if you read this blog, you probably know that we’ve given lucifer’s pizza in los feliz a hard time in the past for advertising a vegan cheese option that wasn’t really vegan at all because it contained casein, a milk protein. well forget all about that now, because lucifer’s is now offers a 100% vegan cheese alternative. that’s right, the pizzeria has changed its ways and now offers one of our favorite vegan cheeses, teese from chicago soy dairy.
i picked up a pie from lucifer’s last night, and was pretty impressed. i got a large pizza with teese cheese, topped with mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic, which came to around $21…not bad for a huge vegan pie. lucifer’s also lets you choose your chili rating on a scale from ‘zero’ to ‘blazing’. i went with ‘medium’ and it was just perfect for me.
lucifer’s did a great job at distributing and melting the teese. it was evenly spread all over the pizza, and there wasn’t too much. i was a little skeptical at first after having previous cheese drama at lucifer’s, but after one bite of this thing, i could tell it was the soy cheese that i know and love.
the sauce on lucifer’s pizza was really damn good, and i love that you can customize it depending on how spicy you want it to be. the crust was super thin and ny-style and while i thought it was great, my husband wasn’t a fan. he thought it was a tad doughy and undercooked. oh well, can’t agree on everything! another great thing about lucifer’s, is they also offer a gluten-free crust option. that doesn’t mean anything to me, but it means a lot to vegans with allergies who have been craving a decent pizza.
so let’s all go show lucifer’s some support, they should be rewarded for changing their ways. they took a bad situation and turned it around, resulting in some damn tasty vegan pizza. after all, another vegan pizza option in los angeles is never a bad thing.
lucifer’s pizzaTags: los feliz, pizza, teese
1958 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
UPDATE: since the time of this post, Lucifer’s has CHANGED THEIR WAYS. They now offer 100% VEGAN PIZZA made with Teese Cheese! YAY!
Sigh. Our mission for quarrygirl.com was never to serially expose vegan establishments that are mistaken and neglectful, but we just can’t let it slip when somebody repeatedly tells us something is vegan, and it turns out not to be. The latest offender is Lucifer’s Pizza in Silver Lake. Sadly, they are a business that covers up the truth, and blatantly lies in the face of honest questions. Here’s the sad story.
A few weeks ago, vegans on twitter were buzzing about Lucifer’s Pizza offering vegan cheese as an addition to their regular milk-based offerings. Apparently, they were dropping off flyers to homes and businesses proudly proclaiming “VEGAN CHEESE!” as an offering for only $2 more on a large pizza.
As soon as we found out, I called to order a pizza for pick-up, and the person answering the ‘phone confirmed “Oh, yes, we’ve had vegan cheese for a while!”. I asked what brand it was, and for a list of ingredients. After some persuasion the lady (who didn’t know the answers off-hand) got a pack of the cheese and started to list the ingredients, one of the first of which was “casein – a milk protein”. I stopped her right there, and asked if she was sure that was the vegan cheese. She said “Yes, this is what we put on vegan pizzas”. After informing her that cheese was not vegan, she said “oh, I just work here”, and hung up.
Next step was to give Lucifer’s the benefit of the doubt, and so we filled in the contact form on the website saying that the “vegan cheese” was not vegan, and that they should just advertise it as “soy cheese,” or offer a casein-free alternative. A representative from Lucifer’s named Adam replied, as follows:
On Apr 26, 2009, at 4:41 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thanks for your e-mail. It only came to my attention on thursday
that there was casein in the cheese. We had been told infatically from our
supplier that this was Vegan cheese. I have spoken to them and they realised
they have made a mistake. We will have 100% vegan cheese delivered to our
store tomorrow. Obviously we take this very seriously, My Partner is Vegan
and I fully understand the importance of having a great Vegan option.
Again thanks for the e-mail.
I mean, seriously, it appeared to be such a nice and honest response. We had not only an apology but also a resolution – vegan cheese would be arriving “tomorrow”, meaning Monday 27th April. With Adam’s partner being a vegan we had every reason to trust what he said. Although, the response seemed a little too self-effacing and insincere. If I was a vegan, with a partner who ran a pizza parlor with a vegan cheese option I’d probably want to know what brand of vegan cheese he was serving… wouldn’t you?
We decided that Wednesday would be our big night out in Silverlake. We planned to go to a bar first, and then pay Lucifer’s a visit. Before we planned an evening around vegan pizza, we thought we’d call and check one last time. After our initial call was terminated by a frustrated worker: “They told me it’s VEGAN, OK?”, we called back a while later and had the following exchange:
quarrygirl: hi, i’d like to find out what kind of vegan cheese you use.
lucifers: it’s a soy based cheese from the roma supplier, i don’t know the brand, but it’s 100% vegan.
quarrygirl: oh, are you sure? does it have casein in it, because casein is a milk—-
lucifers: —-no, it doesn’t contain casein. we had a cheese that did, but this is a new casein-free cheese from our supplier. it came in today. i just don’t know the brand. but there is no casein.
quarrygirl: thanks, we’ll be in tomorrow for a vegan pizza!
lucifers: see you then
Again, how much more reassuring could they be? Learning about what we vegans can eat is a rocky road, but we’re happy to work with food suppliers to help them get there. The fact he offered the information about casein really set our minds at ease. So, Wednesday night we had a beer at the Silverlake local Ye Rustic Inn before walking to Lucifer’s hungry as hell and looking forward to vegan pizza.
We ordered a large pizza, with vegan cheese, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes. As the guy taking the order was ringing it up, we engaged in a dialog as follows:
quarrygirl: hey – have a quick question before you make the pizza. Is your cheese completely vegan?
lucifers: yes, it’s a soy-based vegan cheese
quarrygirl: that’s great. Would you mind bringing out the package so we could check it’s vegan?
lucifers: sure thing, hold on.
[brings large box of “soy cheese” from cooler in the back of the kitchen]
quarrygirl: that says “soy cheese” – could you read out the ingredients?
[tips the box toward me, where the ingredients are clearly visible, and starts reading]
lucifers: soy protein, water, casein (a milk protein)….
quarrygirl: hold on a sec, that’s not vegan cheese. Are you sure this is what you put on vegan pizzas?
lucifers: yeah, this is what we put on it
quarrygirl: but that’s not vegan…
[turns to cash register, clearly annoyed]
lucifers: —sorry, guys, goodnight then!
Sorry indeed. And we’re sorry to break it to so many vegans that have been eating milk at Lucifer’s…. they are LIARS, CHEATS and care not about their customers. I have no doubt that they treat all their customers with such disrespect, be they omnivores or vegans.
I could understand how somebody on a cash register, or taking my order over the ‘phone might be confused about what’s vegan, but Adam, who answers the website queries and feigns such vegan understanding should know better. He lied to us twice, his staff lied to us three times more and they have lied to and misled many vegans since they have been serving “vegan” cheese.
Note to Adam’s partner: leave a comment with your email address and we’ll hook you up with a real vegan, not one that lies and doesn’t train his staff properly. If, that is, vegan partner you actually exist and are not just another Lucifer’s lie.
While Lucifer’s Pizza might be in hell, Purgatory Pizza is closer to heaven in every way (stick to them from now on!).
UPDATE: THIS JUST IN:From: email@example.com
Date: April 30, 2009 10:47:36 AM PDT
Subject: RE: Vegan cheeseHi,
The cheese arrived, however to my shock and disappointment with my supplier,
it also contained Casein. We have pulled the cheese off the shelf and are
only selling regular pizza until we can get our shipment of the Tease Cheese
you recommended. I have ordered it yesterday so hopefully it will arrive in
the next few days. It’s so frustrating that the suppliers are not on top of
this, and that they are misleading the customers. I feel terrible about this
especially as we have unknowingly served a product that is not 100% vegan.
I will be in touch with you as soon as the cheese arrives. I will have you
come in for a free meal to say thanks for all you help with this.
Seems genuine enough, but a really genuine move would have been to remove the pizza from the shelf weeks ago when it was first reported, don’t you think Adam? Plus, we called Lucifer’s twice after receiving this email, and they were still selling casein cheese as vegan.Tags: casein, pizza, silverlake