Have you ever had Pho soup? If you haven’t you are missing out! It is an amazingly healthy yet flavorful and filling soup that most often is gluten free. (ALWAYS check the restaurant though!) When I was in college, I would go eat Pho and sushi at least once a month with my friends. I hadn’t had this wonderful soup in over six years so when I went to Tea Light Cafe for a feature and review, I was so happy to get to enjoy it again. From the moment I put the first bite in my mouth I was flooded with happy memories of friends laughing and enjoying each others company. Isn’t it funny how food can bring you right back to the first moment you ate it every time you do? That is one of the reasons I love food so much…the memories made with it.
Tea Light Cafe did such a great job and providing me with a nourishing and healthy, while at the same time, filling, meal. We began the meal with the Spring Rolls. They were rice vermicelli, lettuce, cilantro, mint and shrimp rolled in a rice paper with a garlic vinaigrette dipping sauce. This appetizer was very fresh and refreshing while being full of the flavor of herbs. What a great way to start a meal, not too heavy.
For our entrees, we enjoyed the Pho soup I mentioned before. It consists of chicken, rice noodles, fresh onion and cilantro in a made-from-scratch broth that is also gluten free. It came out with an accompanying plate with all the Pho fixings including whole fresh basil leaves (THE BEST part), lime, bean sprouts and jalapeno peppers. I added everything except for the jalapenos as I prefer to use the siracha…yum! Now, I love spicy, so if you don’t, I suggest omitting this ingredient. Every bite was pure goodness filled with pleasant memories. I absolutely loved the nostalgic experience this meal gave me of carefree lunch with friends. We also enjoyed the Marinated Chicken with rice noodles dish. It was gluten free, marinated and grilled chicken (the beef and pork are not gluten free so make note of that when ordering) served on a bed of rice noodles with carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts and cilantro. YUM! This was such a delicious dish. The marinated chicken was perfectly seasoned and cooked. It had just the right smoked flavor. It reminded me of the delicious meat I ate while living in Ukraine…another great memory for me. The cucumbers added a great cooling and crunchy effect which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also love the crushed peanuts on top, a great choice for the dish.
Tea Light Cafe met and exceeded all of my expectations for a great gluten free meal. I spoke with the owners whom I met at a gluten free food fair hear in Phoenix two years ago, who assured me that they are very careful with cross contamination in their kitchen. In fact, their kitchen and menu are Gluten Free Absolutely! approved which is a great stamp of approval. (Thank you Nina, of Gluten Free Absolutely! for this service.) The owners also asked me to mention that they have an amazing green tea called Global Matcha. I don’t drink green or black tea so I didn’t try it but after reading the pamphlet on it, I was most intrigued by its benefits. It is hand crafted and I learned the that whole leaf is consumed rather than just the steep off the leaves, as with many other teas which makes it 10 times stronger than regular green tea. The pamphlet states that in Japan, this tea is reserved exclusively for consumption in the ritual tea ceremonies. Wow, looks like an excellent drink.
Thank you Tea Light Cafe for a most excellent meal! Visit Tea Light Cafe next time you are in the Phoenix metro area.
7000 East Mayo Boulevard, Suite #1084
Phoenix, AZ 85054
*This is our opinion and our opinion alone. We do not take any responsibility for the gluten free dining experience of others. As always, eat at your own risk as this is not a dedicated gluten free facility.