This meal is hosted.
When you walk into Erven Restaurant, the first thing you see is this case filled with food. And your mind begins to swim with anticipation. And also, indecision. You’ve got cases full of salads but also you see things like cinnamon buns. As if that isn’t enough, the place is vegan but it sure doesn’t feel like it’s vegan.
So what do you do? You go with friends and you order EVERYTHING to share. Because that’s what friends do.
Dawn McCoy, Leslie Durso and I were invited to try lunch at the five-week-old restaurant. This is in the old Real Food Daily Santa Monica space, so it’s just like its predecessor in that there’s no meat on the menu.
Snack on Incan Corn with Green Peas while sipping on the daily spa water. It’s Watermelon and Basil, and infused H20.
Dawn and Leslie also take part in #WineWednesday, with some sangria.
Snackables to start – Chickpea Fritter with Black Garlic and Yuzu….
…Crispy Sunchokes with Catalan Style Ketchup…
…Tomato Kimchi Soup…
…White Gazpacho with Radishes and Mint…
…and the most incredible vegan biscuits. These have a crusty, sea salt topping. Nick Erven serves them with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam, and thick maple spread.
The above are our favorites. We also got freaky over these Date Pickles. As in dates that are pickled, then fried. He serves them with pine nuts, curry, and maple.
There are three toasts on the menu. And as you can see, we ordered all of them.
Smokey Eggplant with Garlic, Cashews, and Basil…
…followed by Peach and Avocado. With Pine Nuts, Chili…
…and finally, Caramel Cinnamon Toast with Spice Date Jam and Lemon Creme.
You can hop onto Tastemade Facet’s Facebook page to see me in the kitchen making those last two dishes with Chef Nick Erven. And while you’re there, keep your eye out for this Sautéed Mushroom Hoagie. It comes with onion, bell pepper, and a spicy squash spread. And believe me, it is SPICY.
All the sandwiches come with a choice of house slaw or corn chips. We decide on veggies (above) and chips with the Beer Battered Tofu with celery slaw, pickle, and machmantal. Also, I just googled that last word and it didn’t come up anywhere except for Erven. I wonder if Chef Erven made up the term, since he confesses he likes to do just that in our video (Sin Sugar = Cinnamon Sugar).
There are nine salads on the menu, but we only got one. And it is fantastic. Beets and Avocado buried under a pile of arugula and crispy lentils, with carrot ginger dressing.
Of course, we are bursting from all the food. But then, dessert finally comes out, and we make room.
A Rye Chocolate Chip Cookie, and a Peanut Butter. And also, a Jelly Whoopie Pie that takes me straight back to my trip to Maine because it’s perfect.
So let me remind you again – this stuff is all, as the chef calls it – “Coincidentally Vegan.” It’s the perfect place to bring folks who are usually scared of plant-based food. Plus, the dinner menu is totally different. And so I guess we will just have to come back, and do it again at night.
Erven Restaurant: 514 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401| Website