Let’s step outside the box for a minute and eat something we’ve never eaten. Or… Have we been devouring this kind of food all along and not realizing it? Have you ever thought of going vegan? What does vegan mean to a non-vegan such as myself? Well… I have no idea because I’m not the one to judge someone based off of what kind of foods they eat. (Unless you eat rodents or some kind of disgusting bug then yuck, eww, blah) I’ve often heard people say that those who are vegans are often looked at as “others” because of what differs from the “norm”. The “norm” being meats and your traditional vegetables. Well, I’d like to proudly say that after discovering how vegans eat, it wouldn’t be so bad if I too was looked at as the “others”. Yes, with a few more meals, I can possibly be persuaded to go to the other side of the food group.
Before I help your eyes become bigger than your stomach I want to give you a brief description and/or history of this restaurant. This restaurant grows its own food in its backyard. Innovating different techniques and creative thinking to make little to none processed, plant-based foods that are nutritious, delicious, and vibrant. This restaurant is a part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine that is a California based lifestyle company that provides us with high quality products and services in the culinary arts, health, and wellness industries. I was able to speak with Manager Rachel Binder who mentioned that they have culinary classes directly on top of the restaurant while you’re dining. How cool is that? Plant food has a “pyramid” of food that it devotes its food centered around. Leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, sprouts and sprouted Legumes, whole healthy fats, and cold pressed oils are some things that are a part of the “Plant Food Pyramid”.
This restaurant is in Venice Beach, California so if you’re looking to catch some quick sand in your feet before a nice lunch then I suggest you choose this place. The interior of this restaurant is absolutely beautiful as it gives a modern high quality café look. I opted to sit in the back outside where there are padded cushions and plenty of seating. You can also see where the vegetables and fresh herbs are grown for the dishes that you may eat. I opted to try around five or six dishes which all happen to be great. I’m still having challenges trying to figure out which dish I actually liked the best. Maybe you can tell me when you decide to visit this place!
The first dish that was ordered was the Steamed Buns with smoked tofu, oyster mushrooms, napa cabbage, and chili. I didn’t know what to expect while eating the tofu, but I wanted to try it. If I can describe what tofu taste like, in my opinion of course, I’d say it taste like a lighter version of roast beef mixed in with some kind of vegetable. This maybe a horrible description, but you’re reading my blog, and I can only give you my opinion based off of my experiences, not Google’s definition of what it should taste like. The buns were soft and moist almost like “my mama’s biscuits” (Martin reference). The oyster mushrooms along with the cabbage and chili gave this dish an extra “kick” to it as well. If you’re into spicy foods, then this is definitely the dish for you. They provide you with two steamed buns but they are perfect lunch size portions for an appetizer. I decided to also pair this dish with a glass of wine. The wine was a Lancerre by Vincent Grall which is equivalent to a sauvignon blanc. It was very smooth and paired greatly with the steamed buns and the smokiness of the tofu.
The second dish that was ordered was the Heirloom Tomato & Zucchini Lasagna. It consisted of sun dried tomato marinara, macadamia ricotta, and pistachio pesto. This dish was possibly the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten in my life. I kid you not. It tastes like real lasagna, but a colder version of it. The vegetables were fresh and the tomatoes were nice and crisp. What made me so confused about this dish is that the ricotta taste like real cheese! I’m still trying to figure out if someone was playing a trick on me and cheese is what I was actually eating. If you were eating regular lasagna, the pasta sheets would be your base, but in this case the zucchini took place of where the actual pasta sheets are supposed to go. The pistachio pesto took the dish over the top as it gave it more of a vegetable feel to the whole dish. I was able to pair this dish with another white wine, but this time the white wine was a light fresh wine from Provence. It was more on the smooth side like the previous wine I explained. Describing wine isn’t one of my strong attributes but I will work on that so I can give you a better description of how each wine taste with the dish you order.
The third dish was the Cashew Raclette. It came with cornichon, radish, herb salad, and grilled lodge bread. If you’re looking for a dish that gives you a consistency of a rich flavored cheese to go with the grilled flavor of lodge bread then this is the dish for you. The blue cheese taste like a thick butter and the kumquat marmalade added an extra kick to it. I was thoroughly impressed by how well this specific dish taste because even though I’m not big on bread, this dish would certainly change my mind.
The fourth dish was the Spicy Udon which is equivalent to creamed based pasta with vegetables if I had to describe to a non-vegan eater. The “pasta” was surrounded by tempeh sausage, roasted cashew, red mustard frill, radish, and togarashi. This dish was unbelievable as the sauce was like a creamy spicy sauce and the tempeh sausage had a smoky flavor to it. The roasted cashew gave off the right amount of salt and the mustard frill added the tanginess to the dish. The dish also included mushrooms and the sausage looks exactly like small cut up chicken. This dish can be paired with either a Chenin Blanc (Les Hospices) with has an oak stone fruit taste or a Frappato wine which is a product of Italy.
Last but not least we have a cheesecake dessert. No, this dish taste exactly like cheesecake. It’s a pistachio crusted cashew hibiscus cheesecake with lime curd and strawberries. This cheesecake was rich in flavor and the strawberries added an extra amount of sweetness to this dessert. I’m not the biggest dessert eater but since this being a vegan restaurant I figured I’d try it all.
I absolutely had no idea how amazing this food would be. The best thing about the food is that it tastes no differently than the normal food I would eat on a consistent basis. The service is amazing as well as my waiter Nikolas Byrnes set the bar high for how service is supposed to be provided. I had no idea choosing this restaurant from over 1000 miles away would help influence my mind into trying different foods. I would challenge everyone to try different foods especially when they travel.