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Kung Food Carrot Cake

-----Original Message----- 
From: devon
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:11 PM
Subject: Kung Food Restaurant's Carrot Cake

Hi - very impressed with your website and hoping you might be able to help me.

I am seeking the carrot cake recipe from a "tree-hugging" vegetarian restaurant 
in San Diego, named Kung Food, that went out of business around the mid-1990s.

This recipe was almost more of a fruitcake or nutloaf type dish, rather than the 
fluffy, floury sort of cake one usually sees. Composed of healthy ingredients in 
largish chunks (except for the carrots, which were grated), it was heavily spiced.  
It contained nuts (walnuts and possibly others, I think Brazil nuts), coconut, 
raisins, ginger, cinnamon, and honey.  I can't remember now, but I think it might 
have also contained pineapple.  The cream-cheese like frosting on top was also 
distinctively excellent.  While the carrot cake had a definite dessert quality, 
it was also healthy, being nutritious, filling and satisfying.  Kung Food was 
famous for making vegetarian cuisine that was so delicious that it surpassed regular 
versions, and was the one vegetarian restaurant that non-vegetarians would make a 
point of eating at, because it was so excellent.

For some background information that might help in your hunt:

The Kung Food Restaurant in San Diego, California, existed under its original owner 
from about the mid-1970's through the mid-1990's. This restaurant was entirely 
vegetarian and, while San Diego restaurants are good about catering to vegetarian 
customers, Kung Food was the apex of the type.  The restaurant was initially located 
downtown, then moved to its long-standing location off of Fifth Avenue, next to 
Balboa Park. The premises contained the indoor restaurant, an outdoor dining patio,
and a take-out section with a gift shop.  The carrot cake was available in both the 
restaurant and the take-out (but was often sold out due to its popularity).

In the late 1990's the original owner told me he was changing the restaurant concept 
over entirely, as he had become enamoured of the "Zone Diet".  His new restaurant 
was not popular and went out of business.  Some time later, a vegan buffet under the 
name of Kung Food re-opened at the same location with a different owner and menu.  
I understand that it has since gone out of business also.

I can't believe that I have forgotten the owner's name, but sadly I cannot provide it 
to you.  I can provide you with a little history though.  I was involved in the 
community's martial arts scene at that time, and one of my associates had been the 
former girlfriend of the owner.  She met him when they both resided in a commune in 
Hawaii, where he was the chef.  My understanding is that he developed all of his
recipes and, as I haven't seen similar ones of the same quality in any cookbooks or 
other restaurants, I believe this is likely.  He came to San Diego in the 1970s.  
I was just a child, but one of my mother's Hawaiian friends liked to get the 
honey-sweetened ice cream and other dishes there, and took me with her.  Later when 
I became a vegetarian, I re-discovered Kung Food, and it became one of my standard 
places both for dining and shopping.  Kung Food was the cornerstone of the vegetarian 
community in San Diego, and as mentioned was extremely popular with everyone whether 
they were vegetarian or not.

The carrot cake was considered the best by everybody in town.  San Diego is a "foodie" 
town, blessed with many excellent dining options, so that's saying a lot.  I have tried 
for years to find anyone who worked there (and there were a lot of people who did) that 
might either know the recipe or know where I could find it.  I actually would love to 
have any of their recipes, but the carrot cake is the main one I'm hunting down, since 
it was so different and yet so superior to regular carrot cake.

So I'm hoping that, if you cannot track it down, perhaps someone who visits your website 
will know.

Be blessed,


Hello Devon,

I had no success locating a carrot cake recipe from Kung Food in San Diego. I do have a whole wheat pancakes recipe from there.

I read on a message board that "Evolution Fast Food" in San Diego is operated by one of the former owners of Kung Food and uses many of the same recipes, possibly including the carrot cake. I did search for a carrot cake recipe from Evolution Fast Food as well, with no success.

Evolution Fast Food
2965 5th Ave (between Quince St & Palm St)
San Diego, CA 92103
Neighborhood: Banker's Hill
(619) 550-1818

I will, of course, post this on the site. The whole wheat pancakes recipe is below.


Kung Food Whole Wheat Pancakes

Makes 12 large or 36 small pancakes

3	large eggs
2	cups cold milk
1/4 	cup cold pressed safflower oil
1/4	cup honey

2 1/2	cups whole wheat flour
5	teaspoons baking powder
2 	teaspoons ground coriander
1	teaspoon cinnamon
1	teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 	teaspoon salt

1	cup fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen) or 
        1/2 cup mixed chopped dates and walnuts

In 8-cup bowl with lip for pouring, beat eggs with electric mixer 
1 minute at medium speed. Add milk and continue mixing 1 minute. 
Add oil and honey.

Blend flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to egg mixture 
and combine well.

Heat griddle or 10-inch skillet. Grease lightly with safflower 
oil or butter. Pour out batter into rounds of desired size. 
While first side is cooking, place teaspoonful of blueberries 
or date-nut mixture in center of each pancake. When batter 
begins to bubble, turn pancake and cook until browned.
(From "Favorite Restaurant Recipes" by Bon Appetit)

Augusta Bakery Polish Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

From: Jerry 
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 3:56 AM
Lost recipe: Augusta Bakery (Chicago) Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


I would be thrilled if there were any way to find the recipe 
to a wonderful cream cheese coffee cake that was made by the 
now-defunct Augusta Bakery, which was on the corner of Ashland 
Ave and Chestnut St in Chicago IL.  I believe the bakery closed 
in the early 90's. It was a Polish bakery, and the cheese coffee 
cake of which I write was amazingly delicious, with a creamy 
sweet cheese filling, with just a few plump raisins (not many 
at all) all wrapped in a danish-type yeasty sweet dough and 
formed into a long flat loaf-like cake, about one yard long 
and maybe 8" wide, and maybe 1 to 1.5 inches thick. The dough 
was braided over the cheesy filling, exposing only the slightest 
tantalizing glimpses of the rich sweet creaminess inside. There 
was an egg wash over the top, and it was sprinkled with coarse 
granulated sugar which formed a crispy glaze on top. It was 
very popular, and you had to get to the bakery pretty early, 
because they were usually sold out of this coffee cake by early 

The closest flavor to the filling I have ever found is the 
filling in Entenmann's cheese coffee cake, but the dough 
was totally different, a bit breadier and less cakey than 
Entenmann's. Thanks in advance for your time and efforts.

Hello Jerry,

I found Augusta Bakery mentioned several times on message boards, mainly regarding their rye bread. I found only one mention of the coffee cake, and it was just that “they had a good coffee cake”. No recipes at all.

The 2005 obituary for Lawrence Madoch, owner of Augusta Bakery, is here: Chicago Tribune

There are some recipes online for Polish cream cheese coffee cake:

All Recipes



You will have to make the recipes and decide if they are similar to the Augusta Bakery product. I will, as usual, post your request on my site. Someone who has eaten Augusta Bakery’s coffee cake might be able to recommend a recipe that tastes similar. As for the actual Augusta Bakery recipe, it’s likely that only Mr. Madoch’s family would have that recipe. Some of his family members are named in the obituary.

There is copycat recipe for Entenmann’s cream cheese coffee cake here: Key Ingredient


Skillet Surprise

From: Gerry 
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 5:00 PM
Subject: Skillet Surprise Recipe

Hope you can help-maybe 20 or 25 years ago my late wife had 
cut out a recipe from a box of Muellers Elbow Macaroni called 
Skillet Surprise. 
Basically I remember it as ground beef, tomato sauce, elbow 
macaroni, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, I don't remember 
the proportions or if there were any added ingredients. 
I wrote to Muellers many years ago but they didn't have a 
record of it. Can you help with this? Thanks.


Hello Gerry,

I had no success with “skillet surprise” + “mueller’s elbow macaroni”, “mueller’s macaroni” , or “elbow macaroni”. The only “skillet surprise” recipe that I can find is the first recipe below, which is quite different from your description.

I also searched for “skillet supper” + “mueller’s elbow macaroni” or “mueller’s macaroni” or “elbow macaroni”. No success.

I searched for any recipe with “mueller’s elbow macaroni” or “mueller’s macaroni”. No success.

Searching for any dish with “elbow macaroni” + mozzarella + tomato ___ + mushrooms + “ground beef” or “hamburger” yielded the below recipe for “hamburger casserole”, which appears to be very similar to your description.

Is it possible that your wife made both dishes, and the names of the dishes became confused in your memory?


Skillet Surprise

1 med. onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 lg. can tomatoes
1 c. minute rice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Lightly brown onion and green pepper in a large skillet.  
Remove from pan.  Brown beef.  Add onion, peppers and tomatoes; 
bring to a boil. Add rice and seasonings.  Simmer 15 minutes.
Hamburger Casserole

1 lb. hamburger
1 sm. box macaroni
1 sm. can tomato sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 sm. can mushrooms
1 pkg. Mozzarella cheese

  Fry hamburger and drain.  Cook macaroni and drain.  Mix all 
ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into casserole dish and 
sprinkle cheese on top.  
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees approximately 20-30 minutes 
until hot and bubbly. 

Sally's Dinner Casserole

From: Judy 
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:27 PM
Subject: recipe search

Many years ago, 50 I hate to admit, a woman who lived next door 
to me used to make a casserole.  In it there was white rice, 
browned ground beef, Velveeta cheese, sliced black olives and 
tomato soup poured over those layers. Have you ever seen this?  
There is no way for me to get in touch with her so I'm hoping 
you can lend a hand.  She referred to it as "Sally's Dinner".

Hello Judy,

I had no success locating a recipe called “Sally’s Dinner.” I did find a few recipes called “Sally’s Casserole”, but they contained corn, noodles, or potatoes. Searching by ingredients, I did not find a recipe that fit your description exactly. All of the recipes that I found contained one or more of these ingredients: corn, noodles, beans, cream of mushroom soup, potatoes, chilies.


Thanks anyway.  It was a long shot!!

I have a very old recipe that appears to be similar, just the name is slightly different.        

Timm in Oregon

Aunt Sal's Casserole


1 cup white rice 
1 cup water 
1 pound ground beef 
Small can sliced black olives
Three 10.75 ounce cans condensed tomato soup 
3 tablespoons chili powder 
10 slices Velveeta cheese 


Bring the rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. 
Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 
until the rice is tender and the liquid has been 
absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Preheat an oven 
to 400F degrees. Grease a 1 quart baking dish.

While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet 
over medium-high heat and stir in the ground beef. 
Cook and stir until the beef is evenly browned, 
no longer pink and crumbly; drain and discard any 
excess grease. Stir in the olives, condensed tomato 
soup and chili powder; cook until heated through.

Spread 1/3 of the rice into the bottom of the 
prepared baking dish and cover with 1/3 of the 
ground beef mixture. 
Place 2 slices of processed cheese over the meat. 
Repeat this twice more except arranging the 
remaining 6 slices of cheese over the top. 
Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole 
has heated through and the cheese is bubbly 
and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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