Luxxe Friday

This week has been truly perfect.  Much needed after last week’s sh!t storm of crazy.  Friday couldn’t have been a more amazing end to the week either.

Kyle has Fridays off, so we both got to sleep in.  Brilliant start already.  Then we found out his waffle company made it to the finals – open to the public (on May 26th) if you want to attend.  Winner gets investors and money and a bunch of press, so this is HUGE. 

While Kyle had a quick conference call I went on a short run (showered); and then we were off!

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Caffe Luxxe is VERY close to our apartment, and although Kyle has been a few times, I had still never tried the famous Bella Tazza.

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Yummmmm.

We both got soy lattes

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They were delicious. 

This is a semi-random thought, but why do places still charge extra for soy milk?  There’s no way it costs more than regular milk.  It’s just silly.  Maybe at one time soy milk wasn’t as common and restaurants/cafes had to pay more for it, but that can’t be the case now.  It’s an antiquated rule.  Dear coffee shops of the world, please stop charging extra for soy milk, it’s discriminatory, and you are punishing price gauging people who are unable to tolerate dairy (and/or those who like vanilla deliciousness).

But back to Caffe Luxxe.

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After polishing off our cafe, we went for a stroll…down to the beach, up towards Malibu, back down to the Santa Monica Pier, to the Promenade for shopping bathrooms, and then back home for lunch.

Confession: We live across the street from a vegan cafe and we have NEVER been.

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I feel like a failure admitting that, but I’m glad I got it off my chest.  Anyway, we finally hit up Golden Mean vegan cafe.  What took us so long?  I really don’t know.  Maybe I was afraid I’d love it and I’d never cook myself a vegan meal again?  Maybe it’s because Huckleberry is a block away (and that’s Kyle’s fave restaurant).  Who knows.  I have no good excuse. 

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But now we are both big fans. 

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Kyle got the vegan “Chicken” Parmigiana with breaded (soy) chicken served with ancient grain penne pasta in tomato sauce, topped with Daiya soy-free cheese, and served with mixed green salad.  He finished the whole thing so clearly he enjoyed it.  And he said it kept him full until dinner. 

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I chose the Golden Ratio salad with mixed greens, marinated tempeh, kale, quinoa, red bell peppers, butternut squash, and candied walnuts with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

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MEGA yum.  I seem to like tempeh ONLY when it’s prepared by others.  I really can’t figure out why, but whenever I attempt to make tempeh, it’s just not pleasing to my palate.  Whatever.  It just means I order it at almost every opportunity I get and therefore enjoy it immensely.  [Side note: Kyle likes my preparation of tempeh, so I think it’s just me]

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The tempeh in this salad was perfect.  Flavorful, crunchy, nutty, and not at all bitter.  Also, the butternut squash and candied walnuts made texture variation in each bite.  It was so good. 

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I had a (thick) slice of my home-made bread with hummus on the side. 

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As requested I will do a step-by-step post about the breadmaking process next time I make a loaf. 

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Wheaty.  :)

After lunchy, we did some errands (Costco, what whaaat) and then my home-girl picked me up for a girls night at her casa. 

We started with wine and bruschetta

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Almost everything was from TJs, including the fresh bread, except for the Garlic Gold EVOO.  We chose to omit fresh garlic because the oil is already infused with garlic goodness. 

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Drizzle bread with EVOO and toast in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 425. 

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Chop and mix tomato, basil, EVOO, salt and pepper.

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Once bread is crisp and golden, add a few drops of balsamic and then top with bruschetta.

I’ll be honest here, I didn’t have my hands in much of the appetizer prep.  Instead, I watched Ethel do most of the work while sipping my wine.  :)  It was good to just chat and catch up with my girls. 

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For dinner we made mini-pizzas with various toppings, including:

  • Follow Your Heart vegan cheese
  • fresh mozzarella
  • hummus
  • tomatoes
  • bell peppers
  • mushrooms
  • salami
  • whole wheat naan

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Rather than use flatbread we chose the whole wheat naan because it looked so soft and fluffy.  In the end, it was a perfectly doughy base for the naan-pizzas. 

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Hummus and cheese options.

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Veg-errific.

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I brought over the above vegan cheese for the lactose-intolerant foodies.  Follow Your Heart makes a few different vegan gourmet cheeses, but I figured the “nacho” flavor would be the best for pizzas. 

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I’m somewhat suspicious of faux products that try to imitate their non-vegan versions.  So I went into the “cheese” tasting as a skeptic (my girlfriends were similarly cautious). 

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Appearance?  Not great.  Flavor?  Pretty good, actually!  Meltability?  Fail.

As I was slicing the vegan cheese we all tasted it and decided it had a distinct pimiento flavor.  Alene likened it to an olive loaf, but I’m not sure what that is.  Here’s the thing.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had real cheese, so I don’t have much of a flavor memory to go on.  That said, the agar-like consistency was very un-cheese-like. If you forget that it’s supposed to replace cheese and just enjoy it as it’s own product, it’s pretty good.

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Mine is the middle one, with hummus, nacho “cheese,” bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

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Pretty yummy looking, huh? 

We made two trays of three with six pizzas total.

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Things to note in the above photo:

(a) very utilized wine opener (yeah buddy)

(b) how pasty Ethel makes Alene look (lucky Filipina)

(c) Alene’s compost bin (love!)

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After they were all dressed up and ready for the party, we popped them in the oven for ~15 minutes.

While they cooked, the difference between the fake and real cheese became very obvious. 

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Alene showed off her Krav muscles as she removed the pizzas from the oven. 

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See how the cheeses differ in meltability? 

I really wasn’t too concerned.  As fun as stringy melted cheese is, the havoc it wreaks on my GI tract is not worth it.  Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like eating Follow Your Heart’s cheese is some sacrifice.  It was yummy and I enjoyed every last bite. 

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I snapped a photo of the first plate of pizzas (plus another piece of bruschetta), but no more pictures after that. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, I had such a fun night.  It was the ultimate Friday. 

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31 thoughts on “Luxxe Friday

  1. britchickruns

    The cafe with the pretty cappuccinos looks SO lovely!
    But oh my, if I lived across the street from a vegan cafe, my bank balance would suffer so bad :p
    I’m glad the week picked up for you :)

    Reply
  2. jess

    that cafe is adorable. i really, really wish i lived in la so i could go with you and get lattes. and i TOTES agree about soy milk being overpriced. super annoying that i have to pay 60 cents more for my starbucks latte every single morning. that adds up over the course of a year to the cost of a betsey dress…

    congrats to kyle about the vegan waffle mix! that is SO exciting.

    i miss you tons and tons and tons and will (hopefully) see you in august.

    xoxo

    Reply
  3. janetha

    agreed, charging extra for soy IS whack. they don’t do that around these parts. i can’t wait to make marshall buy me a bread maker (because i am not allowed to go out and buy more kitchen shit myself) the pizza party looked like a blast! glad you had some fun after your easter drama. xoxo

    Reply
  4. Deanna

    Amen to the charging extra for soy! So annoying! And even mildly annoying to keep up with a Starbucks card to get the soy upcharge taken off.

    Reply
  5. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    And I thought that cheese was actually supposed to melt..that that was a selling point of theirs. Boo!

    “I seem to like tempeh ONLY when it’s prepared by others. I really can’t figure out why, but whenever I attempt to make tempeh, it’s just not pleasing to my palate.”–

    I am the same.

    And the frothy leaves in those lattes…what an artistic barista. I wish i could make those!

    Reply
  6. littlehealthjunkie

    omg so many good things in this post! can you come to ohio and make your tempeh and homedone bread for ME!?! I wish you lived near me because I think we’d get along SO well…and eats jars of hummus with bread and apples and carob chips galore:) Oh, and TONS of soy cappuccinos! I totally get what you’re saying about them charging extra for soy…it only costs a little bit more, and definitely not 50-75 cents for like 1 1/2 cups of milk! ridic! but love how pretty yours are, pretty cappuccinos taste EVEN better if you ask me:)

    Reply
  7. oatsandspice

    I am honestly super jealous of all the amazing looking food that you had on Friday… The latte is one of the most picture-perfect cup I have ever seen! I hope it was as good as it looked!

    I wish they had more of a variety of vegan restaurants around me – one like yours would be divine!

    Have an awesome weekend lady!

    Reply
  8. Jenny

    I wish I had a Vegan cafe so close to my house and I’m not even vegan!! Everything looks so delicious from the penne to the salad, yum :D
    I’ve made bruschetta before but I definitely want to now :)

    Reply
  9. Sophia Lee

    Soymilk costs more than regular milk, doesn’t it? But that’s weird that they charge more bc half-n-half costs more than soymilk.
    I’m glad you had a slower, more relaxing day. :-)

    Reply
  10. melissa

    What a fun ladies night! :)

    I agree with the soy milk charge! I’m also wondering when the hell my coffee shops will start carrying ALMOND MILK! Ugh… Would I be crazy to bring my own to a cafe?

    Reply
  11. lo

    that coffee looks to good to drink…im obsessed with artisan lattes. Sidenote: get coffee now. Also, garlic gold looks like the best buy of everyones life so i need to hop on that train lol

    xoxo
    Lo

    Reply
  12. samantha

    That cafe looks awesome! I wish we had something like that here but we don’t : (

    The pizza looks good too, I’ve tried a lot of vegan cheese and I just cannot get into them. I could be veggie anyday but vegan, I’d miss cheese. Everything else I could do without.

    Reply
  13. Kristin @ FoodFash

    I saw the vegan nacho cheese at Whole Foods last night after reading this post. I can’t wait to try it! Hoping it contributes to a mean bean and “cheese” quesadilla!

    Reply
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  15. Sab

    I agree that being charged extra for soy milk is annoying because to purchase a carton of soy milk is not that much more expensive than purchasing regular milk. The reason they charge more however is do to the waste associated. You do not have to use regular milk with in 7 days of opening it un like soy milk which needs to be used with in a certain time frame. So if a resturant does not sell a soy latte very often but want to have the option available the charge extra to account for what “might ” get wasted. I only know this as I work in this industry on the back end of things.

    Reply
  16. Janice Gotardo

    I can’t stop reading your blog. I’ve been scrolling your archives for weeks already. Started the 2008 archives. crazy. Had fun reading it, really. :-) Oh your friend Ethel is a Filipina? I’m from the Philippines too! Please say hi to her from me. :-) Mabuhay! :-)

    Reply
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  20. Brigid

    This post is way old now, but I just ate at Golden Mean over the weekend and had to leave a comment. I got what Kyle did. The “chicken” was decent, but the pasta and salad were both delicious. I look forward to trying more vegan places in the LA area!

    Reply
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