Monday, July 16, 2012

L.A. bites - Downtown eats

Here are some photos from a recent trip to Los Angeles. It was my first visit to "The City of Angels," and my boyfriend and I went car-free. So we focused our eating on downtown, Hollywood (easily metro-able), and Venice Beach (handy by bus). L.A. seems like a very veg-friendly city, with a global range of dining options. This post features our downtown eats. Hollywood and Venice will appear tomorrow.    
First up was vegan menudo (pictured above) at Más Malo, 515 W 7th St. Más Malo is swanky spot, with a spacious bar and restaurant. Like most of downtown L.A., it was an architecturally stunning space, that once a fancy jewelry store. I've never had regular menudo (ugh) before, so I don't know how to compare but it was subtly flavored, served with lime, avocado, and other fixings. We also tried a great messy soyrizo torta (sandwich) that didn't photograph as nicely but was delicious.  Más Malo serves inventive cocktails and Mexican beer.  
Next was taquitos and vegan french toast from Tierra Café. Located in a food court at 818 Wilshire Blvd, Tierra Café was my favorite spot of the trip. It had great, affordable food that was proudly served by a gracious Asian couple. Their menu is ambitious, featuring many breakfast and lunch options, plus juices and elixir tonics.  The café is all vegetarian, with vegan options for everything upon request. The taquitos were the winner of these two dishes, topped with guacamole, soy cheese, and a delicious green enchilada sauce. The french toast was also tasty; made with wholesome whole wheat bread. It came with real maple syrup and soy butter. We also enjoyed an excellent beet juice.       
These half sandwiches were from Mendocino Farms, a busy California Plaza lunch spot.  The menu lists these sandwiches as "vegan...that taste good," which seems like a left-handed compliment. However they did, in fact, taste good. On the left, is the vegan bahn mi, which was full of crunchy pickled veggies and tofu.  On the right is an inventive shawarma, that had chick peas swimming in a tzatziki sauce.    

These sweets were from BabyCakes NYC, 130 East 6th Street.  I've never been to a BabyCakes bakery before and I was impressed.  The chocolate dipped donut was out of this world. Homer Simpson-worthy! The brownie bite was a decadent nibble and the cookie was freshly-baked, gooey, and warm.  
To balance out the sweets, we had great whole fruit smoothies at Sustain Juicery, located at 6th Street and Harlem Place. This smoothie-of-the-day was berrylicious. I also tried the "Endless Summer," an inspired combination of raw cacao, maca, coconut, and banana.       
Finally, these brunch plates were from Nickel Diner at 524 Main Street. It was fun to visit a diner again. (I miss The Lost City Diner in Baltimore and hope it reopens soon.) These two vegan options were excellent.  Although I didn't need all the vegan cheese, what with the rich avocados. On the left is the vegan ranchero made with tofu. On the right is a spicy chili. Both were super satisfying. And the attentive diner staff hooks you up with both Tabasco and Tapatío hot sauces.

No comments: