Eating Like a Native

Interesting discussion on whether on whether or not you eat fake meat! One of the reasons I stay away from it is because meat doesn’t really appeal to me that much anymore. Once in a while, though, I get a craving… and there’s really one restaurant I’ve been to thatΒ  makes GOOD fake meat!

Remember that cooking demo I said I went to last Saturday? It was at Native Foods, an all-vegan restaurant pretty close to my house. Every month or so, they have free cooking demos, where you watch the owner of the restaurant, Chef Tanya, cook a few recipes and talk about veganism.

(For the record, I didn’t get paid or bribed or anything to write this- I’m just kind of obsessed with this place)

The best part about the demo? SAMPLES!

They started out by bringing around hot chai made with soy milk. This was my favorite drink when I worked at a cafe in high school- there’s something about soy milk that makes it silky and delicious.

Three dishes were made, and everyone gets a paper with the recipes on it.

The theme of the demo was food that you can bring to a Superbowl party- so there were two kinds of nachos!

The first was the Miyamoto nachos, which had sweet potatoes instead of tortilla chips. HELL YES.

My sister didn’t even like sweet potatoes until she tried them last year at another demo (freak) so we both LOVED this. It had black beans (so good with sweet potatoes!) cucumber, tomato, avocado, nori and a wasabi dressing.

The next kind of nacho was an Italian version- Nachos Italiano.

Instead of tortilla chips, the base was a baguette, and was topped with tomatoes, basil, white beans, avocado, pesto, and roasted garlic cream. Also delicious!

A sample of one of their drinks was brought out in between- watermelon fresca. Soooo refreshing! They also have a lavender lemonade and an iced tea. I’ve tried all of them, but nothing beats the watermelon!

Last course- dessert!

Chef Tanya made chocolate almond filo crispies, which were AMAZING. I know I say that about every food, but seriously- oh my good. There was orange zest in it, which made it taste like those chocolate oranges from TJ’s! My sister hates citrus and chocolate together (double freak) so she gave me hers. It was happily devoured πŸ™‚

Not only do you get to keep the recipes, there’s an information sheet that talks a little about veganism on there. They make all their seitan from scratch in each restaurant. I had never had it before I tried a burger from there, but I am now a seitan lover.

Second best part of the demo- coupons!

Since we didn’t have time to eat after the demo, we took our coupons and headed back for lunch today.

I knew exactly what I was going to get- the Soul Bowl!

Southern fried Native Chicken with hearty red beans and “jazzman” rice, steamed veggies, organic greens, ranch dressing and served with a freshly-made corn bread wedge. Lord have mercy.

Look at that sauce! So, so, so good.

My sister got her favorite- the Scorpion Burger.

Chef Tanya’s original burger! Homemade Tempeh blackened with chipotle sauce, lettuce, carrots, avocado and onions. I had a bite, and it was great!

I also got a watermelon fresca πŸ™‚

For the record, I have taken several (very skeptical) friends and my mom here, and everyone has LOVED it. It’s the perfect place to take people who are hesitant to try vegan foods to! I don’t eat out very often, but when I do, it’s usually here or my other favorite, Rutabegorz. Thank god for vegan / vegetarian restaurants!

Have you ever been to a cooking demo? I went to one in October with my mom that Taste of Home (best cooking magazine ever!) did. I’ve also been to almost every demo that Native Foods has done πŸ™‚

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71 Responses to Eating Like a Native

  1. Looks like fun! I’m going to go to a Vegetarian Cooking Demo/Class in a month or two, and I am really looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

  2. Fun! I like cooking demos, but will admit- sometimes I’m hungry and just want the full meal! Patience is not something I practice often… πŸ™‚

    • Oh my gosh, me too! I ate right before, which was a good decision because we knew we didn’t have time to eat right after. There have been times we left early just to eat at the restaurant as soon as possible πŸ™‚

  3. Danielle says:

    I’m one of the types who’s hesitant to try vegan foods, and that all looks really, really good! The demos sound like a lot of fun, too!

  4. theflourishingfoodie says:

    Those nachos looks so yummy! I’m usually not a huge sweet potato, but I think I’d like them like that! That sounds like a super cool restaurant.

  5. That looks like so much fun!! I’ve never been to a demo but I want to!

  6. I would LOVE to go to a cooking demo! I think it would be a great way to expose myself (and my readers ;)) to new kinds of food! πŸ˜€

  7. greekmelie says:

    I’ve been to native foods and everything tasted so good! I would love to have a cooking demonstration as well. πŸ™‚

  8. Alaina says:

    Looks like so much fun!

    David and I went to a cooking demo/class in Atlantic City. The theme was French cuisine and it was so much fun and the food was so good. The best part was being able to take the recipe home. I can’t wait to make the apple tart! πŸ™‚

  9. Casey says:

    Ah I totally went to native foods when I visited my friend who lives out there.
    Soo many awesome vegan options around!
    And I’m doing a free class too next week, of the Whole Foods variety πŸ˜‰
    Anything involving the words ‘free’ and ‘cooking’….im there.

  10. Ummm, twins?!?! I just came home from Native Foods and I’m totally stuffed. This post made me want to eat more! That Soul Bowl looks amazing. Sigh, I guess I’ll *have* to go back!

  11. Heather R says:

    Oh man, that Watermelon drink looks fantastic. Everything looks delicious!

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  13. AlisonM says:

    Er, chocolate almond filo cripspies — I need some of those in my life!

  14. sophia says:

    What a coincidence. I just posted about meatless products, too.

    I like meat. I won’t ever stop eating meat. Taco Bell should just call their products “almost meatless” and pretend it’s all healthy. Why not? Tons of marketers do that. Haha!

  15. Hannah says:

    Mini food! Mini vegan food! Does life get any better? (although as a choc-orange-hater, I’d have passed up on that dessert too :P)

  16. I’m not vegan, but I love, love vegan restaurants. That looks so delicious. Never been to a cooking demo but would love to go to one, or taking a cooking class of sorts.

  17. i WOULD LOVE that place!! looks like some freakin good food! ive never been to a demo before!

  18. that food looks amazing I have taken few cooking classes I love watching someone cook and then getting to taste it !

  19. I wish I had a restaurant like that where I live. Maybe I should do research. I am always up for trying new things, so I would be totally willing to try a vegan restaurant.

  20. Kristina says:

    That looks like a great time! I’m glad you threw in a discussion about fake meat-i’m not big into it (well…sunshine burgers I really like)…but yesterday W made fake meat sausages and he loved them-I thought they were good too but I don’t NEED or crave meat so I could have done without…it’s a great “converter”

  21. Gina says:

    Love vegan/vegetarian restaurants! There is always such creative dishes on the menu!

  22. Those pictures are awesome! Such delicious food and flavor combos are making me hungry!!

  23. runyogarepeat says:

    I had a Philly cheese”steak” with seitan last week, and it was really good! Vegetarian restaurants have awesome choices.

  24. BrittFit says:

    I’ve only been to one cooking demo in a huge arena WAYYY to crowded…yours looks like it was nice and calm…and plus the food looks delish!

  25. I have never been to a cooking demo but I am always intrigued to go. Whenever I see photos of bloggers attending I end up more intrigued as the flavor combos seem so random to me!

  26. Errign says:

    I’ve never been to a cooking demo but it looks really fun. I’m all about free samples and coupons. πŸ™‚ I am a sort of fan of fake meat – I like soy sausages & morningstar black bean burgers and chik’n nuggets πŸ™‚

  27. That place sounds awesome, and I want those nachos! πŸ™‚

  28. Erika says:

    I’ve never been to any cooking demos, but they sound like so much fun. This one sounds especially interesting! Those Italian Nachos sound delicious! Glad you had fun. πŸ™‚

  29. So cool! I am a huuge sucker for samples =P

  30. divasrun says:

    BRB, I’ve got a sweet potato in the fridge waiting to be baked!

  31. Free food is the best πŸ˜‰

  32. Interesting topic πŸ˜‰ I never eat fake meat as most of it is made with soy and I don’t eat soy. I find it messes with my hormones too much!

    I hope you have a splendid weekend my friend!

  33. That tempeh burger sounds like perfection!! πŸ˜€

  34. sandy says:

    Oh yeah! I say heck yes to every Native Foods Cafe demo that I can get into before they sell out. I took my sister in law and niece who werre majorly skeptical and Chef Tanya at Native Foods Cafe Culver City was amazing talking to them afterwards. They are making the Japanese Nachos for the Super Bowl. THANKS Chef Tanya,,,,I can’t believe they are free! OH something foodie…I’m way into the Scorpion Burger with sweet potato fries at Native Foods….yum

  35. Wow, that place sounds awesome! I’ve never been to any cooking demos. I’d like to take some of the classes that they offer at Whole Foods but it’s just too far away to drive on a weeknight! 😦

    I’ve never tried seitan before. Does it have a taste?

  36. Monica says:

    I have never been to a cooking demo, but think I would really love it. I have been to lots of alcohol tastings (beer, wine, rum….) and it is always so much fun to learn about how they make their drinks. I imagine a food demo would be similar.

    Um, might you be able to post that sweet potato nacho recipe please? πŸ˜‰

  37. Amanda says:

    I need to drive out to Native Foods and try it out. The nachos made from sweet potatoes sound right up my alley!

  38. Olivia says:

    I totally missed this post somehow, the first time I was reading through your recent updates! But that is so cool about the vegan restaurant and samplings! All of her “nachos” look really good-especially the sweet potato one! I wish we had a cool restaurant like that in my town, I’m so jealous! πŸ˜‰

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