Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lovely! Hot chocolate w/ macadamia nut milk (gluten, dairy-free)

Just came back from a last-minute visit with my friend Sarah who posted on FB that she was temporarly perched at a lovely little ethnic vegan place in our neighborhood called Vardo Cafe.  (Strangely, it's been there for a year and we both only noticed it a little while ago.)  It's a gypsy-themed vegan restaurant that serves northern Indian-style food.   On paper, it sounded like just another LA wacky-themed restaurant, but it was actually cozy and not over-the-top hippie-ish.  Comfortable.  My friend had a nice cappucinno and tasty scone.

Of course, I had issues ordering, but after I explained my complicated list of food allergies to the lovely Amanda, she offered to make me a hot chocolate that was "off menu" which she makes for friends.  How thoughtful was that?  It was made from cocoa powder, macadamia nut milk (which they make onsite), and honey to taste.  It was...lovely!  Rich, creamy, chocolaty.  She even managed to whip a little foam into it.  Mmmmm.  It was a little bit nutty-tasting, but certainly not off-putting.  I've been noticing that there are quite a few vegan dairy recipes which use cashew milk as a replacement since it offers a richer body and flavor than other dairy alternatives, but since the FAQ is allergic to cashews (of course) I was tickled to find a another alternative in the same vein as cashew milk.  It's giving me some new ideas.  (Sorry to Allergic Girl and others, but this doesn't help you nut allergic readers, erk.)

The next lovely thing was meeting Natasha and Vanessa.  They overheard me chatting with the waitress about food allergies, and perked up since they're both celiacs with other food allergies as well, and we launched into animated food allergy conversation for another half hour -- talk about the universe throwing people together!  They alerted me that Earth Balance butter-replacement spreads have come up with a soy-free version, so I may soon be reviewing that as soon as I get my paws on some. 

Anyhow, just wanted to share my experience that all kinds of lovely things can happen when you step outside your usual circles, and that your adventuresome decision could reward you with chocolate and other cosmic goodies!

Vardo Cafe
235  Main Street
Venice,  CA 90291
310 664 9696


Brian @ Hemocode said...

It's great to come across stories like this - it just goes to show that with a little creativity, allergies don't have to keep you from enjoying some tasty treats!

Unknown said...

Thanks Brian, it was a nice suprise on so many levels!

Bethany Niazian said...

First, I love your blog -- so much info and such an uplifting tone!

Second, I was thrilled to hear about macadamia milk, because that is the ONLY nut that my mother (who has multiple food allergies and is anaphylactic) can safely eat. I wish it were available commercially...Can you find out how that cafe makes it?