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

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.

FullSizeRender-2

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!

FullSizeRender

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!

FullSizeRender-3

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!

FullSizeRender-1

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.

FullSizeRender-4

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!

 

 

 

 

Nectar Nourishing Food and Juice Café

Location

Nectar Nourishing Food and Juice Café

853 Merrimon Avenue

Asheville, NC 28804

www.nectaravl.com

Atmosphere:  I’ve been wanting to visit this place since I moved here, and I’m glad I finally did! The atmosphere is like a super laidback yoga studio that happens to serve up plant-based food, juices, and smoothies.  Wooden tables, an earthy color scheme, and a noticeable airiness makes this place the perfect spot to chill and let your stress melt away. 

Food:  As always, I couldn’t decide what to order so I got the Mac & Cheese and Garbonzo 2’na Sandwich.  

  
The Mac & Cheese pictured above featured perfectly cooked pasta smothered in tons of vegan cheese sauce, paprika, and green onions.  The cheese was smooth and creamy, with a slight tang, nuttiness, and smoky flavor.  It was filling and delicious, all for $7.00!

  
The Garbonzo 2’na Sandwich ($7.50) was beautifully plated (as you can see), and was a great surprise.  I wasn’t expecting it to taste much like actual fish, but it did, and without the overpowering smell! It was covered with crunchy spiraled carrots, spring mix, and tomatoes on gluten-free seeded bread that was hearty and filling.  The fresh toppings and garbonzo bean mixture was reminiscent of tuna fish and was quite awesome.  I’d order it again for sure.

Dig it or Ditch it?

Dig it!  I felt relaxed as soon as I walked in, and was pleasantly surprised by the fresh and flavorful menu options.  Next time, I’ll try out their smoothies and pizza, and maybe even a little yoga! 

Blackbird Pizzeria

Location:

Blackbird Pizzeria

507 S. 6th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19147 

Blackbirdpizzeria.com

Atmosphere:  This place is casual, laid back, and the perfect place to chill and stuff your face with amazing vegan food.  Not just any vegan food, the BEST vegan food there is.  Blackbird Pizzeria is Philly’s first vegan pizzeria, and was voted to have 2 of the top vegan pizzas in the country! (Who voted and how do I get that job?!)

Anyway, I visited this place awhile ago, but if you ever find yourself in Philly, give this place a try. Their menu keeps getting better and more creative, and I can’t wait to try more.

Food:

I have to be honest, I almost died of excitement as I waited in line to order.  I had never been to a restaurant with so many vegan options before (in fact, they’re all vegan), and wanted to try absolutely everything. 

I ordered a slice of “The Haymaker” and a cheesesteak (Philly is home of the traditional cheesesteak so I was very curious to try a plantbased version).

  
Th Haymaker is a little piece of seitan sausage – red onion – garlic butter – Daiya cheese – tomato sauce – filled heaven.  The crust was thin and perfectly crispy. The zesty sausage was unbelievably delicious paired with the creamy Daiya, fresh onions and tomatoes, and garlic.  I usually like adding seasoning to my pizza, but this was perfect as is. An entire pie is $12 (I’d pay way more).

The Seitan Cheesesteak ($9.00) was awesome!  This baby features perfectly textured, rosemary flavored seitan, smothered in vegan cheese whiz, grilled peppers and onions, house made ketchup on a fresh, chewy roll. They hit this one out of the park! 

  
I also had a bite of my friend’s Cubano sandwich ($8.50). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of it, but it had smoked tofu, seitan pepperoni, coconut bacon, onions, Daiya, and grain mustard aioli.  At this point, I was pretty full, but I wanted to order about 20 of these to go. All of the ingredients were fresh and flavorful, but the aioli, oh that fabulous- make-my-eyes-water-it’s-so-good grain mustard aioli, made this one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.  My friend said the same thing, and she happens to be a carnivore. 

Dig it or Ditch it?

Well I couldn’t hide my love for this place.  It’s a definite DIG IT!  Like Hampton Roads, Philly has a lot of great vegan food, and I can’t wait to go back!  Please visit Blackbird Pizzeria, it will change your life and inspire you to find and/or cook masterpieces of your own! 

P.S.  I ordered an entire Haymaker pie, and ate it on my drive back home to Virginia Beach. #iregretnothing

Ipanema Café

Location:

917 W Grace Street

Richmond, Virginia 23220

Website

Atmosphere:
I can only imagine what my face looked like as I had no choice but to step right into the middle of the lake-sized, ankle deep puddle that was located in the entrance of this place. As I attempted to shake out the water from my flats, I looked in to see a sight like I have never seen before. This place was like a little dungeon. Dimly lit, rope lights hanging, a long bar to drink at, and booths that looked like they could have been (or were at one point) confessional booths. 

This underground sight to be seen is located underneath a tattoo shop and was quite crowded! The strong scent of Incense hits you immediately as you check out the chalkboard menu on the wall of the entrance way. 
  
This menu is the only one in the place, so you have to remember what you want to order when you sit down. This sounds simple, since all the vegan items have a heart next to them, but I was so distracted by the funkiness of this place (check out the old phone and unicorn piñata below), that I had to get up and check the board out again. 

  
  
Food:

  

 After a very heated battle in my brain, I ordered the Eggplant and Kalamata “Sausages” for $5.00. These were slightly tangy, smoky, and perfectly crispy. The rosemary infused balsamic added sweetness and earthiness to this otherwise savory app, and the sautéed onions were the perfect addition to brighten the flavor up a little bit. I’ve never had anything quite like this dish before.

  
Next, I tried the fried artichoke for $5.00. They were fried until deeply golden brown and served with a zesty marinara sauce that did not skimp on garlic. The squeeze of lemon on these crispy yet soft artichokes, paired up with the show-stealing sauce, made this a flavorful treat.

  
Next up was the Grilled Focaccia bread (5.95). Light, chewy, and grilled, the bread was delicious and paired with a ramekin of a similar marinara sauce, but with a strong fennel flavor. What I thought was cool about this was that it was served with minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. I love garlic and would have garlic babies if I could, but just in case people don’t, this would nice to control how much of it they were eating. The red pepper added some heat, and rounded out an overall delicious side dish. 

  
Next, (Yes, I ate even more, don’t judge me!) was the Twin Oaks Tofu sandwich for $8.95. I didn’t originally order this, but after seeing it I had to try it. This baby featured a thick slab of tofu on a fresh white bun with hummus, roasted red peppers, onion, and spinach. The tofu had a strong grilled flavor, while the roasted red pepper and onions added texture and tang. The hummus was strong in garlic (Yay!) and vegan mayo added necessary moisture to the extremely flavorful and filling sandwich. I have nothing to note about the side salad or fries… But who cares? This was awesome. 

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

This place, by far, is the strangest place I have ever eaten. Built in the early 1800’s (according to the friendly waitress), this place is quirky, cute, and weird, all in a good way. Since it is strictly vegetarian/vegan, it’s nice being in a place where there’s no need to add disclaimers to your order ( the obligatory “I’m vegan, I don’t eat this, this, or this”). The food was just like the decor, unusual and awesome. Fresh ingredients, lots of creative menu items to choose from, reasonable prices, and friendly service makes me want to crawl into a corner of this little dungeon and stay there forever to eat. If you ever are in Richmond, don’t skip this place! You’ll love the food and most likely never forget it. I know I won’t! This is a definite DIG IT

Look they even have a little tea menu!