today’s field report is by christina, who recently went on a european trip and stopped off in rome, italy for some vegan gelato. i’m jealous!
Just a short walk from the beautiful Trevi Fountain is Gelateria Valentino, one of my first stops every time I go to Rome. It’s true that all throughout Italy you can get vegan sorbet, (though you always have to ask which sorbets don’t contain milk–many flavors do, and it varies by establishment.) but it’s very rare to find a soy gelato, which makes it creamier and comes in non-fruit flavors.
Valentino’s always has two soy (or soia as it’s called in Italy) flavors, and often there is a rich chocolate flavor that doesn’t contain soy or milk. I have spoken with the owner, Valentino on several occasions and he understands the needs of the vegan customer and neither he nor his staff will steer you wrong. The best part, though, is that the gelato is delicious! Creamy, refreshing–a truly artisan delight. One of the places in L.A. boasting vegan offerings is icy and I can tell they haven’t mastered the art of making an amazing vegan offering. Not so with Valentino’s. Not to mention, for a location so near the Trevi, the price is very reasonable. (About $3 US for two scoops.)
Via del Lavatore, 96Tags: field report, gelato, italy, rome
Tel +39 06.6783219
as you probably know, scoops is a small gelato shop in los angeles that always has 3 vegan offerings on deck. they are notorious for their wacky flavor combos like banana avocado, basil, and brown bread. but the thing is, you never know which flavors are going to be available. i have been hearing good things about their “salty chocolate” for ages, and never had a chance to try it until today. i can safely say the odd-sounding combo did not disappoint…it was the perfect amount of sweetness followed up with a nice salty finish. my only complaint is that it made me very thirsty.
have you been to scoops? what is your favorite flavor? i wish they would join twitter and keep us updated with the gelato of the day….
scoopsTags: gelato, ice cream, scoops
712 N Heliotrope Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to a special vegan dinner with a select group of friends to celebrate both Memorial Day, and (more importantly) that revered global festival, otherwise known as Morrissey’s Birthday. Immediately upon receiving the invite, I offered to bring a dessert for the gang to eat. It being a birthday celebration and all, I decided to get a vegan ice cream birthday cake with “Happy Birthday Moz” written upon it.
I immediately thought of Scoops, a local favorite of vegans, as they offer not only a reasonable vegan ice cream selection, but also have a made-to-order vegan ice cream cake offering for only $25. Unfortunately, there’s a rather confusing set of steps to go through in order to place an order. First, you call the store, where they give you another number to call. You call that number, and are told to leave a message, with a promise of a call-back by the end of the next business day. Well, I called three times over as many days, and nobody bothered to call me back, leaving me somewhat caught short the day before the dinner, as none of the other restaurants in town would make me a vegan cake without 48 hours notice. Finally, I copped out and went to Wholefoods, to buy a lame combination of Soy Dream cookie dough ice cream and a fucking vegan brownie. How embarrassing!
Before we get to the dinner, though, Scoops has fallen foul of LA vegans (and even meat eaters, too) for serving Foie Gras ice cream. Not that I give a shit either way (I’d eat at XIV again in a force-fed fat-heartbeat), but (under pressure) they have assured people that they would not stock it any more, only to say – a few days later – that they have it “sometimes”.
It might be time for a foie gras / customer service demonstration outside Scoops. Serving foie gras is one thing, but lying about it isn’t acceptable, any more than not calling back paying customers who leave multiple messages requesting products! On top of that, some of the staff have a really shitty “no eye contact” attitude (especially the old Asian gentleman who works in there) when asked basic questions about their menu and offerings.Tags: baked beans, birthday, gelato, ice cream, morrissey, sloppy joes
harrods is what has to be the dopest motherfucking department store ever. located on brompton road in london’s knightsbridge, it’s absolutely massive with over a million square feet of selling space and 330 departments. you can buy everything from groceries, to a flat screen tv, to a car, or even a house at harrods. you can probably adopt kids there as well…who knows. i’ve only been to harrods a few times, and while i love wandering through the enormous space and drooling over things i could never afford to buy, the one thing i have left with every single time is a cup of vegan gelato.Tags: england, gelato, harrods, ice cream, knightsbridge, london, uk
if you are a los angeles foodie or lover of fine dining, you are probably familiar with dineLA restaurant week. it’s a big event that everyone talks about, where upper-tier joints offer their food at discount prices to showcase their best dishes and get you hooked. the proper explanation from dineLA’s website goes like this:
dineLA Restaurant Week is a two-week dining event established to introduce diners to the vast array of restaurants in neighborhoods throughout LA County. Local foodies and visitors to LA will have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of specially priced three-course meals from some of LA’s best restaurants during this dining event.
a 3 course prix fixe menu from a snazzy restaurant? sign me up. for most los angelers, dineLA is a bloody great deal, because it makes pricey (and meat-heavy) restos like stk and katsuya available to the masses. but what about us vegans? luckily, this year there is a 5 star dining, and very vegan friendly option: akasha in culver city.
akasha is a really swish new-american-style restaurant/bar/bakery with tons of vegan options that aren’t even advertised as vegan on the menu. however, all the servers are quite knowledgeable about veganism and very happy to accommodate and explain what contains no animal products. i’d say 80% of the vegetarian dishes are vegan, and the other 20% can be easily modified. imagine my excitement when i saw that akasha was taking part in the dineLA restaurant week, and that for just $22 i could experience their exquisite vegan 3 course lunch.
i headed over with one of my vegan pals and we had a slap up, shameless meal. while the dineLA akasha menu wasn’t vegan in its entirety, every course had at least one vegan option, all of which were superb. to start with, we each ordered the grilled artichoke.
considering my 3 course meal was capped out at $22, i was so stoked to be ordering a $9 appetizer as my first course. not just that, but the quality and awesomeness of the dish were overwhelming. two huge steaming artichokes boasting the most soft and edible stems, along with fleshy and succulent dripping leaves…not to mention the mildly spicy aioli (yep, that was vegan as well) that added a hot kick and creamy texture to every bite. plus, the fine, fine artichokes were served on a bed of delicate wild arugula. this appetizer was all around impressive.
for the second course, we both ordered the only vegan-friendly main…the punjabi mung beans and rice with no raita.
the vegetables were really special, shriveled yet tender carrots and soft cauliflower. the mung bean dish itself was fluffy and delicate, bursting with the most delicious curry flavors. the flatbread was covered in chunky onion slices, and tasted like it came fresh out the oven. everything rocked. i don’t know why anyone would want to add icky raita to this already perfect dish.
for a dessert, we decided to sample 3 scoops of akasha’s vegan ice cream. they had a soy-based vanilla ice cream and a chocolate flavored gelato. i went for 2 scoops gelato and one scoop of soy.
while all the ice cream was exceptional, the chocolate gelato really stood out. the soy vanilla was frigid and hard, almost refusing to budge and melt in my mouth. the chocolate on the other hand, was melty and perfect, cold yet still extremely creamy.
while that pretty much does it for akasha’s super affordable dineLA lunch deal, i also had a chance to visit the restaurant for a normal dinner. while it wasn’t the same incredible bargain as the lunch special, the food was just as good, and i wasn’t limited by a fixed menu. i hit up the akasha dinner scene with the same vegan friend, and this time we shared everything. with one appetizer, two mains, and one dessert between us, we left the restaurant with our seams bursting.
we started off with the hummus plate and were totally blown away. like the flat bread, the pizza bread was covered in crispy little onions, and baked to absolute perfection. the hummus was thick and just oily enough, and the little plump olives were fresh as can be. yum yum yummmmm.
we also shared the shitake, roasted squash and basil pizza.
in true akasha form, this pizza doesn’t advertise itself as being vegan, although it is. the plate comes completely without any form of cheese (imitation or genuine), yet the pie is so tasty in its own right, the dairy will never be missed. fresh tomatoes, squash and eggplant piled atop a chalky and chewy crust make for the ultimate pizza without even the thought of cheese.
we also split the red quinoa, also inherently vegan, with smoked tofu…my favorite dish i’ve tried at akasha so far.
this stuff came with the same delicate and shriveled carrots as the mung bean lunch special, plus some very flavorful quinoa and juicy tofu. it was seasoned so well in fact, that when biting into the tofu, i was hit by several different flavors—salty, gingery, and spicy—one right after the other. i highly recommend trying this out.
for dessert, we splurged on the salty chocolate tart, and it was incredible.
the sweet and savory combo paired perfectly, and the caramel sauce drizzled over the top and soy creme were both amazing. even though there are so many vegan desserts to choose from at akasha, i don’t think any of them could possibly top this salty chocolatey goodness.
so los angeles vegans, if you want a fancy vegan meal and aren’t against paying a little extra, hit up akasha. the restaurant truly is stunning—beautifully decorated with plenty of delicious and organic vegan options.
and frugal vegans, if you want the experience but don’t feel like paying a ton of money, get to akasha by friday february 6th for lunch…you can enjoy their 3 course dineLA menu for only $22! they also have a prix fixe dinner menu for $34, but it isn’t quite as vegan-friendly.
either way, i hope you end up trying out akasha. it’s a great place to take carnivores and a great place to celebrate a special occasion–fancy, tasty and something for everyone!
9543 culver blvd.
culver city, CA 90232
310 845 1700
$22 dineLA vegan lunch menu available until friday, february 6!Tags: culver city, dessert, dinela, gelato, hummus, ice cream, mung beans, quinoa, tofu
i know, i know, i know. i go to pure luck like every freakin’ day, and it’s taken me this long to finally walk across the street and try scoops…a legendary ice cream and gelato shop known for its rotating vegan selection and strange array of flavors. when i visited, the vegan flavors weren’t that weird at all, so i settled on a whopping scoop consisting of half mint-oreo and half chocolate-peanut butter. oh man oh man oh man. this ice cream lived up to the hype. i’m kinda bummed i tried it, because now i know i won’t be able to resist it ever again, even after downing a whole plate of potato pals from pure luck.
how they make this so creamy and so vegan, i have no idea. all i know is that this the best ice cream i’ve ever had. and i am someone who loves vegan ice cream. i’ve been known to go to london and stand outside of harrods in the blowing wind and pouring rain eating a frozen bowl of whatever vegan ice cream they have on deck, because i wouldn’t want to leave for home without trying it. luckily for me, though, harrods is 5,000 miles away. scoops is only like 4. that’s why i have been resisting it. ’cause i’m afraid now that i’m hooked. i mean, just look at this stuff. my sweet tooth doesn’t stand a chance.
the staff at scoops are super friendly, and will let you sample anything you want. for us vegans, that means we can try out 4 different flavors before deciding on which one to have. oh, and it’s CASH ONLY. so make sure you have enough. you can get more ice cream than you could ever eat for five bucks.
oh and while you are hanging out around hel-mel, don’t forget to stop by pure luck and get some food and beer. with scoops right across the street, i don’t think i will visit one without hitting up the other ever again.
so definitely get over to scoops as soon as you can. the portions are huge, the prices are low and the ice cream is delicious. mind you, i only got ONE scoop and what they gave me was huge and contained two flavors. we need more places like scoops, for sure.
Tags: chocolate, gelato, ice cream, oreo, peanut butter, veganmofo