Native Foods invited me to stop in for dinner yesterday to sample their new summer menu and, friends, I have to say I was blown away.
I love Native Foods but I tend to get the same thing every time, ever since I went gluten-free: the sesame macro bowl with extra ‘kraut. The new summer menu has officially shaken me of this habit with fresh new dishes that are light, flavorful and unique:
Grilled Avocado Plate
The Grilled Avocado Plate has a whole huge avocado, grilled, atop a bed of zippy greens, tofu bacon and radishes tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, and topped with crispy tortilla strips. This was my favorite thing that I could try (my friend Sara had to be my “mouth” for the glutenous stuff). The vinaigrette was so flavorful without being overpowering, and the avocados were creamy delicious. The tortilla strips added the perfect amount of crunch and salt to the dish.
The only thing I would change is that I would probably order without the tofu bacon. It was fine on its own but I just don’t like smokey things and was never a huge bacon eater. For me, it sullied the clean flavors of the dish but that’s just my take, Sara was a fan of it.
This was a fantastic dish, one I will absolutely get again. It’s marketed as an appetizer, but would make a fine meal with the addition of a small side (the lemon dill potato salad would be an excellent pairing!).
Summer Berry Salad
The Summer Berry Salad is a gorgeous dish, alive with bright joyful colors that scream, “Nutrients!!!” It has kale and romaine, blueberries, strawberries and seasonal veggies (mine had jicama!) tossed with a mango lime dressing and pumpkin seeds.
I love how kale-based salads take a while to eat, and I was chewing my way through this beauty the entire meal. As an overeater, raw kale is a great tool to help me slow down and enjoy my food. The berries were vibrant in each bite, and I was always delighted to detect a little pumpkin seed in there.
This is something I would absolutely order again, but it definitely needs something (for me!) to be a filling meal. Those that are used to eating high-raw might be ok, but I find I need a little cooked carbs or some whole fats in my meal to feel satiated. Tempeh would be an amazing addition, or avocado. In fact, I stole some avocado from the grilled plate, put it on the salad, and was in heaven.
Korean BBQ Sub
Unfortunately, I couldn’t try the Korean BBQ Sub because it was (obviously) not gluten-free. It has seitan, marinated and sliced thin, crispy mushrooms, tomatoes and pineapple slaw on a beautiful sesame seed baguette, served with a pickle on the side.
I did sneak a bite of a mushroom, and I ate some of the cole slaw, and both blew my mind. Sara, in between enthusiastic bites, told me it was one of the most unique things she’s ever eaten – savory, sweet, and salty with a hint of cinnamon somewhere. She said the “meat” was very tender and flavorful, and declared, “Any meat-eater would be fooled!”
The Korean BBQ Sub is a feast for the eyes. I can’t imagine ordering it and not having everyone at the table drooling over it. Please go order one and eat it on behalf of me and all my gluten-sensitive brethren!
The star treatment ended with this sexy giant slice of Blueberry Crumble. This was not gluten-free either, so Sara ate it for me and exclaimed that it was, “So fresh! You can taste the blueberries” and “Mmmmmmmmm!!!! The bottom tastes like cookies!” She highly recommends it!
I want to thank Native Foods in Point Loma (San Diego) for having me, I was honored to come in and try their menu, and the staff were all so sweet to us. If you have a Native Foods near you, go check them out and tell them VeganSpin sent you!