After the disaster that was Miami two years ago when we arrived with not one restaurant on our to-eat-to-do list, Tomato and I realized the importance of researching places to eat whilst on vacation. The good thing about last week’s vacation out to Los Angeles is that no research was needed. Born and raised in the City of Angels, Tomato knew just where she wanted to eat, and so we set out to eat only good things, getting by with a little help from her friends.
Having been there for four days, I can only offer four must-eats. We were at the fairgrounds for most of the weekend for Stagecoach, which meant Chipotle before and root beer floats (for Tomato) and French fries (for me) after. I’m sure there are a gazillion other top-notch choices of restaurants if you were to visit Los Angeles, but these were pretty damn delicious, especially if you want to get in some of the…alternative eating….that occurs on the west coast.
You’ll see that there are two vegan restaurants on this list. One regular vegan and one completely raw. While I don’t necessarily endorse the vegan lifestyle, whatever floats your boat is up to you. However, I am fascinated by the methods and ingredients vegan chefs use in cooking. Often times I want to try it for myself. But then I remember bacon. And turkey legs. And big juicy burgers. I know that vegetables are juicy too, but not even close to the same way a good ole fashion burger can be. However, if you’ve never tried anything vegan, don’t knock it ‘till you try it.
First: Juliano’s Raw (apparently the world’s first raw restaurant).
I’ve had raw before (flashback to Elizabeth’s in D.C.) and heard about Julian’s through Lettuce’s raves and was excited to try it, especially since I could eat everything on the menu, without worrying about the gluten/dairy/yeast problems that have plagued me of late. Juliano’s was completely safe, so Tomato and I ate with abandon to our heart’s content.
First up, drinks.
I had the “Blood” (apple, beet, lime and ginger) and Tomato had the “The Green Star” (microgreen, kale, apple, mint, ginger, rhodiola and damiana).
Light and refreshing.
Second, appetizer. Jalapeno poppers.
I was leery since I don’t typically like jalapeno poppers. No complaints here.
On the left was my Tom Kha Gai (coconut curry) and her Creamy Miso Soother.
I got The Beverly Hills Taco
and Tomato, the Chile Relleno.
Needless to say, we had no room for dessert.
Sadly, I took no pictures, but I’d describe it as artisan shared plates. Everything was great and since we had a party of 6, we ordered a good chunk of the menu. Crafty cocktails and the breezy beach air made for a chill but cozy Thursday night. I HIGHLY recommend the plantains. I’m pretty sure they were everyone’s favorite.
Restaurant Three: Hugo’s Tacos.
Hugo’s Tacos is probably one of the least pretentious places we could have eaten in what is, in some ways, one of the most pretentious cities. It’s nothing more than a walk up counter with picnic tables…and could, in all honestly, be a food truck. However, these tacos were fanstasticulous. And, keeping pace in a city where everyone modifies their orders, had gluten-free and vegan options, which worked out splendidly for moi.
I had three crispy shell tacos, one steak, two fish and Tomato and I shared a boatload of carnitas nachos. Food was optional the rest of the evening. I wish I could recreate the marinade on the steak tacos because it was the best steak taco I ever ate.
Restaurant Four: Flore
I was KNOCKED AWAY by the food at Flore, and it was my favorite out of the four. It’s a cute little diner-esque place with all kinds of standard diner fare redefined.
I ordered the club sandwich. Club sandwiches are my favorite sandwich ever, and I wanted to see how this shaped up without mayo, meat-bacon or gluten-ized bread.
Holy hell. It’s possible this sandwich is better than a non-vegan club. NOT KIDDING.
What sold me was the bread. I LOVE BREAD. And it breaks my little gluten-intolerant heart that I can’t eat it more than I do. I’ve think I mentioned before how I want to live in a bread house, and this millet bread would most definitely make a lovely roof for such an abode. I want to eat it now. And tomorrow. And every day into forever.
So there you have our brief but successful food tour of the Los Angeles area. And, to bring some of the L.A. into your house, I’ve recreated the homemade ginger ale I ate at Flore. With summer coming, it’s sort of the perfect refresher. It’s actually more like a ginger-ade, pretty heavy on the ginger. I’m pretty confident it’d be awesome with some sort of alcohol thrown in. Maybe gin. Just sayin’.
- ¾ cup fresh ginger, chopped and peeled
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup + 2TB agave nectar
- 2 cups unflavored seltzer sparkling water
- 2 TB fresh lemon juice
- 2 TB fresh lime juice
- Ice for serving
- Add the chopped ginger and 1 cup water to a saucepan over low-medium heat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 20 more. Strain out the ginger.
- To the ginger water, add the agave, lemon juice and lime juice. Put in the fridge to chill. When you’re ready to serve, give it a shake and add the sparkling water.