Brittany Ranew · Nov 11, 2016 · 4 min read
Cider Press Now Has Hot Cooked Items
Cider Press Cafe . . . now this is why I moved to St Pete! A gluten-free, non-GMO, fresh, made-in-house-fare restaurant. My kind of place! And for you regular folks (allergy-free), this vegan spot has a creative menu with lots of flavor that won’t disappoint. Vegans, take your meat-loving friends here. No, you are still not going to find meat on the menu, but with the new options Cider Press recently rolled out, there is something for everyone. Their menu still is mostly raw vegan, but they now offer cooked and hot items!
I grabbed an early dinner here with a friend on a Tuesday night. It was pretty low-key and just cool enough to sit outside. We ordered drinks and decided to get the Pineapple Kimchi Dumplings as an appetizer. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with these, but I was pleasantly surprised with how yummy they were. The “dumplings” are made with coconut wrappers, served at room temperature. The filling was made with diced pineapples and crushed cashews. It had a great crunchy and sweet balance to it.The mango sauce drizzled across the top with carrot slivers and green onions was the perfect complement. A nice light dish, perfect for a starter course, and the presentation was beautiful.
On to the main course, which took us almost thirty minutes to decide on! There is so much to choose from that all sounded positively amazing. My friend got the Pad Thai. It’s made with spirals of kelp and zucchini noodles, served with a spicy tamarind sauce, mixed vegetables, pineapple, cabbage, and tamari almonds. The dish had some kick to it, but she didn’t mind and said it was very tasty. I took a bite of it and agreed with how good it was! If you order this, I would keep in mind that with the vegetables serving as the noodles, it’s very light. If you are super hungry, you might want to get an appetizer beforehand.
For my entree, I went with the Bella Burger, which was a more filling choice. As you can guess from the title, it’s a portabella mushroom burger. You can get it raw or grilled, and I opted for grilled, as I thought it would bring out the flavor more. I was right about that. The burger had that great earthy, meaty taste that you expect with traditional mushroom burgers. It had been marinated and was served hot (again, hot items a new feature at Cider Press!). They topped it with arugula, tomato, and their eggplant “bacon.” Any bacon-loving person, myself included, is probably thinking that could not taste good, but it really does. Granted, nothing is a substitute for real bacon, but that's not what Cider Press is trying to accomplish here. They dehydrate thin strips of eggplant so it resembles bacon. Whenever you dehydrate vegetables it brings out so much more flavor, and this eggplant bacon is no exception. The burger is topped with a cashew cheese crisp and house vegan mayo. You can add avocado for a couple extra bucks, and trust me, you should add it. It brings a layer of creaminess to the burger. For my side choice, I got the kale chips. The kale is dehydrated with the cashew cheese over them. They are salty and crunchy too, like regular potato chips. Since this is a burger, you have the option of a regular wheat bun or a gluten-free bun. Well, not all gluten-free buns are created equal . . . or created corn-free, in my case. I was surprised to learn that their gluten-free buns come fresh from Craft Kafe. I had already heard from several sources that Craft Kafe makes their bakery items corn-free, and that I needed to go there, but I haven’t gotten around to trying them yet (yes, yes I know, I’m crazy. I will be going to Craft Kafe soon, I promise). I was so excited to try this burger on the Craft bun, and man, oh man, was it good. The bread is softy and airy and paired well with the mushroom burger. All and all, the Bella Burger was a well rounded dish.
After we finished, the waitress enticed us with dessert, and we couldn’t turn her down. I mean, two girl friends having dinner together? It’s given. We’re having dessert. I’ve had their chocolate tart before and it’s divine, but they had pumpkin pie as a special. So we were going to pretend it’s Fall in Florida and have the pumpkin pie. It was as creamy and pumpkin-y as you’d hope for, and the homemade coconut crust didn’t overpower the pie. The creme was perfectly spiced and sweet, and the chocolate drizzle sent it over the top. They don’t ever add sugar to anything, so it’s a nice change to not feel like you’re going to gain a cavity after enjoying a delicious treat like that. No guilt here.
Talk about some amazing flavors at this place! You can tell that every detail is well thought out. That’s actually what I love about vegan restaurants. There are no throw-away menu items. Each dish is purposeful. The passion the chefs have for this type of cuisine shines with each plate. Take your vegan friends to Cider Press Cafe, and I promise you’ll enjoy it too.
Cider Press Cafe
601 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
See the Cider Press Cafe Listing in our St. Petersburg Restaurant Directory. Do your own ratings & review.
Raw Vegan, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, locally sourced produce, no added sugar, dairy-free restaurant. Offers up creative appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and dessert.