I’m going to be honest – I don’t venture further north of Berkeley very often. I’ve been to Concord a handful of times, so I was excited to explore a new city and see what kind of food it has to offer. And what better time than during Concord’s Comfort Food Week? I am always down to eat cozy foods that are perfect for this chilly time of year.
At the top of Canasta Kitchen’s menu, it says, “If you grew up in a Latino household, you may have once asked your mom or abuelita why their food was so good. What did they put in it? The answer may have been, ‘es porque lo hice con amor!/Because I made it with love.'”
That’s also accurate for the entrees I had at Canasta Kitchen. It’s no secret that Mexican food is my comfort food, and the food below are a few of my favorite things. Canasta Kitchen’s has two dinner for 2 options: (2) Sangrias, chicken flauta appetizer, mole con pollo & empanadas or (2) Aguas frescas, empanadas appetizer, flautas dinner & sopitos.
Even before we decided what to order, I was already impressed when the pre-meal chips came out! It wasn’t just chips and salsa, it was full on nachos! I was already sold. 😂 I also liked that they used black beans instead of refried beans – I prefer them! These were so delicious with the warm beans, cheese, and salsa. We also couldn’t stop eating them but had to ask to have them taken away because our appetizer and entrees came out. It was a tough decision.
We ordered the flauta appetizer. Honestly, if I see it on a menu, I’m getting it. Flautas are one of my favorite things and I make them at home regularly! Flautas are rolled flour tortillas filled with poblano chicken and melted Oaxaca/jack cheese, topped with chipotle sauce, shredded lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. They’re also fried, so you have this amazing crispy exterior and with each crunchy bite you get all of the toppings. These were delicious! The chicken and cheese filling had flavor and then you get the perfect amount of chipotle sauce and sour cream in each bite. The only reason these didn’t get finished is because we had a lot to eat!
Next up, we got the Empanada entree. The empanadas are made of fresh, handmade corn masa (dough) and filled with poblano chicken and Oaxaca/jack melted cheese, then fried until crispy then topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and cotija cheese. Served with rice and beans. You can also order them with carnitas. Again, fried dough is always a win, and you get a nice thick layer with empanadas. I really want to call out the rice! It was so soft and flavorful.
And finally, we ordered the sopitos! These are smaller sopes, and I’ve loved sopes ever since I had them in Pismo Beach almost a decade ago. You get three sopes with choice of meat, black bean puree, lettuce, salsa, pico, sour cream and cotija, served with rice and beans. We chose carne asada since we already had two other chicken items – and it was such a smart decision! The carne asada was perfectly tender and the perfect amount of flavor. I also appreciated how generously they toped the sopes – you can’t even see the tortilla disk at the bottom! You get a great bite with the crunch of tortilla, the flavorful meat, the freshness of the lettuce and pico, and the creaminess from the sour cream and cotija cheese.
I then made my way over to Next Level Burger, which serves a 100% plant based burger and all of their menu items are too! This is actually connected with the Whole Foods next door (which I popped into since I needed to walk off the delicious Mexican food!). They focus on providing organic and non-GMO items while also fighting climate change by being plant based as opposed to the environmentally harmful practices of consuming meat.
The folks at the register are really friendly and helpful in letting you know the mission behind the restaurant. After much deliberation, we ordered two of their regular burger items, crinkle cut fries, and a Colorado natural cola soda. You also get choose your cheese and sauce for your burger.
My sister ordered the All-American burger (the two burgers above) which had a beefy style patty, organic dill pickles, organic tempeh bacon, cheddar cheese and house-made special sauce. I ordered the Classic Chzburger which had a beefy style patty, organic dill pickles, pepper jack cheese, and house-made special sauce.
We were both pleasantly surprised! The patty has a lot of flavor and it feels hearty like a meat patty. While I can notice the difference between the patty and meat, I don’t miss the meat patty. The tempeh bacon was pretty good too – although, I’ve never had real bacon, so I could be mistaken, haha. I liked that even though it had these rich condiments like cheese and the special sauce, I didn’t feel weighed down and heavy after inhaling my burger! I’d definitely eat it again.
Be sure to try their comfort food items by upgrading your burger with organic grilled onions, melted cheddar style cheese (vegan), and house-made special sauce.
I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about visiting The Lettuce Inn. Eating a plant based burger is one thing, but then to visit a place that’s plant-based and has raw items, and has unique twists like carrot hotdogs made me do a double take. However, a fun part of being a food blogger is the adventure in trying new things!
The Lettuce Inn’s comfort food item is spaghetti kelp noodles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try them myself because of a scheduling issue, but my sister (who’s basically a part of this blog because I rope her into a lot of things, heh) went in my place to try it out. She was pleasantly surprised to find that she didn’t miss traditional spaghetti noodles, the meat, or even the dairy cheese! What she really liked was the flavorful “meat” sauce and the walnut parmesan when eaten together in each bite. She also really appreciated that, even after cleaning her plate, she didn’t feel weighed down like a person usually does after inhaling a bunch of carbs and meat. I think there’s something to eating a more plant-based diet, you guys. 🤔
Thank you Visit Concord for having me! There are so many more restaurants participating in this year’s Comfort Food Week! Be sure to check out Visit Concord’s website for a full list of participating restaurants.