Once again, I’ve been traveling too much and slow to post. But I’ve been eating! On a recent trip to California, we visited some of the best vegan restaurants in the U.S.A. – both in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These restaurants are all fairly well documented in the blogosphere, so I’ll go through them briefly, starting with the places we went to in vegan heaven LA.
Our first stop after LAX was Real Food Daily (aka RFD) – West Hollywood location.
Their totally vegan menu has so much to offer that I can’t go there enough. On this trip, I had the Salisbury Seitan.
There are few things I love more than RFD’s mashed potatoes and gravy. They nail comfort food! The seitan was a little bland, but the gravy made up for it.
My husband had the RFD Burger with the works. His review, “It was good! But it was pretty heavy and filling.”
We also had an intense chocolate brownie and a lovely latte. Both gave us the energy we needed after such a rich meal to tackle LA traffic, Hollywood tourists and Amoeba Records!
We timed our trip to make sure that we were in town when Madeleine Bistro was open.
They are currently open only on weekends, and they may be moving at some point. I hope they are doing okay because aside from Millennium, I’ve had no better vegan gourmet cuisine.
We had the mac and (vegan) cheese, fried (vegan) chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy (can you ever have enough in one day?) and a carrot and string bean veggie mix. We shared it all between the two of us.
The mac and cheese was okay, but I’ve been spoiled by the melty consistency of Daiya, so I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. Madeleine’s fried chicken is second to none though. It’s perfectly breaded and goes very well with gravy.
For desert, we had the deconstructed smore.
I raised an eyebrow when the waiter recommended it, thinking it was less appealing than a nicely constructed piece of pie, but his recommendation was spot on. It consisted of chocolate ice cream, lightly toasted marshmallow fluff, cocoa powder, chocolate cookies and a U shaped block of gooey chocolate (all vegan, of course). When all combined on your spoon, it was a unique, delightful experience. It was also very pretty.
I haven’t had an almond croissant in years, and they are my favorite. I think M Café’s may have been the best one I’ve ever had.
I also got a breakfast burrito.
It was fairly small, but reasonable given the price ($5) and the spicy chipotle sauce was fantastic. The gluten-free brown rice tortilla was slightly crunchy, which made it very interesting. I’d gladly eat one every day.
My husband had the breakfast panini.
It was serviceable, but nothing spectacular.
We of course grabbed some Babycakes cupcakes to go – strawberry and chocolate.
We have been to Babycakes in NY but this was our first chance to try the LA version, which are stocked at M Cafe. Both were as good as we’d remembered from NY, but without the charming Lower East Side setting.
Lunch brought us up to Silverlake and Flore Vegan – another vegan hot spot that we hadn’t tried yet. It was crowded, but after a short wait we had a street-side table and were deep into decision heck due to the great menu.
Someone at M Café recommended the Reuben sandwich at Flore, but I couldn’t resist ordering the Eastsider Tacos.
All I can say is “wow!” This may have been my favorite food from the whole trip. The seasoned seitan was delicious and tender, the tortillas were fresh and sturdy, and the salsa was tangy.
My husband went with the Tacos de Papas which were good, but didn’t hold a candle to mine.
We were still so stuffed from lunch at dinner time, so we tried to find something light. We ended up at Vegan Glory – a cute vegan Asian restaurant. The menu was full of a wide variety of mock meat dishes that looked fun to try. We weren’t feeling too adventurous though, and started with the Freshy Rolls.
They were fine, but nothing to go out of your way for when there is so much else for vegans to eat in LA.
We split an entrée of chow mein with tofu.
Again, it wasn’t an exploratory choice, but we really wanted something light (at least compared to everything else we’d had) and simple after having over-indulged so much already by the second day of our trip. No complaints!
I could eat non-stop in LA, but we were off to San Francisco next. More on that in a future post.