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!

 

 

Advertisements

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

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

Thai Vegan in Santa Monica

Thai Vegan calls itself a “kiosk on main st.,” and I would certainly have to agree.  Don’t let this tiny food operation fool you, though, because it boosts a large menu.  I spend a lot of time in Santa Monica, so when I heard about this new vegan place, I had to try it.  I liked the look of the menu, because it focuses on tofu as the protein and not the fake meats ubiquitous to thai vegan places in LA.

The Tofu Satay ($5) was delicious.  Five hearty chunks of marinated tofu with a wonderful peanut sauce.  It also comes with a small portion of cucumber salad.  Since I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers, I didn’t eat this.   But I will definitely be back to eat the tofu and sauce!

Tofu Satay

My vegan guy started off with some Dumplings ($5).  I think he really likes these little guys, because he’s been back on his own to get them a few times.  You can see from the picture they are nicely browned on one side.  It gives them a nice, crisp texture (or so my vegan guy tells me).

Dumplings

My entree was the Pad Thai ($7).  I love the price point and how easy it now is to get pad thai without specifying “no egg, no meat, no fish sauce, yadda yadda yadda” in Santa Monica, but here is where the “but” comes in.  I didn’t really like the flavor.  It was decent – and I would certainly order it again if I was in the area and needed a quick pad thai fix – but it sure wasn’t as good as Bulan or even the other vegan Thai joints.

Pad Thai

My vegan guy went for the Chowmein ($7).  Again – he didn’t really like it that much and preferred the appetizer.  I had a bite and agreed.  I’d like to try some of their other items, but if they don’t live up to my flavor desires, I think I’ll stick with the tofu satay.

Chow Mein

 

Here is the little window you need to order from.  There are only a few seats, so be prepared to picnic elsewhere or bring your food home.

Thai Vegan

2400 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA
310-581-4255

Monday – Sunday 11 am – 10 pm

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