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Taste Test

  • FOOD Taste Test Uncategorized

    Taste Test: Gentle Grill (Temecula, CA)

    Several months ago, a new vegan restaurant opened up in Temecula called Gentle Grill. This is exciting for multiple reasons, one being that although we don’t live there, my boyfriend and I are constantly driving to Temecula. And two, the amount of vegan-friendly restaurants in Riverside is a long, long list, but the amount of vegan restaurants is a big ol’ ZERO. So obviously, as the first 100% vegan restaurant in Temecula, I was more than excited to try it out. And it did not disappoint!

    Taste Test: Gentle Grill (Temecula, CA)
    Image courtesy of Google

    The Gentle Grill menu is full of all-American classics: burgers, sandwiches, french fries, chicken nuggets, etc. Overall, their menu is pretty simple, but delicious. Over our two trips to Gentle Grill, we’ve tried:

    • Gentle Fries (their version of animal fries)
    • Beyond Burger
    • Chicken Sandwich
    • Cauliflower Buffalo Bites
    • Chicken Nuggets
    Taste Test: Gentle Grill (Temecula, CA)

    My biggest craving as a vegan is junk food. I don’t just mean chips and soda, I mean chicken nuggets, milkshakes, loaded french fries. Those drive-through junk foods that are really hard to replicate with plant-based ingredients. It’s surprisingly hard to find a vegan restaurant that can satisfy that craving, but Gentle Grill checks all the boxes.

    The chicken nuggets remind me of the chicken nuggets I would crave as a kid, and that’s a good thing. Their fries are crispy and covered in melty cheese (yes, they have vegan cheese that actually melts!). The burgers are juicy and cooked to perfection. If you’re looking for a new vegan restaurant to try out, I definitely recommend it!

    Taste Test: Gentle Grill (Temecula, CA)

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    Taste Test: Gentle Grill (Temecula, CA)
  • FOOD Taste Test

    Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)

    This post is sponsored by Nekter.

    It’s no secret that I’m a huuuuge fan of Nekter. I’m not quiet about it. I shout it from the rooftops.

    Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)

    For anyone who hasn’t been there, Nekter is a juice bar that serves smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and snacks, as well as a full juice cleanse. They make the best acai bowl EVER and I’d bet money on it.
    Truth is, I was already planning on doing a Taste Test of Nekter (I plan on doing it for all my favorite vegan places), but for this post I was able to partner with them, which means that I got to try menu items that I haven’t tried before! Like this blended green juice, which is literally a cross between a juice and a smoothie and is SO GOOD that I drank an entire 24 ounce cup in five minutes… oops.

    Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)

    Mike used to bring me acai bowls for lunch when I was working at a bakery down the street, and I never got tired of them. My favorite is the Peanut Butter, but the Tropical Coconut one is a close second (I don’t think the Tropical Coconut is on their menu anymore, but the Nekter we go to will still make it if you ask). And just for fun, here’s a few photos from my scrapbooks, featuring a lot of Nekter, me with pink hair, and our chameleon:

    Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)   Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)   Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)

    I’ve been a long time addict fan.
    Aaand I don’t know HOW, but I honestly didn’t know that they had an app. I downloaded it, and it’s awesome. You get points for every item you purchase, and then you can use those points to get rewards, aka free food. And free food is my love language, so you bet I signed up. Here’s a handy little chart that explains how easy using the app is:

    Taste Test: Nekter Juice Bar (San Diego, CA)

    Plus you get a free drink on your birthday, AND a free drink every time you refer a friend. Score.
    If you’ve been there, comment down below what your favorite drink is, and if you haven’t been, go check it out! Order the Peanut Butter Acai Bowl… trust me.

    Check out my other Taste Tests:

    Taste Test: Donut Friend (Los Angeles, CA)
    Taste Test: Plant Power Fast Food (San Diego, CA)

    Thank you to Nekter for sponsoring this post!
    (All opinions are 100% my own. I only partner with brands that I use in my everyday life.)

  • FOOD Taste Test

    Taste Test: Plant Power Fast Food (San Diego, CA)

    Last week, I started seeing photos on Instagram for some new vegan place down in Encinitas. Within a few days, there were photos EVERYWHERE, including all over Mike’s Instagram feed from some surfer he follows. We took it as a sign that we needed to go try it. So we adventured down to Encinitas to try the newly-opened Plant Power Fast Food.

    I tried to figure out what I wanted before I got there, but no such luck. When it’s an entire vegan menu, I get so overwhelmed. It’s a good kind of overwhelmed, like I-want-everything-on-the-menu overwhelmed.

    PPFF1My boyfriend got the Buffalo ’66 (spicy buffalo chicken sandwich), I got The Rambler (barbecue sauce, crispy onion rings, “beefy” patty (and I got it lettuce-wrapped)), and then we split the Voodoo Fries and the chicken tenders.

    PPFF2                PPFF3

    Voodoo Fries: french fries topped with ‘cheese’, secret sauce, and caramelized onions. Basically In n’ Out animal fries. BUT VEGAN. The chicken tenders were scary accurate. Like to the point that I pulled the menu back up to make sure that place was 100% vegan and I didn’t somehow get real chicken. They’re crispy and amazing and I could go on and on about how much I loved these things.

    First of all, it was FREAKING DELICIOUS.
    Second of all, it was reasonably priced ($25 for all that!), easily accessible, and overall the service was great (we came at the lunch rush so there was a pretty long line, but we still got through in about 10 minutes). And third of all, I feel like this is a great step towards making vegan more normalized. It’s also a great way to make a vegan diet more ‘accessible’, since I know a lot of people struggle with planning their meals ahead of time and just want something quick for lunch.

    This place was amazing. We’re already planning a second trip. If you’re ever in Encinitas or San Diego (they have two locations), check it out!


    “Hey babe look, that’s what I ordered!”

  • FOOD Taste Test

    Taste Test: Donut Friend (Los Angeles, CA)

    This morning I woke up craving a donut. And not just any donut, but the best donuts in the world. CURSE YOU, DONUT FRIEND, WHY MUST YOU BE SO FAR AWAY.
    Today I am going to share with you my undying love for Donut Friend, a 100% vegan donut shop up in LA.

    As a vegan, I’m used to only having one option on a menu, no big deal. When there’s two or three options, I get so excited to have choices. But walking into an all-vegan bakery and being able to eat ANYTHING they have is almost overwhelming. These donuts aren’t just “good for vegan donuts”, they’re just GOOD DONUTS. And not only do they taste even better than they look, but every single one of these donuts is named after a punk band (and I’m a sucker for a good pun).


    The pictures above are from the first time we went to Donut Friend about two years ago, and the photo below is from a trip up to LA for my boyfriend’s birthday. Every time we go, we get a dozen (which costs around $30) and it only lasts us two to three days. They’re ADDICTING. Here are my recommendations (all of which are in the photo below):

    • S’Morrissey (my boyfriend’s favorite): chocolate donut with graham crumbs & marshmallows
    • Husker Blu (my favorite): blueberry donut with blueberry glaze
    • Poppyghandi: lemon poppyseed
    • Javabreaker: coffee donut with espresso glaze
    • Polar Berry Club: vanilla donut with lemon glaze & fresh berries
    • Fritter Seems Forever: crispy fritter packed with fresh fruit

    The list goes on and on and on. We haven’t even tried half the menu yet, so I’m sure there’s a ton of other amazing flavors. Plus if (for some reason) none of the available donuts sound good, you can create your own. What.

    If you are ever up in LA, please go check them out!