Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Sweet Meal At Sage Vegan Bistro

On a lovely evening after spending the day with my friend at the Griffith Observatory, we headed over to Sage Vegan Bistro to enjoy a delicious meal. I love how the food is eloquently presented and has sophisticated flavors, yet the atmosphere is so contradictory with a laid back, hipster vibe. It was a little noisy, since the restaurant was packed, but my friend and I were still able to catch up over a wonderful meal.

For my entree, I ordered the Gluten-Free Vermicelli Bowl ($13).

I honestly had no idea what to expect from this dish, but I found it to be very good. The grilled tofu battered with a fantastic sesame ginger sauce was spectacular. It seemed like the perfect replacement for salmon (which I used to love prior to going Vegetarian). The kimchi added a wonderful bitterness, while the juicy mandarins and succulent pomegranate seeds were a great contrast, adding a subtle sweetness to the dish. The kale was well massaged and the cucumbers were nice and crispy.

For dessert, I had a waffle sandwich ($7).

This was spectacular and everything I would expect from a waffle sandwich and more. The waffle was so soft and buttery with a slight crispiness. The ice cream had a lovely chocolatey coffee mixture and was not too sweet. It was a little too icy in spots, but still very enjoyable. The maple syrup took the sandwich over the top and made it taste so heavenly. Eating this dessert made me feel like I was floating on clouds for the rest of the night.

Overall, the meal was fabulous. Everything was so tasty, but not too indulgent that I would feel disgusting afterwards. We used a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats, which significantly reduced the cost of the meal. It ended up being about $17 (with tax and tip) per person. I cannot wait to return to Sage soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Gorgeous Meal At Cafe Gratitude

On a frigid winter night, my friends and I ventured to Cafe Gratitude in Venice to indulge in their heavenly food. The restaurant is unlike any other with its earthy, laid back atmosphere and luscious, yet healthy concoctions. I was excited when Blackboard Eats had a special deal for a three course meal for only $17 and my enthusiasm became even greater as the day I was to dine there approached. Since the restaurant was full when we arrived (approximately 9 pm), we ended up dining outside. I was reluctant to be seated out there, but when I saw the cozy seating under the warming heat lamps, I felt at ease.

We began the meal with cold pressed juices (which of course is so stereotypically LA). My friend and I opted to split the I Am Worthy and I Am Healthy (normally $5.25 each).

The I Am Worthy drink consisted of apple, celery, kale, beet and ginger. The apple and beet gave the juice a lovely sweet flavor, but the ginger and kale were very overpowering in making the drink taste tart and bitter. I would have liked some more sweetness to balance it out (perhaps a banana?). I really enjoyed the I Am Healthy juice which consisted of kale, celery, cucumber and lemon juice. This drink was more mellow and while it also had a tartness, it is a little more subtle. 

For my appetizer, I had the I Am Local salad ($13).

This salad was magnificent. It had lovely succulent flavorings from the roasted beets, maple walnuts and apples. The bitter red onions balanced out the sweetness perfectly. The fig balsamic vinaigrette had a fantastic blend of sweet and tangy that worked great on the salad. The creamy, nutty cashew mozzarella cheese took the salad over the top and made it very decadent. The oregano crostini was a fabulous accompaniment, adding a crunchiness and savory taste.

Lastly, I had my entree: I Am Elated ($13).

These raw enchiladas were very delicious. There was an excellent blend of flavors from the spicy, savory corn to the sweet, juicy mango. The cacao mole had a wonderful chocolate taste and a slight bitterness. The cashew queso added a nutty flavor and was rich and creamy. The tortillas being raw were a little difficult to cut and chew, but the fillings softened them a bit.

Overall, the food was amazing. Everything was flavorful, filling, and uplifting. The name of the restaurant truly suits the place, since I felt so grateful for the food and appreciative of the fact that I am able to eat such wholesome food. The meal was pretty expensive at around $20 with tax and tip, but definitely worth it. This meal could have lasted me at least two meals (perhaps even more), but since I was famished, I ended up eating it all at once. I cannot wait to return to Cafe Gratitude soon and am hoping they will have another deal soon!