Junk Food That’s Healthy

Vegan MoFo Day 23:

Healthy Junk in Anaheim.  Get on it… Seriously.

They have revamped downtown Anaheim and it now has a bunch of cute boutiques and a food court-type place that houses the newest vegan watering hole.  It’s got all the vegan junk food you loved as an omnivore, without the “omni” part.  Just take their Nachos ($5.50) – these tortilla chips are loaded with black beans, taco meat, chez sauce, tomatoes, and avocado cream.  They did not skimp on the toppings!  I think these might be my new favorite vegan nachos.

Healthy Junk Nachos


Another snack I tried was the Curly Yam Fries ($4.95).  A friend ordered this, so I thought they were onion rings at first (they look like it, right?).  The flavor was awesome – not to mention I loved the BBQ and Ranch sauces they drizzled over them.  However, they were a bit too mushy – something you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at them.

Healthy Junk Curly Fries

Curly Fries

My entree was their Classic Burger ($6.45) and I opted to add chez and bacon for an extra $2.  I liked the burger – typical soy patty and a great bun.  I did feel that they could have added more chez and the bacon was more like a slice of vegan ham (still good, though).

Healthy Junk Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger

And I got a BLT ($5.95) to-go for my vegan guy.  It was also quite nice, but I wouldn’t call it a BLT.  It was more like a ham sandwich.

Healthy Junk BLT


And they have shakes!!  I’m an insane person when it comes to shakes, so I had to try their Chocolate Shake ($5.50).  I thought it was delicious!  Even better than their Strawberry Shake (more on that in a later post).  I also had a sip of my friend’s Pumpkin Shake (which is available for a short time only) and thought it was extremely good, too! I heard it’s made with tofu and pumpkin spices and some other stuff.  Way better than I thought it would be.

Healthy Junk Chocolate Shake

Chocolate Shake

Let me take a moment to say that my friend “J” is awesome!!  We happened to be with a large group and it happened to be the day before my birthday, so she went ahead and did what I dream to do at every vegan restaurant – order one of each of the desserts!  The first was not really a dessert, but still so good.  The Cornbread Muffin had the perfect amount of cornmeal flavor and sweetness.  It comes with a small container of vegan butter to make it even more tasty.

Healthy Junk Corn Muffin

Corn Muffin

The Apple Crisp is gluten free.  It was a nice dessert.  My only problem was that the crust was super hard to cut – making sharing difficult.

Healthy Junk Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp (GF)

The Chocolate Chip Cookie was giant and thick!  Definitely one of the favorites of this evening.

Healthy Junk Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

My birthday cake turned out to be Carrot Cake.  This one is super moist and topped with vanilla frosting.  Talk about dessert overload!!  I still have one more…

Healthy Junk Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

The Fall special is a Yam Pie.  I think this one is also gluten free, but you’ll have to ask about that one.  It’s like cream on a crust.  I thought it was good, but the raisins or cranberries (or whatever they were) were kind of a weird chewy thing amongst the delicious creaminess.  Next time I might just pick those off and eat them separately.

Healthy Junk Yam Pie

Yam Pie (GF)

I love it here.  Order at the counter and then sit and wait for them to bring you your amazing food.

Healthy Junk

Healthy Junk

201 Center St. Promenade Unit B
Anaheim, California 92805

Monday – Saturday 11am – 8pm

Jyoti Bihanga in San Diego

Vegan MoFo Day 18:

Jyoti Bihanga is a restaurant run by the followers of Sri Chinmoy.  It is totally vegetarian with some vegan options and happens to be one of my favorite places to eat when I’m in San Diego.  I will always get the same thing here, because I just love it.  What is it?  Keep on reading, because I first have to tell you it comes with a salad.  You get your choice of dressing (vegan ones are clearly marked).  I got mine with the Lemon Tahini.  Simple and basic.  Now onto the entree…

Jyoti Bihanga Salad

Salad with Tahini Dressing

The Neatloaf ($12.95) is the most amazing vegan meatloaf I have ever had.  The first time I had this, I was with my mom and she just about flipped.  She said it reminded her of her childhood.  I’ve never had real meatloaf, but I can see where she’s coming from.  This stuff is good.  And it comes with some delicious mashed potatoes and gravy.  Yum.

Jyoti Bihanga Neatloaf


I also got something to-go for dinner.  I’ve had the Mock Duck Sandwich ($8.25) before and thought it was great.  Of course nothing on the menu will ever beat the Neatloaf, but this is a close runner up.  It’s made with their homemade BBQ sauce and served with those delicious mashed potatoes and gravy.

Jyoti Bihanga Mock Duck Sandwich

Mock Duck Sandwich

And since I was all the way down in San Diego – a place I frequent rarely – I thought I might as well get some dessert (you know – for blogging’s sake).  The Chocolate Mousse Pie ($5.95) is one of those vegan desserts made with tofu and natural sweeteners.  I thought it was a nice little sweet something, but not something phenomenal.  It was very chocolate-y and satisfying.

Jyoti Bihanga Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If you are ever in San Diego, you have to go and get the Neatloaf!  Even if you can’t eat it at that moment, get it to-go (it’ll taste just as good the next day).  Seriously.  You’ll thank me later.

3351 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 282-4116

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11 am to 9 pm
Saturday noon to 9 pm
Wednesday 11 am to 3 pm

Loving Hut Inside the Brea Mall

Vegan MoFo Day 17:

I don’t remember the last time I ate in a mall’s food court.  The closest thing to food court food I’ve eaten in the past decade would probably be at a no longer existent location of California Pizza Kitchen ASAP at a fancy Orange County mall (their delicious hummus and pea and barley soup are vegan).  It’s kind of weird to dine in a food court as a vegan.  Most of the time there is nothing to eat but a standard bean burrito or sometimes a smoothie.  The giant vegan food chain know as Loving Hut is changing that – well, at least at the Brea Mall.  This was the first time I’ve gone to a mall just to visit their food court…. and I’ll be back.

Loving Hut Brea

Loving Hut Brea

The guy at the counter seemed new and looked as if he was only in control of the Chinese portion of the menu.  When I asked him questions about other items on the menu, he kept having to go back and get the lady in charge to help me.  I asked her about the Dragon Roll  and she responded with a description of something I had to try.  It’s filled with soy protein, cucumber, and avocado.  I asked to hold the cucumber and only drizzle a little bit of the spicy mayo sauce on top and absolutely love it!  The sauce actually wasn’t that spicy, so next time I might ask for more.  I can’t emphasize how much I love plain avocado rolls, so add some extra vegan goodness to it and you’ve just blown my mind.

Loving Hut Dragon Roll

Dragon Roll

I was also going to get a burrito, but the lady in charge said it was no good (I guess she meant it – the burritos are no longer on the menu).  So instead I got a Crispy Chicken Sandwich (which is also no longer on the online menu).  I thought this sandwich was also fantastic.  They really made the chicken crispy.  The bun was also tasty and the toppings were simple and fresh.  It looks like they have varied up their new sandwich menu with crispy patties with other toppings, so try one of those.

Loving Hut Spicy Crispy Burger

Spicy Crispy Burger

And I couldn’t resist getting some of the Chinese food displayed in front on steam tables.  This is that greasy take-out Chinese food that is so good, but not so good for you.  I got the Two Item Combo which comes with Chow Mein Noodles and Fried Rice.  The first item was a single Egg Roll and the second was some Tofu (I can’t remember which kind).  Seriously good.  I wish I was closer and they delivered.

Loving Hut Chinese Buffet

Chinese Buffet

I know where my next meal is coming from when I’m passing through Brea.  And I think you should try it, too.

1065 Brea Mall
Food Court Store 2163
Brea, CA 92821

Monday-Friday: 10am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm

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


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


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


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.

More Brunching at Real Food Daily

In relation to where my vegan guy lives, Real Food Daily is quite convenient.  And this makes it especially nice when we want some breakfast foods, since RFD serves brunch on Sundays (you can see more brunch items in my last RFD post).

My vegan guy went with his usual tofu scramble, but I wanted something new and got The Weekender ($14.25): scrambled tofu, onions, tomatoes, cashew cheese, tempeh bacon, half order french toast or two pancakes with hash browns or fruit.  I got it with pancakes (added blueberries) and hash browns.  I love this meal, because (1) it fills you up and (2) it combines sweet with savory.  This is great for those of us (like me) who are indecisive when it comes to menu ordering.  I still don’t like their tempeh bacon, but everything else was delicious!

RFD Weekender

The Weekender

And this sweet-aholic always eyes the bakery display case at their Santa Monica bakery.  I didn’t want something too heavy after eating that large meal, so I got the lightly sweetened Blueberry Coffee Cake.  I only thought it was decent – not spectacular.   Maybe it was just too dense and not moist enough for me.  Won’t stop me from trying their other desserts, though!

RFD Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Did you here?  RFD is now serving Pasadena!

Dinnertime at Real Food Daily

Day 4 of Vegan MoFo:

My last two posts from Real Food Daily have been about their brunch items.  Because it is one of the few places to get vegan breakfast foods, my vegan guy and I come here a lot in the (late) mornings.  Very rarely do we actually come here for dinner, but sometimes we do.

In my pre-blog days, I tried numerous lunch/dinner menu items here that I did not document.  I am a big fan of their sandwich menu, including their Reuben ($11.75): tempeh, tofu cheese spread, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing on sourdough rye bread.  I got it with a side Caesar Salad (really good!!).  This reuben is full of sauerkraut and is so juicy.  It doesn’t make you feel heavy after eating it, either.

RFD Reuben


Another great item is their Mexico City Tacos ($15.95): two crispy tacos, red chili beans, tempeh, vegetables, smoky chipotle cheese, avocado, jicama slaw, and Fiesta rice.  This is one item off their specials menu.  I am a big fan of mexican inspired dishes and this had all the components of a tasty south of the border meal.   Two things I loved were the creamy beans and cheese.  One thing I wasn’t that into was the jicama slaw – not a big fan of jicama.

RFD Tacos


And again with the dessert!  I have terrible willpower when it comes to dessert.  A few other tables around my vegan guy and me ordered a Cookie a la Mode, so I did too.  The thought of a warmed chocolate chip cookie with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream sounded so wonderful and decadent.  Unfortunately, the cookie was not warmed and wasn’t particularly good at room temperature, either (I think it was gluten free).  I did like the ice cream.

RFD Cookie a la Mode

Cookie a la Mode

More Great Food From Follow Your Heart

Day 2 of Vegan MoFo!!

I try to eat at a lot of vegan-friendly places, but sometimes a girl just wants a good vegan breakfast!  That is why I went again to Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park.  I wish there were more vegan breakfast joints in LA and Orange County.  But, then again, I do love Follow Your Heart.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t too in love with my breakfast choice.  I got the Tofu Eggwich ($6.95): scrambled tofu patty, tomato, avocado, “pastrami” wheatmeat, and Vegenaise on an english muffin.   You also get a choice of potatoes or fruit.  As you can see, I went with the potatoes – so good!  I don’t know what they did to them, but they were delicious.  The tofu patty on the sandwich was not that delicious.  I thought it was going to be a slab of marinated tofu, but this one was smushed up tofu with some kind of thickening/binding flour or starch and spices.  I didn’t really like the flavor.

Follow Your Heart Tofu Eggwich

Tofu Eggwich

I wasn’t sure how big that tofu sandwich was going to be, so I got a side of Cornbread ($2.50).  This sure was a hearty slice of cornbread.  I’m a snob when it comes to cornbread – I like it fluffy and on the sweet side.  Hearty cornbreads just don’t do it for me.  They asked if I’d like honey with it, but since I don’t eat honey, I declined.  It would have been better with some kind of sweetener – jam or agave/maple syrup, though.

Follow Your Heart Cornbread


My vegan guy didn’t care for breakfast foods and went straight to lunch.  He got the Reuben ($10.75): thinly sliced wheatmeat, cheese, sauerkraut, mustard, and Vegenaise, on rye.  I’d like to tell you how good or bad it was, but I actually don’t remember what he thought (and neither does he).  Oops.

Follow Your Heart Reuben


To see more great stuff from Follow Your Heart, see my previous posts here and here.

Vegan Fast Food in San Diego

I grew up on a lot of fast food.  McDonald’s was a regular after school snack in my junior high days – which is actually kind of funny since I don’t eat at many fast food joints anymore.  The exception is of course for vegan fast food joints!!  I could eat at those everyday!! (well, not really- everyone has their grease capacity).

Evolution Fast Food is in the heart of San Diego.  Eat your meal and then burn it off by roaming the nearby Balboa Park.  Everything you could possibly want in the typical American fast food menu is there – sans animal products.  I don’t go to San Diego much, but I’ve tried enough to know that Evolution is my number 1 place to eat.  I think it might be the fact that they have vegan milkshakes!  I love milkshakes.  This trip I even got two milkshakes ($3.95) – a Chocolate Shake and a Strawberry Shake (strawberry shake picture came out blurry).   Oh man, these are good.

Evolution Fast Food Chocolate Shake

Chocolate Shake

Another “Holy Cow!!” moment was tasting their Chick’n Tenders ($3.50 small/$5.50 large).  These are how I remember chicken tenders.  The spices in the batter are perfect!  I got it with ranch to dip and I wish I had more – that little serving of ranch was barely enough for half these beauties.

Evolution Fast Food Chick'n Tenders

Chick’n Tenders

One dish I wouldn’t get again was the Chili Cheese Fries ($3.95).  I thought they were just ok.  The chili wasn’t my favorite and it was a juicy kind of chili that made the fries soggy pretty fast.

Evolution Fast Foods Chili Cheese Fries

Chili Cheese Fries

My friend got the Pesto Burger ($6.95) which he said he enjoyed.  It was just a burger with pesto slathered on it.  Mmm, vegan pesto.  I’m sure I would have enjoyed it, too.

Evolution Fast Food Pesto Burger

Pesto Burger

And I got the Bacon Cheeseburger ($7.75) (sorry the gigantic piece of lettuce is getting in the way!). I was getting so full from my shake and the appetizers, that I could barely eat this burger.  It was really good, though – although I might just want to come back and get 10 orders of the chick’n tenders.

Evolution Fast Food Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger

They also have a bunch of desserts packaged up ready for you to grab-and-go, which is exactly what I did.  I took a Boston Creme Cupcake ($3.50) home to enjoy a week later when all this food digested.  No really, I did eat it soon after and thought it was all right.  I’ve had better cupcakes up in LA, so I probably wouldn’t get this one again (and instead opt for a shake!!).

Evolution Fast Food Boston Creme Cupcake

Boston Creme Cupcake

They even have a drive-thru for that classic “lazy-American” experience!!

2965 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

Daily 11 am – 9 pm

Nite Moon Cafe in LA

Nite Moon Cafe is a vegetarian cafe located inside of Golden Bridge Yoga.  It’s the type of place where you order at the counter, sit down, and they will bring you your food.  I don’t go here that often, because they have limited hours on the weekends (and sometimes I’m not even ready by the time they close – bummer for this non-morning girl).

They always have a bunch of vegan goodies in their display cases tempting you to buy them as your order your meal.  I guess I get tempted pretty easily – just look at the bounty of goods I got!  The PB&J Bar was like solidified, sweetened peanut butter with just the right amount of jam – I loved it.  The Cinnamon Roll seemed a bit over baked – kind of crispy and drier.  The Daiya/Spinach Pocket was a nice savory snack – simple and delicious.

Golden Bridge Spinach/Daiya Pocket, Cinnamon Roll, PB&J Bar

Spinach/Daiya Pocket, Cinnamon Roll, PB&J Bar

For my entree, I got the Bridge Burger ($11.50): tempeh patty, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and 1000 Island dressing.  It comes with a large salad that if full of ingredients.  The burger seemed so simple, but it was so good!  I don’t know what they did to the tempeh, but it was seasoned just right.

Golden Bridge Tempeh Burger

Bridge Burger

My vegan guy got the Reuben ($11.50): sauerkraut, tempeh bacon, mustard, and 1000 Island dressing.  I liked this sandwich, but I don’t remember if my vegan guy did.

Golden Bridge Reuben


And the best part about this place is that if you feel guilty about what you ate, you can always go in for a yoga class.  The more you move, the more you can eat!

1357 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 7:30 pm
Friday: 10 am – 2:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10 am – 2:00pm

¡Hola! from Native Foods

It seemed both my vegan guy and I were craving a bit of mexican inspired cuisine, because we both picked something with that south of the border taste at Native Foods.  My vegan guy went with the Nachos ($7.95): corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole.  I’ll say it over and over, but I love cashew cheese (which is what the Native cheese is).  It’s just so creamy!  And it goes well on these nachos.  In fact, everything in the nachos tastes exceptionally well.

Native Foods Nachos


Unlike the nachos, my Roasted Chile Taco Trio ($7.95) was not so great.  It sounded good with refried beans, roasted jalapenos and layered with brown rice, mango salsa, guacamole and cilantro.  But, sadly, the difficulty in eating them was just not worth the taste.  I prefer soft tacos or burritos over hard shelled tacos, but I definitely prefer hard shelled tacos over this mini taco salad shell crap.  Who eats a taco like this?  I expect to bite into a taco – not break off a piece of shell and scoop up the filling.  No bueno on the presentation, Native Foods.

Native Foods Tacos


Who knows when this item will be taken off the menu, since they change it so frequently.  Get it while you can (if you so desire).