Monday, February 17, 2014

Mushroom in your coffee at Living Cafe

Living Cafe on Urbanspoon


Living Cafe in Steveston (in Richmond) is a quaint little place this is deli on one side, dining room on another. The dining space is simple, sunny, and spacious and displays local artwork on the walls.

The menu is an interesting one that supports not-easily-found diets, such as raw, paleo, superfoods, and funny good-for-you ingredients like chlorophyll and red reishi mushroom. For sugar, they use the 1:1 sugar substitute xylitol. Vegetarian and vegan diets are of course supported. They also carry a selection of Anderssen's Life Flaxrolls.
The online menu is missing at least one page.

Black Coffee ($3) Enriched coffee grown and cultivated by experienced artisans and mixed with their proprietary, pesticide-free, USDA certified organic Ganoderma Lucidium ("red reishi mushroom").
  • Tastes like coffee, but seemed a bit on the weak side. Presumably the $3 is for the mushroom content. Red reishi mushroom is supposed to be on the bitter side, so it blends nicely with coffee, which is bitter to begin with.
  • If you're looking for a strong or "normal" coffee, it's probably best to talk to your server first, or run around the neighbourhood later. There's a Blenz, a Starbucks, and a Waves, all within walking distance.
TLC Sampler Plate ($12)
  • This was a surprisingly filling meal involving a mix of items. Mostly raw vegan, but not entirely as some items (like the chickpeas in the salad) are cooked.
  • Seasoned Kale Chips
    • Kale that's not bitter! Probably because there weren't any thick stems, which are bitter.
    • Whatever the mix of seasonings, it's not too salty either.
    • Deeply green yet crispy. There's a bit of a "seaweed" look to them.
  • Two balls of "Tuna" salad.
    • Raw vegetarian stuff mixed together to taste and feel like a tuna salad. Each ball is slightly smaller than a ping pong ball.
  • Two balls of honey hummus.
    • Hummus with a touch of honey. Not enough honey, I thought.
  • Crackers made predominantly of flax seeds.
    • Obviously for use with the "tuna" and hummus. Pretty boring-tasting otherwise.
  • Salad of sprouts and beans (about 1 cup full).
    • I'm sure this "salad" of mixed beans and stuff is good for you. But taste wise... Zap this with hot sauce.
  • Carrot and celery sticks.
    • Thankfully, hot sauce is available for the asking.
Double Chocolate Cake ($4.50 for a piece, $20 for 5 pieces, $40 for a whole cake of 12-24 pieces).
  • You want this! A pricey piece is about 2 inches wide and maybe 4 inches long. There's about a centimeter of thick chocolate on top. The cake itself is dense and moist and extremely chocolatey. This is a very excellent chocolate cake, one of the best I've had.
  • Dairy-free and gluten free, but has eggs so it is not vegan.
Overall, Living Cafe provides good value for money and has an interesting and fairly extensive menu. From just the sampler plate (which is obviously not a great sample size for evaluation), taste and plating is inferior to some of the newer vegetarian/vegan eateries such as Graze, The Parker, Acorn, or Heirloom, but Living Cafe offers other ingredients that are hard to find in restaurant usage. You can probably pick up most of the ingredients from the deli counter side as well.

Living Cafe supports the Mealshare.ca charity.

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