Sometimes, menus and offerings change, as was the case with the vegan crêpes that used to be on the Elderberries. But then you wind up enjoying a more basic option that is satisfying in its simplicity. This was the case during my morning visit to the eclectic cafe. I wound up starting the day with a toasted everything bagel with with cashew cheese, tomato, onion, and avocado, some potatoes, and a cup of well-needed good coffee topped with some almond milk foam. It had been a very long morning that originated in Vancouver, Washington around 3am.
If you would have told me almost two decades ago that there would be shops crafting creamy, flavorful, fermented cheese-like products that were all-vegan, I would tell you that you were cuckoo. But nut cheese certainly is hitting the big time! Over the last few years there have been several vegan cheese shops to open up their doors, specializing in creating (or stocking) scratch-made nut cheeses. Quality food establishments are also taking care to embark upon creating their own nut-based cheeses to substitute the packaged, processed foods that really have no place on a eatery’s menu.
In Los Angeles, Vromage reigns supreme, supplying a ton of interested parties, vegan and non-vegan alike, with quality nut cheeses. I stopped by one morning to chat with the very friendly owner, Youssef, and taste a hefty doling of samples, from mild to sharp.
With elevated consumer tastes creating market shifts, plant based cheese is hot. All folks cheese-related, dairy and non-dairy, have their eye on Youssef. He’s a true craftsman of his trade, admitting to eating dairy solely for the purpose of product research. How else can he create a vegan cheese that will be accepted by a non-vegan, he asks. Perhaps when he perfects his varieties, he’ll never look back. And perhaps his customers, who encompass a wide range of eating ethos, will not either.
I got the Asiago and a variety of Gouda, two of my favorite sampled bites. I am hoping that they last enough to enjoy back in New York as we didn’t have the time or wine to enjoy them in California. I’ll just be poolside blogging until then.