Review: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar in Asheville, NC!

Hello, hello! I’m here to share my thoughts on a brand new café and juice bar in the cute and trendy West Asheville area!

Location: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar, 643 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806

Atmosphere: Simple Cafe & Juice Bar definitely draws you in. The overall vibe is laid-back, despite a steady stream of customers! The interior design is clean, comfortable, natural, and  minimalistic (totally my scene!). There’s seating at the bar along the window and cushioned seats in the main eating area. Upon ordering, we received a nice, friendly greeting from Suzie, one of the owners, who also let us know they would be launching some new seasonal items very soon. 

Food:  When I write these reviews, I usually take a few notes while I’m in the restaurant and wait a few days before posting. However, I enjoyed the food SO much, I wanted to post right away! You can find their menu here.

The first menu item I ordered was the Vegan Bahn Mi. Let me tell you, this sandwich was FULL of flavor and I couldn’t get enough! This bad boy featured house-made sietan that had a meaty, sausage-like flavor, tangy Vietnamese pickles, a nutty mushroom walnut paté, crunchy cucumbers and carrots, jalapeños and spicy mayo for some heat, and cilantro… all piled onto a fresh, soft roll. If I had more room in my stomach when I left, I would have ordered another!

Next, I tried the Supa Dupa Acai Bowl. I love a good smoothie bowl, I really do. I just don’t eat them very often because I don’t keep a ton of fresh fruit and toppings on hand. So, when I can get a great smoothie bowl, I truly appreciate it and this Supa Dupa did not disappoint! 

The base was a sweet Acai smoothie covered with bluebs, strawbs, and bananas. For some crunch, there were crispy coconut strips, chia seeds, and some sweet, cinnamon-y granola with pumpkin seeds. This bowl was fresh, healthy, and downright delicious!

Last, and not at all least, was the Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie! I honestly don’t know how this little gem was healthy, but it was! I made sure to ask if it was vegan, because the menu said it contained yogurt. Make sure you ask when you order and they can mostly likely create a vegan version, like they did for me.

Strawberries, bananas, cashew butter, vanilla almond milk, blended together and topped with graham cracker dust? Yes, please! I recommend ordering this for a sweet, rich dessert (it really did taste like cake!) or when you really want a healthy treat but don’t want to throw away all of those hours at the gym!

Dig it or Ditch it? Friends (deep breath), I must tell you Simple Cafe & Juice Bar has become one of my favorite places! Yes, the new kid in town has stolen my little vegan heart! I tend to return to the same handful of establishments because I know the food is great and I will be treated well.  The food, atmosphere, and service at Simple were exactly what I wanted it to be. Everything I ordered was fresh, healthy, and bursting with flavor. The owner and staff were friendly and helpful and the welcoming atmosphere will definitely make me return again soon. I 100% DIG IT!

I overheard they had vegan soup and faux lox and I can’t wait to try out their new seasonal items. I had my eye on their Carrot Cake Smoothie and some of their baked goods and coffee, so I’ll let you know how they are!

Thanks for checking out my Vegan Treasure Hunt! Please follow me on Instagram @VeganTreasureHunter

(The Good and The Bad) Vegan Pizza in Johnson City, Tennessee!

Hello, Veganeers! It’s been awhile since I posted any restaurant reviews… but here I am, back at it to share the good and the (very) bad vegan pizza in Johnson City, Tennessee!

First up, is Scratch Brick Oven Foodworks. This place had great reviews and was even rated the #2 pizza place in Johnson City on TripAdvisor… so, I was really excited to try it out!

The atmosphere of Scratch takes the term “dive” to brand new heights (well, lows in this case). Now, if you’ve never been to the South, the whole “shabby chic”, old, historic looking aesthetic is pretty much the overarching theme. It is unassuming, not pretentious in any way, laid back… it is something I have come to love. Yet, this place looked like an abandoned garage a college band would practice in… maybe that’s why the staff and clientele were all college-aged.

The menus were probably the most confusing part of this place. There were 4, 5, maybe even 6 different color-coded menus at the pizza counter… I believe each menu was for a different size and/or pizza crust, but I’m still not sure. After trying to get the attention of one of the multiple guys behind the counter with no success, I grabbed one of the menus, circled the toppings I wanted, and wrote “NO CHEESE” in big letters (unfortunately, there were no vegan cheese options). I handed my menu to the guy behind the counter, and reiterated the fact that I did not want cheese.

Now, let’s go over the actual food I received. Evidently, the pizza I ordered via the mysterious menu was a small, paper-thin crust that was burnt to resemble a lump of coal. Thankfully, they didn’t put cheese on the freakin’ pizza (I only had to write it AND confirm it with the pizza maker), the veggies were decent, and the tomato sauce had a nice, zesty flavor. Unfortunately, the bitter, burnt taste was overpowering and I was still hungry after I ate it because it was literally a few veggies on a burnt-to-a-crisp cracker.

Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed in any way and won’t return to good ol’ Scratch anytime soon. Especially, with an OUTSTANDING pizza place a few miles away.

Like I said, I was still hungry and I still wanted some good vegan pizza!!! So, I made my way to Main Street Pizza Company (rated #1 on TripAdvisor). Honestly, just put your phone away or close your laptop right now and just go there.

I loved everything about the place. Its a classy, clean, casual restaurant/bar with excellent service and great atmosphere. It was all decked out in holidays lights, and kept pretty dark inside since the entire restaurant has large windows that let in the light and views from cute little Johnson City.

So… let’s get to the food! I created my own pizza and selected various veggies and dairy-free Daiya cheese. The waiter was friendly, professional, and HE reiterated that I wanted dairy free cheese (yay!).

This pizza was SO good! The cheese was melted perfectly on top of a chewy, medium-thick crust. The tomato sauce had nice, neutral taste and the veggies were fresh and flavorful. This pizza was exactly what my happy, vegan tastebuds were hoping for. Main Street Pizza Company, you get 10 stars from me!

So, if you find yourself in Johnson City, Tennessee, now you know where to go for the best vegan pizza! Let me know if you go!

Del Vecchio’s Chicago Stuffed Pizza – The Answer To My Vegan Pizza Prayers

Helloooo Again! It has definitely been awhile since I’ve done a Treasure Hunt Location review, mainly because I haven’t been anywhere new! Well, my little vegan prayers have been answered and I found the BEST vegan pizza in my area of Asheville, NC.

Let’s jump right in!

LOCATION:

Del Vecchio’s Italian Restaurant

333 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

828-258-7222 delvecchiositalian.com

ATMOSPHERE:

Del Vecchio’s Italian Restaurant is located on Merrimon Avenue, one of the main streets in Asheville, NC. The vibe is laid back, friendly and inviting. It seems to be the go-to pizza spot for college kids. This small pizzeria has a long bar that takes up the majority of the restaurant and they have a few tables to sit down and eat inside and outside. The friendly staff greets you right away and the food is served quickly.

FOOD:

I’m originally from New Jersey, so I have some pretty high standards for great Italian food. I thought all was lost for authentic tasting pizza when I moved to Asheville. I had tried many spots, and the pizza was good, but I missed that zesty NJ/NY flavor.

Ooooh baby, I’ve found what I’ve been searching for at Del Vecchio’s! I ordered the 14″ Chicago Stuffed Pizza with vegan cheese, spinach and garlic for $24.99. It was an additional $3.00 for the vegan cheese. I know, I know, that’s a freakin’ expensive pizza, but I promise you from my head to the bottom of my cruelty-free shoes, it is worth it!

So what exactly is a Chicago Stuffed Pizza? Well, I had no idea but I live on the edge and ordered it anyway. It is a deep dish pizza that has cheese and toppings inside. It is topped with another thin layer of pizza dough and then tomato sauce. It’s baked until it the cheese is a beautiful melty mess and then served to you piping hot!

I’m not one of those people that eats pizza with a fork, but I made an exception for this one. Holy $hit this was amazing! Finally, my yankee tastebuds were reunited with zesty and tangy tomato sauce that I have so dearly missed. The cheese was creamy and melted to perfection. I actually asked what brand they used and it was Daiya! I was shocked because there was absolutely no aftertaste whatsoever.

The extra garlic and spinach inside really added another layer of mouthwatering flavor that I am daydreaming about as I type this. The dough itself was chewy and the crust had the perfect crisp to it. The showstopper tomato sauce on top was a train ticket to Flavortown and I never wanted to come back.

DIG IT OR DITCH IT?

DIG IT! I love everything about this pizza and plan to go back and try every vegan thing on their menu. The staff is great about preparing vegan and/or gluten-free options, which is refreshing. I’m not joking when I say that I daydream about this pizza. If you are in Asheville, you MUST try Del Vecchio’s and their fabulous Chicago Stuffed Pizza. It brought my sad, never-gonna-find-great-pizza-again thinkin’ heart back to life!

Zablong Peculiar Pizza

Zablong Peculiar Pizza

137 Brevard Court
Charlotte, NC

Atmosphere: This funky little pizza shop in Charlotte, NC is a perfect casual lunch spot if you’re looking for some quick and delicious food! This shop is located in a little alley way with other hidden away, hipster-ish coffee shops and bars. It’s a cafeteria style set-up, so after you walk in, you place your order and they make it right in front of you. There are many menu options, and you can customize your pizza as you like. There are plenty of vegan options, including vegan cheese, veggies, and flavored oils. What makes this pizza unique, is that it is oblong shaped (get it, ZaBLONG?!).

Food: OK, so it’s funny shaped pizza, but how did it taste?! The only description that kind of comes close is that it was a flavor explosion!! I ordered “The Woodstock” which came with Olive Tomato Pesto, Daiya Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers, Spinach, Fresh Jalapeños, Cherry Tomatoes & Crushed Red Pepper Oil. Of course, I added more toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, arugula, and rosemary oil! With all of these ingredients, I’m telling you, this was spectacular!

The perfectly cooked crust was crispy and chewy. The creamy cheese, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, bitter arugula, spicy jalapeños, with the fresh veggies and rosemary oil blended together to make what is probably one of my favorite (and messiest) pizzas ever.

Dig it or Ditch it? 

I DIG IT! The fun atmosphere and the fresh and flavorful ingredients make Zablong Peculiar Pizza a must try! I can’t wait to go back!

Native Foods Café Review

 Native Foods Café – Westwood 

1114 Gayley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 209-1055
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00am–10:00pm

Atmosphere: I will never forget my trip to Native Foods Café! I’d seen posts of their food all over Instagram, and was BEYOND excited to be eating there for my birthday! Like most California restaurants they have outdoor seating to bask in the beautiful sunshine as you eat. The vibe is super casual and laid back, and the service was quick and friendly.

I honestly could not believe my eyes when I looked at their menu! There were so many incredible options that I had such tough time deciding what to order. Well, I didn’t do that good of a job in my decision making because I ended up ordering A LOT.

Alright, let’s just jump right in!

Food: Like I said, I ordered a lot of food! (Don’t judge me, it was my birthday and first time here!). You can check out their menu, here.

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Native Chicken Wings

First up, were the out-of-this-freakin’-world Native Chicken Wings. I ordered the Regular size, Crispy, and with Buffalo sauce for $7.99 USD. I am so happy I was sitting down when I first bit into these. I’m not kidding you, the texture and flavor were IDENTICAL to Buffalo chicken wings. Seriously! The Buffalo sauce was thin and full of flavor. I considered the spice level to be in the medium range. The ranch sauce served with it nearly brought me to tears! It was super rich, creamy, and zesty and combined with the spicy Buffalo sauce, it was a masterpiece!

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Thai Chili Brussel Sprouts

Next, I had been on a roasted brussel sprouts kick, and just had to try the Thai Chili Brussels Sprouts ($5.00 USD). Halved Brussel sprouts in a thick, crunchy,  batter were fried until golden brown and then covered in a sweet Thai chili sauce. The sauce was more on the sweet side, with bursts of garlic and a little heat. These were PERFECTION!

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Native Chicken, Bacon, and Avo Club Sandwich

Next, was the Native Chicken, Bacon, and Avo Club Sandwich. Basically, this is everything that you could ever want out of a sandwich. You get a big pile of fresh veggies (carrots lettuce red onion) on top of a toasted ciabatta roll. The Deep Fried chicken is absolutely spot-on when it comes to flavor and texture. It is deep-fried in a thick breading and is juicy when you bite into it. The chicken is then topped off with 2 slices of savory bacon that had a meaty texture and smoky flavor. The glorious bright orange cheese added a spicy kick with the slightest hint of sweetness. Last but not least, you get fresh avocado to round out this spectacular explosion of flavor. This blew my mind, kids!

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Lemon Dill Potato Salad

Next, was a side of Lemon Dill Potato Salad ($1.99 USD) I added to my sandwich meal. Haha, I just needed more food, amiright? I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was, I mean, it’s potato salad. But no, Native Foods did another amazing job with this! The flavor was bright thanks to the lemon and dill. The potatoes were perfectly cooked, and scallions and parsley amped up the flavor. It was a nice citrusy version of the classic potato salad.

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Walnut Blondie

And finally, because I hadn’t eaten enough (sarcasm), I had this sweet Walnut Blondie that did not disappoint! It was so soft it practically melted in your mouth! The crispy, bitter walnuts gave it some contrasting texture and flavor. Yum!

DIG IT or DITCH IT? 

As if you had to guess, I DIG THIS PLACE SO MUCH! I am so grateful that food this incredibly delicious exists. It truly proves that you can every single thing that you want without harming animals, and that is absolutely amazing. If I had Native Foods Café within a 2 or 3 hour drive radius of my town, I would be there so frequently they would know my debit card number by heart.

I really hope that they expand and open locations all over the country. This would give people access to the BEST vegan food for fair prices. It would truly open people’s eyes to a new way of thinking and would help so many animals!

Please, if you ever have the chance to go to Native Foods Café, do it! And order a lot like I did!