flore cafe: new hours, new menu, and a bit of drama!26
first off, before i get into any dramz, i’m happy to report that flore cafe has added FOUR new veggie burgers to their menu, and even some macaroni and (vegan) cheese. not just that, but rumor is they will be bringing back the famous vegan spot roast beef and cheddar sandwich sometime this month. great news all the way around! i hit up flore cafe recently and only had a chance to try out one of the veggie burgers. i got the smokey seitan and portobello burger, and it was delicious.
this burger definitely exceeded by expectations. i was kind of expecting it to be a big slab of seitan with a mushroom on top. instead, everything was all blended into one flavorful patty. it was very original, very tasty, and very healthy. while it definitely needed some hot sauce on it to liven it up (what doesn’t with me), i’d still order it again. i’m looking forward to hitting up flore cafe again and trying out their other new burgers…the chickpea & quinoa burger, tempeh meatloaf burger and broccoli kale burger all sound too good to be true.
now, on to the controversy! well it seems my last review of flore cafe stirred up a little drama in the comments section. to make a long story less long, i basically wrote a positive review of flore cafe’s food, but expressed remorse for the closing of the vegan spot, the restaurant that occupied the same space weeks before. i also pointed out that flore cafe is owned by a vegan, the same owner of the 100% vegan restaurant flore…yet flore cafe has chosen to sell both eggs and dairy products.
it’s the selling of eggs and dairy that got some people a little worked up in the comments section. i probably didn’t help by referring to eggs as “chicken menstruation” and dairy products as “puss and blood”. the owner, miranda, was decried by the readers and finally decided to speak up for herself by commenting. this is what she had to say:
We, the vegan community are based in love, understanding and compassion. Just as we are correct in the belief that our choices and lifestyle should be respected it is important to remember to respect all peoples. Veganism is divisive in nature in the same way that politics and religion can be. Flore communicates with its patrons in an accessible and nurturing manner and is careful to engender a good relationship with the non vegan community that makes up nearly 70% of it’s customer base. We believe that we do the most good by influencing the dietary and spiritual nature of our customers… showing them that vegan food is accessible, nutritional and delicious. We work against the stereotypes that vegan food has to be a facsimile of “real food”, doesn’t contain enough vitamins or nutrition to support proper health and is bland. We believe in providing proper nutrition for the health and longevity of all of our brothers and sisters. Our decision to sell free range, organic eggs (that have a dedicated cooking appliance) was in keeping with our decision to offer conventional organic milks in addition to oat, almond, soy and rice… to bring people to the table that usually push it away and to communicate with the people that have been made to feel uncomfortable for their non-vegan procilivities. We think that what we do is important work and a service to the community. We will not create change or further a cause with division, animosity or intollerence.
On a side note, anyone who thinks that Flore is about profit should look at the menu pricing and realize that it sells food at the same price level or for less than conventional restaurants that do not use organic ingredients and rely on a sysco truck for their salad dressings, potato salad, etc.
now, this assertion that flore isn’t about profit and that’s it’s all peace and love, certainly ignited many readers, and several rants ensued. some were attacking miranda for calling herself a vegan while she sells animal products, and some were defending miranda for maintaining a healthy vegetarian business, that may attract more carnivores than a 100% vegan restaurant.
my 2 cents: i think it’s all a bit odd that someone who calls themself vegan would sell other people eggs and dairy products, as it perpetuates animal suffering. that being said, i love a lot of vegetarian restaurants…and as long as they serve good vegan food, you count on me eating there. i wish flore cafe the best of luck, although i can’t lie, i’d give anything to have the vegan spot back.
so no matter what your views are on a “vegan” who sells eggs, or the death of the vegan spot, you should head over to flore cafe and eat some of the new things they have to offer. if anyone tries the shells and cashew cheese, please let me know how they are!so here is a copy of the new flore cafe menu, edited to take out the gross stuff. (sorry, i may have accidentally crossed out some waffles that are vegan. my bad.)
please note that flore cafe also has new hours. they are no longer open 7am to 4pm daily.
flore cafeTags: burger, silverlake
3206 w. sunset blvd.
los angeles, ca 90026
8am to 5pm
9am to 6pm
sat & sun
I never had a meal at Vegan Spot before it closed, but I was very disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to try the fabulous sandwiches about which you frequently blogged. Since Flore Cafe opened, I haven’t had any interest in it, but I’ll definitely head over there once they start bringing their Vegan Spot sandwiches back to the menu. I’m sure you’ll keep me posted!
On a vegan burger note, I wish restaurants would list exactly what ingredients go into their vegan burgers so I know if it’s safe (i.e. entirely onion free) to eat them!
Ahhhh! This is such great news! I loved that roast beef and cheddar!
Now we just need the cheesesteak.
I am married to an omni husband and our interdietary marriage is not a rarity. Am I perpetuating animal suffering? I hope I am not. I’m proud that my husband has voluntarily and drastically changed his eating habits. He consumes less and less animal products but hasn’t completely eliminated them from his diet. I married the man before I was vegan but I was vegetarian. I don’t want to be “that” person that imposes their beliefs on others; I rather lead by example and I truly believe it is not my duty to interfere in anybody’s learning process.
With that said I can understand your position and Miranda’s and I thank you for your insight.
I really do enjoy Flore.
“my 2 cents: i think it’s all a bit odd that someone who calls themself vegan would sell other people eggs and dairy products, as it perpetuates animal suffering”
I think you’re maybe drawing the erroneous conclusion that all people who identify as vegans share your exact views. I don’t think this is the case. There are folks who eat a vegan diet, but aren’t vegan because of animal rights; there are people who care about the suffering of animals but don’t take as hard-line a view as you do.
I’ve been vegan* for 15 or 16 years, though in the past 6 months or so, I’ve been eating eggs at home, as long as they’re from places that don’t kill any of their chickens (there are not that many of these). I live with my girlfriend, who’s not vegetarian, and while we eat pretty much entirely vegetarian at home, I don’t try to legislate what she eats when we’re out and about. While this thought may horrify you, I’ve found that it’s actually broadened my horizons in a lot of unexpected ways. And these days, I am usually fairly happy to buy, or serve small amounts of dairy or eggs to other people when they’re eating at our house. At least this way I can sort of try to make decisions (making sure the cheese uses vegetarian enzymes, made with organic or hormone-free milk, etc.) that they might not go to the trouble to make on their own.
I don’t think you’re going to win any friends or influence people by referring to eggs as “chicken menstruation”. Moreover, I don’t think that’s even correct, scientifically speaking. Menstruation is blood from when a woman is shedding her uterine lining, chicken eggs are the product of ovulation. Obviously human and chicken reproductive systems aren’t comparable, but it seems to me like it’s a stretch to call a chicken egg menstruation.
Anyway, my point is that (at least based on my experience in 15-16 years of identifying as vegan) non-vegetarian people are not that likely to respond favorably to really over the top stuff like that. I try to not be pushy or preachy, and let people ask me questions if they are sincerely interested in what I eat or why I eat this way.
A restaurant like Floré has the advantage that someone who really isn’t going to go somewhere that doesn’t serve eggs at all might now visit, or that mixed groups may be more likely to visit. The total amount of animal suffering avoided in a case like this (vs. the same group of people making their one vegan friend go with them to a non-vegan place and all ordering eggs and bacon) is clearly much greater. I think it’s important to take a pragmatic approach – being too hardline just isolates you from people and makes them not as likely to take your views into account at all.
Not only that, but maybe some of these people will try a vegan dish the next time, or tell their friends about the restaurant.
Anything that *reduces* the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy is a Good Thing for both animals and the planet.
* I say that I’ve been vegan in the sense that I have identified as vegan during this period of time. While I haven’t eaten meat, dairy, or (until recently) eggs, I have occasionally purchased leather, wool, and silk, though generally I try not to; I haven’t been picky about refined sugar, or making sure that beer and wine are clarified using vegan products, etc. In addition, I frequently eat at non-vegetarian restaurants, where I make a best effort to assure that the food I eat is vegan.
In other words, I have made decisions (as everyone must) about where to draw certain lines. Whether this excludes me from actually being vegan, it’s how I chose to identify, and it’s usually the easiest way for me to explain how I eat to restaurants or what not, since I eat a completely vegan diet outside of the house.
Will is a egg eating vegan? Now I’ve heard it all. Will – somebody needs to pick you up and shake you!
The waffle thing on the menu confused me when I was there too. Apparently all the waffles are vegan, though only the bigger one listed at the top has the star (*) next to it indicated that it’s vegan. When I asked the guy told me they were all vegan and use the same batter.
In regards to the person above saying that you won’t win any friends or influence people by standing up for what you feel is right… why does this person assume you are trying to make friends? The bottom line is that people can either attempt to distill the meaning of veganism by “broadened their horizons” into convincing themselves that organic & hormone free eggs and cheese are acceptable, or they can stop kidding themselves that they are still vegan while eating (or selling) these animal products. This justification is just one step short of the whole “happy meat” argument, and I don’t by into that either.
I don’t put people down for not being vegan, or for being only vegetarian, or for having a partner who isn’t any of these things. I used to eat meat too and I don’t judge anyone for not being where I’m at now. The difference is that you folks leaving comments aren’t vegans who run an egg & cheese selling restaurant in the location of a formerly 100% vegan restaurant (that you also used to own), you don’t run another all vegan restaurant up the street, and you don’t sell eggs & dairy at your place while still using a website address that has the word “VEGAN” in it’s url. It’s misleading, it’s confusing, and there are bound to be mistakes by the staff and/or customers who don’t read the menu carefully. When I order a soy latte there, how am I supposed to know for sure if they really made it with soy or with real milk? How do I know if that pat on my vegan waffle is Earth Balance or real butter? If there was no real milk or real butter in the building, I wouldn’t have to be concerned about it.
I feel there’s a big difference between what people choose to do in their personal lives and what people can get away with when they choose to engage and do business with the public. Your own varying definitions of veganism in your personal lives only effect you… when you run a business it effects everyone who supports that business. If you want to eat eggs & cheese and still think of yoursef as a vegan… well, you’re only kidding yourself. When you take that same broad definition out into the realm of feeding the public, it doesn’t hold up… and strict vegans are going to call you out on it.
I don’t see how offering those few egg options on their menu can possibly make any difference in their income or the customers they attract. Having one boiled or poached egg on a menu isn’t going to magically draw in all these new customers who wouldn’t come into an otherwise vegan place. This logic would make more sense if there were more egg and cheese dishes on the menu, but there are only just a few… so why bother with those at all? If they just took these three or four items off the menu the place would be totally vegan and this controversy wouldn’t exist. I somehow doubt all the egg eaters in town will be put out and have to go elsewhere, and even if that did happen, Flore Cafe would probably gain back more customers than it lost, considering there are people who simply won’t eat there anymore because it’s no longer vegan.
I didn’t say I was a vegan. I said that I’ve identified as vegan in the past (in the 16 years or so before I started eating some eggs), and that I sometimes find it the most convenient way to explain to people how I eat outside the house (if you start to qualify things, it gets way too confusing for people, and since what I want is, in fact, vegan food, I find it the best way to explain what I want at restaurants and such).
I am of course not technically vegan anymore since I eat eggs.
I don’t think it’s an inherent contradiction to consider yourself vegan (in terms of how you eat / shop etc. for yourself), but to run a business that’s not completely vegan.
Miranda’s earlier business (Tierra Cafe, downtown) had a similar model (serving small amounts of real dairy products, clearly labeled, and with vegan alternatives), so this isn’t completely out of the blue. I disagree with you that having some eggs / dairy on the menu doesn’t greatly increase the restaurant’s appeal to non-vegetarians. Things like soy cheese and margarine can be big turn-offs to people who eat the real thing most of the time, and some people really want their eggs for breakfast – most of the other breakfast standards tend to be more sugary / carby, and the vegan alternatives (tofu scramble, tofu “eggs” florentine, etc. don’t appeal to a lot of non-veg folks). I do think that it’s very important that items containing these products aren’t labeled as vegan. Despite what people may have misunderstood about my comments above, I don’t believe in egg eating vegans (or chicken eating vegetarians). I do, of course, agree that it’s very important to not call Floré a “vegan” restaurant when it’s not.
As far as the website… well clearly her original intent was to open a pure vegan restaurant. Plans have changed, and I think it’s fair to give her some time to make changes in the design / wording of her site so that there’s less potential for confusion. The fact that things have changed indicates to me that there was significant demand for these things (from the restaurant’s customers), and / or that the owners felt that serving these items would broaden the restaurant’s appeal and thus reach more people.
For the record, the thing that I objected to was not to Quarrygirl’s *objections* to Floré serving these things, but rather the way she stated them, as well as the assumption that all vegans should, and do, share her exact views. Making ridiculous (not to mention inaccurate) statements about chicken menstruation is preaching to the choir, and just reinforces the view of many non-vegans that vegans are a bunch of nut-jobs.
“distill the meaning of veganism by “broadened their horizons” into convincing themselves that organic & hormone free eggs and cheese are acceptable”
I don’t think anyone is trying to say that organic / hormone free eggs milk and cheese fall under the definition of vegan. The point is that they might be considered “better” than some of the alternatives out there. That said, “organic”, “cage free”, and “free range” really are fairly meaningless labels, and don’t do anything to guarantee animal welfare. So for the record, I’m not trying to say that from an ethical standpoint, that the eggs Floré is selling are necessarily any better than any others. All I’m saying is that they’re making a compromise, and I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong as long as they aren’t trying to mislead anyone, and as long as they take appropriate steps to prevent problems / cross-contamination.
Of course, if someone wants to eat only at 100% vegan restaurants, they’re welcome to stay clear of Floré. Personally, I stay clear of it just because I don’t live nearby anymore and because I don’t think the food is that good.
ps – I raelized that there were two locations, but didn’t quite get that it’s the new one that’s serving eggs / dairy and that the old location is still completely vegan. So sorry for slightly mis-understanding that (and maybe proving that there is potential for confusion).
But honestly, I think folks who are vegan are used enough to reading ingredients that they can manage to figure out that Flore Café isn’t completely vegan, nor does it advertise itself as such.. and if they want a completely vegan restaurant, they can still go down the street and eat at the other location. Maybe it would have been better to go with a different name, but it also slightly explains the choice to serve some dairy / eggs — otherwise, you’ve got two restaurants down the street from each other that are basically the same thing.
i don’t faul miranda for selling dairy. being vegan and running a profitable buisness are often times to different things….
Will said: “and if they want a completely vegan restaurant, they can still go down the street and eat at the other location.”
In that same light, if people want eggs, they can go down the street to any of the many other restaurants that serve them. The one thing that made this spot different was that it used to be vegan, and as you even pointed out yourself, aside from the non-vegan stuff, it’s basically the same as the other Flore right up the street.
Perhaps they’re not advertising this restaurant as vegan (which they shouldn’t), but when Miranda left comments on this blog last week regarding Flore Cafe, she linked to http://www.florevegan.com – if that’s not confusing and misleading, than I don’t know what is.
Bottom line is the place used to be vegan and is seemingly catering to the same clientele… so personally I don’t find it surprising that this same clientele that has supported them until now would be upset about eggs & cheese on the menu. It’s not like it’s different owners who had no connection to the previous vegan business in this same location, and it’s not like it’s people who don’t already know how to run a successful vegan restaurant.
Am I the only one who won’t eat that Beef’n Cheddar thing? Its like salty chewy repulsiveness!
I had this same discussion the other day about a vegan owning a non vegan business. I really would have liked to open Pizza Fusion franchises. Its an organic, hybrid car vegan friendly pizza place out of Florida that has a franchise opening soon here in Ocean Park. It would probably be a solid investment, but not one that I could make over my own moral code, but at the same time I’m glad that there are people who can maintain establishments with vegan and non vegan options because I believe they do lead to more vegan acceptance and understanding.
Will, I don’t know what brings you to this forum, but hopefully you’ll learn something. “Obviously human and chicken reproductive systems aren’t comparable, but it seems to me like it’s a stretch to call a chicken egg menstruation.”
You can do a quick google and find that Humans and Chickens share more than HALF (60%) our GENES. Some would say that’s cannibalism or baby eating. 60% of the DNA in every bite is that of your own.
Now that I’ve completely lost you, I’ll also add that no animal product is “better”, organic murder or non organic murder, free range heart disease or gestation crate heart disease, it damages your body all the same when you eat despite what ever label you want to put on it.
Rather than spending time crafting a lengthily response I invite you to read Dr. McDougall’s website so you can approach veganism from a health stance since the animal rights and environmental don’t seem to be working for you.
‘Will, I don’t know what brings you to this forum, but hopefully you’ll learn something. “Obviously human and chicken reproductive systems aren’t comparable, but it seems to me like it’s a stretch to call a chicken egg menstruation.”
You can do a quick google and find that Humans and Chickens share more than HALF (60%) our GENES.’
You’re completely missing my point. I’m not getting into whether eating eggs is a Good Thing or not. My point is that it’s an EGG… OVULATION… as in the exact opposite of menstruation. Menstruation as it’s commonly used to refer to humans, at least, is the shedding of a woman’s uterine lining, and happens at the exact opposite point in the cycle from ovulation. Chickens don’t even have a uterus, and thus no uterine lining. Another difference, of course, is that chickens lay their eggs externally, where humans do not. So no matter what percentage of our genes are the same as a chickens, equating a chicken egg with menstruation makes no sense to me, and it’s also not difficult to see that the way humans and chickens reproduce is different in quite a number of important ways.
As to whether eating an egg amounts to eating an unborn chicken, that’s a much more complicated issue, and of course you have to factor in whether the egg is fertilized or not.
Equating it with cannibalism is completely illogical too. By that logic, almost any animal (human or not) is a cannibal. Sharing some portion of your genetic code with another species does not make you the same species.
‘Now that I’ve completely lost you, I’ll also add that no animal product is “better”, organic murder or non organic murder, free range heart disease or gestation crate heart disease, it damages your body all the same when you eat’
Isn’t that almost exactly what I said in my comments above? Though for what it’s worth, eggs from free-ranging chickens have been shown in a number of credible studies to have significantly less fat and cholesterol (probably around 30% less) than eggs from battery hens. And in terms of dairy, if I were to eat dairy, I would certainly prefer to put dairy that came from a well treated animal who is not constantly given hormones or antibiotics.
In terms of heart disease and cholesterol, while diet certainly plays a role, genetics also play a big role. While eating a completely vegan diet, including eating very little in the way of saturated fat / trans fat, my cholesterol was still a little on the high side. On the flip side, there are plenty of folks who eat a very “unhealthy” diet with a ton of meat, eggs, and butter, who still have quite healthy levels of cholesterol. Obviously I will continue to monitor my cholesterol levels to see if eating small amounts of eggs is affecting them one way or another.
‘Rather than spending time crafting a lengthily response I invite you to read Dr. McDougall’s website so you can approach veganism from a health stance since the animal rights and environmental don’t seem to be working for you.’
Animal rights and the environment are very important for me, whether or not we share the exact same views about them. As someone who was a vegan for 16 years and who eats 100% vegan 90% or more of the time, I don’t have any problem approaching veganism from a purely ethical point of view, though the health and environmental aspects are also important, and can hardly be separated. Not only that, but I have read quite a bit on the subject, so I resent the implication that because we don’t share the exact same values and habits that I somehow don’t understand the complex issues involved.
The eggs I get are from two different vegetarian sources with whom I have a personal relationship (one local, one not); they both don’t kill any of their chickens, even after they stop laying eggs (one never gets any roosters, the other keeps them as pets), and the chickens are fed a vegetarian diet, other than what they forage for themselves.
My personal belief is that eating an egg is not equivalent to murder (any more than I believe that abortion is equivalent to murder), so in my personal system of beliefs, eating eggs and milk is not a problem as long as there is no killing involved.
I don’t buy standard “free range” eggs from the store, because not only do most of these outfits kill chickens (both male chicks and females who have outlived their laying potential), but there is no way to verify that the chickens are actually being treated well.
You can watch Earthlings for free on google video here
‘Will: Killing is involved in egg and meat production. Every day. You know it, I know it and the other commenters here know it.’
Absolutely, and I never denied that, in fact, I said it explicitly in a couple of my comments above. I don’t think it /has/ to be involved (i.e., to me the problem is with the meat industry as well as modern “industrial agriculture”), but it generally is. And I agree that the conditions egg-laying hens are typically kept in (including those of some so-called “organic” or “cage-free” eggs) are awful, probably worse than the conditions of (for example) beef cattle.
I know there are people who feel that taking eggs from chickens and milk from cows is /inherently/ exploitative, but I don’t believe that. What drove me to become vegan (or at least to stay vegan) in the first place was the knowledge of the way the meat and dairy industries are intertwined, and the way the animals are treated, and that still continues to guide the way I eat.
I didn’t post here to try and justify my own decisions, though. I primarily posted here in the first place to comment the reference to chicken eggs as ‘chicken menstruation’ (or, for that matter, milk as ‘puss and blood’ – while milk may contain these things, that’s not primarily what in it). To me, these are statements clearly designed only to shock people or remind them of something that many people consider kind of “icky” more than to make any serious point. I don’t have anything against people thinking about what they’re really eating, but I think that comments like this really go a long way to turning off people who aren’t veg*n, and giving vegans a bad name.
I don’t know if the “go on as you are” comment was directed towards me, but just in case it was…. I don’t know if you read all of my comments above, but I don’t, in fact, drink milk, and the only eggs I eat are from chickens (and ducks) that are treated with love, not forced to lay, not killed for food, and are generally treated pretty well. I know that not because it says so on the box, but because I buy them directly from the families that care for them. Whether that meets your approval or not, I don’t feel too bad when I look in the mirror, well at least not for the reason you’re talking about.
I am sure that the eggs used in Flore Cafe are not from the same sort of situation, which is why I wouldn’t eat them if I went there. All I was trying to say is that I think it’s a good thing that there is yet another vegetarian restaurant where people can get a good vegan breakfast along with friends who do not necessarily want to eat at a purely vegan place. I think that in the long term, this will help in the shift away from consuming (as many) animal products, and will help more people think about the way they eat.
This site seems to review plenty of non-vegetarian restaurants (like Akasha, who by the way used to run a vegetarian restaurant, Purgatory Pizza, Mani’s, etc.) without the same sort of treatment apparently reserved for someone who runs one purely vegan restaurant and one mostly vegan restaurant.
btw, the ‘flip side’ pun was entirely accidental.
Anyway, sorry for writing so much… I know what they say about arguing on the Inter-Nets.
What sort of treatment is this site giving either Flore location other than a shit load of free advertising? If you read the posts written here about both restaurants what you’ll find are primarily ravingly positive reviews, which no doubt send Miranda and her restaurants a ton of customers.
What I think you’ve missed somewhere in the mix is that Flore Cafe didn’t open up out of a blue, it opened up in the same location as The Vegan Spot… a restaurant that already had a vegan kitchen, a vegan menu, and the same vegan owner. I’m sorry but I just don’t believe that having a freakin’ poached egg on the menu is really going to draw in that much extra business. Arguments of menstruation or ovulation aside, it’s still disgusting and a product of the same process. I don’t think the writers of this website have a responsibility to anyone to make any of that sound less “icky” than it really is.
I think we’re all forgetting the essential truth here. Vegans taste better. Duh.
I loved this post. People hate to get called out but it is what it is. I especially enjoyed the statement
“i probably didn’t help by referring to eggs as “chicken menstruation” and dairy products as “puss and blood””
Funny how words can change the way we look at things.
FYI i always refer to eggs as chicken menstration and dairy as cow’s breast milk… i dont see whats so offensive, its true! Wouldnt it be nice if all animal products were named after what they were…
I like your sense of perspective Will, great comment. The preachy morality of many vegans gives me a stomach ache. But I eat eggs with pleasure, so I guess my views don’t count.
Bummer about your little tummy ache there El Chavo. Try cutting down or eliminating your egg consumption and I’m willing to bet your digestive system will feel a lot better. Given the choice of upsetting your stomach with my morality or saving a few animals lives by simply NOT EATING THEM, I think I’ve made the right choice, regardless of any gastrointestinal discomfort it might be causing you.
No offense, but I think you’re giving the Vegan Spot a little too much credit. The food was slightly overpriced and it fell apart. My experience was with the thanksgiving sandwich, with at most was mediocre. That may be one of the reasons the place went under.
The fact that something more or less comparable replacing the Vegan Spot is the important part. But most importantly, don’t fall into the stereotype that Vegans are judgmental people that hate on people for eating dairy. After all, it’s a CHOICE. Similar to how you choose to not eat dairy, others to eat it.
No need to get hostile. Especially if you want to keep your blog credible to other people looking for vegan options in the city.
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