September 2nd, 2011vegan events
yes, yes, yes! sunday will indeed be one of the best days of the summer as the dudes from hot knives take over the verdugo patio for a vegan bbq blow out. the vegetarian bloggers/cookbook authors are some of our favorite chefs ever, yet their food is rarely available to the public. basically, you don’t wanna miss this. the menu will include:
1) Oyster mushroom po’boys with radish remoulade, greens and a side of pickled potato salad
2) Mesquite-smoked jackfruit hoagies with peach BBQ sauce and a side of kaleslaw
3) Summer succotash and jalapeño cornbread
that all sounds pretty fantastic, right? they worked magic with mushrooms on the verdugo patio in 2009 with a pulled “pork” sandwich…i can’t wait to get a taste of the po’boys.
this event isn’t only about eating awesome and rare vegan food though, it’s also a chance to be part of a photo shoot. a photographer will be documenting the event and shooting photos for hot knives’ second book, spring blaze, which is all about party foods. check out this video of the guys doing their thing on the 4th of july to get an idea of how it works…Tags: bbq, hot knives, jackfruit, vegan at verdugo, verdugo
It’s no secret that Korean BBQ restaurants are the most vegan unfriendly places on earth. There’s never anything vegetarian (let alone vegan) on the menu, and the ritualistic cooking of meat at the table in front of you can be quite disconcerting, especially if one goes with omnivorous friends who are chowing down on ribs, wings and all sorts of unspeakable animal parts.
Shin BBQ in Hollywood, though, has reached out to its vegan customers and offers an outstanding set of vegan options all carefully cooked separately in the kitchen. And I’m not talking about the usual mainstay of vegan Korean BBQ dining: Vegetables and rice. No, I’m talking about a full-on Korean BBQ experience where an incredibly tasty marinade is burned on to succulent proteins, combined with delicious sides to be enjoyed in an environment of relaxed, classy attention preferably with alcohol served intravenously (the best way to consume Soju, trust me).
After being lobbied by a couple of vegan friends we opened up Shin BBQ on a sunny Saturday afternoon to check out the vegan offerings. We emailed in advance, though, to make sure that we could eat the food without it being marinaded and BBQd in meat juices. Within a few minutes of our request, we received the following reply from Mr Shin himself:
Well, we checked again upon arriving and our server “Dan” (more on him later) was quite positive about the whole vegan thing: “Oh, yes, we have a kitchen policy for our vegetarian and vegan customers. Everything will be cooked separately – we take that very seriously.” So, we were stoked to say the least, to begin ordering vegan Korean BBQ for the first time ever. There were three firmly vegan things on the menu, and we couldn’t help but get one of each.
First up was the “Tofu Steak”, a chunk of extra firm tofu that had been flash charred with marinade (making it deliciously crispy on the outside, and surprisingly flavorful on the inside) served with diced kimchi and a luscious green salad, pickled beets and spicy bean shoots. Despite the size of this dish it was gone in about 5 minutes, such was the amazing tasty tofu, perfectly cooked and served.
Next up we had the signature vegan dish, “Veggie Bulogi Seitan” which I’m telling you was out of this world.
Small seitan slices and onions had been marinated and barbecued in a cast iron dish, and arrived at the table still cooking and steaming right in front of our faces. Despite the fact we’d just eaten one entree, we fought over every last piece of seitan, and yet another side of kimchi, sprouts and beets arrived to help satiate our rapidly waning hunger.
Seconds after the Bulogi Seitan arrived, the most enormous plate of grilled vegetables known to man or beast arrived at the table. Layer upon layer of squash, asparagus, king oyster mushrooms and carrot were perfectly grilled and spiced for our enjoyment. And enjoy them we did. Mouthful after mouthful of seitan, tofu, vegetables and the sauces and tastes of traditional Korean BBQ rushed on in and were very much welcomed.
Our server, Dan, was beyond perfect. He was not only knowledgable about the vegan offerings, swift on the delivery and just the right about of attentive, but he occasionally stopped by to ask how things were, and we could tell that he really cared about our experience.
The location of Shin BBQ is very convenient, located in between Sunset Blvd. and Hollywood Blvd. and just steps away from all the fun stuff that Hollywood has on offer. Now, despite the amazing food and service, a word of caution on Shin BBQ: It is a KOREAN BARBECUE, and the majority of the customers will be eating meat, much of which will be cooked at the table in front of them. If you’re squeamish over the sights and sounds of meat preparation, be warned!
1600 N. Wilcox Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
6pm -12am Tuesday – FridayTags: bbq, hollywood, kimchee, korean, seitan
5pm – 12am Saturday
5pm – 10pm Sunday
summer is here, and if you live in los angeles, whole foods is going to be your one stop shop for EPIC VEGAN FEASTING. that’s right, this week stores in the area are rolling out a completely vegan bbq case for the month of july in the prepared foods section, and it’s ABSOLUTELY INSANE.
the case is already set up at whole foods weho, and will be at other stores in the region starting on thursday, july 1st. i hit up the west hollywood store yesterday to check out the goods, and i was beyond impressed.
check out all the crazy stuff i tried…Tags: bbq, field roast, gardein, summer, whole foods
you wouldn’t think that a bbq place called smokin’ willie’s would have any vegan options at all, let alone a damn delicious one.
however LA’s brand new food truck has clearly marked vegan tacos on their menu for just 2 bucks a pop, and these little babies are tasty as hell.Tags: bbq, truck
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
okay, so there’s three events going on this weekend that you should be aware of. choose wisely.
1.) vegan soul food bbq
get your weekend started right with a back-to-school vegan bbq in inglewood sponsored by a taste of life. food will be served from 10am to 3pm, plus there will be live music, kids’ activities, speakers and more. if you don’t have plans today, this would be a good bet. a taste of life serves up the best soul food i’ve ever had, and some of the best vegan food in all of los angeles. for info on this event, check out their flyer or PETA’s website.
2.) rockin’ vegan breakfast
the first thing up tomorrow is a vegan breakfast concert at downtown venue the smell. the headline act is ted leo and the pharmacists, supported by davila 666 and moses campbell. the menu consists of vegan pancakes, tofu tacos, and coffee. show starts at 11:30am, it’s 8 bucks, and it’s all ages. for more info check out the announcement on losanjealous.com.
3.) vegan vietnamese and beer
if you wake up a bit later on sunday mornings, or if you are still feeling hungry after your large helping of rock and vegan pancakes…head on over to the verdugo bar for board games, beer, and (vegan-friendly) bbq. while it may not prove to be the epic 100% animal-free feast that was the hot knives gnosh pit a few weeks ago, the up and coming soon-to-be vietnamese food truck mandoline grill will be serving vegan friendly offerings including cha gio (spring rolls) and lemongrass tofu banh mi.
although the event isn’t entirely vegan, the verdugo is just about our favorite bar in town, so the fact they are offering a patio session with stuff i can eat is enough to get me down there. plus, i spoke with the person in charge at mandoline grill and they knew their stuff: no bone-char sugar in the ingredients, separate utensils, and fancy egg-replacer to boot. vegans, go check out the scene if you have a chance.
have a great weekend. let me know if you hear of any more vegan events going down. and if you go to either of the shindigs i blogged about here, let me know if you had fun.Tags: bbq, beer, breakfast, downtown, inglewood, music, soulfood, verdugo
August 10th, 2009vegan stuff
Forty years ago this weekend, The Beatles walked across a pedestrian crossing outside Abbey Road Studios, London and signaled the end of the Swinging Sixties. Their iconic, final Abbey Road album was about bringing things together – after all, it begins with John Lennon’s anthem for togetherness, “Come Together”, and ends with Paul McCartney’s appropriately titled “The End”. Sometimes, the best things in life mean so much more when brought together than enjoyed on their own, just like the final recording sessions of The Beatles.
Take my favorite things: vegan food, awesome music, special beer and good friends. Bring them together, give them to me in abundance and I’ll be as sound as a pound.
I write this post replete from all of the above, following this afternoon’s visit to what is arguably LA’s best bar, The Verdugo in Glassel Park. The Verdugo is usually a late-night haunt for us, it being dark, candle-lit and having an innovative beer menu. Today, though, we were spoiled with not only some amazing beers, but the a visit from Hot Knives, the “out there” vegetarian bloggers, chefs, beer experts and all-around-cool-dudes who had brought along a streamlined, but very effective vegan food menu. They called it the Gnosh Pit, and oh boy, did we GNOSH!
The bad news is that Hot Knives has a very limited engagement with Verdugo – only two days. The good news is that you can catch all this again NEXT Sunday 16th (although the menu items may vary from what we describe here).
Let’s talk about the food. First, they approached the occasion from a tangent, offering five menu items – two entrées, two sides and a dessert. With two entrées, the good news is that you’re going to eat not one, but two signature dishes:
The “BBQ Bun” was a force to be reckoned with – Oyster mushrooms roasted twice and soaked in sweet vinegar spiked BBQ sauce, served between a soft, seasme-seeded bun.
The “Bahn Mi” was ready to kick you in the fucking face (time and time again) with fresh green chilies, cilantro, spicy curry seitan (the best I’ve had in a long time) and crusty bread. It was HOT, TASTY, CRUNCHY and so amazing that I ate two and wished I’d taken another home for dinner.
Yeah, and the sides were also out of this world. Taking potato chips and making them special is rather tricky, but the Hot Knives dudes made it happen. The chips were sliced thin, fried hot and fast and served with kim chi dipping sauce. They vaporized from the table in about eight seconds, if that’s any evidence of the their delectability.
The cole slaw (pictured above with the bahn mi) had purple cabbage, green cabbage and some other stuff, all served in a tangy sauce with the perfect combination of crunch and mush. These guys know how to make a coleslaw hater become a coleslaw lover.
On to the end, the desert was out of this world. Frankly, Lambic is not to everybody’s taste – it’s like a cross between raspberry daiquiri and a hard beer. The Lambic Pops (ignoring the phallic representation) could have been a meal in and of themselves. What an amazing idea?!
The Hot Knives folks were so nice — after every visit (and there were many) to the food area we were served politely, told to “tell our friends” and given food and a friendly attitude to die for. I’d do this every weekend (or every day) if my work schedule and liver allowed it.
Ah, the food. Well, that’s just one item of convergence we’re talking about here – the next is music. Talking of The Beatles, as we sat down to enjoy our Fresh Chips, George Harrison came over the PA system with his eponymous “For You Blue” from the album recorded a few months before Abbey Road. Yeah, he probably wasn’t singing about the erect, blue Lambic Pops, but the music was great and the pops were cold, so who gives a shit? The Beatles were followed by Dandy Warhols, Velvet Underground and many of my favorite bands in tight rotation.
Ok, we have food and music, let’s talk about beer. In fact, after several Pliny The Elders (strangely the very first post on this site), I’m not going to talk very much about the beer, except to say that with 20+ beers on tap you can find one of LA’s best beer selections at your beck and call. Just show up at Verdudo, read the beer menu and let your designated driver take you home. Enough Said. Remember to check in advance, though, which beers are vegan. Most of the craft brews served here are, but better to be safe than carnivorous.
Food, music, beer, FRIENDS – yeah, what was originally a 45 minute stop over on the way somewhere became a 2+ hour chillin’ session when we ran into the awesome Foodeater of To Live and Eat in LA . We talked about friends, food, beer, and stuff we wouldn’t post in a family oriented blog (I’m serious). Upon leaving, our perspective of what’s important in life was firmly reinforced: Awesome food, great music, special beer and good friends.
For more updates about what’s going on at Verdugo Bar, follow them on twitter…. @verdugobarTags: alcohol, bahn mi, bbq, beer, beer, hot knives, seitan, verdugo
what a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad fucking day. it looks like the awesome vegan spot on sunset has finally called it quits. after much speculation and a totally strange ad hawking the business on craigslist of all places, the vegan spot has silently and calmly closed its doors…leaving hungry unsuspecting herbivores like me totally fucked on a friday night. (we are so used to grabbing vegan spot take-out!)
maybe i should have seen it coming. the last 3 times we tried to get take-out, they were closed. first, it was “due to renovations,” unbeknownst to me. next, a few days later, it was closed “due to the holidays.” now, it’s just closed due to being fucking closed. for days, the phone has been ringing through to an answering machine. for criminy’s sake, even yelpers have started to notice.
i drove by for myself and the place was boarded up. the lights were off. the phone rang straight to a fax machine. those chef salads and cheesey sandwiches that i dream about were nowhere to be found. ugh.
i guess the vegan spot has been in dire straights for quite some time. ever since they threw the biz up for sale on craigslist, their stability has been totally suspect. maybe this market proved to be just as unkind to the plant-eaters as it was to everyone else…and the vegan spot had to eventually shut its doors. what can i say, rent on on sunset surely ain’t cheap.
let’s reminisce a bit, eh? i will show you some of the stuff i last ate there….so you can feel as bad as me.
this sandwich was bloody awesome. greasy condiments, meaty soyness and sweet sauerkraut made for the perfect combo. i only got to eat it once, and i still can’t get it out of my head. god, this sandwich was killer.
the deceased bbq tempeh sandwich was also a winner. slathered in fake melty cheese, tangy bbq sauce, and stacked with protein…it gave all other vegan bbq sandwiches in los angeles a run for their money.
i will miss the fuck out of you, vegan spot.
what sucks most is, i should have seen it coming. the vegan spot started to tank right at the announcement of its sale. the chef salad went down hill, and some dishes started showing up totally jacked. for instance, the chicken rice bowl:
the description above sounds alright, huh? yeah, but my bowl came with no onion, no spinach, no tomatoes and no lemon. instead…it came with a fat serving of bell peppers, cucumbers and uncooked cashews for some reason. this dish was totally inedible. i’m sad to say this was actually my last time eating at the vegan spot, my old favorite restaurant. i tried to give them another chance tonight, but they were closed for the 4th time in a row.Tags: bbq, reuben, sandwich, silverlake, sunset
i have long been a fan of the vegan house in silverlake on sunset. it’s been a staple of my diet for years as a quick, cheapish meal before countless late night gigs at spaceland. they have genuinely good vegan thai vegan food, quick service, a large menu, and low prices. so, of course, i was beyond stoked when via some random googling, i realized they’d opened a second location much closer to my own hood: a vegan house 2 on wilcox near hollywood blvd. yipeeeeee! i had to try it out.
after some hardcore drinking at the blue palms ale house (our new favorite bar), we skipped down the lane to vegan house and continued home with 3 steamy boxes to go.
vegan house 2 aka hollywood vegan house is just as groovy as its cousin over in silverlake, perhaps even groovier. they have the same menu, plus some additional delights…and a much more welcoming atmosphere. the vegan house in silverlake is filled with awesome food, but it’s kinda dingy and i think they have an air conditioning problem. every time i’ve eaten there, whether it be june or january, i’ve always been shivery-cold. seriously, i know i live in southern california, but that doesn’t mean i want to feel like i’m dining at the north pole. additionally, the east-side location is pretty dimly lit and a tad depressing. sparse tables, located right underneath a comfort inn in a strip mall, no frills. the wilcox location, on the other hand, looks like a hip little sushi bar that has been converted to a vegan restaurant. bright colors, a sweet comfy bar with counter-top grills and stools, and tables that line the window. super-pleasant. i’m really looking forward to dining in sometime.
PLUS…as far as take-out, vegan house on wilcox has it nailed. the food was ready in record time, the counter man was smiley, and the the tasty factor was pretty high for a vegan thai place. you gotta realize going into these places, you are gonna get canned faux-meat from chinatown, serrated cucumbers in your salad and more tahini dressing than you could ever eat. i mean, i don’t know why all these thai-vegan places in los angeles have the same handbook, or why they are on every corner…but the food is mad decent (albeit super similar), so i gotta love ‘em.
let’s start with our appetizer…the bbq tofu. to be honest, although this was mighty good, it wasn’t what i expected. i had high hopes for some fancy bbq tofu a la a taste of life, but this was just a simple sliced variety with some sugary southern sauce drizzled on top. the tofu was well cooked…slightly crispy on the outside, spongey on the inside. but it wasn’t quite integrated with the sauce, which was kind of an afterthought and a tad to sweet. that being said, we wolfed the appetizer down anyway. for a vegan fix within walking distance from hollywood blvd. (aka tourist central), i really cannot complain.
next up, and much more to our delight, we had the grilled soy chicken salad. this is one of the premium “grilled meat” salads at the vegan house and it’s totally worth it. between two people it was more than enough! the vegetables were fresh and crisp, the tahini was tangy, and the soy chicken was beyond succulent. i mean look at this stuff. do you ever wanna eat meat again?!?!? i didn’t FUCKING THINK SO!
lastly, as an entree, we went with the thai mainstay of the quarrygirl household: pepper garlic with pepper steak.
this was pretty good, but like certain other thai places, the pepper steak was way too sweet. they shared the same sugary taste as the pepper steak down the road at truly vegan. if i wanted a sweet meat, i’d search for a faux slice of honey-baked-ham, not steak. i dunno. the fresh vegetables were absolutely superb, but all that sugary meat was kind of a let-down. i don’t hold it against the vegan house though, it’s probably just that one soy meat that isn’t to my liking. the same dish prepared with grilled tofu or soy chicken would have been divine. shame on me for ordering fake steak, when i know half of these vegan thai places opt for the sugary brand. overall, it was still beyond edible. not a MORSEL was discarded, no matter how much i bitch!
so…a couple of legitimate downsides about the vegan house in hollywood. well, they aren’t always open when they say they will be. the hours on their site are a great guideline; but if you are driving from far or just want to be sure, call ahead. if they don’t pick up, they prolly aren’t around. ALSO, for take-out peeps like me, there is SO MUCH AWESOME FOOD that isn’t even advertised on their website. only if you go there and eat off the in house menu will you see all the magical offerings! i mean, just ask my fellow vegan blogger foodeater! she went there and ate some awesome food, all of which is not represented on their internet menu. i’m totally jealous. just keep that in mind.
overall, the vegan house rocks. hit it up in hollywood or silverlake when you are looking for one of the better los angeles vegan thai places, with the word vegan in its title! it’s cheap, cozy, and delish. stick to the asian dishes, and you can’t go wrong!Tags: appetizer, bbq, hollywood, pepper steak, salad, thai, tofu
grabbing a take-out order from m café officially marked the end of the quarrygirl road trip to san francisco, and oh what a way to go out! lemme tell ya, nothing gets you through a 6+ hour drive like knowing you have dinner from m to come home to. for me, this meal meant finally trying the much-hyped bbq sandwich.
carolina-style barbequed seitan sandwich: thinly sliced grilled seitan basted with our own zesty barbeque sauce and piled high on a house-baked whole wheat bun with grilled onions, pickles, and creamy coleslaw. comes with a side salad. $11.45 (no pickles for me!)
omfg it was so good. i don’t know what has been up with my luck lately—i really looooove seitan (i love it with 5 o’s, so that means a lot) and it seems like every time i’ve ordered it within the past few weeks, i’ve winded up having the absolute best seitan dish i’ve ever eaten up to that point in time. this is true of m café’s carolina-styled sandwich—greatest seitan ever, full stop.
not only was there an enormous mound of my favorite thinly sliced wheat meat atop a freshly baked bun, but it was also dripping with the zestiest, lightest and most delicious bbq sauce. i’m used to eating big thick chunks of seitan, but these delectable slices were completely different and practically melted in my mouth.
did i mention it came with a side salad? of course i got the kale with spicy peanut sauce. i can’t bring myself to even try one of the other side salads at m. since ordering this on my first visit, i am totally hooked. i know, i may be missing out…i just can’t help it.
because it was so scrumptious, i just have to supply you with another completely gratuitous photo of my new favorite sandwich. look how big it is—it looks like it is about to eat me!
thanks, m café! places like you make me feel sooooo lucky to be a vegan during this day in age. i mean seriously, with all the crazy meatless bbq options that are popping up everywhere (from jackfruit to seitan), nobody should ever have to pull a pork again.Tags: bbq, seitan