have you been following our massive list of vegan thanksgiving options in los angeles? if not, you should check it out because we’ve posted several updates and the holiday is fast approaching. for instance, today is the last day to place your orders for an m cafe take out thanksgiving meal. and speaking of m cafe, they’ll be offering an in store thanksgiving roast meal for dinner at both locations now through wednesday. they invited me to try it over the weekend, check it out:Tags: beverly hills, hollywood, melrose, thanksgiving
oh hell yes! next week m cafe is rolling out two new vegan dinner specials: a chicken pot pie and a philly cheesesteak sandwich!
i’ll take one of each, please! the specials will run at both m cafe locations from 9/12 to 9/26 after 4pm. the dishes are actually the result of a facebook and twitter contest where m cafe fans were invited to submit ideas for “macrotized” (aka veganized!) comfort foods. i’d like to personally thank who ever came up with these two winning suggestions.
we have the recipe for both dishes after the jump, in case you wanna make them at home. me? i’ll be at m cafe on monday for dinner. pot pie, here i come! (PS: i don’t have a picture of the sandwich, but it’s gonna be stacked with thinly-sliced seitan, peppers, mushrooms, and onions then smothered melted “cheese sauce” for $9.95.)Tags: beverly hills, melrose, pot pie
i simply couldn’t believe it a couple weeks ago when i received an email from a reader named ashlee raving about the vegan options at cut steakhouse in beverly hills! apparently she’d been dragged there for a family function, and found that the restaurant offered a 3 course meal just for vegans. as she pointed out in her message, “Although I am positive that no vegan would ever willingly dine at CUT, I thought I’d inform you of this in case you or any of your blog readers are stuck in a situation (like I was) where they have to attend a steakhouse.” luckily for us, ashlee found herself back at cut recently with some guests from out of town, and she sent me some snaps of her meal to post on the blog. enjoy! hopefully this will come in handy next time you have to go to a fancy dinner with omnivores in beverly hills.
I had dinner at Cut and it was just as amazing as last time. I let the chef pick this time again because it was so good last time. The waiters at Cut are surprisingly knowledgeable about veganism…I mentioned I was a vegan and the waiter said “are you a full vegan or just a vegetarian? If you are a full vegan, I will be sure that nothing will have dairy in it and will bring some bread to the table that isn’t made with eggs or butter”.
First course: summer bean salad with veggies and pine nuts and a tahini dressing…
Second course: mushroom and shishito peppers in this asian sauce, caramelized summer corn, green bean mixture with sun dried tomatoes, and various greens/peas with caramelized onions…Tags: beverly hills, field report, quick bites, steakhouse
shhhh! there’s a new secret item at m cafe. we already told ya all about the off-menu “loaded burger” which comes stacked with tempeh bacon and avocado, but now they’ve got even more stealthy eats up their sleeve…
photo credit: m cafe
sweet e’s is becoming THE go to place in LA for haute and sassy baked goods. the specialty bakeshop caters to loads of celebrity clients, has an impressive resume of television appearances, and recently grew from a delivery-only business, to a dessert truck, and now a full on brick and mortar bakery. oh and did i mention, they are super vegan-friendly?! yes! i’m so happy to report that every step of the way, sweet e’s has kept vegan customers in mind. and their recent foray into cake pops is no exception.
WTF is a cake pop?! i didn’t even know until recently. it’s basically a decadent cake bite covered in creamy frosting, served up on a stick so it’s easy to eat. genius. i recently got a chance to sample several different flavors from sweet e’s, and i’m happy to report that they were all outstanding.Tags: beverly hills, cake pops, dessert
UPDATE 6/27/2011: i just received an email from a second reader saying the fritters contain egg. stay away from them! the good news is, supposedly the bazaar has introduced a separate vegan menu. i can’t find it online, so it must be pretty new. so awesome!
UPDATE 4/9/2011: since posting this, someone has commented saying the fritters contain egg. i followed up and called the restaurant, and was told again (just as i was by my server) that the fritters are vegan. maybe bazaar has changed their policy, so be sure to ask. and as always, eat at your own risk!
this is a blog post for all you high rollin’ herbivores out there. we all know we can have our casual fast food, our greasy pub grub, and even epic tasting menus occasionally at exclusively vegan restaurants. but can we eat at ultra posh hang outs with artsy decor where celebrity chefs serve up unique cuisine? thanks to the bazaar by jose andres at SLS hotel, we certainly can.
if you want a truly fancy los angeles experience that is vegan-friendly, but not specifically “vegan” (let’s face it: vegan restaurants aren’t known for their atmosphere), the bazaar is your place. you will have to get to know the wait staff and ask for things made to animal-free specifications, but i assure you that you can absolutely get a great meal at the sls hotel’s fancy restaurant. i hit up the bazaar recently with my friend jackie from alternative outfitters, and we had quite an awesome meal. i even saw kate beckinsale in the bathroom!
first up, drinks. being at such a fancy restaurant, we couldn’t pass up the chance to indulge in some specialty cocktails. we both ordered the “jalé berry” which consisted of fresh blackberries, gin, cointreau, and jalapeno. the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, this drink was delicious.
next, we went about ordering tons of food. the style at this restaurant is small shared plates, so everything you see pictured was split between 2 people. the bazaar has loads vegetable dishes, many of which are vegan, but i’d still recommend you ask about each one specifically. even though our waiter was very knowledgeable about veganism and willing to accommodate us, we did wind up with accidental dairy on our table at one point…so always double check. i’d even suggest letting them know you’re vegan when you book your reservation.Tags: beverly hills, fancy
this is just a heads up to let everyone know that the carvel ice cream in beverly hills makes make vegan versions of old school ice cream cakes, including the cookie puss! it’s seriously too good to be true…their cake page is insane, and they can all be veganized. i have never had a vegan ice cream cake, but i’m freaking dying to try one. all i need is 14 friends to help me eat it. :/
this is a vegan classic cookie puss that carolyn from the healthy voyager got for her birthday. i’m totally jealous.Tags: beverly hills, cake, dessert, ice cream
buy 4 big macros and get one for free? yes, please! same goes for the chopped salad, detox juice, 3 item deli salad combo, and macro meal all month at m cafe.
just a heads up that to help you out with your new year’s resolution (if in fact your resolution is to spend more time eating out at m cafe), the restaurant has launched a new discount card just for the month of january. here’s how it works…Tags: beverly hills, deal, discount, melrose
we have been fans of the tiny treats from sweet e’s mini bakeshop for a while now, so we were super excited when we heard they were getting a brick and mortar location, and would stock at least one vegan flavor daily. i checked out the cute new store earlier this week and as usual the desserts were delicious…Tags: beverly hills, brownies, cupcakes
UPDATE: please check out the official response that mani’s left in the comment section!
Back in the 90s, Elton used to invite me to his Academy Awards after-party at Maple Drive, one of LA’s trendiest restaurants. Situated on the lower floor of then-Hollywood hot studio Castle Rock Pictures, Maple Drive was a stunning exemplification of the excesses of Hollywood at that time. Over the years, though, Maple Drive fell into decline, and perhaps the final nail in the coffin was the death of its owner, actor Dudley Moore. The restaurant closed not long after he passed away.
The tremendous location on tree-lined Maple Drive in Beverly Hills remained boarded up for a while until one of our favorite vegan-friendly restaurants, Mani’s Bakery, took over the space recently and relocated their operations lock stock and barrel from the Fairfax district, naming the new location, fittingly, “Mani’s on Maple”.
We’ve raved about the old Mani’s location a number of times before and even mounted a campaign to get them more customers when the owner put a message on the website saying that they were in danger of closing. We dined there nearly every weekend, I’d drive across town for lunches with colleagues and we blogged and tweeted about it until we were blue in the face. The rest of the vegan community clearly did the same, and we were pleasantly surprised to find familiar vegan faces at Mani’s just about every time we visited.
Well, I’m sad to report that just like the former, storied Maple Drive Restaurant that plummeted out of fashion and into decline, Mani’s has done the exact same thing – at least as far as vegans are concerned. After all, our recent experience exposed non-vegan food served to us that wasn’t the usual kitchen mistake or hidden ingredient, but a complete breakdown of organization from the proprieter through to the serving staff. Read on to find out just how crappy Manis is for vegans.
You’d think me nuts for saying this just by looking at the menu. It’s full of vegan offerings: burgers, sandwiches and even a Banh Mi-style sandwich. There are seitan and tofu options for most things, and a reassuring “V” sign next to all the items that are allegedly vegan. Indeed, the menu even goes so far as to have a whole call-out about how vegan the vegan offerings are:
So, it was with a double dose of nostalgia that we hit up Mani’s on Maple for lunch this week. The space certainly reminded me of the old days, and I can still hear the echo of Elton’s distinctive laugh as he mingled through the crowd. Further familiarities included the friendly Mani’s staff, the beaming and bespectacled Mr. Larry Maiman (co-founder) buzzing around, the distinctive colorful menu sorted into tabs and large plates of delicious-looking food everywhere.
We settled into a comfortable booth on the back wall and ordered the Vegan Sliders and Vegan Banh Mi asking the server to check with the kitchen to ensure that the bread and all ingredients were vegan, and she promised she would.
A few minutes later, two wonderful-looking plates of food arrived. Again, we asked the server if everything was vegan and she said: “Yes, I asked the chef and everything here is 100% vegan”.
Well, we snapped some pictures and began to eat our lunch. Very quickly, we noticed that the bread had a very “buttery” texture and taste. Again, we asked if everything was vegan: “Yes, I checked with the chef. Everything is vegan.”.
We looked up the menu online, and noted that Mani’s serves by default “Brioche” bread (Wikipedia describes it thus: “Brioche is a highly enriched French bread, whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb. It has a dark, golden, and flaky crust from an egg wash applied after proofing.”). Hardly vegan. I got up to find our server, and asked her to check again with the kitchen, while we stopped eating.
A few minutes later, Christopher Hopgood, the restaurant’s GM, came to our table to apologize in a highly funereal tone that the bread we’d eaten wasn’t in fact vegan but contained egg and butter as we had suspected. Not only that, he said that none of the buns are vegan and therefore neither of the dishes that say “vegan” which we ordered actually are. Indeed, he wasn’t sure if any of the breads are vegan, stating that they used honey in many of them and “well, the bakery isn’t really ready yet”. When we asked him how they could have made such a mistake, and he responded “We all proof-read the menu, and these vegan dishes are a mistake. We will take steps right away to correct this.”.
Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Hopgood was very polite and genuinely apologetic (especially as he had no idea that we had a vegan blog). He comped our lunch (no shit, considering we ate very little), and gave us a gift certificate which we’ll use one evening to go for a few drinks, as there’s no way I can trust the food at Mani’s ever again.
We asked FOUR times if the food was vegan, and only on the final pushy request did somebody actually bother to find out for sure. I believe that Mani’s is one of the sad breed of restaurants in LA that are cashing in on the “Vegan” word, slapping some ostensibly vegan ingredients into non-vegan items they already have on the menu, as well as not training their servers and kitchen staff apropriately.
Manis: if you can’t do vegan food properly then don’t do it at all.
Vegans: You might want to AVOID MANI’S.
Clearly, they’re not up-front about what’s in the food and the fact that we had to go through so much to get to the truth speaks volumes about the attitude they have not only about vegan customers but their clientele in general. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And if you want to know why I don’t eat eggs? This report will give you some of the reasons.Tags: beverly hills, not vegan
it’s no secret that m cafe has one of the best vegan burgers in town. but did you know that in addition to the delicious whole grain patty, tofu cheese, and awesome sauce, you can get your burger with avocado and tempeh bacon?! ’cause YOU CAN!
i recently stopped by m cafe and got one of their burger/fries/lemonade combos. i tried the avocado & bacon variation of the big macro and i can tell you it is super yum! m cafe really does have some of the best tempeh bacon, so adding it to the already delicious burger was a special treat. and i admittedly haven’t been to m cafe in a while, so i was especially surprised to see they have sweet potato fries! the fries are served with a tangy aioli – which was really good BUT they were so delicious and well-seasoned i ended up just shoving most of them into my mouth sans-dip.
i definitely recommend the tempeh bacon burger – and with the combo it’s a pretty sweet deal!Tags: beverly hills, burger, culver city, melrose
UPDATE 7/30/11: sad! i just got the following email: “Recently changed to a buffet style only situation. There is one vegan option; miso soup. They don’t even serve edamame anymore. Rather sad.”
hmmm….let’s think: a vegan-friendly sushi happy hour with $1 beers, $4 pitchers, and $1 bottles of sake? YES PLEASE. not to mention really great rolls, grilled vegetables, and a live band?! what up!
i’m talking about the daily happy hour (5-7:30pm) at sushi & kushi imai on wilshire. we have already told you about some insane vegan options at an omni eatery this week, and i think sushi & kushi is right up there when you factor in the good food and CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP BOOZE.
we hit up sushi & kushi imai, not knowing what to expect. the restaurant is technically located in beverly hills, but it’s super close to mid wilshire and has parking lot where we were lucky enough to find a space. as i said earlier, happy hour runs from 5pm until 7:30, but what we didn’t realize is that it fills up QUICK. we got there at 6pm, and there was limited seating in the bar (the only area of the restaurant where happy hour prices are honored). thankfully, we managed to get a decent 2 top table, and we quickly realized that the restaurant was hoppin’ for a good reason. we started with a pitcher of sapporo for only FOUR DOLLARS. yes, you heard me right, a 4 buck pitcher of beer. can’t beat that in this town!
to eat, we began with a standard bowl of edamame from the happy hour menu. it was $1.95 and came with a generous amount of salted soy beans. the perfect appetizer with the refreshing beer.
the vegan sushi options are somewhat limited (think avocado, cucumber, and vegetable rolls), but what they do have is excellent. we got 2 cucumber rolls and a vegetable roll to share, for a combined total of $12.50. the rolls were perfectly prepared, and the vegetables were fresh and crispy. i must say, this was a welcome change from the mock meat type of sushi i’m used to eating. oh, and they can substitute brown for white rice at an extra charge, if that’s your thing.
after drinking the pitcher of beer, we decided to move onto something a little more strong, and were delighted to see that small jugs of hot sake were only $1. a buzz for a buck! yes, it is possible at sushi & kushi imai.
i’d never heard of kushi before, but apparently it’s food grilled on a skewer, and at happy hour there were tons of vegetable options. it was hard to choose between the japanese pumpkin, okra, and sweet potato…but we ended up going with the lotus, which did not disappoint. two massive crunchy slices of lotus root that were crispy around the edges and served with a trio of dipping sauces, two of which were vegan. when you order, please let them know that you don’t want the mayo-based sauce—but the other two, miso and bbq, are safe to eat.
lastly, even though it wasn’t on the discounted happy hour menu, we split an order of sauteed mushrooms. they just sounded so good and when we saw they had the word “vegan” in the menu description, we just couldn’t resist. this dish came with succulent sauteed enoki and shiitake mushrooms all whipped up with sake and vegan butter. absolutely amazing.
by the time we were wrapping up our meal, a live band had started playing in the bar area. we decided to order another bottle of sake (hey for $1, why not?) and make a night of it. we were so happy and full of good food, i couldn’t believe it when the check arrived and it was only $33! how is that even possible? we consumed 1 pitcher of beer, 2 bottles of sake, 1 order of edamame, 3 rolls of sushi, 1 order of kushi, and an entree-size portion of mushrooms…all for $33?! and we even strayed from the cheap happy hour menu to order the mushroom dish! next time we are gonna stick to sushi and sake, and keep our tab to under 20 bucks. where else can you do that in beverly hills?
the happy hour at sushi & kushi imai is awesome, and i know we’ll be back often. my advice is to get there early, secure a nice table, and take your time eating. you’re guaranteed to have a lovely meal. cheers!
sushi & kushi imaiTags: beer, beverly hills, happy hour, sushi
8300 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
happy hour is everyday from 5pm – 7:30pm BAM!
as you probably already know, the club club is an ongoing series of blog posts where we ruthlessly attempt to seek out the best vegan club sandwich in los angeles. so far we’ve hit up follow your heart, flore, casa de tree, and mani’s bakery…all of which boasted quite impressive double-decker sandwich offerings. tonight’s sandwich comes to you from m cafe, and i am pretty sure if we had to declare a winner right now, this would be it.
granted the m cafe club is a bit on the expensive side, and clocks in at over 11 bucks…but the taste and quality of this thing can not be beat. it’s much lighter than the other clubs but comes packed with the finest and most memorable ingredients. the avocado is always soft and creamy, the carrots are paper thin, and the other vegetables are fresh beyond belief. add to that some completely spongy yet lightly toasted bread and the best tempeh bacon i’ve ever had….whoa!
plus each sandwich comes with a side of your choice (not pictured), and the deli salads at m cafe are amazing. depending what’s in season, there are usually tons of good options, but i can never stray from the epic peanut kale (ask anybody who has tried it—-it is insane!).
as you can tell, i’m a little blown away by the m cafe club sandwich…..and i have been since the day i’ve tried it. but this contest IS FAR FROM OVER! leave your favorite vegan club in the comments section and we will be sure to review it. it’s a tough job, but that’s why i’m here.
m cafe de chayaTags: beverly hills, club club, culver city, melrose, sandwich
check them out on melrose, in beverly hills, and in culver city!
this is huge news for vegan cupcake lovers: as of today, the popular cupcake bakery sprinkles has added a vegan flavor to their menu! i stopped by today at 9am right when they opened to sample the new vegan treat, and whoa—-it was amazing.Tags: beverly hills, cupcakes
UPDATE: i just found out carvel has extended their FREE ICE CREAM giveaway! they open officially this weekend, but are giving out free vegan samples from 11am-4pm until FRIDAY 1/29! get over there!
yes, FREE VEGAN SOFT SERVE AND ICE CREAM CAKE!!
do i have your attention now? remember carvel los angeles, the place i blogged about back in the summertime that was offering vegan soft serve? well they have been in the process of relocating to beverly hills, and construction is finally complete! they aren’t officially open for business yet, but AS OF NOW monday through friday from 11am-4pm they are handing out free samples and introducing their new vegan line.
i heard this info from a pre-recorded message when i called their location at 310-278-5411 (try it for yourself!), and it sounded way too good to be true. lo and behold, i showed up today at around 1pm and was greeted by 3 friendly staff members who wouldn’t let me pay for my ice cream. they gave me some vegan vanilla soft serve with nuts (pictured above), as well as a slice of chocolate ice cream cake. they also explained that when they open, the carvel beverly hills will be half vegan with even more animal-free flavors and toppings (including chocolate sauce)! woooo!
the ice cream cake and soft serve were both great! they were really sweet, but also very healthy tasting, and not overly rich. back at the old location, carvel was using temptation soft serve from one of our favorite companies, chicago soy dairy. not sure if this stuff was temptation as well, but it was damn good. i can’t wait until these guys open for real, because i am totally gonna have them make me a vegan cookie puss!
i highly encourage you to do whatever you can to get to beverly hills this week and hit up carvel for some FREE ICE CREAM! dude, soft serve and cake, at no charge?!!?!?!? what could possibly be better than that?
they are located on rodeo drive, in the rodeo collection….on the very bottom level, by the valets. i parked north for super cheap in the metered parking lot at santa monica blvd and rodeo drive. if you enter from rodeo, this is what it looks like, and just take the escalators to the bottom level.
421 N. Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
PS: if you do go this week and take advantage of the free stuff, leave a nice tip! i, stupidly, had no cash on me today….so if you could throw in an extra buck on my behalf i’d be totally grateful!Tags: beverly hills, cake, dessert, ice cream