Kale my name, kale my name..
“If no one is around you,
say baby I love you..”
Truth. How many folks can you think of that love kale enough to extoll its benefits to everybody they know and across social media? Not many. Maybe super duper greenie lovers and vegans but that is it. It’s not just some super green garnish to make your sandwiches look extra pleasant for IG photos. It’s a superfood to up your greens game and, if dressed appropriately, can impress.
Personally, I love kale. I add it to smoothies and in quick stir-fries all the time. Previously not a huge fan of adding out-of-the-bag kale onto my sandwiches but after sampling Kale My Name recently, I could definitely up my “dressings” game. Take that two ways: one, upping my raw greens added to meals. Two, it’s the way their chefs dress their kale before adding it to their many entrees that both ups the taste and good-for-you value. Honestly, it’s been making me think, “Could I go vegan at home?! Or, until I figure out a daily food menu I’ll just give all my monies to this restaurant and enjoy some spectacular vegan fare!”
Kale is not just some super green garnish to make your sandwiches look extra pleasant for IG photos. It’s a superfood to up your greens game and, if dressed appropriately, it can impress!
Seriously y’all, I’ve been there twice in a span of a few days, and afterwards I’m left feeling great. Thankful and appreciative of the flavors and good feelings. On both occasions, I shared my meals with fellow omnivores. In one gathering, what started in frowns – that’s the look I received when asking if they would share vegan food with me – later became praises and rave reviews.
So what is Kale My Name all about? Per their social media, the menu is focused on the superfood kale. Their many entrees are globally inspired, with inspirations taken from Latin, Euro, and American classic dishes. Their menu is 100% vegan. And for those non-vegan or vegetarian, I can honestly tell you, I had never had a feeling of needing meat after eating. Soon after enjoying their meals, I felt full and satisfied. The best part is the wholesome feeling. I discussed this with a fellow omnivore recently when sharing about Kale My Name. For many of us that haven’t any dietary needs, meat, dairy, or additives can sometimes cause some level of discomfort. Depending on the ingredients, the oils used in cooking, special preparations, etc. After dining on their vegan meals, I felt as great as I usually do after eating a bowl of produce, having a fruit/veg smoothie, or a large, healthy salad.
So what did I try that blew my mind? My orders consisted of menu items that were most referenced by reviews found across the web.
Ajvar and Pita Bread, [sf]
I have had this Balkan spread made in a home setting and premade out of the jar. I enjoyed the ajvar made in house. Flavorful and tasty. The pita bread was simply warmed. At home, I opted to grill the pita bread for a few minutes. It is tasty and shareable.
Their ajvar consists of roasted red pepper, roasted eggplant, sunflower oil, and sea salt. Traditional Balkan’s spread of roasted pepper, roasted eggplant, sunflower oil, and sea salt.
Three Empanadas, [sf]
These consisted of potatoes and veggies served with garlic aioli. Another tasty shareable. My company felt this reminded them of an Indian samosa.
Cauliflower Wings, [sf, gf]
This appetizer was mentioned often in online reviews. It was also the first tray to get cleaned off within minutes. It had a natural snack-like feel. In subsequent days, I tried a competitor’s fried cauliflower and it didn’t match up to the freshness and quality.
Venezuelan cheese sticks served with garlic aioli. [sf] This is yet another shareable dish that will fly off the plate. If this isn’t cheese, then what is in it?? Pure goodness! The garlic aioli dip is unnecessary but a nice addition. I’ve had plenty of these in Venezuelan restaurants often stuffed with cheese and guava or ham & cheese. In quality and taste, it’s a must. You may like to order more in advance if sharing.
If this isn’t cheese, then what is in it? Pure goodness!
Homemade Fries Served with Ranch Dressing. [gf, sf]
I am a big fan of fresh, hand-cut fries. These are superb. I think they could be “cooked” a bit longer, though that is just a personal preference. Had these alongside wraps and burgers.
Lentil [gf, sf] & Cheddar broccoli [gf, sf] Soups
Both are so good. Lentils are usually awesome in general. This; this has a tasty, spicy kick that will keep you spooning until complete. Their cheddar broccoli comes close to the real thing while maintaining vegan standards. Tasty and good to the last drop. Order a cup to try but just a warning, you may have liked to order a bowl instead. The lentil is my favorite.
I sampled both the Madagascar & the New Zealand. Both were blended with almond milk. When on the run and in need of a tasty produce filled smoothie, either will do the job. Their smoothie menu consists of many flavorful options.
With full entree options, I went in three different directions. Ordering the most referenced items only. Those options being:
The Italian Seitan Wrap
The Combo Tacos
Composed of jackfruit, seitan, and fried avocado.
Homemade Tina’s Veggie Burger
Both the Italian wrap and the veggie burger were outstanding. IMO, their homemade burger is better than any vegan or vegetarian burger I have ever tasted. (This includes the new on the market options of the Impossible or Beyond brands.) There is a mouthfeel to that burger that is second to none. It’s almost like a vegetarian sloppy joe but molded into a burger patty. All the ingredients complement the burger overall and that combined taste is outstanding. I kept thinking for days that if the neighborhood were to name a burger as ‘best of the area,’ Kale My Name could have a contender for that title. I could just as well give up beef today and choose Tina’s homemade veggie burgers or their seitan Italian wrap and that would suffice.
I could just as well give up beef today and choose Tina’s homemade veggie burgers or their seitan Italian wrap and that would suffice.
As mentioned above, the menu consists of 100% vegan ingredients. The “cheese” in their dishes is therefore not quite cheese and I would have liked for them to share with customers what exactly it’s made of. I can understand wanting to save your secret ingredients for your brand. But, it would be helpful for those that have specific food intolerances. (i.e. nuts). Based on a conversation with one of their employees, all their ingredients are truly vegan though, including the “cheese” which is a vegan product purchased from vendors.
Jacob James is a Chicago food blogger that is passionate about local Mom & Pop’s, everything pizza, ethnic cuisines, and city life. A global citizen who has traveled throughout the country and world in search of hidden gems and all things tasty.
His South Indian heritage (Tamil & Malayalee) exposed him to a myriad of traditional vegan, vegetarian and non-veg cuisine. His cultural roots and love of cooking are why he is a strong advocate for natural and organic foods. Being a diabetic, he is vocal about the ways food can be used for healing while educating his audience on how to eat well on a budget.
If you loved this article, you might also want to explore more vegan restaurants across the US: