Dhrumil, myself, Anita, and Ben all enjoyed our experience at M Cafe in Culver City, CA.
Restaurant: M Cafe
Type of Cuisine: Macrobiotic w/ vegan options
Location: 9343 Culver Blvd. Culver City, CA (map)
Contact: (310) 838-4300
Hours: Sun- Thur: 9am – 9pm, Fri & Sat: 9am- 10pm
There is parking available behind the building as well as metered parking on the street. I parked across the street with a strip of metered parking which was not required to pay parking after 6pm.
This was a bright, open, clean cafe where you walk up to the counter and place your order. Some of the dishes are already prepared and displayed in the front. You can choose to eat indoors or outdoors. We sat at the big picnic style table indoors since it was drizzly and cold outside.
There is not really a raw selection minus the salads which need to be special ordered to make totally raw. In the winter months I will eat more cooked food and if I am going to eat it this place was the right place to enjoy it. This menu is not vegan since fish is served, but there are several vegan dishes.
The staff behind the counter was very friendly. They even took our photo pictured above. The server joked about posing for the prom which we did, but there was no way I was going to post it! We stayed beyond the cafe hours, and the staff was really cool about it.
Chai Mate Latte (w/ rice milk)
This was an interesting beverage, especially since I love chai, but it tasted far too dilluted for my tastes. I would have preferred a stronger chai flavor, but I love the mate latte concept. If I have it again I will definitely ask for more chai.
The quinoa is red because of beet juice. It came out family style and we all took turns scooping a spoonful of the quinoa and then dipping it into the butternut squash soup. I tend to stay away from grains for the most part, but on occassion I will have them. This was a great way to have quinoa. I liked the veggies in it as well.
Spiced Butternut Bisque
I am really glad we had the soup considering butternut is my all time favorite soup. It was delicious, creamy and warm. It was served with pumpkin seeds on the top which gave a nice crunch, and as I mentioned before we all liked mixing this with the quinoa.
M Chopped Salad
This was suggested by the staff. It was made with organic hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas herb-baked tofu, scallions, ume-pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh “bacon” , tofu-peppercorn ranch. I made some modifications to my salad. I changed the dressing to an avocado lemon viniagrette and passed on the tofu to make it a bit more appropriate for my needs since I prefer no soy.
The salad was huge and very filling. I could have easily shared it with someone. The large quinoa was enough for 4 people to share. The soup was an average sized portion.
Um, it is bad I really didn’t pay much attention to this detail? BTW, thanks again Dhru for your generosity.
This is a place I would go to on a cold day or if I was with non raw friends. There are several vegan dishes so it helps keep things healthy without weirding out the raw-phobic people.
Type of cuisine served: raw vegan
2301 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA (map
This place is located right down the street from the Farmers Market. Main street is a busy little strip with lots of cool little shops to check out. You’ll find lots of people walking and riding their bikes around.
Contact: (310) 392-9501
Hours: 11:00am-2:30pm, 5:00pm-8:30pm.
In the morning this is a place where you walk up to the counter, place your order, seat yourself and they will bring your food out to you. It is very casual. There are books and products conveniently placed for you to check out. It has lots of private seating and communal areas to mingle. In the evening, you are seated by a host and the lighting is dim and sexy. I sat on a couch that reminded me of a comfy day bed that had a coffee table in front of it next to an open window. It was set up in a way that invited people to come, sit nearby and strike up a conversation which is exactly what happened.
This can be a bit of a pain if you are not familiar with where to park. Make sure you know all the parking rules. Some places in Santa Monica on Sundays you can park for free, but evidently this was not one of those places. Keep your change on hand if you want to park nearby. While I was inside the restaurant I enjoyed sitting and looking out the window, however not so much when I saw someone giving me a parking ticket…yikes! Better believe I won’t make that mistake again.
The restaurant had just opened a few minutes before I arrived since I went just after yoga class and I was looking for a new yummy healthy breakfast spot. I was greeted as soon as I walked in by a young woman who was straightening up the books and retail items. I asked her what to order since it was my first visit. She was friendly and took the time to share her favorites on the menu. I then walked up to the counter where another lovely woman took my order. I was a little confused by the set up since there was a jar for tipping on the counter, but then they brought my food to me. What am I supposed to do? Do I leave a tip in the jar or on the table? I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you just tip.
The menu was very simple, black and white. I didn’t look over it much since I merely asked what was good. I like trying the popular dishes recommended by the staff whenever I am new to a place.
Reishi- Shilajit Ormus Tea
I tried the tea according the the recommendations of the two girls working. The tea was served in an over sized mug and had a strong healing flavor, not very sweet at all which is just what you would expect from a medicinal drink. I was fascinated by the tea and went home to look up more information about it’s health benefits, especially with ormus in it. Here is what I found about Reishi-Shilajit Ormus Tea. I like knowing why I am drinking or eating a particular meal and what kind of effect will it have on me.
Buckwheat Granola with Tangy Probiotic Coconut Yogurt
Tangy is right, and oh-so creamy. I have never had coconut yogurt and I am inspired to make some at home one of these days. It seemed like a richer version of a dairy based yogurt, or maybe my memory of it since it has been years since I have had dairy based yogurt. I loved the crunchy buckwheat granola, chewy bits of sweet raisins and freshly sliced strawberries which was just enough to slightly sweeten this dish. I probably would have preferred it sweeter, but I enjoyed it tremendously. I even wondered what it would taste like if I had taken miracle fruit beforehand since miracle fruit blocks our sour taste bud sensors temporarily. Just for fun I’ll have to go and try it again after sucking on miracle fruit. I bet it would taste like the sweetest yogurt ever.
This was just enough to satisfy my hunger, yet not enough to share.
My order was under $15
I would totally suggest people check this place out and have the items I ordered. I loved that I was getting a healthy dose of probiotics in my yogurt since it is not something I have regularly, nor do I have tea like this. This meal definitely had the intention of health. It was filling without having a sluggish effect on me. I noticed that my digestion was not irritated by the meal which is one of the things I am paying attention to these days. The cleaner my diet becomes I want foods that do not leave me feeling weird afterwards. I like feeling good after I eat and this place definitely did the trick. Again, this is another place I am going to love becoming familiar with as I try all the items on the menu.
I feel good knowing that I am supporting great places that have ethics and health behind it. I prefer to dine in places that are not large chain restaurants that have a ton of ingredients and preservatives that are not focused on feeding me optimal fuel for my body. When you find places that have your best interest and health in mind it is worth supporting them.
Type of cuisine served: organic, raw & cooked gluten free vegan (menu
Location: 1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (map
Mon-Sat open for lunch 11am-4pm, and dinner 5:30pm-10pm
Sunday brunch 11am-2:30pm, and dinner 5:30pm-10pm.
Cru is a casual restaurant with a nice intimate low key vibe. It’s decorated with warm cozy colors and a stained polished concrete floor. The lighting is dim, soft, warm and inviting which had me feeling very comfortable. The seating was simple with a long cushioned bench along the wall with simple sleek chairs across the tables. Each table had a candle votive and simple vase with charming Gerber daisies that my friend couldn’t resist putting behind his ear! The restaurant was fresh, clean, and well maintained. Even the bathroom was clean, which always gives me creepy vibes if I go into a restaurant bathroom and it is a wreck. It always leaves me wondering how the kitchen must look behind closed doors. It can be very unsettling, but in this case I was happy to see it was tidy and clean.
We were greeted and seated right away. There are some raw restaurants where the service is less than stellar or the restaurant seems understaffed. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the attentiveness as well as the prompt service. Not only was the food served in a timely manner, but the servers were very approachable and friendly. They really took the time to go over any questions that we had. It was so refreshing.
While overlooking the menu I enjoyed a warm cup of chamomile tea. The menu was easy to read without having too many complicated choices. They keep their menu simple and sweet. My friend and I weren’t really hungry at the time, but since we were in the area we decided to get the order to go. We shared the following:
Kale Apple Lime Juice
This approx 12 oz. nourishing juice was very refreshing with a nice subtle sweet, crisp, clean flavor. The ingredient ratios were perfect, not too strong, not too sweet, not too tart, just right.
Deep Green Salad (pictured above)
We ordered the large to share which was a very generous & filling portion. The salad consisted of kale, tomato, avocado, sprouts and sunflower seeds. The chili lime dressing was outstanding. The menu showed that this dish came with sunflower seeds, however ours came with pine nuts which I prefer anyway. I loved the different textures and all the flavors mixed well together.
Asian Noodle Bowl
Kelp noodles topped with sprouts, chopped almonds, radishes, cucumbers and drizzled in the prefect amount of almond, chili sauce. This dish was so good! I really like spicy food so I might have asked for a side of minced jalapeno or some more chili, but to the regular guest it was perfect as it is. I will definitely be back to have this one again and again. No joke I am still thinking about this dish days later!
I wish I had a photo of this dish, it was truly beautiful. The wrap was made of white, thinly sliced root veggie (I wish I knew what it was, perhaps jicama) stuffed with herbed cashew cheese and topped with a pumpkin seed pesto sauce. It was wonderfully accompanied with a spicy arugula salad. I really savored the flavors in this dish. I suggest you eat this dish really slowly to get the full effect of the herbed cashew cheese!
The portions were so generous that we were able to share all the dishes and even save half of it to enjoy the next day. All the dishes were very filling.
Organic raw food is always going to be a bit pricier than a standard cooked restaurant considering the labor and quality that goes into the food, however the value matched the prices.
One thing this restaurant seems to do well is to let the flavors merry together so that the dishes are full of flavor without seeming like the dishes were rushed. You could tell each dish was made with love and care and isn’t that what you want when you go out to eat? BTW, I tend to eat very simple fare (mostly mono foods) most of the time and my tummy can get a bit upset with all the complicated food combinations however I did not experience any “weirdness” with the combinations. Perhaps because we passed on the desserts.
I highly recommend checking Cru out. The only drawback I experienced was parking. We had to walk a short distance to the restaurant, passing a small pack of gated in yapping Chiwawas. 😉 but I know that I will definitely be back to try other menu selections. I will definitely have to munch on those amazing Asian noodles again too! This is a place that you can bring raw curious people to as well especially since there are gluten free cooked dishes on the menu as well.