In the shadow of the Culver Hotel, the wellspring of Matthew Kenney’s Make Out quietly places vegan—mostly raw—foods in a glass front case for viewing. The shelves offer a colorful selection of huge rolls of green, tiny rolls of carrots, flatbreads, and bowls of kelp noodles. Further back, stainless steel holds two daily soups. Samples of both were offered to us and the velvety Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup—drizzled with cashew creme and crunchy pepitas—leaped to the top of our order.
… Make Out (Culver City, CA)
I always thought North Indian food was my jam, but I’ve quickly fallen head over idli for South Indian cuisine! Chennai Tiffins is now my favorite Indian restaurant in San Diego. The food is simple, made with mild hands but with a soft complexity that comes through if allowed. Plus they are always super accommodating when I ask for my food to be prepared without ghee.
… Chennai Tiffins (San Diego, CA)
After finding success slinging organic smoothies from a train car in Flinn Springs (at the east end of El Cajon), Soy Leaf opened a second location on Magnolia Ave. Filling the menu with pulled jackfruit and house made Italian seitan, Melanie Arce brings quality vegan food to east county.
… Soy Leaf (San Diego, CA) [CLOSED]
Flush with Gold Rush fortune, in 1857 Theophilide St. Germain built herself an opulent wine shop at 301 Broadway in downtown Oakland. Stalwartly as the city evolved around it, its perseverance makes it the oldest building in Oakland. Now, it’s outfitted by the equally indomitable Tamearra Dyson who quit her day job to follow her creole roots into the kitchen. It was a high risk move from which we all benefit.
… Souley Vegan (Oakland, CA)
Hefty plates of fresh housemade pasta fill the dining room of downtown Los Angeles’ Maccheroni Republic. Chef Antonio Tommasi and Jean-Louis de Mori, the founding team behind Italian mainstays Locanda Veneta and Ca’Brea, dialed back the swank to create a breezy trattoria tucked away from bustling Broadway. For a traditional setting, the menu—with prices in touch with reality—is surprisingly vegan friendly. A handful of standard (or easily modified) vegan items litter the menu, plus at least one hand written special can be found on the chalkboard. With pride, the menu boldly state that all their pastas (except squid ink) are vegan.
… Maccheroni Republic (Los Angeles, CA)
Immigrating from Kenya, June Owino came to San Diego a hopeful accountant who liked to cook. Happenstance brought Owino in front of the stove then out into the streets of the Farmer’s Market as Flavor’s of East Africa. The city embrace his stewed veggies and wafting spices—his booth remains one of the most popular of the San Diego Farmer’s Market scene—and so in 2011 a permanent store front opened in University Heights.
If you’re making your first visit to Flavor’s of East Africa, a sambusa is a must—these are the staple of Owino’s repertoire. The triangle folded pastries, stuffed lentils, potatoes or spinach, make a great handheld treat at the farmer’s market—but when I hit the restaurant I like to order food I can dig into with a knife and fork.
… Flavors of East Africa (San Diego, CA)
Update: Word in the street is that Follow Your Heart Market & Cafe will start carrying the VeganEgg starting Saturday November 7th!
Update: Your can pre-order the VeganEgg through Food Fight Grocery. Anticipated release is November 11th.
… Breaking the VeganEgg: Follow Your Heart Launches a Plant-Based Egg Replacer
There are some good (great!) vegan items that have just hit the menu Torrey Pints! Chef Vanessa Briscoe created a slew of new vegan options for the pub menu. I got a sneak preview of the in progress items and am THRILLED with the new offerings.
… Torrey Pints, Whole Foods La Jolla (San Diego,CA)
Nestled in the narrow space between Hollywood’s Los Balcones and a bodega relic, plant-based Peruvian newcomer Chavela has made large impression. A wood communal table busts thought the glass front, a line of wood carried through to the narrow bar where the namesake chavelas—a sangria-like drink—are mixed.
… Chavela (Los Angeles, CA) [CLOSED]
The build-your-own-poké bowl trend is exploding right now. Sweetfin in Santa Monica is the first I’ve visited with not one, but **two** vegan options! The online and paper menu call out the vegan options for safe and delicious eating.
… Sweetfin Poké (Santa Monica, CA)