Tag Archives: dessert

Native Foods Cafe

With a menu that boasts of Native Chicken, Spicy Meatball Pizza, and cheesecake, Santa Monica’s Native Foods Cafe doesn’t sound like an all-vegan casual restaurant.  But after reading about it online, I had to try it out.  Two friends from out of town wanted to meet up for dinner, so I suggested the cafe, giving them fair warning.

“They have burgers, tacos, pizza, etc.  BUT it’s all vegan, so uh, if you and your friend want real meat, I’ll look up a different place,” I texted my friend.

“Wait, but this sounds awesome.  I’m vegetarian anyway.  Let’s do it,” was the response.

I remember talking to this friend about vegetarianism, but I had no idea he had actually embraced it since I had last seen him.

***

Entering Native Foods Cafe, the only indicators that this was a vegan restaurant were the cute, and sometimes sassy, slogans on employees’ shirts.  A standout?  “Eat sunshine.”

Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl

I wanted to try everything on the menu, but I settled on the Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl, a quinoa dish with grilled veggies and Native Chicken, their original chicken-flavored mixture of soy, wheat, and pea protein.  My friends both ordered the Portobello and Sausage Burger.

“We didn’t ruin our streak,” one of the boys commented to the other through a bite of his burger.

“Absolutely not,” my other friend responded.

“What streak?” I asked.

“Well, since we got off the plane, we’ve had amazing food.”

***

Of course, I had to sample the native desserts, especially after having so many “eh” vegan baking experiences recently.  I am a passionate chocolate lover, so I ordered their chocolate cupcake.  I even generously shared a bite with each of my friends.

As an added bonus, an employee came by and offered us samples of their carrot cake cupcake.  Every bite melted in my mouth, giving us all a sweet finish to a satisfying meal.

For a complete list of Native Foods Cafe, sprawling across California and the U.S., visit their site.

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Filed under My Journey, Pit Stops - Eating Out

Computer and Cake

I accidentally murdered my poor computer last week by knocking over an exceptionally tall glass of water.  I immediately placed it in an airtight container full of brown rice and left it for two days.  Amazingly, it turned on!  But I soon found out that, in spite of its brightly smiling screen, half of my logic board was destroyed, and water had caused corrosion in every part of my baby.

So I write this post from my newest darling, also called a $1199 setback.

***

On a happier note, I followed through and made my own Mosaicake from Veggiewitch’s site.  However, I didn’t use unbleached flour, since I was trying my best to make the cake from things I already had in the cupboard.

My mom and I each filled a cake pan with pastel-colored batter.

And thank goodness, they turned out pretty darn beautiful.

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My only issue is that the cakes turned out very dense, and I’m not exactly sure why.  Delicious, but not quite as light and fluffy as I was hoping.  But since this was my first time making any cake from scratch, let alone a vegan cake, I was very happy with the results.

***

The day after baking this cake, I killed my computer.  So this cake was the best way to console me.  7 pieces of it, to be exact.  Whoops.

The only solution for accidentally murdering your laptop.

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Filed under Baking, My Journey

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

After my previous vegan baking fiasco, I thought that perhaps I should take baby steps: veganize a recipe I was already familiar with.

Growing up, baking chocolate chip cookies was a weekly event, as my mom always brought cookies to work on Fridays.  My brother and I would help measure and pour, and then were rewarded with a beater loaded with cookie dough.  We always used the Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe listed on the back of the chocolate chip bag, although we omitted the salt and nuts.

I knew how to make these cookies, and making it vegan-friendly only required three substitutions: egg replacer for two eggs (Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer), butter substitute (Earth Balance Buttery Sticks), and vegan chocolate chips.  So after a quick trip to Whole Foods, I was ready.

The dough was almost the exact same consistency as the non-vegan version, and the vegan chocolate chips were definitely as good as the Nestle ones I had previously used.

Because my grandparents were visiting, they served as my taste testers.  And the cookies passed with flying colors!

My first bite of my cookie disappointed me at first, as it wasn’t the cookie I had expected from my childhood.  Instead, it was its own unique texture, and while it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still delicious.  I fell into the trap – I can’t, and shouldn’t, compare new, vegan foods to their non-vegan counterparts that I may have been used to.  It’s not fair.  In no way was my vegan cookie worse than the chocolate chip cookie I knew; I just had to remind myself that this cookie needs to stand alone, not be a “replacement” for a cookie that I no longer choose to eat.

Following in my mom’s footsteps, I brought a plate of cookies into work on show day, and a few fake fights broke out over them.  Everyone loved them, and some people even ate two or three of them.

Notes:

-The egg replacement called for two tablespoons of the replacement powder mixed with six tablespoons of water.  To be on the safe side, I mixed it in a separate container before adding it to dough. **As vegrything notes, for best results, mix the powder and water in a food processor.

-While the original recipe suggests 9-11 minutes as the cook time, I found that 9 minutes was sometimes too much.  I don’t know if this change is due to the substitutions, but I would aim for 8 minutes to avoid burning the cookies.

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Filed under Baking, My Journey

Support and Vegan Chocolate Mousse

A few days ago my suitemate (the one that has recently gone vegetarian) came in to my room to talk about housing plans for next year.  I currently live in dorms on-campus, but next year we are either moving to a house or apartment, meaning that I will finally have a full kitchen at my disposal.  As my suitemate and I were discussing this, she said that she wants to make the transition to an entirely plant-based diet while we live together.  It feels great having another person making the switch with me – I can’t wait until we are cooking and experimenting together and dealing with any off-hand judgmental comments my roommate throws at us (I love my roommate – she can just seem a bit closed-minded sometimes).

Also, I made vegan chocolate mousse cups!  I’m taking them to an Alpha Phi Omega get-together tonight (it’s the community service fraternity on campus), and since the mousse has already received positive reactions from a few friends, I’m excited to see what others think.

Delicious vegan chocolate mousse cups – sitting on my dorm room floor, which is where most of my cooking happens.

“Baking” Notes:
-I used the Thai brand coconut milk, as suggested in the original recipe.  My suitemate is making them with a different brand, so I’ll update once I know how it turns out.

-I used about 8 spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten the mousse.

-It’s literally the easiest recipe ever, and it tastes delicious.

See the recipe at Chocolate-Covered Katie

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Filed under My Journey