Vegan Eats in LA
Cafe Gratitude is a collection of plant-based restaurants. The Venice location was our very first stop as it was only a few blocks away from where we were staying. From breakfast menu we tried the Chilaquiles - tortilla chips, roasted tomatillo sauce, black mole, tempeh chorizo, cashew queso fresco, sautéed kale, Breakfast Wrap - chickpea frittata, spicy cashew aioli, escabeche cashew mozzarella, whole wheat tortilla with breakfast potatoes and Breakfast Taco Plate - black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, cashew nacho cheese, spicy pepitas, corn tortillas, brown rice and quinoa mix. Chilaquiles were my favorite, tempeh chorizo was spot on.
We also tried one of their bowls, Whole / Macrobiotic Bowl - braised butternut squash, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, sautéed greens, kim chee, garlic tahini, toasted almonds, brown rice and quinoa mix. I also tried their Chai Latte which I was not very impressed, it was too gritty and overpriced in my opinion. From desserts we tried the carrot cake, while very good it was definitely not a traditional carrot cake. Overall, I would recommend this place. It has a great vibe and food is generally good and on the healthy side.
Plant Food and Wine
We had a reservation for New Year's Eve at Plant Food and Wine and I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate. Located in Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney, this restaurant offers some of the most beautiful plant-based dishes I have ever seen. We were seated at the outside patio which is in this beautiful garden and felt very festive and date night appropriate.
We started with Maitake Mushroom Agrodolce and Truffled Potatoes. Both pretty simple however very flavorful dishes. From main we ordered the Plant Bowl, a glorified buddha bowl and Chickpea Socca, also know as farinata, a glammed-up version of the typical Ligurian street food. To finish it off, I went for the deconstructed Tiramisu. Oh my god, this must have been one of the best tiramisus ever. I was pretty full at this point however the tiramisu was out of this world. Highly recommend.
We also visited their new location in Chicago with some friends and pretty much tried everything on the menu. The Venice Beach menu was pretty similar to it too. I think of all the things we've tried the Spicy Udon Bowl and the Kelp Noodle Cacio E Pepe were my favorites.
Our next stop was Shojin, a fully vegan Japanese restaurant. This is a great place if you are craving vegan sushi and ramen. We were really happy that they were open on the Christmas Day as pretty much everything else was closed in Venice Beach and Santa Monica area. We visited their Culver City location which had a very zen-chic atmosphere. We started with tofu and miso stuffed shiitake mushrooms and spicy 'tuna' on crispy rice which were really good. We also tried the Dynamite Roll and The Spicy Ramen Revolution. Of course we went for adding the vegan 'egg'. It had a savory taste and I think it was miso based. What I loved about the menu that things were really customizable, they were able to accommodate and adjust the spiciness of the ramen. A lot of their menu had onion and garlic free options to choose which I was so thankful for. I wish more restaurants would do this. From desserts menu I tried the matcha cheesecake. Excellent choice, not too sweet and a great treat for matcha lovers.
Santa Monica Farmer's Market
On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is a Farmer's Market in Santa Monica. Strolling around Farmer's Markets is one of my favorite activities traveling or not. Since we were staying in Venice Beach area we took a really nice long beach walk + bird to the market. This was a great place to stock up on some locally grown fruits. Persimmons are my favorite fruit and I couldn't be happier with the good selection of both Fuyu and Hachiya varieties. We also picked up some really good honey dates.
With so many vegan options available in LA I was not so sure whether this place would be worth the drive. But I am so glad we ended up going here. By Chloe might have been one of the best vegan fast food I've had. The Silver Lake location is attached to 365 by Whole Foods and it's a super cute place. Everything was extremely fresh and the flavors were spot on. Now I wish we tried more things however we wanted to check out the Donut Friend (which ended up being closed that day) and didn't want to stuff ourselves. We tried the meatball sandwich, mac and cheese, air baked fries and the giant cookie. Everything was delicious and it cost us $25.
The Butcher's Daughter is a collection of vegetarian restaurants. We visited their Venice location on Abbot Kinney after doing some shopping in the area. First of all their interior is so charming! We ordered the jackfruit crab cake and the vegan pizza which was really good. It had a vegan mozzarella, kabocha squash, pesto, kale and vegan ricotta and an excellent good crust. I'd definitely go back for the pizza.
This is a great option if you are looking for something quick. My husband tried the spring roles and their combo plate which had Panaeng Tofu Curry, spring rolls and side of rice and he was pretty happy about it.
Our last stop was Gracias Madre after we explored some exhibits in LACMA. I love vegan Mexican food and was really excited about this one, however a lot of the items we got seemed like a miss. I'm not sure if they were having an off day or what, but I had much higher expectations of this place. We tried the Gorditas, potato masa cakes with lettuce and cashew crema, Butternut Squash Enchiladas, Crispy Potato Tacos and Tamales.
There were so many other places we wanted to to visit but couldn't because of the time constraint. Looking forward to my next trip.