SoCal Veg Fest at OCC

The first annual SoCal Veg Fest happened this month on World Vegan Day – November 1.  It was a beautiful day at Orange Coast College and I thought this event went very smoothly.  I applaud the organizers not only because I personally know how super-cool they are, but because this was the first time a first annual vegan event didn’t turn out to be a total cluster fuck.  The location was large enough for the crowd, it was free to attend, free parking was provided, there was enough shade, there were many speakers and cooking demos to fill your time, and the lines at the food vendors weren’t absurdly long.  I look forward to attending this event next year.

SoCal Veg Fest

SoCal Veg Fest

Quite a few food vendors were out giving free samples of their vegan products.  I know this was a big part of what the day was about.  A popular flea market was happening nearby, and I know the organizers wanted any of those attendees curious enough about a veg fest to have the opportunity to try some delicious vegan food.  Good idea indeed.  I got some of those samples – but also paid to get some more food.  First stop was a group serving up food from Vegi Wokery.  I bet the Combo Plate would be delicious in the restaurant, but it was not so amazing when being served out of a tent.  I’ll have to hit up the actual restaurant one day.

Vegi Wokery Menu

Vegi Wokery Menu

Vegi Wokery Combo Plate

Vegi Wokery Combo Plate

After chatting with some friends, I decided to try Plant Food for People.  I think I’ve tried them before – maybe when they were first starting out? Everyone says they love them and they were, in fact, delightful.  The the Torta (#5) was nice, but way too much bread (or maybe just not enough filling?).  The Quesadilla (#7) was not what I was expecting. It was two small hard tortillas sandwiching a small portion of filling. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was the grilled soft flour tortilla quesadilla I thought I was getting.

Plant Food for People Menu

Plant Food for People Menu

Plant Food for People Torta and Quesadilla

Plant Food for People Torta and Quesadilla

Donut Friend is such a friend to the vegan community.  They always seem to come out to every vegan event.  Even though I live in LA and it wouldn’t be too hard for me to make the trek from west of the 405 to Highland Park, I never seem to get to their store.  I really should go more often – their donuts are amazing.  I got the Fritter Seems Forever (the best!), Husker Blu (yum!), Pumpkin Piebald (pumpkin deliciousness!), and X-Ray Speculoos (love speculoos, but ruined by the sea salt topping). I really could have gotten them all, but I must set some boundaries.

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend

Donut Friend

While waiting in line for my donuts, the woman in front of me was eating something that I thought I must have.  Turns out, it was a Pumpkin Cheesecake from Mother’s Market.  This. Was. Good.  I wish Mother’s Market came to LA.

Mother's Market Pumpkin Cheesecake

Mother’s Market Pumpkin Cheesecake

And lastly, I just wanted to show you some of the awesome cupcakes from their cupcake competition. It was a wonderful addition to the event and many winners went home with fun gift bags after three judges tasted every single cupcake (where can I sign up for that job?!).

Cupcake Competition

Cupcake Competition

Thank you so much to all the people who worked so hard finding the space, vendors, speakers, and everything else to make this event a huge success!

Herbivore Festival at Crafton Hills College

Despite the rain, I thought the first annual (bi-annual??) Herbivore Festival at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa was a success.  There were quite a few vendors set up selling food and products and other vendors who were there to provide information about their various causes.  They also had cooking demonstrations, music, aerial acts, and inside lectures.  I was able to browse the vendors (and buy some products) and also watch the cooking demonstrations.  I wasn’t able to listen to any for the lectures, but I heard they were great.

Herbivore Festival

Herbivore Festival

Parmela Creamery makes some awesome vegan cheeses and they were there sampling and selling some of their products.  I tasted their new Nacho Cheese and it was super yummy, so I bought a jar and a jar of their Alfredo Sauce.

Parmela Creamery

Parmela Creamery

Parmela Creamery Alfredo and Nacho Sauce

Parmela Creamery Alfredo and Nacho Sauce

Happy Family has a delicious restaurant in the Loma Linda area (and also in Rowland Heights) and they were there selling a few of their best sellers.  I got a chicken dish for $5, but think it is way better when eaten at the restaurant.  I highly recommend this place.

Happy Family Restaurant Chicken

Happy Family Restaurant Chicken

The Tamale Guy normally serves all sorts of tamales, but for this event, they went completely vegan.  The Potatoes and Veggies Tamale was really good and hit the spot on that unusually cold day.

The Tamale Guy Vegan Menu

The Tamale Guy Vegan Menu

The Tamale Guy Potatoes and Veggies Tamale

The Tamale Guy Potatoes and Veggies Tamale

Loma Linda Market was there serving up a whole meals worth of samples.  They were super generous.

Loma Linda Market Sampling

Loma Linda Market Sampling

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery was new to me, so I was excited to try one of their dishes.  The TVP Taco was just ok, but the Fried Shrimp Taco was insane.  I can’t believe how crispy they got the shrimp, since it was a cold, wet day and they just had some small portable fryer.  They really did it well.

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery Menu

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery Menu

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery TVP and Fried Shrimp Tacos

Galvans Gourmet Veganeatery TVP and Fried Shrimp Tacos

Pies by Domonic based out of Orange County was selling gluten free pies.  I got a Pumpkin Pie and a Blueberry Crumble Pie.  I’m not gluten free and would have preferred a regular flour crust, but it was pretty good.  I ate mine with lots of Soyatoo Whipped Cream when I got home.

Pies by Domonic Pumpkin Pie and Blueberry Crumble Pie

Pies by Domonic Pumpkin Pie and Blueberry Crumble Pie

Naked Lunch had some savory items and this Chocolatey Yogurt.  I was a little worried it was going to be bitter since it was made with cacao, but it was perfectly sweet.

Naked Lunch Yogurt

Naked Lunch Yogurt

Naked Lunch Yogurt

Naked Lunch Yogurt

I saw three cooking demonstrations while I was at the festival.  The first was done by a very energetic dietician named Kimberly Paulien Slater.  She showed us a recipe for an easy and delicious salad (recipe can be found here).  The second demonstration was for a Raw Nacho Cheese by Paul Zanone who runs a raw meetup group in the Inland Empire.  The last demonstration I saw was by two chefs who came all the way from the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center.  I thought the effort they put into this demonstration was terrific.  They made a beautiful Butternut Squash Tangine that was also delicious.  The conference center is open to UCLA grads and to organizations and small businesses that want to use the facility for retreats and conferences that are educational in purpose.

Butternut Squash Tangine

UCLA Lake Arrowhead Center Butternut Squash Tangine

After the success of this event, the organizer was toying with the idea of making this event twice a year.  I’m so excited that there is this much involvement in the vegan community out in my home area of the Inland Empire.  Keep watch at their Facebook page for information about the next event.

Vegan Oktoberfest 2015

Vegan Oktoberfest is happening this weekend.  If you didn’t get out there today, you’re still in luck.  Vegan Oktoberfest will run again tomorrow – October 4th.

If you went last year (for the first annual event), you’ll remember it was insane and poorly planned.  The location last year was in a tiny parking lot at the beach somewhere between Venice and Santa Monica.  They oversold the event, vendors ran out of items early, it was super packed, and there was a record heat wave that day (ok – they couldn’t do anything about that last one).

This year was so much better.  They changed locations and created the event for two days.  This year’s event was at LA Center Studios – located just west of downtown and the 110 freeway.  Not only was the space more than double of what they had last year, but there were also so many trees/buildings to provide shade around the area.  My one complaint, though, would be that they could have set up more tents/tarps over the seating area for shade.  Otherwise, I thought this event was a success. Were there fewer people in attendance?  Maybe.  All the lines seemed rather short.  Maybe it was just better planning on the vendors this year?  Maybe Sunday will be more packed?  I don’t know, but was happy I didn’t have to wait in line for an hour like last year.

I got the non-drinker ticket, because I didn’t want to spend a ton on the ticket price and because I was driving.  I did have a taste of Ace Pineapple Cider from a friend and it was really good.  If you like sweet and not really alcoholly taste – hit them up.  I did get to try a lot of food, though, and I have leftovers to last pretty much a whole week’s worth of lunch.

Stop 1:  Ridiculous Baking Co does it again with their awesome Apple Strudel Cupcakes ($4) and Berliner Jelly Donuts ($3).  They also had a German Chocolate Cake, which I did not have today, but have had in the past (yum!).

Ridiculous Baking Co Apple Strudel Cupcake and Berliner

Ridiculous Baking Co Apple Strudel Cupcake and Berliner

Stop 2: The Grilled Cheese Truck is always one of my stops at all these vegan events (including LA Vegan Beer Fest this past May).  Their regular menu includes no vegan items – which is a shame, because they do them so well.  My two favorites are the Cheesy Mac Melt ($8) and the Cheesy Mac and Rib Melt ($10).

Grilled Cheese Truck Cheesy Mac Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Cheesy Mac Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Mac and Rib Melt

Grilled Cheese Truck Mac and Rib Melt

Stop 3: The Go Vegan Truck (or is it the Make Vegan Truck?) was new to me and I still can’t figure out their proper name.  The Not Dog ($6) was one of my favorite savory items from the day.  Take a vegan dog, batter it, fry it, and serve it up in a hot dog bun.  Yum.  Their Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger ($11) was also good.  True to the name, the patty was crispy.  It was a nice burger, but if I had to pick one item to order, it would be the Not Dog.  I also tried one of their (unlabelled) desserts.  I think it was a Chocolate Rugelach ($5), and it was just ok.  Slightly sweet, nice texture, but nothing to write home about.

Go Vegan Food Truck

Go Vegan Food Truck

Go Vegan Not Dog

Go Vegan Not Dog

Go Vegan Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger

Go Vegan Crispy Schnitzel Cheese Burger

Go Vegan Rugelach

Go Vegan Rugelach

Stop 4: Sabores de Mexico looks like they serve all meat during their normal truck schedule, because they put up some (very hand-made) signs with a special vegan menu for the event.  I really appreciate the effort, but unfortunately, I was not a fan.  I got the Pepperdine Burrito which had rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, Daiya, and tofu.  I thought it was a little bland. Adding Spanish rice instead of plain ol’ white rice might have helped.

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu

Sabores de Mexico Menu Pepperdine Burrito

Sabores de Mexico Menu Pepperdine Burrito

Stop 5: Donut Friend has been at other vegan events, but I’ve always skipped them in hopes I would make it out to their shop in Highland Park.  I have yet to go to their shop, so I decided to give them a go.  Everything was amazing!  The Apple Fritter ($5) was the perfect texture, the Allison Spice ($4) was a pumpkin cake donut done right, and the Custard Front Drive ($4) had the most delicious custard filling.  The chocolate glaze on the custard donut was a little more rich than I am used to being on raised donuts, but was not overpowering when combined with that creamy custard.

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Menu

Donut Friend Apple Fritter, Bavarian Cream, Pumpkin Spice

Donut Friend Apple Fritter, Bavarian Cream, Pumpkin Spice

Stop 6: Divine Dips is always a great way to end a hot, food-filled day.  The Matcha Green Tea is my favorite.  I also tried the Caffe No-Lait and loved it.  All this was topped with some Whipped Cream and I was a happy girl. ($6)

Divine Dips Matcha Green Tea and Caffe No-Lait with Whipped Cream

Divine Dips Matcha Green Tea and Caffe No-Lait with Whipped Cream

Stop 7: Nary Dairy is allegedly ceasing operations and Oktoberfest was to be their last event.  I hit them up to grab a container of Feta and two containers of Gouda for their 3 for $5 deal.  It’s a great product and we are all sad to see them go.

Nary Dairy Gouda and Feta

Nary Dairy Gouda and Feta

Bonus Stop:  Falasophy was also at Vegan Oktoberfest, but I was too full to grab something from them.  I did get their Classic Falafel Pita at another event and absolutely loved it.  The pita was so thick and fluffy and I loved that they added hummus (as opposed to just a tahini sauce).  Now I kind of wish that I had gotten one to go.

Falasophy Menu

Falasophy Menu

Falasophy Falafel Pita

Falasophy Falafel Pita

Thanks to the organizers of this year’s event for making it a ton better than last year.  See you next year!

 

 

LA Vegan Beer Fest

If you have any vegan friends in the LA area, chances are your newsfeeds were blowing up a few weekends ago with posts from the 6th Annual LA Vegan Beer Fest.  This year they moved the event to the Rose Bowl to accommodate the events huge popularity and vegans from all over the place flocked to Pasadena like a pilgrimage to the holy land.   A friend of mine convinced me to get the VIP ticket (which allows you to enter the event one hour before everyone else) so I could avoid long lines.  I’m super glad I spent the extra money – I got to the area before the crowds, found parking close to the entrance, and got everything I wanted to try before having to wait in long lines and before things started selling out.
LA Vegan Beer Fest

LA Vegan Beer Fest – When I arrived

OK.  I had to make some tough decisions and conserve the space in my stomach, so quite a bit of what you are about to read did get put into my handy tubberware and brought back home for when I would be hungry again… 4 days later.

Continue reading

The Grain Cafe

The Grain Cafe is a somewhat new restaurant located in Mid-City LA.  I’ve read that the people that started The Grain Cafe came from Golden Mean in Santa Monica.  I really like Golden Mean, so I already had good expectations for what was to come.

Strawberry Milkshake

Strawberry Milkshake

I can never resist a milkshake.  A part of me is glad more places don’t offer this menu item, because I’d be drinking them all the time.  Anyway, I ordered a Strawberry Milkshake ($6.50), which was made with real strawberries and had a nice flavor.  The only thing about it that I didn’t like, was that it was slightly on the icey side.  Not icey like a slurpee or something, but not as creamy as those dairy-based milkshakes from your local diner.

 

Club Sandwich

Club Sandwich

I read a bunch of Yelp reviews and people seemed to like the Club Sandwich ($10.95) which includes marinated chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, smoked tempeh bacon, and garlic aioli sauce served on sourdough bread. It is also served with a mixed green salad.  The salad was just ok.  I thought the dressing was too tangy, but there was a nice little touch of quinoa.  The Club was very delicious.  I added avocado ($2), because one always has to yes when asked to add avocado (and then proceed to get a second job to cover the costs of all the added avocado).  The sauce on the club was fantastic and the bread was perfectly toasted.  I would definitely recommend this sandwich.

 

Chocolate Crepe

Chocolate Crepe

Lastly, I got the Chocolate Crepe ($9.95).  This crepe had some chocolate mousse, strawberries and chocolate syrup.  There used to be a French vegan crepe place in LA, but I wasn’t really a fan of their crepes (kind of under-cooked and soggy for me), but I love crepes.  As for The Grain Cafe’s crepe – I did like it.  This crepe was thoroughly cooked and had a nice flavor.  I was expecting a thicker mousse, though.  I was imagining a crepe full of a a fluffy and rich mousse.  Maybe it had melted?  It just looked like chocolate syrup.  It tasted good, just not what I was expecting.  Also, since it was winter, the strawberries weren’t in season and they weren’t very sweet.  I think this crepe would have been better during strawberry season.  I’m really interested in trying their other crepes, because I did like the way they prepared it.  Good job to them!

The Grain Cafe
4222 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

323-931-4034
Monday – Saturday 6am – 10pm
Sunday 8am – 10pm

Vegan Street Fair

This past Sunday, thousands flocked to North Hollywood to attend the first annual Vegan Street Fair.  By looking at the number of attendees, you could say this event was a huge success.  Of course people are going to want to come out to something like this – free entrance, all-vegan food, cheap small bites.  I am the type of person this event was created for.  I love trying as many items as possible, so paying tons of money at other events for a giant portion and getting so full that I can’t try all the things I want is not so cool.  Still, there were a few kinks that will need to be worked out before the next event (more on that later).

Let’s get to the food.

I love hummus and I love falafel. So, my first stop was at Hummus Republic. I kind of wish I had tried their hummus, but instead, I went with their tacos.  I got the three taco variety and chose one Chicken taco and two Falafel tacos.  All three were topped with their tahini sauce (other sauces included a pesto sauce and some kind of spicy sauce).  The chicken taco was just ok.  It was good, but I’d choose the falafel taco over the chicken taco in a heartbeat.  The falafel taco was delicious (it also helped that I hadn’t eaten yet and this was my first stop).  But really, even if I had hit these guys up at my last stop, I think it still would have been good.

Hummus Republic Tacos

Hummus Republic Tacos

 

Next stop was Joni Marie Newman’s Just the Food tent.  This awesome food blogger and cookbook author (I love her cookbook “500 Vegan Recipes” btw) was serving spicy Korean BBQ jackfruit tacos and flakey fish-y tacos.  I don’t like really spicy, so I played it safe with a Flakey Fish-y Taco.  I liked this taco as well.  I thought there was a little bit too much cabbage and not enough “fish”, but the sauce was really good and overall the flavor was great.  I was glad to try her food, since she normally doesn’t set up shop to prepare food for the masses.

Just the Food Fish Taco

Just the Food Fish-y Taco

While the lines were short, I decided to grab a bunch of desserts, before they sold out of items.  Bramble Bakeshop had a whole variety of macarons, a couple of cheesecakes, and some peanut butter cups.  I’ve never had non-vegan macarons and I’ve only had the Feel Good Desserts vegan flavors (I wasn’t a huge fan), so I skipped their macarons and got a Churro Cheesecake.  This was so good.  Probably my favorite dessert from the day.  Perfectly sweet and creamy with a subtle cinnamon flavor.

Bramble Bakeshop

Bramble Bakeshop

Luscious Organic Desserts has never let me down and they didn’t at Vegan Street Fair.  They had a bunch of stuffed cookies which were hard to choose from.  I got a Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie, a Double Chocolate New-tella Stuffed Cookie, and a Cookie Butter Stuffed Blondie Cookie.  All were really amazing – not too soft and not too chewy.  I wish I had gotten some of their other flavors.

Charlies Brownie and Lucious Organic Cookies

Charlies Brownie and Lucious Organic Cookies

Ridiculous Baking Company came with three temptations.  Being the glutton that I am, I wanted all three.  But the cheap side of me said, “no.”  So I compromised and went with two.  The Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake was delicious.  It was super moist and peanut buttery.  The Donut was just ok.  It kind of had chewy texture – something I don’t want in a donut.  The flavor was nice, though, so they just need to work on getting that donut to feel – well – more like a donut.  Speaking of donuts – I really wanted to try Donut Friend’s donuts, but I decided to avoid the line and go to their store for a fresh donut some other time.  They looked so good, though!

Ridiculous Baking Company

Ridiculous Baking Company

My last dessert venture was for a S’mores Brownie at Charlie’s Brownies.  These brownies are gluten free, but they do a very good job at making them taste like they aren’t gluten free.  The brownie was really fudgey, but there was the tiniest bit of graininess after you started chewing.  That was the only way I could tell they were gluten free, but it wasn’t even a big issue.  I would definitely get it again.

Charlie's S'mores Brownie

Charlie’s S’mores Brownie

Back to the savory food.  I saw they were serving fried chicken at Clean South, so I found the back of the line and waited.  I have never heard of this company and was hoping their line didn’t go as slowly as Southern Fried Vegan (do not wait in their hours long line – it is not worth it), but Clean South’s line went pretty quickly.  When I got to the front, I learned that most of the food was already made.  I got two servings of Fried Chicken (one for me and one for my vegan guy who was on his way) and a piece of Cornbread.  Both of these items were in big serving trays ready to be handed out.  They hand make the chicken, which I believe was seitan.  Unfortunately I was not a fan.  I’m not a huge fan of seitan to begin with, but I think that, since the chicken had been sitting for a bit, that it had gotten kind of soggy.  Maybe if it was fresh from the fryer it would have been crispier and better, but props to them for having a fast moving line.  The cornbread was a big letdown, though.  It was pretty bland and didn’t really have that cornbread kind of flavor at all.

Clean South Fried Chicken and Cornbread

Clean South Fried Chicken and Cornbread

By this time, my vegan guy and I ran out of tickets and stood in line to get more. While we were waiting, some awesome people were leaving and handing out their unused tickets!  Score for us!  Armed with our free (and purchased) tickets, we headed on over to The Rabbit Hole.  I’ve had their food once before and thought it was delicious, so I was expecting good things.  I got the Shepherd’s Pie which included veggies, beans, and grains topped with some mashed sweet potatoes.  It was really good.  It was fresh from the stove, which warmed my body on that cold day.  By that time I was getting full, so I saved half for later (still delicious the next day!).

Rabbit Hole Shepherds Pie

Rabbit Hole Shepherds Pie

Next. we made a quick stop at Rachel’s Cosmic Cuisine for a mini Pizza Bagel.  This is exactly what you’d expect from a pizza bagel.  I liked it.  Simple, good sauce, melty cheese.  My vegan guy did not like it.  “I like my pizza bagels better,” he says.  To each his own.

Rachels Cosmic Cuisine Pizza Bagel

Rachels Cosmic Cuisine Pizza Bagel

I think the favorite for both of us that day (well, I know it was my favorite), was the Fried Ravioli from the Whole Foods tent.  Bonus – I don’t think people realized they were dishing out food, because there was no one in line.  The pasta part was fried and then topped with a Kite Hill Cheese filling and marinara.  So good.  I need to try and replicate this.

Whole Foods Fried Ravioli

Whole Foods Fried Ravioli

Our last stop before we had to leave was at Broke Hungry Vegan.  This line took the longest, but it was also the line we stood in when it started hailing (yes it hails in California!!).  Those poor people in the tent were wading in water once we got up there. Some of the delay might have been due to the crazy weather that had happened while we were waiting.  We ordered quite a few things, so we could use up a lot of our tickets.  The Soy Curl Taquito was the best of the bunch.  The only downside was that it was super greasy  – like almost soggy because of the grease.  This could have been because they were frying in not ideal circumstances – when the oil gets too cool, it can lead to greasy and not crispy fried foods – so I don’t blame them for that.  The Bahn Mi, though, was slightly bland.  I love the flavor of plain tofu so the sandwich wasn’t all that bad for me.  My vegan guy thought it was a no go – too bland for him.  The Loaded Nachos looked like it used the same filling as the taquito, but didn’t taste as good.  For some reason it was a bit blander than the taquito.  All in all, I’d order the taquito again, but probably nothing else.

Broke Hungry Vegan Soy Curl Taquito

Broke Hungry Vegan Soy Curl Taquito

Broke Hungry Vegan Loaded Nachos

Broke Hungry Vegan Loaded Nachos

Broke Hungry Vegan Bahn Mi

Broke Hungry Vegan Bahn Mi

Phew!  That was a lot of food!  I truly appreciate the effort that went into this event.  I can’t even imagine all the things that had to happen to make this it possible.

That being said, I do hope they change things for the future.  This event definitely needed more space.  The first Vegan Beer Fest needed more space.  The first Vegan Oktoberfest needed a TON more space.  And now, the first Vegan Street Fair needed more space.  I wish they thought about this a little more when planning the event.  It was wall-to-wall people.  Getting from place to place was extremely difficult and seeing which line went to which tent was challenging.  If there had been more space, people could see which lines were super long and make their way to the shorter lines – thereby evening out the lines.  One person on the Vegan Street Fair facebook page suggested having all food vendors on one side, so the lines all go one way.  Another person recommended working with the vendors to get an estimated prep time for each order and spacing out those that would take longer.  A few people suggested that vendors quicken their service, but I’m not really sure how doable that is without sacrificing the taste of the food (that is why we all go to these events, right?!).

It was great that there was no charge to get in, but the lack of pre-sold tickets means that vendors and organizers had no way of knowing an estimated head count.  Plus, each sheet of tickets (12 tickets sold for $8) had a service charge of $2.  I bought 8 sheets, so basically my vegan guy and I paid $16 to get in.  Not a bad deal, but I almost think they might want to reconsider charging to get in.  I think it would be great to maybe charge a small amount for an entrance ticket upfront that may even include a few food tickets.  Then once inside you are free to buy more food tickets.  This would help organizers and vendors know about how many people are coming.  But, I can see how this would create more costs for the organizers (and therefore more costs for the attendees) – more security to prevent people sneaking in, more barricades, more logistical problems creating an entrance ticket.  But something needs to change for next year and I think the organizers realize that.

I am exited to see where this event goes.  On the Vegan Street Fair website it says that there will be events like this in other cities.  I hope that, with each new event, they will get better and better.

More Amazingness from Golden Mean

When I think of a great, flavorful, diverse cafe in Los Angeles, Golden Mean comes to mind.  I seriously love this place.  They offer so much to their patrons.  The menu is huge and you can get anything from juices and healthier entrees to foods that soothe the soul.

Their Works Burger ($13.50) is their veggie burger topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, avocado, cheese, tempeh bacon, and a special sauce.  I loved this.  Not only is it packed with flavor, but I also like that the patty is homemade with beans, grains, and veggies.  No slab of soy protein here.

Golden Mean Works Burger

Works Burger

My vegan guy went with an item that is no longer on the menu but is similar to their Wet Burrito – the Chicken Enchiladas ($12.95).  He opted to get it without salsa thinking it would be the pico de gallo kind, but it turns out that that was the sauce.  Oops.  It still came with a delicious white sauce, though.  Golden Mean doesn’t do bland.  The one bite I had was yummy.

Golden Mean Enchiladas

Enchiladas

The one downside of Golden Mean is their bakery case!  It is so tempting and I can never leave without getting dessert.  The Cheesecake was to hard to resist.  I can’t recall what flavor it was (I think it was plain with a crumble on top), but was delightful.  Not the best cheesecake I’ve had, but still a refreshing end to a meal.

Golden Mean Cheesecake

Cheesecake

1028 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-393-6500

Sunday – Monday 10am – 9pm
Tuesday – Thursday 9am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday 9am – 9:30pm

Vegan Caviar? Huh?

Vegans try and replicate everything we used to eat as omnivores.  Enter: Vegan Caviar (aka Cavi-Art).  I’ve never even had real caviar (fish eggs were never at the top of my list of things to eat).  I have no idea how this compares to the real stuff, but I just know that the vegan version of it was not to my liking.  And maybe it tastes like what it’s supposed to be (maybe I wouldn’t have liked fish caviar if I had tried it) – who knows?  It’s made of seaweed, so it has that “fresh from the ocean” flavor.  In fact, when I took a bite of the stuff on crackers it tasted like I had swallowed ocean water.  Not that pleasant.

Caviart

Cavi-art

I even tried to bring crackers and pawn it off on friends at a dinner, but couldn’t get rid of the stuff.  Some people tried it, but it was only a small amount.  Once you have a small taste of it, you are good to go.  Now what am I going to do with the rest of these two jars?  Oddly enough, the Cavi-Art website has a bunch of recipes that use their product.  Too bad all of them are full of animal products!  One friend recommended I use bits of it in sushi.  Maybe I’ll give that a go.

Caviart

Cavi-art on Crackers

 What do you think?  Have you had this product?  What recipes have you used with it?

More Baked Goodies from Muffin Top Bakery

I wanted to add to my earlier post about the seriously good vegan desserts at Muffin Top Bakery.  As you saw, I went a little overboard – it’s hard to resist such beautifully presented treats.  Well, I went back and they had a whole new round of goodies that I HAD to try.

They had a bunch of cake slices laid out for me.  The Key Lime and the Cookies n Cream varieties are fluffy and topped with sweet frostings (and I think are better than the cupcakes).  They also have Neapolitans (layers of flakey pastry and creams/mousses).  One was a delicious Chocolate Neapolitan with a cream filling and chocolate topping.  The other was a Raspberry Neapolitan with more cream filling and a raspberry topping.   What can be bad about cream and pastry?  Nothing.

Muffin Top Bakery Goods

Key Lime, Cookies n Cream, Neapolitan

I also got another Raspberry Neapolitan (this time with a different presentation) and a French Pastry.  The French Pastry was like a sandwich of flaky pastry filled with cream and strawberries.  And then the best part is that it is covered in chocolate.  I’d get a serious muffin top if I ate this everyday – which is probably why they named the place Muffin Top Bakery.  Nothing but “cream” and pastry – deliciousness and more deliciousness.

Muffin Top Bakery Neapolitan and French Pastry

Neapolitan and French Pastry

And on a healthier note – I found some Fruit Bars hanging out on the check out counter.  These are similar to Fig Newtons, but way better.  These tasted so fresh and had a lot of fruit filling.  I bet they’d make a great afternoon snack for kids or at the office…. or just for lunch – right out of the bag – on a Tuesday.

Muffin Top Bakery Fruit Bars

Fruit Bars

 

Redlands
223 E. State St. Suite A
Redlands, CA 92373
(909)792-9911

Monday – Wednesday 8am – 7pm
Thursday 8am – 9pm
Friday – Saturday 8am – 7pm
Sunday 9am – 4pm
Riverside
1735 Spruce St
Riverside, CA 92507
951-222-0377

Monday – Friday 6am – 6pm
Saturday 8am – 4pm

 

You Can Eat More, Because It’s Healthy Junk, Right?

And I certainly did eat more on a recent trip to Healthy Junk in Anaheim.  As you may remember, I have been here before.  And as you may also remember, I completely stuffed myself at that visit, as well.

The No Fish and Chips ($9.95) are one of my favorites here (my other favorite is the nachos – which you can see at my previous post).  These strips of “Fish” are really crispy and actually have that fishy taste!  The tartar sauce is nice, but is about half creamy dip and half chopped onions.  I could have done with less onions and more creamy dip.  It is served with some potatoes, which were tasty but a little soggy.  That might have been my fault, though, since I may have let them sit too long.

Healthy Junk Fish and Chips

No Fish and Chips

I had a moment of weakness and decided to get a salad.  The thought of juicy, sweet mango overcame me and I ordered the Mango Tango ($7.95).  This salad is loaded with romaine lettuce, quinoa, jicama, tomato, mango, and avocado.  It is then drizzled with their mango dressing.  I liked this salad, but didn’t love it.  I thought there was too much jicama (which is kind of watery and dilutes the other flavors in your mouth).  I also don’t like raw onions or cucumber in my salad and this came with it (not mentioned on the menu).  I might get it again, but without all that stuff.  The dressing was very good.

Healthy Junk Mango Salad

Mango Tango

My entree (as if I needed to eat anything else!) was the BBQ Burger with Slaw ($6.45).  Their meat strips, I believe, are seitan which are covered in BBQ sauce and then topped with a cool slaw.  This was a good burger and I’d get it again.  The whole wheat bun was good and not too “wheaty” – plus it makes you feel healthy (hence the name of the place).

Healthy Junk BBQ Burger

BBQ Burger

The Strawberry Shake ($5.50) was kind of a let down.  It was more like strawberry non-dairy milk.  The flavor was ok, but just too runny for me.  Go with the chocolate shake – it’s a lot better.

Healthy Junk Strawberry Shake

Strawberry Shake

And I tried a healthy take on a vegan Brownie ($2.95).  Honestly, I don’t think this brownie was all that more healthy than a regular brownie.  No cholesterol for sure, but probably still quite a bit of sugar and fat.  Oh well – sometimes a girl just wants a brownie!  The brownie itself was not too phenomenal, but topped with that fudgy frosting – oh wow!  This was one of the better vegan brownies I’ve had – ’cause we all know how hard it is to find a good vegan brownie!  There were mini chocolate chips baked in, which made the chocolate explosion even greater.  I’ll be getting this one again, for sure!

Healthy Junk Brownie

Brownie

Healthy Junk is one of my new favorite vegan places in Orange County.  They mentioned once that they were thinking of opening a second location in South Orange County.  I hope they do – sometimes Anaheim is just too far to drive from Central/South Orange County.

201 Center St. Promenade Unit B
Anaheim, California 92805
714-772-5865

Monday – Saturday 11am – 8pm