other entree choices such as Grilled Tofu Hummus Sandwich, Black Bean Burrito, Honey Gingered Tofu, and Cajun Crusted Seiten. They all seem pretty tasty sounding if you ask me.

Cantonese Noodle Bowl

Cantonese Noodle Bowl

We did not have the chance to try any dessert on our visit, as we were stuffed from all their delicious and hearty food. But they do offer some vegan desserts. However, we did get a chance to try a local bottle of wine, which was surprisingly good and fruitful! They also have a pretty comprehensive and delicious sounding Brunch menu where they offer standards such as Tofu Scramble and French Toast but also some unique dishes like Vegan Blitzes, Tempeh Benedict (with a vegan citrus bearnaise sauce), and Spicy Soyrizo Wrap! If we had more time in Richmond, we would have stopped back by to partake in this breakfast. On top of this delightful brunch menu they also offer a pretty large Lunch Menu, which is similar to dinner but with more options including Vegan BBQ, Grilled Eggplant Panini, and Vegan Chicken Wrap.

This restaurant (and full bar) is worth checking out if you are ever in the Richmond area and no doubt I will be returning there the next time we come into to town. I mean, really, I have been salivating at the thought of their Vegan Ceasar Salad for a week now. Check out some of their other reviews and this quote from their home page sums it up perfectly: “A comfortable, funky spot where both the tragically hip and the hopelessly uncool can leave carnivorous temptations at the door and forage instead in the great green world of vegetables.”-Style Weekly

Ipanema Cafe
917 W. Grace St. Richmond VA 23219
PH: (804) 213-0190

Native Foods, Palm Springs Photo by jeckmanThe sunny city of Los Angeles is thriving with great vegan eats from classy 5 star restaurants, to vegan drive thrus, and hip trendy spots, but for our restaurant pick we have chosen LA’s Native Foods. Native Foods is actually a small chain of 5 restaurants spread all over the LA area including Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo, Los Angeles, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs. I’ve only had the chance to visit the LA spot in Westwood. Each location has a little different menu, which means next time I’m in the area I will be checking out a few more locations!

native foods Photo by cpandarThis relaxed restaurant overs the full gamete of California style food, only with a vegan twist. This means they offer a wide variety of dishes from around the world and plenty of fresh ingredients! I couldn’t help but smile as I entered the restaurant to a friendly sign that said “Einstein was a vegetarian. Think about it!” That sort of veggie love, warms my vegan heart! But really the restaurant atmosphere is a chilled out cafe far different from many LA hot spots. And that is perfectly fine with me, as I like to feel at home when I am eating a tasty meal.

kids' plate Photo by chinagrrl

Dippity-Do-Dog-Combo with Save the chicken Nuggets at Native Foods

Westwood’s menu has the typical set up with Starters, Salads, Cold Sandwiches, Hot Entrees, Pizza and Desserts. I was happy to notice there was a kid’s menu. This is something I have never seen at a vegan restaurant before. They title their kid’s section “Green Kids Rule!” and provide children’s favorites such as Dippity-Do-Dog-Combo (soy dog chunks or chicken nuggets and brown rice) and ChimpanZee “Cheese” Pizza (cheese pizza with bananas on the side). If you have veggie kids this is a great place to bring them. Or if you have children you would like to introduce to vegan foods, this is a place where they would enjoy the meals and it wouldn’t seem too “weird” to them. Next time I’ll bring along my nephew to do a children’s taste test!

"Save the Chicken" Wings

"Save the Chicken" Wings

But on to the delicious adult sized meals. Perhaps my favorite thing about Native Foods is what they name their fake chicken: “Save the Chicken.” In the Snacks section, you will find the best incarnation of their “chicken”. This is what they call the “Save the Chicken” Wings with “Ranch” on the side. Oh dear, this appetizer is to die for! In fact, I once had a friend drive 8 hours to bring me this very appetizer. Even a little soggy this is the best fake chicken I have ever had! You will find many people talking about this dish, as I believe it may be a favorite among all vegans.  Other great starters include Chili “Cheese” Fries, Native Nachos, Get ‘Yo Greens, and Bindi Bites(veggie samosas). I haven’t had the chance to try them all, on account of my love affair with the “Save the Chicken” wings, but I promise I will branch out next time I am in LA.

Portobello & Sausage Burger

Portobello & Sausage Burger

They also offer a great variety of fresh salads if you shy away from fried foods (although you can get a Chinese “Save the Chicken” Salad). If you are looking for California Cuisine, I suggest your try the OC Raw Chopper, a salad which screams California with avocados, almonds, and sprouts. Also, they offer some pretty tasty vegan pizza. They don’t have a ton of variety as far as pizzas go, but they offer it on an organic wheat crust. I like their pizzas and salads but must say their sandwiches are the way to go. I really enjoyed their Philly Peppersteak Sandwich, but have heard excellent recommendations about their Portobello & Sausage Burger, Chicken Run Ranch Burger, and Ceasar’s Wrap.

Tijuana Tacos

Tijuana Tacos

A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Mexican flare! The Tijuana Tacos and Baja Surf Tacos are worth checking out. This fresh take on California Mexican is quite delicious and even includes soy taco meat in the Tijuana and crispy battered tempeh in the Baja choice, a take on California Baja Fish tacos.  They also, offer a variety of hot entrees served in a bowl including Mad Cowboy (BBQ style), Greek Gyro, and the Hollywood Bowl (includes tofu spears). Another bowl worth trying out is the Soul Bowl with includes red beans, jasmine rice, grilled veggies, BBQ “save the chicken” spears, cornbread, and all drizzled in “ranch” dressing!!

Chocolate Tofu Love Pie

Chocolate Tofu Love Pie

Of course a meal isn’t complete without dessert. And with dessert, Native Foods definitely delivers. You can get any typical American dessert from Native Carrot Cake to Sam’s Native Cheesecake. But they also have their own unique creations like the Key Lime Parfait and the Elephant Chocolate Cake (comes drizzled in cinnamon peanut butter sauce). My favorite dessert is the Chocolate Tofu Love Pie made with Fair Trade chocolate and vanilla and completed by an almond crust. Its a great way to end a California Meal.

Next time you are in the Los Angeles area, make sure you get your self to one of the 5 Native Foods locations, it’s definitely worth the trip.  There is no other great California style vegan restaurant, at least not at this caliber. And if LA is a little too far for you, check out their Native Foods Cookbooks and try some great recipes at home.

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