• vegan lunch downtown: mendocino farms

    January 26th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mendocino farms

    parking sucks and one-way streets are a bitch, but there is one awesome thing about downtown los angeles on weekdays: mendocino farms.

    the artisan sandwich shop specializes in local organic cuisine, and always has more than a few vegan options. they have a vegan sandwich on their permanent menu, as well as one on their seasonal menu, and they offer a rotating selection of vegan soups and salads daily. i hit up mendocino recently with some of my friends who work downtown, and it was a most delicious and pleasant experience.

    mendocino farms has 2 locations, one at bunker hill and one at 5th and flower. while these places are easily walkable for thousands of nearby office employees, the rest of us have to suffer with the parking nightmare that is downtown la. if you drive around long enough, you can probably find a meter for four bucks an hour. that’s what we did.

    mendocino farms at 5th and flower

    the line is always super long at mendocino, but it moves really quickly. if you are in a rush, you may wanna call and place your order ahead of time (that’s what i usually do), but i found suffering in the line actually doesn’t take that much longer.

    spicy soyrizo and black bean wrap: spicy vegan soy-chorizo with black beans, veganaise, red onions, cilantro, fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, and shredded romaine. $9.25

    i ordered the one vegan sandwich on mendocino’s permanent menu, the spicy soyrizo and black bean wrap. i was expecting it to be awesome, because i’ve heard great things about it before….but HOLY HELL—this sandwich was above and beyond! it was seriously amazing, with a healthy portion of well-seasoned soyrizo, fresh hot jalapenos, and cool creamy vegenaise, it had all the bases covered. not to mention the top notch vegetables that tasted fresh as can be. it was wrapped in an over-sized soft tortilla and lightly grilled on the outside, just the way i like it.

    vegan chili with organic black and white beans. $2.50

    as a daily special, mendocino was offering vegan chili, so i decided to get a cup of that to-go as well. overloaded with black beans, white beans, and chopped vegetables, it was well worth $2.50. let’s just say it didn’t last long once i got home. also on special was a vegan waldorf salad and a vegan potato salad with pickled onions and jalapenos. everything looked amazing, i wish i could have tried it all.

    as a seasonal special, mendocino is offering a vegan mushroom burger, which i’ve reviewed before. that’s what my handsome and single friend, television star ben hoffman, ordered…and he gave it a thumbs up.

    ben hoffman enjoys a vegan burger

    so there you have it. if you work downtown, or you have jury duty, or you just feel like making a trip during the week to get an excellent vegan sandwich, mendocino farms is your place.

    mendocino farms
    Bunker Hill Location – 300 South Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90071
    5th and Flower Location – 444 S. Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071 – (tel) 213-627-3262
    Hours 11:00am-3:00pm Mon-Fri

    PS: if you go to their site and sign up for their newsletter, you will get emails about their daily specials and monthly “secret sandwich” (which is often vegan!).

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26 responses to “vegan lunch downtown: mendocino farms” RSS icon

  • I’d love to try this at some point. It looks yummy!

    Also, if you don’t want to hassle with driving and parking, the Metro Red line has two stations within easy walking distance of the one on 5th and Flower and one within okay walking distance of the one on Bunker Hill (Google Maps. In the Valley, just park at the NoHo or Universal Stations. On the Hollywood side of the hill parking isn’t as easy, but you can always park at Hollywood and Highland for four hours and pay $2 with validation (you can get validation at the Gateway Newsstand or the little food cart near the parking structure).

  • Oh the parking.

    Why do none of your reviews of places in London talk about the difficulty of parking there?

    There is easy and fast public transportation from everywhere relevant in the LA area to downtown.

    It wouldn’t be “downtown” if every store had a giant free parking lot in front.

  • @Greg: i live in the hollywood hills and there is absolutely no way to take public transportation ANYWHERE from my house. maybe someday i will live somewhere relevant. ๐Ÿ™

    as for london, that’s a place you can get a bus or train to and from any place in the city.

  • The Dash runs right up beachwood canyon, costs a quarter, and takes you right to the red line. The 218 runs up laurel Canyon. Other buses run up Cuhuenga. Public transport even goes into neighborhoods like the Hollywood Hills. How do you think the people who mow y’all’s lawns and clean y’all’s houses get up there? In BMWs?

  • I don’t have lawn or people to keep it. :/ and the closest bus to my house is a massive HIKE away. Seriously, I will pay the four bucks for parking.

    LA sucks for public transportation, unless you live in specific metro-friendly areas.

  • OK, so maybe “relevant” wasn’t the correct adjective. That said, saying LA sucks for public transportation from your lofty perch is disingenuous.

    Back to the food, I enjoy Mendocino Farms and usually hit it up at the sweet, and slightly unfashionable, 11:40AM spot. It’s maybe a bit pricey, but not really. Thanks for the review!

  • I live in Reseda and I can agree that public transportation in LA is plain awful. Try living here without a car, in most cities in the world that’s normal. Not LA. Don’t pretend the metro is decent.

    I tried the mushroom burger at Mendocino and didn’t like it. I hope they bring back the Shawarma.

  • @Greg, oh i know, i was just kidding around about the relevant thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ point taken on transportation.

    next time i go to mendocino i will seriously probably park at the station in studio city and get the metro there.

    same with tierra cafe: parking NIGHTMARE but there is a station literally feet from the restaurant.

  • @Jonas: hopefully you are close enough to walk to vinh loi tofu!

  • That mushroom burger looks amazing, but not as good as the hot guy eating it!!

  • LOL, television star Ben Hoffman doesn’t look very happy with the vegan burger!

  • Looks like a great lunch shared between friends!

  • If you eat/work/play within a reasonable distance from where you live then public transit in LA is actually really good. Plenty of people live here with only a bike, their feet and public transportation. Going from Reseda to DTLA is over 20 miles! In NYC you wouldn’t drive or take public transport from the Upper Eastside to Coney Island for dinner and not expect it to take an hour each way.
    If you choose to drive everywhere then you 1) are part of the traffic problem, and 2) lose your entitlement to complain about traffic and parking.

  • Isn’t this a food blog? Seems like a few are looking to “bite the hand that feeds them”!

  • I’ve lived all over the world, and LA has by far the worst public transportation. The geography and geology of LA doesn’t help either – everything is far apart, and tuneling in this sandy soil is expensive and unreliable.

  • If I visited LA, I would go on an eating/walking fest/tour. Seriously, there are so many restaurants that u have recommended that I just want to eat at all of them. And try everything that is vegan on their menus. I would have to walk off all those calories and work up an appetite so I could chow down some more….LA – here I come!!! (I wish)

  • Here’s one Greg that knows that our public transit is a joke compared to every other functional major city.

    I live near the Beverly Center in WeHo. The train/subway system doesn’t service the Westside at all. And I’m not taking a bus all the way downtown, I’d probably get there the next day. Believe me, I would LOVE to be able to walk out my front door, go a few blocks to the nearest subway station and then off to my destination, like people do in *every other big grownup city in the country.* Here, you have to live in a very specific area and work in a very specific area in order to live that life.

    My wife works in Venice, a mere 10 miles away. She doesn’t have a car, so has to take the bus. How is it functional in any way that it takes her up to 2 1/2 hours each way to make that trip?

  • Greg (second one!) I’ve lived in Sammo, Beverly Hills, San Vicente (next to bev center), Sunset Strip and elsewhere and public transport has always meant that I”ll either walk, drive or take a taxi. Even if you do find a bus, it’s full of crazies and urine.

  • this sammy looks amazing!!!! i HAVE to find a reason to go downtown during the week! qg rules!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “Even if you do find a bus, itโ€™s full of crazies and urine.”

    They’re not a pot of gold. There are only 1.2 million bus trips A DAY on metro alone.

    …and of course “those people” — different skin shades and all.

    You all deserve your traffic and parking “woes.”

  • @marky “those people”? as in African American or Hispanic? I could not be more insulted with your bigotry. You should be so ashamed for going there, as race really didn’t need to be brought into this discussion.

    You probably assumed I’m white because of where I’ve lived? Well, I’m a committed vegan, a working attorney and BLACK. You are a fucking racist.

  • lofl at racial sensitivity. We’re going to need a seminar!

    Focus on the sandwiches, people!

  • And oh, this would have me there tomorrow if it was guacamole instead of veganaise:

    spicy soyrizo and black bean wrap: spicy vegan soy-chorizo with black beans, veganaise, red onions, cilantro, fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, and shredded romaine. $9.25

  • Wow, had no idea my comment would generate such intensity.

    I’m a white chick who’s been using the MTA on a daily basis since 2003 (no car). Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it but, frankly speaking, compared to San Francisco, San Diego and Washington DC (the only other places I’ve used public transportation), L.A.’s public transportation sucks. Pure and simple. And there ARE places in the county that are very difficult to get to via public transportation. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

    I live in Burbank and work in Pasadena. If I drive or am dropped off, it takes about 20 minutes to get to work. On public transportation (which is my usual mode of going to and from work), it takes about 1 1/2 hours. You can’t tell me that’s efficient, because it isn’t.

    I only mentioned the Metro Rail stations because I thought people should know there is a way to get to Mendocino Farms without having to deal with downtown parking and traffic. The Red Line (and the subway/train system in general) is wonderful – that part of the MTA I love. I just wish more people had easy access to it.

    Also, the mushroom burger on their menu? Must find a way into my mouth. Damn, that looks good.

  • Venturing downtown can get rough at times, but it’s worth the trek. There are a lot of good eats to be found.

  • If your lawyer can’t understand a bus schedule, maybe you should have your maid represent you.

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