Review of Peacefood Cafe Downtown – A Vegan Restaurant in Union Square, NYC

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I adore Peacefood Cafe. I’m gonna be real with you guys – I actually work at this restaurant, so you may think I’m being biased, but I’m not. This place rocks. Not only are the employees amazing (ahem), the food is out of this world.

Peacefood has two locations, one is uptown on Amsterdam and 82nd, and the other, the one I’m reviewing, which also happens to be vastly superior because I work there – is on University and 11th. I’m obviously kidding about it being vastly superior, but just about the vastly – they both rock.

Now, Peacefood is not only a restaurant, its a bakery. An insane bakery, like I really think the bakers have some king of magic happening that they’re not sharing with the rest of the staff. I’m an expert on the baked goods because all I really do while I’m working is eat the delicious treats. 

Baked goodies you MUST try:

Raspberry Bar – We serve this cold, but I think its best at room temperature, then it gets all gooey and even more spectacular. Seriously, trust me and resist temptation to eat it right away, its worth the wait.

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Gluten Free Muffin of the Day – The muffin changes daily. They are all awesome though. My favs are the strawberry quinoa and the mixed berry lemon. If you go on a day that either of those muffins are there, be sure to snag at least one, you won’t be sorry. This one is pistachio chip.

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Magic Cookie – The main ingredient is heaven but it also has chocolate chips, carrot and nuts. There’s a cult following for this signature cookie. I don’t feel I need to elaborate any further.

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Those three are my favs and you will not be disappointed.

When it comes to actual food. You must try the raw sushi roll. It’s walnut pâté & seasonal julienne vegetables in nori, served with a jicama-carrot medley, topped with avocado – soy sauce on the side.

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This thing is so good. I have no idea what “real” sushi tastes like, but I bet this beats it hands down. The walnut pâté is so creamy and flavorful.

Also, the soups are always dope. And in NY right now it’s approximately one degree outside, so soup is the perfect comfort food. Like the muffin, the soups change daily, there’s always two. There’s also a bangin’ red bean chili every single day.

Last night I got the lemony artichoke, parsnip and ginger soup.

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If you’re missing creamy soups as a vegan, look no further. This soup had so much flavor, the lemon was subtle and the artichoke flavor really came through. Loved it.

Other stuff I don’t have pic of but I recommend are the fluffy quinoa salad – Fluffy quinoa, baby greens & sprouts of the day, avocado, sweet peppers, corn & onions tossed with creamy lime mustard vinaigrette. Any of the paninis. And the chickpea fries – these have amazing Indian spices and are served with a creamy “Caesar” dressing.

Check out Peacefood’s website. Or call 212.979.2288 to make a rez downtown, but they only take them for parties of 3 or more.

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Review of Babycakes NYC – A Vegan Gluten Free Bakery

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So, clearly I didn’t get my fill of delicious vegan goodies when I reviewed Papa Ganache , because over the weekend I hit up Babycakes NYC.

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I totally didn’t even plan to go here that day, but I walked right past it when I was on a stroll with little monster who came into the city for a visit.

Let me tell you, we tore this place up. It didn’t have a chance. Here’s a before picture…..

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I won’t horrify you with the after, which I had to delete for my own well being, keeping it would have sparked a diet, and I’m probably the meanest hungry person ever. So we try to avoid that…

Anyway, that hodgepodge of delicious you see in the above pic is brownie bites, chocolate cupcake top, vanilla cupcake top, pumpkin cupcake, red velvet cupcake, apple churro, and a chocolate covered donut.

We started with the red velvet cupcake. It was good but a little bit dry. The icing was really creamy and very dense, the flavor was really good, just a hit of a cream cheeseyness.

Next we did the cupcake tops. I would recommend getting these, they’re much smaller, and moister than the full size cupcake, I guess because theres less cake. The icings were the same base icing that the red velvet used but just flavored appropriately.

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The pumpkin cupcake was AWESOME! You can really taste the cinnamon and other spices. Definitely try that one bc it’s only there seasonally!

Next we tried the chocolate chip brownie bites, these were the star of the show. Little monster tried it first and then held it out asking if I wanted to try – when I attempted to take it from her, she held on to it, only letting me break off a tiny morsel. I almost tired to fight for it, but then I remembered the Papa Ganache fork stabbing incident and decided it was best t just let her keep it.

They had a really deep, rich chocolate flavor. We actually went back in and got more. Seriously, that good.

Next, we tired the donut.

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This was really tasty too. Like the kind of donut that you want to dip in a big mug of coffee. It was kind of cakey and the chocolate on top was thick and wonderful.

Last but not least we had the Apple churro.I’m allergic to apple but I can eat it when it’s cooked, so I jumped at the chance to have something apple. It was reallllly yummy, sweet apple filing and dipped in sugar. Need I say more?

I will say the staff was not that friendly at all, or maybe they were just annoyed that we drooled all over the floor while selecting our desserts, either way they could be a little more welcoming!

So, go check out Babycakes! It’s on Broome between Ludlow and Orchard. They also have mixes and cookbooks and all sorts of fun stuff on their website.

Review of Good Karma Cafe – A Vegan Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ

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I’ve been wanting to review Good Karma for a while now and I finally got the chance when I had to take a train into the Red Bank station. (Good Karma is super close, like 2 blocks or something).

This place is so tiny, there might be room for 20 people to sit at most. But, don’t let the small size fool you, they turn out some pretty good food.

I was STARVING on my ride in from NYC, so I checked out the menu on the way. The menu is pretty big so it was a good thing I did because I’m the world’s most indecisive person, so I was able to at least pick an app to start with.

I decided on the queso and nacho chips.

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The queso looked awesome when it came out. It was cheesey dip, sour cream, pico, chives and a pesto-ish type oil. It was super tasty and had a hint of tahini which I loved. A touch more spice would have made this insane. The chips were blue corn and I’m pretty sure they don’t make them there, they were thicker chips and since the dip was very thin, it almost didn’t hold up. A thinner tortilla chip would have been a much better compliment to the queso.

I actually asked for a side of guac with this dish, and though it’s def not necessary, it was super yummy.

For my entree I chose the earth burger which was made of tofu, sunflower seeds and brown rice and comes topped with mayo, raw onion tomato and lettuce on a whole grain bun. There’s an option to make it a “bacon cheeseburger,” by adding their homemade cheese sauce and tempeh bacon. Obviously I did that. And I swapped the plain mayo for some jalapeño aioli because you know I love my spice.

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This thing was a MONSTER. So huge. And the tempeh strips are enormous too. I had to remove most of the tempeh bacon if I was gonna have a chance at eating this thing. I’d recommend making the tempeh into strips like bacon instead of the current block form, it would just make it easier to eat.

Despite the fact that it was hard to eat and super messy, (I probably killed like half a rainforest worth of napkins tackling this bad boy) – it was freakin delicious. The homemade veggie patty was really moist and flovorful, the sunflower seeds really come through. It came with a gigantic salad on the side that was really fresh, I topped it with their thousand island dressing. I can’t remember the last time I had thousand island but it tasted exactly how I remember it – sweet and tangy. Yum-o.

My mom got the pad Thai which I was super excited about because I obviously planned to hijack most of it.

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I hate to say this, I really do, but this dish was a huge disappointment. Almost no flavor, it was bland rice noodles and bland sauce. It’s weird because it had all the right components for a good dish – the menu describes it as “wide rice noodles with carrots, cabbage, celery and broccoli in a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce topped with toasted peanuts and sprouts.” Well kids, there was no sweet, there was no tang, just a whole lot of blah. In fact, the most prominent flavor was celery … Yuck. Seriously, this dish needs to be revamped or sent to wherever culinary fails go to die. Probably the same place as Paula Deen’s fried butter disaster–and her career.

After the pad Thai fail, we needed a pick-me-up. You know what I’m talking about…. That’s right, pumpkin cheesecake.

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This little slice of heaven, and I do mean that literally – I now believe this to be what heaven tastes like – made up for the pad Thai catastrophe. It had a nut crust, a creamy pumpkin filing topped with a cream cheesey layer and fresh cinnamon for the finishing touch. Drop everything and order one for Thanksgiving.

Seriously, don’t let the pad Thai turn you away, it’s the first bad dish I’ve ever had here and I’ve been here numerous times.

To place your Thanksgiving order it just check the place out, click here.

Review of Pure Food and Wine – A Vegan Restaurant in Union square, New York

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This place is called Pure Food and Wine and if you’re not careful, you could pass right by it when you’re looking for it. But, keep your eye out, you’ll want to find this place.

It’s a raw vegan restaurant, but don’t rule this place out because it’s raw, you would never know it. In fact, don’t rule out anything before trying it because that’s just stupid.

I came to this place to celebrate some important accomplishment that my cousin, Tracy, was excited about. We only went a few weeks ago but I honestly can’t remember what it was she was celebrating because I was too excited about the deliciousness that I was about to experience.

Tracy was late, as she always seems to be, but it’s fine because she’s insane and kind of a maniac, and so am I and that’s why we are partners in crime. Just so you get the idea, as I was writing this post, she sent me this pic of us from Halloween circa 1990… Not much has changed.

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I’m on the left, Tracy is on the right.

So while I was waiting for 30 minutes by myself, (And as I tried to ignore the “oh, that poor girl” stares of sympathy from the other diners who clearly thought I had been stood up) I snagged a cool pic of the outdoor garden where I was sitting. Love the trees overhead and the little white lights!

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Tracy finally got there. We started with a bottle of some lovely red from Vacqueyras. Not only was it rich in flavor, it was organic. Just spectacular.

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Yum, yum, yum. Now on to the meal.

We shared the Sweet Corn and Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella served with salsa verde, avocado, cashew coconut sour cream, raw cacao mole. Good god, this was phenomenal. And RAW! So you get all the nutritional benefits of the food, plus amazing flavor.

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Now, we only split one entree because this place is a little pricy, and understandably so, it’s worth every penny. But I’m a poor grad student and Tracy isn’t swimming in a pool of gold coins either, so we scaled it back a bit. Also, we wanted to save room for dessert.

Obviously, we got 2 desserts.

The infamous mint chocolate sundae….

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And the classic sundae…

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Both were seriously to die for. Like I could die, and as long as I eat these sundaes first, I’d be happy.

The mint sundae is chocolate, fresh mint, and mint chip ice creams topped with mint chocolate cookies, chocolate sauce, vanilla cream. I am normally not fan of mint and chocolate, but this may have converted me into a believer.

The classic sundae was by far my fav… vanilla and chocolate ice creams, chocolate and cherry framboise sauces, sliced bananas, candied almonds, vanilla cream. Is there anything better? The almonds were the perfect touch, crunchy sweet and there were TONS of them. This thing was so good that I am contemplating running back there to get another right now.

I would definitely check this place out if I were you. Whether you’re a carnivore or a raw vegan, you’ll love this place. Go when you are hungry and your wallet is a little extra padded, you’ll want to be able yo try as much as you can fit in your tummy.

Check out the menu here. And call (212) 477-1010 for a Rez which I strongly suggest because this place is always crowded.

Review of Kaya’s Kitchen – A Vegan Restaurant in Belmar, NJ

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I’m a huge fan of Kaya’s Kitchen, so when they revamped their menu, I was beyond thrilled to review it!

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I went there Friday afternoon with my mom for a late lunch. We were greeted by one of the waitresses, I don’t know her name but she is so sweet and attentive, I absolutely love when she is my waitress. She gave us menus and water right away. We couldn’t wait to crack into the new menu to see what new treasures this menu offered.

Unfortunately, not many. In fact May items had been deleted. I was pretty surprised to see that many of the prices had increased quite a bit. BUT, they did go entirely organic so a small price increase would be justifiable, obviously.

I was released to see that my absolute fav thing on Kaya’s menu survived – their insanely awesome out-of-this-world creation, the shiitake cake. It’s a shiitake mushroom, corn and bean patty topped with guac, pico, and sriracha. On the old menu you got a plate of 2 for $12. On the new menu it’s now $9, which made me the happiest little vegan on the planet for about 5 seconds until I realized that on the new menu it’s now shiitake CAKE not CAKES. My heart died a little when I realized it would now cost me $18 for what I used to pay $12 for. Not cool.

Another favorite of mine, Kaya’s combo, made the cut, and only went up $1. I’m totally cool with that, inflation, you know. So we started with that.

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Oh, yes, it is as amazing as it looks! It’s beer battered tempeh wings, tofu karma wings, vegan chicken nugs, Mississippi ribs -a freakin delicious BBQ sauce- and picnic potato salad. If you eat this, go hungry, it’s enormous.

The buff sauce is spicy, but not so much so that you’ll need a gallon of water and the chicken nugs are so delish. You can dip them on the aforementioned amazing BBQ sauce, an agave mustard or just plain. Either way you can’t go wrong with these puppies.

Next we got “the salad bowl.” It’s the only salad on the menu which is kind of depressing because they used to offer some really stellar salads.

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This salad is mixed greens, shredded carrots, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, sprouts and hempseeds. You get your choice of dressing and I chose balsamic vin. I kind of forgive Kaya’s for only having one salad because this one is so fresh and tasty. But not really because we need some variety. Oh, but, you can add raw tofu (not a fan) or avocado (yum!) for 2 bucks.

Just for fun, we got their special of the day, the grandfather pizza.

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This little guy is a gem and should be on the menu at all times. It’s Italian field roast sausage, onions, peppers, fresh basil and mozz. I was so full from all the other food we gorged ourselves on that I could only have a few bites. But the leftovers heated up amazing and we’re even good cold. Who doesn’t like cold pizza?

They offer a nice selection of desserts, many from the recently reviewed Papa Ganache you can see my review here.

Obviously we were too full to indulge, plus I think I’m still shaking from my sugar high I got from eating 75 of their cupcakes in a row last week. So worth it though.

Go check Kaya’s out, their food never disappoints. They’re open every day but Monday. Sunday is the vegan buffet. You can check out their website here.

Review of Papa Ganache – A Vegan Bakery in Matawan, NJ

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This week we’re gonna get a little crazy and review a bunch of cupcakes. I know I usually do restaurants, but what fun is a meal without dessert? None!

So my little adorable monster sister’s 16th birthday is coming up and we needed to order a vegan cake for the shindig. Actually, it’s more like a massive, insane, crazy blowout party and I could not be more happy to be planning it. Especially since it meant cake tasting at one of the best vegan bakeries around. (They won Cupcake Wars after all).

Seriously, just looking at the display case makes me want to move to Matawan and be their official cupcake taster.

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So, little monster’s favorite thing on this planet is s’mores. So we started with the s’more cupcake, obviously.

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This was a base of chocolate cake topped with a vanilla frosting, chocolate drizzle, graham cracker crumbs and a marshmallow. It was good, but I would have liked a little more of the graham cracker flavor. Also, the marshmallow was a little sweeter than I would have preferred, but the little monster loved it.

Next we tried the mochaccino madness. This was heaven. Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and a bit of some espresso flavored fudge type miracle. Oh, and there was espresso powder too. I actually can’t even believe I got a pic of this one for you guys.

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Little monster’s next favorite thing in the world is Oreos. (Did you guys know they’re vegan?) She actually always keeps a box in her room or strategically hidden around the house so that no one can steal one. We clearly had to try Papa Ganache’s cookies and cream cupcake which comes topped with an Oreo.

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I was only allowed a small bite of this one, and I fought for it. Little monster did not want to share and I’m pretty sure I have a fork shaped scar on my hand from the battle.

Again it had a base chocolate cake but was topped with a vanilla icing with Oreo cookie grounds mixed in. Yum!

Next, we tried one of my favorite combos, chocolate and raspberry. In case you’ve been so unfortunate that you haven’t tasted this combo, or you live under some sort of rock, it’s the world’s best combination of flavors.

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This was my favorite cupcake of the day. It had chocolate base, raspberry icing, a raspberry Jam-ish type of deliciousness and it was topped with a fresh raspberry which was a great way to finish this wonderful creation.

We even took a box home with us!

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The one item in that box that I didn’t tell you about yet was their mini pumpkin cheesecake. BEST. THING. EVER. I absolutely love pumpkin anything but pumpkin cheesecake makes me want to wear sweatpants for the rest of my life just so I can eat it every day.

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Notice how the picture is really blurry? That’s because I was so excited to throw down on this bad boy that I didn’t care how the photo looked.

Overall, the cupcakes were just scrumptious. All of them were moist and fluffy. Just the perfect amount of sweetness and accents. Little monster chose the s’more cake to have at her party, and I don’t blame her!

If you don’t give this place a try, I would seriously question your state of mind. Ok, go!

Website: http://www.papaganache.com

Review of Seed to Sprout – A Vegan Restaurant in Avon, NJ

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I had been to this place once before and everything was amazing. So when I decided to review it for this blog, I was super excited.

It has a really cool farmhouse-ish type of atmosphere. There are fresh flowers on the tables and old fashioned bottles of water. Absolutely in love with the look and vibe that this place offers.

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I went with my veggie cousin for their Sunday Brunch. We decided to get a juice to sip on while we made our selections. My cousin got the Green Goddess which is kale, grapefruit, apple, ginger, celery and cilantro. I ordered the Heartbreaker which is carrot, apple, beet, ginger and kale. However, I have a severe apple allergy which I explained to the waitress and asked for orange as a substitute for the apple. She did not write anything down and seemed really flighty about it. I had to repeat my request a few times. But she said it would be fine and they could accommodate me.

Both juices came out and looked great.

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I took a sip of mine and thought I tasted apple. My mouth was getting itchy from the one small sip so I asked the waitress if there was apple in my juice, she confirmed there was not. I was still skeptical and refrained from drinking anymore of it. Thirty seconds later she came flying out of the back and told me there WAS apple. The juicer had made my cousin’s juice with orange instead of apple, not mine. Good thing I didn’t believe the waitress and refused to drink the juice, I would have hated spending the day at the hospital, or dead, from anaphylactic shock. Needless to say, I was not happy. I will say she seemed genuinely sorry and apologized multiple times, but if I had stopped breathing, her sorries wouldn’t have helped. I am extremely tough on restaurants that treat allergies lightly. Both my little sister and cousin grew up with severe allergies and have suffered extreme reactions at the hands of ignorant restaurant staff that claimed certain foods were safe wen they weren’t. Allergies are extremely dangerous and can kill. If a restaurant is unprepared to handle guests with dietary restrictions then that’s fine, but let the guest know that so that the can feel safe while dining out.

Anyway, they sent me out a new juice which was delicious. And we ordered our entrees to share. We got the Grilled Avocado Breakfast Sandwich which is topped with tofu scramble and coconut bacon – its served with roasted potatoes & marinated kale on the side. There are two options for bread available, a sprouted grain bread or gluten free millet and flax bread. We opted for the gluten free bread because my cousin has a gluten allergy. The sandwich was excellent with really beautiful rich flavors and the bread was one of the best gluten free breads I’ve ever had.

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The second dish we ordered was the Seed Salad which is marinated kale, mixed greens and red cabbage topped with carrots, beets, raw saurkraut, hempseeds, sprouts, pumpkin seeds and drizzled with creamy tahini dressing. This salad is HUGE. We shared it and did not even come close to finishing it. Everything in it was fresh and delicious. The kale greens had some sort of amazing nutritional yeast marinade on them. So good!

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Overall, the food was awesome. I love the atmosphere and I would recommend trying this place out. Just be very cautious if you have an allergy. I should add that both mine and my cousins juices were taken off the bill. So that was nice of them.

This place is mainly just breakfast and lunch but they serve dinner on Tuesday and Thursday nights. According to their website, Thursday is by rez only which you can make by calling 732-774-7333.

Review of Goldie’s – A Vegan Restaurant in Asbury Park

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This week I’m gonna tell you guys about a new little gem of a restaurant that just opened in Asbury Park. Its a Vegan spot with… Can I get a drum roll please…. A liquor license! Any veggies from the Jersey Shore know that unless you want to travel, finding a Veg spot with a liquor license is rare. So right off the bat, they get a thumbs up for that. They also use organic and locally grown food when available, which I absolutely love. Gotta support the local small businesses, right? And what’s better than organic?

Anyway, I made a rez for me and my two friends on a Friday night. We arrived on time and were greeted by a friendly hostess and seated immediately. Which was awesome cuz standing around in my 6 in heels waiting for my rez always sucks.

The atmosphere is sort of retro chic with mostly gold tones. Guess that’s where they got the name? We ordered a bottle of the Cline Pinot Noir to share. It was delicious, fruity and smooth, just how I like my reds.

The a la carte menu is small but that’s ok because everything sounded spectacular. If you’re as indecisive as I am, you’ll appreciate the small menu. The server was awesome at helping us make selections, she was attentive, knowledgable and friendly as well. Needless to say, the service was great.

They started us off with a nice amuse bouche of fig and herbs. Delish.

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We decided that sharing was the way to go and ordered their root vegetable fries. They come with homemade ketchup and cashew aioli. Since we inhaled them, there is no photo. But get them.

Next we got the Swiss Chard Salad with frisée, asparagus, almond milk vinaigrette, herbs and grilled garlic-rubbed croutons. The flavor was excellent and you can really taste the flavor that locally grown organic brings, its so fresh and delicious. The only negative was that the croutons were a little soggy when the salad got to the table. I suggest ordering them on the side.

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For our main course we chose the pan-fried baked potato gnocchi with cherry tomato, garlic, lobster mushroom, arugula and cherry smoke and the chickpea socca with salt-roasted beets, shiitake mushrooms, fennel seed, lemon-cashew cream and mache. Both were delicious and the quality of the food really came out in the complex layers of flavor. With the chickpea socca, I would have loved just a bit more of the lemon cashew cream, it was so good! I’m a sauce junky though, so for a normal person it was probably just enough. Below is a photo of the chickpea socca.

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We finished the meal with the ganache-soaked, yes you read that right – ganache soaked- chocolate cake with sea salt caramel and anise-infused coconut cream. A little bit more ganache would have made this out of this world, but like I said, I’m a sauce junky. Overall this decadent dessert was a perfect way to end the meal. And, no, I didn’t get a pic of this either. I was too busy playing fork swords with my dining companions for the last bite.

If you want to check out this spot here’s the website: http://www.goodgoldies.com/ You have to call and leave a message to make a rez, unless you call during their operating hours which are 4 pm – 12 am.