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

ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Mammoth Lakes, CA (plus bonus cookie link!!)

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll probably have remembered I just went on a road trip to Oklahoma City for my cousin’s wedding.  Well, my mom and I (and a sister) were at it again and went on a road trip to Lake Tahoe for another cousin’s wedding.  Lake Tahoe is not too far from Southern California, but we wanted to make it a mini vacation, so we decided to have a few stops along the way.

Mammoth Lakes is a hot spot for skiing (so I’ve been told), but also is a great place for summer outdoor fun.  We weren’t there too long, but I did have a chance to notice plenty of bike and hike paths around the town.  And since Mammoth is full of nature loving individuals, it didn’t surprise me that there were a few spots for vegan food.

Our first stop was a place to get some snacks.  Sierra Sundance Whole Foods is an awesome little health foods market.  They had a great selection of vegan foods for snacking or preparing a meal in that cabin you’ve rented.  Being in a small car with three women, we weren’t thinking “healthy snacks,” so we stocked up on some comforting sugary sweets.  They even carried a local company’s vegan cookie!

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Speaking of that local cookie company – we passed Mimi’s Cookie Bar’s storefront on our way to our hotel and had to stop to see what other vegan selections they had.

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mimi’s Cookie Bar

This cookie bar is really cute and they have both non-vegan and vegan goodies.  We got some of their daily vegan cookies and their one and only vegan ice cream.  The Mocha Almond Fudge Cookie (I believe was gluten free) was a bit dry, but had a good flavor.  The Coconut-Lime Ice Cream was just ok – sort of gummy.  The Apple-Cinnamon Cookies (from Sierra Sundance) were also getting a bit dry from sitting on the shelf, but would be fantastic fresh.  And the Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies were some of the best cookies I’ve ever had (gluten free or not)!!  We went back and got more of these cookies.

****Seriously, you have to try these cookies – and lucky for you, they are running a deal on Fab.com that allows you to do just that!  But hurry – this deal is only on for another 6 days!!  Go get them. Now.****

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mocha Almond Fudge, GF PB Chocolate Chip, Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

And finally, on our way out of Mammoth the next day, we stopped to get a breakfast burrito at Stellar Brew & Deli.

Stellar Brew Coffee

Stellar Brew

The Breakfast Burrito ($5.50) was full of carrots, potatoes, bell pepper, and vegan sausage.  I thought it was a bit spicy, but good.  I also had wished they used some tofu and no bell peppers (yuck!).  It did give me that wholesome breakfast feeling so I could face the day of driving.

Stellar Brew Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Stay tuned for more from my vegan road trip, including stops in Ridgecrest, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento!

Vegan Ice Cream at Scoops

It’s Summertime!  And that means vegans go out in search of frozen treats like non-dairy ice cream from Scoops.  They’ve been around for awhile and most LA vegans are already in the know, but some of our dear vegan friends outside the LA Metropolitan area are out of the loop.  I’m here to include those poor folks and let them know of a vegan ice cream option to try on their next trip to LA.  Scoops has two locations.  The original location is next to LA City College and the newer spot is in West LA.  Scoops sells a bunch of dairy filled ice creams (gross!) and two or more vegan varieties (yum!).  The flavors change daily, so you’ll never get bored.

My latest trip to Scoops gave me Raspberry Chocolate and Oreo Ice Cream.  I think it was either a very hot day or they changed the temperature setting on their freezer, because these scoops were a bit softer than I remember.  I think it made them extra delicious.  I also really loved the Raspberry Chocolate, because the raspberry really mellowed out the strong chocolate flavor.  Most of the time when I go to Scoops, they have a chocolate based flavor, but I always find the chocolate to be too much for me.

Scoops Raspberry Chocolate and Oreo

Raspberry Chocolate and Oreo

I have yet to go to the one in West LA, but they are nice enough to update a facebook page so you know what flavors are available.  The original location is very popular and sometimes sells out of the vegan flavors before closing on Saturday nights.  There used to be an awesome vegan restaurant across the street (RIP Pure Luck) and I asked if their closing had any influence on the amount of vegan ice cream Scoops was selling these days.  I was told that there was a decline at first, but now everything is about the same.  Good for them!  I’d hate to see the demand get so low that they would discontinue their vegan flavors.

Scoops East
712 N Heliotrope Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323-906-2649

Monday – Saturday 12pm – 10pm
Sunday 1pm – 6pm

Scoops West
3400 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
323-405-7055

Monday – Saturday 12pm – 10pm

ROAD TRIP: Vegan Eats in Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM is a pretty artsy-fartsy town, so one would think they’d be the open minded kind of people to have some good vegan food.  I found a few good spots, but not a whole lot.  One of these spots was a small chocolate shop that offers some vegan varieties.  Kakawa Chocolate House may not label anything as vegan, but most of the dark chocolate truffles are vegan.  We asked the chocolatier and she was very helpful to point out what we should get.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House

From their selection we got four different vegan chocolates.  The Pomegranate Truffle (chocolate, agave, pomegranate, vanilla) was my least favorite – the most bitter.  The Rose Truffle (chocolate, agave, rose water) and the Dark Chocolate Truffle (chocolate, agave, oatmilk, mexican vanilla) were both very creamy and less bitter than the pomegranate.  My favorite was the Dark Chocolate Pistachio Clusters – the creaminess and saltiness of the nuts cuts the strong bitterness of the chocolate.  Each truffle is around $3-3.50 and is worth the stop to this very cute store.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cluster, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Rose Truffle, Pomegranate Truffle

Because my mom and I were on a road trip, we didn’t have many meal opportunities to eat in Santa Fe.  We wanted to spend dinner at a vegan friendly restaurant (Body Cafe), but got there at 8:28pm.  Apparently the kitchen closes at 8:30pm and the whole place closes at 9pm.  WTF?  We made the deadline and they turned us away.  Not cool!  So we stopped at a Whole Foods on the way back to the hotel and got a bunch of vegan food.

The Couscous Salad and the Red and Black Quinoa Taboule from the deli case weren’t that great, but the Sonoma Wrap (Gardein chicken salad wrapped with grapes in a tortilla) was delicious!  They even had some vegan donuts!

Santa Fe Whole Foods Goodies

Whole Foods Goodies: Couscous Salad, Red and Black Quinoa Taboule, Vegan Sonoma Wrap, Donuts

The donuts were displayed from MIGHT-O.  I thought it must be a typo, but what were Mighty-O donuts doing in Santa Fe?  When we got back to the hotel and I tasted them and I knew they were from Mighty-O.  I didn’t like them when I had them in Seattle, and I still didn’t like them.  They have this sort of chemical leavening flavor.  Not my cup of tea, but very exciting that vegan donuts exists in Santa Fe.

Mighty O Donuts at Whole Foods

Mighty O Donuts

When we finally made it to Body Cafe, my mom and I shared two vegan-friendly dishes.  Body Cafe didn’t have a whole lot of vegan dishes to choose from.  A few dishes are raw and they have many juices/smoothies.  One thing that really irked me (besides being turned away before they closed the night before) was their statement on their menu.  Describing vegan, Body Cafe states it “does not contain any animal products including eggs, dairy. We often use honey in our vegan recipes.”  So your vegan stuff isn’t actually vegan if it contains honey (yes, I know some vegans eat honey).  Knowing I now have to ask if their vegan food is actually vegan, I discovered that the Caesar Salad ($11.95) [romaine hearts, jicama, sunflower croutons, capers, house caesar dressing] is totally vegan.  Maybe it was my annoyance at Body Cafe, but I just wasn’t too thrilled with the food.  My mom enjoyed it, though.

Body Cafe Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

And the Green Chile Burrito ($9.95) [tofu, pine nut cheese, green chile, potato, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa fresca, onion, spelt tortilla] just wasn’t that good, either.

Body Cafe Green Chile Burrito

Green Chile Burrito

Body Cafe
333 Cordova Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-986-0362

Monday-Friday 7 am – 9 pm
Saturday 7 am – 9 pm
Sunday 7 am – 9 pm

Kakawa Chocolate House
1050 E Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM
505-982-0388

Monday – Saturday 10-6
Sunday 12-6

Milky’s Frozen Yogurt

Los Angelenos finally have a fro-yo place that has vegan options!  Milky’s Frozen Yogurt sells regular dairy flavors and FOUR vegan flavors!   Look how wonderfully easy it is to find the vegan options.

Milky's

Inside Milky’s

The vegan flavors are made with organic soymilk and are self-serve (so you can mix and match).  Just take a cup, fill it, add any toppings, and pay by weight.

Milky's Poster

Poster Inside Milky’s

On the day that I went with my vegan guy our flavor options were chocolate, original, caramel, and strawberry-kiwi.  I ended up getting the first three (they were out of the strawberry-kiwi).  I thought the consistency was spot on.  Just as creamy as the dairy version.  My vegan guy and I both thought there wasn’t enough caramel flavor, though.  I found that the caramel flavor and original flavor tasted almost the same.  The chocolate was perfectly chocolatey- not too bitter.  I also didn’t taste any “beany” flavor that I’ve tasted in vegan varieties at other shops.  Unfortunately, they were all way to tangy for me and my vegan guy.  Apparently they are supposed to be that tangy?  I never remember having tangy dairy frozen yogurt in my life (and I was a frozen yogurt fiend back in the day!).  I actually don’t remember plain dairy yogurts (Yoplait-type) to be that tangy, either.   I still don’t even think soy yogurts (like WholeSoy) are tangy as well.  Am I completely wrong?  Maybe the fad when I ate dairy frozen yogurt was more sweet and less tang (like how I’ve heard it is now in modern Pinkberry-syle places).  For this reason, I probably won’t be back (sadness), but you should definitely check it out for yourself.  Maybe you’ll disagree with me.

Milky's Frozen Yogurt

Chocolate, Original, and Caramel Frozen Yogurts

The sign out front makes it super easy to recognize.  I love seeing “vegan” proudly displayed on buildings!

Milky's Frozen Yogurt

Milky’s Frozen Yogurt

Milky’s is located at:
1429 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Mon – Fri :11 am-11 pm
Sat: 11 am-12 am
Sun: 11 am-11 pm

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