[This post is part of a series of reviews from my Winter 2014/15 trip to California]
MAKE was probably the most interesting meal of my entire trip to California, and one of the most colourful and delicious that I’ve ever had. Years ago, for my 10th birthday, my mother took me to Pure Food and Wine in NYC and it was one of my favourite meals, to this day (which, I never added to my blog, oops!). I also loved eating at Free Foods NYC, which was also a Matthew Kenney spot. It’s unbelievable how raw, vegan food, albeit sounding a little weird, can not only taste so good, but can be a true art form when done well and care and creativity are infused into every aspect of every dish. In Toronto, we are lucky to have Chef Doug McNish, and in California, they have Matthew Kenney, and Scott Winegard (who I got to meet during my meal at MAKE).
First off, I must tell you that the space that MAKE occupies on the rooftop of Santa Monica Place is strikingly gorgeous within a modern looking food court of sorts, called “The Market”. There is a huge cooking studio, that serves as their school (I should enrol as their official sampler, I think!), a fairly large dining space with a full bar with really cool tables and chairs, and a small very comfortable patio area outside, which is where we chose to sit. It had been freezing and windy in the shade, but in the sun, at our wood table and bench, it was perfection. As the sun shone, we reviewed the menu, and I wished there were more of us there, so I could have ordered even more than we did, as just my mother and I were there for a special lunch date!
We were originally only going to order their cheese board and then join the rest of our family and friends at Real Food Daily, but upon reading the menu, there was no way I was leaving without a full meal. Boy, was I thrilled with that decision, and you will be too, if you can “MAKE it”! Just go to their website or follow their social feeds to see how gorgeous their food is – my few pictures don’t do their dishes justice! I have been following Scott Winegard on instagram since eating there, and every post he puts online is more delicious and gorgeous than the next, but I also suggest you follow MAKE‘s feed too if you have instagram. So much food that is posted online might inspire you to make it at home, or find it at another restaurant, but this food is different, you need a lot of equipment, time and skill to make this food. I am not much into the act of cooking, but I do love choosing flavours and textures to combine and plating food, and I am inspired to learn some tips and tricks after seeing these dishes!
I might have made a bit of an ordering error choosing a smoothie to drink, as it’s quite filling, but the Nutter Butter was so creamy and delicious with brazil nut and almond milk, banana, maca and cacao, sweetened with dates, presumably they were local, too. I recommend pairing a smoothie with dessert if you go.
When the PlantLab Cheese plate (which was more like a large white bowl) arrived, I was almost speechless, but might have exclaimed something in excitement, or clapped, I cannot remember. It was bright yellow and red (all from organic plants, of course) and included raw, thin, fennel crackers, assorted pickles (beets and radish included), 3 cheeses: smokey cheddar, caraway and my absolute favourite, the truffle macadamia. I could have eaten a LOT of that one. I loved using the mustard seed, cracker and microgreen combo with the cheeses and enjoyed every bite. Talk about eating with your eyes first, wow!
The Broccoli Soup was unlike anything I have ever tried. You’ve also probably never seen any soup with such a bright green colour, and I guess it’s because it is completely raw. The cashew cream made the slightly warm broccoli soup creamy, and the bowl was garnished with broccoli cheddar crisps which were unreal. I would like to make these at home instead of kale chips one time. I didn’t share this dish with my mother very well. Oops.
We also ordered the Kale Caesar, which sounds typical, but was way out of the flavour ballpark! The very dark green kale was super fresh tasting, and was dressed generously with lemony and creamy dressing, but was still light. The parmesan crisps and the shiitake “anchovies’ were awesmazing as well. My mother didn’t share this with me very well. Oops.
We really didn’t need to have the Tacos, but we were addicted to seeing and tasting different plates. The tacos were stupendous – oyster mushroom carnitas, sunflower chorizo, avocado, and radish in romaine shells with a “whoosh” of cashew sour cream. Every bite was delicious – I cannot possibly explain the flavours and textures and how they worked together in perfect unison.
I was absolutely stuffed, but then I got dessert. We couldn’t resist ordering the Triple Layer Chocolate Cake, and I don’t like typical cake very much. This was more like alternating layers of fudge icing and chocolate coconut fudge. The candied walnuts which looked to be a garnish were not just a garnish, but a focal point of the dessert for me and perfectly combined with a scoop of the best peppermint ice cream I think I have ever had. Awesmazing.
I had the great fortune to compliment and meet Chef Scott Winegard at MAKE while I was in a self-induced raw food coma that left me very satisfied and super happy for hours and hours – it was my last lunch of 2014, and I will always remember this meal and the time in the sunshine with my mom. I hope you find this a fun food experience if you go, as well.