Steamed Organic Vegetarian Cuisine • Long Beach Post

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For those of you that have stuck to your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy and haven’t said, “to Hell with it,” and dove head first into a chocolate cake, Steamed is the place for you. Or if you are just in the mood for feel-good food, this organic vegetarian restaurant will quench that desire in a heartbeat.

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The outside patio is particularly inviting on a warm day. A few friends and I found a cozy spot in the precious January sunshine after placing our orders at the counter. I liked the music they were playing; it sounded like a Pandora mix with artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Washed Out, and The xx.

My side salad arrived, and at $2.95, was a great deal for its size. My friend Angela said that the homemade honey basil dressing is “like heaven.” It was a wonderful combo of tangy and sweet.

The menu consists mainly of healthy quesadillas and burritos with a few massive salads and a steamed tofu plate. Now, a steamed tofu plate may not have you salivating at its name, but this thing is truly spectacular. Tofu can take on spice and flavor like a blank canvas, and in the hands of a skilled cook, it can turn into something as different from da Vinci’s Last Supper to Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. This dish is a kitchen-sink tactic with steamed seasonal veggies on a bed of rice with an option of either Thai peanut or coconut curry marinated tofu. I went with the coconut curry tofu, and it came nestled on top of veggies galore: Swiss chard, spinach, beets, tomato, onion, Brussels sprouts, fennel, dill, celery and even a random bit of bok choy. Everything was as fresh as could be and steamed lightly in order to keep the nutrition value and taste factors up. It was invigorating to put all these robust veggies in my mouth, I felt like Popeye with his can of spinach. Only this stuff tasted eight million times better than a can of mushy, over-cooked spinach.

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Joe and Angela went with a burrito and a quesadilla that came in essentially the same shape. I had a taste of Angela’s pesto quesadilla, and it was awesome: a corn tortilla full of cheese, spinach, red onion, rice and beans, and topped with guacamole, pesto, and sour cream. Yum.

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My other friend, Masha, had the Happy “Tuna” vegan salad, which she really enjoyed. I tried a bite of the fake tuna and found it strangely appetizing. Strange because it was called “tuna” when it was garbanzo beans with veganaise, relish, dill and mustard. The ingredients worked together to conjure up thoughts of tuna salad but was something entirely different—weird but good.

This place offers great service and a quirky hodge-podge of furniture and plateware purchased from local yard sales and thrift stores. They are eco-minded and give a 15 percent discount to bike-riding customers on Saturdays. They mainly source their ingredients from local farms, and they boast cruelty-free dairy products. Hey, sometimes being a hippy feels good; take it from a gal who as a teenager used to wear Birkenstocks and listen to the Grateful Dead. And though I don’t douse myself in patchouli and dance around to jam-band music these days, certain aspects of that life still prevail, like giving a damn about the environment and enjoying good organic vegetarian food.

Steamed Organic Vegetarian Cuisine is located at 801 E. 3rd Street.

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