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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
after writing about my lunch, i want to go back NOW!
Mary’s Secret Garden
100 South Fir Street
Ventura, CA 93001