I meet with an alumni friend at a little cafe in a part of Long Beach I have never ventured to before. My friend is vegetarian which was why he suggests we meet at this little vegan/ vegetarian spot.
Fox Coffeeshop is a little gem nestled in between some dive bars and strange businesses, as well as residential homes. I am a little surprised as I am driving there, but the minute I step inside, it is like you’ve been transported elsewhere, far far away from your exterior surroundings.
My friend knows the owner well so we have a quick chat with her. I will get into that a little later.
The cafe leans heavily on vegan offerings, but there is milk if you want a latte ($3.50/$4/$4/50). We begin with some beverages including the Golden Fox ($3.50/$4/$4.50) which incorporates turmeric, ginger, black pepper and raw honey into steamed almond milk. I love the combination of flavors. The slight hint of sweetness from the raw honey is very pleasant on the palate.
I also enjoy Honey Bear ($3.50/$4/$4.50), a vanilla coconut latte with a “floating shot” of espresso. It is then topped with home-made coconut whipped cream. At first glance the beverage looks to be overly sweet, however, it is extremely subtle and is perfectly suited for my palate. It is available hot or cold — I order cold! The honey and agave allow for a hint of sweetness that never overpowers.
In terms of food there is a small list to choose from. Mary, the owner, tells me that her initial intention for Fox Coffeeshop is a beverage-focused place with a few pastries to accompany the drinks with. However, as customer demands increase, so do her savory options which she creates, AND personally makes. The reception has been positive to say the least.
We begin with a simple salad of greens and pretty edible flowers. A dressing of artichoke hearts and vinaigrette is served on the side. It is fresh and delicious.
I try the Vegan Mac and Cheese using quinoa pasta as its base. It is mixed with a cauliflower “cream”, vegan sausage and fresh dill. I am surprised to find the vegan sausage extremely flavorful and not at all strange in texture or taste. The fresh dill lends a welcoming aromatic touch to the dish.
Another item we enjoy is Vegan Pot Pie. Mary tells me she makes the coconut oil crust from scratch and prepares the onion gravy by hand. It is then mixed with the bits of potato, celery, carrots that is inside the pot pie. I’m always concerned about vegetarian or vegan fare not possessing good flavors, therefore I am taken aback by how tasty this vegetable-based pot pie is.
Mary also bakes and you will find her vegan cupcakes absolutely delightful. The lusciously rich double chocolate cupcake is topped with a coconut cream ganache, however it is the chai cupcake I am completely mesmerized by — it is a spiced pound cake with cinnamon frosting. Mary uses flax seed and coconut milk to create a highly fluffy and moist cake.
At the moment there are daily specials from Monday to Friday including selections such as the cauliflower mac and cheese I enjoy, vegan quiche, pizza, and a vegan breakfast burrito. There is nothing over $7 here, which makes it extremely reasonable when you compare that to other vegan restaurant menus.
I am lucky to have a few minutes with Mary as I am interested to know her story, and why “fox”. She tells me it is from her childhood when she is extremely quiet and sneaks in on her family, earning her the moniker “sneaky like a fox”. Through time, Mary adopts the fox as her spirit animal, hence Fox Coffee Shop is born. Mary, a behavioral therapist for 10 years, admits the coffee shop takes up all of her time these days, she still dedicates several days a week to youths who are dealing with social challenges. Mary gives them an opportunity to work at the shop to better hone their social skills within a normal environment. She is also very in touch with her local community by organizing various activities to better the City of Long Beach.
It isn’t always I come across someone who impresses me in so many ways. Mary’s dedication towards Fox Coffee Shop, as well as youths with social disabilities is admirable. I am eager to see how far she can stretch her talents in creating a full menu down the road. Right now, I feel like I am eating at a friend’s home, and I’m sure that’s exactly how Mary intends it to be.
437 W. Willow St
Long Beach, CA 90806