I have written about Native Foods before. I love them. Like, love love. I want to open one here in Vancouver. Not so that I can promote the brand and make some cash, but so I could eat there every single day. And honestly, I think I would. I have never not loved anything I have ordered at Native Foods and they make all their own products right down to their vegan “cheese” sauce. I am always amazed at the selection of items available and have come to have a few favorites that I am always looking forward to trying. So naturally about 15 minutes after me and The Kid touched down at LAX we were in my sister’s car heading to the closest Native Foods location for a quick lunch. I promised myself that I would try something new (even though the jackfruit sandwich and oatmeal cookie cream pie are pretty much my last meal items) and as luck would have it (and to my horror) my favorite items were not available. So I decided I would give the Classic Deli Reuben a try.
It was awesome. I got all the sauces on the side and didn’t really have much on the sandwich. I really quite liked it the way it came without all the extras. I did add a little bit of the Russian dressing and it was awesome. Of course I got fries on the side as well. My Kid ordered the “chicken” nuggets (as always) with a side of veggies and brown rice which I love. Kids meals don’t always need to come with fries right?
I was devastated when I found out that my favorite dessert wasn’t ready yet. I begrudgingly decided to try the peanut butter parfait. It was pretty ridiculous as well. It had layers of a peanut butter mousse with banana bread type crumbles and chocolate chips. It was also gluten free which was a nice added bonus. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. But oh, I did.
If you want affordable, fast, amazing vegan food you must try Native Foods. They are constantly expanding and there is a location in a number of major U.S cities now. I’m hoping and praying Seattle is next. Native Foods are you listening!? Please!! Please!!!!!!!
I live in the Lower mainland in beautiful British Columbia and I am always on the look out for new Vegan or Vegan friendly joints that will actually appeal to the Hubs and I and huge bonus marks if the Kid can eat there too. Here’s a secret, there sadly really aren’t that many. However, this one falls into the “doh!!” category because I have walked by and heard about a newer take out place in the Kitsilano area called The Noodlebox but had never bothered to go in. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a fan-freaking-tastic yoga conference on Vancouver Island (Victoria Yoga Conference to be exact) and on one of our lunch breaks my friend suggested we just grab something from “The Noodlebox”. Of course, I had to ask, is it the same as the one in Kitsilano and she said yes. (Duh…). So off we went!
Sigh. It was amazing!!!! Veggie options galore! Add Tofu to anything!! Pick your spiciness level!! Noodle or rice?? White or Brown!? OMG!??! Why haven’t we eaten here before!??! They even had a kids menu!!!! I have to say that this is quite rare in Canada in any restaurant you actually want your child to eat in. They also offered Ocean Wise seafood and plenty of meat and egg add-ons for those who are so inclined. Plus the portions were HUGE. A plus when you’ve just completed two, one hour power yoga classes.
I picked the Spicy Peanut Noodle Box but added Tofu and got brown rice instead of noodles (they have Gluten Free options as well if that is an issue for diners). It was PACKED with tofu, veggies, spicy peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, chopped fresh herbs, some green onions and some sprouts. It was the perfect meal and I’m not going to lie, I freaking LOVE the old school Chinese food take out boxes. I’m cheesy like that.
I literally can’t wait to go back. And next time I’m taking the Hubs and Kid. They also have locations in Calgary and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them enter the East Coast market some time soon too. Keep an eye out people!!
If you live in the Vancouver area and are on the look out for a restaurant where everybody and ever diet can be accommodated but actually has awesome food, look no further. Nuba has a lengthy menu that literally has something for everyone. Vegan? No problem. Gluten fee? Sure thing. Meatatarian? Yup, got you covered too.
Nuba offers a wide array of middle eastern dishes. As always I indulged in the Najib’s Special. A slightly crispy, slightly lemony cauliflower dish that is served with tahini and their own version of hot sauce (it’s green….but tasty!). I could just order this dish. Or four. It is the perfect side dish for the meatatarians in the crowd but honestly, it is so delish you could have it as your entree too.
This time I also wanted to try something different so I also ordered the Mjadra lentil stew which came with a small slice of avocado and crispy onions. It was also amazing and I would have it again in a heart beat. The flavour of the lentils was amazing developed and the crispy onions and creamy avocado were the perfect accompaniment.
If I could find one or two faults with Nuba it would be the pita. I really feel very strongly that pita should be served warm. Maybe it’s just me. But I really do think it would make these dishes better. So there’s that. I also enjoy their falafel but need tomato and cucumber with my falafel and theirs is served on it’s own which is not for me. All that being said, if you live in the Vancouver area or are going to be visiting some time soon add Nuba to your list of must visit restaurants. You won’t be disappointed.
So I’m not really a pasta girl. Perhaps you will notice on my blog that I AM a carbs girl. But my kind of carbs are bready, muffin-y, cookie goodness. Pasta has never really float my boat. The Hubs however, is a huge pasta guy. I wanted to blow the bank this past meatless monday and thought back to a dish I had many many years ago on our anniversary or his birthday or something that was pretty basic. Gnocchi in a brown butter sauce. It was way too rich for my taste and he pretty much ate my whole dinner. I looked around for a good sounding gnocchi and found a sweet potato gnocchi in a sage butter sauce that is totally vegan by Chef Chloe Coscarelli. Hardcore vegans will be familiar with her work, the rest of you should be. Check these bad boys out:
As much as I don’t love gnocchi there was something about these that were just amazing. Plus they are cooked in batches and I realized that they were even more amazing when the earth balance was a bit hot and they got a crispy exterior on them. Perfection.
Plus, it was REALLY satisfying when Hubs walked in and balked when he realized that I was making them from scratch. Clearly he thought I meant I bought sweet potato gnocchi when I asked if he was okay with that for dinner. HA. Take that silly meatatarian! He made it clear that he has never made gnocchi before because he is always scared they will be rocks. Mine were perfect. Maybe could have been a teeny bit lighter but we were both super happy with the result. Making these again next week for sure!
Here is her recipe with a few of my added tweaks!
What you need:
2 Large (approx 2 lbs) Sweet Potatoes or Yams (depending on the colour you are working towards)
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 to 3 cups unbleached AP flour (or a GF mix if that’s how you roll)
1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves torn into large pieces
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees . Bake your sweet potatoes until tender, approximately 40-50 minutes. Give them a firm squeeze if you’re not sure. Once they are cooked through and cool enough to handle, scoop all the flesh out and mash in a bowl and place aside or in the fridge to cool completely.
Add the salt, nutmeg and pepper to the cooled sweet potato and mix. Add the flour half a cup at a time until the mixture becomes a slightly sticky dough that you can handle but be sure not to over work it and don’t add too much flour! This is apparently the trick. Too much flour and too much muscle equals rock hard gnocchi. Divide the dough into six pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured surface, again, not too much until you have six “ropes” that are about half an inch thick. Cut your gnocchi into half inch pieces and if you want to be fancy, you can roll each one with a fork for that restaurant look. Clearly I did NOT do this.
Get a medium pot going with boiling water as well as a pan with the margarine and sage leaves. I would keep the margarine pretty hot, medium high heat so that you get that nice crispy exterior on the gnocchi.
In batches, add about 20 gnocchi to the gently boiling water for about five minutes. They should start to float to the surface after about four minutes. If not, give them some time to float up. Then transfer to the “butter” and sage and fry for a few minutes and flip until each side is nice and crunchy.
Serve! I added a sprinkle of salt to mine. Hubs added cheese. Sigh. I was so close. Ah well. It was still awesome!
I’ve been hearing about Beyond Meat for ages now. They managed to get a few of the Twitter guys to back the product and since then the media attention has been pretty impressive. It took a really long time (IMO) for the product to hit the shelves and here in The Lower Mainland the only place I have seen it is in the prepared food case in Whole Foods. I really wanted to find it and try a few recipes for myself. Magically the Whole Foods just north of Seattle had the line in their fridge a few weeks ago and so I grabbed a package of the lightly seasoned variety and whisked it home to make something.
That something turned out to be fajitas at which point I realized I really should have bought the southwestern flavoured variety. FAIL. Anyways, the Kid and the Hubs ate it and I learned that making your own fajita spice is super easy! Beware of commercially produced mixes, the ones I had listed sulfates right in the ingredient list. Ew.
I think it was a good product and a bit more substantial than some of the other faux chicken products on the market. I don’t know if I would rush back to buy it, but if my local WF’s starts to carry it up here I would try the other flavours. I think chicken fingers would be my next attempt.
It is however a good source of protein and non GMO and of course, not MEAT. So there’s that….and yes, that one shown above has cheese on it. The Kid won’t give up the damn cheese. Sigh.
One of the gals at work mentioned that my jobshare partner had a recipe for the yummiest salad ever that had quinoa and pineapple. Since that sounded a bit odd but interesting, I decided that I had to get the recipe. She was kind enough to share it with me. I make a few minor changes, but it was REALLY good. When the Hubs asked what was for dinner and saw the salad you would think that his team lost the Superbowl. Geez. When he tasted it however he repeated no less than four times, “this is really good!”. Sigh. The Kid ate it too. Win, win.
Anyways, I think this is the type of salad you can take pretty huge liberties with. Sub in and out whatever fruit, veggie or add-in that turns your crank. As we were eating I was thinking maybe diced mango, maybe pom seeds, served on a bed of spinach. You get the idea. either way, add this bad boy into your rotation!!
Here’s what you need:
- 1 ½ cups frozen edamame, thawed in a bowl of super hot water (change the water once or twice)
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups cooked quinoa(I used half quinoa and half brown rice because I didn’t have enough quinoa, OOPS!)
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced small
- 3/4 cup diced pineapple
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons almonds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used apple cider because that’s all I had)
- 2 tablespoons EVOO or avocado oil ( I used avocado but might use the EVOO next time for a bit of flavour depth)
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (I think I will leave this out next time as the salad was sweet enough)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt (or to taste)
Here’s what you do:
- In a large bowl combine edamame, cabbage, quinoa, diced pepper, pineapple, raisins and almond.
- In a small bowl combine vinegar, oil, coconut sugar, chili powder, garlic and salt. Toss with quinoa mixture and serve either chilled or at room temperature.
- Eat! Enjoy! Yum.
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.