Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan Mofo and Encuentro!!

What?! It's October?! How did that happen? I was just hanging out at a friend's pool in 75 degree weather yesterday. And it's 80 today... but even if the weather doesn't feel like Fall, I couldn't be more excited to welcome October. Because it's Vegan Mofo (that's Vegan MOnth of FOod for those of you who have not heard). And this year I'm officially taking part in it! To start off the month, I have a restaurant review- but see yesterday's post on pumpkin cookies if you are craving a recipe!

About a week ago, my husband took me to Encuentro cafe & wine bar for our anniversary dinner. I was totally ecstatic to read over the menu- which was almost entirely vegan. Plus, there were plenty of apps & small plates designed for sharing (which I love doing since I can never make up my mind). 

Here's what we had:

Socca with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, herbed cashew cheese, and arugula. This was absolutely delicious. The socca was soft melt-in-your-mouth amazingness, topped with smooth cashew cream, flavorful roasted veggies, and bright, fresh, light dressing and arugula. My favorite plate of the night, and it completely convinced me I need to make my own socca (chickpea pancakes) at home. More on that to come this month!
Dark green salad with kale, arugula, black beans, cumin roasted carrots, pickled onions, jicama, and walnut sprinkles and cashew cheese tossed in a serrano cilantro tahini dressing. It was hearty, bursting with bright flavor, and yummy. A little too heavy on the dressing for my taste though- I prefer my salads really lightly dressed, and this was verging on what my sister likes to call (and eat) "soggy salad."
Butternut squash quesadillas with macadamia nut cheese, avocado cilantro sauce, and guac. I thought these were delicious, though my husband of course said, "They'd be better with cheese." ;-)

I really liked the atmosphere at Encuentro, except for one thing: these wierd-ass paintings: 
Creepy!! ;-) But other than that, I liked the modern wine bar feel, particularly the bar area and lighting, wood tables, and bright flowers.

In addition to this amazing dinner, we also took the weekend to travel to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Along the way, we stopped in Chico to grab lunch, and through the wonders of Yelp came across Grilla Bites, a yummy deli/restaurant with plenty of delicious vegan options. I could not pass up the salad bar:

Sometimes I just love fresh salad bars, so I can pick & choose and pile on a mix of lettuces and a variety of veggies. I also had to try their vegan potato salad (the little scoop there on the left side)- which was actually really delicious (usually I don't like mayonnaisey prepared salads, but this had great flavor and didn't taste too heavy)- as well as their pesto tofu (on the right) - so good, and this would be easy to make at home as well.

Going out to eat as a vegan can be challenging sometimes, but more often than not, with some planning in finding amazing spots like these, I just get completely inspired to make my own versions at home. Perfect timing, then, for Vegan MoFo! Cheers to more great vegan food!

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried socca - but it looks so chic and delish!


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