We’ve probably written more about Purgatory Pizza in Boyle Heights than any other restaurant. Since it became the first pizza joint in California to carry Teese vegan cheese, we’ve been regulars at Purgatory. Add in several other vegan Pizza firsts: First to carry Field Roast sausage, Gardein “Chicken” and one of the first in the country to carry Daiya vegan cheese, and we’ve been visiting Purgatory constantly. It’s no surprise, then, that Purgatory is again ahead of the pack, as one of the first places on the West Coast to offer the brand new Teese vegan mozzarella, which we’ve raved about before.
A quick grounder and history in vegan cheese is probably worthwhile at this point…Tags: boyle heights, dtla, purgatory pizza, teese
…because now you have no excuse! our favorite vegan-friendly pizza joint is open for lunch 7 days a week.
SEE YOU THERE? motherfuckers?
PURGATORY PIZZA. do it.Tags: boyle heights, dtla, pizza
it’s been a bad year for some of our favorite restaurants. a taste of life has closed its storefront, that’s amore is completely gone, and flore cafe is on the brink of shutting down as well. on top of all this, today i found out that the shitty economy is threatening the best place to get vegan pizza in los angeles: purgatory pizza.
the owner of purgatory pizza tweeted this morning, “TRYING to stay open…. Damn economy!” i dug a bit deeper, and the restaurant confirmed that if business doesn’t pick up, it’s a very real possibility that they could be forced to close their doors. i can’t even stress to you WHAT AN EPIC TRAGEDY THIS WOULD BE FOR THE LOS ANGELES VEGAN SCENE. after all, purgatory was named one of the top 5 omnivorous restaurants in los angeles. i know that tons of places in LA are offering daiya pizza now, but purgatory is the only place where you can get pizza with daiya cheese, gardein vegan chicken, AND field roast artisan grain meats. it’s also the best place to get nyc style vegan pizza in town, and they even have vegan pesto as well!
seriously, purgatory pizza is a one-of-a-kind restaurant and we can’t let it go out of business. they were the first pizza place to bend over backwards for vegans in los angeles, and i think it’s safe to say they have some of the best (if not THE BEST) vegan pizza in LA. they are a little bit out of the way for most folks, but the food is worth it and they have a quiet atmosphere where you can BYOB! so get out and spend some money at purgatory pizza ASAP. i highly recommend you try either the gardein chicken with pesto or the “classic” pizza with added field roast sausage. they know how to melt daiya vegan cheese perfectly, and i’ve never had a pizza there i didn’t absolutely love. if they shut down, i will cry.
purgatory pizzaTags: boyle heights, daiya, downtown la, gardein, pizza
1326 East 1st Street
Los Angeles CA 90033
September 29th, 2009hugo's restaurant, LA restaurants, m café, mama's hot tamales, purgatory pizza, toi
Okay, so we’ve already posted about the best vegan and best vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles, but sometimes we vegans HAVE to eat in omnivorous restaurants. That’s a part of life. What’s interesting, though, is when we find meat-serving restaurants that we WANT to eat in. That’s a whole different story, and LA has a few outstanding omnivorous establishments that go out of their way to cater to vegans. Here are our favorites.
While the “M” in M Cafe probably stands for Macrobiotic, I believe it actually stands for Mmmmmmmm, which is pretty much what I murmur with every bite of this amazing food. With a totally vegan menu except for fish, M Cafe has a chic urban appeal, backed up with an A-list of ingredients (and clientele) all layered over an efficient kitchen and fair pricing, considering how great the food is. While the last year or two M Cafe’s items have been prepared by kitchen staff rather than chefs, their menu items are still some of the best in town.
The Big Macro is arguably LA’s best vegan burger. The broccolini pepporochini is without a doubt LA’s premier broccolini, and the Vegan Benedict is constantly voted one of the “best” breakfast items on any local menu. There are plenty of vegan options at all times of the day, and the rotating menu constantly keeps one coming back for more. The deserts are out of this world, along with the very best vegan tiramisu known to humanity. Check it out!!
It’s probably inaccurate to credit Purgatory Pizza with single-handedly introducing incredible vegan pizza to LA, but we’re going to anyway. The insatiable team, formerly headed by Chef Ricky, that painstakingly worked to veganize an entire product line and food preparation process has gone from strength to strength. Purgatory was not only the first pizza place to embrace Teese (the ground-breaking alternative to Follow Your Heart Cheese), but is also the first to stock Gardein and Field Roast as toppings, and one of the first to serve Daiya (the best vegan cheese at time of posting) in SoCal.
To get your Purgatory Pizza kicks (if you’re not in the delivery area), show up with a bottle of cheap wine and/or a six-pack of beer, then order your pizza to dine in. Feeling like a cross between an 80s suburban pizza joint and some kind of modern art experiment, Purgatory has a great, brightly-lit atmosphere and friendly staff to keep you entertained while you swallow slice after slice of LA’s best vegan pizza.
With two locations (one in West Hollywood, the other in Studio City), and a full-on meat-oriented menu, one might be surprised to find that the Hugo’s chefs have created some seriously innovative vegan cuisine. Not only do they have loads of options, but they have menu with several clearly marked animal-free alternatives, as well as dishes that can be optionally veganized. If you can get past the trendy atmosphere, long waits and constant celebrity sightings (I’ve watched the staff at the WeHo location fawn over Gabriel Byrne and Jeff Goldblum within the past few weeks) you’re in for a vegan treat.
Although I’ve long been a fan of the tofu scramble, I also love the Very Green Casserole (one of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever tasted atop stewed vegetables and sauce in a pot) as well as the salads, tikka masala veggie patties, stir-frys and wraps. Make sure you specify “VEGAN” clearly when you order, while the restaurant is extremely vegan-friendly, there may be butter hiding in unsuspecting dishes.
Sadly, the Toi chain has contracted from two locations to just one, on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Thankfully the sacrificial lamb of this two-outlet chain was the Santa Monica outlet on Wilshire and not the ultimate rock and roll dining location sandwiched between Guitar Center and clothing stores most mortals are too… well… mortal to shop in. Toi has a loud, brash atmosphere with a class-based seating system (some tables suck ass, others are amazing — you ride the wind and luck of the draw depending your arrival time).
Get the vegan pad thai with grilled tofu for a real treat, or the Saigon spring rolls…and make sure you request the hot sauces to dollop liberally over your food. The portions are huge, the kitchen respects us vegans, and most things on the menu can be made vegan — substitute chicken for tofu, oyster sauce for vegan oyster sauce, and you’ll get a superb meal. Take your omni friends there, and chillax the fuck out listening to rock ‘n’ roll on the speakers. Step into the parking lot at the back and you can smell weed in the air. Need we say more.
OK, I’ll admit, MacArthur Park (just West of Downtown LA) has a shady reputation. Lotsa crime, lotsa drugs, lotsa pigeons, lotsa bodegas and lotsa REAL, AUTHENTIC Mexican restaurants. How glad are we vegans, then, that one of the most popular, Mama’s Hot Tamales, has a full-on vegan menu, complete with Daiya cheese, vegan sauces and all the trimmings. Did you hear that? Authentic Mexican food AND Daiya Cheese!!!! That is reason enough to make any top 5 list, as far as we’re concerned.
At Mama’s you can enjoy all the greasy, cheesy filling Mexican food that omnivores love to death, but prepared under the supervision of Mama herself: the real deal, a Mexican señora who could not be more understanding of what a vegan is, what we need and how to prepare the food for us.Tags: boyle heights, culver city, downtown la, hollywood, macarthur park, macrobiotic, melrose, pizza, the valley, weho
los angeles vegans, drop whatever you have planned tonight and head over to purgatory pizza.
tonight is the famous chef ricky’s last night on the job, and it may be your last chance ever to eat one of his amazing pizzas. if you don’t know who chef ricky is, well he is the best vegan pizza maker in los angeles and he is moving to seattle.
while purgatory pizza will continue to be awesome even after ricky is gone, it will never be quite the same without him.
GO TO PURGATORY TONIGHT. and if you are feeling brave, just ask for a chef ricky special and let him get creative with your pie. you won’t be sorry.
purgatory pizzaTags: boyle heights, downtown la, pizza
1426 e 1st street
los angeles ca 90033
open 6pm to 11pm
los angeles vegans, drop what you are doing and get over to purgatory pizza ASAP. purgatory is known to serve arguably best pizza in town covered with daiya cheese, and in just a few weeks their talented chef ricky is moving to seattle! while he’s trained the other employees to cook his recipes, the place just won’t be the same without him and you should definitely get over there before he’s gone.
we have been fans of ricky for so long, that now when we go in we just ask him to whip up a “chef special,” which means any recipe he can come up with on the spot. our most recent visit to purgatory yielded some of the best pizzas i’ve ever tasted. the first one, pictured above, came with huge chunks of roasted garlic, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and red onion. the garlic and onion combo was delicious, and even though the chunks of garlic were huge, they weren’t overpowering.
ricky’s next creation was even more adventurous—a chicken taco pizza covered in daiya cheddar cheese, gardein chicken slices, black olives, jalapenos,tomato and red onion.
this pizza was so fucking good, i can’t even describe it. it really did taste like a chicken taco converted into a pizza. i wanted to eat it up with a side of salsa and vegan sour cream. i usually don’t like cheddar on pizza, but this worked surprisingly well and gave it a much more mexican taste. the jalapenos made it extra spicy, and as always, the gardein tasted amazing.
other recent chef ricky specials have included a greek pizza topped with kalamata olives…
and a vegan cheesesteak pizza with gardein beef strips, carmelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. (so unbelievably good!)
i mean, just look at these crazy pizzas. i guarantee that you can’t find pizza this tasty or inventive ANYWHERE else. while ricky is leaving behind his recipes, and purgatory will still continue serving up some of the best vegan pizza around, he is taking with him the magic that goes into making pies like these on the spot. i am pretty sure ricky leaves in around 3 weeks, and he works on fridays and weekends. be brave, and go ask for one of his special pizzas. you really won’t regret it.
and if you want to see even more delicious ricky creations that will help convince you to get your ass to purgatory, check out this older post.
if you haven’t tried purgatory pizza yet, you really are missing out. they are the only pizzeria in town offering daiya cheese AND high quality meats like field roast and gardein. i never ever thought vegan pizza could taste this good.
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pm
we are gonna miss you chef ricky, but thanks for leaving behind the recipes for the best vegan pizza ever.Tags: boyle heights, daiya, downtown la, pizza
At the risk of quarrygirl.com becoming “LA’s vegan pizza with Daiya cheese blog”, we just had to post that the trifecta of perfect crust, perfect sauce and perfect vegan cheese has been, well, perfected now that Purgatory Pizza offers Daiya vegan cheese. We happened to pop in there for our weekly visit just as our well respected Chef Ricky was perfecting (OK, you get the idea about perfection) his interpretation of vegan pizza using Daiya cheese, and BOY, were we in for a treat. Purgatory has also mastered the melting of Daiya Cheese…although the company sells them in bags of small shreds, Purgartory got them to come together in the most excellent way, forming pure gooey, stretchy, cheesy goodness.
It’s well known that Purgatory has incredible crusts and sauce (all hand-made on the premises to Chef Ricky’s secret recipe, and strictly vegan), and they began offering vegan pizzas (using Teese vegan cheese) some months ago as an alternative to their regular vegetarian and omni pizzas. Not content with vegan cheese and vegetable toppings, Purgatory has pioneered the use of vegan meat substitutes testing many combinations of products, finally settling on Field Roast and Gardein meat analogs, each prepared and seasoned on-premise as alternative vegan offerings.
To be honest, the addition of Daiya just takes what works extremely well already (Teese is no slouch in the taste department), and tops it off [pun intended] with the “vegan cheese that changes everything” to yield an absolutely sublime pizza experience that’s staunchly vegan and incredibly well prepared and cooked.
On the night in question we opted for a pizza, half of which was pesto based with sauteed mushrooms, Field Roast sausage and red peppers, and the other half of which was tomato sauce based with basil, garlic mushrooms and tomatoes — all topped with lashings of incredibly tasty and amazingly textured Daiya cheese. I can tell you that the addition of Daiya takes the taste and texture of Purgatory’s pies to a whole new level. It’s actually difficult to describe, but the bottom line is that Daiya has a texture and taste so close to milk-based cheeses that even omnivores probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in many cases.
On pizza, Daiya is at least as “good”, if not better than casein-based soy cheese. So, a combination of gourmet crust, sauce and toppings cooked in a high temperature brick convection oven (just like they do in Italy and New York) leads to an amazing pizza eating experience that’s entirely cruelty-free. Get your ass down to Boyle Heights (Purgatory is about 1 minute off the 101) and ask for a vegan pizza (be sure to specify you want Daiya as your vegan cheese of choice), and you won’t be sorry.
What’s more, you can take your own bottle of wine, beer or whatever, and enjoy your pizza an an urban-chic environment of rock music and entertaining murals. You just can’t go wrong! Rush on out to Purgatory Pizza as soon as you can for some truly exceptional artisan meat toppings, the best vegan cheese around, friendly service, and an all around excellent pizza experience. I know what I’m doing this weekend.
1326 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Mon-Sun. 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.Tags: daiya, downtown la, vegan cheese
yeah, yeah, yeah…if you are a vegan in los angeles who loves pizza, you probably know all about purgatory pizza. the ny-style pizza joint gained vegan fame in february when they added teese cheese from chicago soy dairy to their lineup, making authentic delicious VEGAN PIZZA available to the masses. as if that wasn’t enough, about a week ago they stepped it up a notch and started offering field roast artisan vegan sausage as a topping.
well just when i thought the best vegan pizza in la couldn’t get any better, they went ahead and upped the topping selection. the field roast was amazing enough, but now just one week later, they are offering a delicious option of vegan gardein chicken STARTING TODAY. i was fortunate enough to attend a sampling party and taste three different gardein chicken pizzas, all of which were unique and insanely tasty. purgatory pizza is really making a conscious effort to embrace the los angeles vegan community and accommodate us at every turn. they even veganized their pesto recipe for good. that’s right, purgatatory pizza has omitted the cheese from their pesto permanently…so you can safely order the basil/pine nut concoction from now on.
now for the three pizzas. i must admit, i was a little skeptical at first…i am usually a mushroom and tomato toppings kind of girl and the thought of fake chicken on a pizza didn’t seem that great. but with a little magic in the kitchen, two talented chefs used the gardein chicken to make 3 of the best pizzas i’ve ever had. vegan cook extraordinaire jennshaggy was on hand to prepare and season the chicken, while purgatory’s own chef ricky made the sauces and crust. the first pizza, which was my favorite, was pesto pizza topped with mushrooms, olives and gardein chicken.
the vegan pesto was absolutely perfect. why anyone would need cheese thrown into this delicious blend of basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil is completely beyond me. the pesto was spread lightly all over the pizza, so although it was a bit oily, the pie didn’t taste heavy. the gardein chicken was extremely well prepared, tender and flavorful and not one bit dry. i seriously loved it. not to mention the melty teese cheese. this pizza was so fucking good, really, i swear, it tasted like the real thing.
the next pizza was a standard purgatory pizza with their normal tomato sauce topped with teese cheese, gardein chicken and fresh basil. simple and excellent. while my favorite pizza was the pesto one pictured above, a few of the pizza testers argued that this was the best one and i can totally see where they were coming from. again, the gardein came out very well and tasted great on the pizza…plump little chunks of italian-seasoned soy chicken that were crispy on top and moist in the center.
the third pizza was an amazing concoction from chef ricky himself which came with no sauce…just olive oil and garlic covered with teese cheese, gardein chicken, tomatoes and oregano. this was my husband’s favorite of the three pizzas, and it was definitely unique and like nothing i’ve ever tasted before.
the olive oil and garlic mixed with the teese and made for a creamy base, so the sauce wasn’t even missed. again, the gardein chicken was excellent was the perfect compliment to the italian-style sauces and toppings. in fact, with all the olive oil, garlic, oregano and tomatoes, this tasted like a pizza version of a pasta dish. everything went so well together, i really suggest you give this exceptional pizza a try…i’ve never had anything quite like it.
so there you have it, get over to purgatory pizza and try the new gardein topping which will be available starting today. extra special thanks to jennshaggy and chef ricky for coming up with the way to make these extremely tasty vegan pizzas. the vegan pizza scene in la just keeps getting better and better.
purgatory pizzaTags: downtown, gardein, pizza, teese
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pm
just a quick update, y’all. purgatory pizza, our favorite vegan-friendly pizza joint in downtown los angeles that we’ve raved about several times is now officially offering field roast sausage as a topping…as of tomorrow. we tested the field roast out, and i can tell ya it was the best meat-esque topping i’ve ever tasted, full stop.
the field roast italian sausage toppings will be available starting tomorrow, and i say go and get your fill before they run out and have to order more. rumors suggest that even local whole foods will have to stop carrying this flavor of field roast due to a supplier issue. so don’t waste time or fuck around, order this on a pizza. i’m not kidding…it’s really damn good.
the vegan sausage topping is gonna cost you $1.50 extra for a medium pizza, and 2 bucks extra for a large…a very fair price if you ask me, considering field roast at whole foods is way fucking pricey and purgatory does NOT SKIMP on the amount. i mean seriously, 18 bucks for a large pizza with vegan cheese plus vegan meat toppings?!?!?! nobody in town can beat that…not damiano’s, not tomato joe’s, not that’s amore…nobody.
so get your ass over to purgatory pizza and order some fine, fine, fine field roast artisan toppings. the seattle company is known to have the best fake meat ever, and i feel so lucky that i can finally find their products in a los angeles restaurant. oh, and let’s not forget the awesome teese cheese, that sets purgatory apart from all the follow your heart peddlers. a big hand all around: purgatory, awesome crust! teese, your cheese tastes great and MELTS! field roast, your sausage is incredible!
purgatory pizzaTags: downtown, field roast, pizza, sausage, toppings
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pm
if you are a vegan in los angeles, i sure hope you’ve hit up purgatory pizza by now. the already-popular new york-style pizzeria started selling awesome vegan pizzas using teese cheese from chicago soy dairy in february, and now just one month later, they are known throughout town for having the best vegan pizza around. the quality of the crust, sauce and now vegan cheese is above and beyond all competition. as far as i know, they are the only pizza joint in los angeles using teese, which is fairly hard to come by, but by far the best brand in the united states.
imagine my excitement when i learned that in just a few weeks purgatory pizza has been so successful with the vegan cheese that they have also decided to start offering fake meat toppings as well. i was even lucky enough to attend a limited tasting-party to try out the new stuff…oh what a treat! the result: tons of new fake meats atop delicious teese pizzas, ending in a food coma of epic proportions.
all the pizzas we tried are pictured below. results were varied, but my favorite was by far the field roast sausage. it had a really meaty texture and tasted surprisingly like real pizza sausage that i remember from when i was a little kid…right down to the crispy edges and embedded fennel seeds, this stuff was unreal.
the pepperoni was decent, but in my opinion it didn’t have the wow factor of the field roast sausage. lightlife products tend to be great for what i want to make at home, but just don’t do it for me when they are offered at restaurants.
same again with the lightlife bacon…it was tasty, but not something i would splurge on for a pizza topping.
purgatory also tried out the tofurky sausage as a pizza topping, which was definitely a worthy field roast opponent. this stuff was really good…but it sliced up into little disks, not globby clumps like the field roast sausage. something about this wasn’t as authentic to me, although i would definitely order it if i saw it on a menu.
lastly, was the ham and pineapple which, i won’t lie, i didn’t even taste. pineapple on pizza has never gone down well with me…but the other folks tonight seemed to enjoy it. the ham was the lightlife brand of meat, so i assume it was similar to the pepperoni and bacon.
again, in my mind, the clear winner was the field roast sausage. i honestly usually don’t like fake meat on pizza, but this stuff was so good, i think i’d order it every time.
sorry, readers. i don’t mean to get your hopes up too early or anything…because for right now the vegan meats aren’t available at purgatory pizza just yet. whatever scored best at tonight’s tasting test will hopefully be available soon though, and i will let you know as soon as it is. i’m hoping they at least go with the field roast sausage because that was my absolute favorite!
until then, you will have to suffer through with just vegetable toppings on the best vegan pizza in los angeles. speaking of which…i brought home some teese pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes and chopped garlic for my husband, who missed out on tonight’s festivities, and the stuff warmed up and melted like a charm. turns out vegan pizza is just as good leftover as normal pizza.
so whether you eat in or takeaway, purgatory pizza is the place to go for vegan pizza in la. they have the meltiest cheese and a load of vegetable toppings. once they get the fake meats come, they will be UNSTOPPABLE. vegans, if you haven’t been to purgatory pizza yet, you are fucking CRAZY. put it at the top of your list.
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pmTags: bacon, downtown, field roast, ham, pepperoni, pizza, sausage, teese, tofurky
Well, the evening didn’t get off to a good start. Hollywood Blvd. being closed for the Oscars made the commute home absolute hell, yet the evening ended close to heaven — in purgatory approximately, Purgatory Pizza to be exact. Yeah, we’ve started going there once a week because there’s nowhere in LA where you can get real top-shelf pizza with vegan cheese served piping hot at your table by undeniably nice people who seem to really care that you have a great experience — vegan or not.
The last couple of times we’ve been to Purgatory Pizza, it’s been mainly a delivery operation. Lots of hustle and bustle, phones ringing and pizzas flying out the door, yet the indoor atmosphere has been relatively quiet. The pizza parlors I know and love are usually rather boisterous in nature with kids running around (pizza slices in hand!), and people coming and going like crazy.
Tonight, Purgatory Pizza was rather quiet as we arrived, yet shortly after we ordered, a family of five came in – two grown-ups and three kids who all seemed determined to enjoy themselves. We thought we heard them order a couple of pizzas with “vegan cheese”, but we were not 100% certain. On the way out, though, we noticed a printout of the (in)famous quarrygirl.com menu on their table, along with shiny, empty pizza plates and three kids who looked pretty replete and full. The BYO bottle of wine kinda indicated to us that we should make contact, so I uncharacteristically asked them if they ordered the vegan cheese, which they confirmed they did!
It transpired that all but one of the family were vegans, and they’d visited Purgatory Pizza purely for its vegan cheese. The fact that the kids had devoured the food while the adults enjoyed themselves with some wine and pizza really showed me how ‘normal’ we vegans can be. It was heartwarming to see a wonderfully nice vegan family having a great time together in a place where they could be comfortable and confident about what they were eating — something only we vegans understand to be a big deal.
You see, the thing about pizza is that it’s one of the most edible foods on the planet – a perfect combination of vital ingredients which (if consumed sensibly!) give a good balance of nutrition, energy and taste. It also travels fairly well, and can support all manner of toppings to vary its appeal. The critical factors are the crust, sauce and toppings — the cheese (vegan or not) is a commodity which is far less important than one might think. A nicely cooked pizza with a “real pizza crust” (as the father of the family described it) cannot be beat.
Go to Purgatory. Let’s make it a vegan hangout like no other. I’m game any time — let us know in the comments when you’ll be there and we’ll be there.
Tags: los angeles, pizza, teese.downtown
After two weeks traipsing around the UK, we were completely set for a quiet weekend to be spent mostly at home. Until, that is, we read this post on Vegan LA. I mean, come on – one of LA’s most established and respected pizza joints, Purgatory Pizza, suddenly announces that all their pizzas are available with vegan cheese? And not the chemical mass that is follow your heart, but none other than the joint winner of the recent Vegan Cheese Pizza Challenge, Teese from Chicago Soy Dairy.
So, after settling onto the couch with our slippers on, we were jolted to action and filled with a mission to check out Purgatory Pizza post haste even though we had a rather low expectation of what we might find, exacerbated by a 40 minute drive through Hollywood to downtown LA, on the purgatorious 101 freeway.
Well, the visit to Purgatory Pizza is one of the most memorable vegan dining events I’ve had in a while, possibly since dining on a 50-year old London bus. We arrived at a brightly lit storefront with convenient alleyway parking adjacent, and strode valiantly inside with vegan heads held up high to be greeted by a very nice lady who seemed extremely pleased that we’d shown up as the first customers of the new vegan menu. Indeed, she told us that she’d only posted on Vegan LA a few hours before and was surprised that people were already asking for the vegan cheese.
She was knowledgeable about the cheese/Teese, explaining that she had spoken with the manufacturer and tried several different vegan cheeses before settling on Teese as she felt it cooked and tasted the best. So, we placed our order of a large Teese pizza with garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes.
It was only when we sat at one of the large, comfortable tables that we realized we were somewhere special. The walls were covered in wonderful avant garde murals saying things like “She is pure and perfect and she colors her hair with magic markers”, there were candles on the tables and some great classic rock deep cuts were playing (The Beatles, Queen, The Doors, Elvis…..). We rocked out, read the murals and drank our wine while we waited for the pizza to arrive, our drinking and rocking only punctuated by a wonderfully sweet and helpful teenage girl popping to the table on a regular basis with plates, napkins and an inquisition “Is everything OK? Do you need anything?”
After about 15 minutes our pizza arrived, and for a split second I thought I was sitting in Ray’s Pizza on 7th Avenue at 53rd St. in Manhattan, one of my favorite pre-vegan pizza joints. I’m telling you – this was no ordinary mass-produced pizza but a real, NY-style hand tossed crust with the perfect ratio of toppings, “cheese” and sauce. The entire 16” pie was completely gone within about 5 minutes as we wolfed down bite after bite of crunchy crust, tangy basil-infused sauce and perfectly melted Teese.
The whole experience is a million miles away from the usual vegan pizza experience, where a vegan restaurant attempts to create a pizza from bread dough, chopped vegetables and cashew cheese (ugh now I think about it). No, this is the real deal. Authentic New York-style pizza cooked and prepared perfectly but substituting soy for dairy. As a vegan, you’re dining on the edge here — as authentic a pizza journey as it gets, but screeching to a halt before any animal cruelty.
Purgatory has a busy delivery and carry-out business (they must have fulfilled 5 or 6 orders in the short time we were there, which was around 6pm — hardly peak time for pizza orders!) yet the eat-in experience is really worth doing. One last positive note, Purgatory doesn’t serve alcohol, but they welcome a BYO-style system, and we fortunately had a bottle of wine in the car. It’s so much better spending $10 at a grocery store on a bottle of reasonable wine than $6 on a glass of franzia “house red” at a restaurant. This just makes Purgatory Pizza even better!
Purgatory has probably always been a special place, but now it’s accessible to LA vegans, and I highly encourage you to check it out. Amazing pizza, BYO beer/wine, easy parking, 5 minute drive off the 101. Rather than Purgatory, I think I might just have found pizza heaven in downtown LA.
Here’s the menu (redacted to protect the innocent):
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pm
For a surreal moment, check out this video of the artist who made the mural:Tags: downtown, pizza, purgatory pizza, teese, wine