Have you ever had a meal and thought, okay, I could literally eat this every single day of my life. FOREVER.
I have been wanting to try Native Foods Cafe for a few years now. Every time I’m in L.A, traffic is so horrendous that I just don’t get there. This trip I put my foot down and insisted that we eat dinner there. I dragged my family and our friends there and made them try something different so that I could try as many dishes as possible. As it turns out, what I picked for myself was literally the tastiest thing I have ever ordered at a restaurant. EVER. Plus, Native Foods is 100% vegan AND they make everything themselves! Everything! Not only was my dinner fan-freaking-tastic, but the dessert I chose was easily the yummiest vegan dessert I have ever had.
For dinner I got the Wild Jackelope BBQ Sandwich. Holy mother of god. It was so good. It’s quite rare to find jackfruit on a menu in these parts. This was by far the best preparation that I’ve ever had. It was perfectly cooked and had a hint of heat with a bit of a kick and worked perfectly with the slaw. I could have eaten two of them. This might be my last meal should I ever be in a position to require a last meal… (here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that….).
Our friends ordered the chili that came with cornbread that literally tasted like cake. Sweet, yummy cake. I would have eaten that for dessert. And they got a healthy tofu bowl that had asian flavours. They said everything they had was awesome. I concur.
I hmmm’ed and haaaa’ed about dessert. The peanut butter parfait looked awesome but so did the oatmeal sandwich cookie. I asked the lovely young lady at the till and she said both are awesome and I decided since I was on vacation I could throw caution to the wind and get the cookie. I made the right decision. It was out of this world. The Hubs looked at me the next day (I ate it the next day while he was out doing something) and was horrified that I hadn’t shared with him. He got the tacos and LOVED them. So much so that he said he would have ordered another order if he were a bit hungrier. Win. YOU MUST GO. NOW. There are locations on both coasts now. I am hoping and praying every day that Seattle will host their next location. I will drive two hours. Every weekend. Seriously.
Where have I been? Well funny you should ask!
It was family and friend vaca time for us and we took the Kid down to San Diego, Disney and Los Angeles for a week.
If you live in the southern Cali area, well, I hate you. Sorry…but I really kinda do.
I had so many amazingly fabulous meals that I can really only highlight the super crazy good ones. But if you live in, are going to be visiting, or need a great vegan foodie road trip, this blog’s for you! I will be adding a review every few days for the next few weeks. Stay tuned. There are some gems!
My first stop was The Mission Restaurant in San Diego. It was a pick that my cousin made. He lives down in that area with his wife and this is one of their favorite go-to brunch spots. I totally understand why. It was SO good. There was something for everyone and they were very accommodating with my veganization request to my order. I got the soy chorizo burrito and subbed out the egg and subbed in avocado. No crema for me and extra salsa because it was really yummy.
The Kid got a monster order of strawberry banana pancakes that looked really good and the Hubs got some meaty hash. Meh. No accounting for taste right? But at least everybody was happy with their meal. They had a pretty good selection of coffee drinks and I was able to get a lovely soy latte prepared just the way I like it. Overall this place was a solid A.
Check them out! They have a number of locations in the San Diego area. I am adding to the list of “must go again” as soon as possible. If you live in the area. Lucky you. Send me some???
We haha few manky looking bananas hanging around (haha, get it hanging?? okay sorry, been a long day) and I knew it was a banana bread kinda day. I always buy too many bananas so that I can make bread, muffins, smoothies, the list goes on. I saw a few recipes that looked pretty good, but I saw one that called for oat flour and it caught my eye since the oats I have are gluten free and that would make the loaf vegan and gluten free. Double bonus. This recipe looked the best and I decided to give it a go. OMG. Best banana bread EVER. EVER. Epic. Wow. It was fully of vegan mini chocolate chips, that probably didn’t hurt either…..
Please make this!!! I was also a bit skeptical about the peanut butter but it was a ever so slight hint of PB flavour but moist moist moist. I could have eaten the whole loaf. Hopefully there will be a bit left tomorrow for the Hubs to try. The Kid went to town on it too. 50/50 that he will get any. Sorry babe. Sucks to go out of town on baking days.
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2½ cups oatmeal (make sure they are certified gluten free if you have a gluten intolerance)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3 bananas if they are small, 2 very large bananas)
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
non-dairy milk or water (if necessary, I did not need any)
1½ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Lightly oil a loaf pan and set aside.
- Put oatmeal in a blender or food processor and pulse to a fine crumb.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips to the blender and blend until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides and then blend again to get completely combined. (it will not be completely smooth. The oatmeal will give it a grainyness and it will be very thick! Much thicker than a traditional banana bread)
- If the batter is very crumbly add a few TBSP of water or non-dairy milk to the mixture. You want the batter to be very thick but it should still hold together.
- Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
- Top with remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips and banana slices if desired.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Okay, okay. No mindless snacking is healthy. But how many times have we found ourselves at the bottom of a freshly opened box of wheat thins and thought to ourselves wow, how did that happen. Oops. I have major issues with portion control. I can and have literally eaten an entire box of crackers or a whole box of cereal in three bowls. Ya. Fail.
One of my latest snack obsessions has been coconut chips. They are CRAZY expensive though. I was chatting with my BFF about this first world problem of ours and she took it upon herself to figure out how to make them at home. I used her recipe for mine and they were freaking awesome. I don’t think I will ever buy a package again. Not only was it WAY cheaper, but it was fast and easy. Fast. Good. Easy. Good. Cheap. Heaven.
But wait! You’re thinking to yourself, but your Hubs doesn’t even like coconut!! Yes. Well you can’t please everybody right? Tee hee. A dear friend came over with her munchkin that night and we almost polished off the container. Ah well. Good excuse to make more!
Here is my BFF’s recipe:
Toasted Coconut Chips
3 cups wide coconut flakes
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp water
Note: Though the chips look a little toasty in the photo above, remember that coconut sugar is brown, which accounts for much of the dark colour. They are not burnt!
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the coconut flakes in a large bowl.
In a small pot over low heat, melt the applesauce, coconut sugar and water until it becomes syrupy.
Pour the liquid over the coconut flakes and gently toss until all the flakes are coated. Some of them may break as you stir – that’s okay.
Spread the flakes onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 6 to 8 minutes or so, until the chips are dry and crispy. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Burnt tastes yucky. For real.