Hidden food finds

There are plenty of hidden food gems within the Valley. Places that not only taste amazing, but have thoughtful messages and owners who prioritize the quality of their goods and the time they invest in it. Food is an experience, and both of these hidden gems create that experience for their customers.

Karma Apple is located in Downtown Gilbert with a focus on vegan, gluten-free, and organic desserts that are healthy and safe to eat for those with dietary restrictions. The owner, Joanie Cady, started off selling her pastries at the farmers market. However, she found it challenging to keep her goods from spoiling when customers would avoid attending the market due to rain or excessive heat, which led her to become an entrepreneur.

Cady shared in an interview her experience in starting her small business. She originally started her small business because she is vegan and her husband is gluten-free. She wanted something healthy to eat that she could still enjoy, and food that others could feel good about eating. She started her business three and a half years ago as a creative outlet. She has loved every job she’s had so far, but this is the best. Cady didn’t want to sell goods with food coloring and other toxic ingredients, hence her blue spirulina dyed menu items, which is a blue-algae derived colorant with many nutritional benefits as well. Additional information regarding her mission can be found on their website.

Inside the restaurant, there are hanging plants, indoor seating, and plenty of cute merchandise including t-shirts and sage sticks.

The menu includes cold pressed juices, wellness shots, superfood smoothies and bowls, adaptogenic lattes (adaptogens are a natural substance used to reduce stress and normalize homeostasis), organic espresso, mixed green salads, and raw vegan pastries. I personally went for the mint chip smoothie bowl which is 24 ounces for $15 as opposed to the 16 ounce smoothie for $11.50. The mint chip bowl includes banana, dates, raw almond butter, mint, cacao nibs, and spirulina. The bowl is also topped with blueberries, housemade raw gluten free granola, edible flowers, and coconut. The bowl is shockingly cold at first bite and does bring a slight chill if you’re not sitting out in the Arizona heat. The bowl does indeed taste like mint with chocolate chips. The banana pairs wonderfully with the flavors, I got a piece with every bite. I also tried their seasonal pumpkin tarte for $7. Although I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie myself, this was much more appetizing. It is shaped like a mini pie with a small leaf shaped out of the dough on top. I had a pumpkin filling and was not overly sweet or overpowering. It was also chilled and the perfect serving size for one. 

Spce Coffee is also located in the Downtown Gilbert area, next door to an antique shop. The missing ‘a’ originates from the space between the ‘c’ and ‘e’, hence their namesake. The owner spent 10 years practicing making specialty coffee, with a background in photography and design. He decided to combine the three and create an experience that values art, creativity, passion, and making coffee. The brand started a year ago, with the pop up espresso cart up and running for the past four months. The name will be rebranded to spce2go once their secret new location opens up in January. They currently sell cute pink and holographic stickers and sticker packs and will be expanding their merchandise collection soon. The shop is decorated with their signature all pink design and framed photos of the infamous Rosie Girl, a character named after one of their fan favorite coffee drinks. 

I tried a small strawberry chai for $10 and purchased one of their spcecoffee stickers. Their chai comes with the perfect amount of ice topped with dried strawberries and their signature pink heart shaped straw. Make sure to shake the drink first to get it cold before drinking. 

When searching for a new place to try or a fun, Instagram worthy location, I would highly recommend these restaurants. There’s always more to try and something delicious for everyone. Enjoy eating as an experience and not just a necessity. Feel good about what you put into your body and the money you put towards supporting a local small business.