The day after Christmas this year, Eric and I went to Palm Springs for a few days to stay at a timeshare that my bosses have. They said they know that I have been working really hard and they appreciated it. They almost never come in anymore… I run the office and email them everything. I know it’s really important for them to have someone they trust in the office and for me, it’s important to have bosses who appreciate me.
Before going, I hadn’t done any research into places I could eat. The timeshare complex that we stayed at had a kitchen in each apartment along with a barbeque, so we planned to cook for ourselves a lot of the time. One night, he barbequed and I put some vegan frozen burger patties wrapped in foil on the grill. I topped the “chicken” patty with sriracha, guacamole, and a slice of tomato for a supremely yummy burger.
One day, we decided to go dutch for lunch, thinking that we could each get something at different nearby restaurants (we often do that when we find ourselves hungry in food courts and such), so I googled vegan restaurants in the area. To my surprise, Native Foods popped up and was less than 2 miles from where we were staying.
Native Foods, like Veggie Grill, is a popular, pretty inexpensive vegan restaurant. I’ve heard about it since I went vegan, but never had the chance to try it. They have a few locations that aren’t too far away from where we live (about 25 minutes), but I’m not really one to fight the 405 freeway for some quick dinner. So, I was thrilled to get a chance to try it while in Palm Springs! I later found out that this was their original location, tucked away in a courtyard of shops and restaurants.
The line was a little long when I walked in, but that’s okay because having a full menu to choose from makes it tough to decide! I was torn between the Scorpion Burger, the Mambo Italiano Wrap, and the Twister Wrap, but I decided on the Scorpion Burger because it was the daily special and came with a free side. I chose fries as my free side. I also ordered the Sicilian Caponata Crostini. Then I signed up for their rewards program and got a free drink. There were a few house-made cold drinks: Lavender Lemonade, Watermelon Fresca, and Iced Tea. I went with the Lavender Lemonade, which was delicious and refreshing.
The Sicilian Caponata Crostini is a starter, described as, “savory roasted eggplant, tomatoes, caramelized onions and red peppers in a balsamic reduction with fresh basil, capers and currants on garlic crostini. It was a great start to the meal. Although, at $6.95, it was more than $1 per piece, so I wouldn’t likely order them again.
The Scorpion Burger is described as, “our original Native Tempeh burger! Homemade blackened Tempeh, chipotle sauce, romaine, carrots, avocado and onions.” The Tempeh was very good blackened, but in comparison to store bought tempeh (which I am most used to), the tempeh seemed to be made of much smaller pieces of soybeans. This wasn’t good or bad, just something I noticed. I liked the mound of carrots and avocado on top. The chipotle sauce was great. The only thing I didn’t like was the fries. They were cooked fine, but I hate shoestring fries.
My first visit to Native Foods was great. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the restaurant was cute. I really loved how their menu described each of the Native Meats and their Native Cheese (made with cashews and sunflower seeds) so that, if you’re unfamiliar with things like tempeh or seitan or even how a vegan cheese is made, you get a little description of each. The weather in Palm Springs was perfect, so it was nice that they had a lot of outdoor seating. My only complaint was that I waited 30 minutes to get my food, while people seated around me who had ordered after me were being served. I was really impatient and hungry by the time they finally brought me my dish. This is the only reason we didn’t go back to Native Foods one more time before leaving town – I didn’t want to wait. I’m sure I will be back, though, to other locations. There’s still a lot of potentially delicious items on their menu waiting for me to try them!