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Monday, August 23, 2010

Malay Cafe Will Make Your Day (and a Surprise-tini!)

My friends and I were eager to try a new restaurant over the weekend and we were all set to go to Blanc Burgers on the Plaza. I called in advance, though, because someone had told me that they now offered gluten-free breads and I wanted to check if it was, in fact, true, and also to find out if they were also vegan. When I inquired over the phone to the woman who answered, she informed me that "nothing on the menu is vegan." She put me on hold to double-check, which I appreciated. I figured their spiced-lentil burger could have been made with eggs, but surely the portabella burger would be safe, as long as they removed the feta and other non-vegan items. She returned to the phone and said that neither of their vegetarian burgers can be made vegan "because of the mixtures used to prepare them." Well, so much for that idea!

Boyfriend and I narrowed down our options, and then settled on Malay Cafe. We had eaten there for lunch a couple of years ago and thought it was okay, but after reading so many amazing reviews online, we decided it deserved another chance. Luckily, our friend joining us that evening is always willing to try new foods.

By the time we arrived at Malay Cafe, we were all STARVING. Crispy noodles and sweet sauce were immediately brought to our table. (Our waitress could see the hunger in our eyes.)

The table ordered 3 appetizers, two of which were veg-friendly. (I was dining with two very understanding meat-eaters.) First up, gado-gado.

This was a little dish of heaven, folks. Drizzled with a light, tangy peanut sauce, the gado gado featured rice noodles, bean sprouts, chopped tomato, chilled chunks of fried tofu and potato, pineapple, and thin matchstick slices of cucumber. (This comes with eggs, but I ordered them on the side and handed them off to the boyfriend.) Seriously, I want to order this gado gado by the bucketful. It took every ladylike fiber of my being to not lick the plate.

We all shared an order of fried sweet potato.

It was more "fried" than "sweet potato," but to most people, this is a good thing!

And on to my entrée. I ordered the one tofu dish listed on the menu, which claimed to have powers that could convert anyone into a vegetarian. Well, I've been meat-free since 1995, so no conversions are necessary for me! Behold, the Ginger Tofu.

Now, my tastes definitely run more toward the savory than the sweet, and this dish is SWEET! Still, I enjoyed its ultra-saucy goodness, but found the sweetness overwhelming at one point. The soft, yet lightly-fried tofu was the star of this dish, and of course, I can never have too many veggies on my plate.

When our check came, I asked the owner about other vegan dishes that could be offered. She said that she can substitute tofu for meat in just about any dish on the menu, and to just ask the next time I come in. Oh, I'll definitely be back! I can't wait to try every vegan variation possible at Malay Cafe.

After dinner, we headed out to Penguin Park, which should have been a joyful little visit, but within a few minutes, we found ourselves in what our friend, Brandon described as, "Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but with flies." Seriously, the air was thick with little fly-gnat hybrids, and we noticed masses of them on the playground equipment, and then on ourselves. I don't know how all of those families could put up with the bugs; we ran like the dickens outta there!

Our next stop was Glace', which has been featured on this blog before, but Brandon had yet to try it. We arrived to discover a long line curving out of the doorway. We stood there for a little while, then decided to just try the new Yogurtini, just a block or two away. A friend had tipped me off that they offered sorbet, so I was interested to try this out.

Sure enough, when we arrived, "Summer Berry Sorbet" was featured at the bottom of the flavors list.

Victorious! I grabbed a cup and headed down the line.

I only put a little sorbet in the cup because, for me, it's all about the toppings! I was pleased with the veg-friendly toppings available among all of the other options. Here's my cup:

My toppings included shredded coconut, cherries, blueberries, ground flax seeds, graham cracker crumbs, and some crushed nuts. The cherries were my favorite.

It's so nice when chain places (especially ice cream/dessert places) offer something to the vegans. This makes it so much easier for me to go places with my non-vegan friends (and most of my friends are not vegan, but are quite accommodating to my lifestyle). While we were enjoying our sorbet/yogurts, a staff member (possibly the manager) came by to ask how we were enjoying everything. I made a point to tell her how happy I was to find a non-dairy option at Yogurtini. She said that it's been very popular and she's received some great feedback. She also informed me that their sorbet flavors are rotated out, and in another month or two, there will be a new flavor of sorbet featured. (So keep an eye out!) Of course, it would make me even happier if they offered sorbets or frozen "yogurts" made out of coconut, almond, or hemp milk, but those are my vegan dreams getting carried away. I'm very pleased with their sorbet option and I certainly look forward to returning to Yogurtini again.

PS. While you're here, what do you think of the new blog lay-out?


  1. Excellent summary of the trip! We will definitely have to try Yogurtini again!

  2. Aw, but that lentil burger is SO good...

    Where is Malay Café? And are you talking about the Penguin Park in/near Gladstone?! I grew up right down the street and was at that park every week as a kid!

    My bf and I almost got the free Yogurtini on Friday, but missed it! Must hit that place up soon.

    Amber Shea

  3. You figured out the linked within! Well done. I like your blog set up. Interestingly, the ads are all in Korean since it's figured out I am typing from Korea. If only they knew I didn't understand it...!

  4. Amber: Malay Cafe is on Barry Road, almost next door to Panera. It's in a strip mall. Penguin Park is on Vivion Road. (Is that considered Gladstone?)

    Sarie: Thank you! And now I'm curious: are the ads for American or Korean products?