Miami Beach Vegan Restaurant Review: Full Bloom


Full Bloom, a new gourmet vegan restaurant in Miami Beach recently opened it’s doors and I couldn’t wait to check it out!Full-Bloom-Vegan-Restaurant-View-web

I have been living in South Beach for 13 years and although more vegan spots have been popping up in recent years, we haven’t had any gourmet vegan restaurants to choose from… until now. Full Bloom is not only upscale, but it has a killer location with a gorgeous Full-Bloom-Vegan-Restaurant-Owners-webview overlooking Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami skyline. I can’t speak highly enough about the creative and gracious founders, Omar Barberini, Nicola Dominici, and Alessandro Farana, whose mission is, “to bring animal-caring, health conscious cuisine to food levels in Miami and provide an intimate special dining experience.”

Full Bloom is off to a great start in fulfilling their mission. The ambiance is classy, the vibe friendly, and the food delicious.

The menu can be considered “vegan fusion” with great variety. I had recruited my ex-boo to take me on a date and although he is not on a vegan diet plan, he was as impressed with the menu as I was. We started out with cocktails. Although the restaurant does not have a full liquor license, they are able to serve low a.b.v. liquor and can therefore still whip up some refreshing cocktails using fresh pressed juice. Rob and I got different margarita varieties with paprika salt which were wonderful. They also have a good wine selection.Full-Bloom-Vegan-Restaurant-Cocktails-web

They started us out with some bruschetta that came with a shot of vegetable puree. Yum!!! We then ordered a couple appetizers… the mac and cheese side (my pick) and vegetable tempura (Rob’s pick). The mac and cheese was awesome, and it was such a large portion I had to resist eating too much! Although I rarely eat fried food so I’m no tempura expert but wow, this tempura was outstanding, and the daikon soy sauce was the perfect compliment. 


Choosing a main course was a challenge because all the dishes sounded so appetizing. We ended up ordering the farro risotto of the day and veggie fajitas. By the time these dishes arrived we were both fairly full already so we had a few bites and packed the rest to go (we ended up eating it later the same night). The risotto had a delightful flavor. If you try it, just keep in mind farro is an ancient grain that has a different, more course, texture than the rice typically used to make risotto dishes. The veggie fajitas were also incredibly flavorful and delicious. If I order these again I will ask them to include grilled tofu or tempeh for the added texture and protein  The menu was packed with so many items that interested me that I was already feeling excited to go back and try out more!Full-Bloom-Vegan-restaurant-Farro-and-Fajitias-web

The service we received was impeccable. (This is a statement that unfortunately cannot be said for many restaurants in South Beach.) I can say with confidence, “At Full Bloom you can expect the nothing but the best.”

I highly recommend the Full Bloom Gourmet Vegan Cuisine experience…. so check it out and let me know your favorite dishes!Full-Bloom-Vegan-Restaurant-with-Rob-web


Vegan Traveler: New Orleans

Ella Magers, vegan traveler at UFC New Orleans

I took a birthday trip to New Orleans last weekend to see UFC Fight Night (my birthday gift from my boyfriend) and wow, as a pro at traveling on a vegan diet plan, this city is what I would call, “a great challenge!”

First off, I’m relatively easy to accommodate in that I’m happy with simple meals containing popular ingredients. I don’t need my vegan diet plan to be fancy. Give me a salad with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and some chickpeas and I’m a happy camper. I generally travel and go to restaurants, bars, and other hot spots more for the atmosphere than the food options anyway, but that’s just my personality. In New Orleans, there is no shortage of awesome venues to hear great live music, meet interesting people, have drinks, people-watch, and learn about the city’s history. But when it comes to eating, unless you like jambalaya, gumbo, po-boys, or deep fried food, you have a challenge on your hands. 

Here are some recommendations for places I enjoyed:

  • For a local sports bar vibe with great craft beer: The Bulldog
    • The hummus is home-made, FANTASTIC., and you can get it with raw veggie sticks!
    • Great selection of craft beer (The Unibroue Trois Pistoles is a strong, vegan-friendly Belgium beer that’s not served at many bars… loved it!).
    • vegan beer
  • For a local bar with a good beer selection and live jazz: d.b.a.
    • They do not serve food, but let you bring in food from elsewhere and chow there. 
    • The bartenders are experienced and super friendly.
    • d.b.a.-new-orleans
  • For a 100% vegan restaurant: Seed
    • Awesome high-quality menu with tons of variety, but all “nola style” so you still get a taste of traditional food.
    • Perfect brunch spot (pictured are the bloody marys, grits with seitan and mushroom gravy, chocolate chip pancakes, tofu scramble, and fresh squeezed orange juice).
    • An amazing, creative cocktail menu.
    • Modern, cool design.
    • Location is not great (only down side).
    • vegan-bloody-maryvegan-grits,-mushroom-gravy,-homemade-seitanvegan brunchvegan bloody mary
  • For a fun tourist bar with live music: Famous Door
    • Great cover-bands almost always on stage
    • Cheap drink prices
    • Perfect for letting loose and laughing at/with drunk tourists.
    • famous-door-new-orleans
  • To learn about history: WWII Museum 
    • ww2-museum

Then, of course, the UFC Fight night, the real reason we went, was at the Smoothie King Center, and we were incredibly lucky with the card. Almost every fight ended in a knock-out or submission! We were in the third row for these exciting fights, and through a friend, I was able to say what’s up to Bruce Buffer who is not only a talented entertainer, but also a super nice guy! I was happy the veteran Dan Henderson came away with a well-earned victory 🙂

Ella-&-bruce-buffer dan-henderson-ufc-winner ella-rob-ufc-fights

All in all, a fantastic experience. Thanks Rob for making it happen.

I’d love to hear comments about other tips and hot spots so please comment!



Vegan Restaurant Review: Cafe Gratitude

Ella Magers at Cafe Gratitude Vegan Restaurant Sign

On a recent trip to Santa Monica, I met a friend at Cafe Gratitude, a trendy vegan restaurant with rave reviews.

I wanted to check it out to see if all the talk was just hype or if this place was truly special. I’m here to tell you Cafe Gratitude exceeded my expectations. I was so hungry when I arrived I was slightly overwhelmed with all the options… they all looked so good! Check it out…

cafe gratitude-menuWe ended up getting a phenomenal asparagus and arugula appetizer special and the “Abundant” antipasto plate. The antipasto plate didn’t really do it for me, but when the main course came, any doubts I had about the restaurant as a whole disappeared. The “Whole” Macrobiotic Bowl was extraordinary. My friend also raved about the “Humble” which had become his go-to dish. In addition to the awesome food, I had an excellent experience from a service standpoint, and the atmosphere was thick with positive energy and a chill vibe. 

Conclusion: Vegan or not, Cafe Gratitude is a restaurant destination in west Los Angeles not to be missed!

Ella at Cafe Gratitude