As owner of one of the East Valley’s few vegan dining destinations, Sean Macdonald calls the Cutting Board Bakery & Café “a labor of love.” And by labor, Macdonald means that he and his wife, Krystal, make almost everything from scratch, from their almond and coconut milk to the salsa for the café’s popular protein bowl ($10.19).
Layered with protein-packed golden quinoa and house-simmered black beans, the bowl’s main attraction is the walnut “meat,” a mix of ground walnuts spiced with chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and fresh garlic with a splash of tamari, a gluten-free soy sauce. Macdonald blankets the crunchy, Mexican-Asian walnut mixture with an ever-changing selection of greens from True Garden, a Mesa aeroponic food farm where the greens are grown on vertical towers with little water and no harmful chemicals, pesticides or herbicides. One week the bowl might sport Swiss chard and bok choy, and another week it may be romaine lettuce and mustard greens.
Studded with chunks of buttery avocado and juicy diced tomatoes, the bowl has a complex web of textures, flavors and temperatures. Salsa and hot sauce come on the side so diners can determine their own heat level. “Our customers really like to customize their food, so we try to accommodate them,” Macdonald says. “We pride ourselves on that.”
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