I’m not vegan.
I’ll never give up steak.
But on any normal week, I eat way more vegetables than I do steaks. And even with a strong affinity for cheese, I love eating vegan. Especially when it’s done really well.
Not shockingly, Los Angeles is home to some really amazing vegan or veggie-focused restaurants. I mean, hiking and yoga alone doesn’t keep the locals looking good in their lululemon couture.
I’ve been disappointed that New York doesn’t dominate in this culinary domain. (Though perhaps you’ve not heard my complaints because they were muffled by all the burgers and duck fat-drizzled fries stuffed in my mouth. I’m looking at you, Corner Bistro.)
So when back in LA, I love hitting my all-time favorite for vegan goodness: Real Food Daily.
Until they expand beyond their two locations in Santa Monica and West Hollywood to Manhattan (I’ve put in that request), I’ll have to indulge in as many entrees as possible while in town.
For the vegetable-fearful out there, the entrees below from RFD‘s menu are a good start for vegan newbies:
GRILLED VEGGIE WRAP: Seasonal squash, onions, sun-dried tomato pesto, lettuce, tomato, spinach tortilla with your choice of grilled tofu or portabella mushroom
MEXICALI CHOP SALAD: Pinto beans, avocado, seasonal vegetables, romaine, baked tortilla strips, lime cilantro dressing
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: Chickpea polenta, corn, roasted red bell pepper, shiitake mushroom, asparagus, baby greens, creamy garlic hemp dressing (seasonal special)
CHOW POW: Hot and sweet tofu, rice noodles, carrots, snow peas, red and Napa cabbage, Mizuna, spicy chili ginger vinaigrette, roasted peanuts (seasonal special)
See, that’s not so crazy. And once you’ve passed the Intro to Veganism course (called, Veggies: How to Love Them) and are ready for more adventurous entrees, might I interest you in some of RFD’s other options?
SEA CAKE: Butternut squash, yam and sea vegetable croquette, pesto, sweet chili aioli
(I think anything with ‘sea vegetables’ qualifies you for a vegan merit badge.)
SALISBURY SEITAN: Wheat meat cutlets, mashed potatoes, golden gravy, caesar salad
(That’s a lot of faux meat.)
LIVING WRAP: Red pepper sunflower spread, cucumbers, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, salad greens, citrus herb dressing, collard greens
(I usually steer clear of ‘living’ entrees. Unless it’s a really rare steak.)
REAL FOOD MEAL: Brown rice, beans, greens, land and sea vegetables, pressed salad, dressing or sauce. Based on the principles of macrobiotics, the ‘Real Food Meal’ is a balanced selection of foods representing the five elements of Eastern health philosophy.
(This is amazing. Souen in the West Village has a macrobiotic plate as well, but it doesn’t actually taste good.)
Oh, By the Way: Yes, they serve alcohol.
Let’s Be Honest: I love me some vegan, but I don’t trust anyone who tries to pass seitan off as the same thing as meat.
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