Last Saturday, the husband I braved the wind and rain and headed up north to Sausalito (one of my fave places, btw) to try out a restaurant we've heard good things about: Avatar's. What drew us to Avatar's in the first place is their menu's declaration: "Please note that we can make any dish Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, or to your specific taste. No dietary restrictions!" Gotta love that. Also gotta love that they serve Indian/Mexican fusion cuisine... so not exactly your everyday fare. Named after the original owner, and having nothing to do with blue-hued, nature-revering, humanoids, this place felt like our kind of joint right away. It is homey, unassuming, and full of characters. From the we-never-smile old ladies cooking in the back to the owner/waiter who immediately took our menus after hearing we were vegan. "You won't be needing these", he said, snatching them away, "I am going to prepare for you the best food you've ever eaten anywhere in your life. Now how many places can say that?" I didn't want to hurt his ego by regaling him with tales of hours-long meals at some of the best restaurants in the country, so we conceded. Sure, go ahead, knock our socks off.
First up was the chapati. No ghee here, folks, and super delicious, especially with the mint chutney, pickled carrots, and pineapple salsas with which it was served. We were off to a good start.
Then this curry dish appeared. Unlike the typically greasy Indian curry, this was light, fresh, and packed with veggies. There was also some unidentifiable tastiness going on. Spices and/or cooking techniques I'm not familiar with? All I know is that soon the bowl was empty and I caught my husband's eye with a look that said, "Alright, that was really good. Let's see if he can top it."
Sure enough, he did. Behold the pumpkin enchiladas. I have no idea why this works, but it really really does. Spiced pumpkin puree (not quite curry, but something like it) gets wrapped in corn tortillas, baked, and then topped with a scrumptiously savory sauce. For added measure, a dollop of tamarind glaze gets drizzled on top. Heaven. And that rice is no throwaway either. Cooked to perfection, and containing just the right amount of veggies and herbs, it complemented the dish in all the right ways.
We were happy campers.
So, was it the best food we've ever eaten? Well, probably not. But, it more than warrants a trip to Sausalito, and we will definitely go back for more in the future. The enchiladas alone are worth the trip, and I look forward to seeing what else they've got up their vegan-friendly sleeves!
Next up, we'll be trying out a new Indian spot in our hood this weekend, as well as attending Colleen Patrick Goudreau's launch party for her new book, Color Me Vegan. Can't wait to sample some recipes and report back, so stay tuned!
Oh, I almost forgot! The next SF Vegan Bake Sale is coming up on the 18th. Yay! My parents arrive in town that day so I won't be baking this time around (Hopefully someone else can provide you with your dose of white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies!) but we'll definitely be swinging by to get some goodies and support the awesome charities, Mickaboo Bird Rescue and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. See you there I hope!