• Zephyr Cafe in Long Beach: Vegan Field Report

    September 7th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, zephyr cafe

    hi everyone, time for another vegan field report! this post is written by the talented Aj aka QueerVeganRunner, and comes to us all the way from the LBC. so sit back and enjoy her awesome review and drool-worthy burger pix…

    We have new friends who live in Long Beach and so we ventured down there for the first time a month or two ago and keep going back. It seems that vegan restaurants are not plentiful in the LBC and Zephyr Café it one of the only options. That’s fine by me, because it’s great…except for the hours (only open until 4 pm on Sundays, wha-what?).

    My partner, her parents, and I all went for dinner this Labor Day weekend and had a good experience. The staff was knowledgeable about the dishes (everything is vegan, except for some dishes which come with optional dairy cheese) and greeted everyone who came in, explaining that orders are placed at the counter and answering questions about parking (metered, on the street, free after 6). The atmosphere was reminiscent of being in a co-op during my undergrad years…political and music posters, a big shelf filled with cooking utensils, and tables, chairs, and couches scattered throughout.

    The MF Burger with the works

    My partner and I ordered the MF Burger and the Chili Cheeze Burger, both apparently modeled after the Carl’s Jr $6 burgers. I have never eaten at a Carl’s Jr, even in my pre-vegan (aka stupid) days, so I can’t compare. The veggie burgers are homemade, no Boca crap here, and were so good my partner’s mother asked if the chef sold them in bulk! The MF Burger, which QG herself has raved about, was by far the best. Piled high with veggies, avocado and what my discerning palate determined was a Tofutti cheese slice, how can you go wrong? (Answer: you can’t.)

    The Chili Burger

    The chili on the Chili Cheeze Burger was not the best vegan chili I have ever tasted, but it was pretty good. A little more spice would have been perfect. The chili was topped with Daiya, so any lackluster chili was immediately redeemed. We chose the ciabatta bread, which was tasty and held up well to the sandwich.

    Grilled Tofu Sandwich

    My mother-out-of-law got a grilled tofu sandwich. I didn’t write down the name (foodie blogger fail) assuming I could look up the menu online. Well, the Zephyr Café Myspace page hasn’t been updated since August 2009 and they do not have a website. (They do tweet) I would say the tofu sandwich was the low point of all the dishes. The primary sauce was A-1 steak sauce and, although I am as big a fan of BBQ sauce as the next girl (if not bigger, I’d put that stuff on my cereal if I wouldn’t gross people out), I thought it was a bit of a cop out for a vegetarian restaurant to use a sauce whose primary target is dead cow. I mean how hard is it to whip up an original sauce?

    All sandwiches are served with a side of blue corn chips and a spicy salsa.

    Veggie Bowl

    My father-out-of-law got a grilled veggie bowl that had black beans and brown rice. It was good – not a lot of seasoning, but the veggies were fresh and had a lot of flavor.

    In the past, I’ve gotten their BBQ sandwich (I told you, I love that stuff). My go-to in any vegan restaurant (the yardstick by which I compare restaurants, if you will) is a BBQ sandwich. Well, when vegan mac n’ cheese or a Reuben is not available for cross-comparison. I thought the BBQ sandwich had a good taste, but was a bit dry overall. Full disclosure, I did not ask for more BBQ sauce on the side. At the time, they were offering a vegan baklava for dessert (made with agave) and it was delicious! They do not seem to be carrying that any more. I know there’s been some talk about the service being bad or slow. It has been a bit on the slow side, especially the first time I went when it was busier. However, I had ordered the baklava to-go (since I ate a piece of cherry pie to-stay) and then left it at the table. The waiter picked it up and ran after our car for a block or two to get it to us. If that’s not good service, I don’t know what is.

    Drinks include everything from tea to beer.

    All the meals were filling and definitely reasonable in price. For dessert we headed to our friends’ house for homemade vegan goodies. I would post a review, but I wouldn’t want to make anyone jealous.

    All in all, Snoop may claim that with “all the drama in the L-B-C, it’s kinda hard being Snoop D-o- double-g,” I would counter it’s even harder being vegan in the LBC, but Zephyr Café is the vegan equivalent to Snoop’s gin and juice.

    Zephyr Vegetarian Cafe
    340 East 4th Street
    Long Beach, CA 90802-2403
    (562) 435-7113

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11 responses to “Zephyr Cafe in Long Beach: Vegan Field Report” RSS icon

  • Hey! LBC blogger over here — nice to learn about your blog! I frequent Zephyr and adore the food. They have a Facebook page where they list their daily specials and events — check it out!


    I’ll be “following” you!

    – Bella

  • Those vegan burgers look delicious!!

  • So nice to see fresh perspectives on this blog. I love the field reports, and especially this one, because I live in Long Beach. :p

  • Zephyr is awesome! I wish they’d ditch the cheese though and go all vegan.

  • I think we all know what the MF in MF Burger stands for!

  • We have EXTREMELY limited options in the LBC!!! Investors: Build a vegan restaurant in LB!!!! We are in dire need of new eats! Most of the restaurants have “vegetarian” options that are loaded with dairy. Do you know that Claim Jumper’s house salad is loaded with bacon, egg, and cheese??? Gross! There is NOTHING around Cal State Long Beach and we have a huge market! Veggie Grill, I’m talking to you!!! I would love to be able to go to a vegan restaurant without having to drive for miles and miles (although Madeleine Bistro is TOTALLY worth it). But seriously, I would love to go to a restaurant near home and be able to order anything I wanted off the menu without having to custom order it (or worry about cross-contamination or “accidental” dairy-poisoning).

  • queenveganrunner, you have successfully convinced me that i need to eat here! (not that it’s hard to convince me to eat, but still, well done!)

  • @Christina a veggiegrill on 2nd street would totally fit in and do well, i think.

    i really want to back zephyr, but i can’t. i’ve given it two tries and it’s just so… mediocre.

  • @Helen, yes!!! a veggie grill on 2nd would be fab! There’s also some prime real estate by the Whole Foods on PCH and 2nd! I just want to be able to go out for breakfast or brunch and be able to order a tofu scramble and vegan french toast without sitting on the freeway for 40 minutes!

  • love the field report. photos look great! will definitely check this place out and QVR blog 🙂

  • Thanks you guys, we are lookin’…

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