Showing posts with label vegan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegan. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Erven Gives Los Angeles Its Best New Vegan Restaurant

I've always enjoyed Chef Nick Erven's cooking from his previous restaurant, the now-shuttered Saint Martha. I wasn't expecting him to open a vegan restaurant in Santa Monica, but I looked forward to it just the same, especially after hearing all the glowing reviews!

Erven is divided into two parts: the Marketplace side which serves sandwiches, cookies, juices, and such. Then there's the dining room which is open for a casual lunch, but the highlight is of course, the dinner service (although the vegan sandwiches are also great).

We started with a bowl complimentary fried chickpeas - the amuse bouche seems to rotate based on the other reviews.
Erven
The savory portion of the dinner menu is divided into "Snackables", "Shareables", and "Principles".
We tried a couple of the snacks including the Black garlic chickpea fritters with yuzu and Aleppo pepper ($5)
Erven
The chickpea fritter is a good way to start and gives you an idea of Chef Erven's cooking.

Purple sweet potato rice roll with avocado and Korean chili ($5)
Erven
Vegan kimbap, anyone?

From the Shareables section: Tiny Beets with avocado mousse, curry-almond streusel, and cilantro ($12)
Erven
The beets weren't really "tiny" but regardless this was a wonderful and interesting take on beets, with the crispiness of the streusel, combined with avocado mousse.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Vegan Donuts Worth Trekking To at Donut Farm

I'm sure you know that I'm not vegan. Not even close! So when I say Donut Farm's vegan donuts are good, I'm actually saying they are good even compared to normal, non-vegan donuts.

Donut Farm, also known as Pepples Donut Farm, started in Northern California, but has since opened a location in Los Angeles. Silverlake, to be exact. The Silverlake shop is small, but there are seats so you can enjoy your donuts with some coffee while admiring the fun bunny mural from street artist Bunnie Reiss!
Donut Farm
Donut Farm's donuts are not only vegan, they are also 100% organic. They have both raised and cake donuts with a variety of interesting flavors and fillings - and did I mention, they were delicious??

One of my favorites was the Philz Coffee glazed donut. Donut Farm also serves coffee (hot and cold brew) so you can double the caffeine.
Donut Farm

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lifehouse Tonics & Elixir: Taking Smoothies Up a Notch

Los Angeles loves their juices and their healthy foods, but at Lifehouse Tonics and Elixir, they take juices and smoothies a step further in terms of their health benefits. They mix smoothies and juices with healthy and medicinal tonics - but don't worry, they still keep the taste sweet and delicious like the treats smoothies should be. Oh, and it's all vegan.
Lifehouse Tonics
Lifehouse opened a cool little shop on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, blending tonic-infused smoothies and elixirs. You may find ingredients you have never heard of or cannot pronounce, but everything is natural, including the sugar substitute that they use, like erythritol and stevia.
Lifehouse Tonics
The menu board describes the drink with its main health benefits and the main flavor component. For example, the Greenhouse Chip is described as "energizing", "alkalizing", with mint as the main flavor component.

Greenhouse Chip (almond milk, cashew milk, mint extract, cacao nibs, barley grass juice, wheat grass juice, oat grass juice, maca, eleuthero, astragalus, cordyceps, tocos, cacao butter, almond butter, coconut oil, erythritol, stevia, $14)
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This is perhaps their most popular drink, and it's easy to see why. It tastes like mint chocolate chip shake! I haven't heard of a lot of the ingredients, so I googled some of them. Maca, for example, is a Peruvian plant from the Andes region. People use the root of maca plant for medicinal purposes, including increasing stamina and also for hormonal imbalance in women.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Vegan Beer and Food Festival Even Omnivores Would Love

Yes, not all beers are vegan. Beers and wines are sometimes processed using gelatin or other animal products, thus making it not vegan. However, that doesn’t mean vegans can’t drink beer or wine. Thanks to the “purity law”, most German beers are vegan and these days you can find many craft breweries producing vegan beers. But how do you know which ones? Well, fret not, because the LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival has vetted more than a hundred beers from 40 breweries for you, so you don’t have to worry as you eat and imbibe.

The festival has grown so much that for its 6th year, they will be taking over The Rose Bowl in Pasadena (3 years ago they only had 50 beers line up. See my post from 2012). It will feature beers from big-name breweries such as New Belgium, Anchor, Ballast Point, Firestone Walker, along with smaller and newer establishments including Three Weavers, King Harbor, Ohana, and many more. Your $50 admission includes a souvenir glass and unlimited pours of beer and entry to the festival which will also host live music featuring Jamestown Revival, The White Buffalo, etc. VIP admission will give you early admission and access to a VIP lounge as well as some exclusive pours.

Food is sold separately by the more than 40 vendors that will be there, and even if you’re not vegan, you’ll drool over the lineup. You’ll find pizza from 800 Degrees Pizzeria, macrobiotic vegan cuisine from Shojin and M Café, donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, and whatever your heart may desire (as long as it’s vegan). Look out for popular restaurants and food trucks such as Mudhern Tavern, Mohawk Bend, Sage Vegan Bistro, Real Food Daily, and the Grilled Cheese Truck.


LA Vegan Beer & Food Festival will be at The Rose Bowl on May 16. Tickets can be purchased using this link

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Preview: New Year's Eve Menu at Bow and Truss

For New Year's Eve, Bow and Truss in North Hollywood is offering up a 4-course menu for $50. With 2-4 choices for each course and plenty of vegan options, there's something for everyone.

Start with a choice of pastel de choclo (corn and meat pie), patatas bravas (salt-cured potatoes, that's your vegan option) or Tuna Tartare (olives, garlic, shallots, served on house made cracker)

Bow and Truss

The next course is a soup or salad. There's s lentil salad with serrano ham and chorizo, or two vegan options:
Tomatican Soup (corn and tomato soup)
Bow and Truss

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Healthy Food that Surprises at Stamp Proper Foods in Los Feliz

If you're looking for healthier food that isn't boring, try Stamp Proper Foods that's recently opened in Los Feliz. Owner and Chef Catherine Baker was a model for 20 years before opening Stamp Proper with partner David Beckwith. Said partner is actually also Catherine's fiance, who apparently had lost a lot of weight since they started dating and loved the food so much he thinks she should open a restaurant.

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Sure, as with healthy restaurants, there are lentils, gluten free baked goods, smoothies/juices, and all that. But what I like about Stamp Proper Foods is Catherine's twists on all of these.

For breakfast, I really enjoyed the Moroccan Lentils and Eggs (lentils, sauteed spinach, poached eggs, date chutney, toasted almonds, currants, and grilled lemon - $14)
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It's the little things she added that impressed, like the crunch from the toasted almonds, and the sweetness of the chutney and currants.

Sandwich options included Bison meatloaf sandwich, with sharp cheddar, spicy ketchup on sourdough ($14, choice of house-made slaw or mixed greens)
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As you can see, this isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but they opt for the leaner meats.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vegan Sunday Suppers and Carnivorous Comforts at Willie Jane (Venice, CA)

Los Angeles vegans rejoice, Willie Jane has started a 3-course Meatless Sunday Suppers for $26 pp. Chef Govind Armstrong does have vegetables and herbs growing at the urban farm next door, Cook's Garden, so you can imagine how delicious and fresh his vegetables will be.

I tried out the vegan supper one night, and dinner started with a Hearts of Palm and Vegetable "Crab" Cake, miso remoulade, edamame hummus

Vegan "Crab" Cake

This was vegan? Chef Armstrong got the flavors and textures of crab cakes right on point with the hearts of palm. I couldn't even tell it was vegan, and it was in fact better than most crab cakes I've had!

Many people love Govind Armstrong's shrimp and grits. At least for the entree, you can try his grits. The entree is a plate of Anson Mills grits with romanesco cauliflower, "chorizo" aioli, cabbage chip
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It's hearty full of flavor - you won't be missing the meat with the mushrooms around in this dish.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Top 12 Bakeries and Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in LA

Foodie.com has asked me to curate even more "collections" of my favorite places in LA, and I decided to create 4 more lists! Here are two of them:

I have a sweet tooth so I asked if I can create one with bakeries! Here are my 12 favorite bakeries in the Los Angeles area, from where to get cakes to baguettes to cream puffs.


I'm not a vegetarian but I do like to eat healthy sometimes, especially after a week of indulgent meals. Here are my top 12 vegetarian-friendly restaurants - some of which are vegetarian or vegan, some of which are not but simply serve amazing vegetarian dishes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Healthy Vegan Cuisine at Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe (Downtown LA)

Being a food blogger is hazardous, so a healthy, vegan dinner is a welcome change once in a while. Recently this came to me with a preview dinner at the new Dr J's Vibrant Cafe in downtown LA.

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Dr J The owner of Dr J's is the young man in the picture who opened this cafe to honor his mother and her cooking. His mother is the cute little woman next to him. Story was that he got really sick after attending college and was supposed to go on life long medication, but his mother, Dr. J, told him to try eating her pure, clean eating lifestyle before going on the medication. As you can guess, he got better and no longer needed his medication. Now he wants to spread this lifestyle by opening the cafe.

What I liked about Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe is that the food is not only vegan but actually healthy - as in low sodium, low sugar etc. Some vegan or vegetarian places around didn't actually seem that healthy to me because they tend to be overly salty to make up for the lack of meat or dairy. The food here, like the kale salad, quinoa spring salad, or brown rice medley, tasted healthy but still has enough flavor (the rice noodle one was still a bit bland to me)
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Of the ones I tried, I really liked the brown rice medley (with peas, onions, carrots, and tofu) and the Curried Potatoes with carrots, green beans, and peas.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LA Vegan Beer Fest Returns May 12 (+ Last Year's Recap)

IMG_1785The LA Vegan Beer Fest, hosted by The Quarry Girl, Tony's Darts Away, and The Roxy, is returning for its third year on May 12. As usual, the festival will be held in the lot next to The Roxy on Sunset, and there will be plenty of vegan beers to cool you down from the heat.

For the $45 ticket, you get unlimited craft beers while listening to local bands from 1-5pm. The $55 VIP ticket gets you in earlier at noon. Proceeds from the tickets will be donated to the CA Wildlife Center and you can buy them here.

A couple of years ago, my reaction was "huh, beers aren't vegan?" But no, apparently not all beers are vegan since some use animal products like gelatin or fish bladder to clarify their beers! Lucky for the vegans, there are plenty of vegan beers. I went to last year's festival and most of the local breweries seemed to have been represented from Eagle Rock Brewery to Ballast Point to Lost Abbey. From hemp ales to pilsners to IPAs, there are plenty for everyone's tastes. They haven't release this year's list yet but more than 50 beers are promised.

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There will also be vendors with food for sale should you want to soak up the beer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pam Mac D's: New Gluten-Free Market Opens in Burbank

A couple of years ago, I knew nothing about celiacs and gluten intolerance. I've heard about gluten free diet as a fad back in college, and didn't get why people would want to cut out gluten.

Then upon meeting a friend's best friend, I was told that he had celiac disease and could not eat gluten. Now, my roommate is also gluten intolerant. As I started paying attention to it, I realized that it's a pretty hard lifestyle. I thought my roommate would be fine at an Asian restaurant since she can eat rice, but soy sauce is also a no-no!

Well, for these people, life just became easier with the opening of Pam Mac D's in Burbank, an entirely gluten-free market.

From gluten free beer made with Sorghum (which was actually pretty good, light beer) to almond flour, it carries pretty much everything. They also have packed vegan meals from Rahel Ethiopian Restaurant.

Even if you're not on a gluten free diet, doesn't mean you won't enjoy some of the things here.

I absolutely loved the ThinKrisps. I mean, they're cheese crisps!! Crunchy, crispy, cheddary goodness that are so addictive. I can eat a whole container in 5 minutes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brü Haus: Brentwood's Gastro Pub, Now Open

Brü Haus has opened its doors right next to Cabo Cantina with around twenty draft beers and about the same number in bottles. Brü Haus is possibly Brentwood's first gastropub; at least I can't think of another.

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The main fare at Brü Haus is the sausages with interesting selections (including a Berliner currywurst) and vegan options, burgers, and pretzels. They have about 20 beers on tap and an equal number in bottles.
Bru Haus Pub

Make sure you get some of their housemade sauces (sambal aioli, jalapeno ranch) to go with either your sausages, burger, or fries (or sweet potato tater tots). My favorite was the bright pink beetchup. Yes, that's beet ketchup. Sounds weird but I was hooked.
Beetchup

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fast and Cheap at Bawarchi Indian Kitchen (Culver City)

I don't think most people run into this problem but somehow we find ourselves spending $50-70 for two when we go eat Indian food. He likes variety, he says, so we order 4-5 dishes, plus rice and mango lassi. Well, I've found a solution at Bawarchi Indian Kitchen.

For $9, you get your choice of plain or garlic naan or tawa roti (wheat), saffron basmati rice or pilau rice, and three dishes. It also comes with salad and raita/yogurt.

Bawarchi Combo
The only drawback for me is that this place is vegan, but for the most part I don't really miss the meat when having an Indian meal (with the occasional tandoori cravings).

The vegetable dishes change daily and are displayed in the buffet containers so you can point and choose. The guy with the turban behind the counter (Chef Sabharwal's son, apparently) will guide you through it all.
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With this setup, two people can taste six dishes, two different types of naan or roti and rice!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan Feasting and Boozing at Shojin

I am never one who'd decide to go vegetarian one day, but I've heard many great things about Shojin, the organic/vegan/macrobiotic Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo from fellow bloggers (mainly LA-OC Foodie and inomthings).

Seitan Steak
Seitan Steak Marinade
I've been meaning to try it for a while and an invitation to a blogger dinner provided the last push and I finally made it there!
Shojin's Dining Room
Shojin's dining room was much nicer than I had expected, especially for being in that neglected mall in Little Tokyo. White tablecloth, chandelier, and all.

Shojin also recently started serving alcohol and we tried their "Mojito" made with unprocessed cane sugar, mint, apple juice, cranberry juice, vegan sake (Ichigo)

We started with a tasting of the three most popular appetizers:
Spicy rock shiitake tempura, spicy wasaby mayonnaise
Yuzu ponzu Seitan (pan fried sliced seitan with grated daikon and yuzu citrus sauce)
Spicy fried tofu (fried marinated tofu, spicy soy sauce)
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The shiitake tempura was chewy and meaty. I loved the tofu which had a light yet crispy breading. Apparently the batter was made with whole wheat and arrow roots which makes it stay crispy for a long time. The seitan was unremarkable compared to the other two.

Shojin also makes sure to serve vegan wine and sake. Wine isn't always vegan? Nope, apparently most wines are filtered using egg whites or egg shells. The appetizers were paired with some Nottage Hill Chardonnay from Australia.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pizza Fusion: Going Vegan and Gluten-Free for a Night

Pizza Fusion is NOT a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free place.
It does, however, carry options for all of the above, and is pretty well-known for their gluten free crust, giving those with celiac disease the rare opportunity to eat a pizza. So when the owners of Pizza Fusion invited me over to taste the food they offer, I decided to try these vegan and gluten-free stuff for myself.

DISCLAIMER: I went for an invited tasting, so we ate for free.

I went with LA & OC Foodie, the perfect partner in crime since he was doing a Meatless April (and I guess now he's attempting a Meatless May too ... tsk tsk.)

I don't know if Pizza Fusion is the first sustainable chain, but this franchise that started in Miami not only serves organic and sustainable products but also didn't stray from their environmental mission in building their locations. Even their floors, walls and toilets.

Pizza Fusion carries some microbrewery beers on taps and also a selection of organic wines. LA & OC Foodie ordered a flight of 4 beers (20 oz total, %10).
I don't remember what beers he ordered but I remembered I liked the Unibroue Blanche de Chambly the best.

I opted for the lemonade instead ($3.00) at first... I gave in and got a beer later - the Blanche de Chambly. Uhm.
The lemonade is not too sweet like most others, which makes it even more refreshing and thirst quenching.

The owner recommended the stuffed zucchini, "Zucchini al Forno" ($6.99), so we got an order of those too.
Roasted zucchini stuffed with walnuts and vegetarian stuffing. We definitely didn't miss the meat or the chicken/turkey broth in this, the stuffing had plenty of flavors already. Perhaps too much actually. I thought the zucchini didn't need so much stuffing and less would actually balance the flavors better. I did enjoy the texture that the walnuts gave to this.

Because those flip-up menus and ads sometimes do work and this looked good, we got a half order of the Pear & Gorgonzola salad ($5.99)
Using great fresh products, can't go wrong with this salad.

We ended up getting a non-vegan (but vegetarian since LA & OC Foodie is doing his meatless April!) on a gluten-free crust, and a vegan pizza (with vegan cheese) on a normal crust. Hedging our bets, so to speak.

Here's the Farmer's Market Pizza with Gluten-Free crust (personal size, $9.99)

As you can see below, the gluten free crust is noticeable thinner than a normal thin crust. It's rather cracker-like also, probably what one would expect from a non-gluten crust.

For the vegan cheese at Pizza Fusion, you have 2 options: either the Follow Your Heart soy cheese, or the Daiya cheese for a bit extra - $0.50-$1, can't remember. Because Quarry Girl raved about the Daiya cheese (which she then asked Pizza Fusion to carry), we opted to try it.

We got this cheese on the Very Vegan pizza (personal size, $8.99+extra for Daiya).
Upon first taste, Daiya cheese certainly had strong flavors, one that you wouldn't expect from a vegan cheese, and one that you wouldn't get from the Follow Your Heart soy cheese (according to LA & OC Foodie)

I ended up liking the normal-cheese-gluten-free-crust pizza better but LA & OC Foodie liked the vegan-cheese-normal-crust better.
It's certainly wonderful that those with celiac disease can have things they normally wouldn't be able to at Pizza Fusion, like the pizza, and also brownies. We tried a gluten-free vegan brownie ($4.99) a la mode (with vanilla gelato - not vegan).
The brownie was surprisingly chocolate-y and decadent, almost reminiscent of fudge though not as rich and thick. It was moist but the flavors are there, although the texture was just a little bit off. Not necessarily bad, but I definitely noticed a difference between this gluten free version and others.

I have some vegan friends and I also know a couple of people with celiac disease. It was really nice to find this place so I can take him later and let him have some pizza and brownie. Personally though, I'd still go with the bbq chicken, sinful cheese, and gluten crust :P Luckily, Pizza Fusion has all that, too. Something for everyone.

They also have the following weekly specials, in case you're planning a visit!
Vegan Monday- Free Daiya Cheese Upgrade on Any Pizza or Free Vegan Strawberry Sorbet on any Large Vegan Pizza Soy or Daiya
Wine and Dine Tuesday- Up to $20 off Organic/ Sustainable Bottles of Wine
Draft Beer Wednesday- $1 off Any Draft Beer
Gluten-Free Thursday- Free Gluten-Free Vegan Brownie with Any Large Gluten Free Pizza


Pizza Fusion - Hollywood
7950 W. Sunset Blvd.
Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 375-3390
www.pizzafusion.com/hollywood/
Pizza Fusion on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 22, 2009

Being Healthy at M Cafe de Chaya

Even a (gourmet) pig occasionally feels like she wants to eat something ... healthy. Light, even. Maybe even ... vegetarian? But a pig doesn't know many places to go for that. Luckily fellow food blogger H.C. from LA & OC Foodie and now, Foodie Fitness, does. So I was sent to M Cafe de Chaya in Culver City, a macrobiotic restaurant.

Being the procrastinator that we are, we got there 30 minutes before closing and only a handful of people were left. Offering a variety of deli items and also some hot items like teriyaki bowls and bento boxes, M Cafe de Chaya seems like a good place to grab a quick lunch, if only I work in the area.

I've read wonderful things about the kale in spicy peanut sauce, so naturally I got that. We also got red quinoa salad.
The peanut sauce was not spicy, so let that deter no one. The kale in "spicy" peanut sauce dish though, was deliciously addictive. I meant to take some home. But I ate the whole plate that night. It was that good! But so much for a light meal ...

The quinoa was also pretty good. Nice texture and flavorful. I was too busy paying attention to my kale though.

The entree choices were actually fairly limited with only bento boxes and teriyaki bowls available, for the most part. I got a miso black cod bento box (the macrobiotic diet allows fish - so this place isn't exactly vegan).
The cod comes with rice, salad, and various vegetables including burdock roots and seitan. Fish was actually pretty good, pretty moist and tender. The salad dressing was overwhelmingly salty. The vegetable's sauce was also rather salty, but at least I can wipe it off with the rice, and it was quite tasty. I enjoyed eating the chewy seitan.

Lots of food, I was stuffed after my kale and this. So much for a light meal. At least it was healthy?

My friend got the teriyaki tofu bowl with vegetable tempura.
The tofu was good, but ... I have to say there isn't much tofu here to speak of for something called a "tofu bowl".

Man, writing this I'm really starting to crave that kale with peanut sauce again. I should get a pint to go ... Do give it a try. If you're the type to like kale, this thing will make you addicted.

M Cafe de Chaya
11301 Culver Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 838-4300

M Cafe de Chaya on Fooddigger

M Cafe de Chaya on Urbanspoon

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