Friday, May 24, 2013

Food & Fitness Fridays: Review of Herbivore - The Earthly Grill

Herbivore - The Earthly Grill (Berkeley Location)

“Herbivore is a vegan restaurant that offers an international menu and an enjoyable atmosphere.”

During a trip to the Bay Area a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I made a visit to Herbivore - The Earthly Grill. I had no idea that this place existed before our trip.

What I did know, was that I wanted to try some of the wonderful vegan food that Berkeley has to offer. I love Berkeley and I always enjoy the food (although, I enjoy food everywhere), but this time, I had a mission to find a good vegan restaurant, specifically.

My boyfriend and I had planned to visit an awesome vegan bakery in Berkeley called Cinnaholic. They specialize in vegan cinnamon rolls and the pictures on their Facebook page are drool-worthy. So, I was sold. It was the The Vegan Business Guide that had introduced me to Cinnaholic.The Vegan Business Guide Facebook page is a great resource for anyone who is interested in trying new vegan food/restaurants and shopping for vegan clothing.  

However, when I learned that Cinnaholic would be CLOSED the day that we would be in Berkeley, I hurried to find another good vegan eatery in the area. Apparently Berkeley has a lot of great vegan restaurants. I realized this after consulting several other vegan resources such as: Kristin of Will Travel for Vegan Food. I asked Kristin on her on her Facebook page if she could recommend any vegan restaurants in the Berkeley area. She got back to me right away and told me to try Herbivore.

I fell in love with Herbivore’s menu. It truly does offer a variety of international dishes. Many of these traditionally meat-centric dishes aren’t found in regular vegan restaurants because of their meat-centric-ness. But Herbivore finds a way to vegan-ize all of the classics: from shawarma, to Philly cheese steak, to lasagna. All of these choices sounded great, but I just could not miss the opportunity to try the veganized beef stroganoff. Beef stroganoff is a Russian pasta dish that my mom used to make for me. It was also my absolute favorite dish. Traditionally, the dish consists of beef strips in a creamy mushroom sauce. I have not had it since I gave up eating beef. But Herbivore uses Gardein beef-less strips as a substitute. The sauce (I’m guessing it was a cashew cream), although under-seasoned, had the perfect creamy consistency. If it had a little bit more salt and seasoning (rosemary?), it would come close to my mom’s beef stroganoff.

This dish made me so happy because I have never come across a meat-less and dairy-free version of beef stroganoff. It really did make me nostalgic. It was truly vegan comfort food.

I don’t normally rave about the bread at restaurants, but the bread at Herbivore was delicious. According to their website, they use Acme organic breads. So good.

My boyfriend ordered the quinoa salad. This was a simple (but tasty!) salad featuring Layonna vegan “chicken” chunks. The rest of the salad had spinach, roasted red beets, kidney beans, red onions, celery and avocado with lemon-shallot dressing. The “chicken” was delicious and was the star of the dish. Even the meat-eater (my boyfriend) approved.

Finally, because I did not get my Cinnaholic fix for the day, I had to order something sweet. Although, I don’t always eat vegan, I do go out of my way to eat vegan dessert. If I’m going to eat something a little junky, I’d rather it be slightly healthy-ish. So I decided to try Herbivore’s chocolate walnut brownie. I’ve definitely had better vegan desserts (starting with this beauty). The brownie was chocolate-y enough, but it was crumbly, a little dry, and was served room-temperature. It would have been much better heated up, with a side of melt-y coconut-milk ice cream. But now I know how to order it next time. ;)

Anyway, check out the food porn below!
“Beef” Stroganoff and organic bread.

 Boyfriend’s Quinoa Salad. I kept stealing bites of that “chicken.” So good!

 Chocolate Walnut Brownie. Very cute presentation.

I will definitely be going back to Herbivore. The menu is huge and there are so many wonderful veganized dishes to try!

I will also be going to Cinnaholic on a day that they are open. And, trust me, that day can’t come soon enough! Just look at this cinnamon bun.


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