What do you think of when you think of comfort food?
Fried chicken? Pizza? Lasagna? Ice cream?
Now: what do you think of when you think of vegan comfort food?
For most of you non-vegans, vegan comfort food probably doesn’t sound very comforting. (I mean, how comforting can a carrot or a corn cob be?)
If you think that way, you probably haven’t eaten at Santa Barbara’s Adama, the home of vegan (and gluten-free, if you’re into that) comfort cuisine.
We’re barely in the door before the friendly hostess seats us and brings us freshly brewed iced tea served up in heavy glass Arcoroc mugs exactly like my Mom had back in the 1980’s. Making our choices doesn’t take us long. I’m all about the AFC (Adama Fried Chicken fingers, based on the delicious Beyond Meat faux chicken products, accompanied by mashed potatoes and vegan gravy), while Clyde wants the vegan lasagne.
Before those arrive, though, we decide to kick things off with a slice of vegan pizza:
The crust is crisp, the veggies are fresh, and the Daiya cheese substitute — made with, of all things, tapioca — is ooey and gooey and browned around the edges. Now, I must be honest with you non-vegans out there: Daiya cheese won’t fool you. You’d never mistake Dayia mozzarella for real mozzarella cheese. That said: this is the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had … and the way the chef here broils the cheese makes all the difference. This is a worthy pie, vegan or not.
When our entrees arrive, I think mine looks pretty good (and it is, though, to be honest, the Beyond Meat, after frying, is just a little tougher than chicken oughta be):
But Clyde’s lasagna holds it own against any lasagne, anywhere:
He looks positively in love with the dish:
And, well, he should be. This is one incredible lasagna: fresh butternut squash, spinach, brown rice noodles, and tons of creamy cashew and Daiya cheeses, topped off with fresh marinara and a dusting of “parmesan.” It looks like lasagne. It tastes like lasagna. Hands down, it’s the best restaurant-prepared vegan dish I’ve ever tasted.
We end the night with vegan gelato. I would like to show you photos of Clyde’s “Butter” Pecan or my Choco-Choco Cake gelatos, but they simply don’t last long enough to photograph.
We can’t eat like this every meal, or, even as vegans, we’ll soon be unable to fit into our pants. But for the occasional night on the town or vacation treat, this kind of comfort food satisfies our souls … while still meeting our goals. Now, if I can just convince the Adama folks to open a branch in Midtown Atlanta!