Saturday, March 7, 2009

Java Green

Java Green has been on my list since a vegetarian friend came to visit from California and raved about this organic eatery in the heart of downtown. We took advantage of the spring-like temperatures and took a Saturday morning stroll to Java Green.

The restaurant is a self-proclaimed "organic eco cafe" with a wide variety of vegan organic offerings and environmentally friendly packaging. The menu has a Korean flair reflecting the heritage of its owners. It caters to a niche market and has a steady stream of regulars that the owner greeted by name. For B and me, it felt like a trip back to our old home in Santa Monica, CA. We may have been the only diners that had not just come from yoga class. You place your order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. B's food came to the table a good ten minutes before mine did. The various kitchen stations need to work on their synchronization.

B ordered the Curry Noodles with Spicy Tofu: buckwheat noodle, creamy curry sauce, carrot, potato, broccoli, edamame, and spicy tofu. To drink he had a Pink Lady Frappe: ice blended with nut milk, strawberries, raspberries, agave, and whipped cream. The face B made after trying the Pink Lady was not a good one. The drink lacked flavor and tasted like goopy nothingness with a hint of berry. The Curry Noodle entree was a bigger hit.

I had the Chicken Chili Wrap: sundried tomato wrap, soy "chicken," spinach, onion, cucumber, carrot, hot cherry peppers, and chili java sauce. The wraps are served with your choice of blue corn chips or a pickle.

My wrap was very spicy! I had to refill my biodegradable water cup many times to combat the heat in my mouth. I loved the java chili sauce that was almost like a spicy sweet teriyaki glaze. The veggies were very fresh and had a nice crunch. The wrap was a little on the chewy side and the soy chicken has a texture that may take some getting used to. I appreciated the use of organic ingredients and the non-greasy fresh taste. Java Green is a refreshing oasis in a region not known for healthy all-natural cuisine.

Second Thoughts from B

As J said, there was part of our Java Green experience that was like going home. While both of us still enjoy a good steak, we also have been exposed to a lot of vegetarian, vegan, and raw cuisines. If this is a first for you, don't expect it to taste like anything you're used to. While every effort has been made to develop equivalent flavors and textures, vegan options just won't taste exactly like meat. What is important to remember is that even though the vegan replacement doesn't taste like the real thing, the vegan option isn't necessarily better or worse... it is just different.

I thought both my noodle dish and J's wrap were very well constructed dishes that were full of flavor, all while being healthy and environmentally/animal conscious. As long as the uninitiated can keep an open mind, Java Green compares well, or even surpasses, similar dishes using meat... I would just be wary of the frappes.
Java Green on Urbanspoon

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