I stopped by the vegan Native Foods Cafe while strolling around Downtown Culver City. A free meal was waiting on my restaurant card. Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?
Ordering is easy for customers from various dietary needs. I myself eat not only vegan, but gluten-free whenever possible. Such items are labelled “GF.” The Ensalada Azteca Salad happened to be one of them.
Overall the flavors were light and simple. The textures balanced one another. While the fresh cilantro complemented the creamy avocado, the mango lime vinaigrette added adventure to what would’ve been a tame dish.
The slice of mango was not ripe enough, but that’s just a minor detail that fruit lovers would obsess over. Though I suppose an unripe mango is more suitable for this dish. Unripe = less sweet in taste, however firm in shape. The mango was sprinkled with powdered red pepper. Just like how the Mexicans do it. Yumyum!
Warning. The romaine leaves on the bottom are virgin. It’s got no sauce. So if you’re one of those people who eat their food from top to bottom, you’ll begin with a bunch of flavor from the peak then spiral down to bland.
The correct way to eat this meal: either mix the bowl like bibimbap or pierce the ingredients like a kebab. Take your fork. Punch it through a piece of jicama coated with vinaigrette, romaine lettuce, and avocado. Then stuff the goodness into your mouth. In other words, to enjoy this dish to the fullest diligently pair your plain lettuce with the more exciting ingredients for every bite.
Would I order Ensalada Azteca Salad again? Hardcore yes.