Sunday, October 22, 2017

Veg on the Edge - Santa Cruz, California

Yesterday, we had lunch at Veg on the Edge in Santa Cruz, California.  Veg on the Edge, a 100% gluten free, vegan and kosher restaurant, is located inside Abbott Square Market in the downtown area, and serves West African-inspired cuisine.

I first learned about Veg on the Edge when they opened a few months ago, but heard they shared space with a pizza restaurant, and that there could be flour in the air.  Abbott Square Market does house several fast causal restaurants, but there is a wall completely separating Veg on the Edge from the neighboring pizza restaurant, and after watching pizzas being made at Pizzeria la Bufala for over half an hour, I did not see anything to be concerned about, but as always, you should decide where you feel comfortable dining.

I started my meal with an orange spice Yor-Bar drink made with orange, carrot, apple, and ginger.  This is one of my favorite juice combinations, and I would definitely order it again.

I asked the employee who took my order for recommendations, and he suggested the Yaji mushroom sauce bowl with African peanut/pepper seasoned shitake sauce over basmati rice.  All bowls are served with three potato balls, and I ordered Moin Moin as a topping.

I really enjoyed this dish, which had a lot of flavor when everything was mixed together, but I was not crazy about the Moin Moin, which I found to be very bland.  I had to look up what Moin Moin is online, because I did not ask what it was at Veg on the Edge.  Moin Moin, a Nigerian dish, is steamed bean pudding made with black-eyed peas, peppers, and onion.  I probably should have asked for some sauce to dip it in.

I ordered a side of plantain fries, but when I went to pick up my food, I was told that they were out of them, and I was given potato balls instead.  Someone was sent out to buy plantains, but I was never given my side of plantains as promised.  I did not follow up and ask about them, because I was very full after eating my bowl and potato balls, which were very good.

I was given two sauces to try with my potato balls, and loved the yellow one on the right, which was a little bit sweet.

I look forward to stopping at Veg on the Edge again soon, and hope to try their plantain waffles for breakfast, which are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM to 11AM.  Veg on the Edge is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.  You can view their menu and hours on their website here.

December 27, 2017 Update

Since I wrote my initial review, we have stopped at Veg on the Edge twice. It looks like they now offer breakfast dishes all day.

The second time around, I am pretty sure I ordered the apple cleanse with apple, carrot, ginger, and cardamom, but on our most recent visit, I ordered the orange spice again.

I enjoyed their quinoa & roasted veggies with my favorite sauce from our first visit, but my favorite dish so far is their plantain fries. They are not to be missed!

February 25, 2018 Update - Veg on the Edge is extending their menu to include gluten options, because they believe it will help them attract a wider clientele.  I ordered plantain waffles and fries there last weekend, and while the food was great, I was shocked when I saw two employees not following basic food safety protocols.  Their chef touched his cell phone several times while cooking, without washing his hands, and their cashier cut up a plantain to put on top of my waffle without washing his hands after touching a phone, iPad, and several customer credit cards.  I did contact the restaurant about what I saw while I waited 35 minutes to get my food, and they said they will be doing some retraining of staff.  

What are your favorite restaurants for gluten free dining in Santa Cruz?


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