Last week, I dropped off curried kale chips at Camden’s in Manchester. If you haven’t been, you really should. It’s Richmond’s best bodega, full of gourmet treats, convenience standards, and well cooked meals. Plus, proprietor Andy Howell gave this little kale chip micro-enterprise the nudge it needed by offering to carry them in his shop.
The next place I found willing to carry the kale chips was Fresca on Addison, a vegetarian restaurant run by die-hard vegan, Jenna Sneed. I knew she’d appreciate vegan nachos, so I brought her my latest creation: Nachos Kale Grande. These might be my best version yet, in part because they were motivated by spite and a degree of vengeance.
Last week, my wife brought home a bag of Trader Joe’s Zesty Nacho kale chips. I was excited, because I’d been unimpressed with more expensive store-bought kale chips. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite stores. Surely they’ve figured out how to do kale chips right. Right?
Well, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. Trader Joe’s kale chips are the worst I’ve ever had. They’re beyond stale. They taste like leftovers with freezer-burn. On the ingredient list, it looks like the main culprit is the sunflower seeds that bring the essence of mud to each bite. Regardless, there is nothing zesty about these nachos. Aside from embarrassment and betrayal, I felt challenged to prove that a spicy vegan cheese sauced kale chip was entirely possible.
The key is cashews and nutritional yeast and several other yellow ingredients. Also, a really high powered blender. With the resulting chips, I even impressed myself. They’ve got a creamy finish that reminds me of that liquid cheese sauce at 7-11. Go try the Nachos Kale Grande for yourself at Fresca. Or get the Kashmiri Curry version at Camden’s and let me know what you think.