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!

 

 

 

 

Crossroads Los Angeles

 Crossroads

8284 Melrose Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323) 782 – 9245

Atmosphere:  As you walk into Crossroads, the motif is what first grabs your attention! Chandeliers, dark wood accents, cathedral ceilings, and crisp white linens create a sophisticated and upscale environment with a just a touch of mystery. The hostess quickly asks “Do you have a reservation?”, which of course, I did not. Nonetheless, my boyfriend and I were seated quickly at a small table with a chair on one side and a long, wooden booth that ran the length of the entire dining area.

It seemed clear that there were many visitors like myself… those interested in vegan food  in general, and those wanting to try out the Impossible Burger, like the couple sitting next to us. When I looked up, I couldnt help but notice that Kat Von D was there. Quietly dining and keeping to herself. I liked her even before my vegan days (way before hers), but I couldnt bring myself to even wave. She was just there to eat some great food, afterall.

Food: The Weekday Lunch Menu includes Sandwiches and Hotplates, Cold Plates, Soups and Sides, as well as a selection of milkshakes, alcoholic drinks, coffees, teas, and others like kombucha and lemonade. I knew that I had to order the Chicken & Waffles ($14.00 USD) which consisted of “fried chicken, waffles, and warm maple hot sauce.”

The Chicken & Waffles arrived to the table quickly. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was going to change after I took my first bite! The fried chicken was… CHICKEN?! The taste, texture, and smell were the absolute closest plant-based meat product that I have EVER had! The breading was light and fried to perfection with hints of black pepper and herbs. The maple hot sauce BLEW MY MIND! I’m not the biggest hot sauce fan, but somehow the warm maple syrup blended in perfect ratio with the hot sauce amped up the chicken even higher! The waffles were tender and chewy with just the right amount of crispiness. I honestly have no idea how they did this, I just know that I want more!!!

Midway through the meal, I decided to order the Mac and Cheese ($6.00 USD) I mean, I was at Crossroads, can you blame me? Let me tell you, it was absolutely outstanding. The pasta was cooked to pefection (slightly al dente) and the cheese sauce was thin and mild. It tasted to me like a blend of American Cheese with a hint of Cheddar. Salty parm was sprinkled on top, which only brought out the delcious cheese flavors. UGH. I give this Mac and Cheese a million stars!

Dig it OR Ditch it?

If you’ve made it to this point, you can guess that Crossroads is an absolute DIG IT! The ambience, service, and mind-blowingly delicious food truly created a unique and fantastic experience! If I lived in LA, I would be there as much as possible. Who am I kidding, I would probably be there every damn day and camp out in front so I could be served first. Crossroads has truly opened my eyes as to how fabulous vegan food can be. That is saying a lot since I’ve had more than my fair share! My boyfriend is not vegan, and raved about this place as much as I did. This would be the perfect place to take skeptics and those that are considering veganism, to show them that they can have food even BETTER than they are used to.   If you have the opportunity, PLEASE go here. You will regret it if you don’t!

 

 

Donut Friend

Location:

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Donut Friend

5107 York Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90065

DIG it or DITCH it? If you’re looking for out-of-this-freakin’-world donuts that just happen to be vegan, you gotta check out Donut Friend! I DIG it, for sure, and so do non-vegans!! Read on to find out more and to see pics of their little donut masterpieces!

Atmosphere: Donut Friend is a cool, grungy shop with the classic laid-back, Cali vibe. As Nirvana provides the soundtrack, vegans and non-vegans alike can order pre-made donuts or design their own DIY, fat and sugar-filled works of art! With fruits, nuts, and sauces, the combinations are pretty much endless. You can literally make the donut of your dreams!

Food: The pre-made donuts cost between $2.50 – $3.00 which is completely reasonable! Whether you like donuts with fresh fruit and nuts, or just want to completely indulge with a coconut bacon and caramel piece de resistance, there is something to make just about everybody extremely happy!

Since I wanted to try as many donuts as possible, as quickly as possible, I ordered six of the immaculately decorated pre-made donuts. Ok, enough talking, let’s jump right in!

First up is The YOUTH BRULÉE donut, described as “A bullseye donut filled with bavarian cream and topped with bruleed sugar and orange zest.” This guy did NOT disappoint! The caramelized sugar was super sweet and crunchy, which was a nice contrast to the soft and somewhat chewy dough which had been fried to perfection. The brueleed sugar featured the subtle taste of citrus, while the cream in the center was ultra rich and creamy. Ugh, I miss this donut!

The BACON 182 (awesome name!) is a “Real maple glaze and coconut bacon on top of our traditional donut.” Oh man, this donut surprised me! The coconut bacon had an incredibly strong smoky flavor that really resembled actual bacon. That smokiness was perfectly paired with a thick, sugary maple glaze atop of a dense, fried donut. My omnivore boyfriend loved this one!

 

 The RITES OF SPRINKLES is “A moist cake donut with your choice of glaze and sprinkles.” If you like a good, classic donut, this one is for you. This donut was dense and satisfying. The thin vanilla glaze was sweet and delicious, and who doesn’t like rainbow sprinkles?!


The SOMETHING COCONUT donut is “Coconut cream inside our traditional donut, topped with a vanilla glaze, toasted coconut, and a pinch of lime zest.” I love coconut… like, I REALLY love coconut. Coconut iced coffee, coconut milk, coconut shampoo, coconut lotion, coconut deodorant, you name it! So, it is no surpirse that I loved this awesome donut. It was super decadent with a vanilla glaze and sweet shredded coconut on top, and a thick coconut cream inside to take it up a notch. Holy #$%$ this was good!

 

The PANDA BERRY is “A traditional donut topped with a mixed berry glaze, vegan white chocolate, and a fresh black berry.” This little guy was jam packed with fresh berry flavor! The berry glaze was as sweet as could be with the taste of natural berries.  The hint of white chocolate was a nice touch!

THE STRAWBERRY SO FAR is a limited edition donut described asA strawberries & cream glaze and a fresh strawberry on top of a raised donut.” Just like the PANDA BERRY, this little gem had fresh berries and a sugary, natural strawberry flavored glaze on top of a moist and perfectly fried donut. You  really can’t go wrong with this one!

Have you been to Donut Friend??? Which one was your favorite? 

Nine Mile West

Location:  

Nine Mile West

751 Haywood Road

Asheville, North Carolina 28806

Atmosphere: This vegetarian/vegan spot is right in the middle of trendy, casual West Asheville, and serves up “Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, a handful of traditional pasta dishes, daily specials, and an array of locally made desserts.” As with most Asheville restaurants, they offer locally made microbrews and seasonal wines as well.  This place is super laid back and casual, with Bob Marley providing the sound track for your meal.

Food: Check out their large menu of Caribbean meals here

I ordered the “Jamaican Me Crazy” meal with jerk tofu. The red curry/coconut sauce gave the dish a sweet and smoky flavor which was lightened up with veggies, including; red peppers, roasted tomatoes, red cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, and green onion. The jerk tofu added protein and heartiness, and the fluffy basmati rice soaked up all of the flavors perfectly. 2 big pieces of their wonderful, overly-garlicked (I may have made that word up, but it works) “Natty Bread” rounded out the healthy, filling, and flavorful lunch.


DIG it or DITCH it?

DIG IT! Check this place out if you like Carribean flavors, laid back vibes, and locally made spirits.  There are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and raw options… So there’s something for everyone. One Love! ❤️

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

Location: Biltmore Park Town Square, 30 Town Square Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28803

Phone: (828) 654-0046

Menu

Atmosphere: Brixx Wood Fired Pizza is a super laid back and casual pizza sports bar. This restaurant is located right in the center of Biltmore Park Town Square.  It’s the perfect place to order an individual pizza before you catch a movie or just to take a shopping break.  The staff is friendly, and there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Food: There are no specifically vegan appetizers, so the waitress suggested that I try the Bruschetta on pita bread, instead of their non-vegan bread option.  Well, I think the picture says it all, but this was AWESOME! Fresh Roma tomatoes, basil, and onion piled on crunchy and chewy pita bread, all topped with cheese (I’m pretty sure it was Daiya) and sweet balsamic vinegar. This was fresh, crunchy, chewy, sweet, creamy, and tangy… what more could you want in an app?

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For an entree, there are plenty of 10″ individual pizzas that can be customized to be vegan.  There is an exclusively vegan dough, and vegan cheese can be added for no charge. I ordered the Margherita pizza, which featured roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and Daiya cheese on a crispy and chewy crust. Basically, this pizza was very similar to the appetizer I had ordered, but since it was so good, I didn’t mind at all. Remember to request the vegan dough and cheeze when you order this bad boy!

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DIG IT or DITCH IT?

DIG IT! The friendly staff, casual atmosphere, and location makes Brixx an excellent place to be! The ingredients are fresh and flavorful, and it is always nice to visit a restaurant that has more than salad for us plant-based foodies! Give this place a try!