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Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Vegan at Sprinkles Cupcakes, The Grove, Los Angeles

The Grove and Original Los Angeles Farmers Market is one of the great, atypical places to take out-of-towners or to spend a leisurely Saturday.  There are tons of upscale stores to peruse, including the American Girl store, which is one of my favorites.  If you haven’t heard of them, they are great historical fiction books and dolls that are age-appropriate for elementary school kids.  I wrote an entire term paper for my Children’s Literature class about the flaws (specifically gender and racial inequalities) in these books and I still think they are great, so that says a lot.

Anyway, Eric and I were at the Grove for a free screener of Homefront, starring Jason Statham and James Franco.  You basically get exactly what you expect walking into that movie.  The actress who played Jason Statham’s daughter was great, though.  After the movie, we stopped at the tiny Sprinkles Cupcakes booth so I could try their famous vegan Red Velvet cupcakes.

Red Velvet, Sprinkles Cupcakes | A Vegan in Progress

First of all, if you are going to offer one vegan option – why not more than one?  I know that seems like I’m asking a lot, but not everyone likes Red Velvet.  I found the frosting to be very fragrant – almost smelling like a sugar cookie.  However, it tasted oddly of coconut.  Eric got another cupcake with a cream cheese frosting (not a vegan one) and it also tasted of coconut.  To me, that is both weird and gross.

Red Velvet, Sprinkles Cupcakes | A Vegan in Progress

The cake itself tasted a little dry.  Nothing about the cupcake left me thinking I should stop by Sprinkles more often.  After trying a non-vegan cupcake, Eric said that he wasn’t a fan either.  He prefers Crumbs Bake Shop, which also has several locations, but sadly no vegan options.  I highly recommend No Udder Desserts over Sprinkles.  They only have one location, but offer many more flavor choices as well as different desserts in addition to cupcakes.  The taste is far superior to Sprinkles.  Sprinkles Red Velvet fans – you don’t know what you’re missing!  Definitely give No Udder Desserts a try.

Vegan at The Brite Spot, Echo Park, Los Angeles – Post 2

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I have already talked about The Brite Spot, but I thought that I could do multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about The Brite Spot.

The Brite Spot is a cute little diner in Echo Park that we pass all the time when visiting the in-laws.  This time, I ordered a bowl of vegan chili and vegan nachos.

When the chili first arrived, I was worried that it had beef in it because the imitation ground beef looked so much like the real thing.  I double checked with the waiter and he said it’s definitely vegan, they only make vegan chili, so you can rest assured that they haven’t mixed them up.  It was hearty and flavorful and not a bad deal at $5.50 for the cup.  It was pretty large.

The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I also ordered the vegan nachos wish their awesome soy chicken.  They were great, although a little dry.  I still don’t understand why they only have a lactose free, but not vegan cheese.  They need to get on that to improve their vegan dishes.

The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

The soy chicken was amazing, I couldn’t get enough.  It both looked and tasted a lot like chicken.

The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

We’ll definitely be back.  This would a great place to meet non-vegans for dinner so that you could have a satisfying vegan meal without making a big production out of it.

Veggie Grill, Los Angeles Farmers Market

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Veggie Grill is as close to a vegan fast food place as there is – in terms of it being quick and inexpensive, not greasy and unhealthy.  They have both comfort food options and healthier ones, so it is good for people with all types of tastes.  I have only been once, but really enjoyed it.

Eric and I were at the Grove and I was getting frustrated at a lack of real options other than $12 falafel plates, when I remembered that there was a Veggie Grill in the adjacent parking lot.  We ventured over to the bright and clean Veggie Grill restaurant.  I wrestled over what to order and finally settled on the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ burger.  I feel like “chicken” sandwiches and vegan burgers are a pretty accurate test for a vegan chef, so I often like to try those first.  It was moist and filling with a yummy avocado spread throughout.  I’m not really one for sweet potato fries but theirs weren’t bad.  It was definitely a preferable choice over an entire vegetarian platter from a booth in the Farmers Market.  It was really satisfying.

I can’t wait to go back and try many more menu items!

Vegan at The Brite Spot, Echo Park, Los Angeles

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The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

The Brite Spot is a small diner located practically walking distance from my in laws’ home.  While visiting one weekend, Eric’s mom suggested we visit the establishment for dinner.  We sat on their cute little patio off of Sunset Boulevard.

The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I was very pleased to see that there were vegan-friendly items on the menu and then noticed the ever so exciting “vegan menu available upon request” line at the bottom of the menu.  The vegan menu isn’t too shabby; including oatmeal, granola, fries, vegetable soup, vegan chili, nachos (strangely, without vegan cheese), 4 salads, a veggie ciabatta, 2 burgers, pasta, and enchiladas.

vegan menu - The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I noticed that the standard menu listed a Veggie Club Sandwich with soy chicken, veggie bacon, soy swiss, and house made veganaise.  I was surprised to see that the club wasn’t on the vegan menu, so I inquired… the soy cheese is lactose free, but not completely vegan.

bagel burger with vegan potato salad - The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I ended up ordering the Bagel Burger, which is a flame grilled soy patty (kind of a sausage consistency), lettuce, tomato, red onion, vegan cream cheese, and chipotle veganaise, on a toasted bagel with a side of Vegan Potato Salad.

bagel burger - The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I loved the sandwich, but it was on the dry side.  The chipotle veganaise was good, but I think they may have been out of vegan cream cheese because I didn’t see or taste any.

vegan potato salad - The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

The Vegan Potato Salad tasted incredibly fresh and yummy.  I was never a fan of potato salad, but I loved this vegan version with its mix of chunky potato pieces with more mashed potatoes, fresh dill and mustard flavors.  I would order it again for sure.

French Fries - The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

I also had a french fry or two from my husband’s meal.  We both commented that they seemed double fried because they were crunchy without being overcooked.

If I were to give one suggestion to The Brite Spot, it would be to offer a vegan cheese option as well to add cheese to their vegan nachos as well as make a vegan club sandwich.  I mean, since when do nachos not have cheese?  And what is the point of a soy cheese that isn’t vegan?

The Brite Spot has been at this location longer than I have been familiar with the area.  Our waitress informed us that the restaurant had not changed ownership, but the owners had made significant changes to their menu.  The bottom line is that this diner is a great place for dining with omnivores.  There are more than a handful of vegan options and everyone leaves pleased.  I would definitely recommend it.

The Brite Spot, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan at Mae Ploy, Silverlake, Los Angeles – Post 2

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I have already talked about Mae Ploy, but I thought that I could do multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about Mae Ploy.

Last time I tried the popular Garlic Pepper Tofu.  This time around, I decided to try their Spicy Tofu.

Spicy Tofu - Mae Ploy | A Vegan in Progress

It was appropriately spicy, but not as flavorful as the Garlic Pepper Tofu.  I enjoyed it, but preferred the Garlic version.  It had more veggies in it than the Garlic Pepper Tofu, but that wasn’t saying much.

A note about their service… we ordered our food, waited the 30 minutes, plus another 15 before heading over to pick it up.  It then took more than 20 minutes to get the food.  I don’t believe they made it until we arrived to pick it up.  Just a word of warning, maybe call them before picking it up to confirm that it is actually ready.

I also snagged a menu so that I could include a picture of the vegetarian menu since I can’t seem to find their official website.

Mae Ploy vegetarian menu | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan at Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles

Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

Mohawk Bend is a place that I have wanted to visit for quite a while.  In fact, I sought out a copycat recipe for their Buffalo-Style Cauliflower because people raved about it.  Here’s where I tweaked that recipe a bit and posted about my results.

Eric and I went out with his mom a couple of weeks ago and suggested Mohawk Bend since it’s mere miles from her house.  As I said in my previous post, Mohawk Bend (found in the Echo Park area where Mohawk Street bends and meets Sunset) used to be a movie theater, but was left vacant for many years.  Now it has a cozy, pub-like atmosphere and offers food and drinks that are made mostly with California-based products.

Mohawk Bend, Los Angeles | A Vegan in Progress

We were seated in the back, theater area that is surprisingly light and airy.  On the walls hang photos of graffiti saved from the renovation of the formerly dilapidated theater.  Their well-marked menu has quite a bit to offer to vegans, vegetarians, and carnists alike, so it took us a while to figure out what to order.  I knew what I wanted to start with, though!  I got a Mimosa with cider rather than champagne that was seriously yummy.

Of course, we had to order their Buffalo-style Cauliflower appetizer.  While very tasty, I preferred my version.  Theirs didn’t have a lot of coating to it and therefore, the cauliflower wasn’t as soft and just looked like slightly crunchy cauliflower drenched in buffalo sauce.  I can see why the original copycat recipe didn’t call for much batter, though.  It was actually a better copycat recipe than I had assumed.

Mohawk Bend - buffalo cauliflower wings | A Vegan in Progress

For my entree, I ordered their Vegan Burger with vegan cheese, which was delicious!  Possibly the best vegan burger I’ve had.  The black beans and rice patty had just the right texture to it and the cheese was such a welcome addition.  The fries that came with it were well-cooked, but a little too salty.

Mohawk Bend - Vegan Burger | A Vegan in Progress

Check out that side view!  It’s making me hungry!

Mohawk Bend - Vegan burger | A Vegan in Progress

Finally, I had to try out one of their vegan desserts.  I ordered the vegan Cast Iron Cookie, which was Mohawk Bend’s version of a BJ’s Pizookie.  It was good, but a little overcooked and lacking in chocolate chips.  I could have done without it.

Mohawk Bend - Vegan Cast Iron Cookie | A Vegan in Progress

We will definitely be going back, but this was quite a pricy trip.  For the three of us, it cost over $100.  Eric’s mom graciously covered the meal, but I felt a little guilty.  I highly recommend the place to anyone in the LA area.  It’s worth going out of your way for.

Cruzer Pizza, Los Angeles & National Vegan Pizza Day

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Yesterday was National Vegan Pizza Day, so my family and I got together for dinner. We were celebrating the 20th birthday of my younger sister, Alli, who has been instrumental in my change to a vegan diet. We went to Cruzer Pizza, which boasts that they are the only 100% Vegan Pizzeria in Los Angeles.

Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

They were offering 30% off pizzas for the occasion. It’s a tiny place, really only fitting for pick up of your telephone order, but what they lack in space, they make up for in menu. There was so much to choose from, we really had a difficult time deciding. We ended up getting four pizzas and some delicious Cheese Bread Sticks (seen below).

Vegan Cheese Breadsticks - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

First, the Gourmet Pesto Pizza (pesto sauce, spinach, artichoke, garlic, and Daiya vegan cheese) was really tasty, I liked the thicker crust that we ordered on it as well.

Pesto and Veggie Pizza - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

The Vegetable Pizza that we ordered was my favorite. You can choose up to 6 toppings; we got extra artichoke, olive, onion, green peppers, and garlic. I found that the Daiya cheese was very creamy and more like a delicious cheese sauce than grated and melted cheese.

We also ordered the Hawaiian Pizza (Vegan ham, pineapple, and extra Daiya vegan cheese) and the Meat Pizza (Vegan sausage, pepperoni, and ham). I didn’t try either of those, but my husband, Eric, really enjoyed the Hawaiian. He is not generally a fan of vegan substitutes, but described the vegan meat and vegan cheese as having pretty accurate flavors, without being as strong as the real thing.

Hawaiian and Vegan Meat - Cruzer Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

Ordering out should really be a relatively rare occasion rather than a weekly occurrence, and places like Cruzer give you more of a gourmet experience for a totally reasonable price. I will be ordering Cruzer pizza again, especially knowing that Eric enjoyed it as well!