by Kylina Matteoli
Back with a bang, the second part to this week’s Vegan Eats continues our trip in LA where we focus on all the delicious vegan restaurants in the city.
Let’s start with the classic burger. California, as well as some other West Coast states, proudly boasts the In-N-Out burger chain. Unique for its top-quality, locally sourced and locally grown produce and beef, this restaurant chain screams Instagram goals. However, if you’re vegan then there isn’t anything on the menu for you. But don’t think you won’t be able to eat an In-N-Out style burger. Burgerlords is here to save the day.
Located in Chinatown, this burger joint has you covered. With an all-vegan menu, you won’t even have to worry about perfecting or reciting your order for substitutes or replacements. When your order is up and you go pick up your cardboard box from the pickup window you won’t even remember that other burger place. Especially when your cardboard box contains Kennebec shoestring fries and a burger topped with vegan American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and vegan thousand island sauce. I first nibbled on the shoestring fries and if you like a solid crunch in your fries, then these shoestring fries will become your new best friend. And now for digging into the burger. Just look at it. It doesn’t even look like a veggie patty. And not only does it look like meat, it can easily pass the test for tasting pretty darn close to meat. And to make this place even better, all of this costs $8.50. Consider me converted because I’m IN love with these burgers N Out of excuses not to bow to Burgerlords.
After you finish your meal, make sure to walk around and see all the cool sights Chinatown has to offer as well as all the cool fashions, since Chinatown is considered one of the many fashion/fabric markets in the city.
Now, to the opposite side of the food spectrum, let me introduce you to your new favorite sushi place. Shojin is an all-vegan Japanese sushi restaurant that can be found in two locations, Culver City and downtown LA. The downtown LA location is my favorite since it is in the Little Tokyo Shopping Center. Of course, you can find your classic veggie rolls here such as avocado and cucumber rolls. But what makes this place special is the fact that their sushi creations go far beyond a simple veggie roll.
They go all out in recreating a genuine fish taste and texture in their rolls. I had the Crunchy Tiger Hidden Dragon Roll which had BBQ seitan, tempura asparagus, avocado, and crispy potatoes stuffed inside with a wasabi mayo and tamari sweet sauce drizzled on top. Everything about this sushi was perfectly balanced and I feel like my taste palette will never be the same. The hardest decision here is selecting which roll to get, but at least they all have cool names like Pirates of the Crunchy Roll and Yellow Magic Orchestra Roll. But if the rolls aren’t really your thing, they also have “crab cake” tartar, spicy “tuna” on crispy rice, seaweed salad, French onion and mushroom miso soups, and they even have kelp noodle salads. I think the best way to conquer this menu is to gather a few friends and/or family relatives and order several rolls to share around the table. And after, it’s really fun to walk around and look at all the shops that Little Tokyo has.
Now, onto dessert. For my pick, I am choosing Westwood’s Saffron & Rose Ice Cream. This Persian ice cream shop regularly offers creamy soy ice cream and icy versions of its delicate Persian shaved ice creations. I had their classic Almond ice cream and Saffron and Pistachio ice cream. At only $2.75 a scoop, you are sure to get a taste of Iran’s favorite flavors.
And if you still need more vegan restaurants to try, then listed below are some great choices I haven’t tried yet but have heard good reviews about.
Fala Bar – This all-vegan restaurant can be found at two locations, West Hollywood and Venice. This place is known for the falafels, which come in so many different flavors like their original chickpea, spicy chickpea, sweet potato, crunchy chickpea, and kale. Who knew there were so many flavors for falafels? And they even make their own home-made hummus and pita bread! They also serve up other dishes like sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. But it seems that the crowd favorite is the Fala Plate which has 4 falafels, hummus, tahini, Israeli salad, quinoa tabouli, and cabbage.
Stuff I Eat – Need to try some Soul Food? Vegan Soul Food? Is that even possible? At Chef Babette Davis’ kitchen, it certainly is. Come here to taste all your favorite southern dishes veganized like Mac N Cheese, collard greens, slow cooked beans and chili, classic BBQ, mashed potatoes, and so much more.
The Grain Café – This pizzeria serves all things vegan including vegan cheese and vegan pepperoni. So, make sure to check this place out if you have some serious pizza cravings. Keep in mind this place is pick-up only.
Places to Eat:
- Burgerlords – Chinatown, N Broadway #102, Los Angeles, CA 90012
- Shojin – Little Tokyo Shopping Center, 333 Alameda St #310, Los Angeles, CA 90013
- Saffron & Rose Ice Cream – 1387 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
- Fala Bar: West Hollywood Location – 7751 1/2 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA — 90046; Venice Location – 1146 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA — 90291
- Stuff I Eat – 114 N Market St, Inglewood, CA 90301
- The Grain Café – 4222 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Places to See:
- Chinatown – If you go to Burgerlords, then you are already in Chinatown. And the best part, it’s free just to walk and look around.
- Little Tokyo – If you go eat at Shojin, then you are already in Little Tokyo. Another free thing to do after you’ve eaten.
- Venice Beach – If you are at the Fala Bar, then you are already at Venice Beach. You can check out all the cool street performers, the weightlifters at the outdoor gym, the skateboarders at the skatepark, or head on down to the beach and play in the sand and ocean.
- Griffith Observatory – Admission to the Observatory building, grounds, and telescopes is always FREE! But if you wish to see a planetarium show then there is a small charge for that, usually about $7. But, if you go on a clear, sunny day then this place has amazing views to offer since it's perched in a high hill that overlooks the entire city. And if you are a movie buff, then you can see the place where they filmed the infamous fight scene in Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean. Just a warning though, parking is limited. Most people park on the side of the winding road that leads up to the observatory which is perfectly fine, but prepared for a little hike then.
Photos coutesy of Kylina Matteoli, Burgerlords, and Fala Bar