vegetable diaries

Archive for December, 2009

vegan in ventura: mary’s secret garden

Posted by vegetablediaries on December 27, 2009

raw apple pie: Mary's Secret Garden

while i was in ventura i had the lucky opportunity to visit Mary’s Secret Garden for lunch. oh my, what a fine dining surprise! i didn’t know what to expect because i didn’t read any of the reviews online, and all i knew was that it was ALL vegan and filled with awesomeness. first off, this place is pretty tiny. we had lunch around noon and didn’t have to wait for a table, however i think you should probably make a reservation just in case.

fresh thai spring rolls: Mary's Secret Garden

the food! wow, what a great menu.. everything is organic and there are cooked and raw food plates available, with lots of gluten-free options (gf is clearly marked on the menu). when our server first came over to greet us he said “Mary recommends you try the fresh thai spring rolls as an appetizer..” okay, i thought this was really endearing because i don’t usually hear what the owner suggests.. it seemed quaint to me and i like that. so, we did order the fresh thai spring rolls and they were amazing! i loved the spicy peanut sauce so much that i ate it by itself when the spring rolls were all finished.

middle east platter: Mary's Secret Garden

for the main course i ordered the middle east platter, which included syrian falafel with tahini sauce, hummus, tabouli, grilled pita bread and kalamata olives (i’m not fond of olives, but there were only two on my plate, so no biggie). everything was delicious and quite filling. my friend ordered the thai yellow curry stew, which was also so tasty! there were stewed kabocha squash, carrots, potatoes, red onions, ginger and basil leaves in a creamy curried coconut sauce; served over brown rice, with your choice of protein (shrymp, tofu or chycken). then they topped the hell out of it with fresh cilantro (my favourite!). i really am excited to go back because there are so many wonderful things to try, including a bazillion shakes!

thai yellow curry with tofu: Mary's Secret Garden

and now for dessert.. i ordered the raw chocolate hazelnut pie ala mode: rich chocolate coconut and hazelnut filling topped with chopped hazelnuts and chocolate ganache and served with homemade raw vanilla bean ice cream. i didn’t even finish it (which is a very very rare thing) because it was so insanely rich!

raw chocolate hazelnut pie: Mary's Secret Garden

my friend ordered the raw apple pie: layered, thinly sliced and well spiced apples, over a pecan date crust, topped with a sweet cashew cream and raspberry sauce. both of these desserts are lookers, but i think the apple pie would win the beauty contest!

raw apple pie: Mary's Secret Garden

after writing about my lunch, i want to go back NOW!

Mary’s Secret Garden
100 South Fir Street
Ventura, CA 93001
805-641-FOOD
www.maryssecretgarden.com

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, los angeles, raw, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

carpinteria’s chamomile cafe YUMYUM

Posted by vegetablediaries on December 16, 2009

big box o' desserts from Chamomile Cafe

hooray for discovery: Chamomile Cafe! i discovered this delightful cafe in carpinteria, and it’s mostly all vegan with the exception that they serve wild salmon, eggs, and dairy. it’s also mostly organic! as for the bakery part of the cafe, half of the goods are vegan and they are questionably vegan in a major way because they are so incredibly delectable. in my big box o’ desserts i tried the blueberry pie in miniature, pecan muffin, oatmeal raisin walnut cookie, zucchini muffin, and the lemon poppyseed muffin with blueberries sprinkled on top. these didn’t last very long.. i shared them with my family and i sort of ate them up! the baked goods are not cheap, but also not overly priced in my opinion because they use organic ingredients and they are insanely good. that pie is made with organic blueberries! this place was like finding a little gem all covered in tar (did you know the beaches in carpinteria are dotted with tar?) by the way, i’ve learned that mineral spirits are the answer to tar stains!

blueberry pie from Chamomile Cafe

and now onto lunch: i tried the grilled veggie panino, which is made from their handmade organic ciabatta rolls (YUM) and then inside goes the eggplant, mushrooms, red onions, tomatoes, radish sprouts, vegan ranch, and dijon. you’ll want to be a fan of dijon if you order this. although it’s not overly dijon-y, the mustard is quite noticeable in a very delicious way. i really enjoyed my sandwich and it also came with a small side salad. i would like to try their dinner menu sometime because it’s all vegan except for the wild salmon. my pescatarian, gluten-free friend enjoyed the wild salmon tacos. thank you, Chamomile Cafe!

veggie panino from Chamomile Cafe

i should have moved the lettuce off of the tomato, but you get the idea.

Chamomile Cafe

Chamomile Cafe
915 Linden Ave.
Carpinteria, CA 93013
805-566-5954
www.chamomilecafe.com

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, los angeles, vegan bakery, vegan cafe, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

eating at gingergrass in silverlake

Posted by vegetablediaries on December 6, 2009

Gingergrass tofu lunch plate

i was really excited to eat at Gingergrass again because it had been a long time, however my experience with my tasty lunch turned into an afternoon of nursing what i think was an MSG overdose. i asked Gingergrass if they use MSG and they confirmed that they do not use it, but it is included in the shrimp chips and hoisin sauce that they don’t make in house, which really means that they DO use it but not intentionally, i presume. maybe you can order your lunch without MSG… it’s certainly worth asking. anyways, i enjoyed my lunch until i got up and walked back to my car. i’ll give you the details of my lunch and you can decide if it’s worth the MSG risk. i personally like to feel fresh and energetic after eating and that was certainly not my experience after eating at Gingergrass, which boasts “fresh vietnamese cuisine.”

so, my lunch! i ordered the gingergrass tofu for $8.95: crispy organic tofu with shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy served with vegan nuoc cham sauce. you also get a heaping scoop of broken white rice and vietnamese slaw. overall i thought the dish was over-seasoned with the sauce and there was too much sodium. however i did enjoy the crispy tofu and shiitake mushrooms. i think they coat the tofu in rice flour, which gives it a light and crisp texture. and for more positives, they have a nice outdoor patio and friendly wait staff. there are also many vegan options.

Gingergrass
2396 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
323-644-1600
www.gingergrass.com

Posted in los angeles, vegan-friendly, vietnamese | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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