Jane and I tried a new (to us) restaurant tonight, Cinnamon in Highland Park which is a suburb of Los Angeles. We'd stumbled across reviews of this place a few months ago. After perusing the menu online, we decided we'd try it, but for one reason or another we hadn't gotten around to it until today. Wow. They basically cater to vegans. There are a few items on the menu that have egg or milk, but almost everything is or can be made vegan!
We arrived at Cinnamon a little before 5pm tonight, and were immediately told to choose a table of our liking. We sat down and looked over the menu. Then one of the chefs came over to take our order. We told her this was our first visit and asked what she recommended. She offered to bring us a sample of the various "meats" so we could try them and then make a more informed decision. The sampler, which was on the house, was a small plate of chorizo, wheat meat, and shrimp. We each took a bite and then looked at each other, hopeful expressions on our faces.
We ordered the Jumping Shrimp Cocktail as our appetizer. The mock-shrimp probably wouldn't hold up as shrimp if you've had the real thing in the recent past, but we haven't had shrimp in over seven months and were very pleased with the texture and taste. And it was a welcome change from the typical mock-meat proteins we've been having. The base of the cocktail (gazpacho?) was light and fresh and absolutely delicious. It tasted of summer. We will definitely order that again.
Even though we weren't all that hungry we decided on two entrees. Leftovers always make for a good lunch the next day!
I ordered the Soy Chorizo with Potatoes. It comes with rice and a salad, but I was offered beans if I wanted those instead of the salad. Since Jane's meal came with beans, we figured one of us should have the salad. That's pretty much one of our commandments. We always have salad with dinner. The Soy Chorizo was very tasty, with just the right amount of heat. The salad was unremarkable, but it was fresh. And I had corn tortillas which tasted freshly made to me (but the chef said they were purchased).
Jane ordered the Carnitas, with brown rice and black bean, and whole wheat tortillas. My first thought was "how bland." But she didn't feel like having the typical spicy Mexican dish we often order. As we ate a bit more, I revised my opinion. This dish was also something to be had again. Jane made herself little burritos.
After we were done with our meal, our server also brought us a hot beverage called Canelazo, which is cinnamon based, and resembles tea. Jane was told that it is also a bit of an aphrodisiac when rubbed into the skin with some crushed rose petals and honey. OK, Valentines Day is coming up, but that's a topic for a different blog. We passed on the raw vegan desserts, which are baked off-premises. Next time!
This unassuming little place may rapidly become one of our favorite vegan haunts. Although it has a very basic look to it, it's impeccably clean, and the chef who assisted us was knowledgeable, friendly, and very helpful. As an added bonus, they also offer free Wi-Fi. Wow, a restaurant with an entire menu to choose from, not just one or two entrees. Hallelujah!