Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Magnificent Deal From M Cafe

This week only, celebrate an aMazing vegan-friendly establishment in Los Angeles: M Cafe. They are currently celebrating the 4th year of their Beverly Hills location. I have dined there several times and have found their food to be quite delicious, especially their desserts. My favorites are their breakfast food and specials. For the next two days, after 4 pm, they are offering $4 off your purchase of $15 or more. This is pretty much equivalent to getting a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

On my last visit there, I got a scrumptious vegetable lasagna that was loaded with a luscious cheese and delectable veggies. While I'm sure they no longer run this special, they may have items that are similar in taste. I hope to make it there while they are running this special. If not, I wish M Cafe a very happy birthday celebration and hope they will continue to thrive.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Squeaky Clean Meal At Sun Cafe

I've noticed lately that a lot of my favorite raw food places have been closing. First, Cru sadly closed its doors. Next, Better Life Cuisine bit the dust. While some new raw restaurants have come to take their place, I still find myself craving something familiar. Thankfully, Sun Cafe in Studio City has weathered the storm and judging by the full tables, it seems that it's here to stay. I dined there recently with some friends and enjoyed everything we ordered.

We began with a Lettuce Taco, which I received for free with my Green Menu membership.

I was a little upset that this was so small, but only because it was just that delicious. The lettuce was very crisp and absorbed the flavors well. The savory meat was mildly spiced and the cashew cheese was so creamy and luscious. The avocado was rich and buttery, while the tomatos were succulent.

Next, we had the Sun Nachos ($12), which is my favorite menu item, and a must for every visit.

The chips were crispy and warm from the oven. The cashew cheese was liquidy, yet formed small globs in certain places. It had a slight kick to it. The guacamole was heavenly and had such a rich flavor. The cabbage and olives added a lovely bitterness, which the juicy soyrizo and jalapeno spices burned in my mouth. 

Next, we had the Mac & Cheese ($14).

This is seriously the best mac and cheese I've ever had, vegan or not. The quinoa pasta was slightly doughy and pillowy. The cashew cheese sauce had a wonderful saltiness and a cheddar flavor, without the artificial taste. The pecan cheese on top really took the dish over the top, adding a light, nutty flavor.

Next, we had the Roasted Vegetable Curry ($13).

I was a little nervous to try this, since it deviates from the normal curry. I found it a little odd that quinoa was being served as an accompaniment instead of the traditional rice, but I actually found that the nutty flavor of the quinoa complimented the sweet and salty flavors of the curry. The yellow curry itself was mild in spiciness. The sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers added a wonderful succulent flavor, while the onions and spinach contrasted with a bitterness. There was a dollop of cashew cream which made this dish a real standout.

Overall, the meal was very good. I was completely stuffed, yet satisfied (as I often am after eating healthy food). It was a little odd that we ordered almost all cooked food, yet each dish had elements of raw food in them. We did not have much of a discount, unfortunately, so the meal was a little on the expensive side. With tax and tip, we each paid $15. I am hoping Sun Cafe participates in more deals in the future so I can visit more often!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Crazy Good Meal At Cowboys And Turbans

On a vibrant weekday night, I headed over with two of my friends to Silverlake to dine at one of my favorite fusion restaurants, Cowboys and Turbans. Since it was freezing cold outside, we opted to dine inside and sat in a cozy booth. The restaurant smelled of Indian and Mexican spices, which was very pleasant. Since the restaurant does serve meat, unfortunately, there was a slightly smoky scent, but thankfully not too unbearable.

We began the meal with a few appetizers. The first appetizer we had was the Cauliflower Samosa ($6).

The samosa was very crispy and had a lovely cauliflower mixture, which was moderately spiced. I really liked the curry flavor of the cauliflower and how there were a few crunchy bits.

Next, we had the Spinach Samosa ($6).

This samosa was very similar to the other, in having a perfectly crispy interior from being deep fried. The inside was almost as spicy, but had a more creamy texture from the spinach. It was also softer and easier to chew than the cauliflower samosa.

Next, we had the Potatoes and Cauliflower Pakoras ($7).

The pakoras were great. The batter had a lovely seasoning and was deep-fried to perfection. The vegetables inside were so luscious and juicy and had such a great flavor.

Next, we had the Aloo Gobi Quesadilla ($11).

This quesadilla was fantastic. The potatoes were so soft and delectable and had a wonderful seasoning. The daiya cheese was very melty and took on the flavors of the curry. The tortilla was slightly crispy and easy to chew.

Next, we had some Tofu Tacos ($6).

These tacos were very delicious. The tofu was very meaty and had a savory taste. There was a variety of chutneys which provided a mixture of heat and sweetness. The taco shells were warm and crunchy and took on the flavors of the spices very well. The avocados added a rich, buttery taste and took the dish over the top.

Our last entree was a pizza, which was half Mixed Vegetable and half Aloo Gobi ($11).

The pizza was phenomenal. I appreciated that the waitress told us we could do half and half, since we debated over which one to try. The mixed vegetable half was very good. The vegetables were well-cooked and the masala sauce had wonderful spicy notes. The pizza was loaded with gooey daiya cheese. The aloo gobi half was also very tasty. The curry worked well on the pizza and the soft bread sopped up the flavor well.

Lastly, we had a side of Kachumbre Salad ($7).

This was a great accompaniment to the meal, since it was so cooling and refreshing. It counteracted the spices and prevented our mouths from an intense burning. The vegetables were crisp and fresh tasting.

Overall, the meal was spectacular. The food was so flavorful and I loved the blend of Indian and Mexican seasonings, which complimented one another so well. Since we used a Groupon voucher for $15 for $30 worth of food, the meal was under $20 a person. This was a pretty good deal, considering the amount of food we got!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some Newsworthy Drinks At Newsroom Cafe

On a warm January night, my friends and I headed to Robertson blvd to check out a famous establishment called Newsroom Cafe. We got there just as they were about to close so the restaurant was empty and the staff seemed tired and ready to call it a night. Thankfully, they still let us order some delicious smoothies and juices. I had an expiring Amazon Local deal for $10 for $20 worth of juices and smoothies.

For my smoothie, I ordered the Serenity Date Shake ($5.50).

This drink was spectacular. It was so creamy and frothy that I was actually a bit surprised that it was purely made of fruit. The shake primarily tasted of bananas, but had a subtle date flavor. The orange juice added a slight acidity, while the peaches mellowed it out. 

My friends and I all shared the Moon Juice ($5.50).

I was a little nervous about this juice, but I ended up really enjoying it. The honeydew was so sweet and succulent, which was perfectly balanced by the sour lime. I loved the contrast of these flavors and it worked so well.

Overall, we all really enjoyed our juices. My friends raved about theirs and I found the flavors of the shake and juice lingering on my tongue for a while after. The drinks were very light and refreshing and actually helped me sleep better that night. I am hoping Newsroom Cafe has another deal in the near future, as I would love to return again for more juices and smoothies.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Happy Birthday At Real Food Daily

The thing I love most about my birthday is that since it only comes one time a year, I get treated like royalty. This of course extends to restaurants, stores and yoga/dance studios. I love the freebies and discounts that I receive, from free entrees to free makeup to free exercise classes. This year for my birthday, I took a free yoga class, got some complimentary cruelty-free makeup from Sephora, and got a discount on a fabulous birthday meal at Real Food Daily.

The restaurant was oddly crowded in the afternoon. I thought that the lunch crowd would have died down after 2 pm, but surely I was wrong. Since I didn't feel like waiting for a table, I opted to sit at the community table. Luckily, the people sitting there were wrapping up their meal, so I had a good portion of the table to myself for the meal.

For my entree, I ordered one of my favorites: The Supreme Burrito, wet ($13).

This burrito was fantastic, as always. The ranchero sauce had a mild spiciness and the tortilla was nice and soft and easy to cut into. The inside was filled with a scrumptious, perfectly salted and very creamy cashew cheese sauce. It had a subtle jalapeno taste. The beans and tempeh bacon were very savory and gave the burrito a meaty taste. The guacamole added a rich, smooth and buttery flavor, while the tomatos were very sweet and juicy. The Spanish rice enhanced the spiciness of the dish. The accompanying salad was terrific. The salad was very crispy and the dressing was a lovely creamy tahini concoction that was quite flavorful. It had a slight tanginess that worked very well.

Since I was stuffed and in a hurry, I took my dessert to go: Pumpkin Cheesecake ($7.25).

I love seasonal specials, so I jumped at the chance to try this. The cheesecake was phenomenal. The bottom layer was very decadent and had a succulent pumpkin flavor that was balanced out by the sour notes of the cream cheese. The top was layered with a lovely whipped cream that was light and airy and had a sweet taste of vanilla and cinnamon.

Overall, the meal was amazing. I love that everything at Real Food Daily is homemade, made with care and processed ingredients are avoided. The food tastes very unique and is so flavorful and doesn't leave me feeling heavy after the meal. Since I used a birthday coupon for $10 off, the meal cost about $14 total. It's a bit on the expensive side, especially without a discount, but it's great for an occasional splurge.