Pub Food Made Vegan in LA

I had heard such great things about the food at the Pub at Golden Road Brewing.  The menu lists a ton of vegan options – and some of these options are very creative.  I was super excited to try it.  My vegan guy and I headed all the way over to the north-east side of Los Angeles to get some grub.

The Fritters ($4) were my favorite.  Fried wild mushroom risotto with a vegan pimento cheese?  Yum!  I love risotto on its own and had no idea that a crispy outer layer could make it a whole other thing.  Well done, Golden Road, well done.

Golden Bridge Fritters

Fritters

And the Pretzel ($7) was one thing that I read such nice things about prior to coming.  It was good, I’ll give them that, but I think it was covered in what would be the average person’s daily recommended intake of sodium.  Yikes!  Too much salt for me.  It was like ocean in my mouth.  I had to rub some of it off with my fingers just so I could eat it.  I wonder if one can order it lightly salted?  It came with spicy mustard and some more pimento cheese.  Still, the sauce was not enough to cover the flavor of all that salt!

Golden Bridge Pretzel

Pretzel

I appreciate the eclectic menu, which included some international dishes – like the Bahn Mi ($7).  The deep fried tofu was a little bland (I wish they marinated it in something more flavorful), but the pickled veggies were nice.  The sriracha mayo was way too spicy for me.  I’ve said this before, but I’m a weakling when it comes to spiciness.  Because the tofu was kind of bland, most of the flavor came from the sriracha.  I wouldn’t get this again.

Golden Bridge Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi

The Quinoa Burger ($9) is handmade and deep fried.  It’s served with lettuce, tomato, onion and a remoulade sauce.  To me, this burger was just so-so.  I liked the fried part of the patty, but the inside was just too mushy to be put on a bun.  It reminded me of a giant potato croquette.  The flavor was there, but I just wish they added some texture to the patty.

Golden Bridge Burger

Quinoa Burger

And for dessert, they actually had a vegan option!  It was a mini Gingersnap Cheesecake ($5).  Again, while I appreciate the effort, this cheesecake was just too chewy.  Maybe it was accidental and the baker just baked it too long, but I didn’t like it.  The strawberries were pretty tart (it wasn’t strawberry season) as well.  I think I’ll stick to baking my own vegan cheesecakes.

Golden Bridge Cheesecake

Cheesecake

I bet this place would be great to hang out with friend while sipping on some of their handcrafted beers.  It’s a nice place and I am disappointed I didn’t like their food that much.  There are a few more menu items I’d like to taste some day and maybe I’ll come back to give them another try.

Golden Road

The Pub at Golden Road

5410 West San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
213-373-4677

Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 2am
Sunday – Tuesday 11am – midnight

Dim Sum at Susan Feniger’s Street

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone!  I may be a week late, but I still wanted to give you a re-cap on some amazing dim sum I had for the occasion.  It’s been a crazy week here in SoCal Vegan land.  This past week, I have moved to a new place and started a new job.  But the plus to all this craziness is that I get to see my vegan guy everyday now!  And it’s a good thing I keep him around, because he was the one who told me about a special Chinese New Year Dim Sum Brunch at Susan Feniger’s STREET.

 

We got a big group of friends together and ordered some of each of the menu items.  All of them were vegan, except the donuts (but could be made vegan).

Street Dim Sum Menu

Dim Sum Menu

The first in our marathon of eats was the Cantonese Style Radish Cakes.  These were one of my favorites (as well as my vegan guy’s).  Great tasting and lightly crispy on the edges.

Street Radish Cakes

Radish Cakes

The Sesame Fritters were filled with a red bean paste that kind of made these sweet.  I think I would have preffered these fritters filled with something more savory, because the outer layer was quite tasty.

Street Sesame Fritters

Sesame Fritters

The Mushroom Shu Mai were another one of my favorites (and among a lot of people according to STREET’s facebook page).  These had a bit of spice in the filling and were on top of a spicy mustard sauce.  It definitely had that burst of fire running up your nasal passage, but subsided quickly.

Street Mushroom Shu Mai

Mushroom Shu Mai

The Vegetable Potstickers were also good.  These were filled with yams and were sort of sweet, but went well with the crispy wrapper.

Street Potstickers

Potstickers

I liked the Jackfruit Bao, but I would have liked a lot more jackfruit.  We split this bun into pieces to share and everyone got a lot of dough and a tiny bit of jackfruit.  The jackfruit was well seasoned, but I just really wanted more of it.

Street Jackfruit Bao

Jackfruit Bao

The Mung Bean Crepes were nice.  Splitting this dish was hard, so I didn’t get much crepe part.  But the tofu scramble topping was simple, flavorful, and good on its own.

Street Mung Bean Crepes

Mung Bean Crepes

The Fried Rice was (by far) my number one favorite of the savory dishes.  I love fried rice dishes and this one had an intense amount of flavor covering the slightly sticky rice.  It seemed like the ingredients weren’t too uncommon – I need to learn to make something like this.

Street Fried Rice

Fried Rice

And my favorite of the sweet dishes (and, well, of ALL the dishes) was the Youtaio Donuts.  According to my vegan guy, these weren’t like the youtaio donuts he’s used to (those are not served sugared).  As for me, I’m glad they were served with soymilk and sugar crystals for dipping.  The fried dough was amazing – fluffy and not too greasy.  The sugar made it seem like I was eating a real fried donut at a state fair.  Yum!  This is really what I need to learn to make on my own (forget the fried rice!).

Street Youtaio Donut

Youtaio Donut

Sadly, the Coconut Tapioca Pearls with Shanghai Fruit were the big bummer of the night.  In fact, this dish was the only one that was barely eaten by the table (we devoured all the others).  I didn’t mind the tapioca texture – which a lot of the people at our table were against- it was just that the flavor was not to my liking.  It must have been the Shanghai fruit.  Not sure what that is, but I guess I don’t like it in my tapioca.

Street Coconut Tapioca

Coconut Tapioca

The Rice Batter Pancake was another one of the less-liked dishes at our table.  To me, the pancake had a funny flavor – kind of like there was too much leavening.  The sweet black sesame and almond syrups were delish, though.  I’d like to order some of that to dip more donuts in.

Street Rice Batter Pancake

Rice Batter Pancake

 

I hope they do this again – and before the next Chinese New Year!  They need to make it a monthly event, right?  I say let’s all badger them until they do it.  Ready?  Go.

 

 

Downtown LA’s Vegan Pizza

I’m actually cleansing as I write this post and have been craving pizza for about a week and a half.  So this pizza picture is killing me!  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Hot, cheesy, sweet, and full of bread… I think my stomach just growled.

But really.  Purgatory Pizza is so out of the way for me.  It’s this tiny shop in a random part of downtown.   One day, I just so happen to be on that side of town with some vegan friends.  I was determined to get it.  Luckily, my friends were up for a slice of the good stuff.  The pizza here reminds me of that greasy stuff you would get as a school kid after a game of soccer or little league.  The slice was thin, but the width was massive.  Oh the memories!   We opted for the very grown-up BBQ Chicken Pizza.  This large pizza set us back $20, but was delicious.

Purgatory Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken pizzas are one of my favorite varieties.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a sauce other than ordinary tomato.  And look at those nice hearty chunks of Gardein chicken and pineapple.

Purgatory Pizza

Pizza Slice

Purgatory Pizza has free delivery for orders over $15, but I’m not sure how far they will travel.  If you live in downtown, you should definitely give them a ring to find out if they will come to you.  And for everyone else – their address is:

1326 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
323-262-5310
Monday – Friday 11:30am – 11pm
Saturday and Sunday 12pm – 11pm

Casa Maya in Mentone

I know, I know.  I said I was back and then I disappeared again.  I promise this time I will be more consistent with my posts.  I honestly have a whole bunch of draft posts of things I’ve eaten the past few months ready to be finalized and brought to you.   Please forgive me.

 

My parent’s neighbor recently gave me a great recommendation for food in the area where they live.  I actually was quite surprised I hadn’t heard of Casa Maya before.  I grew up in the area and had spent a lot of my childhood as a vegetarian. This Mexican restaurant gets its unique cuisine from the Yucatan region and has a special vegetarian menu.

 

I went to visit my family and my mom and I decided to grab some lunch here.  We ordered two dishes and split them.  Our first dish was the Veggie Panuchos ($11.95).  What is a Veggie Panucho?  I had to read the menu to find out: corn tortillas stuffed with black beans, topped with marinated onion, cabbage, xnipec, and fresh guacamole.  It came with a side of beans and potatoes.  Wow – was this thing good.  I was hesitant about the marinated onions (the pink stuff in the picture), because… really… pink onions?  But they were great and (I think) essential to the dish.  And the sides!  Oh the sides!  Insanely good.

Casa Maya Veggie Panuchos

Veggie Panuchos

 

The second dish was just as good as the first!  The Potato and Avocado Empanadas ($11.95) were amazing.  How can you go wrong with dough filled with avocado and potatoes and then fried?  Again, I was hesitant about one component of this dish, but it wasn’t the onions this time.  The cream of balsamic vinegar was not too vinegary and enhanced the flavor of the empanadas (Phew! because I don’t like strong vinegar flavors).  And more beans and potatoes!  I need me some more of this.

Casa Maya Empanadas

Empanadas

 

There are a few other items on their vegetarian menu – a few don’t look too easily veganized.  It doesn’t matter, though, the two dishes we got were satisfying enough.

Casa Maya Menu

Casa Maya Menu

 

1839 Mentone Blvd
Mentone, CA 92359
909-794-7458

 

Vegan Grilled Cheese at Heywood

Today is the last day of Vegan MoFo.  I don’t think I reached the 20 post suggestion this month, but I wanted to close out the month with a quick taste of Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe in Silverlake.  This place serves (can you guess it?) everything grilled cheese.  And luckily for vegans, they even have an option for us!

Their Vegan Grilled Cheese comes with a side salad and tomato soup.  In the beginning, they did not have a vegan tomato soup option, but now they do.  Score!  I got my sandwich on Country White with tomatoes.  I thought it was decent.  For an $11 sandwich, I think this might be reserved for when I’m in Silverlake and craving a grilled cheese.   Otherwise, I think I’ll make it myself.  The salad was just a salad – nothing too special, and the tomato soup was not to my liking.  It tasted to sour for me – like the tomatoes used in this soup were not ripe enough.  But hey, I’m glad they have something for us!  And they are open very late on Fridays and Saturdays.  It’s always great to have a vegan option at such a late hour.

Heywood Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

3337 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 667-1522

Sunday thru Thursday: 11am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am – 3am

Vegan Deliciousness at Evo Kitchen

Vegan MoFo Day 25:

I’m here to tell you that there’s an upscale (yet casual) pizza place in West Hollywood that is serving up delicious vegan eats.  This used to be the location of a Pizza Fusion (which also had some vegan eats), but is now Evo Kitchen.  They have a bunch of vegan options, including three of my favorite items combined into one: bread, Daiya, and garlic.  Evo’s Garlic Cheese Bread ($4.99) is basic but good.  The marinara is the perfect compliment.

Evo Kitchen Garlic Cheese Bread

Garlic Cheese Bread

They also have gross meat mini burgers, but you can substitute to make them vegan.  The Mini BBQ Burgers ($6.99) are made vegan with portobello mushrooms and Daiya cheese and weren’t my favorite.  I liked the concept, but the execution wasn’t the best.  I think the smaller pieces of mushroom made these hard to eat (the mushrooms kept falling out).  The BBQ sauce was great, though – that’s why I got the next item…

Evo Kitchen Sliders

Mini BBQ Burgers

My favorite item here was the BBQ Chicken Wrap ($9.99).  You’ve got nice chunks of vegan chicken covered in that wonderful BBQ sauce and wrapped in a nice, soft tortilla. Yumsters!

Evo Kitchen BBQ Chicken Wrap

BBQ Chicken Wrap

And, like I said before, they create pizzas here.  My vegan guy and I had to try one, so we created our own and got a Vegan Chicken and Mushroom Pizza.  I liked everything about it, except the chicken.  I thought the chunks were too big – next time I think I’ll just leave the pizza with veggies only.

Evo Kitchen Mushroom and Chicken Pizza

Mushroom and Chicken Pizza

And for dessert, we (well, mainly I) got a Vegan, Gluten-Free Brownie a la mode ($6.99).  I liked this brownie.  It was one that sticks to your mouth, but the flavor was good and they were great about warming it up.

Evo Kitchen Brownie

Brownie a la Mode

We parked at a meter on the street, but then noticed that there was a sign indicating that they have a parking lot for the restaurant behind the building.  This makes it so much more convenient.

7950 W Sunset Blvd #104
West Hollywood, CA 90046
323-375-3390

Sunday – Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am-11pm

Vegan Mac and Cheese Showdown Recap

Vegan MoFo Day 16!  We’re already half way through this fabulous month!

This past Saturday I was one of the lucky 100 people that got to taste test (and vote on) five different mac and cheeses from local LA restaurants.  Get ready to be jealous, because I’m about to recap this showdown.

The first Mac and Cheese is from Hugo’s Restaurant and happened to be my favorite from the event (and the #1 pick of the judges).  I had had their mac and cheese when it was a special at the restaurant and didn’t really like it – I thought it was a lot of crap with a little bit of mac and cheese.  At the competition, however, it was mac and cheese with a little bit of crap in it.  The Hugo’s team serving up this deliciousness described the dish as their homemade noodles with a sunflower and nut (cashew?) cheese mixed with peas and mushrooms and topped with crispy onions.  I absolutely loved their cheese sauce.  It must be the sunflower part.  I thought it tasted very similar to the mac and cheese at Sugar Plum in Sacramento (which also uses sunflower cheese).  You can get this at their restaurant – just hope that they prepare it with more parts mac and cheese than the stuff they mix in it.

Hugo's Mac and Cheese

Hugo’s

My second favorite was hard to choose.  I thought it was a toss up between Doomie’s and M Cafe.  Doomie’s was definitely the most like a traditional mac and cheese from your childhood.  It was a creamier version of the kind you can get in their restaurant (and is currently on their secret menu).  I definitely like it better than the one they have been serving on the menu.  The thicker consistency makes a big difference.  My one problem was that I was tasting a certain flavor.  As described in a previous post on the Mac and Cheese by Daniel’s Choice sold at Follow Your Heart, it had this flavor that reminded me of having mac and cheese as a child with gross hot dog juices.  Did Doomie’s add some kind of roasted red pepper?  It tasted like it and I wasn’t a fan.  That’s my own weird thing, though.  The people didn’t think there was anything weird about it – Doomie’s came in second place in the People’s Choice prize.

Doomie's Mac and Cheese

Doomie’s

My other second favorite was the Mac and Cheese from M Cafe.  To be honest, it didn’t really taste like mac and cheese – more like a pasta with creamy white sauce.  It was really good, though.  It was gluten free noodles with a cashew cheese and mixed with sun dried tomatoes and asparagus and topped with arugula.  I thought the sun dried tomatoes were a little overpowering and would have preferred just the noodles with sauce.

M Cafe Mac and Cheese

M Cafe

Coming in at third place for me was the #1 pick for People’s Choice and #2 pick from the Judges.  A Mac and Cheese from SunCafe.  Described as gluten free noodles with pecan garlic cheese and nacho cheese.  I liked it, but something about it just didn’t sit right in my throat.  One of the flavors was just overpowering and I kept having to drink some water to wash it off the back of my throat.  Is that weird?  I guess so, since everyone else seemed to love it.

SunCafe Mac and Cheese

SunCafe

And my least favorite was from Southern Fried Vegan.  It looked like there was Daiya in it, but it didn’t really taste like it.  I’m not really sure how to describe the flavor.  Honestly, I didn’t get the comforting mac and cheese flavor out of it.

Southern Fried Vegan

Southern Fried Vegan

Here’s hoping they do this again next year and bring on more vendors!  Although, the portions were big for sampling (I’m not complaining!) and I’m not sure how much more mac and cheese I could have eaten.

Vegan at zPizza

Vegan MoFo Day 9:

Daiya vegan cheese has really revolutionized vegan pizza.  I remember when vegan pizza was just a mythical creature in childhood fables.  Now, vegan pizza can be found all over the place.  On a recent trip to Tennessee, it seemed vegan pizza was our only vegan option.  Progress, I tell you.

zPizza is a national pizza chain that is helping spread the gospel of vegan pizza.  They have a pizza called the Berkeley that is full of veggies and fake meat.  I never was a fan of real meat on my pizza, so I tend to just stick to veggies – which is what my vegan guy and I did on our last trip to zPizza.  We got a vegan Mushroom and Olive Pizza.  The crust is a one-size fits all kind of crust:  not to thick and not too thin.  I like it.

zPizza Mushroom and Olive Pizza

Mushroom and Olive Pizza

But my vegan guy likes the fake meat, so he got a Hawaiian Pizza to eat the next day.  They put a good amount of hearty-sized bits of the fake meat and look at all the pineapple.  Fruit on a pizza is a great way to get your 5-a-day!

zPizza Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian Pizza

Check their website to see where your local zPizza might be.

Shhh – there’s vegan food at The Secret Spot

I wish The Secret Spot was… well… a little more secret.  It’s this tiny cafe in Huntington Beach that is run by a bunch of youngins and some older surfer dude that is very welcoming to the customers.  However, like a lot of the reviews say, it takes awhile to get your food.  When I went, there was a longish line that moved very, very slowly.  I expected it, so no biggie.  I had gone once on a winter’s night and it was A LOT faster.

It was a weekend morning and I wanted something I don’t normally have, so my vegan guy and I decided to go here.  I saw on their board that they now had vegan pancakes, so I knew what I was getting.  It was a good thing, too, because their menu is a little confusing for vegans.  I wish they had a “can be prepared vegan” icon next to those items that are veganize-able.

The story of the Vegan Pancakes goes like this.  They looked good, came with syrup and some vegan butter, so I was excited.  I poured the syrup onto the pancakes and saw that the consistency was not like maple syrup (or even agave nectar) – was it honey?!!  I was worried that I had just ruined my vegan pancakes with a non-vegan product (well, not vegan for me).  I asked and the chef said that the syrup was vegan.  She went to get the container and presented me with a giant bottle of corn syrup- corn syrup?!!  Gross!  Who puts corn syrup on their pancakes?  I don’t, and will certainly not in the future, as well. I mean, the pancakes were decent, but that corn syrup was just not good.  The side of potatoes was not good, either.  It was full of bell peppers (yuck).

The Secret Spot Vegan Pancake with Fruit

Vegan Pancake with Fruit

My vegan guy went with another menu item that we deciphered to be vegan – their Western Garden Nut Wrap.  It’s made with their vegan meat substitute and grilled with organic greens, tomato, avocado and homemade BBQ sauce in a spinach tortilla.  I thought this dish was decent, although I don’t think my vegan guy was too enthusiastic about it.

The Secret Spot Wrap

Western Garden Nut Wrap

And I also saw they had vegan desserts.  I wanted to try their Vegan Hostess cake, but was sorry I did.  This was just a not-very-good tasting chocolate cupcake with a small scribble of vanilla frosting on top.  Hello?!  Hostess is supposed to have that chocolate ganache topping.  Not good, guys, not good.

The Secret Spot Hostess Cake

Hostess Cake

If you want to go to The Secret Spot, I recommend going at an off hour.  You’ll have plenty of questions, and they’ll be able to help you best when there aren’t a lot of customers waiting in line.  Good luck!

3801Warner Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
562-592-4494

Monday: 8 am-9 pm
Saturday: 8 am-9 pm
Sunday:8 am-7 pm

Breakfast at Mother’s Market

Mother’s Market is an awesome place.  Not only is it a great grocery store filled with vegan food, but some locations have a sit down restaurant (available at Brea, Costa Mesa, Laguna Woods, Irvine, and Huntington Beach).  It’s one of the few places in Orange County to get a vegan breakfast – and it’s a good one, too!  The menu is entirely vegetarian (with one tuna dish) and most things can be made vegan if they aren’t already.

The newest member to the vegan breakfast menu are their Gluten Free Pancakes ($9.95).  They come with a healthy side of fruit.  These pancakes are really good.  Most people think gluten free foods are gross (and I agree a lot are), but not these pancakes.  They didn’t even taste gluten free.  I hope they don’t take these off the menu.

Mother's Market Pancakes

GF Pancakes

My vegan guy got the Ma’s Breakfast Melt ($8.95): two slices of toasted sourdough stuffed with tofu, avocado slices, vegan cheese, tomatoes and choice of “fakin’ bacon” or ”Gimme Lean” veggie sausage. It’s served with your choice of  herb roasted potatoes or organic brown rice.  I think my vegan guy thought it was too tofu-y, but I love that type of stuff.  I had a bite and thought it was delicious.

Mother's Market Ma's Breakfast Melt

Ma’s Breakfast Melt

Mother’s also serves lunch and dinner – and they have an incredible selection of juice, smoothies, and shakes.  I’ll have to post some of my favorites from those menus sometime!