Vegan Food Is in Mainstream In Southern California - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-27-2012, 11:50 AM
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“You picture vegan restaurants with a lot of people with sandals and dreadlocks, drinking carrot juice,” said Ellen DeGeneres, who stopped by with her spouse, the actress Portia de Rossi, to chat with Ms. Freston. Here at Craig’s, the mood was more high heels and blond locks.

In fact, from power tables in Beverly Hills to pubs in the San Fernando Valley, the surging popularity of plant-based diets is drastically changing the dining landscape. That shift is under way in various cities around the world, but it’s happening in an explosive way in and around Los Angeles: at the elite gastronome magnets, at casual gathering spots and everywhere in between.

Actors and talent agents hammer out script deals over the Kale Colossus entree at SunCafe in Studio City, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Vegan celebrities have become such a fixture at Café Gratitude that paparazzi occasionally camp out on the sidewalk. Elegant spots like n/naka and Hatfield’s have extensive, ever-changing tasting menus for vegetarians.

But the after-work crowd can also head out to Golden Road Brewing, a craft brewery that rises from a sun-baked industrial patch just off the Ventura and Golden State freeways in the Atwater Village neighborhood, for vegan Super Bowl grub (a quinoa burger, a hero with deep-fried avocado slices, meat-free chili) on a menu that makes room for a hillock of pulled pork.

“I’m not the food police, but I like opening the vegan door for people,” said Tony Yanow, the entrepreneur behind the brewery, as well as Mohawk Bend and Tony’s Darts Away, which serve dishes like a “vegan tailgate dog” and Buffalo-style cauliflower florets. “People will order food like that because it tastes good.”

Vegans and carnivores used to glare at one another in militant opposition, but Southern California is reveling in a sort of can’t-we-all-get-along cross-pollination that you see at Cru in the Silver Lake neighborhood, where meat lovers marvel over the pumpkinseed chorizo. At Craig’s, a vegan grilled-eggplant caponata shares menu space with a dish called Jerry Weintraub’s Spaghetti Clam Show, both of which might be viewed as gentle ways to woo the A-listers.

Not long ago, Ms. DeGeneres asked Mr. Susser if he would try a vegan spin on chicken parmigiana. The dish appeared on the menu in September, with a patty of Gardein, a protein substitute, standing in for chicken. “I’m willing to do anything,” said Mr. Susser, something of an expert in celebrity relations. “I want them here, and I want them happy.”

I don't know if I would call incredibly fancy restaurants with celebrities inside and paparazzi waiting outside "mainstream" but the food certainly sounds delicious laugh.gif

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#2 Old 09-27-2012, 07:53 PM
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What I got out of that article was....deep fried avocado slices? I'm trying this.
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#3 Old 11-29-2015, 02:59 PM
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Veganism really is more mainstream here. In downtown Westwood there are literally a Veggie Grill and Native Foods a block apart. The Yardhouse is omni but has a Gardein side menu and vegan options. Plus places that are just local. ..all of these are within a middle class budget and don't involve celebrities. This is three years later, though...but imagine by 2020!
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#4 Old 11-29-2015, 03:16 PM
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Why isn't it mainstream in Seattle, WA??

Anytime I think I'm perfect, I remember that my cousin lives on an island, and I've never walked over to visit her.
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#5 Old 11-29-2015, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Purp View Post
Why isn't it mainstream in Seattle, WA??
Isn't it? According to, there are 48 vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the Seattle area. And these are veg-only restaurants, not "veg-friendly" restaurants.

Also, there are 7 vegetarian and vegan Meetups in Seattle:
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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
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#6 Old 12-01-2015, 05:51 PM
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This is why I love SoCal. Not every vegan restaurant attracts celebrities. There are hole-in-the-wall places with reasonably priced vegan dishes that can be even tastier than the expensive ones. Personally, I prefer the ethnic vegan restaurants, because they're generally cheaper and more flavorful. Many omni restaurants also have vegan options now and I hope this spreads to other places.
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