sante la brea, one of our favorite vegan-friendly spots in town, has recently undergone a complete make-over. not only has it added a brand spankin new vegan thai menu in addition to its own, but it has brought on a new chef, george tigre, who has come up with even more vegan options to impress the los angeles herbivore community. my friend and i hit up sante today for lunch and we seriously felt like guests in tigre’s own personal dining room. the food alone is enough to make me want to return to sante, but the level of service and the all-around experience makes me want to go back asap!
my meal of vegan mushu was perfect. soy chicken bits well marinated and chopped with the finest of vegetables, all rolled tightly into fresh flat bread and garnished with an excellent salad. i highly recommend it.
on a vegan thai note, my friend ordered the papaya salad and chicken satay.
i tried a taste of the papaya salad and it was in-fucking-sane. my pal is a huge connoisseur of vegan thai food, and she said that this was by far some of the best.
it appears that sante truly has become two great restaurants under one roof. you’ve got the incredible healthy sante fare, almost all of which can be veganized…as well as a whole vegan thai menu, that trumps most other vegan thai places in town. but wait, i haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
the new chef tigre came over to our table, and during our chat he learned that we had missed out on the vegan-friendly “preview nights” that sante has been holding to promote its new menu. he then insisted on bringing us some complimentary samples, after all, that is the same kind of treatment we would have received on a preview night, had we actually attended. so there we were, two vegans faced with tons of free awesome food. even though it was more than we could handle, it was all so delicious that we couldn’t say no.
tigre started off the samples with an amazing bowl filled with pate and chips for dipping. consisting of roasted pumpkin seeds, walnuts and mushrooms, this was a total delicacy.
following the pate, the chef stocked our table with some premium sushi. organic brown rice, avocado and red bell peppers are what these little rolls were all about.
if you know anything about me and what i eat, you probably know i bloody detest bell peppers. seriously, the hatred for them is so intense, i took one look at these rolls and nearly bolted. however, i decided for the sake of adventure to pick around the bell peppers and try the roll anyways. even though i left some sliced b-pepps discarded on the plate and the chef probably thought i was being completely rude, i actually quite enjoyed this sushi. the brown rice was a bit odd and “healthy” tasting, but the dish overall was very delicious and satisfying.
but it wasn’t just food that chef tigre showered us with. he also provided us with a sante green drink. an awesome elixir that intersected at taste and health. so fucking refreshing!
this juice was completely addictive and tasted just like gorilla life. i give it two thumbs way up, and couldn’t believe when the chef himself kept returning to our table to refill it. talk about service, i’ve never seen anything like it.
lastly, as we were on our way out, chef tigre ran to the table and offered us some dessert options. i was already in a hurry to get back to the office, but we just couldn’t decline, so he brought us two very special parfaits.
these parfaits were CRAZY AWESOME WOWOWOWOW SUPERB. although we were too full to finish them, i can tell you each one was spectacular; i really suggest you try them both. my favorite was the almond peanut butter cookie crumble one, though. tons of either chocolate or carob with creamy insides and crunchy layers combined; i’ve never had anything quite like it. next time you go to sante, be sure to request the tigre desserts; they will blow your freakin’ sox off.
overall, i gotta say that sante la brea was a home run. my friend and i got amazing food off of two totally separate menus, plus a very generous sampling of food from the new and talented sante chef tigre. VEGANS: hit up this place as soon as possible. order the pate, the sushi, the desserts and ANY of the easily veganized items on the huge menu. you won’t be sorry. and just drop the fact that you are vegan looking for some good food; i promise you will be treated like royalty.
oh, and be sure to add sante la brea on facebook. that way you can be updated on all the deals and kick ass events this place has to offer. sooner of later, i’m sure i’ll see you there!Tags: chicken, dessert, hollywood, parfait, pate, salad, sushi
so recently a good friend of mine at work found out that i’m a vegan blogger. i have been doing a pretty good job of keeping it a under wraps for quite some time, but when someone around the office found out about my twitter account, which links to my blog, my secret identity was blown. anyways, this friend really wanted to go to lunch with me and eat some vegan food that would eventually get reviewed on this site, and insisted we go somewhere new that i’ve never been before. i remembered hearing about this place on vegan-la.com called mama-z, a recently opened 100% vegan restaurant inside the already vegan-friendly (and quarrygirl favorite) sante la brea. basically, mama-z is a restaurant inside another restaurant with a separate kitchen and a separate menu. i know, it sounds kind of confusing. well anyway, we decided to check it out.
we headed off to sante la brea on our lunch break and a super-friendly waiter seated us and handed us the huge and appetizing sante menu. when i requested to eat off the mama-z menu, he hurried away into the kitchen and returned with 2 sheets of paper boasting several vegan thai food options and a few raw desserts. my heart kind of sank when i realized mama-z was a thai restaurant—there are already like 80 million vegan thai restaurants in this town! even though the sante menu looked much more appetizing, we decided to stick with plan a, suck it up, and order some vegan thai.
for a starter, we ordered the chicken satay, but mama-z was out of soy chicken, so they kindly made it with soy pepper steak instead. the result was delicious…and surprisingly, unlike anything i’ve had at the other vegan thai joints in la. the skewers were covered in a yellowish creamy sauce that was really tasty and salty, and the meat didn’t have that annoying sweet flavor that ruins so many soy pepper steaks. my friend was equally impressed; maybe thai food wasn’t such a bad bet after all.
after eating our appetizers, we waited for our entrees to arrive. we waited and waited and WAITED. our server kept checking on us, refilling our water and apologizing for the delay…but after about 45 minutes when our parking meter was about to expire, we decided there wasn’t enough time to finish our meal and make it back to the office at a reasonable hour, so we asked for our food to go. the waiter was very sorry and even took our drinks and appetizer off the bill. what a great gesture, not all restaurants try to make it up to you when they fuck up.
although we had to grab our lunch in carry-out containers and eat it back at work, there is no denying that the food was incredible. after the long wait, i really wouldn’t mind giving this place a bad review…but the awesomeness of our meals transcended all the fuckery.
i ordered the burrito chapatti with scrambled tofu and yams, something similar to the breakfasts that most other los angeles thai vegan places offer. what made this special though, is they were able to make me the tofu scramble without bell peppers, which i abhor. i’ve tried to get this from the vegan joint, truly vegan, and vegan express, but all those places have told me that their scramble is pre-mixed and they can’t prepare it without peppers, no matter what. mama-z, however, was happy to accommodate me and my pepper phobia. everything else about the wrap was a cut above other places as well. the tofu was much more light and airy, the vegan cheese was perfectly melty and the chapati was warm and soft. plus, the wrap didn’t even fall apart. super good stuff.
my friend ordered the mock duck curry, and while i didn’t try any of it, it must have been good because she wouldn’t shut up about it. she eats a lot of normal duck curry, so for her to love this was a big deal. she kept going on about how fresh the ingredients tasted and about how light and non-oily it was. she even texted me at 10pm to tell me the leftovers were amazing. so take that as a ringing endorsement.
so even though the food took forever at mama-z, it was totally worth it. i am usually pretty ambivalent about thai vegan food, but this shit was off the chain. about the long wait…maybe they were short staffed or something, or maybe taking the bell peppers out of my wrap was a 30 minute process…either way, i’m willing to give them another shot. plus, i’ve been to sante before and the wait wasn’t long at all; i can’t imagine cooking thai food would take that much longer.
so next time you think about going to vegan house, or ca vegan, or vegan plate, or any of those other generic vegan thai places…hit up mama-z instead. just make sure to allow time for potentially slow service.
oh, and here’s the mama-z menu for you to check out, since it’s not up on sante’s site.Tags: burrito, la brea, mock duck, sante, tofu scramble, vegan thai