Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
I feel like cauliflower bites are one of the most typical vegan restaurant menu items. It’s not uncommon to see it at not only vegan spots, but also at non-vegan restaurants, as their one-off veg option. This is very much the case for GastroGnomes, which is carnivore focused, with a handful of veg options. The buffalo cauliflower bites appealed most to me, as I’m always in the mood for anything battered and deep fried… as long as it’s vegan, which can be hard to come by. We also recently experimented with Bosh TV’s buffalo cauliflower wings and fell in love with the flavour, texture, and just general format of these things, so we just had to try a different take on it! And am I ever glad we did! These golden cauliflower bites tasted nothing like cauliflower, in the best way possible
Multiple times while we were eating these I questioned if it was actually cauliflower. Despite most pieces having an obvious, cauliflower shape to them, I was still skeptical, I couldn’t taste a hint of cauliflower!! I was worried it was some kind of meat since they also serve non vegan options, and all I could taste was deep fried, savory spiced goodness! The buffalo flavour on these is so nice, it’s very subtle and toned down, it wasn’t too spicy for me even though most buffalo flavoured things are. Still very flavourful though, and a lot of depth. I swear there was a few bites that actually tasted sweet / cinnamon-y? It was such a magical taste experience, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything with this exact flavour, it was really nice to try something so different yet delicious! The one thing I did find myself comparing the taste of the battered coating to was an egg roll wrapper, or something related to chinese food? Might be key in guessing which spices were used in the making of these!
The outside texture on these was like perfect, golden, battered onion rings. I honestly love anything battered and fried. I don’t indulge in it often, but when I do I’m always so intoxicated with the smell and decadent texture of it. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. These really hit the spot when it comes to the deep fried craving. They have an outside texture similar to battered onion rings or deep fried vegetables…. Or for the carnivores out there, boneless wings (?), just super light and crispy and golden. The texture on the inside was equally as impressive. The cauliflower was so so soft you almost couldn’t immediately distinguish it from the batter itself. It all just melted together so perfectly. It was soft and tender just like deep fried bites should be. I think the only thing missing here texture wise is some form of dipping sauce. These things were just begging to be dipped in garlic sauce or ranch or garlic ranch (like virtuous pie).
The presentation of these was exactly what I expected, and had hoped for. They were tossed in buffalo sauce before they were cooked so the outside was just deep fried, crispy and dry for the most part, which made them easy to eat. As opposed to some bites that are tossed in sauce after being cooked, making them super fucking messy and embarassing to eat. They were also a decent size for popping in your mouth all in one bite, adding to how easy they were to eat. On top of this, they were extremely photogenic, which is an important aspect for us since we take pictures of literally everything we eat! They were perfectly, coated in a golden batter, all even in size. The little cardboard plate / bowl combo is a really good serving mechanism for these! You don’t have to worry about losing any over the sides of the container! For a food truck, this was ideal presentation.
I wish that I could be more positive about the nutritional profile of these things, since they are cauliflower and all, but the truth is, they were basically 90% oil and deep fry. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the shit outta that, but, they are a bit heavy on the oil, and can easily make you feel bogged down. I know we both felt pretty greasy later that night from the amount of oil we consumed. This isn’t really a problem as this is something we only occasionally indulge in, and when we do, we share it! But be warned, you’re in for a greasy meal here! It’s definitely a decedent treat, but so worth it in every way for this taste and texture experience!!
The price was perhaps one of the main attractions here. $6 for a plate of buffalo cauliflower bites!!? That’s a steal. Most restaurants charge $10+ for that dish! Even better, the low price wasn’t associated with a small serving. There was enough in one order (considered a side item) for two people to share!