Farmer and Cook in Ojai

Last time my vegan guy and I were in Ojai, the one vegan joint (Hip Vegan) was closed for some reason (were they on vacation?  I can’t remember).  We decided to make our way on over to the Farmer and Cook market, where they have a cafe on site.  While not entirely vegan, they did have enough vegan options to satisfy our hunger.

Farmer and the Cook Burrito

Burrito

I love burritos.  I especially love it when they contain vegan deliciousness such as cashew cheese.  Also included in the Farmer and Cook Burrito was beans, rice, and veggies.  Yum.  Thank you, omnivorous restaurant, for making the extra cheesy effort for us vegans.

Farmer and the Cook Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

My vegan guy went with the Veggie Burger.  As you can see, it was served on bread slices and not a bun.  Not a huge deal, but made it…well… less burger tasting (you know what I mean!).  All-in-all this was just a satisfactory sandwich (not burger!), but still well appreciated in the slim vegan pickings of Ojai.

Farmer and the Cook OJ and Lemonade

OJ and Lemonade

Fresh Orange Juice and local Ojai Lavender Lemonade helped wash everything down.

Farmer and the Cook Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

And let’s not forget about dessert.  I got the Chocolate Raspberry Cake.  That’s four whole layers of cake mixed with a fudgy chocolate frosting and raspberry jam.  It was a little bit dry towards the edges (something one can expect from a refrigerated bakery case), but I’d definitely indulge again should I be in the area in the future.

Farmer and Cook

Farmer and Cook

Farmer and the Cook Bakery Case

Bakery Case

Farmer and the Cook Inside Seating

Inside Seating

Farmer and the Cook Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Next time I’m in Ojai, I definitely want to check out Hip Vegan.  But if you have time for a meal at Farmer and Cook, make it happen.

Located at:

339 W El Roblar St
Ojai, CA 93023
805-640-9608

Daily 11am – 8:30pm

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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!

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

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

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

Loving Hut in Upland

Loving Huts are everywhere – and I mean EVERYWHERE!  The diligent disciples of the Supreme Master Ching Hai have opened these all-vegan restaurants all over the world.  Whatever may be the reason for their openings, I am glad they did.  Sometimes it is just hard trying to find vegan food – Loving Hut makes it easier.

I was in the Upland area and decided to support the local Loving Hut.  Just so you don’t think I am a total glutton (although I really am), I will tell you that I did eat some of this for lunch at the restaurant and some I took to work for dinner.  The Joyful Sate ($4.75) is marinated TVP (textured vegetable protein) grilled with a special traditional homemade sauce.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this.  The TVP was too chewy and the sauce was too soy-saucey for me.

Loving Hut Skewers

Joyful Sate

The Peking BBQ ($4.99) was more my style.  This dish is BBQ marinated seitan with a homemade sauce.  It was savory with a hint of sweetness and not as chewy as the first appetizer.

Loving Hut Peking BBQ

Peking BBQ

And I got one entree to nibble on – their Lemongrass Country ($7.75).  It’s deep fried soy protein chunks sauteed with lemon grass.  OK, so I said deep fried, but it actually wasn’t that greasy.  The lemongrass flavor was awesome – not overpowering.  The side salad came with a delicious sweet tropical fruit dressing.

Loving Hut Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Country

They had some pre-packaged servings of dessert, too. The Blueberry Pie ($3.25) wasn’t the greatest berry pie I’ve had, but something I’d certainly recommend trying if you wanted a dessert here.

Loving Hut Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

The Peanut Butter Dream Pie ($3.25) was my favorite of the two (you can’t go wrong with peanut butter!).  It was like a thicker, chewier cheesecake… but in a good way.  Very creamy and very peanut buttery.

Loving Hut Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

There are so many more menu items I would like to try.  It is a very fake meat heavy place and if you can’t eat soy, don’t come here.  A few non fake meat dishes use tofu, but there is not much without soy.

The Upland location is at:

903 West Foothill Boulevard
Upland, CA 91786
909-982-3882

Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 4 pm – 9 pm
Monday: Closed