I Spent My First Year in LA Eating

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary in Los Angeles and when I thought about how I spent it, I realized I spent the majority of my spare time in restaurants. I think a great way to get to know a city as large as Los Angeles is to seek out great food and boy did I do that!

I’m vegetarian and my dude Sean is vegan so we probably do a lot more scouring than omnivores do. Vegan does not equal rabbit food as so many like to joke, in fact, I believe that vegans have a much more refined palate than non-vegans. And when vegans get together, 99.9% of the time they will talk about food and where to get the good stuff.

Here is a list of my favorite restaurants that we frequent and that serve vegan food (in alphabetical order):

BabyCakes: Desserts: Downtown: Cupcakes Cupcakes Cupcakes. Oh they also serve donuts and cookies and brownies. Vegan and gluten free options. The gals who work there are adorable.

Bawarchi Indian Kitchen: Indian: Culver City: I recommend getting the $8 dinner. Your taste buds, stomach, and wallet will thank you.

Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen: Thai: West Hollywood and Silver Lake: I could eat their chicken satay all the day long. Mmm, I want some just thinking about it.

M Cafe: Macrobiotics: Culver City and West Hollywood: The Tofu Benedict and French Toast are a great way to start the day. Their tempeh bacon is my favorite. I took a class on how to make it but haven’t actually attempted it yet…

The Meet Market...Sandwiches: Silverlake: Their vegan brunch on Sunday for $10 is not to be missed. The sausages, bacon and pancakes are my favorite. I also recommend their sandwiches, especially the Roast Beef and Cheese.

Native Foods Cafe: Organic/Vegan/Vegetarian: Westwood: You can’t go wrong with the chicken wings.

Pure Luck Restaurant: Veggie/Pub: Wilshire Center: Right across from Scoops so don’t get too full! I love their potato pals. I’ve eaten them as a meal before. I think it’s their sauce that rocks the most.

Renovo: Smoothies and Fresh Squeezed Juice: Santa Monica: It’s within walking distance of my office so I go here a lot. They are seriously the best smoothies in the universe. The ones with Almond Milk in particular are amazing.

Scoops: Ice Cream: Wilshire Center: They serve vegetarian and vegan ice cream. Homemade, the flavors constantly change, and the best ice cream I have ever had.

Seed: Vegan/Macrobiotic:Venice: Amazing burgers. Really can’t go wrong grabbing a couple of these and heading over to the beach.

Shima: Japanese: Venice: They serve vegetarian and fish options and use brown rice. Their vegan salmon rolls taste like the real thing. Their dessert menu is entirely vegan and OMG delish!

Samosa House: Indian: Culver City: I’ve been to India a couple of times and their samosas and chutney taste just like the ones I bought off the street from vendors. They have two locations in Culver City, both amazing!

Swingers: American Diner: Santa Monica: Lots of veggie/vegan options. My favorite is the Vegan Chocolate Chip Pancakes served on the weekend.

The Veggie Grill: Burgers: Hollywood and El Sugundo: Best Effin’ burgers I have ever had in my life!!! Sean served some at CrashSpace and the meat eaters did not believe that it wasn’t real meat. The nachos are also dynamite.

Z Pizza: Pizza: El Segundo and Larchmont: The first time I had Daiya cheese was on a delicious veggie pizza sitting at an outside table with twinkly lights all around me. I was enamored.

What’s really missing for us is a great vegan brunch place and an ice cream shop on the Westside. M Cafe and Swinger’s are great for breakfast, but I think we would be pretty happy to have a Meet Market and a Scoops over here. Can someone make that happen?

If you have any suggestions that I have missed here that we should definitely try out, please comment! Also if you try any of these restaurants and love ’em or hate ’em, let me know why. I know a lot of omnivores think that vegetarian food is tasteless, but I challenge you to try these options out and see if you can be convinced otherwise.

15 thoughts on “I Spent My First Year in LA Eating”

  1. Thanks for the list being vegan myself I agree that we are constantly seeking out good and new places to eat and I know most of my meat loving friends tend to just eat the same dishes when we go out and I’ll try anything atleast once if I know it’s vegan

  2. Vegan brunch on the west side? Look no further than the all-vegan Real Food Daily on La Cienega. Brunch Sundays only. Newsroom Cafe on Robertson also has loads of veggie- and vegan-friendly options for brunch, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week.

  3. Try out veggie soul near usc (jefferson and normandie)! Vegetarian soul food – everything on the menu is super tasty! I love the pineapple jalapeno burger.

  4. @forcor – I know it’s all a matter of perspective but East of Beverly Hills (where of RFD and Newsroom are) is hardly considered westside. It’s more the western part of mid-city, given that it’s just south of West Hollywood. I think in this case “westside” would mean west of the 405.

  5. I always visit Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park. In addition to their restaurant they also make all those Follow Your Heart cheeses and Cream cheese and Sour Cream and the best Veganaise.

  6. @forcor @caogirl I’m not sure why, but Real Food Daily and my stomach just don’t jive. I’m not sure if they prepare things differently, but I can’t eat there.

    @tony a OMG that burger at Veggie Soul sound delicious! It’s on my list to try out! Thanks!

    @Fran I’ve had Follow Your Heart cheeses but I didn’t know they had a restaurant. Thanks!

    @Kevin Ott next time you are in SF, go to St. Francis Soda Shop in the Mission for a most excellent Soy Espresso or Guinness Shake!

  7. Tara, if you go to Follow Your Heart give me a tweet. I live in the west Valley. And I’ve been going to FYH since I was a baby, w/ my folks. I love that place. Unbelievably tasty food.

  8. You might be interested in checking out Shojin in Little Tokyo. Also, there’s a Swingers near The Grove, on Beverly near Crescent Heights.

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