Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Spot A Delicious Dinner At The Spot

On a beautiful evening, my dining partner and I headed to the beachy Vegetarian cafe, The Spot, in Hermosa Beach. I was excited to try the food at this quaint cafe that I had only heard positive things about. I purchased their Groupon deal for $20 worth of food and drinks for $10. We sat down outside and admired the eclectic decor, reminiscent of a cozy, traditional Mexican restaurant. I felt very relaxed and could almost feel the light breeze from the beach, just steps away. We looked over the menu, which mostly consisted of Mexican dishes but also included Italian and healthy stir-fries. I desired Mexican food, while my dining partner was craving mashed potatoes. Luckily, most of the menu could be made vegan with an easy substitution of soy cheese.

I ordered the Tamale Combo Plate ($13), which included a tamale, taco and enchilada, served with rice and beans. My dining partner chose the Blue Plate Special, a Veggie burger topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms and gravy, served with mashed potatoes and veggies ($12).

First, the waitress brought out a complementary appetizer of carrots with tahini sauce.

This was a great way to start the meal and very refreshing. The carrots were very crisp and crunchy and went very well with the lightly spiced, creamy tahini sauce.

Next, my Tamale Combo Plate came out.

I really enjoyed this dish. It is not often that I get to enjoy Vegan Mexican food and I was so excited to dig in.

I first tried the enchiladas, as this has always been my favorite Mexican dish.

The enchilada was very soft and easy to eat. There was a light filling of well-seasoned broccoli that was further enhanced by the savory red sauce coating the enchilada. The Follow Your Heart cheese had its usual funky flavor and seemed out of place, not having melted into the tortilla. This enchilada would have been so amazing had the cheese been daiya.

Next, I ate the taco.

This was also very delicious. The outer shell was very crunchy, with a light spice and the interior was filled with sweet tomatoes contrasting savory soy meat crumbles. There was a light coating of taco seasoning which gave the juicy crumbles a little more intense flavor. The Follow Your Heart cheese also seemed odd in this dish and created an imbalance to the various textures. It also maintained its displeasing aftertaste.

The rice and beans accompanying the taco and enchilada were very delicious, although the rice could have used a little more seasoning and the consistency of the beans seemed off with the generous coating of Follow Your Heart cheese. Nevertheless, they complemented the main dishes well.

I saved the tamale for last, since it came on its own separate plate.

The tamale was very good. It was very soft and had a savory coating, which was very fitting with the well-spiced interior of various vegetables. The accompanying mild salsa added a little extra spice, although the tamale was still delicious on its own. I would not change a thing about this dish.

My dining partner really enjoyed his Blue Plate Special.

He described the sauce as very savory, and the vegetables were soft and well-seasoned. He most enjoyed the mashed potatoes, which had a very creamy consistency.

Lastly, we ordered a peanut butter chocolate chip tofu pie, which the waitress highly recommended.

The peanut butter was very overwhelming, with the taste of chocolate being very subtle. The silken tofu provided a great consistency, and the pie shell was fairly crunchy. I would have liked this dessert to have more of a chocolatey flavor to balance out the peanut butter, as it was overly creamy.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. It was great to be able to have a sampling of various Mexican dishes, and they all tasted very authentic. The Spot has a great atmosphere and is very good for a relaxing meal. The menu is a bit overpriced, but the Groupon made it about $13 per person. I really hope The Spot will consider using daiya cheese, as it would really enhance their dishes and take them to a whole other level. I would go back again, but probably only with another deal.

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