• the ultimate vegan paradise

    April 8th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, stores, whole foods

    i live in hollywood and my local whole foods is the tiny one located at santa monica and fairfax. because the parking lot is so small, the lines are so long, and the prices are so high, i normally only go to whole foods when i need something crazy for a recipe…or when i’m grabbing a quick bite from the salad bar. i would never consider whole foods a destination to go hang out, or a place to sit and eat lunch. this all changed, however when my friend dragged me all the way to the newish whole foods in venice a few weeks ago.

    holy crap! i realized then that not all whole foods are lame and tiny like my local…some are huge and awesome like this new venice store. there was parking, seating, and so much vegan food i couldn’t begin wrap my mind (or mouth) around. it was like a bloody vegan disneyland! pasta, sandwiches, ice cream, mexican food, chocolate and curry…it was all there ready to be eaten at the lovely outdoor tables. we ordered a ton of food for lunch and enjoyed it right there at the store. i can’t wait to go back.

    whole foods vegan chicken salad sandwich. $6.99

    whole foods vegan chicken salad sandwich. $6.99

    we started off with a vegan chicken salad sandwich from the sandwich counter which was made with gardein, vegetables, and vegenaise. it was absolutely delicious…the gardein chicken salad was super chunky, thick, and creamy…and the bread roll it came on was amazingly fresh. definitely a good, solid sandwich for 7 bucks. it made me wish gardein chicken was available everywhere, i absolutely love that stuff.

    vegan tamale, chocolate and more after the jump.


    imagine how stoked i was to stroll up to the mexican food counter and see a sign that said “vegans welcome” hanging above. in a world where rice is usually laced with chicken fat and beans contain lard, i was glad to see a the mexican section at whole foods was all vegan-friendly and shit. they had fake meat options for the burritos, vegetarian beans, and easily modified menu items. however due to bell peppers (which i hate) in the fake meat mix, i went for a vegan tamale….which was excellent.

    vegetable tamale. $3.49

    vegetable tamale. $3.49

    for $3.49 at a glorified grocery store, i really wasn’t expecting much from this tamale. and while it was probably nowhere near as spiffy as the stuff from mama’s hot tamales that my fellow bloggers have been raving about, it was pretty damn good! the masa was thick and fluffy and the moist filling contained peas, corn, and a spicy tomato sauce.


    but the vegan offerings don’t stop at the mex counter. there is also an italian create-your-own pasta bar that serves up a variety of vegan sauces as well as protein options including vegan meatballs and gardein chicken. unfortunately, when we were there, they were out of vegan protein (’cause bein’ a vegan is so popular)…so we passed on the pasta all together. oh, and they had a pizza counter, ready to make VEGAN PIZZA with follow your heart cheese! we passed on that as well, but i know i’ll be back to try it.

    at the venice whole foods, there is also an entirely vegan section of the pay-by-weight salad bar. ummm, it’s kinda insane. i always thought i was lucky in hollywood to even have a salad bar…the next closest cruddy whole foods in studio city doesn’t. but an ALL VEGAN SALAD BAR? you better stop me before i spend like 80 bucks on the $7.99/lb goodness. i filled up on a ton stuff from the food bar including baby broccoli, curry, vegan chicken salad and more…i will spare you the picture of my takings though, cuz it seriously looked like a box of mush.

    an entire vegan salad and hot food bar!

    an entire vegan salad and hot food bar!

    after our meal, my buddy and i were jonesing for some dessert. we filled up on samples of delicious vegan gelato (yep, they have several flavors and we got our fill for free)…but we still wanted more. luckily, there are like 80 million fancy vegan chocolates available at the venice whole foods.

    xan vegan chocolate selection

    xan vegan chocolate selection

    turns out the same vegan chocolates we ate also got a glowing review over at to live and eat in la…and i can say the gushing description was well deserved. xan chocolates are vegan, but could fool a dairy-eater any day. not only are they gorgeous, but they are packed with creamy chocolate flavor that doesn’t disappoint.
    we got the ancho chili as well as espresso almond. both totally delectable.


    yeah, you just went on a tour of vegan paradise. sandwiches, mexican food, pasta, a salad bar, ice cream and chocolate. venice whole foods, FTW!

    whole foods
    225 Lincoln Blvd.
    Venice, CA 90291 USA

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19 responses to “the ultimate vegan paradise” RSS icon

  • In case you didn’t know, there’s another big Whole Foods like this at Third @ Fairfax across the street from the Grove. Traffics a nightmare, but it’s not the voyage it is getting to venice. Plus the stores huge & has so much more to offer than little Whole Foods (Unlike the new Trader Joe’s). One caveat…last time I was there a homeless woman was camped out in the bathroom. Saw her a few minutes later picking at samples in the cheese section. Her hands were not clean, to say the least. So I wouldn’t hit random samplings sitting out & about, vegan or no.

  • I passed this mecca as I was driving to Alibi a couple weekends ago and ALMOST stopped in. I’m glad I didn’t because it would’ve made me 2 hours late! Wow, I must go check it out ASAP.

  • SillyVeganGirl

    This isn’t real is it? I mean, MECCA! Why is it only in the Venice store……WHY WholeFoods WHY?

  • Dang, we don’t have any of that cool stuff at our tiny valley Whole Foods’, not even close. I’m glad you’ve now had a chance to try the glory that is Xan Chocolates… the world must know.

  • DANG.. no, DAAAANG. Happy vegan land.

  • We live in Hollywood too but over where East Hollywood meets Los Feliz (aka Little Armenia). Anywho, for us to take Los Feliz down into Atwater/Glendale is super easy so I decided to check out the Glendale WholeFoods. And, like Venice, it is FAR better in many ways that that damned WeHo store.

    First, there’s parking. Second, it’s not a trendy, hipster, high heel wearing, trendy, blah blah mecca. The Glendale Whole Foods is, ummm, normal. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a vegetarian, I live in hipster ville (Los Feliz village); but, my husband especially can’t stand the “lifestyle” scene that is WeHo WholeFoods.

    So, if you ever are headed to Atwater or Glendale, try the one on Glendale as you go there, you will pass Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus, Barnes and Noble…wheeee, lots of fun things to do 😀

  • WOW. I love that gardein stuff too – so good!!

  • Hehe, I think your life would be easier if you learned how to eat bell peppers.

    I don’t normally go to Whole Foods since it’s a little far and kind of expensive. On Wed the 8th they were doing a benefit for KCRW so I drove down to the Glendale one. It’s bigger than both of the Sherman Oaks ones from what I remember.

    I was in a hurry and the store was closing so I can’t say if they have comparable vegan deli goods but they probably do.

  • I picked up a couple of WFM vegan tamales @ Tustin over the weekend and they were pretty freakin’ good! I’m in LOVE with the Pasadena Arroyo store…2 stories of WFM goodness…lots of vegan options including the glorious vegan chocolates. The new Las Vegas store is pretty awesome too…one more reason for me to move to the desert. *sigh* Thankfully WFM doesn’t rent rooms or I’d never leave.

  • On the day that location opened they had a vegan pizza and haven’t had one since then =( but most of the items are good and I do love the selection and that I live a mile from it.

  • Wow! Thanks QuarryGirl! Great write up! I’m glad you liked the chocolates. My team and I love to get feedback on our work. WFM has been very good to us.

    xoxo – Tracey Downey, Chocolatier, Xan Confections, Irvine, CA.

  • Oh wow, thank you so much for posting about that chicken salad!! I decided to check if the one by me had it (Valencia) and they did, so I took some home to make a sandwich…SOOOO GOOOD!!!

  • Karma Cafe used to have an awesome vegan chicken salad sandwich. But sadly, Karma is no more.

    Santa Monica and Fairfax is my Whole Foods too. Parking is such a nightmare, unless you go really early. Third and Fairfax is okay, but their bulk food section is still not what I’m looking for. I was spices and TVP in bulk, dammit, not just nuts and cereal! Thought I do most of shopping at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and Trader Joes, I hit up Whole Foods once or twice a month.

  • Wow, I’ve been going to the “tiny” Whole Foods now at Fairfax & Santa Monica thinking it was the epitome of Whole Foodsness in the area and bemoaning the conditions when forced to go to the ones in the valley. Little did I know my experience was being compromised all this time. Thanks QuarryGirl.

  • I discovered the same happiness on a recent trip to Vegas! A huge Whole Foods with TONS of vegan options, including a vegan hot salad bar. There was also a fantastic dessert section – all vegan.
    I’ll definitely be checking the one out in Venice when I’m out there again.

  • a whole vegan salad and hot food bar. holy crap. the new whole foods in oakland has a cafe gratitude raw food stand built into it and it’s delicious but it’s no hot food bar. arg.

    also, the trader joe’s meatless chicken is gardein brand! their reduced fat mayo is vegan too and i’ve been making vegan chicken salad sandwiches at home and they are ridiculous!

  • I know I’m late to the party, but as far as Whole Foods goes, this one is the boss! I’m an east coast dweller, but I go to LA a couple times a yr for yoga stuff, and I usually stay at this ratty (but cheap) hostel in Venice up Lincoln. When I first was there in 06 that plaza was a crappy Big Lots/ 99cent store, so when I was there this Spring it was quite the sight to behold. None of the DC ones come close. 🙁

  • I wish the WF stores near Sierra Madre/Monrovia were this cool!!

    I still haven’t gone to the Pasadena Arroyo WF though, I should see what vegan items they carry.

  • Just had to update, the WF near me is totally improving. They are slowly featuring more and more vegan deli items, they recently had a vegan potato salad that was very good. So that’s like, totally thrilling.

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