Cook’s Cuisine (Needles, CA)

“Before we sit down, I’ll be sure to clarify if they can prepare vegan food,” I reassured myself and Co as we entered. A spunky woman eyed us from the register. With my (always) friendly smile I asked “Can you make vegan Thai food? You know, like no fish sauce…”

She stared at me blankly.

“Ummm… no meat…” I continued.
Cook’s Cuisine (Needles, CA)

Urban Garden (Los Angeles, CA) [CLOSED]

I am not creature of habit. But after nearly 5 years working in NYC’s Murray Hill there were two things you could count on:

  1. Finding me at the Patrick Kavanagh Pub after work
  2. Eating mujadara from Kalustyan’s at least once a week

When I moved to Los Angeles, the crisp onion and smashed lentils of Mujadara exited my life. But two years later, thanks to an invite to try a new vegetarian/vegan friendly menu at Urban Garden, it’s back in my common rotation! But, while UG’s mujadara is decent, what sends me over the edge here the Garlic Sauce!
Urban Garden (Los Angeles, CA) [CLOSED]

Eating at Home 7/16/12

I love dining out, but sometimes you gotta eat at home. Living without my own kitchen for two years has been odd, but tonight I proved to myself that I can still wield a spatula!

Red Leaf Lettuce, Carrot, Red Pepper, Alfalfa and Radish Sprouts with Lemon and Black Pepper

Eating at Home 7/16/12

Susan Feniger’s STREET (Los Angeles, CA) [CLOSED]

I was totally digging those colorful girls in the front!

It began years ago. Aloft in New York, I’d fly down to Los Angeles for family and friends… but not for the restaurants. STREET almost changed my mind. I’ve checked in periodically over the years, the menu in a constant flux of evolving blends of modern and traditional street foods. But it has finally come to a beautiful fruition the newest menu revision. Focused on small dishes and with a heavy nod to vegetarians and vegans, STREET is now totally worth a cross country flight… but now in my case, a 20 minute drive.

Susan Feniger’s STREET (Los Angeles, CA) [CLOSED]

Meals by Genet (Los Angeles, CA)

You will never taste anything better

There was a time when you could say: “Hey, let’s go get Ethiopian Food!” and 99% of the time I would say “YES!!!”

Since eating at Meals by Genet my answer has unilaterally changed to: “Only if we go to Genet’s…”

Chef Genet Agonafer has ruined all other Ethiopian restaurants for me. Her food is heaven; all other Ethiopian food is earth. I avoided her for years, thinking the white table cloths, professional wait staff and candle lit dining room signaled a watered down “for white people” rendition of Ethiopian cuisine.  A tragic mistake.  Portions here seem small compared to the other 20 or so Ethiopian places on this block, but this is truly a case of quality verses quantity. As Genet explains, she’s the only restaurant on Fairfax that doesn’t cook their lentils in water. Instead she cooks her lentils down into a sultry stew in clarified butter. Seriously, I cannot even write this without salivating.

Meals by Genet (Los Angeles, CA)

Pizzanista (Los Angeles, CA)

Huge huge huge slices! Double the size I expected…

After 8 years in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy! Do or Die!), I kissed my favorite pizza good-bye and flew home to Los Angeles. A few months later I was hired at Slice. I didn’t know much more about pizza then the average NYC foodie. But that’s considerably more than the average LA foodie… and probably how I got the job. This past year I’ve devoured the Los Angeles pizza scene, learning a simple truth: There is awesome pizza in LA!

Pizzanista (Los Angeles, CA)

The Veggie Grill (Los Angeles, CA)

All Hail Kale? Okay!

The day I moved (back) to Los Angeles was wrought with peril. But a cross-country flight, two terrified cats and the abandonment of life as I’d know it could not quash my higher function: Hunger. As vegetarian-orientated as California is, the caliber of the local vegetarian options simply does not compare the echelons of New York. I was ready for disappointment. Fortunately, I was met at LAX by my parents and a Thai Chickin’ salad from The Veggie Grill.

The Veggie Grill (Los Angeles, CA)

Larchmont Bungalow (Los Angeles, CA)

Nuts for nachos!

Mobbed every Sunday brunch, many people forget about Larchmont Bungalow when heading out to dinner. At night, this spacious café become a quite sanctuary for a casual meal with friends.  The menu is fairly meat heavy, but a pretty hand written board highlights all their NEW vegan options! The obvious choice is the easy to share Vegan Nachos ($9.95). Light and crispy homemade tortilla chips are topped with vegan cheese (Daiya, the best band out there), whole black beans and thin slices of fresh jalapeno. With the perfect amount of salt and heat we could not stop eating the nachos, especially when loaded with the pico de gallo and fresh guacamole.

Larchmont Bungalow (Los Angeles, CA)

NY Dosas (New York, NY)

The man, hard at work making YOUR dosa!

On a sunny spring/summer/fall day in Manhattan, there are few pleasures that can match the joyous decompression of a picnic in the park… especially when that picnic is catered by a madly delicious vegan dosa food cart. Hidden in plain sight among the pretzel and hot dog venders of Washington Square Park, 2007 Vendy Award winning Thiru Kumar’s made-to-order dosas, idly, and uthappam are a spicy treat!

Pancakes! Not just breakfast and breakfast-for-dinner anymore!

My first time here I was clearly a newbie, but being an educated newbie, I ordered the Jaffna Lunch — 4 small pancakes made with “natural herbs” topped with spicy dried chutney and served with a Samosa ($6). Why not the Pondicherry Dosa? Well, despite the excessive online praise for this dosa, when I saw the guy in front of me receive his, all I could think was that it looked like a salad in a crepe… and that wasn’t going to cut it , because I was HUNGRY!

NY Dosas (New York, NY)