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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.

Vegan at Swingers Diner, Santa Monica – Post 2

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

My youngest sister, Alli and I went for a night out in Santa Monica this weekend.  We chose Swingers for a fun and casual meal.  This time I tried the Vegan Nachos, which their menu describes as “blue corn chips, soyrizo, soy cheese, homemade guacamole, black beans, green onions, and salsa.”  They totally hit the spot.  I loved the blue corn chips and soyrizo.

Swinger's Diner - Vegan Nachos | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Nachos

Alli got her favorite, the pancakes.

Swinger's Diner - Vegan pancakes | A Vegan in Progress

She’s crazy about them pancakes!

We decided to share the vegan chocolate cheesecake.  Oh man, was that a good choice.  It was super dense and creamy.  I think I may just continue ordering appetizers so I will have room for this cheesecake for dessert on each visit!

Swinger's Diner - Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake | A Vegan in Progress

Doomie’s Home Cookin’, Hollywood – Post 2

I have already talked about Doomie’s, but I am doing multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about Doomie’s Home Cookin’.

You may recall that I was eager to take my husband, Eric, to try the comfort foods at Doomie’s Home Cookin’.  For our anniversary this year (four years married!) we decided to keep it low key and drive out to Doomie’s for a date.

Please keep in mind that this is not a healthy restaurant, they just aim to make guilty pleasure foods available to vegans, too.  We shared the nacho plate, which was a little dry and hard to get down.  The meat replacement in it was overcooked and the portion was huge, so we couldn’t finish it.

Doomies - Nacho plate | A Vegan in Progress

Nacho plate

We also shared the “Chicken” Fingers, which were the best part of the meal!  You could hardly tell that it wasn’t meat and the sizes were appropriate.

Doomie's "Chicken" fingers | A Vegan in Progress

“Chicken” fingers

I got the Spicy “Chicken” Burger because back when I ate meat, I really liked that type of sandwich.  It was tasty, crunchy, and spicy, just how I like it.

Doomie's - Spicy "Chicken" Sandwich | A Vegan in Progress

Spicy “Chicken” Burger

Eric ordered the “Chicken” Fried Steak because it’s something he really enjoys usually.  However, it was an awful big piece of imitation chicken and I think for an omnivore, something that better masked the fact that it wasn’t real meat would have been better for him.  Plus it was pretty greasy and the breading didn’t stay on well.  He said he would order the Spicy “Chicken” Burger next time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of his plate.

Click here for all posts about Doomie’s Home Cookin’.

Real Food Daily, Santa Monica

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Eric and I went for a drive this weekend without much of a plan as to where we were headed.  We ended up in Santa Monica and Eric asked me to direct him to the address that was mapped in his phone.  We pulled up to Real Food Daily, a vegan restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard.  He once again did something so supportive and kind.  I can’t say enough how lucky I am to have him.

To drink, I ordered their lemonade and Eric got an Oogave cola.  The lemonade was delicious and refreshing; I would definitely order it again.  Eric really enjoyed his cola and the tagline on the bottle, “All the flavor, all the fun, none of the junk.”  They use agave nectar as sweetener.  He liked it so much that he bought some more at Sprouts yesterday.

It was really difficult to decide what to order because everything on the menu sounded so good.  I settled on the Fettuccini Alfredo because I have yet to try a vegan version of one of my favorite pasta dishes.  They make theirs with spinach fettuccini, creamy alfredo sauce, roasted red peppers, broccoli, and toasted pine nuts and it comes with a few small slices of roasted garlic bread.

Real Food Daily - Fettuccini Alfredo | A Vegan in Progress

Man, was it delicious.  The sauce was great and the pine nuts on top added just enough crunch.  The garlic bread looked hard and dry, but I found it really tasty once I took a bite.

Eric ordered El Bandito Rojo (“The Red Bandit”).  It includes corn enchiladas, seasoned tempeh, salsa roja, Spanish rice, black beans, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream, and guacamole.  From the looks of it, I never would have known it was vegan.  Just look at that appetizing dish.

Real Food Daily - El Bandito Rojo | A Vegan in Progress

He said that he would eat vegan more often if it was all like that dish.  Then he told me about how other day he went to King Taco with a friend, which is a fast food taco chain in LA that he used to frequent when he was younger.  He said the food was just crappy.  Now that he is eating less meat, he is becoming more picky about what he does eat.  I think this is a good step, especially for someone who has not made a decision to eat less animal products, but is doing so simply because of circumstance.

On our way in, we walked right past the dessert case which had some yummy looking cupcakes, cakes, and cookies, so I knew we would be ordering dessert.  We decided to split a Chocolate Gluten-Free Cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing.

Real Food Daily - Chocolate Gluten-Free Cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing | A Vegan in Progress

The icing was really nice, creamy and not overly peanutty, but the cake was very dry.  I couldn’t finish more than a couple of bites.  I will be trying something else on my next visit.  Right before we left, I saw a plate of nachos being delivered to the table behind Eric.  It looked so awesome, I had to sneak a picture.

Real Food Daily - Nachos | A Vegan in Progress

The staff was very friendly and the environment was nice.  The tab added up fast, but they are pretty much in the same price range as the other restaurants in Santa Monica.  Try it if you’re in the area!  They also have locations in West Hollywood and Pasadena as well.

Click here for all posts about Real Food Daily.

The Vegan Joint, Woodland Hills

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** I should start by saying that I live in the Southwest part of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.  All of the vegan restaurants I have mentioned so far have been within an hour away.

I have driven right past The Vegan Joint in Woodland Hills thousands of times.  It is really close to my home and in the same parking lot as No Udder Desserts, a yummy vegan bakery.  Eric and I checked out the reviews on yelp and they seemed pretty favorable, so we decided to try it out.  They have a pretty varied menu, so it took us a long time to decide!  Eventually, we settled on each trying two things.  He ordered the Orange Crispy Tofu and an order of garlic fries.  I got the Garlic “Chicken” Burger and “Chicken” Nachos.

The Orange Crispy Tofu tasted a lot like traditional orange chicken from a Chinese food place (as I remember it), but with sort of an egg-like texture to the tofu.  I can see why tofu is used as a replacement for egg so often!

The Vegan Joint - Orange Crispy Tofu | A Vegan in Progress

Orange Crispy Tofu

The garlic fries were perfect!  So often when you order garlic fries you just get regular fries with a dollop of garlic and a drizzle of oil on top, but these tasted well seasoned all the way around.

The Vegan Joint - Garlic fries | A Vegan in Progress

Garlic fries

I ordered two soy chicken items because I am obsessed with it now, thanks to Hana Grill.  The Garlic “Chicken” Burger came with a garlic and cilantro sauce that was very tasty, along with lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, pickles, onions, and tomato.  The patty was really great and the sauce went very well with it.  I also got my own order of fries with it, so we were swimming in excess food!

The Vegan Joint - Garlic "Chicken" Burger | A Vegan in Progress

Garlic “Chicken” Burger

The “Chicken” Nachos were very fresh tasting, with what seemed like house-made taco chips.  The toppings were grilled soy chicken, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, black beans, serano chili, and fresh salsa.  It was supposed to come with soy cheese as well, but I didn’t see any, so perhaps they were out.  I also got a side of guacamole.  I would order them again.  The leftovers even held up well for the next day, once I separated the chips from the toppings.

The Vegan Joint - "Chicken" Nachos | A Vegan in Progress

“Chicken” Nachos

It was only about $24 for all of that yummy food, so we will definitely return.  I’m looking forward to trying more of what they offer!  Next time we may order online and pick it up to go, because it was a rather small place.

UPDATE:  DO NOT try ordering over the phone. I had a very unpleasant experience with a man who had so heavy an accent that we could not understand each other.  He insisted that I had ordered something that I did not and said that it had already been made, insinuating that I should just take it.  I eventually got what I had ordered, but it was very frustrating.

Click here to see all posts about The Vegan Joint.