A Fresh Dille

earth hour. native day.

Posted in Uncategorized by clairedille on March 26, 2011

Before I go on to tell you about the nothing but stellar lunch we had today at Native Foods, I want to remind you that at 8:30 PM, Earth Hour starts. I urge you to turn off your lights for one hour to take a stand against climate change. I know it is getting down to the wire, but I encourage you to read more about it and take action.

Now, I must go on about some delicious eat’s at Native Foods

V and I had no set plans for our Saturday, but wanted to get out of the house after a lazy morning and routine trips to each of our banks for the lovely deposit of our weekly paychecks (exciting stuff). If that isn’t treat-worthy, I don’t know what is. We both are overworked these days, and after week-days filled with eating wraps and veggie burgers en-shopping-route, I knew I wanted a special meal at one of my favorite places. Native Foods is much more a lunch place than dinner in my opinion, simply because you order at the counter, and then the food is delivered to your seat.

Last time we dined there it was quite a bit warmer, allowing us to dine al fresco. Although I didn’t bring the camera along, I want to share with you the description of these two dishes I fell in love with:

Asian Lettuce WRAPS: Lettuce cups filled with a stir fry of our Original Seitan, mushrooms, jicama, garlic and ginger, topped with crispy rice noodles. Spicy garlic soy sauce on the side.

Saigon Wrap: Braised lemongrass tofu, lightly pickled daikon and carrot twirls, brown and jasmine rice, cucumber strips, fresh cilantro and basil, tangy peanut sauce in an organic whole wheat wrap (see Quarry Girl’s photos and reviews).

Unfortunately, the Saigon Wrap must have been a seasonal specialty because it was no longer on the menu and I was a tad disappointed. But it could have been a good thing, because I had to go with something new instead of sticking with a favorite, as I often tend to do.

V is always a nacho lover, and although he didn’t fall in love with the Veggie Grill’s version, he was ready to give another vegan variety a go.

Nuevo Native Nachos: Homemade organic corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with organic corn, green onions, and cilantro.

Ok, now these were good, really good. We both were raving about the chipotle crema, native cheese, and taco “meat.” Of course the other toppings were wonderful as well, but the stars were the nut cheese, cream, and meat. They were all perfectly spiced and we left the plate clean.

For his main dish, V continued with the southwestern trend and ordered Baja Surf Tacos, their sea-friendly “fish taco”. Two soft grilled corn tortillas stuffed with crispy battered Tempeh, homemade surfer sauce, salsa fresca, shredded cabbage and guacamole. I was too into my own meal to taste his, but he made his way through them. I do know that he preferred the nachos more, devouring that portion of his food first. He mentioned that he “wished there was more filling, and less toppings.”

I opted for the Scorpion Burger, Chef Tanya’s original burger! Homemade Tempeh blackened with chipotle sauce, lettuce, carrots, avocado and onions. Later, I read on the menu that I could have went with caramelized onions (oooh, next time!), but I still really enjoyed this. As a tempeh lover, I was all about this chipotle seasoned tempeh. And Amen to avocado which I mashed evenly across my burger and doused with ketchup. The Native Sweet Potato Fries were my side, and like V, I demolished the dish in its entirety.

I couldn’t have imagined a more delectable lunch. We both were talking about it the whole walk to the car. Of course, it leaves me with a smile on my face when my omni boyfriend is just as happy as I with a great vegan meal.

And next time I will order dessert… I still have yet to try one and they are always on display, looking fantastic. Next time I would love to order a salad or bowl to leave room for dessert.

Check out the menu here, and let me know what you think I should order. Every time I want to try something new until I’ve pretty much made my way through the entire Native Foods menu (since I can!).

Other things:

– The Maker’s Project is a really inspiring site for me these days. I love seeing where and how other people work. Some favorites are The Jewels of NY, Saipua, and Reverie.

– Backyard Bill, another favorite blog, photographs one of my favorite designers, Isabel Marant in her workspace. I dream of having my own studio space one day. I not yet sure entirely what it would be for, but having a studio/loft work/art space in general is an inspiring thought, isn’t it?

– What are your thoughts on the Vegan Martha Stewart episode? Are you liking the vegan-hype brought on by Oprah?

Okay, I must go…turn off the lights. Dinner in the dark followed by a film. Go do it too.

twice the pumpkin, twice the fun

Posted in FOOD, SHOPPING, VEGAN by clairedille on November 11, 2010

Pumpkin is one way I’ve been reminding myself it is fall since being in LA.

Yesterday, I couldn’t resist a little dark chocolate, since I was still without my nut butter of choice, almond butter. The chocolate did top a little peanut butter though. I needed my nuts in some way or another.

I also drank some delicious Fair Trade coffee out of the Peerless Coffee mug V got me while visiting his family in the San Francisco. That was about as close to San Francisco I got for the Foodbuzz Festival. I may have needed some cheering up and energy. Afterwards I realized I have been coffee-less since the road trip. I guess I just don’t need it when not working or driving cross-country. Still, my body isn’t full adjusted to Pacific Time yet and I have a hard time waking up past 6. Of course V’s early call times might have something to do with it. We tend to fall asleep just after 10 o’clock most week nights…

I yoga’d a little before getting to business or as close to as it I’ve come these last few weeks. Waiting for things to happen is certainly nerve-wrecking , but I had the perfect afternoon lunch planned to distract myself a little…

with the lovely Lynn of The Actor’s Diet. For lunch, she picked out Sante La Brea, a cute and rustic place with a relaxing vibe and lots of vegan fare. The menu really catered anyone, and this is something I am already really appreciating about LA restaurants.

Although breakfast served all day was appealing (I’ll be sure to return for the organic vegan cornmeal pancakes with blueberries and banana), we both craved a sandwich. Whenever a sandwich is served panini style, I am all for it. I’ve been wanting a panini press for much too long so I had to get my fix somehow. We both went with the BLT with tempeh bacon and avocado. Yes, I’ve been eating these at home. Yes, I am still loving them.

Don’t get me wrong, this was good, just not the best BLTA I’ve ever had.

me, courtesy of Lynn and her wrap-up post.

The half sandwich, half salad combo was ideal though, because I really am a sucker for vegan desserts.

I’m not your typical cake lover, but when I saw the Jack-o-lantern cake on the menu (and waiter recommended), I was down. Pumpkin twice in one day is a little too heavenly to pass up. Pumpkin frosting, enough said. When the cake came, Lynn split it down the middle and we shared this beauty. The cake wasn’t exactly fluffy and I read the menu again realizing olive oil was the fat of choice in the cake part. The best layers were the two dark gingerbread-types spiced with allspice and nutmeg. It really hit the spot.

It was such a wonderful lunch with a new foodie LA friend. I also came home with a goodie bag I will share later! Check out her post for more photos of Sante La Brea. Oh, and a few words about vegan food satiety; I was full for so long, that I had to force myself to eat the veggie sushi I picked up from Whole Foods for dinner. It must have been the cake…

After parting ways, I ventured over to the LA outpost of one of my favorite NYC stores, Opening Ceremony. It was dangerous really. I fell in love with the Sunday’s Best rings, and many shoes and bags I can’t quite afford. I torture myself so. I will be doing some more today with a best friend who moved out here 6 months before I.  Therefore, I must go and fuel myself for some LA adventures. Hopefully I can convince her to go to one of the restaurants/cafes on my LA vegan-friendly restaurant list. I promise I will share a more complete one soon.

Other things:

-Are you a cake person? Do you prefer fluffy cakes or heartier desserts?

-Do you let yourself window-shop? Do you find it much too torturous? Who am I kidding, I definitely try things on sometimes too…