• the vegan reuben wars: cafe flourish

    July 6th, 2009quarrygirlcafe flourish (closed), LA restaurants

    after my recent sandwich obsession post about the tempeh reuben at flore in silverlake, a bunch of vegans started chiming in with suggestions of other restaurants where i could find awesome reubens. one name that kept coming up was cafe flourish, and commenter AWk even went as far as to call it “the best vegan reuben in los angeles.” oh REALLY? naturally i had to head to flourish right away and check out this sandwich.

    Love Reuben: Savory marinated tempeh with house-made Swiss, sauerkraut & avocado with Russian dressing on rye. $11.95

    Love Reuben: Savory marinated tempeh with house-made Swiss, sauerkraut & avocado with Russian dressing on rye. $11.95

    while i can’t confirm this is the best vegan reuben in town, because i haven’t tasted all of the contenders, i can tell you that it’s the best sandwich i’ve eaten in a long, long time. at first i thought it was pretty pricey at nearly 12 bucks for just a sandwich, but when i saw how massive and stuffed this thing was, i knew it was a good value. seriously, there must have been an entire package-worth of tempeh in there, and about half a cup of creamy thousand island dressing.

    everything in this sandwich was delicious, i can definitely see why y’all were raving about it in the comments section. the tempeh was flavorful and the block of house-made swiss was absolutely fantastic…i would love to know how they do it. i love the fact that there was a huge slice of avocado in it as well, you don’t see that very often in reubens and it’s a damn shame. the only downside of this beautiful sandwich was that it was so packed with tempeh, sauerkraut and dressing that it was difficult to eat with out spilling it. i couldn’t even finish the thing, so i wrapped up half of it and the leftovers were enough for another entire meal. booya.

    so whether or not this is the best vegan reuben in LA, i dunno. but i know it’s a fucking awesome reuben and i will be ordering it again. one of these days i will have to drag myself to the valley and hit up follow your heart for what To Live and Eat in LA calls “the world’s best vegan reuben sandwich”. the follow your heart reuben has also gotten a strong endorsement from Sick of Lettuce, so i am pretty interested to see how it holds up against flourish’s masterful sandwich.

    i’m starting to see why vegans have this crazy obsession with reuben sandwiches. i’m hooked, and i am gonna try as many as i can. stay tuned.

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29 responses to “the vegan reuben wars: cafe flourish” RSS icon

  • Avocado? That doesn’t belong on a Reuben. I had the FYH Reuben on Friday with the cottage tofu, that shit is great.

  • Haha, you’ve become a Reuben fanatic too! Are there any non-vegan Reuben fanatics?

    I’ve never had a Reuben before and I don’t think I’d even heard of one before I starting reading vegan blogs a few months ago. Maybe they weren’t around where I grew up in California, since they’re from New York or Omaha.

  • miss anthrope

    scott: dude, the avocado was awesome in it. and wtf is cottage tofu? :/

    nick: you are missing out dude. as was i, until recently.

  • wheatfields bakery in lawrence kansas has my favorite reuben . but now i gotta try this.. it looks HUGE

  • @Scott: Kimchi doesn’t ‘belong’ on a Reuben either, but I’ve tried it and it was delicious.

    As for ‘traditional’ Reuben’s, Chicago Diner’s is the best I’ve had: http://www.veggiediner.com/wp/?p=75

  • oh man. i can’t WAIT to try this.

    someday i will eat that chicago diner reuben, and i will eat it all in one sitting. then i will order another one, and eat that in the same sitting.

  • whatmoonsongs

    i annihilated this sandwich in one sitting! cafe flourish is great!

  • I loved the Reuben at Cafe Flourish, definitely one of FYH’s only true contenders. Still doesn’t top FYH though as far as I’m concerned… just like no fighter, no matter how many fights he might win, will ever top Muhammad Ali… there can only be one champ.

    I did enjoy the unexpected avocado, it adds a nice lubricant for getting through all that tasty bread and tempeh.

    The cottage tofu at FYH on the other hand is what make their Reuben so awesome. Some will tell you the sandwich isn’t all that, but those people are usually the ones that are settling for the regular FYH cheese. Ignore their advice and naysaying for they know not what they speak! The Reuben at FYH is just a sandwich with the regular cheese, but it’s the cottage tofu that elevates it to legendary status.

  • The “hugeness” is the drawing point of a Reuben. If you can eat it without a mess then it is automatically disqualified from the competition.


  • The only LA-area vegan Reuben I have ever had—actually, the ONLY vegan Reuben I have ever had—was 6-7 years ago at FYH. And it was AMAZING, I can still taste it, and have always wanted to go back for another one (but I live in NYC).

    Go there immediately!

  • Yum! Tempeh! This looks so good. Can’t wait to see your review of FYH’s reuben, which is also a massive sandwich. Of course, I’ve heard rumors that Chicago Diner has the best vegan reuben on the planet. I sense a QG road trip in the future!

  • I had the Reuben at FYH on Saturday, I ordered it with the cottage-style tofu! I can definitely agree that the cottage style tofu is what makes it great but I can’t compare it to any other Reuben’s since it was my first. Simply amazing. Hadn’t been to FYH in about a year but now I have to go back within the next month!

    BTW they had a good ‘chicken’ tamale dinner special that was awesome as well.

  • I could live off Reubens.

  • Damn it, I have to try this. I love Flourish’s BLTA sandwich and tend to crave that, but my boyfriend is in love with Flourish’s Reuben. He works only a few blocks from Flourish, so he gets to have it way more often than I do. *pout*

  • It’s so sad to see this. $12 for rehashed veggie protein when you can have something legit for $6 with fries. Show me a vegan replacement for acorn fed pork and maybe I’ll consider veganism minus the extremist politics. Challenge

  • I haven’t had Cafe Flourish’s Reuben, but my 2 cents is that the FYH Reuben (with vegan cheese, not with cottage-style tofu) is not only the best vegan Reuben ever, but the best sandwich ever, period.

  • Alex, go choke on an acorn. Challenge.

  • Alex either thinks the word ‘legit’ is synonymous with ‘unnecessarily cruel & inhumane’ or he’s severely lacking in clues. Likely both.

  • miss anthrope

    observer: haha, i love the email addresses you put in for your comments. you are crackin’ me up! 🙂

  • sounds AMAZING!

  • I tried the vegan Reuben at FYH after reading the post about it on Sick of Lettuce. That thing was AMAZING. The sandwich was bigger than my head! No joke. It lasted four meals.

    So, like everyone else has commented: you need to ‘effin try that sandwich.

  • Isn’t the reuben every vegan’s favorite sandwich?! I know it is mine! I wonder how it compares to the Chicago Diner version (my fave!)…

  • We were in Portland, Oregon a couple weeks ago and I had the best vegan Reuben ever at a place called ‘Proper Eats’. Better than FYH for sure.
    From menu:
    Tempeh Reuben $8
    Marinated tempeh, baked and served on Dave’s Rye bread with caramelized onions, local kraut and our vegan reuben sauce. Served w/ small salad.

  • Follow Your Heart’s reuben is the best, hands down. The wheat-meat “pastrami” fits the reuben better than the tempeh used at places like Flourish or RFD.

  • Why does everyone use tempeh?! I’m sure it’s a great sandwich, but tempeh doesn’t make for a corned beef sub!

  • I’m going to have to try FYH’s reuben. Last weekend I had Cafe Flourish’s and, while I thought it was good, I prefer their BLT. I love rye bread and sauerkraut, but those flavors were too subtle, I felt the avocado competed with the dressing and the texture of the tempeh didn’t quite work for me. My boyfriend, however, won’t try anything else there. It seems to be his absolute favorite sandwich in all of L.A.

    I’m in total love with the quinoa tabbouleh, though. That stuff is phenomenal.

  • I have to echo everyones sentiments about the FYH Reuben. The ONLY thing I have ever missed about eating meat was a good corned beef sandwich. Since finding the FYH Reuben a number of years ago, that is no longer an issue. It’s like a traditional Jewish deli style corned beef and makes me very happy!!

  • I love this place. The food is fab. The music is hip. The ambience is nice.
    Try their grilled cheese or burrito and fresh made lemonade

  • Okay, I finally got to try the Cafe Flourish reuben…meh. It looked nothing like the picture. (I think you got the QG portion size.) I wanted to love it, but it was dry and sparse and bland.

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