Vegan In Los Angeles
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles. After spending a number of years being ever so slightly obsessed with San Francisco, it has made a nice change. I’d forgotten how much I loved Silverlake and this time I also discovered the delights of the vegan friendly neighbourhoods of Eagle Rock & Highland Park. These small walkable shopping streets are a mix of mom & pop Latino stores and artisanal food and art boutiques. The border of Eagle Rock spills down to Highland Park where one can eat vegan gluten free pizza, vegan and gluten free (make your own!!) donuts, vegan taco food truck, ‘bowls’ and tempeh reubens, and acai bowls and juices!
If I had had a car (a girl can only get so far in LA traffic on a rickety bike) and an excess of cash..I would have gone on an eating spree. I had wanted to visit Crossroads, M.A.K.E, Shojin and Au Lac for sure. They are a $$$ though and too far from where I was staying, so they (for now) remain unchecked off my list of places to eat.
The list below is of the restaurants and deli’s that I did visit AND where I remembered to take a photo. You find on a previous post the hedonistic delights of Donut Friend, home of vegan donuts – they’re GLUTEN FREE!
Hands down my first and most enduring love in terms of vegan food, in LA was Organix. A family owned vegan deli and food store in a strip mall on Colorado Boulevard. You know you have been somewhere a lot when you and the owner and life long resident of Eagle Rock, Andrew Perez are on first name terms. I ate the same thing every time. It was consistently good. VERY good. So good I was scared it may not hit the spot each time I ordered. Oh, but it did. They are truly making magic in their allergy friendly deli. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. The leading photo on this post is of the much loved puerco – vegan pulled pork sandwich on fabulous gluten free bread. $10 for a loaded sandwich. Worth EVERY cent!
1731 Colorado Blvd
Interesting things are afoot in Downtown LA since I last visited 6 or so years ago. The place is getting much more fancy and vegan eateries are sprouting up all over. Cafe Gratitude (a place I oft frequented in SF before they closed that particular location), Au Lac, Localita & The Baddasserie, Tiera Cafe and Shojin to name just a few. A newly opened hub in the Arts District DTLA is THE SPRINGS. It’s an organic juice bar, yoga studio, wellness center, raw vegan restaurant & wine bar, and an online eco-vegan, mind-body, one stop shop. The food was good (my friend enjoyed his dish more than I did mine), a good selection of healthy, some raw and mostly vegan dishes (be aware that some dishes include honey, which is not vegan). Mostly gluten free too. The atmosphere is chilled, the staff friendly and the prices reasonable for it’s location and style.
Raw Nacho Salad
Seaweed Caesar Salad
SunCafe, a garden oasis located just off the 101 freeway in Studio City. I was expecting great things of this vegan restaurant. The reviews on Happy Cow were many and mostly glowing. They have an extensive menu – soups, sliders, sandwiches, Mac & Cheese and a selection of raw entrees. Choosing what to have was not easy. When I visited I was feeling a bit gastronomically virtuous so I opted for a salad and not my usual choice of something wedged between two slices of gluten free bread. The Raw Kale Colossus – massaged kale, SunChorizo (sadly omitted as not gluten free), mushrooms, bell peppers, pico de gallo, raisins & bananas, looked promising so I ordered that with a side of pickled beets. My dining partner ordered the Portobello Sandwich on gluten free ciabatta. We both wanted the mash & gravy side to share.
The food arrived fairly quickly. Whilst we waiting (stomach’s rumbling. Or maybe that was just me?!) it gave us time to get a feel for the place and have a look around. There is a large outdoor seating area under green arbours with an intimate feel. The staff were very efficient though not overly friendly. The clientele were not of the hipster persuasion, of the like seen in Silverlake/Echo Park and seemed more of the office-y and healthy eating tribe (though that is all conjecture).
Aside from finding the short row of four slices of banana laying on top of entree a bit odd, my salad was generous and tasty. The mash and gravy was good (but not as good as mine…Yes, I will blow my own trumpet!). The portobello sandwich was stacked and good.
The prices were in line with other establishments of similar ilk in LA.
Portobello Gluten Free Ciabatta Sandwich – marinated Portobello, avocado, tomatoes, spinach, pecan crumble, cashew cheese, special sauce. With a side of mashed potatoes and gravy (lots of sides to choose from but who can resist a bowl of fluffy mash?!).
10820 Ventura Blvd
So what to turn to when your budget is squeezed and you go take-out? Lassens. A small chain of health food stores in LA and Ventura County. They were my local (as well as Trader Joes of course!) whilst I was in Silverlake. They have a hot and cold deli and salad bar, and in store pre-prepared food. The Raw Collard Green & Mango Wrap was cheap and heavenly. The wrap was stuffed with a rich and filling tomato/walnut ‘meat’ and the avocado/cilantro/orange sauce was sensational. I could have easily drunk it as a smoothie! Yum and under $5!
Another favourite food grab was a yellow split pea Ethiopian Wrap (100% teff injera) from Rahel Vegan Cuisine. They sell in other locations in LA too. These were a bit more spendy..(but very filling). I think the wraps are about $7.
1631 Sunset Blvd
I will be returning to LA in May…..Jumping up and down!…. I will update you as soon as I sample more of the vegan and gluten free eats on offer in the city.