Vegan things I have eaten at Mexico

dinner conversation

As a news story, this blog post is well overdue. Mexico has been serving its vegan-friendly take on Mexican-inspired food since 2012, and I’ve been eating there almost as long. So, this is not a news story, but a big list of various things that Mexico has fed me at different times, and a recommendation to try it some time, if you haven’t.

Mexico’s menu changes every three months to make the most of fresh, seasonal ingredients. There are usually a couple of things on each menu that are vegan by default (listed on their website and in a chart on the wall), as well as a few vegetarian options that can be prepared vegan.

 

crispy chickpea taco

The menu always includes a vegetarian option on its list of soft-shell tacos, which can almost always be made vegan. Tacos I’ve eaten include:

& various others I didn’t take pictures of.

 

corn chips & salsa

Other things I’ve eaten at Mexico over the last couple of years include:

and various other delicious snacks & margaritas.

 

candle in a glass

Mexico has four locations in Auckland: at Britomart, and in Takapuna, Ponsonby and Ellerslie. All four are open seven days, noon until late.

Three things about RAD in Mount Eden

Effing good coffee: a true claim from RAD in Mt Eden.

1. They make the best coffee in Mount Eden Village, hands down. I don’t know how such a central, wealthy suburb had survived so long without any decent coffee outlets but RAD’s fixed all that now.

 

Raw salted caramel tart, made by @therawkitchen & bought at @rad_cafe in Mount Eden Village. #vegan #aucklandvegan #vegancake #raw #saltedcaramel #veganpie

2. They sell raw vegan cakes by the slice, made by The Raw Kitchen. This one, pictured, is a slice of salted caramel tart, and it was delicious. (Here‘s a slice of berry cheesecake I ate another time).

 

A vegan option! On the menu at @rad_cafe in Mount Eden Village. #vegan #aucklandvegan #menu

3. They have a new vegan option on their lunch menu! I haven’t tried For All The Vegie Lovers yet, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t good; RAD made me a similar-sounding salad for lunch a while ago, and it was fresh, flavourful and more filling than I expected.

 

RAD is at 397 Mount Eden Road, in the Village. It’s open seven days a week: Monday-Saturday 6.30am-4pm, and Sunday 8am-4pm.

Another dessert: cashew frozen yoghurt

Cashew frozen yoghurt

We’re a bit spoiled in the frozen dessert department these days, with Little Island (a.k.a. Nice Cream) and Kohu Road stocked all over town, and dessert destinations Giapo & Milse constantly outdoing each other with their artisanal vegan offerings.

Here’s another freezer treat that’s newer to Auckland: frozen cashew yoghurt, from botanical cuisine. Packed in a paper cup in flat white-sized portions, bc’s frozen yoghurt is available in three flavours: classic vanilla, raspberry, and coffee xocolatl, flavoured with cold drip coffee and cacao beans. It’s available from The Cruelty Free Shop in St Kevin’s Arcade on K Road.

I tried a cup of coffee xocolatl yoghurt yesterday – it’s smooth, subtly flavoured and quite special.

Little Bird needs a little help to open at Britomart

 

Little Bird is one of the most exciting things that’s happened to vegan eating in Auckland over the last few years, and they have just announced a new exciting project: their third Unbakery, at Britomart.

The new spot, on Customs Street East, is being developed into a takeaway-only Unbakery, serving a full range of meals and desserts. The lease on the space near Britomart train station has been signed, and plans are underway to make this happen. However, the lending company that has supported Little Bird to grow its business has gone into voluntary receivership.

This means that Little Bird needs your help. They’ve launched a PledgeMe fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 over the next fortnight. If everyone chips in a little bit, then downtown Auckland will have more amazing vegan options.

Depending on how much you pledge, rewards include Little Bird lunches, cold pressed juices, cookbooks or tickets to two special degustation dinner events at the Summer Street Unbakery.

You can check out more detail about the project, and add your pledge, on PledgeMe.

French chocolate from Hastings

Fennel and bergamot chocolate from la petite chocolat

Here’s something I discovered at Wise Cicada recently: la petite chocolat bars. Made in Hastings by French chocolatier Anissa, many of the fair trade chocolate bars are vegan-friendly.

Like this one: fennel and bergamot, in 70% cacao Ecuadorian dark chocolate. Or the last one I bought: orange and toasted sesame seeds. Both were lovely: subtle, layered flavours in rich, smooth dark chocolate based on French Kaoka couverture.

There’s also a dark coffee bar, ginger and mandarin, peppermint, chilli and lime, lavender… many beautiful flavours to try.

You can order la petite chocolat from their website, or browse the selection at Wise Cicada in Newmarket.

Beans at Misters

living wall

“Real food” is the focus of the menu at CBD diner Misters: they use seasonal mostly-organic produce, keep a totally dairy- and gluten-free kitchen, and make simple, tasty dishes. The breakfast and lunch menu includes a few vegan options, which are labelled as such.

 

beans and hash brown

I went recently for breakfast, and had their vegan beans: baked butter beans, served on hash brown with hot & sweet peppers, roasted tomato sauce, gremolata, avocado and sunflower cream. I liked this a lot – it was satisfyingly filling, with a fresh, tomato-rich flavour.

Though there’s plenty of room to sit down, all of Misters’ food is packaged for busy city workers to take away, in compostable or recyclable containers.

 

coffee and juice

I also had coffee: a cashew milk flat white. White coffee is priced the same whether you’re drinking dairy, soy, rice, hazelnut, almond or cashew, which is a nice touch.

The drinks menu also includes a range of vegan smoothies, cold-pressed juices and iced cacao or coffee based on non-dairy milks and coconut cream. I tried a bottle of juice: a gentle combination of Granny Smith apple, Kerikeri orange, celery and ginger.

 

misters

Misters is just up the hill from Queen Street in the CBD, at 12 Wyndham Street. It’s open weekdays 7am-3pm and Saturdays 8am-3pm.

Lunch at La Cigale

hello la cigale!

La Cigale French Market is one of my favourite weekend farmers’ markets in the city. I don’t get there often as it’s a little out of the way without a car, so when I went yesterday, I found four rather exciting stalls that were new since I last visited:

 

the organic mechanic

One: Organic Mechanic. The Mechanic makes organic, vegan, superfood smoothies, and other healthy drinks like kombucha and nut mylks. They’re interested in ideas about food as medicine, and they also write about wellbeing through mindfulness and connecting with nature, exercise, generosity and gratitude, drinking more water, and being friendly. It’s all very lovely, and fortunately their smoothies are delicious, too.

 

athena smoothie

I had an Athena green goddess smoothie, made of pineapple, banana, orange, coconut oil, greens, avocado, mint and filtered water. It was a perfect balance of flavours and textures – no hint of green bitterness, not particularly sweet, with some of the smoothness, but none of the thickness, of avocado.

 

musical knives salads

Two: Musical Knives Salads. This was an exciting discovery: Peter Chaplin’s Musical Knives (the legendary ’90s Ponsonby vegetarian restaurant) has been reborn as Musical Knives Food (pre-packaged salads and soups, and event catering – almost all vegetarian & mostly vegan). Musical Knives salads are available every weekend at La Cigale for the retro-’90s price of only $5. They’re also stocked at Harvest Wholefoods, Huckleberry Farms, and a few supermarkets listed on the website.

 

malaysian tofu noodle salad

I had a Malaysian rice noodle salad with firm tofu, crisp vegetables and beautifully spicy thick rice noodles. Most of the salads on offer were vegan – not labelled as such, but Peter was happy to point out which ones were suitable.

 

The Raw Kitchen

Three: The Raw Kitchen. I’d tried slices of the Kitchen’s raw cakes before from RAD in Mount Eden, and I’d been drooling over their Instagram feed for a while, but hadn’t visited their market stall. It’s not unlike their Instagram photos: various beautiful raw, vegan, gluten-free cakes and sweet treats, well presented.

 

tiramisu cake

I had a slice of tiramisu cake for lunch dessert, which was delicate and lovely.

As well as the La Cigale stall, The Raw Kitchen has just recently opened their own shop in Ponsonby. I haven’t been yet; it’s at 267 Ponsonby Road.

 

snack on me naturally

Four: Snack On Me Naturally. This paleo-inspired bakery doesn’t use egg yolk, butter or milk in its recipes, so a few of its treats are vegan. The selection yesterday included nut-free muesli bars and a range of fruit crumbles. I didn’t have enough room to try anything from this stall; next time!

 

La Cigale French Market happens every weekend: Saturday 8am to 1.30 pm, and Sunday 9am to 1.30pm. It’s held at 69 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell.

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