Thursday, March 19, 2015

Washington DC: Native Foods Cafe

So, funny story - awhile back one of my dearest friends found out that a Native Foods Cafe was opening up in Falls Church near us and was very persistent in trying to get me to go. Even though I am pretty willing to try new things, I was pretty adamant about not going so she went with someone else. Fast forward a few months and I am in DC with a friend and we are looking for a quick bite to eat before heading to the National Geographic Museum. As I was (still am) trying to be healthy and prepare myself for Miami, I shot down his idea to stop by McDonalds and suggested the Native Foods around the corner. 
Until I stepped inside, I pretty much forgot that this was a vegan restaurant, and up until ordering and looking around still a little unsure. I'm going to be honest here....I am not a fan of imitation meat products. If I choose to eat vegetarian, I will just cut out the meat and eat purely veggies so this was quite an adventure.

Native Foods is 100% plant based - focusing on a "compassionate dining experience serving up homemade meals that are good for you, your family and the environment."

We decided to order the Native Nachos based off the recommendation of the guy behind the counter and he could not of been more on point. They were delicious. I didn't even miss the hot, gooey, melted cheese that normally accompanies nachos. The Native Taco meat included was fine, I couldn't even tell the difference between that and normal taco meat. These nachos were so fresh and filling, and didn't leave you with that heavy feeling that can come from consuming all the indulgent things that are normally served with nachos. 
House-made corn tortilla chips with black beans, Native Taco Meat, chipotle sauce, our Native Cheese, salsa fresca and guacamole. Topped with roasted corn, green onions, cilantro and pickled jalapeño peppers.

The Caribbean Jerk Kale Salad was Teddy's pick and unfortunately didn't quite hit the spot for us. We were both not fans of the tempeh. Unless you are a kale lover through and through this salad will probably be a little too intensely kale for you. The other flavor components of the salad were quite tasty, and with a tad bit more dressing (or acidity in the dressing) would make this a winning salad (minus the tempeh, unless that is your sort of thing). 

Jerk seasoned Native Tempeh with a diced red bell pepper, red onion and mango salsa tossed with crunchy kale and avocado in a creamy jalapeño-cilantro dressing. Garnished with green onion and shaved coconut

I rarely order anything but water when going out (unless it's wine) but with all the drink options available I couldn't resist. I enjoyed trying a little of all of them, and preferred the teas. 
It may not seem like it, but this was a very outside the box experience for me. We came during a sort of off time so it was a little slow and we had the full attention of the workers and the food only took a few minutes to come out. I am not an expert of vegan/plant-based food but I mostly enjoyed the experience. However that being said, if I was making a day trip into DC, I would probably pick a different restaurant unless I was a vegan/vegetarian. This would be a great place to eat at during the week for a healthier, quick bite. 

Would I come back? Yes, any place that serves nachos that I feel good after eating them will have me coming back. I am also curious about other items on their menu and may have to give their Falls Church location a try. 

1150 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, DC
Closest Metro: Farragut North Metro
Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon
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