The Pomegranate Cafe

Today, I’m sharing with you my review of a vegetarian/vegan restaurant called The Pomegranate Café here in Ahwatukee, Arizona.  In a part of the country known primarily for its authentic Mexican cuisine (which I also love), it isn’t always easy to find healthy eats that cater to our plant-based lifestyle.  When I have the chance to try something new here in the valley, I really relish the opportunity to eat high-quality food that will ultimately inspire me in my own kitchen.

TPC, a mother/daughter created concept, is located in a bustling strip center in the east valley of Phoenix.  It is a charming establishment—as I’m finding many vegetarian/vegan restaurants are—with reclaimed wood tables, mason jar lights, fresh flower centerpieces, and images of plants displayed on the walls.  I could hear Bad Religion playing in the kitchen and the young people on staff appeared to really embrace the way of life that comes with plant-based eating.

The menu at TPC is lengthy and diverse.  I really appreciate choices, especially when it comes to plants.  I was happy to see that they indicated when an item was raw (not cooked above 118 degrees) and even when an item’s proceeds went to charity.  While just about everything looked absolutely delicious, after watching a powerful documentary called An Apology to Elephants, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to play a small role in helping the elephants in need; I ordered the Elephant Bowl Curry.

The curry was a little spicy for me, but I’ve admitted before to being a total wimp.  🙂  This rendition had a variety of vegetables and sat atop one of my favorite super foods, quinoa.  It wasn’t much unlike my own curry formula.

FullSizeRenderTravis ordered a Macro Bowl, which I don’t see here on their online menu.  It was also fantastic and a harmonious pairing between raw and cooked elements, from tofu to black beans to kale to seaweed.  It came with a zesty lime macadamia pesto that reminded me of my pesto formula; I now have a new combo idea!

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In case you were wondering, Nolan had an almond butter sandwich on whole grain brain with fresh fruit and a vegan cookie.  Once we saw his cookie, Travis and I knew we needed dessert for ourselves.  All of the pastries at TPC are vegan, but don’t taste like it.  Rich, sweet, buttery, and filling, I needed to take the rest of my “cheesecake” home.  That’s a raspberry vanilla slice below, along with Travis’s selection, a play on an Almond Joy candy bar.  Both were, in a word, impressive.

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What was not so impressive, however, was the service.  While the staff was friendly and knowledgeable, they were inattentive to detail, bringing our dinners out at three different times (Nolan, me, then Travis) and messing up simple orders (green tea instead of mint, Almond Joy instead of Snickers).  Being that we were one of three tables occupied on the 4th of July, I wouldn’t have expected it too much of a challenge.  You win some, you lose some; I’d come back for the food any day.

TPC:  Take out rather than dine in, but definitely try it.  Double check the bag and enjoy eating green.

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Vegan Eats at Sage Kitchen

OutisdeWhile my plant-based, mostly vegan lifestyle isn’t perfect, family members and friends that come to visit me in Arizona look forward to eating clean when they stay at my house. I can’t even count the number of times a visitor has exclaimed about living plant-based for their stay in hopes of feeling refreshed and energized and even, losing weight. So, when I have an eager-to-be-temporarily-vegan visitor, I don’t disappoint! I prepare vegan dishes at home and try to maintain my plant-based lifestyle when heading out for local grub (except when we’re out for authentic Mexican food…that’s one time that I will, against my better judgment, eat copious amounts of cheese!).

My mom was recently in town for Nolan’s birthday and offered to treat my little family to dinner on her last night in Arizona. I perused the web to find a restaurant in the Phoenix area that I hadn’t yet tried and came across Sage Kitchen, an organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian eatery. The food was so yummy I can practically still taste it and I’m excited to share my review of the restaurant with you.

Sage Kitchen is located next to Chakra 4 Herb and Tea House, which shares its owner. As a result, the menu features a variety of teas and herbal remedies that I just had to try. Although I still dislike coffee, after our trip to Japan this past summer, I have recently grown very fond of tea. I sampled a blueberry kukicha green tea over ice that was subtly flavored and not too sweet, which is how I prefer it. Teas at Sage Kitchen are sold hot or cold by the cup, glass, pot, or carafe.

Next, it was time for an appetizer. We ordered a trio of dips with marinated raw veggie sticks and homemade, gluten-free flatbread. Pictured below is an avocado dip with sunflower seeds and pepitas, a black bean hummus, and a lemon herb hummus. We were afraid of becoming too full for dinner, so we ate about half of the dips and took the rest home (they were just as delicious, if not more so, the next day).

FullSizeRender (2) As indicated on the card you see below, Sage Kitchen avoids unnecessarily processed vegan “meats” and “cheeses,” opting for those made in house with nuts, vegetables, and spices. While the menu contains no actual meat products, many menu options offer real or homemade vegan cheese (as well as homemade meat substitutes) that I wanted to taste for myself.

Card In the description of my creamy sauce formula, I admit that there really is no completely satisfying substitute for dairy cheese, but Sage Kitchen definitely came darn close to making it happen. While Travis opted for real cheese in his veggie enchiladas, my mom ordered a black bean quesadilla and I ordered a “sausage and mozzarella” pizza, both containing different varieties of Sage Kitchen’s signature vegan cheeses. Let me tell you, they were so good, I didn’t miss the real thing for a second and am determined to figure out how they did it so that I can try to make these cheeses (and the sausage) on my own.

Enchilladas FullSizeRender[3] (2) FullSizeRender[2] (2) The kids’ menu is not featured on the Sage Kitchen website, but I was happy to see that it offered simple vegetarian/vegan food that is kid-friendly in ingredients and presentation. We ordered Nolan this adorable sunflower butter and apple flatbread. He couldn’t finish it and had to twist our arms to polish it off for dessert. Poor us. 🙂

FullSizeRender[1] (2) The only downside to our dining experience at Sage Kitchen was that the restaurant seemed a bit dead for a Saturday night. Travis and I concluded that this was probably a result of the early hours (it closes at 8:00) and lack of alcohol. The restaurant is a BYOB and does not serve booze of its own. I’m sure that during the weekday lunch rush, Sage Kitchen is packed.

Overall, no complaints. Grab a bottle of your favorite wine and go to Sage Kitchen to get your vegan eat on!

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