• scary good soul food @ a taste of life

    September 24th, 2008quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants

    UPDATED. scroll to the bottom of this post for new hours.

    recently i was surfing the forums over at vegan-la, and ran across something that sounded REALLY interesting: vegan soul food right here in hollywood. a taste of life divine vegan foods restaurant is an entirely vegan eatery at fountain and vermont that serves up steamin’ hot soul food and is open late. of course i had to check it out.

    after reading the review in the forum, i had my heart set on ordering the kale, but unfortunately they were all out when we went. so instead, we had to settle on an epic feast consisting of a tofu filet sandwich, a falafel sandwich, and a huge side of mac & cheese. we ordered food to-go, and we had to wait ages for it in a pretty sketchy area, but at the end of the day it was totally worth it. all sinfully delicious.

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    the tofu filet sandwich was split in half and polished off immediately. both the husband and i really loved it. deep fried and slathered in the most amazing vegan cheese, there was nothing healthy about this baby. a few fresh vegetables were sprinkled on to add some flavor, but this sandwich was really all about the tasty tofu soul food. with each crunchy bite, the breaded tofu leaked more & more delicious vegan grease. to be honest with you, i kind of ordered this sandwich hastily because i was confused by the menu when i stepped up to the counter. when i was waiting for my food, i started to think of all the things i maybe should have chosen instead. well, while i will definitely try something new next time, i in no way regret giving this a whirl. the filet was fried up in a perfect blend of spices and the creamy slightly melted vegan cheese made every bite so much better. definitely not your average tofu burger.

    the falafel sandwich was equally impressive. i’m a HUGE fan of falafel, so at first i regretted ordering this as well. i thought, why the hell did i order falafel HERE, at a soul food restaurant that can’t possibly compete with my favorite places in the valley?! again, a taste of life proved me wrong. this falafel was up there with the best of them. it didn’t even encroach on the valley’s territory—instead a taste of life totally reinvented the falafel. these balls were huge, twice the size of the falafel i’m used to, and seasoned much more mildly. they were deep fried for longer, it seems like, and had a thicker & juicier skin. inside they were a lot less cooked, but still just as delicious. this sandwich didn’t come on a bun, but in a whole wheat pita pocket, making it slightly harder to share. we managed though and were both blown away by the quality. like the filet sandwich, the falafel pocket came filled with melty-licious cheese that made a beautiful gooey mess. i highly recommend this sandwich, it’s scrumptious and a total steal for just $5. plus, it’s great to experience a new take on the classic falafel.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    saving the best for last, my favorite dish at a taste of life was of course the vegan mac & cheese. the noodles tasted fried and were coated with big clumps of sharp flavorful fake cheese. i don’t know what they use to make this vegan version, but i can tell ya, the real mac ‘n cheese has got NOTHING on this stuff. it was rich and oily to the very last bite, and the fake cheese had an authentic & delicious slightly sour taste to it. my all time favorite vegan mac & cheese, without a doubt.

    so the food at a taste of life is definitely nothing to be scoffed at. everything was great, and i didn’t even TRY all the stuff that sounded the best on the menu.

    you see, i get menu anxiety, and like to plan my order in advance, but unfortunately when i went to a taste of life, there was no menu available online. i guess they started out as a stand at the hollywood farmers market and haven’t updated their site yet with their new location and menu. so i will go ahead and take care of it for you.

    here you go, scanned from the card i picked up from the coutner. the menu from a taste of life divine vegan foods. oh, and also, here is a snazzy little card with their phone number, hours, and address.


    [googleMap name=”a taste of life divine vegan foods” description=”excellent vegan soul food” width=”570″ height=”320″ directions_from=”true”]4718 fountain avenue los angeles ca 90029[/googleMap]


    now before you get all caught up drooling and rushing over to try this amazing food, i must caution you, the restaurant has its downsides. because i am nice, and i want you all to know how much i loved the food, i will save my bitch session for after the jump. only click on the more button if you wanna hear some good, old fashioned complaining. if you don’t, then go grab some incredible soul food. whatever shit you encounter will be worth it.

    if you have made it this far, you know i think the food at a taste of life is awesome. here are some things that aren’t so awesome.

    it’s hard to find. most newcomers will drive right by this place, ’cause it’s located on the second floor of a strip mall. PLUS, at night, it’s extra hard to spot, because it has a temporary sign up that’s covering an old lit up sign with other words on it. there is a big neon sign that says, “long long cup” covered by a white soul food sign that is almost impossible to see. anyways, here is a pic of the place. hopefully you can find it better than i did.

    if you are traveling west on fountain, look out for this sign. i didn’t see it until i was already upstairs in the restaurant, but it may help you find your way.

    next, the title of this post is scary good soul food because the place itself is a little scary–when i return, because i definitely will, i am gonna make it a point to go before it gets dark. the place was empty except for employees sitting around and some dude sleeping on the chairs that were meant for dining. when i was snapping pictures one worker even shook his head and shot me a glare that made me put my camera away until i got home. because of the dude sleeping on the chairs, me & my husband could only sit together by waiting outside (maybe 35 minutes total?) for our order on the creepy patio in the black of night. check out the pic, dude sleeping and all.

    only one seat inside, the rest are occupied by employees and a snoozer.

    only one seat inside, the rest are occupied by employees and a snoozer.

    the crappy conditions only made worse the fact that our dinner took so long to prepare. normally i wouldn’t mind…but it was cold, uncomfortable and me and my camera were getting totally weird vibes. i was so happy when they brought my grub to the counter and i could escape back home with my warm bag of vegan comfort food.

    that’s it. bitch fest over. i’m totally looking forward to revisiting a taste of life for some lunch or carry out during the day. i can’t expect everyone, especially not a new niche vegan restaurant in a questionable part of town to put on their best face for customers on a sunday night. i’ve heard from other vegans that normally this place is speedy, friendly and top-notch during the day.

    plus they have truly incredible food, so all else is forgivable. awesome vegan food, they’ve got it. the rest is petty bullshit. 

    i suggest you EAT IT. a taste of life. divine vegan foods. fountain and vermont. YUM. go there, and go soon!

    thanks to drainote for leaving these in the comment section.
    monday closed
    tuesday-thursday 10am-10pm
    friday-saturday 10am-2am
    sunday 3pm-2am

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11 responses to “scary good soul food @ a taste of life” RSS icon

  • You had me at “these balls were huge”!

    I haven’t been to their storefront yet, only the farmers market stand, which is phenomenal. That mac & cheese is not of this earth… it doesn’t seem possible that it could be that good. The pot roast is also a winner.

    Too bad about the sketchiness of it all, I’ll bet the vibe is better during the day.

  • That’s not petty. It’s a drag to feel unwelcome in a restaurant. Perhaps I’ll stick to the farmers market. And agreed on the mac & cheese.

  • Thanks for the vegan-la plug! Perfect review! Sketchy & Slow, but everyone is raving about the food, lol. The menu is hard to follow. I didn’t even realize they had pizza until I was drooling over the person’s next to me!

  • I’ve been wanting to go to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market specifically to try Taste of Life. I’d never heard of vegan-la, but I’ll be heading over to check out their site immediately! Thanks!

  • When I went I got a lunch special with kale, mac and cheese, BBQ tofu (PERFECT!), black eyed peas, and cornbread. I’m dying to try the pizza and falafel and that tofu filet. It’s a short walk from the LACC campus so I went right in the middle of the afternoon. I actually walked past the strip mall down Fountain and turned around because I knew it was supposed to be on that corner. The guy who was there when I ordered said that they’re thinking they might expand, and I really hope so. Even during the day I was a little nervous because of that part of town, so if they expand and put in more inside chairs and tables (and maybe a proper air conditioner) that would be way better.

    I’m glad you liked the food! Thanks for the review, now I can’t put off going back for that falafel any longer =D

  • Just wanted to say that I absolutely love your site. Your reviews are fantastic and thorough. I often visit the Los Angeles area, and your page is now on the regular must-read list. Thank you for all of the time and effort (and pictures of food! haha). You can sleep tonight knowing that you are appreciated! Please keep up with it!

  • foodeater – i need to get over to the farmers market and try them out there. everyone seems to rave about it!

    trina – thanks for that, i just felt guilty bitching about a place with such great food.

    lex – no prob! vegan-la is awesome.

    vegyogini – u don’t know what you are missin!

    shauna – hmmm bbq tofu sounds amazing. i think i will get that next time i go.

    megh – awwww. thanks! many more posts to come!!

  • Whoever built their website needs to be put in webmaster prison and not allowed to touch a computer ever again. Sheesh, I just got way more information about the menu, location, hours, etc… from your blog then from their official website!

  • First I will say I really enjoying reading your blog

    Ive been to Taste of Life twice now, and both times were enjoyable. Food was really good and no real danger element.

    Just wanted to mention that their hours are different than whats listed. They are not 9a-2a. Last I was told its

    monday closed
    tu-th 10-10
    fri-sat 10a-2a
    sun 3-2( i can see this one changing though)

  • drainote: THANKS for the update! i have changed the post.

    also, i am so glad to hear you had good experiences there. i am sure they were just having an off night when i went. the food was so good though, i can’t wait to go back.

    stay tuned for what i’m sure will be a glowing review from the next time around.

  • The photos of the falafel are very delicious! Do you have more hi-res images of shawarma?

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