Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunny Times At Sunpower Natural Cafe

Yesterday, my good friend and I ventured to Sunpower Natural Cafe to feel invigorated by the raw food after we practiced yoga. I must say, I am in love with raw food. I love the way it makes me feel, energized and more active. I also love how radiant it makes my skin look. If it wasn't so damn expensive, I would probably eat it at every meal! Lucky for me, Sunpower Natural Cafe was recently added to

This is one of my favorite sites to save money dining and I use it all the time. How it works is you select from over hundreds of restaurants by first inputting your zip code and finding a restaurant that interests you. For me, I always narrow the search down to vegetarian/vegan or if I'm craving specific food I'll look for an Indian or Mediterranean restaurant. You can buy a $10, $25 or even $50 or $100 gift certificate.  The $25 is the standard and cost $10, but they constantly have sales. I stock up on gift certificates when they are 80%, so I pay $2 for a $25 dollar gift certificate. Most of the gift certificates require you to order a minimum of $35 and they add a 18% gratuity to the pre-discounted bill to ensure the waiter receives a proper tip. This is fine with me as I usually can easily spend the minimum and I tip pretty well anyways. You can use one gift certificate per restaurant per month, which is also fine with me, as I have a tendency to get bored of restaurants if I go too often.

My friend and I used the $25 dollar gift certificate, which required a minimum of a $35 dollar purchase, but since raw food is so expensive, we spent this really easily. In fact, we actually went over the $35 purchase, because we were so hungry from exercising! Here's what we got:

For an appetizer we decided on the Sunpower Naturals made raw: crunchy jicama covered with layers of "chorizo", guacamole, salsa and nacho cheese-$12  

We were so hungry and the dish was just so damn good that we demolished it so quickly and completely forgot to take a picture of it. This is what it looked like after! It had so many delicious flavors going on, from the creamy cheese sauce, to the savory chorizo to the crisp cooling jicama. The flavors complimented one another perfectly so as not to be too overwhelming. The nacho cheese sauce was the best part for me and we were licking the plate clean. I just wish they put even more sauce on it!
Next we ordered entrees to share. First up was the Raw Kelp noodles: Crisp kelp noodles smothered in Pesto sauce then covered with vegetables-$14. The entrees come with a side of kale salad, mixed green salad or hummus with chips. My friend chose the hummus with chips. We decided on this dish as it sounded interesting and interesting it was! Only not in a good way. 

The kelp noodles were very slurpy and had an odd texture. The pesto had a nice flavor to it, but did not go very well with the noodles. It only made the dish even more soggy. The dish seemed like a hybrid between a soup and a pasta dish, only it turned out to be a disaster. In addition, it was coated in too many olives and mushrooms which did not match the description of the item on the menu. It clearly states "vegetables". Last time I checked, a mushroom is not a vegetable (correct me if I'm wrong) and an olive barely counts as one. There was way too many of each, and I was a bit disgusted since I hate mushrooms. My dining partner also hates mushrooms, so we ended up wasting a good part of the dish. The noodles and pesto ended up being completely overpowered by the olives and mushrooms, giving it an odd aftertaste. I would definitely not order this again and would not recommend it to anyone who does not have an immense love of olive and mushrooms. Nevertheless, we both really enjoyed the chips and hummus. The chips has a interesting texture to it, but I like it. The seeds give it a nice flavor. It goes well with the creamy consistency of the hummus and together they taste even more savory.

Next up was the Raw Supreme Pizza: Crunchy sunflower seed crust with marinara sauce, cashew cheese, savory SunPower "sausage", tomatoes and marinated peppers and onions-$11. We chose the side of kale salad.

 This was a WAY better pick and I'm so glad we ordered it! First off, the kale salad was delicious, nice and soft, but chewy, well seasoned and flavored with the creamy cheesy sauce on top. The pizza was also very soft and easy to bite into, but still maintained a nice crispiness to it. It was layered with so many different textures, but wasn't overwhelming. There was the savory chorizo and different assortments of cheeses that melted in my mouth rather quickly, as I could not stop eating it. Even after, I craved that creamy cheese I loved so much on the nachos. My only complaint is I wish there was even more cheese! You can never have enough and raw cheese made from cashews is simply the best.

Lastly, we ordered a kale shake ($7) and asked the waitress to put it in two separate glasses to make it easier for us. She gladly came back with two glasses filled with amazingness.

I have to admit, the thought of a kale shake disgusted me. I mean eating vegetables just sounds gross! But I couldn't have been more wrong. This kale shake was just so delicious, there are no words! Who would have thought a drink so healthy would taste so good? It was like eating a really fruity, really sweet, really creamy smoothie. It tasted like drinking ice cream or rather a milkshake. If I wasn't told there was kale in it, I never would have known!

Anyway, our meal was very delicious save for the awkward kelp noodle dish which I will be sure never to order again. We used the $25 gift certificate to and ended up only paying about $15 per person (which includes tax and tip). Pretty good considering we ordered a really expensive meal and were stuffed! My only regret would be ordering another pizza instead of the kelp noodles since their pizzas are definitely their strong suit and would have made the bill cheaper. Oh, well, you live and you learn! I can't wait to go back next month and use another gift certificate there. Until then, my ventures will continue at the next restaurant that offers a discount...

SunPower Natural Cafe
3711 W. Cahuenga Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

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