so recently a good friend of mine at work found out that i’m a vegan blogger. i have been doing a pretty good job of keeping it a under wraps for quite some time, but when someone around the office found out about my twitter account, which links to my blog, my secret identity was blown. anyways, this friend really wanted to go to lunch with me and eat some vegan food that would eventually get reviewed on this site, and insisted we go somewhere new that i’ve never been before. i remembered hearing about this place on vegan-la.com called mama-z, a recently opened 100% vegan restaurant inside the already vegan-friendly (and quarrygirl favorite) sante la brea. basically, mama-z is a restaurant inside another restaurant with a separate kitchen and a separate menu. i know, it sounds kind of confusing. well anyway, we decided to check it out.
we headed off to sante la brea on our lunch break and a super-friendly waiter seated us and handed us the huge and appetizing sante menu. when i requested to eat off the mama-z menu, he hurried away into the kitchen and returned with 2 sheets of paper boasting several vegan thai food options and a few raw desserts. my heart kind of sank when i realized mama-z was a thai restaurant—there are already like 80 million vegan thai restaurants in this town! even though the sante menu looked much more appetizing, we decided to stick with plan a, suck it up, and order some vegan thai.
for a starter, we ordered the chicken satay, but mama-z was out of soy chicken, so they kindly made it with soy pepper steak instead. the result was delicious…and surprisingly, unlike anything i’ve had at the other vegan thai joints in la. the skewers were covered in a yellowish creamy sauce that was really tasty and salty, and the meat didn’t have that annoying sweet flavor that ruins so many soy pepper steaks. my friend was equally impressed; maybe thai food wasn’t such a bad bet after all.
after eating our appetizers, we waited for our entrees to arrive. we waited and waited and WAITED. our server kept checking on us, refilling our water and apologizing for the delay…but after about 45 minutes when our parking meter was about to expire, we decided there wasn’t enough time to finish our meal and make it back to the office at a reasonable hour, so we asked for our food to go. the waiter was very sorry and even took our drinks and appetizer off the bill. what a great gesture, not all restaurants try to make it up to you when they fuck up.
although we had to grab our lunch in carry-out containers and eat it back at work, there is no denying that the food was incredible. after the long wait, i really wouldn’t mind giving this place a bad review…but the awesomeness of our meals transcended all the fuckery.
i ordered the burrito chapatti with scrambled tofu and yams, something similar to the breakfasts that most other los angeles thai vegan places offer. what made this special though, is they were able to make me the tofu scramble without bell peppers, which i abhor. i’ve tried to get this from the vegan joint, truly vegan, and vegan express, but all those places have told me that their scramble is pre-mixed and they can’t prepare it without peppers, no matter what. mama-z, however, was happy to accommodate me and my pepper phobia. everything else about the wrap was a cut above other places as well. the tofu was much more light and airy, the vegan cheese was perfectly melty and the chapati was warm and soft. plus, the wrap didn’t even fall apart. super good stuff.
my friend ordered the mock duck curry, and while i didn’t try any of it, it must have been good because she wouldn’t shut up about it. she eats a lot of normal duck curry, so for her to love this was a big deal. she kept going on about how fresh the ingredients tasted and about how light and non-oily it was. she even texted me at 10pm to tell me the leftovers were amazing. so take that as a ringing endorsement.
so even though the food took forever at mama-z, it was totally worth it. i am usually pretty ambivalent about thai vegan food, but this shit was off the chain. about the long wait…maybe they were short staffed or something, or maybe taking the bell peppers out of my wrap was a 30 minute process…either way, i’m willing to give them another shot. plus, i’ve been to sante before and the wait wasn’t long at all; i can’t imagine cooking thai food would take that much longer.
so next time you think about going to vegan house, or ca vegan, or vegan plate, or any of those other generic vegan thai places…hit up mama-z instead. just make sure to allow time for potentially slow service.
oh, and here’s the mama-z menu for you to check out, since it’s not up on sante’s site.Tags: burrito, la brea, mock duck, sante, tofu scramble, vegan thai