Here is the lo-down on the California Vegan Eating Tour of 2009. Sadly, I have not worked up my courage to take photos of food in restaurants, so my short descriptions will have to do.
Pizza Fusion: Thin crust pizza with a great sauce and Follow Your Heart cheese, good natural soda choices, and organic-recommended.
Herbivore: went for breakfast, I got the southwestern tofu scramble—which I wolfed down, and I thought was great. Mike got the pancakes, which were good, but he didn’t love. I also had my first-ever vegan donut—which was awesome.
Gelataria Naia: had some decent sorbet, and a pumpkin vegan gelato that I enjoyed.
Nabolom Bakery – we tried to go but we were thwarted as they are closed on Mondays.
Smart Alec’s – I didn’t love Smart Alecs – too much of the homeless/dirty scene made it into the restaurant to make it fully enjoyable – but I appreciated that they had vegan items—the marinated tofu was quite good-though I didn’t like the bread it was on (too doughy).
Millenium – is probably the best restaurant I’ve ever been to, and one of the more expensive. But everything we had was delicious. They were super polite and accommodating to Mike’s allergy needs. The black bean torte (this is the description of it from their website: “whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero salsa verde, cashew sour cream, strawberry-jicama salsa“) is to die for, the chocolate parfait was amazing. The entrees had really interesting and complementary flavor pairings. For entrée I had an Indian Crepe, with mellow coconut overtones and delicious mango chutney. Mike got pumpkin seed encrusted tempeh with polenta gnocci—all of which was very, very good. Highly recommended, very romantic for dates.
Herbivore – ran in to a different Herbivore location just to snag some more of those donuts.
Good Karma Café – Good Karma is basically set up as a lunch counter, sadly we had just eaten lunch elsewhere—so we only got dessert. We had a really tasty chocolate pudding-esque pie (I hesitate to call it a “cheesecake” as it didn’t have that taste-but had a similar consistency).
There are a lot of vegan Thai places in LA-of which we made it to two—the most exciting thing about these places was the availability of vegan thai iced teas!
Truly a Vegan Restaurant was the better of the two. I got a pad thai, and Mike got a seitan dish that came with brocolli and brown rice, and weirdly a tahini sauce. They also had a glossy magazine article on all of the tables that claimed that Patrick Dempsey and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy have eaten there/and continue to frequent the place.
California Vegan: Mike got the gluten-free pancake—which was pretty good—but the fake chicken it came with was frightening. I played it safe with fried tofu in a sweet chili sauce, which was pretty decent.
Real Food Daily—My one regret from the trip is not eating a full meal here—both times we were near one of the locations we were in-between meals—so we enjoyed their soy lattes and amazing desserts. Mike got the raspberry chocolate mousse cake twice, and the gingerbread cookie was amazingly moist. The hostess cupcake, was good, but quite dense and would have been more delicious with more filling. Anyway, I’ll be buying their cookbook based on their menu selection alone.
Rahel Veggie Cuisine – we found ourselves in Little Ethiopia at lunch time and found that Rahel had a vegan all you can eat lunch special for only $7.95. We got five dishes, mixed vegetable (potatoes & carrots), spicy lentils (in a red berber sauce), yellow split peas, kale, and green beans. Everything was super tasty (some of the best Ethiopian I’ve had, actually) and for that price, cannot be beat!