Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

We were very excited to be invited to the Boulder Native Foods Cafe Pre-Openinig Party! Well, maybe party isn’t the right word – but they are treating us to lunch, and we get to go this weekend! (they officially open next Tuesday, May 29th).

Here is what our invitation said:

Dear Special Friend of Native Foods,

We are incredibly excited to invite you to join us for a Complimentary Meal in celebration of the first Native Foods Cafe in Boulder, Colorado.

We are open to the public on May 29th, but invite you to join us prior to opening as a way to thank you for welcoming us to the community and to fine tune the last details of our training and introduce you to our new team members who are so excited to meet, greet and feed you!

Please CLICK HERE to RSVP for any one of our complimentary lunches or dinners this Friday, May 25th or Saturday, May 26th, for you and up to 3 of your friends!

This invitation is being sent to a select group of Native Foods friends. Please do not forward this link around! It’s just for you, our special guests. All food (including dessert) is free. All beer and wine will be served at $2 each with 100% of the proceeds being donated to five great local charities.

We can’t wait to see you and meet all our new friends in Boulder!

Eat Peace,
The Native Foods Family

We’ll be sure to report back!


Do you love the color pink enough to consume bugs in order to have pink food or drinks? Well Starbucks, and many other food retailers, think the pink is important enough to sneak crushed-up beetles into your consumables for the purpose of, ironically, making them seem more appetizing. That’s right, if you are in love with any of Starbucks strawberry-based drinks, such as the Strawberries and Creme frappuccino and strawberry smoothie, as well as their popular Birthday Cake Pop, mini donuts with icing and Red Velvet Whoopee Pie, you have been consuming bugs. The change to crushed bugs came just recently as they aimed to move away from artificial ingredients, such as red dye, and decided that bugs were more natural. While their thoughts were in the right place, the execution was less than thrilling to most.

While Starbucks seems to be baring the brunt of backlash against this buggy ingredient, the fact is that this ingredient, called cochineal extract, is used in many pink and red-based food and beverages, and has been for decades. Most rainbow sprinkles contain cochineal extract, as well as a vast majority of pink confections on the markets. Foods and beverages that some may be surprised to find out contain crushed beetles include:

  • Minute Maid Fruit Drink
  • Good N’ Fruity & Good N’ Plenty
  • Pixy Stix
  • Mentos Candy and Chewing Gum (which, by the way, also contain beef)
  • Dole Fruit ‘n’ Gel Bowls
  • Dole Fruit Jars

The good news is that the FDA recently made it mandatory that foods containing cochineal extract specifically state as much on their ingredients list. They began receiving reports of allergic reactions in those who unknowingly consumed the bugs, including severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. While many have known for years that cochineal is used in cosmetics, such as red lipstick, to give them their red hue, many less savvy consumers were horrified to learn that they were consuming bugs. Those who are aiming to make sure that they stay bug clean in their diet should scan ingredients lists for either “cochineal extract” or “carmine”.

The other piece of good news is that Starbucks has announced that as of June 2012, the cochineal extract will be replaced with lycopene extract, a tomato derivative. Drop them a line and let them know that you appreciate them acting so swiftly to rid their beverages of bugs!

We are so excited that Native Foods Cafe is coming to Boulder, Colorado soon! The all vegan fast food and vegan comfort food (including gluten-free vegan food!) is currently setting up shop in the location previously filled by Rumbi Grill, at 29th Street Mall next door to the Smiling Moose Cafe, which has a wonderful vegan vegetable soup and lots of other vegan, and gluten free, options as well). Rumour has it that they will be open by May, and judging by the progress we see whenever we are in the area, we think that is probably right. The Native Foods Cafe Boulder menu is already up by the door, and it looks fantastic. They are set to become the first openly kid-friendly vegan restaurant in Boulder (with a separate child-friendly menu), and they even have separate gluten-free and soy-free menus! And we love that they are not only all vegan, but whenever possible use only organic and locally-sourced ingredients (all of their food is made fresh, from scratch). Here is a small taste (no pun intended!) of the Boulder Native Foods Cafe menu – remember that anything that sounds non-vegan (such as cheese, or meat) is actually their vegan version:

Nuevo Native Nachos
Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, cilantro and jalapenos. (YUM!)

Tandoori Kabobs
Grilled skewers of Native Original Seitan and tofu, marinated in Tandoori spices, topped with mango-apple chutney and served on a bed of baby greens with our homemade raita yogurt sauce.

Native Chicken Wings
Our crispy battered Native Chicken wings. Ranch dressing on the side.

Chili Cheese Fries
Seasoned potato fries smothered in our homemade Native Chili. Topped with Native Cheese and diced red onions.

And that’s just the appetizers! Their full menu includes such amazing sounding items as a “Double Cheeseburger Deluxe Pizza”, featuring crumbled seitan smothered with marinara sauce, melted cheddar cheese, pickles, onions and tomato, and topped with a “secret sweet mustard sauce”; the “Soul Bowl” featuring vegan fried chicken, red beans, rice, steamed veggies, kale and ranch and barbecue sauce; a portobello and sausage burger; and a “Chicago Dip Au Jus” with “thinly sliced Native Peppered Seitan piled high on a freshly baked baguette smothered with our homemade “giardiniera extraordinaire,” and au jus to dip.”

Let us repeat: YUM!

And their desserts are too decadent to even mention here; just think lots of chocolate, cheesecake, and cupcakes.

Native Foods Cafe is a small chain which started in Southern California and now has locations in Portland, Chicago, and Boulder.

Here is how Native Foods Cafe describes themselves, and their origins:

Native Foods Cafe is a vegan restaurant designed to meet the needs of today’s discriminating, health-conscious diners looking for great-tasting food… both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Native Foods was founded 17 years ago by acclaimed vegan chef Tanya Petrovna. Author of two cookbooks (and working on a third!), Chef Tanya has been featured on the Food Network, in many publications and has made many TV and radio appearances. Native Foods Café is her vision and she works full-time as Executive Chef.

Chef Tanya’s roots are firmly grounded in the culinary world. Chef Tanya was raised in a gourmet household and she helped her father at catering events as a teenager. In her family, mealtime was a celebration of taste, texture and companionship, which always began in the backyard garden. Family vacations were global explorations of food and culture, visiting relatives in far off lands and discovering ethnic flavors and traditions.

Her idea for a vegetarian restaurant came to her at a very young age.

After developing a lifelong bond with her cat Muchka at a very young age, Tanya then met (and pet!) a dairy cow on a family vacation which forever changed her perspective on animals. She loves them! So Tanya’s quest began: how to maintain a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet using 100% plant-based foods. Well, much to Tanya’s delight, she learned that contrary to the fears and concerns of some people, it’s not only possible to live a healthy vegetarian lifestyle, but it’s also healthier for the planet as well as its people.

The result is Native Foods Café, which serves delicious, healthy, fun food that honors the environment and harms not a single animal in the making.

We at the Happy Gluten Free Vegan are awaiting their Boulder opening with excitement and anticipation; we are sure that we will be frequent visitors, and we can’t wait to say “Welcome to Boulder” in person!