Sunday, August 25, 2013

Switching It Up At Sage Bistro

On a lovely summer night, I ventured to Echo Park to dine at one of my favorite restaurants: Sage Bistro. The food there is wonderful and so scrumptious. It is one of those places that is consistently good and they are always coming out with new items, so I never have to worry about getting bored with their selection. Since their menu is also vast, there are always plenty of options! They had just switched up their menu when I dined there, so I got to try a couple of new items.

I started the meal off with the Crispy Samosa Rolls ($8).

These were superb. They were a great fusion of spring rolls and samosas. The rolls were perfectly crispy on the outside and filled with a spiced potato and green pea concoction. I loved the mixture of Indian and Chinese seasonings. The sauces also were a fantastic compliment, especially the succulent mango aioli.

For my main dish, I ordered one of my favorites and fairly recent new addition to the menu: Butternut Squash Tacos ($12). 

These were very delicious. The kale was soft and well-massaged. It was coated in a creamy, savory cheese sauce that had a lovely chipotle flavor. The sweet, juicy butternut squash was a great contrast to the spicy sauce.

My mom had the Butternut Squash Ravioli ($14).

This was fantastic and totally not what I was expecting. The ravioli pieces were huge and were very thick. They were filled with a rich, luscious butternut cream filling. The sauteed kale was similar to that in my dish and was very easy to chew. The pesto sauce really took the dish over the top, adding a bitter, garlic flavor.

For dessert, we shared a small brownie sundae ($10).

This sundae was magnificent. Although the ice cream was not as creamy as I prefer, it was still very decadent. There was a great mixture of chocolate and coffee flavors from the ice cream and a wonderful salty caramel sauce to balance everything out. The chocolate chips were very crunchy and had a sweet taste.

Overall, the meal was excellent. Everything was so flavorful and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the menu items. Since I used my Green Menu card, I got a 10% off discount, which took a few dollars off the bill. I will definitely return to Sage again very soon and am excited that they will be opening soon in Culver City, which is way closer!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Steamy Meal At Sun Cafe

During my mom's visit to LA, we ventured to the steamy valley to dine at Sun Cafe in Studio City before seeing a musical. We were a little pressed for time, since we had a show to catch, but that didn't stop us from fully appreciating the scrumptious food Sun Cafe has to offer. 

We began the meal with two complimentary Lettuce Leaf Tacos, which I received by presenting my Green Menu card. These are normally valued at $2 a piece.

These tacos were fantastic and great to have during the hot summer in the valley. The lettuce was very crisp and absorbed the flavors of the taco very well. The "chorizo" was very juicy and meaty, while the avocado was soft and succulent. The cashew cheese added a lovely saltiness and was so creamy, while the basil ranch was very cooling and balanced out the spiciness the salsa and "chorizo". The pecan pieces were a nice touch and added an extra nutty flavor.

Next, our entrees were brought out. I had one of my favorites: Mac & Cheese ($14).

This is hands down one of the best macaroni and cheeses I've had in my life, vegan or not. As a former cheese addict, I appreciated the nutty, tangy flavor of the sauce, which had the perfect amount of creaminess to mimic the real thing. I was also surprised that this was gluten-free, using quinoa pasta as the base. This definitely had the soft, doughy texture of wheat pasta and no weird aftertaste that many gluten-free pastas typically have. The pecan cheese really took the dish over the top, adding a wonderful taste and texture to the dish. I also found the accompanying salad to be quite enjoyable. The lettuce tasted fresh and the bitterness was complimented by the subtly sweet, refreshing vinaigrette. 

My mom ordered the Cutlets & Sweet Potato Mash ($16) for her entree, which she really enjoyed. She gave me some to try.

This dish was superb. The seitan cutlets were tender and juicy and seemed like a close replica of steak. They were coated in a sweet and tangy orange sherry sauce. What was even better, was the balsamic glaze on top of the sauce, which added a slight tartness. The sweet potato mash was so heavenly. It was very light and airy and whipped to perfection. 

For dessert, we shared the Cookie Dough Cheesecake ($8).

The cheesecake was delicious and a great way to end the meal. It was very dense and had a rich chocolate flavor. It had a lovely combination of bitter and sweet tastes. I appreciated this, since I don't particularly enjoy desserts that are too artificially sweet. This in fact was more natural tasting than the desserts I typically have at restaurants.

Overall, the meal was fabulous. I enjoyed everything we had. I love that Sun Cafe takes traditional comfort food and puts a healthy spin on it. I never would have realized the seitan and mac and cheese were in fact good for me, since they definitely didn't taste it. While the meal was on the expensive side, it was very filling and worth the money. I appreciated getting the free lettuce tacos, which took a few dollars off the bill. I will definitely return to Sun Cafe in the future.