My husband and I have found a great taco joint that we both are really excited about. I first heard about Taco Asylum at The Camp in Costa Mesa (also where 118 Degrees is located) through AAA’s Westways Magazine. I have found so many of my favorite restaurants through this publication.
In their own words, Taco Asylum…
Specializes in non-traditional gourmet tacos, Taco Asylum pulls from a wide array of global cuisines, showcasing interesting ingredients ranging from Mediterranean-style grilled octopus to East Indian-style curried paneer.
Le Cordon Bleu trained Executive Chef Greg Daniels (from Haven Gastropub) has carefully thought out and uniquely constructed 9 taco offerings, each with a distinct flavor profile, ingredients, and accompaniments. Our own unique tortillas, marinades and sauces are made in-house and from-scratch, using only the freshest ingredients, sustainable meats and seafood, and products from local farms and vendors wherever possible.
We decided to give Taco Asylum a try about a month ago and went back again this past weekend for some more awesome tacos. Taco Asylum currently offers only one vegan taco (and one vegetarian), but man it is good. The vegan taco is a made with wild mushrooms, a chickpea puree, parsley salad, and topped with fried chickpeas. The first time we tried this restaurant they did not offer beans and rice, but they have since added it to the menu. I ordered two wild mushroom tacos with beans and rice and it was the perfect amount of food. I was pleasantly surprised when the plate came out and the beans (I asked for no cheese topping the beans) were lentils and they were so tasty. I would have liked to have the “rice” be rice, but it was Israeli couscous which tasted great, but I do prefer the whole-food benefits from rice (Israeli couscous is actually pasta).
I am sure I will be going back many, many more times, but would love to see another vegan offering on the menu!!!
Restaurant images courtesy of taco asylum.com
Today I went to a raw cooking class at Jenny Ross’s 118˚ in Costa Mesa and had a great time. This was my first official raw foods cooking class. I have a few raw foods dessert cookbooks (Ani Phyo’s and Kristen Suzanne’s) that I cook from, but nothing can quite compare to a class where there is interaction and discussion. I loved being able to bounce questions and ideas off of the creator and chef of 118˚, Jenny Ross.
All of the ladies in the class (there were 8 of us) were really interesting. Among us there were vegan chefs, a nurse practitioner, a woman who is a two time cancer survivor and has made the switch to vegan/raw in an effort to remain healthy, myself, and others interested in learning more about raw vegan food.
We all met at the restaurant which is located in the shopping center called The Camp and then made the short walk over to the Seed Market where the actual class took place which is right above Patagonia. I have never been to this area of Costa Mesa and really look forward to going back to explore…it has a Sant Cruz kind of vibe.
The class began by making three different dessert sauces; caramel, coconut cream, and chocolate sauce. Chef Jenny made the sauces and then put them into squeeze bottles that she bought at Sur La Table (she said they sell BPA free squeeze bottles). That is such a great way to store the sauces and it makes them easy to use on their own, i.e. with fruit or to squeeze right into the dessert recipes she uses the sauces in.
Next we moved onto dessert crusts and made a walnut based crust and a pecan based crust (that we later embellished to make raw brownies). Below you see me making the walnut crust with Chef Jenny.
After making the crusts we moved on to making apple cobbler, avocado orange bars, chocolate brownies with chocolate fudge, macaroons, halvah with apples, drunken fruit, and fruit fondue.
By the end of class we all had a lot of desserts to take home. When I got home my kids decimated the brownies…so good!
All in all it was a lot of fun and VERY educational. I learned so much more from her about how to use my Excalibur dehydrator more effectively and different twists on making raw pie crusts, etc. I can’t wait to whip up some more raw desserts…I am sure the kids won’t object.