Friday, July 17, 2009

Native Foods in California

Native Foods
Westwood Village
1110 1/2 Gayley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 209-1055

During our trek to Ventura from Long Beach, my mother and I decided to stop off at a vegan-friendly, organic lunch chain in Westwood, near UCLA. Native Foods have a couple locations throughout CA and came highly recommended on Yelp when searching the area on my iPhone for healthy food options. The location was small with two seperate areas for take-out and sit-in diners. The ordering scenario is very Pei Wei-ish or Noodles & Co. style; you order and pay up front at the register, then are issued a number and the food is then brought to you at your table. I like this system as it is usually pretty efficient, but the kitchen staff here were definitely on "California time" when sending dishes out...

All our food came out at the same time; including our appetizer. Eh. No biggie I guess. I figured my Ensalada Azteca would not be filling enough so I added the Awesome Threesome app, pictured above which consisted of hummus, a tomato bruschetta, and grilled flatbread. The sauces were a bit on the oily side but the bread was nice and crispy and just what I needed.

Here is my pretty Azteca Ensalada, suggested by the cashier as supposedly their most popular dish. was a little lackluster for me, but that doesn't mean I didn't finish the whole thing. No surprises there. The ingredients were fresh no doubt but the combinations didn't seem to jive. Just a few too many ingredients and textures, especially when you incorporate jicama fruit which is so tough and bland flavored. Mostly, I was just jealous of my mom's selection so I resented my choice the whole time knowing how good her hot bowl on :)
Mom went for the Ghandi Bowl which blew me a way with its flavorful steamed veggies, tart dried cranberries and aromatic Jasmine and brown rice. The heat from the curry sauce was subtle and gave the dish just enough moisture; the grilled tempeh added heartiness and substance to an otherwise relatively light dish. As you can see, mom is posing like Ghandi would have had he eaten his namesake something.

Overall a worthwhile pit stop. If you are looking for a quick bite this might not be the place, but if you have a smidge of extra time it's a solid option. I especially loved watching our food get assembled from our 2nd floor perch atop the kitchen. (pictured top)

OH! A must mention; the gratis water came flavored with fresh lemons and limes. This trend I noticed was more typical than not in California cafe style establishments, perhaps because natural California tap water is icky tasting, either way I totally dug it.

1 comment:

Essay Are A said...

very nice review! you should be a food critic! I mean, I guess you already are--via yelp!