we go down to san diego pretty often, and for ages people have been urging us to check out ranchos cocina. the small mexican restaurant has two locations (one in ocean beach and one in north park) and although it serves meat, it boasts a massive vegan-friendly menu with everything from breakfast to dinner and specialty products like daiya and mock chicken & steak. we visited the north park outlet for an early lunch, and i can safely say that it was better than most vegan mex options in LA.
we arrived at around noon and were quickly seated. the waiter was friendly and helpful, and brought us a basket of chips with unlimited salsa. great way to start the meal. the salsa was superb too: packed with heat and super chunky. for my entree, i went with a combo plate that came with rice, beans, and 2 bean enchiladas for $7.95. it’s worth noting that this normally comes smothered in daiya, but i opted to get it plain…Tags: burrito, enchiladas, mexican, mexican food, san diego
after a long day of traveling and getting by on only snacks, papacitos in greenpoint, brooklyn was the very first stop we made from jfk airport. i was so starving and tired i only took this single barely lit photo of my enchilada plate. papcito’s is incredibly vegan friendly and everything is clearly marked on the menu. for their filling options on tacos, enchiladas, etc, they have four vegan options: seitan, tempeh, grilled veggies, and soyrizo.Tags: brooklyn, enchiladas, field report, mexican food
if you read this blog a lot, you probably know that we have a bad-ass field operative who travels around and sends us pictures of his various vegan exploits. so far he has conquered seattle, vegas, san diego and huntington beach…but tonight’s episode comes to you all the way from the windy city. that’s right, we bring you an undercover report of karyn’s cooked, a gourmet vegan restaurant located in chicago. i will let our very terse and no bullshit informant take it away (his words are in quotes):
“sloppy jos were off the charts. perfect potato wedges and slaw as your sides.” ’nuff said!
“the enchiladas were something i would never have imagined….
“garlic mashed potato as filling. epic.” —what?!?!? mashed potato filling? fuck yeah!
“southern greens i could eat every day and not get sick of.” (i think we can all agree w/ that!)
“mac and cheese, well duh. its like cold pizza. even when its bad–it’s good. and this was delicious. the waitress said that she had ‘checked with the mac and cheese’ when she got in and it was ‘having a good day’ -she was right.”
and of course, there were drinks with lunch…
“champagne with our campaign, doin the damn thang.”
dunno about you, but this sounds like a pretty stellar meal to me! i can personally vouch for this karyn’s cooked, as the one time i ate there many years ago it was tip top. so definitely check this place out when in chicago. i have a feeling our informant is onto something.
he closes his document with even more praise:
“always the best service, food and atmosphere…”
“i’m more of a karyn’s snob vs. the chicago diner hipster… “
“the perfect sunday lunch and my favorite place to eat when i visit back home to chicago. i think r. kelly was sitting next to us…”
karyn’s cookedTags: chicago, enchiladas, macaroni & cheese
738 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 312-587-1050
one of the things i miss most since becoming vegan is mexican food. even though it’s getting easier to find places that refrain from sneaking chicken stock and lard into just about everything, i’ve still been looking for somewhere to re-create that greasy, cheesy, mexican goodness that i miss from when i was a vegetarian. well guess, what….i found it! mama’s hot tamales cafe, located right at the southern border of macarthur park, is serving up the best vegan mexican food in los angeles, melty vegan cheese and all.
for a while, vegans in the know have raved about mama’s hot tamales’ animal-free options. for ages, the restaurant has been serving up tofu alternatives to tortas and burritos, vegan tamales, tostadas, appetizers and salads. but recently, as i learned in the quarrygirl forums, mama’s started carrying daiya vegan cheese…so now practically any menu item containing dairy can be veganized. OH MY WURD, this is such a breakthrough. things like quesadillas and enchiladas, that have been off limits to vegans forever, are now available at mama’s. and really amazing versions of these foods as well. if you don’t already know how earth-shatteringly good daiya is, you should.
we hit up mama’s hot tamales cafe over the weekend and went all out with our order. i wanted to try as much cheesy stuff as possible, plus get a tamale of course, because that’s mama’s most famous dish! we started with the mini quesadilla appetizer, and added mushrooms and spinach to it as well. the vegan version came with the choice of cheddar or white daiya cheese, and we went with cheddar.
all i can say about this appetizer is, it’s one of the tastiest, most convincing cheese dishes i’ve had since becoming vegan. the daiya was gooey, melty, and perfectly oily with a real authentic cheddar flavor. it mixed up just great with the spinach leaves and tiny mushrooms, all pressed into a slightly crunchy cooked tortilla. mexican perfection, i’m telling you.
for my main dish, i got something that haunts most vegans’ dreams: cheese enchiladas. i never thought i’d be able to eat a cheese enchilada again, that actually tasted decent, like it was filled with real cheese. well this did.
three soft corn tortillas wrapped around huge clumps of daiya and topped off with even more melted cheese. again, i chose cheddar for this because it seemed more authentic, but if you like daiya white cheese you can get that in your enchiladas as well. these enchiladas were nothing short of wonderful. this may be the best use of daiya i’ve had yet, mama’s got it spot on, just melty enough with just the right amount of cheese. if you hit up mama’s hot tamales, be sure to order these enchiladas no matter what…words can’t describe how much they rocked my world.
at a mere seven bucks, these enchiladas were a steal. not only was the portion size large, but they also came with a huge mound of rice and a spinach salad. not just a dinky side salad, but a full on plate of spinach leaves and vegetables with guacamole dressing. amazing.
my husband ordered the vegan version of the tofu burrito, with a blend of cheddar and white melted daiya on top.
the thing was absolutely massive and stuffed with beans, rice, and huge chunks of tofu. unlike normal burritos with soft little squares of tofu, the tofu in this one was marinated nicely and cut into large strips. it had so much flavor and really worked as a filling. again, the daiya cheese in and on top of the burrito was absolutely incredible. no complaints about this dish at all.
lastly we shared a black bean and herb tamale, which was a great deal at just $2.50.
the fluffy corn mass came wrapped in a banana leaf and contained a thick mixture of black beans and leafy herbs. the masa dough was so insanely light and fluffy, if you like tamales, you will love the way mama makes them. there were plenty of other vegan options to choose from, and the menu rotates daily. i can’t wait to try some of her other flavors.
in addition to having amazing vegan food and low prices, the staff at mama’s is extremely friendly as well. as we walked in, mama introduced herself and went over the menu with us in a way that showed she really cared. every server that brought something to our table was courteous and engaging. they all seemed like great, genuinely nice people.
mama’s hot tamales cafe isn’t in a great part of town, but they are only open during the day and they have parking, so don’t let the shady factor stop you from going there. once you walk through mama’s doors, you are in a warm, clean, welcoming environment full of smiles and awesome vegan food.
so make plans to go to mama’s hot tamales cafe ASAP. the fact that they have daiya isn’t printed yet on the physical menu, but be sure to ask for it and mama will take care of you. i can’t stress enough that this is the BEST MEXICAN FOOD i’ve had since becoming vegan. don’t miss out on it.
and a special shout out to lucysnowe from the forums for reminding me to check this place out. 🙂
mama’s hot tamales cafeTags: burrito, daiya, enchiladas, macarthur park, mexican, quesadilla, tamale
2124 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90057-4001
open 7 days 11:00am-3:30pm