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    Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

    May 19, 2022

    Where Chefs Eat: Nourish and Plant Joy’s Julia Simon

    An international tour of six plant-forward area dining spots


    Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re not cooking. In this series, we ask a local chef, bartender, restaurateur, or food artisan to share their favorite restaurants in town and what they order there. 

    This week, we interview Julia Simon, chef and owner of meal delivery service Nourish and Camp North End food kiosk Plant Joy. Both exclusively focus on vegan dishes. When she’s not on the clock, Simon heads to one of these restaurants — each with strong, if not exclusively, meatless options.

    Ben Thanh, Matthews
    Traditionally prepared fresh Vietnamese cuisine
    Julia’s Order: Banh xeo chay and temple rolls. Ask for the veggie sauce for a fully vegan experience. “These women have been making an alternative to fish sauce for their vegetarian customers for over a decade,” Simon says.


    Enat Ethiopian Restaurant, Plaza-Shamrock
    Classic and modern takes on Ethiopian cuisine
    Julia’s Order: Sambusa (lentils) — their level of spice and mine match perfectly — and a vegan plate. This combo features every veggie dish on the menu.

    The vegan plate at Enat Ethiopian. TM Petaccia/UP


    Sanctuary Bistro, Piper Glen
    Fine dining vegan bistro
    Julia’s Order: Broccoli soufflé, oyster mushroom “scallops,” and beet salad. “I love this family from Berkeley and all the gorgeous vegan, gluten-free fare they’re making,” Simon says. “They also have a beautifully curated vegan beer and wine list.”


    Ma Ma Wok, Ballantyne
    Modern interpretations of classic Chinese dishes
    Julia’s Order: Housemade “yuba fish” (tofu skin) in spicy bean sauce, lo bak go (turnip cake). “Kind humans, with a huge menu, but light on spice and garlic usage as per Buddhist tradition.”


    Sri Balaji Caffe, Pineville
    South Indian food just off Main Street
    Julia’s Order: Onion chili uttapam, idly/vada, Gobi Manchurian dry. “It’s like stepping into a cafe in Kochi: Gorgeous, bright, loud, and delicious.”


    Malaya Kitchen, Arboretum
    Classic Malaysian dishes in a large, casual setting
    Julia’s Order: Eggplant in garlic sauce, curry laksa with rice noodles. “I love this dusty curry soup that so clearly combines Thai technique with Madras curry powder and the turmeric heavy masalas of south India.”


    More from this series:

    Kyle Gaddas of The Wine Loft, The Vintage
    Counter-‘s Sam Hart
    Community Matters Cafe’s Ashley Anna Tuttle

    Your Farms, Your Table’s Sam Diminich
    Para’s Alex Verica

    Posted in: Latest Updates, News