over here at quarrygirl.com, we have been fans of sante la brea for a long time. the large elegant restaurant offers 3 separate menus of world cuisine, and every item can be veganized with soy meat and/or tofu cheese. i am a huge fan of their breakfast selections, salads, thai food, and desserts, and have never eaten one thing at sante and been disappointed.
however, on my last 3 visits to sante, the wait to get food after ordering has been a little much. my husband and i went there over the weekend and ordered a salad and tofu rancheros, which took 40 minutes to arrive at our table. it’s strange because the wait was so frustrating, and i worked myself up into quite a state, but when my food was finally in front of me, it was so fucking good i nearly forgot about all the hassle.
sante offers a great selection of salads, and even the simple house salad with tofu is out-of-the-park exceptional. the least exciting salad at sante comes with loads of vegetables, a mound of hummus, fluffy quinoa, rice and pita…plus your choice of several rich or light vegan dressings. it’s all beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. definitely a steal for 9 bucks.
the breakfast items at sante are similarly impressive. the vegan tofu rancheros come with fluffy scrambled tofu mixed with broccoli and carrots covered in chunky salsa with a generous helping of black beans, grilled breakfast potatoes, and soft corn tortillas. one of the best breakfasts in town.
when it comes right down to it, i can’t fault the food or value at sante la brea AT ALL. the place is downright outstanding. the only thing i have to complain about is the long ass wait…and it’s a damn valid complaint! i recommend calling way in advance and getting your food to go, or dining at sante when you have a lot of time on your hands. maybe throw back a bottle of wine while waiting, or spend sometime chatting with a large group of friends. don’t visit if you are in a rush. i know i’ll be back regardless…i can’t keep myself away from the excellent food.
sante la breaTags: breakfast, hollywood, la brea, salad, tofu
345 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
vegans from los angeles may have a hard time finding food in palm springs. after all, we have been completely spoiled in this city with a huge amount of vegan restaurants options. still, there are two places not to miss in the desert—one is native foods, and the other is nature’s cafe. located inside a health food store, nature’s cafe is a very vegetarian/vegan-friendly counter with friendly staff and excellent food. they have a whole section dedicated to vegan selections on the menu, and the workers are very knowledgeable about what other items can be veganized.
we stopped by nature’s cafe on our way back from coachella, and were blown away by how delicious our meal was. i’m talking exceptional, large portions packed with vegetables and cooked to perfection. even better than most of the stuff i can get back home in LA.
my husband got the tofu burrito which was listed under the “breakfast” section of the menu, and was stuffed with scrambled tofu, black beans and sauteed vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. the vegetable selection was a bit odd for a breakfast burrito, but worked really well and was a welcome change. i ordered the tofu ranchero, which was absolutely huge and consisted of scrambled tofu, avocado, corn tortillas, black beans, rice, kale and assorted vegetables all packed into one box. incredible!Tags: breakfast, burrito, desert, mexican, palm springs, ranchero, tofu
the corner of duke street and berry street in liverpool is pretty fucking awesome. not just because it’s home to a derelict pub which sports banksy’s biggest and most valuable piece of graffiti…but also because it’s steps away from a kick ass vegan-friendly chinese restaurant called yuet ben.
i found out about yuet ben from the must-read vegan liverpool website, scouseveg.co.uk. scouse veg is a great resource and gives the lowdown on all the veg-friendly places in the city. that is after all, where i read about the awesome egg cafe. i was stoked to visit yuet ben’s website and find that they had an entirely separate vegetarian/vegan menu that was simple yet appetizing. on our one night in liverpool a couple of months ago, we decided to put the chips and curry on hold and dine at yuet ben for a dinner of vegan chinese food.
imagine how stoked we were to trudge up the hill to yuet ben and see before us a huge piece of banksy graffiti that i’d been reading about online. the depiction of a giant cat/rat creature stands about 20 feet high and is said to be banksy’s biggest work of art. it has raised the value of the disused pub it adorns, the whitehorse, to an estimated £1 million! if you are a fan of street art (what self-respecting vegan isn’t?), then yuet ben is definitely the place to dine in liverpool.
crappy dark pictures of our tasty dinner after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: art, chinese, england, liverpool, spring rolls, tofu, vegetables
222 veggie vegan is a 100% vegan restaurant in west kensington, a rather nice area of london. they offer a daily lunchtime all-you-can-eat buffet for just £7.50, and an a la carte dinner menu every evening. i’ve never been to the lunch buffet, but have been in the past a couple of times for dinner and have overall been pretty pleased with the place. our last visit, however, left a lot to be desired.
we hit up 222 veggie vegan on a monday evening at around 6pm, and although the place wasn’t that busy, it took us forever to be noticed by the waitress. the entire place was being taken care of by just one server, and she seemed pretty flustered and miserable. when we finally got her attention, we ordered everything at once. an appetizer, two main dishes, and one side dish.
the appetizer arrived almost immediately and was definitely the highlight of the meal. the bean and tofu pancake didn’t taste like a pancake at all, more like rolled up and fried tofu scramble with a delicious sauce and a vegan sour-cream-type condiment. it was really beautifully presented and tasted great; we thought we were in for an awesome meal.Tags: black bean, england, london, potatoes, salad, stir-fry, tofu
well, well, well…back in the day, my companion mr. meaner wrote a review of mao’s kitchen on melrose in which he commented on the delicious food, yet unpredictable service and portion sizes. the stark and modern byob chinese cafe is the newer sister restaurant to mao’s kitchen in venice and offers really decent, healthy-tasting asian food with loads of vegan options. i have always loved the food there, but last june my experience was so annoying (slow service, overcharging on the bill, and skimping on the main ingredients in our dishes), that i vowed to never return.
after about 9 months of cooling down and recovering from the situation, i was convinced by my husband to break my protest against mao’s kitchen…after all, they have damn tasty tofu. however when we headed over for lunch one saturday, although i was no longer protesting mao’s, several angry chinese people were. that’s right, there was a fucking picket line outside the melrose cafe, with angry dudes shouting into bullhorns and carrying signs that said things like, “MAO’S KITCHEN = HITLER’S BBQ!! RENAME YOUR RESTAURANT!!” there was such a scene going down, we decided it was all too much and went to bulan instead. i mean, i’m not a fan of mao himself or anything (c’mon, anyone john lennon personally disses in a beatles song is probably a total cunt), but didn’t these chinese protesters have anything better to do? isn’t there some actual violence to object to, rather than picketing outside a cafe owned by ignorant white people who are probably just trying to be trendy? sheesh!
luckily, i did get a chance to return to mao’s recently with a friend for lunch…no angry mob in sight. the meal was so absolutely delicious, i think i can put all my hard feelings about mao’s kitchen waaaaaay behind me. the portions were huge, the vegetables were plentiful, and our waiter was delightful.
my friend ordered the green curry with tofu, which i took a pretty huge helping of. i usually don’t order asian curries in restaurants, because coconut milk strikes me as a bit meh. this stuff was amazing though. the sauce was thick with a darker color to it and was packed with spices and tons of heat. floating in the savory and drool-worthy sauce was an ample amount of crispy fresh asian vegetables. no complaints what-so-ever about this dish. oh, and it also came with a grip of fluffy rice (not pictured) to mop up all the curry goodness.
i went for the long march camp-fry which is normally 7 bucks, but i added tofu which brought it up to $9. this dish was nothing short of w00t. seriously, if you are in a healthy-kick kinda mood and want billions of vegetables with baked tofu in a light vegan (yet extremely flavorful) sauce, eat this! i have been to mao’s several times and never ordered this before, but now i know it will be one of my standard go-to dishes. it was packed with really scrumptious vegetables like cabbage, tomato, peas and my new favorite…wood ear mushrooms! the fluffy little mushrooms look like dark leafy greens but pack all the texture and flavor of a really tasty portobello. i’m going into food high just thinking about it. i especially recommend the long march camp-fry if you are dining out with others and want a vegetable dish to share. it’s artfully prepared, well-balanced and above all delicious. i’m never ordering steamed vegetables again.
oh and one more thing, the food at mao’s kitchen is very good…so be sure not to fill up on the tempting vegan crack they bring to your table for free when you are seated. these deep fried crackers with sweet vegan sauce will sneak up on you…then all of a sudden…half the bowl is gone and you have no room for food because your brain is swimming in huge amounts of grease you just consumed. beware.
hit up mao’s kitchen on melrose for really awesome vegan chinese food. to avoid any contamination, just let them know you are vegan and that you want all your sauces animal-free. they seem to be pretty knowledgeable and always able to accommodate. good luck in there…hopefully you won’t run into crazy/bored protesters like me and the mr. did. if you do, there is always bulan or m cafe just blocks away.
P.S. mao’s kitchen has a parking lot (epic melrose score!), it isn’t busy at lunch time, and you can take in your own booze. you officially have no excuse not to eat there.
mao’s kitchenTags: chinese, communist, curry, tofu, west hollywood
7315 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
open 7 days
11am – 12am
located just down the street from all the hustle and bustle that is the melrose m cafe, there’s a much less crowded unassuming macrobiotic restaurant called inka. the natural foods restaurant is almost entirely vegan, except for some seafood options, and the food is prepared entirely with healthy and organic ingredients. while the cuisine is light and simple, it isn’t lacking in taste, and is provides a welcome rest from processed and artificially flavored food.
i took a trip to inaka recently with fellow vegan food blogger/vegan chef/vegan baker jennshaggy, and we both enjoyed our meals tremendously.
we ordered a few dishes, and naturally ended up sharing everything. jennshaggy went with the yakisoba noodles, with the choice of udon rather than soba. i’m used to udon noodles being thick and round, like the stuff i get in packages at the supermarket and put into soups, but these noodles were much more wide and flat. they tasted slightly fried and a little oily, but still very light at the same time. the vegetables which included carrots, celery and broccoli were crispy and perfectly cooked. the only thing this dish could have used in my opinion is a huge bottle of sriracha sauce, but hey, i use that stuff like ketchup. overall very tasty.
we also got the hijiki salad, which was basically a mixed green salad piled high with the dark sea vegetables. everything was extremely light and tender, and incredibly fresh. the salad had little to no dressing, so the sea vegetable taste was very prominent. i think this salad ended up being the best thing at the table, just because it had a pure and unique vegetable taste.
i ordered the wok fry vegetables and added tofu to them for an additional 2 bucks. while this dish was delicious, i can’t really say it was worth $15. sure, everything was well prepared and the vegetables were crunchy and flavorful..but the tofu was a bit soft and boring. i dunno, it tasted like something i could make at home. next time i hit up inaka, i will opt for something with loads of exotic vegetables, you know, macrobiotic-sounding things i can’t pronounce rather than onions and napa cabbage. however, if you are looking for a simple and mild stir-fry…this dish is your man.
overall, i thought inaka was pretty decent. jennshaggy, an extreme foodie was very impressed with the place, and that goes a long way. while some of the food at inaka is a bit boring and arguably overpriced, they make up for that with simple dishes containing delicious vegetables. stuff like the hijiki salad stands far above meals i’ve gotten at other restaurants. i guess it just depends what you order.
i will be back to inaka again very soon to partake in some fine macrobiotic vegan cuisine. try this place out next time you can’t get a seat at the crazy-popular m cafe…at least at inaka you can relax and have a quiet meal.
inakaTags: japanese, macrobiotic, noodles, salad, tofu
131 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
lunch 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m.
dinner 6:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
sat 5:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
sun 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Well, not IN the Beverly Center, but right across the street across from Souplantation on 3rd St., just East of La Cienega. Holy Cow is an honest to goodness fast-food style Indian eat-in/carry-out kitchen with a range of veg and non-veg offerings. As is common with many Southern-Indian restaurants there’s no beef on the bill of fayre (probably due to quasi-Hindi leanings of its owners) which leaves an extra-large gap in the menu for vegetarian food, much of which is either naturally vegan or can be made as such.
On our recent visit, we rolled up at 8pm on a Saturday evening, and made that classic mistake: allowing cell a couple of ‘phone babbling people to go into the restaurant ahead of us. By the time they’d figured out what they wanted to eat, changed it three times, and had any number of ‘phone conversations with friends about the menu selections, we’d been standing by the counter for a good 10 minutes. However, the experience was rather educational as we deduced the gang in front of us were somewhat observant Jewish people, most particular to ensure that there was no dairy in anything they ordered – in this way, we got a good grounder of what could, and could not be, veganized without having to go through a big Q&A with the person taking the order.
When it was finally our turn, a very nice Indian gentleman of some stature and presence politely engaged with us, helping guide our choices. As is common with West Coast outlets like this (especially Indian), ordering a “dinner” is excellent value. For only a couple of bucks more than an a-la-carte single main dish one can get a appetizer, main dish, side of vegetables, rice and bread. Sadly for us, the naan bread contained eggs, so we had to order a-la-carte, even though a better economic decision might have been to order the dinner and trash the naan bread. But that’s not very vegan, now is it?
We started off with two Vegetable Samosas – at only $3.95 they were exceptional value and extremely tasty, being freshly prepared in the kitchen when our order was taken.
They had that crispy outside with hot steamy inside that is so unique to this dish. The nearest thing is a Chimichanga – that decadent Mexican-style deep-fried burrito, but I’d rather a samosa any day!
I have a complete weakness for Potato and Cauliflower curries, particularly the Aloo Gobi which, if done right, can be a sublime dish. There’s something about the intersection of basic ingredients like vegetables, spices and oils that Indian cuisine does so well, and Holy Cow’s rendition holds up to the highest standards.
Our other entrée was Saag Aloo with Tofu – basically pureed spinach (spinach haters stop reading this paragraph now!) with chunky potatoes, spices and small, firm tofu pieces. This can very much be a hit or miss dish in many Indian restaurants because the cooking times of everything vary so much – seconds for the spinach, but 30 minutes or more for the potatoes and tofu, so a juggling act in the kitchen is needed to pull this delicate dish off to perfection – and whomever was back-stage at Holy Cow knows exactly how to make Saag Aloo happen: the end result being perfection.
Finally, we ordered White Rice, which was a bit misleading (albeit in a good way), because the rice was actually cooked in herbs and spices, including turmeric, which gave it a yellowy look and, spicy flavor that complemented the food perfectly.
So, bottom line, Holy Cow was a GREAT, inexpensive Indian take-away very much in the tradition of my homeland in England where you can take home the curry or sit in a brightly lit restaurant and eat it there. Holy Cow has the ambience of a vegan Thai restaurant, but the food is so much better.
With convenient parking, incredibly polite and helpful staff as well as completely above-average food, you can’t go wrong. The only competition is Samosa House, which is distant competition both in miles to travel (it’s in Culver City) and taste of the food.
Thanks for being there, Holy Cow, and thanks for understanding about vegans and our standards. We’ll be regular customers.
8474 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
monday – fridayTags: beverly hills, curry, indian food, samosa, spinach, tofu, west hollywood
sat and sun
so the economy sucks and lots of people are out of work. that’s a fact. businesses are closing, personal savings are being depleted, and the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. we all know and love people who have been laid off…maybe we even are those people in some cases. but wtf mate, the tragedy has officially now come home for all los angeles herbivores and started to affect local vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants. within 2 short months we saw the shutting of the vegan spot and of doomie’s home cookin’, arguably the best 2 places to get a meat-free sandwich in la. both closures were untimely and undeserved…so vegans, please, let’s go throw our moneys at some of the local restaurants that need our help, starting with mani’s bakery on fairfax.
the long-standing los angeles institution is nearly as old as i am, and is still being threatened by the crappy economic climate. in a recent plea on their blog (which i saw via eater la), mani’s tells its customers,“Unfortunately, we face the very real possibility of not making it through 2009, unless we can modify our business to function more efficiently in today’s environment.” they go on to add, “December was the weakest sales Mäni’s has ever had. At this level we will not be able to continue.” ummm…i dunno what you make of that, but to me that sounds like some fatal-apocalyptic-scary shit meaning, buy our food if you want us to be here in the morning. well, it worked on me. i hit up mani’s as soon as i read this, and i gotta say, i will feel pretty bad and dead inside if they do go out of business. their vegan food is really, really, really good. i’ve posted before about mani’s ENORMOUS VEGAN SELECTION…and let’s just say on this return visit, i was even more impressed.
i’m gonna work in reverse on this post because the dessert is the best thing that mani’s offers. the menu is absolutely huge, and all the vegan/veganizable items are clearly marked. almost everything can be made animal-free, and this is extremely handy when it comes to the desserts. vegan truffles, breakfast bars, almond rocas, cakes and pies are just some of the decadent treats that mani’s has in store. my husband and i split a chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie on our last visit, and we could barely finish it. it was so rich and tasty, i think any vegetarian would be fooled by it.
but not just the dessert items at mani’s are awesome…there are also tons of vegan-friendly appetizers and entrees. on our recent visit and attempt to save mani’s from bankruptcy and decline, i ordered the pesto sandwich.
of course i got the vegan version (with tofu instead of meat) and everything was divine. the pesto was thick, oily, and slightly greasy in a really good way. the tofu was grilled but still soft in the middle, and it was all stacked with fresh vegetables on really soft and spongy bread.
my husband got the california club, which was also excellent. the sandwich came in neatly chopped pieces, all stacked high with vegan cheese, vegetables, crispy tempeh bacon and crunchy breaded seitan. there was nothing to complain about. i mean seriously, with the vegan spot and doomie’s both totally gone, i don’t know where else to obtain such a hearty and satisfying vegan sandwich in this town.
yeah, yeah, yeah, mani’s is a bit expensive. but so fucking what?!?! where isn’t at this point? it’s as good a deal as pure luck or m cafe, plus the menu is like 90x bigger. they also have the best vegan bakery and pastry selection in town. if they do shut, i know i will feel the same way as if a beloved relative has died—totally wracked with guilt, torturing myself over every lunchtime or coffee break i could have spent in mani’s company.
in my opinion, the vegan scene will suck a lot more hardcore if mani’s goes away. let’s ensure that doesn’t happen. please go eat there as soon as possible…um, it may be your last chance.
mani’s bakeryTags: club, cookie, dessert, fairfax, lunch, pesto, sandwiches, seitan, tofu
519 S. fairfax avenue
los angeles, ca 90036
UPDATE 12/07/09: sadly eat and two veg has shut down. this sucks. read update here.
i have dined at loads of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in london, and one of my all-time favorites has to be eat and two veg. we go there at least once (usually twice) on every trip across the pond, and each visit leaves us loving it more and more. the trendy west end eatery has fashioned itself after an old school american diner—big red booths, a galvanized steel interior and neatly-dressed chefs (with white hats and all) make this place total 50s throwback heaven. big diffy is, while they serve up home cookin’, it’s all meat free and refreshingly healthy.
take for instance the full english breakfast…you know, the standard british morning meal filled with animal bits that almost every pub, diner, and cafe sells. well, eat and two veg offers a slap-up traditional-style breakfast as well, except it’s all either vegetarian or vegan. we of course opted for the vegan version, which came compete with grilled tofu, baked beans, toast and an array of hearty vegetables.
from looking at this picture, you may be thinking that this meal looks simple/boring/easy-to-make-at-home. let me tell ya, it was none of those things. this dish was exceptional. from the perfectly seasoned tofu, to the plump tomatoes and well sauteed mushrooms…everything was perfect. not to mention the excellent and insanely spicy fresh spinach, along with the crispy toast. if you ever go to london, don’t leave without trying this. it gives you the chance to enjoy the traditional english breakfast in all its vegan glory. you fucking deserve it.
to be fair, eat and two veg only has a few vegan options on the breakfast menu, the big breakfast pictured being one of them. if that doesn’t look good to you, you may want to skip the morning menu. the main menu has even more tempting vegan offeringsl…so you kind of have no excuse not to visit them.
plus, it’s not just about the food. all around eat and two veg is fucking immaculate and gorgeous. the service is great, the atmosphere is stunning and the ingredients are all top notch. they’re located in a really swish but quiet part of the west end called marylebone…just steps away from baker street station. go there.
eat and two vegTags: english breakfast, london, mushrooms, spinach, tofu, tomatoes, uk
50 marylebone high street
london, w1u 5hn
020 7258 8595
m cafe de chaya is probably one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants ever. they started out as a melrose location offering hip and trendy macrobiotic cuisine and soon the demand was so high that they opened up another location in culver city…and now even another in beverly hills. i’m still not exactly sure what macrobiotic means, but m cafe assures their customers that they serve no eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry. it’s basically an entire vegan paradise offset by a few gross-nasty fish items. all the breads, cheeses, faux meats and sauces are safe for us herbivores, and the pesce items are clearly marked.
when i read on vegan-la that a new m cafe location had just opened, i had to book it there and get some food asap. the husband and i went by for our favorite m cafe meal…breakfast!! while the food that the beverly hills location served us was awesome, i could tell this restaurant was still definitely working out some kinks. they sure aren’t doing bad though, considering we hit them up just days after the grand opening.
the one big thing we didn’t realise before bolting over to m cafe in bev hills at 8:30 am on a weekday is that they only serve a “continental breakfast” monday thru friday, meaning mostly cold pastries and coffee. that vegan benedict and breakfast enchilada that we were craving are only available at the weekend brunch. not just that, but if you arrive at the bh location early and decide to grab lunch, you are shit out of luck; they don’t start serving the normal menu until 10 am. that leaves you in limbo for two hours with very limited breakfast options. luckily, although m bev hills doesn’t offer all the awesome morning meal options on weekdays, they do offer one hot dish, a scaled-down version of the breakfast panini.
i ordered the panini and was very impressed. the quality and freshness of the ingredients were top notch and it was an all-around tasty dish. fluffy tofu, chopped onions, a magniffy blend of spices along with tempeh bacon on freshly baked bread…absolutely flawless. it was simple and didn’t come with sweet potato hash like it does at the other locations, but without a side it was still more than enough food. they really should have knocked the price down though, for not including the hash. >:(
my husband grabbed a tofu salad sandwich from the display case, and it was excellent as well.
considering it was so early in the morning, we suspected the sandwiches on display may have been leftover from the previous day. this sure wasn’t the case! our sandwich wasn’t soggy or stale in the least. everything tasted freshly chopped and perfect. i’ve never had one of the ready-made sandwiches from m cafe before, so i was blown away by how good it was.
the location of the new m cafe is quiet and pleasant at the moment. i’m used to the melrose storefront being packed; heaving with hollywood cunts and actor wannabes. the beverly hills location only opened a few days ago, so it isn’t crowded at all…i’m assuming that will change though. it’s located in the what used to be the backstage cafe, which was owned by police drummer stewart copeland’s brother. the place looks totally different. no rock paraphernalia adorning the walls, no whiskey bottles lined up on the counter…just spotless tables and huge barren display case showing off the few items that m cafe beverly hills has in stock.
overall, we had a really lovely breakfast with some amazing food, and i am looking forward to going back. my only complaint is the lack of selection. i know, i know, they just opened, so i will let it slide. but had i just been walking by and wanting a proper breakfast, i wouldn’t have stayed at m cafe. they should make it a point to go overboard and offer everything they can, and at least carry the same menu as the other two successful locations. to be fair, i have a friend who hit up this m cafe the same day i did, but he went for lunch and the menu was in full swing. he loved it.
so there you have it, finally some good vegan food in beverly hills! go get some before this m cafe gets all douchey like the melrose outlet. oh, and just a tip: parking is tough in this area. if you want to be stealth about it, grab a spot in the whole foods parking lot on crescent. they will never be the wiser. plus, they stock celebration roasts at that whole foods, so you can pick up a few on your way back to the car.
m cafe de chaya
9433 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Monday thru SundayTags: beverly hills, breakfast, macrobiotic, panini, sandwich, tofu
8:00 am – 7:00 pm
almost any los angeles vegan knows that a taste of life is the best place to get vegan soul food. delicious, quick, rich junk food on the cheap has given the tiny 100% vegan restaurant an incredible reputation amongst herbivores and omnivores alike. it’s a place where we can get shit like macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas, greasy kale…all with that home cooked taste…all without animal products.
a taste of life has a farmers market stand set up every sunday in hollywood, as well as a newish store front on fountain and vermont. i’ve eaten there several times and can say that the food is all fucking fabulous.
the last few times i’ve gone, a taste of life has had this menu out on the counter, but after talking to the dude who works there, i found out they offer tons of stuff that wasn’t even printed on the menu. 4 different kinds of burgers, pot roast, breaded pot roast, gyro meat and so much more. since then, a taste of life has revamped its website and added some of the secret items, but they still aren’t all on there. i suggest you call and ask what about their options. there is so much stuff i am dying to try.
we tried out the lentil burger and it was awesome. it stands right up there with all the best vegan burgers in town, and makes for a great option if you want some greasy tasting junk food.
we also tried the pot roast, which isn’t on the menu, and it was some of the best wheat meat i’ve ever had.
when i raved about the pot roast to the guy working there, he told me they also do a fried breaded version of it, and he gave me a free sample. this was so ridiculously good, although eating an entire portion of it would probably kill me.
they can also make you a side of gyro meat, which is similar to the pot roast but not quite the same. i suggest you try both and decide what you like best…they are both tasty as can be.
for those of you who don’t like fake meat, a taste of life has several options to please you. grab a dinner combination with mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu. the mac n cheese is known to be the best vegan mac in los angeles, i mean even whole foods stocks it…it’s that damn good.
they’ve also got like a million soups, and even some of those aren’t on the menu! on my last visit i got some chicken noodle and loved it.
there is seriously so much to choose from at a taste of life, and so many secret menu items, i doubt i could ever try all the food they have to offer. plus the dishes are all so decadent and ridiculously delicious…now when i go there i have a really hard time trying new stuff, because the old stuff is all so good! oh, why do you do this to me, a taste of life?! …and i haven’t even tried their shakes or raw items yet!
if you haven’t been to a taste of life, you sure are missing out.
a taste of life
4718 fountain avenue #D (upstairs)
los angeles ca 90029
closed mondayTags: gyro, hollywood, kale, macaroni & cheese, pot roast, soul food, soup, tofu
born and raised right here in socal, i can say mexican food is one of my all-time favorite cuisines. it’s tough being a vegan, because so many mexican joints use lard in their beans and chicken-meat-juice in their rice. it’s really tough to know what’s safe to eat, and what has been rubbed around with animal parts…plus in many of these restaurants, the staff aren’t knowledgeable about vegetarianism, let alone veganism! that’s why i was so thrilled over the weekend to try out taco spot in eagle rock for the first time. i found that they serve up huge portions of cheap(ish) and delicious authentic-style mex…with several clearly marked veganizable items on the menu.
taco spot’s menu has so many vegetarian options, all of which can be made vegan by omitting the cheese and/or sour cream. and i’m not just talking rice and beans here, they also have fun protein choices like grilled tofu and soyrizo. for some grubby mexican food on the east side, i think i’ve met my perfect match.
we hit up taco spot over the weekend and were super impressed with the quality of the food, the authenticity, and the value. good shit all around. starting with the tofu tacos.
the tofu tacos are entirely vegetarian, but they normally come with cheese (as do almost all the meat-free items on taco spot’s menu). it’s ok though, because when you leave off the cheese, these suckers are completely vegan. and i can tell you, they are so good, i don’t see why anyone would want to order these with dairy. the tofu was so succulent, and the cilantro and onions were ridiculously fresh. the guacamole was rich and creamy as well…not to mention the fluffy vegetable-filled rice and lard-free beans. so damn awesome. and taco spot doesn’t slack off on the tofu, either. they piled it on, and it was grilled perfectly…all high-quality delicious.
my husband ordered the vegetarian burrito and added tofu. that was also spectacular.
my one gripe about this burrito, although it tasted damn good, was that to add tofu was an additional 2 bucks. the burrito started off at $6.95, but once we got rid of the cheese and added a bit of protein, it came in at just under nine dollars. i’m convinced that through some menu modification/order fuckery, we could get this same burrito at taco spot for under $7. does that make any sense? i think i ordered the wrong thing and the extra tofu charge was high, especially considering i left off the cheese. there has to be a way around that. ANYWAYS, the burrito was downright excellent. it tasted like scrappy gutbomb mexican food in a really good way, and it was all guaranteed vegan. i could totally eat at taco spot every day.
i bet right now you are just thinking about how awesome the vegan entrees are at taco spot, and i haven’t even mentioned the best part! taco spot has a full-on slap-up salsa bar with everything from little radishes to carrots and chillies, to spicy pico de gallo and salsa negra. this bar has got it all and it’s FREE…and you can get as much as you want. dude, i would pay 4 bucks a head just to eat this salsa.
as you can guess, we took advantage of the salsa bar at least 3 times. total spicy, vegetable gluttony. a decent salsa bar will always bring a restaurant up to the next level, and this shit was crazy good.
so all you vegans and vegetarians out there, who like hanging out on the east side and are jealous because you’ve been watching your omni-hipster friends shoving carne asada burritos into their faces like there’s no tomorrow, have no fear! go eat at the taco spot! they have a billion vegetarian and vegan options, plus that greasy/homemade mexican food taste, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
i suggest you start off the day with some beers in highland park at the york, then grab some spicy mex for dinner. with awesome options that won’t break the bank, and located in a some-what sketchy part of town, taco spot is enough to make us vegans feel like normal people. we deserve guilty mex meals as well, dammit!
2006 colorado blvd.
eagle rock, ca 90041
open 7 days a weekTags: burrito, eagle rock, highland park, salsa, tacos, tofu
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
UPDATED JAN. ’11: apparently rootmaster is now closed/on hiatus as of this month, which is very sad. let’s hope they don’t go the way of eat and two veg (RIP vegan full english breakfast!), and shut down completely. it’s always gutting to see a meatless restaurant close its doors. we’ll miss you, double decker bus restaurant! please come back soon. x
recently, my husband and i took a trip to the uk and realized that london is overflowing with vegan-friendly restaurants. the selection in london is even better than it is here in los angeles, and most of the food there is out of this world. while we tried a lot of places, none were quite as special or uniquely british as rootmaster in elys yard. the 100% vegan restaurant cooks and serves its food in a disused double-decker routemaster bus, with the seating upstairs and the kitchen below.
an important piece of london heritage and introduced in 1956, the routemaster was an open platform bus that passengers could board and alight in between stops. however, due to safety concerns and a bunch of lame excuses, the iconic bus was discontinued in 2005. luckily the folks over at rootmaster preserved one of the old buses really well and inside it they gave me the chance to do something just as cool as ride around london: eat vegan food!
everything the rootmaster served up was absolutely fantastic. the menu isn’t that huge, but i was happy knowing i could eat anything on it because it’s all animal-free. we started off with some edamame, along with a portion of bread & oil.
i never imagined in my life that would eat something called “bus baked bread”, and that it would be so flippin’ tasty! they actually baked that bread fresh, right down stairs in an oven in the little bus kitchen. absolutely amazing. it was so crispy on the edges, and fluffy and warm inside, really top notch. good, fresh bread is hard enough to come by in normal restaurants; now i know those places have no excuse. if a freaking bus can do it, they should be able to as well! the edamame was also lovely. warm and salty goodness, all around the table on a cold london day.
as a main, we wanted to try the burger, but the waiter told us it wouldn’t be ready for around 30 to 40 minutes. oh well, at least the guy was honest! some places will just make you sit there for an hour and never tell you there’s a delay in the kitchen. we didn’t feel like waiting, so we went with the picante tofu and teriyaki stir fry instead.
the picante tofu was great, although it’s mostly covered up by rice in the photo. underneath all that fluffy rice, there are huge chunks of tofu and broccoli covered in a really spicy tomato sauce. it was so creamy as well…it reminded me of the sauce on penne ala vodka. the vegetables were really fresh and crisp, and the tofu was thick and juicy. it really shows when restaurants use high quality ingredients. the dish was so good in fact, it made me glad there was a delay on the burger.
the teriyaki stir fry was also excellent. again, rootmaster used really fine ingredients and fresh vegetables, making for a most delicious meal.
the asian vegetables were all very delicate and tender, and the tofu was soft and well-marinated, but crispy on the edges from being cooked up in the wok. they work fucking wonders in that bus kitchen, i’m telling you! they are baking up bread and wok searing vegetables, not to mention throwing together these amazing sauces! i mean, HONESTLY. how the hell do they make such good food on the first floor of a bus?
so as you can tell, overall, our meal was awesome. the only bad thing about rootmaster is we only got to eat there once. seriously, i cannot wait to return. they also have a whole wine list and dessert menu we didn’t even get to try out! (when you are trying to visit 100 pubs in 14 days, drinking wine at lunch is forbidden.)
i highly suggest that if you find yourself in london, you give this place a try. not only is the food delicious and entirely vegan, but you get to dine in a little piece of london history. the restaurant even moves a bit from side to side, just like a real bus, when the waiter brings your meal up the stairs. plus, it’s located in the old truman brewery, right across from rough trade east; so you can get the satisfaction of eating in an old bus AND where they used to make beer at the same time, then do some record shopping afterwards.
everything about this place is lovely, charming, and extremely special. i feel pretty lucky to have eaten at rootmaster.
the old truman brewery
07912389314Tags: bread, edamame, england, london, routemaster, teriyaki, tofu
recently, i found myself in the valley and decided to check out sherman oaks’ all-salad restaurant, the dressing room. unfortunately, i was rather unimpressed.
the dressing room offers tons of special salads, but the real draw for me was the create-your-own option. you get to choose the toppings for your salad and watch it made fresh, right before your eyes. i was so eager to check this place out—their website boasts that they offer 64 toppings and 16 styles of protein. oh boy! i was imagining all kinds of deliciousness. when i got there though, i realized the toppings were pretty basic and nothing to get excited about. carrots, onions, olives, blah blah blah. no hummus or tabouli or anything to get me worked up. the protein choices for us vegans consisted of tofu, and tofu only….cold, grilled or blackened. i opted for grilled, which i was told is cooked on a separate part of the grill. yay.
while my salad wasn’t bad, it was definitely uninspired. as i said, the toppings were kind of meh, and $9.20 was way too much to pay for this thing. the salad was huge, but it was mostly leaves—i think i got maybe 3 mushrooms total in the whole thing. i even overheard other customers complaining about their lack of toppings and one even went up to the counter to request some more. considering greens are the cheapest thing for the restaurant to provide, it’s lame that they give you so many in such and expensive salad. the tofu was also pretty bland; i poured half a bottle of hot sauce on my plate before it had any kind of flavor.
while my salad was pretty blah, at least the dressing room provided a nice place in which to eat it. the restaurant has a pleasant interior with brightly colored walls and big lamps that look almost pinkberry-esque. i think they should work on their interior design a little less, and focus more on their salads.
to be fair, my experience at the dressing room may not be the norm. i’ve read great things about it on very reputable sources like to live and eat in la and on yelp. so maybe i got them on a bad day or something. i just know i won’t be back. the place is way too expensive and the toppings don’t do it for me. for that much money i could get a huge salad at whole foods filled with all kinds of exciting stuff from the build- your-own salad bar. ah well, it was worth a shot!
Tags: salad, the valley, tofu