• My Vegan in Pasadena: Field Report

    February 26th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, my vegan

    hey everyone, it’s time for another vegan field report/guest post! this time it comes from just around the corner in pasadena, by @ifitkillsjeff! enjoy, it’s a good one:

    Occasionally I enjoy revisiting the 90’s; roller blades, hammer pants, grunge music, and Forrest Gump. A time I do not enjoy revisiting the 90’s is when it comes to vegan food. I feel that vegan dining has made so much progression in the past decade that the meal should not remind me of the vegan friendly places I visited in the late 90’s. My Vegan offers rice or noodle dishes with soy chicken, soy pepper steak, soy fish, seitan, or tofu. Sound familiar? Don’t we already have enough of these places in the Los Angeles area? They also have burgers, wraps, salads, curries, pancakes, and desserts.

    teriyaki chicken: grilled soy chicken or topped with house teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds andand sprinkled with a touch of scallion. served with spring roll, salad, and brown rice. $7.95

    Lunch time means lunch specials. I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken lunch special which included a spring roll, salad, and brown rice. I received 4 small pieces of soy chicken with minimal sauce on top of veggies, a spring roll that may have been straight out of the frozen section of the grocery store, and a salad lacking any sort of dressing (I only ate the cucumber).

    My coworkers ordered the Cashew Nuts lunch special…

    cashew nuts special: sauteed roasted cashew nuts with white onion, bell pepper, and garlic water chestnut with chef's sauce. $7.95

    Broccoli and Garlic lunch special…

    broccoli lunch special: stir-fried broccoli and garlic in our special My Vegan sauce. $7.95

    and the P.E.T. (pumpkin, eggplant, and tofu) house special…

    PET: stir-fried pumpkin, eggplant, tofu, mushroom, white onion, garlic, bell pepper, basil and chili. Served with brown rice. $9.95

    Each plate remained approximately half full by the end of our meal, although, one of my coworkers stated she was saving room for dessert.

    We ordered a chocolate cupcake and a piece of coconut cake to share. The cupcake left me speechless, and not in a good way. I found myself unable to speak as my mouth was desperately searching for moisture. There was not a fan of the cupcake at the table and like our meals the cupcake remained half eaten.

    If you enjoy your sweets I do not recommend the coconut cake. The cake itself appeared to be undercooked and almost jelly like and the frosting, or shall I call it topping, was interesting to say the least. I think the picture of the cake speaks for itself…well that, and the fact my coworker who got a piece to go was trying to figure out a way to get them to take it back.

    There were also two issues that created some concern during our dining experience. The first is that my coworker ordered a Diet Coke which she reported tasted as if it had expired. We attempted to check the expiration date on the can, however, it had been smudged. My coworker discussed this with the staff and opted for water instead. Second, my coworker had to use the restroom which was located in the kitchen. She reported that the kitchen appeared to be very clean; however, there was no hot water in the bathroom. This led to a discussion regarding hand and dish washing and sanitary concerns prior to receiving our meal.

    I am a member of the clean plate club and the fact that my plate remained half full speaks to my satisfaction with my meal. It is great there is a vegan restaurant in Pasadena, and minutes away from my office, however, I think I’ll continue to bring my lunch or drive a few extra miles to Highland Park.

    My Vegan Restaurant
    633 South Arroyo Parkway Suite 3
    Pasadena, CA 91105

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53 responses to “My Vegan in Pasadena: Field Report” RSS icon

  • I don’t disagree with this review, but MyVegan is a frequent stop for us just because it’s one of exactly two places we can get to easily. It isn’t the preferred of the two, but when we get sick of Loving Hut, that’s where we go. There are lots of better restaurants in the greater LA area, but most of the places featured here are in Silverlake, or further west, which is a real pain for us to get to.

  • $8 for that little amount.. and it wasn’t good enough to eat! Ouch. Guess they wont be around long then.. shame really. So easy to do good Asian food, cheaply too.

  • Yea, I don’t disagree with this review either. I go to my My Vegan often just because it’s close (I work 10-15 minutes away from the Arroyo-California Blvd intersection.)
    I hope more vegan restaurants and stores open in Pasadena soon.

  • East of downtown it gets a lot more difficult to find vegan restaurants. If you try a place out and don’t like it then don’t go back–but give My Vegan a chance. It isn’t the best place in town but it’s far from the worst. I like to have lunch there and I do a couple times a month.

  • LA is 427 square miles, we have room for at least as many vegan thai restaurants as their are McDonalds. It’d be nice if they all got their shit together, though. Perhaps used organic ingredients, innovated, etc. Vegan 2.0 let me down, its soy bacon daiya cheese BBQ western burgers, which was the same garbage I was eating before I learned to be healthy just with soy protein replacing cow protein and all the fat and artery clogging remaining the same. My new Vegan 3.0 is Vegan 1.0 done right. Fresh whole organic food cooked properly and seasoned masterfully.

  • That’s a bummer that the reviewer didn’t like the restaurant. I am a frequent customer there and I like their food. The service is great too. I’ve definitely had worse impressions at more highly rated joints…

  • I totally get the overabundance of Thai, etc. vegan places, but this place is definitely not one of the worst offenders. I say give them another chance. The staff is super helpful and open to feedback (I didn’t like the most recent dish I tried there and they noticed I didn’t eat the whole plate, but I’ve loved all the previous dishes I have had there).

  • I agree (like many others) about there being too many thai vegan places. And I understand the desire to save fellow non-meat eaters from wasting their money on bad food. But give the place more than one try before you publicly put it down.
    Yes a lot of the menu is a carbon copy of all the other LA vegan thai places but there are actually a few really good things on the menu that I personally haven’t had elsewhere. Try the Near. It tastes like a softer, juicier version of vegan jerky- I love it and actually go out of my way to go to My Vegan to get it sometimes.
    I rarely get the lunch specials at any of these places. I would rather spend my money on a bigger portion of the main dish than a spring roll and a crappy salad.
    Its got pretty good reviews on Yelp- not that I am saying Yelp is always reliable or anything but a lot of people other than just me think My Vegan is pretty good.
    All I am saying is that with so many vegan restaurants going out of business because of lack of patronage I think you should be careful about so publicly berating one based on one visit.

  • I wish these crappy carbon copy thai places WOULD go out of business. They are taking over LA like a disgusting salty virus.

    You know where else has good Yelp reviews? Green Leaves!

  • Yeah, this review seems really unfair… Yes, this sort of thing is subjective, but there really are some great dishes there! The spicy lime chicken salad is incredible. The “Near” (mentioned by another commenter) is really unique and flavorful, and I haven’t found another place that serves it. I agree with a lot of the responses above in that “MyVegan” is much better than this review lets on, and it’s undeserving of such negative publicity on a heavily-trafficked blog such as this. I’d encourage the reviewer to try it again, avoiding the salad and spring rolls, and go easy on the place if it’s better the second time.

  • No one has commented on the fact there was no hot water in the restroom. I will not go there based on that alone. Quick, someone call the health department!

  • I’ve been to that place several times, not recently and totally enjoyed it. I’d say it’s definitely one of the better vegan thai places around. Thai iced coffee, yum. I also don’t think there are too many Vegan Thai places. It’s essentially equivalent to vegan fast food restaurants. A lot of the owners of these places have been religiously vegan most of their lives. On another note I don’t know how many vegan people have recommended Chiptole to me at this point, but I swung by there last night and there was cheese floating in their salsa and lard pinto beans in the black bean container. Thats what I call unsanitary.

  • dude, it looks like i need to actually go eat at this place and see how good it is…

  • Being the person who wrote the review I would like to respond. I agree the staff was very friendly and that may have been what made the dining environment enjoyable. However, given the 6 items on our table, I can say I was not a fan of these 6 items. Consider me harsh but bad impressions stick, especially first impressions, and I rarely will return to try out additional menu items if I was not satisfied the first time. The issue with the drink and hot water in the kitchen created some concern as well. Perhaps, I will give My Vegan another shot and try one of the recommendations listed in your comments. However, I still stand by my review and I feel it is accurate to my experience.

  • We eat here on an average of once/week. (I keep begging Veggie Grill or RFD to open in the Pasadena area – there are lots of hungry vegans out here!) Is it my absolute favorite vegan restaurant on the planet. No … but I find many of the dishes quite tasty.

    There has always been hot water in the bathroom when I’ve visited.

    My fav dishes are
    – Pad See You
    – Spicy Fried Rice
    – Seaweed Soup
    – Tom Kah Tofu soup
    – Near Wrap
    – Curries

    I get them each with tofu, I’m not crazy about the mock meats.
    And they deliver!

  • I’ve never been but the portions look rather small and unappetizing. They did order 6 items and that seems like a fair representation of the menu.

    Thankfully, I’m not in Pasadena that often so I won’t get stuck having to eat there.

  • orean in pasadena is good too!

  • Be careful at Orean’s. I read a while back that they were using hot dogs with eggs in them and calling them vegan.

  • How does a can of soda pop taste expired?

  • my husband and i have eaten here several times and enjoyed it. we usually order the pad kee mao, tom kha soup, and various appetizers. everything has always been good and the service has been very friendly. i know it’s a typical thai vegan place but we need to support vegan establishments in the pasasdena area because there are so few.

  • Orean’s is vegetarian and not vegan.

  • there are hit or miss dishes here. but i love that it’s nearby and clean. my favs are the crispy chicken wrap and the spring rolls. the curries with tofu are pretty solid choices too.

  • I appreciate the honest review. I occasionally have to drive out to Pasadena for meetings. My only two close lunch choices have been Whole Foods and My Vegan. I chose Whole Foods both times because I was with meat eaters. I can’t drag them to a vegan restaurant until I know for sure it is damn good. Thank-you for the answer.

  • no reason to bash on the plethora of vegan Thai restaurants.. if you feel the need to be wishing people out of business, why dont you focus your negative energy towards mcdonalds or any other place that contributes to cruelty and suffering.

    ive eaten at my vegan and it was pretty good. its nice to know that no matter where you go in socal you can count on a vegan thai place beign there, even if its not the best,its comforting, and ITS SURE AS HELL BEATS HAVING TO EAT AT A NON VEGAN RESTAURANT AND EITHER PLAYING TWENTY QUESTIONS OR EATING A NASTY PLAIN SALAD WITH QUESTIONABLE DRESSING.

    p.s…. kinda unfortunate that someone decided to do a guest spot on a place they think is bad and publicly announce it rather than give their guest spot into a good review at a place they enjoy. kinda effed up if you ask me..

  • Why is everyone so upset that the guy gave a negative, honest review? Let him decide how to use his guest spot. I for one appreciate that he spoke his mind.

    That is what makes this blog WAY BETTER than every other vegan blog in LA. It is acutally honest and not just a bunch of fluffy positive reviews.

    As for the food, none of the four entrees look appetizing.

  • i, also, am happy that jeff gave his honest opinion and i doubt that we can get all of the vegan people to agree on any review. i have driven by this place many times and it just never lured me in. i drive by and go down the st to wf on arroyo for the prepared foods, which is usually hit and miss for me. *but* the wf always has vegan pizza and calzones and an entire separated vegan hot food bar.

  • @veganinla
    Yes, Orean is vegetarian, but that does not make them “not vegan” they offer vegan things as well.

  • I love Orean. Their website states, “Delicious without beef, pork, chicken, or fish. No eggs, milk, or refined sugar. We use only non-dairy cheese and organic clover sprouts.” Sounds vegan to me, unless they have been dishonest about their ingredients which would make me very sad…

  • about the orean’s issue, i have heard from several people that they use casein soy cheese… and non-vegan hot dogs.

    i heard this a couple years ago though. does anyone know if this is still true?

  • I used to eat at Orean’s over 20 yrs ago when it was on Vine off of Fountain. I stopped when they closed down and heard that food they said was vegan, wasn’t.

    I just went onto the site and there’s an article that states vegans would like it there except for the cheeseburger. I’m not sure what than means since cheese is on other items as well. It says non-dairy but I remember there being casein in the food and possibly whey. The staff didn’t know the difference between vegetarian and vegan and always said everything was vegan, which wasn’t true.

    Maybe it’s time for an investigation!

  • My stomach is a pretty good judge of what is and isn’t vegan and my stomach says “probably not”.

  • Too bad, but I go for the chicken burger so perhaps I’m safe. 🙁

  • Just checked out LivingVegan.org and it says that Orean’s is still lying to customers. Shakes, hamburger buns and cheese aren’t vegan but they say they are. Not sure how old the post is as I didn’t see a date.

    Hey Jeff, maybe you can go there and do a review and cause more drama! 🙂

  • Our store is a couple blocks away from My Vegan and we order delivery from there at least 3 times a week. The food is fresh and good, but you have to know what to get. I like the portion sizes and don’t feel that they are too small. The dressing they serve on the side salad is really good, just a little runny, so it may fall to the bottom of the salad, but that doesn’t bother me. I hate to see vegan businesses get bad reviews (especially after just one experience). You may want to go again and order based on the suggestions above. Personally, I like the Spicy Eggplant, but I like to get it without onions and peppers and with “shrimp” (I know that sounds a little weird). I love all the curries too. I usually pass on the eggroll in the lunch special (not because it’s not good, just don’t need the extra calories), and I get a double salad instead. The orange chicken is really good too. I am not a fan of their desserts (they could use a little work in that area), but I haven’t had a bad experience with My Vegan and we order from there A LOT, so I do hope you give it another chance.

  • Guys, a review is just the representation of a person’s opinion. No need to act like he burned a bible in front of you.

  • the cheese at orean is not vegan. the people who work there will tell you if you ask.

  • I went here once and it was okay, but I wouldn’t go back.

  • orean is gross, all you have to do is look at their beverage selection, sugary sodas and nothing else, to know that a healthy meal is not the focus of this fast food resty.

  • I love My Vegan! Of course it makes sense there would be a lot of Thai vegan places; the cuisine, which is not so reliant on meat/eggs/dairy for flavor, and the fact that a lot of Thai folks are vegetarian Buddhists, means that Thai food is easily made vegan w/o compromising taste. So you’re going to end up with a lot of Thai vegan places. What’s wrong with that? Not every Thai (vegan or not) place is the same; sure the menu might appear similar, but every place executes its curries, noodle dishes, soups, stir fries, and rice dishes a bit differently.

    I love the Thai dishes at My Vegan not just because they are vegan but because they taste great. The curries have really nice balanced flavor. The veggies are cooked just right. The noodles and rice have wonderful texture. I like it better than the Loving Hut and the Whole Foods vegan bar, though I eat there regularly as well.

    While I respect the reviewer’s right to have an opinion, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a restaurant based on a single visit. A fair reviewer (like Jonathan Gold) tries a restaurant several times before deciding whether or not the place is good or not.

    BTW, only in L.A. would anyone complain about all the excess vegan Thai places. I once lived in a small town where the only vegetarian option was a soup and sandwich place that was only open for lunch. L.A. vegans don’t know how good they have it.

  • Great blog. Thanks for the review and opinions. I haven’t been to this place yet and was curious about it since there are so few vegan choices in Pasadena. I almost hate to bring this up, but it’s a pet peeve of mine: it’s “the ’90s,” not “the 90’s.” The apostrophe indicates missing numbers in the decade.

  • Hello, I’ve never commented before, but I live in pasadena and felt I had to share. There is a little known place called ‘oh Happy Days’ on North Lake, please check it out. It’s all vegan and owned by a very nice, dedicated man.

  • i dont feel the need to go here since i go to vegan house on a regular basis and it seems to be the exact same thing , if you’re in pasadena orean is pretty awesome , it’s a vegetarian place for sure , the cheese has caesin and the shakes have some sort of dairy also , i stick to the chili fries or the breakfast burrito ( with no cheese) . i wish veggie grill would open up shop in old town

  • This place is amazing and the people are so nice. I’m sorry to read a review like this. Cheap, delicious and it’s in Pasadena which has very little in terms of vegan. I’ve tried a lot of the places you reviewed and your somewhat on but this is way off base. Your reviews are going to your head. bummer 🙁

  • “Hello, I’ve never commented before, but I live in pasadena and felt I had to share. There is a little known place called ‘oh Happy Days’ on North Lake, please check it out. It’s all vegan and owned by a very nice, dedicated man.”

    Hi there, I live close to Pasadena/Sierra Madre and aside from My Vegan on Arroyo, I’d never heard of there being another vegan place here! Thanks for posting, I will surely look up “Oh Happy Days” and try going there.

  • if you are looking for some other vegan lunch options in the area i would highly recommend – little flower candy co. (favorites: veggie wrap – i add tempeh, avocado and carrot ginger dressing, most of the soups are vegan, salads can be made vegan, tofu rice bowl, dal bowl, etc.) and grassroots (if you haven’t been here, you will be overjoyed at the vegan burritos made in front of you as well as the fresh juices).

    i personally pass on the vegan thai restaurants, except bulan which seems to be in a league all its own.

  • So freaking happy to have found this site. I’m too sleepy to read it all now.

  • ———————————————-
    “if you are looking for some other vegan lunch options in the area i would highly recommend – little flower candy co. (favorites: veggie wrap – i add tempeh, avocado and carrot ginger dressing, most of the soups are vegan, salads can be made vegan, tofu rice bowl, dal bowl, etc.) and grassroots (if you haven’t been here, you will be overjoyed at the vegan burritos made in front of you as well as the fresh juices).”

    Thanks for the tip, I will try this place soon!

  • Can you really complain about too many vegan restaurants? i have been vegan for 12 years and i remember when there was only Real Food Daily, Native Foods in westwood (which just opened then) and Vegan Express (also just opened then), all excellent but that was it… count your blessings, more is better, even if some are so-so.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Just wanted to add something: Because I live in Pasadena, I’ve now been to My Vegan dozens of times. I just always order Green Curry (made entirely with vegetables) with white rice instead of brown rice.

    And then sometimes I get something called The Near Burger with French Fries.

    These two dishes are pretty reliably good in my opinion for a quick vegan lunch.

  • The reviewer is right, these places are all the same. My Vegan = Lotus = Vegan Glory = Wheel of Life = LA Vegan = One World = Vegan Plate = Greens Cafe = Vegan Express = Loving Hut = Vegi Wokery = Happy Family = Vegetable Delight, and the desserts at these places are always dry or bland (except for Vegetable Delight’s black cherry chocolate chip ice cream, which is really something). You know what you’re getting at a place like this, it’s guaranteed not to be terrible (like, say, Seed) or amazing (like, say, Vinh Loi), and they’re subject to the great law of the food universe: most restaurants, like most of anything, is so-so.

    How come nobody in this thread is mentioning Rawsheed’s Cafe? I know it’s weird that it’s run out of the back of a Frozziyo on the other side of Pasadena, but if you’re there when Rawsheed’s on-site the food he makes is tremendous. (Don’t let anybody else there make it for you, though; they’re friendly, but it won’t work out.) The other cool thing is you can get the kale soft serve he has in the machines: I like to mix it up with a lot of the almonds, nuts, and granola to get a super-pistachio thing going.

  • veganyoginimama

    Wow, I couldn’t disagree more with this reviewer. I am wondering where the reviewer lives. I can see if My Vegan opened up on the westside that it would be just another vegan Thai restaurant. However, until very recently, Pasadena had 1 vegan restaurant (Orean, the drive through fast food place). My Vegan was a welcome addition to Pasadena and their food is amazing. The orange chicken is my favorite dish. Their lunch specials are really reasonable and come with rice, salad, and a spring roll. They have the nicest staff and they are very family friendly. My two year old son loves it there and eats more food then I have ever seen him eat. With My Vegan, the super Whole Foods, and now Kind Creme, Pasadena is finally becoming vegan friendly:)

  • if you ever make it back there, try the chikun parmagian (yeah, no idea how to spell that) it is delicious. the banana and chocolate thing is also great for desert. i’ve only ever been there for dinner, and i’m kind of anal about hand washing… water was hot.

    that’s all i know, hope you give it another shot.

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