Hugo’s Restaurant in WeHo

My favorite thing about Hugo’s Restaurant is the huge selection of vegan options.  For an omnivorous restaurant, they certainly cater to vegans.  Even a lot of their non-vegan menu items can be made vegan.  Another great thing about Hugo’s is their monthly specials.  This trip to Hugo’s was no exception.

I was in the mood for pancakes one sunny afternoon in December, but didn’t know where to go.  I knew I wasn’t in the mood for any of the pancakes served at the infamous vegan thai places in LA and most other restaurants serving vegan breakfast foods weren’t cooking them this late in the day.  Luckily Hugo’s serves breakfast items until 4pm.  I ordered a December special: Orange Cranberry Pancakes.  This consisted of three fluffy pancakes infused with almond, orange, ginger & cranberries and topped with toasted slivered almonds and organic powdered sugar. Also served with a chunky agave sweetened ginger-orange cranberry compote.  I love how nice and thick Hugo’s can make their pancakes without leaving the center of the pancake mushy and uncooked.  The pancakes were delicious and very filling.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the compote, though.  I’m a girl who loves her pancakes covered in maple syrup and I thought the agave in the compote clashed with the flavor of the maple syrup.

Hugo's Orange Cranberry Pancakes

Orange Cranberry Pancakes – $11.50

My vegan guy (not into the sweet stuff) got a veggie burger.  The Hugo’s veggie burger comes with onion, lettuce, tomato and Vegenaise.  It is served with a choice of crispy fries, house made potato chips, house salad or caesar salad. You can also choose three additional toppings.  My vegan guy opted for sauteed mushrooms, avocado, and ranch (on the side) and a side of fries.  I had a bite and thought it was wonderful (especially to curb the sweetness of my pancakes).  My vegan guy thought he’d had better veggie burgers on prior visits to Hugo’s.  Maybe there was a new cook?  The one thing we both agreed on was the ranch.  We thought it was too runny.  It barely stayed on the burger.  It was definitely more of a dressing for a salad (if that) than a spread for a burger.

Hugo's Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger with sauteed mushrooms, avocado, and ranch – $12.50

All in all, though, Hugo’s Restaurant is a must visit for those who don’t mind eating at an omnivorous restaurant.  You can check out their monthly specials and recurring items on their menu (vegan and vegan-options are clearly marked).  You can choose from their two locations: each with a small parking lot adjacent to the building.

Hugo’s Restaurant West Hollywood
8401 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-3993

Hugo’s Restaurant Studio City
12851 Riverside Dr
Studio City, CA 91607
(818) 761-8985

Monday – Friday
7:30 AM to 10:00 PM 
Saturday – Sunday
8:00 AM to 10:00 PM

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Leaf Cuisine in Culver City

If finding a place that has both raw food and cooked food has been difficult for you, then look no further than Leaf Cuisine in Culver City.  This mostly raw restaurant has some cooked food for non-raw-foodists to try.  They now have table service, which my vegan guy and I did not know about, so we ordered at their counter instead.

Leaf Cuisine

Leaf Cuisine

For an appetizer I got the Cashew Kreme Cheeze with corn chips.  I almost loved this dish.  I liked the corn chips and I liked the Kreme Cheeze, but I didn’t really like them together.  I would have preferred some plain chips.  I also would have preferred less herbs in the Kreme Cheeze.  I’m a huge fan of raw cheeses made with nuts and I felt that the abundance of herbs took away from wonderful flavor of the nuts.  The texture of the cheese was divine, though – smooth and creamy.

Leaf Cuisine Kreme Cheeze

Kreme Cheeze with Corn Chips – $6.50

For an entree, I got the Vegan Victory Burger (cooked dish) prepared with a grilled veggie patty and topped with house made mayo, tomato, sprouts & romaine on a sprouted grain bun.  I also added vegan cheeze to my burger for an extra $0.99.  I loved this veggie patty, but I thought there was too much bun.  I wished the patty was thicker (because it was so good!).  It came with some sauerkraut and a side salad with a nice house made dressing.

Leaf Cuisine Vegan Victory Burger

Vegan Victory Burger – $9.99

My vegan guy got the Mushroom Rawsagna prepared with layers of rawcotta, squash noodles, spinach, portobellos and rawmesan.  It is also served with some sauerkraut and a side salad with house made dressing.  I had a bite and really liked it.  Normally raw Italian inspired dishes use a lot of zucchini in place of pasta (which I hate).  This dish had none of that.  The rawcotta layer was super thick and the texture was very creamy.   I’d definitely order this one again.

Leaf Cuisine Mushroom Rawsagna

Mushroom Rawsagna – $12.99

And finally for dessert, I got their frozen soft serve.  Let me first explain how excited I was when I heard Leaf Cuisine was offering soft serve.  It is so hard trying to find vegan soft serve – which one would think would be a common offering in this warm California climate.  Leaf Cuisine offers both vanilla and chocolate flavored raw soft serve.  I got half and half topped with their chocolate sauce.  I ordered it to be eaten on location, but they packed it to-go anyway.  Because it got smashed from the lid of the container, it just looks like one blob of melted ice cream.  I think I may have been too excited by this offering and raised my expectations too high.  The soft serve was a bit grainy – something I’ve tasted when eating other raw, vegan soft serves.  The flavor was nice, though, and the chocolate sauce was delicious.  It is still a very nice treat for someone following a raw or whole foods based diet.

Leaf Cuisine Soft Serve

Soft Serve – $9.99 for 13 oz. (pictured) or $3.99 for 4 oz.

Leaf Cuisine has a small parking lot and is located at:

11938 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 397 0700

Hours of Operation
Mon – Fri 10 AM to 9 PM
Sat – Sun 11 AM to 9 PM

Vegan Chinese at Happy Family

One of the best places to get some vegan Chinese food is Happy Family in Monterey Park.  This restaurant is not to be confused with the Happy Family chain in Rowland Heights, Costa Mesa, and Loma Linda.  Rumor is that these two businesses were once one actual happy family, but parted ways some time ago.  I could be wrong.  Either way, these businesses have a similar menu, but are not the same company.

My vegan guy and I started off with my favorite – hot and sour soup.  I absolutely love this soup, but it’s so hard trying to find one that is tasty and vegan.  Luckily, Happy Family has it and it is wonderful.  I could eat bowls and bowls of this stuff in one sitting (and have many times).  It has a very flavorful broth and is filled with tofu, bamboo, mushrooms, and carrots.

Happy Family Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup – $5.95

Next up were the crispy oyster mushrooms.  These mushrooms are fried, but not greasy.  They are subtly seasoned and are not served with any sauce (you don’t need one).  I thought they were very good, but prefer the similar dish at the other Happy Family.  The oyster mushrooms at the other Happy Family have a bit more flavor, but I would still recommend ordering it here.

Happy Family Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

Crispy Oyster Mushrooms – $9.50

Our last dish was the special fungus with deep fried tofu (can you tell we like the fried stuff?).  It sounded better than what was served.  This was my least favorite.  The tofu did not seem deep fried.  The soft tofu had a thin layer of fried batter that had gotten mushy from the sauce.  As my guy said it, “It’s not very flavorful, but it’s also not flavorless.”  I couldn’t have said it better.

Special Fungus with Deep Fried Tofu

Special Fungus with Deep Fried Tofu – $8.95

There are many other dishes at Happy Family that I’ve had and loved.  Their menu is huge!  They have lots of fake meat items, too.  I’d highly recommend making the drive out to Monterey Park – it’s worth it!

Happy Family

Happy Family

Happy Family Restaurant

500 N Atlantic Blvd
Ste 171
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Parking structure is connected to shopping plaza.

Here I Go!

There are certain blogs out there that I just love to read.  I have bookmarked many recipes from these blogs, dined at restaurants they’ve reviewed, and used their ideas in my own life.  Recently, one of those blogs called it quits and I was somewhat dramatic about its end.  When my vegan guy suggested that I should start my own, I thought, “Yea.  Why don’t I start my own?”  So here it is.  I hope to bring you the latest news about vegan events, products, and eating establishments here in Southern California.  If you would like to share some info, thoughts, or comments of your own, I’d love to hear them!  Comment on my posts or send me an email to share.

 

Please enjoy what’s about to come!

 

Oh and as for that blog that called it quits?  Thankfully, she’s back to blogging in a lovely condensed version of her previous blog.