An organic, vegan, and gluten-free cafe, Giving Tree Café specializes in “high vibe comfort cuisine and beverages.” Founder, owner, and chef David Warr explains on the cafe’s website, “We’re going to great lengths to create a space of love from the floor to ceiling. The way our guests and staff feel, the visual ambiance, the musical sound of the atmosphere, and, of course, the cuisine, are all crafted in accord with our mission to heal and empower.”
Giving Tree Café’s menu is 99% organic, 99% made in-house, and 100% vegan and gluten-free. Sourcing most of the produce from local farmers and products from purveyors with similar ethics, it’s among the cleanest restaurant food you’ll find. “When you dine with us, you can trust that we’re going above and beyond to ensure the standards are higher than the average kitchen. It’s good for you, the business, and the environment,” Warr says.
Giving Tree Café offers an array of tasty dishes along with cold-pressed juices, specialtyteas and coffees, conscious cocktails, and too-good-to-be-true desserts. Not to miss favorites are the Mushroom Molé Tacos and the Krunch Rap.
The Mushroom Molé Tacos brim with large chunks of sautéed mushrooms covered in a savory molé sauce with Lion’s Mane, an increasingly popular adaptogen that’s great for brain cells (they can improve cognitive function) and overall well-being. A potent medicinal mushroom, Lion’s Mane contains antioxidants and boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The magical mushroom has also been shown to have the potential to treat and prevent cognitive decline diseases.
The Krunch Rap menu offers five varieties from which to choose— Original, Korean BBQ, Mediterranean, Big Maxx, and a breakfast option—wrapped in a lentil and rice pancake with a crunchy corn tortilla in the center. Our fave, the Mediterranean, is just like a traditional gyro, both in taste and texture, complete with a tzatziki-like sauce on the side.
The restaurant’s eco-philosophy extends beyond its food: it uses all-natural cleaning products, compostable take-out containers, and towel napkins. Giving Tree Café has a second location on Shea Blvd in Scottsdale for takeout and delivery and features most of the same great menu.
Giving Tree Café is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is located at 2024 N 7th St., Ste. 111, Phoenix, AZ, and 7127 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale, AZ. www.givingtreecafe.com
2 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced (optional)
½ Cup Yellow Onions diced finely
2 cloves garlic diced finely
½ Cup cilantro minced
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Cups Water
Whisk all well and Refrigerate.
Lion’s Mane Taco “Meat”
Prepare two cups of Lion’s Mane mushrooms by rinsing them in pure water and then squeezing all of the water out of them. They are like sponges, so squeeze well. Finish by drying with a cloth or (recyclable) paper towel.
Next, pull the mushrooms apart with your hands. They will tear easily, similar to string cheese. As an alternative, you can opt to chop or cube them. Soak them in the prepared marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
When you are ready to cook them, place them in a hot skillet with a thin layer of coconut oil. Be careful, as they will splatter. Let them cook completely; there should be a bit of a crust on the bottom before you turn them.
After each side is browned, remove them from the pan and add to your favorite taco shell along with your favorite toppings. At the restaurant, we use guacamole, mole sauce, and pico de gallo.