Mustang Weekend Guide: Fun In “The Bubble”

April 8, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By A&E Editors
mustangeditors@gmail.com

Sure you could go exploring around Dallas this weekend, but there’s more than enough fun to be had right here in the SMU “Bubble.” Here’s our weekend line-up for fun right here in the Park Cities:

Kappa Alpha Crawfish Boil
What: all the crawfish and beer – if you’re of age – your little heart desires. Did we mention there’s a Jimmy Buffett cover band? Sounds like our kind of afternoon.
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Across the Street Bar
Tickets are $20 at the door. Arrive with an empty belly and your Parrot Head party pants on.

Sam Edelman Spring Collection Debut
Where: Neiman Marcus at Northpark Center
What: Scope out the latest collection of the fan-favorite shoe line Sam Edelman. Gush a little; buy a little – it will be a good time. Also, Sam Edelman’s son will be in-house for a personal appearance and some shoe Q&A.
When: Saturday, 1-3 p.m.

SMU Retail Club Fashion Show
What: It’s the SMU fashion event of the season, and after a busy day of crawfish and shoe oogling, what’s better than sitting back and taking in some of the latest trends? The show begins with a panel of SMU student and alumni designers as well as several Dallas designers.
Where: The Meadows Museum (What a neat venue right? We thought so too.)
When: Saturday, 5-7 p.m.

Eat, Gather and Mingle At The Katy Trail Ice House
When: anytime! It’s the grand opening weekend
What: Enjoy the great weather, grab an ice cold drink, and sit down to enjoy a burger.
Why: It’s a new and cool Austin-style beer garden brought to you by the creators of Bandito’s Tex-Mex Cantina, Barley House & Mi Cocina. Like all of our favorite things about Dallas patio life wrapped into one.

DALLAS International Film Festival Closing Weekend
Where: Angelika, Highland Park Village, Magnolia & many others
What: The closing weekend of these film festivals are sometimes the best part – all the winners, all day, all over town. Scope out their schedule online for tickets, trailers and showtimes.
Why: You can say you’re cool and underground because you’re not seeing Hollywood’s latest blockbuster and who knows—you might run into a celebrity.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Nosh

April 7, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@smu.edu

(Braised short ribs/ PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Rating:
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Price: $$$

Although we dropped in last minute and didn’t have reservations, Nosh stepped up their game and managed to deliver an excellent experience even though we were crammed in the back corner eating at a tiny table meant just for drinks.

It was a Saturday night and the place was overflowing with people—and noise. Located on 4216 Oak Lawn Ave, Nosh occupies a tiny space for such a large following. Because the tables were so close together and the room was so small, it was hard to hear. On top of this, there wasn’t much of an atmosphere…not to mention the prices on the menu were deterring me.

I ordered a glass of Malbec, a $9 glass of Malbec. I knew I was overpaying, but on top of this I was served what appeared to be one fourth of a glass. I wasn’t going to let that fly. I spoke to our waiter (who I assume was a manager) and asked him politely if I could have some wine added to my glass. He told me they measured each glass before pouring, but assured me he would gladly add some for me. And he did just that.

(Kobe burger/ PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

We ordered the espresso braised beef short rib, which was delicious. The flavor was rich and the meat just melted in your mouth. But, now that I come to think of it, it did not come with the promised sides of cheddar stone grits and blistered tomatoes. And I was looking forward to trying the grits! The portion was tiny (only two ribs for $17) but I guess the flavors made us forget that detail.

The Nosh stacked kobe burger wasn’t that special. It was good, a bit overcooked, and tasted like just any other burger. You would think a $14 burger would explode in your mouth or something, but no. It tasted like the burgers you can order on the beach. Nothing special.

In addition to our entrees, we couldn’t resist the temptation of a side of the parmesan fries. We had to wait about five extra minutes for them (which we didn’t even notice because we were too busy trying the rest of the food), and the waiter came rushing over apologizing for the wait on our fries and brought us another round of drinks on the house. It was surprising and very nice, and I definitely got my $9 worth of Malbec. Our fries appeared a minute later and were by far the best part of the meal. Delicious.

To end our experience at Nosh we ordered the warm chocolate soufflé cake with smore ice cream. Maybe this was the best part of the meal. The consistency was perfection and the chocolate was so rich and yummy.

I’d say if you’re going to Nosh, be sure to make a reservation and prepare to spend some money. Also, don’t order a burger when you go here.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Saint Ann

March 23, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@smu.edu

(PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

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Price: $$

On a beautiful 80 degree evening, my friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner on a patio.

Located downtown on N. Harwood Street between the Saint Ann building and the Rolex building, you can easily find parking in a convenient covered lot right in front of the restaurant.

Once you’ve walked up the wooden steps to the restaurant, you are greeted with a large wooden patio with lots of wooden tables and chairs, strung lights, a fire pit and lots of people enjoying the lovely evening. It’s a great place to relax and have a drink, bring the whole family to enjoy a full meal or even have a small event.

The inside is very open and has almost a beachy-luxury feel, leaving you with a feelings of vacation time. But, not so fast. Here, you’re a student. The menus are school themed with lined paper and red pen marks. When asked if we were still thinking about we wanted to order, the waiter nodded his head and understood we were still “researching.” But that’s where the school theme stops.

The patio at Saint Ann (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Before we began to munch, we started the evening off right with the Skinny Basil Lemonades. Under 100 calories, this concoction was so yummy it went away a little too fast. Veev acai (a liquor made from the acai berry), lemon juice, agave nectar, basil and club soda, I’d go as far as to say this was an almost healthy cocktail. If you don’t have time for a full meal, go just for this drink.

Most everything on the menu looked good to us, so it was difficult to choose. To start, we had the tomato mozzarella salad. It came out with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a balsamic reduction. Crisp and refreshing, it was your classic caprese salad done right.

(PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The Neapolitan pizza was thin crust and delicious. We ordered ours with prosciutto, basil and extra cheese. Mmmm it had the right amount of crunch and the flavors were addictive. It was large enough for two and it only costs $6.50 and then $1.50 for each additional topping, leaving us with an $11 pizza that tasted like a $20 pizza. It was that good.

If you’re a meat lover, don’t miss the Italian Sammy. Packed with oven roasted turkey, Capricola ham, salami and swiss cheese, this sandwich is so delicious and it comes with either a side of sweet potato fries, house fries or a house salad. We went with the sweet potato fries—and you should too. The fries were perfectly salted and slightly browned, with a sweet almost confectionary taste to it. Perfect complement to the Italian Sammy.

(PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

And the good prices weren’t just for the pizza. At such a nice upscale restaurant, you would never expect the reasonable prices. But this is what Saint Ann is all about: comfort and relaxation. And the waiters provide just that; they’re attentive, friendly and provide excellent service.

After we had enjoyed our entrees, we couldn’t resist the dessert menu. With funky items like Red Bull ice cream with a Jager reduction or the Shiner Bock ice cream, our waiter assured us they were delicious despite the odd names. We went with the traditional fresh berries topped with crème fraiche, which were spot on. But, we didn’t stop there. Possibly my favorite item at the restaurant was the chocolate croissant bread pudding with espresso whipped cream. Warm and gooey with chocolate baked into little bits of croissant, I’ve never had anything quite like it, and I know I will be back for more.

So grab your best friends for a cocktail and dessert before a night out or grab your significant other to make a night out of it. Either way, run, do not walk, to Saint Ann for an incredible dining experience here in Dallas.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Tei An

March 2, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@smu.edu

Rating:
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Price: $$$

Japanese caipirinha (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

From the moment you step into Tei An to the second you try your first bite, you feel as if you traveled all the way to Japan.

With the traditional rice paddy outfits the wait staff wears to the gorgeous larger-than-life décor, this exotic Japanese eatery is more than just dinner. It’s an experience.

The service is usually pretty good, and with tables situated in little nooks of the restaurant, the noise never seems to be a problem.

Located in One Arts Plaza in downtown Dallas, Tei An highlights their special: soba noodles. Not only are their soba noodles delicious, but they’re healthy as well. Made with buckwheat flour, soba noodles are thin Japanese noodles that can be served hot in a broth, or cold with a dipping sauce.

Although the menu is a bit hard to understand, the waiters are always helpful and happy to help. With soba noodles come many decisions—what length, cold or hot, what meat, what broth, etc. If you’re not into soba noodles, there’s also udon noodles, or thick wheat Japanese noodles.

For starters, there are several delicious appetizers including sushi and my favorite, the white seaweed salad. The dressing is refreshing and just right, and the seaweed has a special, almost crunchy texture that just works.

If you’re looking to start with a drink, the cocktails are creative and nothing short of awesome. I ordered the Japanese caipirinha. It was made with a Japanese vodka, limes, sugar, and a dash of bubbly water. It came out in a fun glass garnished with lychee and other fruits.

During my first Tei An experience I ordered the short soba noodles with chicken and broth. It came in a large bowl served on a wooden tray. The presentation was great, the noodles were easy to eat, and delicious. It was so good, I found myself finishing the whole bowl off and wanting more.

The next time I went, I tried the chicken stir-fried soba noodles. It was much more filling than the soba noodles in broth, and was really yummy with stir-fried vegetables.

Still have room for dessert? Well, make room. The soba ice cream with honey is like a savory vanilla ice cream, and with the honey and what I think was finely crushed graham cracker, it was a match made in heaven. Mmmmm.

And if you’re not into trying exotic Japanese food, you have to go just to see the bathrooms. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve never seen a bathroom quite as amazing as this one. When you walk in the stall the door is clear glass, quite confused I closed the door and the door fogs over so you have privacy. Then, once you get in there, the wall has several buttons with interesting options like adjusting the temperature of the toilet seat to more private settings that make Tei An’s bathrooms the smartest I’ve ever witnessed.

The prices are a little high, but you’re also paying for the breathtaking atmosphere and swanky location. I’d say save this for a special occasion with your special someone or your best friends for a birthday. But make sure your dinner mates are somewhat adventurous.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Digg’s Taco Shop

February 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Meredith Carlton and Natalie Blankenship
mcarlton@smu.edu
nblankensh@smu.edu

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Taco lovers—no longer do you have to cross Central Expressway to reach the nearest taco joint. The newest neighbor on the block: Digg’s Taco Shop.

Digg's Taco serves up style and flavor. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Located on Hillcrest Avenue between Asbury and McFarlin Boulevard, Digg’s serves up tex-mex, burgers and now…(drum roll please) margarita popsicles.

As you step inside what once was Stromboli’s, you are greeted with warm colors, booths, friendly staff and trendy music. After making your way to the front counter, you choose from a variety of tex-mex options ranging from burrito bowls to green chile-cheese burgers. Once you’ve ordered, you are handed a buzzer and can then grab your appetizer (chips and salsa, queso, guacamole) and the beverage of your choice. Once you hear the buzzer, you know it’s time to digg in.

The chicken and veggie taco platter. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The taco combo plate allows diners to mix and match two tacos with fillings like shredded beef, braised free-range chicken, roast pork carnitas and fried or grilled mahi mahi. The combo comes with a side of cilantro rice and a cup of (spicy) black beans. Although there is no warning, if you’re a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, we would advise you to steer clear of the black beans. The cilantro rice was filling and delicious. As far as the fillings go, the chicken was tender and flavorful, but the mahi mahi knocked it out of the ballpark. With a tangy cream sauce and melt in your mouth mahi mahi, we will definitely be coming back for more. The chicken burrito roll-up is a good option for hungry Mustangs, but even if you’re not so hungry, it’s worth the take-home box.

Margaritas come on the rocks or frozen and are available in a variety of flavors including mango, strawberry or pomegranate. If you’re looking for a steal, these won’t break the bank account. Soda, wine and beer are also available at reasonable prices.

Mahi Mahi tacos leave you wanting more. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Although customers are not served at the table, Digg’s employees are amiable and energetic. When picking up meals, employees address diners by their first names and always offer smiles. When one of us asked for their “amped up sauce” on the side, an employee gladly brought it to us. Upon finishing our meals, an employee was quick to clear the table.

Whether you’re coming to dine in with friends or just grab a meal to go, Digg’s will not leave you disappointed. With great prices and a comfortable atmosphere, not to mention the close proximity to SMU, what’s not to love?

Big D Blog: Celebrities Flock to Dallas in Time for Super Bowl

February 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@smu.edu

Girls squeal as Chace Crawford stops to greet fans. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Waking up to a text message from a friend letting me on a little secret—one of my favorite bands is playing a free concert in just a matter of hours? I was psyched to say the least. On top of the Maroon 5 concert, there was a Celebrity Beach Bowl to kickoff the Saturday before the Super bowl.

We arrived at Victory Park just minutes before the Beach Bowl began; we paid our $15 to see a plethora of celebrities playing football, not to mention see Maroon 5. All of the activities were free. It almost seemed to be too good to be true. It was. We stood in a line for thirty minutes before finding they weren’t going to let any more people inside. Bummer. Big time.

So, we decided to head to the “W” Hotel to sit down and enjoy a drink. We walked in hoping to score a nice spot at the bar—that wasn’t happening either. The Living Room was packed with tourists donning their favorite team’s colors. Apparently everyone heard that the “W” was the place to be. We weren’t pleased, so we walked towards the door. A man dressed in a suit roped the entrance off and stood in front. We slowly backed away from the door and headed back to the bar, suddenly feeling special. You can’t just walk in here now? You have to be special, right? We felt like stars. We walked back in only to realize the scenery hadn’t changed. We walked out.

Jesse Metcalfe with his girl in tow. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

As we headed towards the car, my friend tapped me on the shoulder and pointed over towards a blonde girl near the entrance of the “W”, bouncing up and down and squealing, preparing her camera and pointing it towards a dirtied white Suburban. Ok, there’s gotta be someone important in there. We decided to stick around.

Mark Salling exited the car. Or Puck from Glee, as you may know him. I found myself getting very star struck and looking as stupid as the girl who was bouncing up and down. Then, Chace Crawford got out of the suburban behind Salling’s car. Cue the sudden flow of celebrities. We were in heaven.

Spotted: Jesse Metcalfe (pool boy from Desperate Housewives) with his girlfriend. She wasn’t too happy about all of the girls swarming him for photos. Better get used to it, girlfriend!

Next up: Guy Fieri. You may know him from the Food Network in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Or maybe you’ve been watching his new show NBC’s Minute to Win It. Despite all the glamorous and attractive young television stars that were flowing into the hotel, Fieri got the loudest cheers. (I’ll be quite honest—I was one of the cheerers). One lady even yelled “Guy, come back! We’re hungry!”

I spotted Colt McCoy, and being a fellow Austinite and also a fellow Lakehills Church goer, I walked up to him as he was signing little kids’ footballs, I decided to go for it. I tapped him on his shoulder and a meek “Colt?” came out of my mouth. What was I doing? “Can I get a photo with you?” He said “yes” but his father apologized and said they had to be going. Yes, I was one of those. I went there.

Guy Fieri enters the "W" Hotel (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Other celebs included Hayden Panetierre, Matthew Morrison (from Glee), Jessica Stroup (from 90210), and who knows who else.

A slew of TV stars jump into a Suburban. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Moral of the story: you might just run into celebrities in Dallas around Super bowl time if you are in the right place at the right time. Not necessarily if you stop at every “celeb packed” restaurant and bar. Breathe in, breathe out. I’m still trying to get over it.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Dream Café

January 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@smu.edu

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Brunch lovers rejoice! If you’re looking for a cozy spot to enjoy brunch at any time of the day, any day of the week, Dream Café has got you covered. Not only does Dream Café offer brunch all the time, but they also have lunch and dinner options that vary from dinner salads to stir fry to Greek pitas. There’s something for everyone here.

Dream Eggs Benedict leaves you with dreams of coming back for more. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Picture an old-fashioned diner with booths, but less retro and more like sitting at your kitchen table at your parents’ house. The environment is casual and inviting. There’s seating outside and even an enclosed porch area that is heated during the cooler days. A mini-playground sits right in front and mothers, young couples, groups of friends, and sometimes even celebrities (we saw a guy from American Idol there) fill the café.

Serving Dallas for 20 years, Dream Café offers fresh and healthy ingredients from different tastes and cultures. The “Dream” Eggs Benedict was nothing short of perfection. The hollandaise sauce was just right, the eggs great, and the spinach and cherry tomatoes added a healthier kick to the dish.

One of Dream’s most popular dishes, the Cloud Cakes, has customers’ tongues wagging and usually coming back for more. Made with ricotta cheese, these pancakes are ultra fluffy and topped with strawberries, crème fraiche and powdered sugar.

If you’re really hungry, the egg scramblers are an great choice as well. Stuffed in a large house-made popover and served with hash browns and a side of fresh fruit, you can choose the ham and cheddar cheese scrambler, the spinach, mushroom and swiss cheese, or the house favorite: goat cheese, sundried tomato and spinach.

The ham and cheddar scramble is delicious and satisfying. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Other drool-invoking options include omelettes, waffles, breakfast tacos and granola-crusted French toast. If you’re not an egg person, or just prefer something healthier, Dream offers organic steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, house-made granola with yogurt and fruit and many other options.

Not a brunch person? That’s ok too. Feel like indulging in some Mexican food? Perhaps Greek? Or maybe Asian? You can choose from any of these choices. Start out with the chickpea hummus and pita crisps, then move onto the Garden Stir Fry with brown rice, or maybe you’d like to try the Uptown Pita filled with hummus and grilled veggies. My point is this: Dream Café has anything and everything delicious and will not disappoint.

Campus News Blog: Be Prepared For The Busiest Travel Day of The Year

November 19, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Natalie Blankenship

Attention SMU Students: Nov. 24th is one of, if not the busiest travel day of the year. Many students are planning on flying home or to their family’s Thanksgiving vacation spot. So, I’m here to give you some tips to help this extremely stressful travel day become not-so-stressful. According to the Dallas Morning News, D/FW Airport will be hosting a lot more fliers this Thanksgiving.

1. Before you leave for the airport, check your flight status online. That way, if your flight has been delayed, you can spend that extra time at home rather than stressing out at the airport. So, get off on the right foot.

2. Don’t wait for the last minute to arrive at DFW (or Lovefield, for that matter). Give yourself at least forty minutes to get to the airport because there will be a lot of traffic, and allow yourself two hours at the airport before your flight takes off even if it’s not an international flight. Because the airports will be overflowing with anxious travelers, you’ll need this extra time to check your bag, get through security and to leave time to buy your magazine and gum.

3. Once you’re there, be conscious about security measures. Security will be going a lot slower. So if you want to look like a seasoned traveler, have your liquids in a separate Ziploc bag, take your shoes off, and take your laptop out of your bag.

4. Be sure to bring entertainment with you- your iPod, phone fully charged, a book, whatever it is that keeps you satisfied. With the Thanksgiving holiday comes flight delays. It’s just a fact. So, be prepared to wait.

5. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carryon. You never know when your baggage gets lost or your plane gets delayed. Or if you spill on your shirt, you will have a dry set.

Campus News Blog: Child-Free Flights May Make Your Ride More Enjoyable

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Natalie Blankenship

Worried about a small child kicking the back of your seat on your flight home? Or perhaps a baby crying in the seat next to you? Have no fear, new “child-free flights” may pop up in the near future. According to a recent New York Times article, people are voicing their desire for “family only” designated planes and planes that are “child-free.” And it’s not just childless adults requesting these new flights, it’s also mothers and fathers.

As college students, the last thing we want is to be on a plane next to an annoying screaming child. So, as we wait and hope for new child-free planes, here are some tips for a comfortable ride home this winter break, or a plane ride to Europe. Wherever you go, take this tips into consideration.

1. Although kind of expensive, sometimes it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Bose offers a pair of top of the line headphones that will ensure you won’t be able to hear screaming Billy next to you.
2. If it’s a long flight, bring your laptop and plenty of episodes of that TV show you need to catch up on
3. Bring your music.
4. If you don’t want to invest in expensive headphones, use your pillow to dampen the sound. Maybe the parents will take a hint.

If these tips don’t help much, stay tuned and be on the lookout for new child free flights.

Food Review: Bliss Raw Cafe

October 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Asian Stir Fry is among the entrees at Bliss. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

By Natalie Blankenship
nblankensh@mail.smu.edu

Natalie rates Bliss:
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Completely raw and vegan, Bliss offers a menu with tasty-sounding dishes that are all free of gluten, sugar, meat, dairy products, processed flours, additives, preservatives or pesticides. So what is in their food, you may ask yourself. Well, lots of vegetables and lettuce.

When we first arrived, we were seated, but not handed menus or given any service for over 10 minutes. Not much to ask seeing as the location we went to in the Preston Center was tiny and there were only two other occupied tables. We then decided to grab our own menus, and when the waiter finally showed up he told us that “he’d be back in a minute.” Even though we were ready to order, he left and came back about five minutes later. When we were finally served our food, the waiter forgot to bring out an elixir drink until we reminded him of it about half way through our meal. The service was extremely slow and made our lunch very drawn out, not to mention we were thirsty because our water glasses were empty.

The food looked pretty. The California raw pizza looked kind of like a salad- it had basil pesto, onions, tomato, avocado, pepperoncini and a pineapple pico de gallo. The crust was interesting and made it almost impossible to eat without all the ingredients dumping off. It was cold (because it has to be raw) and it tasted alright. I don’t think I’ll be heading back to Bliss when I’m craving pizza.

A slice of the California Pizza (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The asian stir fry was also hard to eat…and unpleasantly cold. The kelp noodles were really thin and tasted kind of tough. But, the vegetables were very good and fresh- bok choy, bean sprouts, red bell pepper and scallions. I must say it was overpriced for the tiny bowl it came in. It was $13.

Rawsagna….oh, rawsagna. Interesting concept, funny, funny name. At $15, a stack of zucchini and tomato layered with basil pesto, tomato sauce, and a ricotta “cheeze”, the taste was good, but it kind of started to taste weird. It was smothered with lettuce and the cheese with a “z” was kind of strange. Who knows what it actually is though.

All in all, my experience wasn’t that great. I’d say that this raw food restaurant isn’t my cup of tea, especially since I’m not vegan, vegetarian or on a raw diet. I do, however, enjoy veggie burgers and tofu items, so I think there’s ways to make healthy and meatless foods taste good. Bliss wasn’t so blissful after all…

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