If you haven't had the chance to try Ray's Vegan Soul food yet, well--get on that. Ray, who sets up shop at events and festivals around town, serves a variety of you-won't-believe-it's-vegan food like jackfruit "crab" cakes, raw tacos, jicama cole slaw, pumpkin chili and more. Our pick? The vegan mac and "cheese," which you can get next Friday night at Retrobaked's third-anniversary celebration in Village of the Arts.
One of downtown's newest hot spots, Lila, last week began offering lunch service for the first time, presenting its vegetable-forward cuisine to hungry daytime crowds. We visited on the first day of autumn, but we couldn't resist a summer-summoning bowl of pappardelle ($16). The expertly seasoned house-made noodle came served with tangy cherry tomatoes, rich ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a sprinkle of basil. The result: a gooey, starchy, acidic triumph.
The fun part of eating at Poppo's Taqueria, which has four locations in the area, is playing around with the toppings, which veer from typical burrito fillers in interesting ways. A "big bowl" ($8.95) loaded the restaurant's exceptional spiced and shredded chicken recently came decked out with pickled cabbage and a handful of arugula, in addition to more classic toppings like cheese, cilantro, red onion and lime. Scrumptious.
At Siesta Pizzeria, take our advice and order the Four Seasons pizza ($25)--you pick four types of toppings and the pie is divided into quarters. (Talk about the ultimate pizza sampling!) Our picks: margherita, Siesta white (goat cheese, mozzarella, bacon, garlic and arugula), veggie and Mona Lisa (pepperoni, sausage, onion, green peppers, black olives and mushrooms). House-made breadsticks separate each quarter.
After spending a morning with the bakers at Yoder's (more on that in our November issue), we were reminded of the simple perfection of the bakery's pumpkin bread: it's homemade every morning and is chock-full of pumpkin spices with a tender, almost velvety, crumb. We like it just fine by itself, but if you heat it up and add a pat of butter, it makes for a perfect autumn breakfast, especially alongside a cup of coffee.