next sunday is the first sunday of the month, and you know what that means: time for another vegan at verdugo patio session! october’s event will feature two of our favorite food trucks, fresh fries and mandoline grill, and they’ll be serving a mashup of 100% vegan specialties to be paired with the verdugo bar’s fine tap list. come join us for an afternoon of great grub and craft beer..plus board games, friendly company, and good music.
check out the facebook event here. let’s make sure the monthly vegan at verdugo events are well attended, so they keep happening! see ya there.
vegan @ verdugo iiiTags: beer, food trucks, vegan at verdugo, verdugo
sunday october 2nd
3408 Verdugo Road
Glassell Park, CA, 90065
if you don’t have your tickets yet for the LA vegan beer fest (which is TOMORROW!), i don’t know what you’re waiting for! unlimited beer, vegan food trucks, and local bands…drinkers and nondrinkers welcome!
yesterday we woke up super early to film a news segment for ktla with our partners nic adler from the roxy and tony and paige from tony’s darts away...along with vendors doomies, the frankenstand and mandoline grill….and bands the mowgli’s and the silent comedy. it was awesome. check out the pictures and 3 videos from the shoot below. huge thanks to allie mackay and the ktla crew for featuring us!
Tags: ktla, lavbf, the roxy
YES! fucking vegan tofu taquitos.Tags: food truck
since then, they’ve cemented a place in our hearts as one of our favorite food trucks—they are constantly adding to and improving their vegan options, and they even served a completely cruelty-free menu at the first LA vegan beer fest. to put it simply, we love mandoline grill!
Tags: beer, food truck, mandoline grill
October 21st, 2010chili addiction, hugo's tacos, LA restaurants, mandoline grill, native foods, real food daily, veggie grill
did y’all know that it’s international day of the nacho (look it up)?! and to celebrate, we’re bring you a quickie list of our 5 favorite places to get vegan nachos in los angeles! you should eat some today…you know, to honor the holiday. here we go:
1.) veggie grill: uptown nachos
i think these nachos are the best, because they come with everything i love: daiya cheese, bean chili, salsa, avocado, soy sour cream, and jalapenos all on top of crispy chips. super good and SUPER cheap at under 5 bucks!
2.) real food daily: not-chos
the not-chos at real food daily are BY FAR the best thing on the menu, and i have to order them every time i go. tortilla chips topped with the best homemade cashew cheese i’ve ever tasted, along with black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and tofu sour cream. you can add taco mix for an extra $2.75…but with an $11.75 base price, i think these nachos are expensive enough. pro tip: if you like spicy food, be sure to ask for the jalapeno cashew cheese!
3.) hugo’s tacos: vegan nacho grande
hugo’s tacos sells “normal” nachos, but if you request them with a vegetable filling and daiya cheese, they are instantly vegan. they use the italian blend daiya rather than cheddar, which may sound a little bit odd, but it’s surprisingly good! i get mine with the soyrizo, potato, and zucchini filling; along with the jalapeno hot sauce! the serving size is absolutely massive (enough for 2 people to share), yet only costs $5.92.
4.) chili addiction: chili vegan addiction nachos
what makes these nachos stand out are chili addiction’s phenomenal homemade chips and chili. the chips just taste incredibly fresh, and the chili is by far the best in town. you get a huge portion of those, plus a layer of daiya cheese, diced jalapenos, and onions for $8. if they would just melt the daiya a little, these things would be PERFECT.
5.) mandoline grill: vegan vietnamese nachos
a fresh take on vegan nachos, these don’t have any kind of fake cheese on them, but instead are covered with a creamy sriacha aioli. they also come with a healthy amount of mandoline’s amazing lemongrass fried tofu, scallions, mint, cilantro, and jalapeno. and at just $4.50, they’re an excellent value!
those are our picks for the best vegan nachos we’ve actually tried in LA, but native foods has some brand new nachos as well that look amazing:
these are definitely at the top of my list of foods i need to try. with both homemade chips and cheese, i bet they are spectacular!
so let’s all go eat some vegan nachos tonight, and show everyone that the international day of the nacho doesn’t need to include meat or dairy. weeee!Tags: nachos
just got word on a new special menu item over at mandoline grill: fresh spring rolls!
these babies basically have the same ingredients as the noodle bowl: vermicelli noodles, lemongrass tofu, and fresh mint wrapped up in rice paper. right now they’re served with the same vegan sauce that comes with the bowl (a soy sauce-based sauce), but mando is working on a vegan peanut sauce! which means i am going to have to start working out.
the rolls are going to be a “special” so they may not be on the menu all of the time, but if you have the chance, TRY THEM! perhaps at vegan beer fest?!
oh, and a mando sando update – ask for grilled jalapenos with your banh mi, if you specify vegan they’ll put a piece of foil down on the grill. it really kicks up the heat!!Tags: food truck, mandoline grill, secret menu item, specials, spring rolls
there’s no doubt that there’s been a major los angeles food truck explosion, and from the beginning we’ve blogged tirelessly about all the vegan options available. it’s only fair that after all this time we present you with a list of our favorites. ladies and gentlemen, we give you what we believe to be the top 5 vegan-friendly food trucks in LA. if we are missing any or if you don’t agree with us, please leave a comment!
yalla is an entirely vegetarian food truck that has arguably the best falafel sandwiches in los angeles. they specialize in “falafel fusion,” which means their small, flavorful, freshly fried falafel balls are available in several sandwiches with non-traditional ingredients.
most of the stuff on the truck is vegan by default, and the stuff that isn’t can be easily modified. my favorite yalla sandwich is a secret menu item called the “firestarter,” which comes with falafel, red cabbage salad, pickled turnips, pepperoncinis, onion salad, pickled carrots, chili paste, and tahini. talk about delicious!
to be fair, seabirds isn’t actually in LA (the truck is based in orange county), but it’s all vegan and so epic that it demands a space on this list.
no matter what your dietary preference, seabirds has everything. from unhealthy treats like beer-battered avocado tacos and cupcakes to nutritious foods like vegetable bowls and raw items by request…all completely animal-free! making regular stops in the OC, seabirds is never more than 2 hours away, and often much less than that. rest assured, the food is ALWAYS worth the drive. i can personally vouch for the tacos, burritos, taquitos, hummus, and burgers.
technically the frakenstand is not a truck, but it’s a mobile twittering food service, so i think it counts. the entirely vegan food cart specializes in gourmet franks and has been in operation for years, way before twittering trucks were the hot new thang.
not only does franken’s pack amazing food (think succulent sausages with a buffet condiment section), but the cart oozes with charm and spookiness. everything from the owner’s outfit to the menu names are creepy-themed. you can catch the frankenstand at various special events announced via twitter, or you can hire it for your own party. either way, this modest sausage cart really began the vegan mobile food revolution in LA, so be sure to hit it up when ever you can.
the mandoline grill menu does contain meat, but its astoundingly good vegan items have earned the vietnamese food truck a space on this list.
mandoline has been serving up the meanest tofu banh mi in town since early 2010, and whether it’s nachos or fried spring rolls, they’ve always got a solid vegan option on their appetizer menu. you just gotta love that deep-fried vegan goodness.
i’m hooked on fresh fries! the entirely vegetarian french fry truck has plenty of vegan options, and after trying 3 different variations of their “fancy fries,” i am a fan for life.
french fries on their own may sound a bit boring or uninspired, but the fresh fries toppings make them a complete meal. for vegans they have options such as curry ketchup and bbq sauce, as well as heartier toppings including chili guacamole, minced garlic, and hummus.
that’s our list! did we leave anybody out? let us know.Tags: food truck, top 5
September 28th, 2010elf, flore, LA restaurants, mandoline grill, masa of echo park, native foods, pizza cookery, shin bbq (closed), shojin, tender greens, zpizza
While we usually cover LA’s extraordinary selection of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants (vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly), some individual menu items in our city stand out as exceptional, and we thought they deserved their own post. We also opted to choose entirely new menu items from those of last year’s list as there are so many new things to check out on the LA vegan scene.
We chose no-compromise vegan foods: menu items that make no apology for being vegan and that, with only a couple of exceptions, you can order pretty much any time.
Have some things to add to the list, or stuff you don’t like? Let us know in the comments!
Masa of Echo Park Chicago deep dish pizza with Teese
Undoubtedly my favorite new thing on this year’s list. The combination of Masa’s 100% authentic Chicago crust, super tangy and chunky sauce and cooking method combined with real Chicago SoyDairy Teese (yeah, even the vegan cheese is from Chicago) is a mighty fine dish. The thing tastes almost the same as the real Chicagoland staple (and I should know, I’ve eaten a LOT of them over the years) but can be prepared entirely vegan (sub Teese for cheese, and ask that they use olive oil rather than butter in the pan).
I advise going for the medium or large even though you’ll not be able to eat it all, but it travels well, re-heats like a champ and will even freeze for weeks. It’s especially nice with a couple of low-key toppings like spinach or mushrooms, but the real star here is the crust and texture.
Native Foods Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger
There are a lot of vegan burgers in LA. Most of them are pretty darn good, but one stands head and shoulders above all others: The Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger from Native Foods. It seems as though Chef Tanya has studied those high-end burger joints and gone vegan mediaeval on the recipe. She’s taken the Native Foods Seitan (perhaps the best money can buy), sliced it thinly and soaked it in a special sauce topped with crunchy tempeh bacon, lettuce, two types of onions, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, carrots, tomatoes and even crunchy fried dill pickles.
Yes, this burger has every ingredient you can think of perfectly proportioned and excellently presented. A meal unto itself, the burger is heartily filling yet not unhealthily so.
Shojin Dynamite Roll
The dynamite roll started out as a special item available only on Monday sushi nights, but the dish was so popular that Shojin quickly added it to the normal menu. Having eaten this roll several times, I can say without a doubt that it’s some of the best vegan sushi I’ve ever tasted, and definitely the best in Los Angeles.
The rice-based roll is filled up with avocado and Shojin’s genius spicy “tuna” mixture – a creamy, hearty blend of vegetables and soy that’s so good I could eat a bowl of it straight. Each slice is then topped with a dollop of spicy vegan mayo and slivers of green onions. Usually when dining out on sushi, I like to get a several rolls and share them around the table. At Shojin, however, I always make sure to get a dynamite roll just for myself.
Elf Cornmeal and Herb Dusted Spicy Oyster Mushrooms
Every once in a while, you come across a dish that changes the rules of cuisine a little. You get exposed to something new, perhaps a taste, texture or presentation that’s so different and tasty that you remember it forever. The Spicy Oyster Mushrooms at Echo Park’s Elf is just such a dish. It’s described on the menu in a low-key way that almost makes it sound unappetizing: “Our version of ‘hot wings’ – crispy oyster mushrooms served with marinated celery salad and bleu cheese cream reduction”. Clearly, it has to be ordered without the bleu cheese for the vegans, but I can tell you this dish can stand on its own with or without the cheese.
The texture is crunchy yet soft and the flavors are so complex and delicate that this will be quite a unique experience. Even the celery is amazing – I don’t know what it’s marinated in, but I can tell you that I could eat a plate of just the celery any time! My only beef with the dish is that there’s no vegan substitute offered for the bleu cheese. I mean, some vegenaise and herbs wouldn’t go amiss, would it?
Pizza Cookery Vegan Bread Rolls (they’re FREE!)
Yeah, one of our top omnivorous restaurant choices also carries a bucket list item, and it’s actually something served for free when you show up to get a pizza. Just be sure to ask for the vegan bread rolls, as the default ones are filled with dairy cheese. BE WARNED, though, these rolls are so freakin’ amazing that you are in danger of filling up on them (as did I) and not wanting to eat any of your pizza (as did I) and so end up taking it home (as did I). Assuming that you can exercise restraint here, these rolls are an awesome way to start off your meal.
Perfectly cooked, stuffed with vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart as it happens, but this is one of those occasions where it actually works very well) and dipped in garlic olive oil with real garlic bits these will take you to a different place for sure.
Flore Biscuits & Gravy
Take two humongous biscuits, perfectly crunchy on the outside yet smooth and steamy on the inside then cover them with juicy and tasty gravy (with sausage bits!). That’d be a meal on its own, but Flore lets you add a serving of their legendary tempeh bacon, fruit or potatoes, and the dish comes with a delicious bed of steamed kale to boot. All for $9.95. All organic. And all fucking amazing! Unfortunately, this is a weekend brunch only dish, so you only have 2 days per week to get your fill.
Mandoline Grill Tofu Banh Mi
There are a few vegan Banh Mi’s out there, but nobody does it like Mandoline Grill, and I’m really pleased that this vegan-friendly food truck has a menu item that made it into this list. First off, the Banh Mi is absolutely HUGE. It’s a 12″, vegan French-style baguette with all the usual Banh Mi fixin’s including cucumber slices, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapenos, vegenaise and scallion oil. Despite the fact that the bread and ingredients are fresh and tasty beyond belief, the real kicker is the slyly named “lemongrass marinated tofu”, which comes in thick chunks and is unquestionably one of the most tasty things you’ll ever eat. I don’t know how chef/owner Mong Skillman can prepare such a gourmet experience from a tiny food truck, and frankly I don’t care how she does it. I’m usually too busy eating the thing to worry about the details!
Zpizza The Tuscan (veganized)
Yes, we’re pizza obsessed. Yes, there are two pizzas on the bucket list and YES, this one is damn good, but couldn’t be further in concept, taste and style than the Masa Chicago Pizza up top. The Tuscan is going for that Italian intersection of thin crust, oils and mushrooms that Zpizza does so well. The regular pizza isn’t vegan, but they will sub Daiya for the mozzarella and leave off the feta if you ask, and you will be home and dry with an absolutely stunning pie.
This thing has a bunch of ingredients. In addition to Z’s incredible crust, there’s homemade roasted garlic sauce, Daiya cheese, three kinds of mushrooms (cremini, shiitake and button), sweet caramelized onions, drizzles of truffle oil and fresh thyme. If you think this SOUNDS delicious, wait until you taste one – you will be blown away. For extra spice, pile on the dried chilies (they go especially well with the muted tastes of the oils and shrooms).
Shin BBQ Seitan Bulgogi
I was as shocked as the next guy to discover Shin BBQ’s vegan-friendly options, headlined with the incredible Seitan Bulgogi. Although clearly modeled on meat-based entree, this dish has a character all of its own, and even omnivores are ordering it regularly now. Slices of chewy seitan are marinated in something called “Shin’s secret marinade” – I have no idea what this is, but all I know is it’s 100% vegan and 200% tasty. The dish goes perfectly over some rice and don’t forget to pile on some of the excellent kimchi that will arrive in abundance at your table.
Tender Greens The Happy Vegan
This is another dish that I feel the need to eat on a regular basis, so I’m really happy that the WeHo Tender Greens is on my way home, and I can park for a dollar! Tender Greens is an upmarket, salad-oriented restaurant where you order at the counter, they make your salad and then bring it to your table. The Happy Vegan is so aptly named, as I don’t believe that any vegan would be something other than very happy post-consumption.
There are a ton of seemingly exotic ingredients in the salad: tabbouleh, hummus, pasta pearls, farro wheat, young kale and the eponymous “tender greens”. There’s also some crispy baguette slices dribbled with extra virgin olive oil to boot. For a salad, the price of $10.50 may seem high at face value, but I’d think nothing of paying $20 or more for this dish in a fancy restaurant.Tags: Bucket list, burger, pizza, sandwich
ok listen up people ’cause i have some BREAKING VEGAN NEWS. starting next week, the much beloved mandoline grill will be switching up their menu. first, their cha gio will be going away. this makes me incredibly sad because those delicious deep-fried rolls are a staple in addition to my mando sando every time i visit… but, they are being replaced by two awesome options! i’ve already told you about the secret tacos that are available on the truck, and well, they’re no longer going to be secret. the second item is brand-spanking new, and it is REALLY FUCKING GOOD: lemongrass tofu NACHOS!
freshly fried tortilla chips, sriracha/vegenaise aioli, yummy lemongrass tofu, green onions, and fresh mint. i’m not a huge fan of mint leaves but these were so damn good, i didn’t even think twice about it. the tortilla chips… wow… i don’t know what made them so good but they were really some of the best i’ve had. i split these babies with some of my friends and everyone thought they were delish. i’m more than happy to switch out the cha gio with these!
so be on the look out for the new menu items on your next trip to mandy grill… and if you haven’t been yet, wtf are you waiting for???Tags: food truck, nachos
so mandoline grill is already known for their amazing vegan lemongrass tofu banh mi, their awesome noodle bowls and the absolutely delicious spring rolls… BUT DID YOU KNOW THEY HAVE TACOS? probably not, because it is a top-secret menu item. these tacos share a lot of the same fixins as the banh mi – lemongrass tofu, cucumber, carrots, and cilantro – but then they are topped with a sriracha/vegenaise/garlic aioli. UM, DELICIOUS. and at $2/pop you can eat, like, 10 of them and not feel too bad about it.
brittany reporting for the qgnetwork.
PS: qg here. i cannot fucking wait to try these!!!!Tags: field report, food truck, tacos
of all the food trucks roaming the streets of los angeles, mandoline grill is the best one i’ve tried. their menu is extra vegan-friendly, and their crisp french bread and marinated tofu make for the perfect banh mi.
the truck does lunch stints all over LA, and one of their semi-regular stops is right next to the PETA office in silverlake. when they were there yesterday, they had both a new vegan menu item and some exciting news about about an event at the verdugo TODAY.
i stopped by to say hello, and although i didn’t eat anything that mandoline grill was serving up…peta’s very own twitterer and veganista extraordinaire, royale, was happy to give me a report on the food.Tags: food truck, silverlake, verdugo
the wait is finally over, and the vegan-friendly vietnamese food truck mandoline grill is ready to hit the streets of los angeles. we were at their launch party today at the verdugo, and although they are still working out some of the kinks, the food was overall bomb!
mandoline grill was supposed to start serving at 3pm today, but sadly they didn’t start taking orders until around 3:40. thankfully, the verdugo is a great bar with plenty of beers on tap and a comfortable atmosphere where you can easily lose yourself. when the truck finally began taking orders, it turned into a bit of a clusterfuck. we waited in line for awhile, placed our orders, and stood waiting about 50 minutes for our food to be ready. oh well, considering it’s mandoline grill’s first day on the job, we were definitely willing to cut them some slack.
i was with a grip of hungry peeps, so we literally ordered everything vegan on the menu. here’s a rundown of our haul (in descending menu order of course…)
first up, my dining companions sitting opposite me ordered the cha gio, some fried spring rolls stuffed with fake meat and vegetables. since our last visit, mandoline grill has upped the portion size of the cha gio. this stuff is tasty, huge, fried, and cheap…win/win/win/win.
next up, my husband and i shared a lemongrass tofu banh mi. at 6 bucks, this sandwich cost a dollar more than the mandoline grill banh mi we had last time, but was a full 6 inches longer as well! the sandwich was massive, hearty, fresh, and full of some of the most amazing marinated tofu i’ve ever eaten.
we also got a lemongrass tofu noodle bowl, which tasted good… but not nearly as good as the banh mi. it came with the same perfect tofu that the sandwich did, but on a bed of thin cold noodles to be eaten w/ chop sticks.
lastly, my friend sitting beside me ordered the cha gio noodle bowl which was basically like the tofu noodle bowl, but w/ spring rolls plopped on top rather than tofu. she agreed that it was tasty, but the banh mi was better.
although we waited ages for our food today, i really want to encourage y’all to check out mandoline grill asap. they are a small food truck and almost half the menu is vegan…that alone deserves our support.
today they may have been a bit overwhelmed by the long lines…
and the spotty rain on their launch day.
best of luck, mandoline grill!!!! we can’t wait to eat more of your food.Tags: food truck, vietnamese
remember way back in the day, when we blogged about amazing vietnamese food from mandoline grill? well the vegan-friendly food truck is finally ready to start roaming the streets, and they are having their launch party this saturday at the verdugo bar from 3-8pm. i highly suggest you stop by and fill up on some lemongrass tofu banh mi sandwiches and noodle bowls, then wash it all down with some quality craft beer.
and there isn’t just gonna be awesome food and beer at this event—but also live djs and prize giveaways. sounds like a swingin’ shindig to me!
don’t miss this. the food at mandoline grill is excellent. let’s give them a warm welcome to the food truck club.Tags: alcohol, beer, food truck, verdugo, vietnamese
you see, verdugo bar has long been a favorite spot of ours, what with arguably the best beer selection in los angeles and a great atmosphere. but for the 2nd and 3rd sunday in august, the culinary geniuses known as hot knives took over the verdugo patio and transformed the place from an dark and cold foodless bar into the ultimate summer hang-out, complete with an all vegan menu, tons of board games, and a stellar music playlist. after two weekends of fun, the hot knives packed up their bags and i figured that for me the verdugo was back to normal—back to being a bar where beer reigned supreme without distraction.
then mandoline grill had to come along and prove me wrong. last sunday the soon-to-be regularly operating vietnamese food truck set up shop on the patio and served a delicious lunch in the heat. while their menu wasn’t entirely vegan, they did have some animal-free options that were really fucking tasty.
the first was a lemongrass tofu banh mi. i am a pretty big banh mi fan in general anyway, and i can tell you that this was a really good one. the tofu tasted like it had been marinated for a long time, its flavors were intense and went all the way to the middle. the vegetables were fresh, and the french baguette was perfectly crunchy. plus, mandoline grill added a healthy amount of vegenaise to make the sandwich nice and creamy.
they also offered vegan cha gio, fried spring rolls filled with faux meat. the rolls were pretty hearty and cost $2 each, or 2 for $3.50…definitely a decent price. the cha gio was rich, oily, and really delicious—it tasted like what i remember egg rolls tasting like but without the weird aftertaste. i would definitely order these little suckers again.
i’m pretty sure this was the mandoline grill’s first time serving food to the public, so they seemed a little stressed out and there were a couple delays. however, what they lacked in smoothness, they made up for with absolutely delicious vegan food. another great thing about mandoline grill is that they were pretty knowledgeable about veganism. they stressed to me that even the bread was vegan, and that everything was cooked separately and with different utensils. awesome. i can’t wait until they get there food truck up and running—i know i’ll be one of the first customers in line.
so let’s hope the verdugo continues to be awesome and host patio events that serve vegan food. it’s strange that my favorite bar in town is slowly becoming one of my favorite places to eat as well, but hey i’m not complaining.Tags: alcohol, bbq, beer, food truck, mandoline grill, sandwich, verdugo