Thursday, June 29, 2006

What should I order?

I love eating (big surprise, huh?), and that includes eating out. When you are a vegetarian this can be a little tricky sometimes. Obviously when I’m choosing where to go it’s a veg friendly place, but often I end up going out with co-workers or other circumstances when I don’t choose the place. It usually goes like this: scan menu looking for items that do not involve dead animals, choose one of the 1 to 3 options in that category. When I am at an exclusively veg restaurant it takes me forever to decide what to order because suddenly the whole menu is available to me. It’s a nice feeling. So, Kleo posted today asking about our favorite local veg places to eat out, these are mine:

Real Food Daily
I’ve been to the Santa Monica location a few times. The burger is great, it’s a huge patty of grainy beany goodness, the soups I’ve had were all very good, all their dressings and sauces are amazing. The menu has a nice range of different cuisines from Asian influenced to American style comfort food. It’s a little on the spendy side, and when I requested ice for my iced tea I was told they don’t have ice in the restaurant (?) so that’s weird, but I’ve never had any food there that wasn’t delicious so I recommend it.

Native Foods
Westwood isn’t exactly my neighborhood so I don’t get to Native Foods as often as I’d like, but this place might even be my favorite of all time. They have everything, appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, salads, soups, bowls, pizza, tacos, and it’s all awesome and a darn good value to boot. The Mad Cowboy bowl and the Moby Dick sandwich are a couple of standouts in my mind. If there were one of these anywhere near my office I would be much fatter than I am.

California Vegan
Too bad I’m never there for lunch because the lunch specials are a great bargain at this place. I usually get a curry dish or the cowboy steak. The Vege Chicken Nuggets are not to be missed. I don’t know how they do it, but they are the best fake chicken nuggets I have ever tasted. I suggest BBQ sauce for dipping.

Venus of Venice
I’ve only been there once, and come to think of it I don’t know why I haven’t been back! It’s not far from my place but it’s also not en route to anyplace I go regularly so I guess it kind of slipped my mind. This is a fun and quirky little place. The interior décor is eclectic as it comes, everything looks like it was pulled from grandma’s attic or a thrift shop, plenty of stuff to peruse on the walls while you wait for your food. Our server was southern and sweet as pie. She was also dressed a bit eccentrically with a sequined costume, but in the context of the place it seemed to make sense. The sandwich and salad I had was very tasty, and the mint iced tea was so good and refreshing. Oh, and I remember the sweet potato fries were also great, but really when have you had sweet potato fries that you did not love? I must make a mental note to hit this place up for a weekend lunch sometime soon.

Bharat Bazaar
This is the Indian grocery I go to for spices and naan and the like. They also have a few tables and chairs set up and a little vegetarian food bar. As I mentioned in a previous post on my last visit they were kind enough to let me sample everything on the steam table and I was wowed! The chickpeas, the spinach, soy “meat balls”, everything was so amazing. I will be back there for a full meal in the near future.

What about your favorite places to dine out?


Blogger Bonanza Jellybean said...

Am. Jealous. Now.

Eating healthy here in South Carolina means you didn't deep fry it after you shot it. :)

1:46 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

this is one of my all-time favorites posts! we'll be in la soon visiting family & having some fun ~ i can't wait to try as many of these places as i can. you're lucky to have some options & your beginning paragraph is so right on.

5:44 PM  
Blogger funwithyourfood said...

Mama Testa's in SD, CA.
Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA
For a CHAIN restaurant, Chili's has a decent black bean burger.
TACO LOCO in Laguna Beach CA. (oh man i think i need to go there RIGHT now haha)
There are a bunch more.. hmm that's all from the top of my head tho


6:04 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...

Wow - those are some great places! And yes, I can totally attest to Toronto being one of the most veg-friendly cities in the world. I've travelled around quite a bit, and nothing quite beats home.

Can you recommend anything in San Fran? Preferably a place with really good vegan chicken nuggets?:-)

7:54 PM  
Blogger Ferocious Killer Kat said...

Native foods totally rules.. I've eaten each and every single item on their menu.. eaten most of their specials.. hehehe.. Real foods is good too.. especially the RFD burger and salisbury seitan!!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Dori said...

I don't have a geat restauarnt selection around me but I love indian grocers. I have a one hour drive to any shopping places that interest me, same with my indian grocer which just opened. They will be having a cooked food menu coming on one side of their store soon... I can't wait. I printed off your previous post of an indian food recipe, looks yummers!.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Tanya Kristine said...

wow...i wish i were closer so i could try those nuggets. i LOVE nuggets.

we dont' have many vegan restauarnts here so i'd have to say all 3 are my fav;)

we have a vegan carribean "roach coach" that is pretty much out of this world. they're always out of something but that just means they buy enough to sell. the sunflower cafe is also very hippyish delishyous. and our local vegan Andy Ngyuens which makes the most incredible fake meat. tastes exactly like spam an you all know i love spam.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

you are so lucky! I live in a tourist town that is known for food, just not the type of food I eat.

Oh well, it's probably a good thing, I'd spend too much money if I could order delicious food.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Yum, California Vegan! So, so so so good! Lunch special is $7.95 and you get a cup of miso soup, salad with awesome peanut dressing, bowl of brown rice, your main dish (so many wonderful choices, I reccoment the coconut curry or... hell, try it all), and a spring roll. For dinner it's the same but the price goes up 2 or 3 dollars.

9:17 AM  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

Shan!!!! Almost makes me want to move to Los Angeles... not quite though. You have such awesome variety there by you!! I'm big on Native Foods and love Real Food Daily as well. There are some all right places over near Fairfax (kosher/dairy but some vegan choices) from what I understand...

Have you been to Famous Bakery? Their chocolate rolls... vegan... to die for, really!!!

8:35 PM  
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