It All Started With Shoes …
Last week, my friend, Judith, and I had the pleasure of driving down to the Valley (as in the Phoenix metropolitan area) and spend a couple of days traipsing about.
While we did some major scoring on the shoe front, we also spent much of our time dining out.
Our first day took us to Pomegranate Café‘s original site on E. Chandler Boulevard in Phoenix. While I’ve eaten there numerous times, this was Judith’s virgin tour, so you know we had to do it up right.
For starters, we went with Pom Sides of Potato Salad and Root Veggie Wedges & BBQ.
We were mildly disappointed when we were told that our first entrée choice, Spaghetti Squash and ‘Meatballs’ was sold out; but not to be deterred, we shifted gears towards bowls. We both went with the Lucky Dragon, which is a veggie and broccoli stir fry with edamame, sweet chile tamari, thai almond sauce, and chile almonds. You then get to select your protein choice selecting from ‘chicken’, tofu, or walnut taco ‘meat’. We both opted for the ‘chicken’. You also choose your grain. Here, we were bold and daring, venturing to a place where we’d never gone before. Rather than the typical brown rice or quinoa, we not-so-confidently chose the kelp noodles. Now, I have to tell you, I was trepidatious. I never liked anything that tasted like the sea, so I was skeptical, so say the least. But in the interest of writing this blog, we decided to take one for the team. I have now met my new obsession!!! They ate like a spaghetti, were packed full of flavor from the delectable sauce, and did not in the least bit resemble anything from the sea. I was pleasantly surprised.
Even though our bellies said they were at the brink, we opted for dessert. We shared a lemon bar, which was gluten and soy-free, and low sugar, having been made with lemons, cashews, almonds, dates, vanilla bean, coconut, turmeric, xylitol, and stevia. Refreshing. The lemon curd could have easily passed for its non-veg counterpart to any omnivore.
I wish I could tell you that we have pictures, but alas, we dove in so quickly (as our shoe shopping just made us ravenous), that neither of us thought about the loss of photo ops until we had devoured our last bites of dessert. I guess that means you’ll just have to check out Pomegranate Café for yourselves. You won’t be disappointed.
We’ve Gotta’ Get Those Meatballs!
So, we awoke the next day with visions of depravity over not being able to order the Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs the day before, so we did what any vegan food-obsessed logical person would do. We called them and had them reserve two orders for our arrival at lunch time. The spaghetti squash was al dente, just the way this Jersey Italian girl likes her pasta. The sauce was delicately and fragrantly seasoned and adorned the ‘meatballs’ and spaghetti.
A diversion here, for a quick moment….why did I just refer to the red sauce atop the spaghetti as ‘sauce’ rather than ‘gravy’? Well, because to me, gravy has been simmered for hours on the stovetop, becoming richly garnet and densely flavorful. This was a sauce, it was light and herbaceously seasoned. Ok, so back to the topic…
Alongside our entrée, we ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower starter. Since Judith doesn’t care much for spicy heat, we had the buffalo sauce on the side along with the ranch dressing. The cauliflower was crunchy yet soft, scantly blackened, flavorful enough to stand on its own. But, when I dipped it into the buffalo sauce and the ranch dressing, bliss on a plate.
Over 98% of their ingredients are organic. They bake all their breads in-house, including a rather delightful gluten-free option. Many options are raw as well.
Pomegranate Café has something amazing for everyone. They even have a Kids menu. You can dine either inside or outside, both are lovely and have their own unique ambiance. And they now have a second location on 7th Street in Phoenix.
Hungry Vegan Will Travel …
Judith had one of their Buddha Bowls for lunch. It was huge and packed with amazing flavor. I, on the other hand, was a bit mischievous. When at Green New Vegetarian, it is the Big Wac attack all the way for me! We did share an order of chili cheese frieds…well, full disclosure, I really ate the vast majority of them. Judith had her hands full with the bowl, so merely tasted them. As a side, we shared the tahini coleslaw, which was a mixture of colorful cabbage and carrots tossed in a tahini dressing. The nuttiness of the tahini cut through the sharpness of the cabbage. Positively delightful.
Dessert Marks the Day Done
Rounding out that day’s meal, we went next door and had ourselves a Soynammi, which is Nami’s version of soft-serve ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, or swirl) with a variety of mix-ins. Judith had the T’smores and I the Banana Cream Pie. We finished them down to the last melting drop.
Nami is also known for the vegan pastries … oh my …
We finally had to roll ourselves back into the car to head back home to Sedona. But we did so with full bellies and smiles on our faces, having had a two-day treat of shopping, theater (oh, I didn’t yet mention that we saw “Hamilton” at the ASU Gammage Theater), and lots (oh, yes, lots) of delicious vegan food.
Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews!