Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Awesome Lunch at Amwaj

I've always had a hard time finding vegan-friendly places that have a good variety of food, yet remain affordable. Hugo's is great, but their vegan menu can be a bit overpriced without a deal or coupon. I had heard about a new Mediterranean restaurant that just opened up in Los Feliz and at quick glance, it seemed really expensive. A few days after reading a review on, I noticed the restaurant was added to the already extensive list on I jumped at the opportunity to try the restaurant at a discount, since I had heard so many positive things about it and I was already planning on heading in that direction to take a free cardio barre class.

My friend and I headed over to Amwaj for a late lunch around 2:30 pm. The place was fairly empty and we could pretty much sit anywhere we pleased. We opted to sit outside, since it was a gorgeous day and there was a gentle breeze on the covered patio. As we scanned over the expansive menu, I noticed how many varied vegan options there were. Various meat alternatives were offered as traditional Mediterranean dishes, pastas and even pizzas. Everything sounded so enticing, I had a difficult time choosing! My friend, who is nonvegan, also found herself debating over what to order on the regular menu. 

While we took our time deciding, the waitress brought out this amazing onion focaccia bread drenched in oil. This bread was amazing and it's so hard to find bread this good that's vegan. It was so thick and the onions on top took it over the top. I was already sold on this place just by the bread and serene atmosphere. That was until our appetizer came: the hummus platter, which cost $6.50 and was composed of various hummus: olive, red pepper and plain.

This hummus is some of the best hummus I've ever had. I love that there was such a great variety all in three little dishes. Each hummus had its own really strong flavor and they were all very oily and rich and creamy. They were so decadent as an appetizer, especially the red pepper one, which my friend and I enjoyed the most. We even both agreed that the regular hummus tasted way better than plain hummus usually does. I think it's because it had a richer texture and a stronger taste of tahini. 

We each got our own entree. My friend got a chicken dish, while I ordered the vegan beef shawarma: beef strips, roasted garlic, onions, middle eastern spices, baby mixed greens, tomatos, cucumbers, tahini sauce for $13.95. This thing was so scrumptious and just bursting with flavor. The "beef" was tender and juicy (although I believe they use gardein) and the vegetables were soft and well seasoned. The hummus and tahini added a creaminess to the sandwich. The salad that accompanied the dish was also outstanding. The greens were very fresh and were topped with a delicate, sweet dressing that closely resembled molasses. 

Since we were using the $25 gift certificate, we had to spend atleast $35. I thought since this place was fairly pricy, it would be easy, but the waitress came out to announce we had only spent $30. We were thus faced with a dilemma, as we were both stuffed and could not imagine eating any more food. I asked the waitress if any of the desserts were vegan and after going back to check, she told me there were no vegan options. My friend decided she would get a dessert to go and thus we were finally able to get the bill just at $35. With tax and tip, we each spent about $10, which was a great deal considering how great the food was and how large the portions were. I will definitely be back and next time will be sure to order drinks with my meal!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Savvy Buffet at Savyon

A few days ago, I posted about an all vegan lunch buffet at Savyon. When I first found out about the buffet, I immediately cleared my schedule for the day to make sure I would be there. I LOVE buffets. They are just so magical and I always feel like a little kid discovering Disney World for the first time, when I fill up my first plate of food. Unfortunately, there are so few vegan buffets in Los Angeles and even the so-called vegan-friendly ones really aren't that tempting. I must say the trip to Savyon was so worth it and it was one of the best buffets I've been to, vegan or not and only cost $9!

The buffet featured so many different dishes, from roll your own falafel wraps to a stuffed pita sandwich to some spicy dolmas and smooth hummus and even a pasta bar. It featured such an eclectic array of items, yet they all worked so well together. There were both hot and cold dishes to add variety. What I really loved about it is everything was very tasty but also healthy and unprocessed, so I was able to eat a lot without feeling disgusting afterwards. I also got my fill of fruits and veggies and even legumes. I got about three platefuls and a bowl of hearty lentil soup.

 My favorites were definitely the stuffed pita sandwich filled with pesto and veggie spread which was so scrumptious along with the sweet and refreshing avacado-mango salad. I also loved the oily cooked potatoes and the creamy vegetable curry dish and found myself loading up on these items. Overall, everything was just so delicious. I was sad when I found out I missed the veggie wraps, so next time I will be sure to go to the buffet earlier (I went around 2 pm). The staff were also super friendly and continuously came over to my table to make sure I was enjoying the food, which I definitely was! I really hope they offer this buffet again in the future as it was superb and the offerings were beyond what I had imagined them to be. It would be great to have more vegan buffets!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Perfection at Purgatory Pizza

It's weird. I used to HATE pizza. The mere thought of it disgusted me and made me feel nauseous. I didn't always hate pizza. In fact, the incident that caused me to loathe it was a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. I already wasn't feeling well, but my dad dragged me anyway. When the characters came out to sing "happy birthday", they brought out the pizza to serve to us. I always regret eating that slimy piece all soaked in grease. It only took one piece before I found myself clenching my stomach, running to the nearest bathroom.

I know that isn't the greatest story, but it kept me from eating pizza for the longest time. I actually didn't get over my hatred of pizza until I was in college and discovered that not all pizzas resemble the typical unhealthy chain pizza. I found that pizza can taste amazing with the cheese melting perfectly on top of a savory sauce, especially when it is extra gooey, coming straight out of the oven. I think my love of cheese made it really difficult for me to go vegan. In fact, I remember telling my friends that I would NEVER go vegan. I just loved cheese too much! And after finally realizing the amazingness of pizza, I just couldn't give it up! That was until daiya came out. Daiya changed everything for me...

So this post is to show how delicious vegan pizza can be and of course introduce a really great pizzeria that is super vegan friendly (and has great deals too!). I had heard about Purgatory Pizza from some vegan friends and of course read about it on my favorite vegan blog, I had wanted to go for the longest time, so when I saw them post a deal on Town Hog for $15 for $30 worth of food, I immediately snatched a voucher for myself. A few months later, I finally got around to using it and I regret not going sooner! At first glance, the neighborhood seemed really sketchy. It's located east of downtown, I believe, and the buildings have a rugged appeal. Nevertheless, once we were inside the restaurant, I felt really safe, especially with the cute artwork painted on the wall.

We decided to order two large pizzas, which ended up being way too much and left us feeling really stuffed (although somehow we did manage to eat it all). The first pizza was the "Field of Dreams": field roast sausage, spinach, artichoke hearts, olives for $20. We opted to add pesto for an extra $1. The second pizza was "Thor's Thundering BBQ": gardein chicken, bbq sauce, onions and pineapple for $20. Each pizza was distinct in its own way. The "Field of Dreams" was very savory with the creamy pesto sauce to balance out the well-spiced and chewy field roast. The pesto was my favorite part and I wish they had coated the pizza with even more because it was just so scrumptious. I equally enjoyed the bbq chicken pizza. The barbeque sauce was really sweet, but not sickeningly so and the addition of the pineapples took it to a whole other level. The chicken also worked really well and was chewy but not too tough, as some faux meats can be. The daiya cheese on both was melted perfectly and closely resembled real cheese. I think the two pizzas really complimented one another. I found myself switching between the two to balance out the intense flavors in my mouth.

If you haven't been to Purgatory Pizza yet, you are definitely missing out! I'm not sure when they'll be posting another deal, as the Town Hog deal was the first I've seen from them, but they have really great coupons at the register. They vary from 2 medium 2 topping pizzas $11 each, to $2 off any large pizza. Be sure to support this amazing pizzeria and take advantage of their great discounts!

"Follow Your Heart" to a Delicious Brunch!!

Yesterday morning, I ventured far from my house, deep into the Valley, in order to use my gather green voucher which was about to expire. Since I could not find a dining partner, I brunched alone, using my voucher for $20 worth of food (which cost me $10). I arrived early, around 11 am, and parking was not only plentiful, but there were many available tables for me to sit at comfortably. For those who don't know, Follow Your Heart is a vegetarian market with a vegetarian cafe nestled in the back. You don't notice it at first, as they keep it fairly hidden behind the well-stocked aisles featuring many hard-to-find vegan goods.

First, I have to say how much I love brunch. It's a luxury I've grown to appreciate and it helps differentiate the weekend from those long, tedious weekdays. It makes me feel nostalgic for long, lazy Sunday mornings before I would have to dig into my homework. When I became vegan, I feared I would never again be able to enjoy that thick, eggy french toast I so looked forward to every weekend morning at the diner/deli we frequented. I now realize I can still enjoy that same meal, only in a more laid back atmosphere.

As I browsed the menu, I noticed how many options were vegan or could be easily made vegan by omitting or substituting one or more ingredients. I also overheard the waitress asking the other tables around me if it was ok for them to have dairy. This place not only clearly understands what a vegan is, but goes above and beyond in making sure vegans are served a complete animal-free meal. Now, that's great customer service.

I began my meal by ordering a cacao shake. This normally costs $4, but it cost an extra $1 to make it dairy-free. Since I had my $20 voucher, I did not mind the $1 charge, since I needed to get my order as close to $20 as possible. When the shake was brought to the table, it came in a huge tin can, accompanied by an empty glass for me to pour it into. I was surprised to get 2 1/2 servings, when I was only expecting one. This shake was so frothy and creamy and chocolaty, you would never know it was dairy-free! It was so rich and decadent and filling, I could barely finish it.

Next, I had the tofu rancheros for $9.50. When it was first brought out to me, I got a little nervous, seeing the big globs of white coating the tortilla. As a bit into it, I immediately recognized the distinct Follow Your Heart cheese. I must say, I am not a huge fan of this cheese. It has a funky aftertaste that remains in your mouth, long after eating it. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the dish. It was so well seasoned, with the soft tofu and creamy guacamole that lightly contrasted the zest of the tomato salsa. The rice and beans were also delicious. I would love to see Follow Your Heart use a better cheese like daiya or teese, but I realize they push their own as it's good for business. Regardless, despite the awkwardness of the cheese that did not melt, the dish was phenomenal and flavorful and I would definitely order it again.

Lastly, I ordered a side of french toast for $5.50. This french toast was up there as one of the best french toast dishes I've had, vegan or not. The bread was thick and had an egg-like consistency and was very sweet. The chunky walnuts added even more flavor and gave it an extra crunch. The only thing I would like to see changed with this dish is caramelizing the walnuts to make them easier to eat and making the dish that much sweeter.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brunch. Follow Your Heart is so delicious and already reasonably priced that you don't even need a groupon (although they constantly participate in a groupon-like site deal so you might as well take advantage!). I will definitely head back there, although I ordered too much food for just one person! You could easily have this meal with two people and feel satisfied. The total came out to $19.95 (plus tax+tip of course), so with the voucher I spent about $15 with tax and tip. Not bad considering I ate enough food to last me the whole weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

AMAZING Events This Weekend!!

Just wanted to share some amazing events going on this weekend related to all things vegan. First, there are two great food events, as posted by the lovely quarrygirl.  On Saturday, take a free yoga class at lululemon in Sherman Oaks at 9 am, then head on over to Figueroa Produce for a delicious match meat barbeque. I've never had this stuff before, but I've heard from others that it closely replicates the real thing and of course is completely cruelty free! Figueroa Produce is located in Highland Park and the event will be taking place from 12-5 pm.

Next, on Sunday, choose between various complimentary yoga classes at the lulu stores in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, or Brentwood, or for more of a challenge head to South Bay for a cardio barre class. After you sweat, head over to Savyon in West LA for an all-you-can-eat vegan lunch buffet from 11:30-4 pm. The buffet features an array of healthy and delicious Mediterranean fare and is only $8.99!

I'll be spending this weekend working up an appetite for all this cheap, yummy food! I can't wait!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Veg Out with an Amazing Deal from Vegin' Out!!

This weekend, Vegin' Out is offering an AMAZING deal on living social. The deal can be found here:

For those of you who don't know, Vegin' Out is a really great food delivery service. You can order a week's worth of food (although it lasts me way longer than that) and it gets delivered right to your door step the following monday! Their menu is different from week to week and they constantly add new dishes to their repertoire. I definitely recommend taking advantage of this deal. Normally it cost $117 but with this deal it's only $58! Trust me, you don't want to miss out! I bought this deal the last time they offered it and I am really enjoying the food thus far. I have ordered this multiple times in the past and the food is always really tasty and also healthy for you. It's great for a delicious, convenient meal, especially if you're really busy. I will be posting my review of this deal soon so look out for it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wacky Wednesday Burrito Madness at Hugo's Tacos!

Last week, I posted my love for Wednesdays with a great deal at the salad bar at Whole Foods. This week, the madness continues at Hugo's Tacos for half off burritos! This is an amazing deal not to be missed and happens every Wednesday at both Hugo's Tacos locations in Studio City and Atwater Village from 7-10 pm.

This deal is top secret, known only by the members of the Hugo's Tacos e-club and fans of the facebook page. Each month, a "secret" word is sent out to these members to verbally redeem the un-coupon. I just want to briefly advise you all on the importance of joining as many e-newsletters as possible, whether it be for restaurants or fitness studios. It is the best way to find out about deals, get exclusive coupons and even free food! I created a separate email account just for this, to avoid getting a ton of spam in my personal email account. Joining the Hugo's Tacos e-club is a must or but at the very least become a "fan" of their facebook or twitter page (or just remember to check their pages for updates regularly).


My adventure to the taco stand tonight was wonderful. I had never been before and was surprised to see what appeared to be a regular fast food joint turn into a vegan mecca. Almost everything on the menu could be made vegan! I opted for the burrito, obviously, since that's what I came for. There are two vegan options: mixed veggies or soy chorizo, potato and zucchini. I chose the latter. It also comes with a choice of salsa and I picked the salsa negra.

The burrito was massive and very filling! It normally cost $6 but with the deal, I only paid $3. The contents of the burrito were savory and spicy. The soyrizo was delicious and had a great texture, not too chewy. The potatoes had the strongest flavor and were well-spiced. I love that Hugo's Tacos is so creative with their menu options. I normally would not have thought to put potatoes and zucchini in a burrito, but it gave it a healthier taste and complimented the rice and beans nicely. There were so many ingredients in that burrito which made it that much more enjoyable to eat and made me wonder how something so damn good could possibly be so cheap!

Hugo's Tacos is already so reasonably priced for their high quality food, so take advantage of this amazing burrito deal! Even ordering the other regularly priced menu items will still save you money in comparison to more pricey restaurants, such as their sister restaurant, Hugo's, across the street. I can't wait to eat that burrito again! There's nothing like it anywhere else!

Vegan Sweets Discount!

A groupon-like site called Popsugar is offering a really great deal of vegan-friendly sweets! For only $21 you get 6 cupcakes, 6 cake pops, and a 4 pack box of macaroons at a bakery called Friandise Pastries INC. This deal is only good until the end of tomorrow so take advantage! Click on the link above to be directed to the deal. I've never been to or even heard of this place, but their website has a good variety of vegan items and they look delicious!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Magical Margarita Monday

You can probably tell how much I love happy hours. I constantly find myself seeking them out. A favorite of mine is Margarita Mondays at Acapulco Restaurant. In college, I frequented this joint for their flavorful and cheap boozy drinks. Acapulco is a chain restaurant in California with a convenient location to me in Westwood. They have an amazing happy hour every Monday with the margaritas costing less than $3. Unlike other happy hours I go to, their margaritas are fruity and frothy, yet have a strong kick of tequila. As my friend/dining partner describes them, "like a boozy slushy". They have a great mixture of sweetness and tanginess to them that works really well.

The food at Margarita Monday, is unfortunately not vegan friendly. The only vegan option I believe is guacamole. We devoured the complimentary, freshly-made chips and salsa and our waiter kept bringing us more. The salsa is delicious and well-spiced and the chips have a nice crunch to them. I have gone to many Mexican restaurants where they are stale, but the chips at Acapulco are consistently good. At the end of the night, I got a great buzz and my stomach was happy, for less than $3! My only "green" suggestion is for Acapulco to replace the plastic cups they use for the margaritas with a glass cup (like the one pictured above). It is way more eco-friendly and would give the restaurant more class. Make sure you order your margarita "blended" (if you like it that way of course) and give in to many free refills of chips and salsa! Mondays don't have to suck anymore!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lotsa Fun At the Natural Products Expo West!!

Today, I ventured to the Natural Products Expo West and had so much fun!! It was tiring and a bit overwhelming, especially trying to visit so many booths in such a short amount of time.  For those of you who don't know, the expo is a tradeshow for natural/organic brands to market their products to potential retailers. It is strictly limited to businesses and not open to the general public. So how did I get in, you ask? By volunteering for one of my favorite organizations, Compassion Over Killing. In exchange for sitting at their booth for a couple of hours this morning explaining to people why they should become vegan, I got free roam of three massive rooms filled with booths handing out free products. This consisted of food, beauty products, health supplements and even pet items. Not all of it was vegan, but there was still so much my brain went on overload. I got to sample everything from vegan pizzas, to ice cream, to various fake meats and even chocolate mousse whipped cream! My stomach is aching right now but it was so worth it! Here's some free products I took home and tips on how to maximize your time at an expo:

I got a bunch of travel sized natural beauty products ranging from conditioner to anti-aging eye treatments. This is great for when I want to go on vacation but don't want to lug around a ton of beauty products.  Especially with security measures at airports prohibiting liquids on planes, this is easy to carry on, especially when I don't want to check any baggage.

I also got some sample bags of chips. There were so many different types of chips at the expo, ranging from sweet potato to kettle chips, to veggie chips, to chocolate chips. Of course they aren't the healthiest, but they sure tasted good! There were so many different textures, with some being really crunchy to others being more dried out.

There was also so many different types of faux meats and tofu dishes, from gardein's burgers to korean vegan tofu dishes. One place even had a buffet of vegan chickens, beefs and lambs coated in various sauces. They really went all out. My favorite place was a soy brand that actually gave away boxes of tofu! I love that they are indirectly encouraging people to be creative with cooking tofu after sampling such a wide array of products.

In addition, there were so many different types of beverages being served. There were self-serve coffee and tea machines ranging from household names, such as Starbucks, Coffee-bean and tazo, to smaller, local brands trying to make their way into the marketplace. There were also bottled beverages on every corner to drown down all the food being consumed. I downed iced teas, fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, shakes and even coffee and tea flavored sodas. My body has never felt so hydrated, yet full of sugar. 

Expos are a great way to get products for way cheaper than they sell at the store.  The products are greatly discounted, usually about 20-40% off.  It's a great way to discover new products and stock up on your favorites. I also learned it is best to stay around at the expo after everyone has left. A lot of venders need to get rid of their products, so they will literally hand out the goods that didn't sell so they don't have to trash it. My friend and I sat outside and a woman came by handing us her leftover bags of quinoa and lentils.

So, you ask, how can you go to an expo like this? It's easy, of course! Find an organization that will be there and volunteer to help them out for a bit, like I did. You can also make friends with people who work for retailers that will be there. These people have extra passes and can get you in and you don't even have to sit at a booth all day! There are also some expos that allow consumers to attend for a small admission price. This expo took place for four days, but I was only fortunate to go one day. I would have loved to explore more of it, but I paced myself well, visiting a lot in such a short time. The key is to not allow yourself to spend too much time at one place. The vendors will try to engage you in a lengthy discussion of their product, but you are not obliged to stand there and talk to them for too long. Keep your conversations brief and also do not visit too many similar booths. You don't want to fill up on chips and trail mix only to find yourself full when you discover the tofurkey pizzas, do you? I can't wait for what awaits me at the next expo.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jamaican Me Crazy For Vegan Food

I love trying new food, especially new types of cuisine, so imagine my surprise a few months ago when I discovered that Jamaican food is so vegan friendly. They don't really use much dairy in their dishes, if at all, and many of their dishes are already naturally planted based. Today, I dined at Sattdown Jamaican Grill in Studio City, CA. This very vegan friendly and delicious restaurant is a participant on I purchased a $25 dollar gift certificate for $2 to use with my friend. We mostly had a really good experience, except for some bad service and tough "chicken". Here's what we ordered:

We were both starving and thirsty, so we first ordered drinks and appetizers. My friend ordered a juice and I ordered a lemonade, each costing $3. We both commented on how fresh tasting our drinks were and also lightly sweetened. It tasted natural, not artificial like so many drinks I've had at other restaurants.

First, we ordered 2 veggie patties, each costing $3. They are soft, flaky pastries with a savory filling consisting of spinach and corn. As a vegetarian, I loved spinach pies and ate them all the time. The taste of this is very similar to the Mediterranean/Greek counterpart and is definitely a suitable replacement. The well seasoned spinach and corn complement one another and the outside phyllo dough made me feel like I was eating dessert for dinner. I would definitely recommend these scrumptious appetizers. Next time I'll definitely be getting more than one!

Next, we ordered a veggie curry roti for $9. This is basically a burrito filled with vegetables in a yellow curry sauce. I love this dish. I really like burritos but find the tortillas to be really heavy and dense and difficult for my body to digest. This is not the case for the roti. The outside skin is soft and crepe-like, making easy to bite into.  The vegetables inside were well cooked and flavored well with the yellow curry. It had a nice spice to it but did not have the strong kick that Asian curries do (particularly Indian food).  While I like my food spicy, I still think it had a great flavor and would order the dish again.

Note: The picture only shows half the roti as we shared everything equally.

Next up was the veggie chicken curry for $10. The sauce and vegetables in the dish were basically the same as the roti filling. When ordering the dish, we made a huge mistake in not clearly specifying we wanted all the dishes made vegan. We assumed the waitress knew since we had said we were vegans, but she brought out a real chicken dish instead of vegan! When asking her if it was vegan, she shook her head no and told us we would have to wait while they made a new one. About 20 minutes later, she brought out a new dish which did not resemble chicken at all. The faux meat was very tough and difficult to eat. This place needs a lesson on how to make vegan meats! I would definitely not order this again. Here is the remains of the dish:

Both dishes came with fried plantains which were delicious! They were very sweet and soft and not too mushy. They also had a light caramel glaze, which I love. 

Finally, we ordered the cheesecake for dessert for $6. This comes in various fruity flavors and we chose strawberry. Oh my god, this was so delicious! I would go back to this restaurant just for the cheesecake! It was so soft and creamy and not overly sweet. The pecans on top took it to a whole other level, adding a subtle crunchiness. I usually don't like nuts in desserts, but the pecans worked so well as a topping, perhaps because they were so finely chopped and grounded up. Definitely get the cheesecake or even better get two!

Overall, I really like the food there. Yes, the waitress there does not have the best customer service skills but the chef does an excellent job at making vegan food at a non vegan restaurant.  In the future, I would steer clear of their faux meats, while sticking to the veggie patties, roti and dessert. I would also love to try their vegan soups which sound amazing. With the gift certificate, our bill came out to a total of $23 (with tax and tip included). A pretty good deal for yummy Jamaican vegan food!

Sattdown Jamaican Grill
11320 Ventura Blvd
Studio CityCA 91604

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Native Happy Hour

Today, I ventured to the Native Foods happy hour in Culver City. From 3-6 pm every Friday, all Native Food locations have a deal where their appetizers and alcohol beverages (only served at some locations) are 1/2 off. I have been to the happy hour many times since it started. I was surprised to learn many people do not know about it and the restaurant is nearly empty between these hours.

Let me first state that I have mixed feelings regarding Native Foods. Living just a few blocks away, I frequented the Westwood location many times, usually multiple times a week. I loved the idea of having a vegan restaurant in walking distance and did not have a car at the time to discover other restaurants. However, now that I have been to so many other vegan restaurants, I find Native Foods just doesn't compare. The food is never consistent and is usually really good or really bad. I understand restaurants have off times and maybe it's because I visit this one so damn often that I've encountered their many off days. Regardless, I had a pretty good experience today during happy hour time. Here's what I ordered:

Chili Cheese Fries: Native Seasoned Fries smothered in our homemade chili. Topped with Native cheese and diced red onions.  5.95  

Normally, this dish costs 6 dollars, with happy hour it was only $3. My favorite part of the dish was the cheese on top. It was creamy and had a great texture to it. However, it didn't taste much like cheese and could have been saltier to better imitate real cheese. Still, it tasted great and I would have liked to see even more of it in the dish, not just as a mere topping. The fries were nice and crisp and well seasoned. I wasn't a huge fan of the chili as it was pretty bland and I like my chili with a kick to it. I probably would not order this again as it was not flavorful enough for me.

The other dish I ordered was: Native Chicken Wings- Our crispy battered Native Chicken wings. Ranch dressing on the side.  6.95

The Native Chicken wings is probably one of my favorite dishes at Native Foods at at happy hour it only costs $3.50! As an omnivore, I loved chicken, so any chance I get to have the fake version, I jump on it. These wings are soft and chewy and the inside is tender, so closely resembling the real thing. I love the batter of the outside although I find myself wishing it was just a little crispier. If you decide to do happy hour, these wings are a must.

The Culver City location has a great energy to it, although the service was slow. There was barely anyone there, yet I waited 30 minutes for my food to come! This seemed odd considering how many people were working there at the time. Still, I think this location is the best, definitely better than Westwood. They also serve alcohol there, which Westwood doesn't and their beers and wines looked very tasty! I can't wait to try their alcohol during my next happy hour there. I mean $2 for a beer or wine is a great deal!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who Says Nothing Comes For Free?

Ever since I was little, I remember my parents telling me that nothing is free in this world and if it seems like it is, there's always some kind of catch. "Free" books end up turning into hundreds of dollars in bills sent in the mail because we didn't read the fine print. As I grew up, I learned that there is such a thing as "free" and not everyone is out to scam vulnerable, naive people. This post is for all you green gals (and guys) who want to keep your body looking good while keeping in the green in your wallet.

I recently discovered that LA is full of free ways to exercise and in the past few months, I haven't paid a dime to get my body more fit. No, I'm not talking about hiking or running the streets, but the yoga studios that line the streets as frequently as Starbucks. Most of these are offering free classes and you just don't know it! I am compiling a list of free classes to stimulate your mind and body, so you'll have the energy to save the world after! Keep checking back for updates and let me know if I missed any!

Lululemon Athletica-This store is a godsend. Not only are their clothes cute and stylish, but their stores also offer complimentary community classes weekly. They usually take place on Sunday mornings and range from yoga to dance classes. They constantly have free events going on in their stores from yoga demos to alternative health and wellness seminars. I love that they give back to the community and advocate a green, healthy lifestyle. I only wish they would make the snacks at their events completely vegan and get rid of the non vegan wine and cheese!  To find a store near you:

The Heartbeat House: This yoga/dance studio in Atwater offers classes at a great price, in addition to their new student special to take classes for only 5 dollars! Not only are they really cheap, but they frequently offer free demo classes whenever they add a new class to their schedule. This Saturday, they are offering a free ballet stretch and tone class at 12 pm! I've taken a class here before and I really enjoyed it, so I definitely recommend it!

Your Neighborhood Studio: This is also a yoga/dance studio in Culver City with great prices and they frequently demo new classes. I attended a free Haitian demo which was really fun and so different from classes I've taken in the past. Tonight, they are offering a free groove/hip hop class at 7 pm, so if you're free make sure to stop by!

Free Unlimited Classes for a week for New Students:
Yoga Shelter in Studio City
Core Power Yoga in Sherman Oaks

Coupons for free classes monthly:
Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks

First Class Free:
The Hub in West LA
YAS in Downtown (coupon needed)

Discounts at Kreation Kafe in Santa Monica

Today's deal is on a groupon-like site, Gather Green. It's a vegan-friendly place in Santa Monica called Kreation Kafe that serves organic, mediterranean food. I've never been, so I'm not sure how good the food is, but it got good reviews on yelp. Here it is:

$20 for $40 of food and drink at Kreation Kafe

This place is also on and you can get a $25 dollar gift card for $2 but you have to spend a minimum of $50. This place is pricey so if you have a big appetite or are dining with a few people, I would definitely recommend buying the Remember to input the discount code "SAVE" to only pay $2 on The code is only good until March 14. Either way, if you decide to buy the "groupon" or gift certificate, let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wild Wednesdays at Whole Foods!

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. I hate that they are so overpriced, especially in comparison to other natural food stores like Trader Joe's, but I bite the bullet and shop there anyway since they have such great vegan food. On rare occasions, however, they do have really great deals, you just have to be on the lookout. My favorite ones are the pizza deals, since they have some of the best vegan pizza there. These only seem to happen on holidays (especially faux holidays, such as the Superbowl), but when they do, I'm there. I also now look forward to Wednesdays, since Whole Foods has a great deal EVERY Wednesday, not just on a blue moon.

 I LOVE their salad bar and find myself constantly craving it throughout the week. Lucky for me on Wednesdays their salad bar goes all the way down from $7.99 to $5.99/pound. This may not seem like a huge deal, but for Whole Foods, this is crazy savings! The food is fresh and healthy and even in the tiny Whole Foods where I shop, I am still able to find tasty vegan options in both the hot and cold food area. I'm not positive that every Whole Foods does this, but I know for a fact a bunch in Los Angeles do, including the ones in Westwood and Brentwood.  So here's what I got this week:

I mixed so many different salads in the box, it's crazy how many different flavors were going on, both sweet and savory. I can't remember all the salads were in this, but it ranged from a tofu eggless salad, which had an amazing creamy consistency and did not taste like the real thing at all to a scallion hummus, which was also very creamy and sweet, to various quinoa and grain salads that were sweetened by the dried cranberries and a light sauce. It's amazing how healthy this mixture is and probably provides a whole day's worth of nutrients, especially protein! After eating it, I felt refreshed and full, but not bloated. And the best part is all this delicious food only cost me $5! I can't wait until next Wednesday to get this again! 

Sunny Times At Sunpower Natural Cafe

Yesterday, my good friend and I ventured to Sunpower Natural Cafe to feel invigorated by the raw food after we practiced yoga. I must say, I am in love with raw food. I love the way it makes me feel, energized and more active. I also love how radiant it makes my skin look. If it wasn't so damn expensive, I would probably eat it at every meal! Lucky for me, Sunpower Natural Cafe was recently added to

This is one of my favorite sites to save money dining and I use it all the time. How it works is you select from over hundreds of restaurants by first inputting your zip code and finding a restaurant that interests you. For me, I always narrow the search down to vegetarian/vegan or if I'm craving specific food I'll look for an Indian or Mediterranean restaurant. You can buy a $10, $25 or even $50 or $100 gift certificate.  The $25 is the standard and cost $10, but they constantly have sales. I stock up on gift certificates when they are 80%, so I pay $2 for a $25 dollar gift certificate. Most of the gift certificates require you to order a minimum of $35 and they add a 18% gratuity to the pre-discounted bill to ensure the waiter receives a proper tip. This is fine with me as I usually can easily spend the minimum and I tip pretty well anyways. You can use one gift certificate per restaurant per month, which is also fine with me, as I have a tendency to get bored of restaurants if I go too often.

My friend and I used the $25 dollar gift certificate, which required a minimum of a $35 dollar purchase, but since raw food is so expensive, we spent this really easily. In fact, we actually went over the $35 purchase, because we were so hungry from exercising! Here's what we got:

For an appetizer we decided on the Sunpower Naturals made raw: crunchy jicama covered with layers of "chorizo", guacamole, salsa and nacho cheese-$12  

We were so hungry and the dish was just so damn good that we demolished it so quickly and completely forgot to take a picture of it. This is what it looked like after! It had so many delicious flavors going on, from the creamy cheese sauce, to the savory chorizo to the crisp cooling jicama. The flavors complimented one another perfectly so as not to be too overwhelming. The nacho cheese sauce was the best part for me and we were licking the plate clean. I just wish they put even more sauce on it!
Next we ordered entrees to share. First up was the Raw Kelp noodles: Crisp kelp noodles smothered in Pesto sauce then covered with vegetables-$14. The entrees come with a side of kale salad, mixed green salad or hummus with chips. My friend chose the hummus with chips. We decided on this dish as it sounded interesting and interesting it was! Only not in a good way. 

The kelp noodles were very slurpy and had an odd texture. The pesto had a nice flavor to it, but did not go very well with the noodles. It only made the dish even more soggy. The dish seemed like a hybrid between a soup and a pasta dish, only it turned out to be a disaster. In addition, it was coated in too many olives and mushrooms which did not match the description of the item on the menu. It clearly states "vegetables". Last time I checked, a mushroom is not a vegetable (correct me if I'm wrong) and an olive barely counts as one. There was way too many of each, and I was a bit disgusted since I hate mushrooms. My dining partner also hates mushrooms, so we ended up wasting a good part of the dish. The noodles and pesto ended up being completely overpowered by the olives and mushrooms, giving it an odd aftertaste. I would definitely not order this again and would not recommend it to anyone who does not have an immense love of olive and mushrooms. Nevertheless, we both really enjoyed the chips and hummus. The chips has a interesting texture to it, but I like it. The seeds give it a nice flavor. It goes well with the creamy consistency of the hummus and together they taste even more savory.

Next up was the Raw Supreme Pizza: Crunchy sunflower seed crust with marinara sauce, cashew cheese, savory SunPower "sausage", tomatoes and marinated peppers and onions-$11. We chose the side of kale salad.

 This was a WAY better pick and I'm so glad we ordered it! First off, the kale salad was delicious, nice and soft, but chewy, well seasoned and flavored with the creamy cheesy sauce on top. The pizza was also very soft and easy to bite into, but still maintained a nice crispiness to it. It was layered with so many different textures, but wasn't overwhelming. There was the savory chorizo and different assortments of cheeses that melted in my mouth rather quickly, as I could not stop eating it. Even after, I craved that creamy cheese I loved so much on the nachos. My only complaint is I wish there was even more cheese! You can never have enough and raw cheese made from cashews is simply the best.

Lastly, we ordered a kale shake ($7) and asked the waitress to put it in two separate glasses to make it easier for us. She gladly came back with two glasses filled with amazingness.

I have to admit, the thought of a kale shake disgusted me. I mean eating vegetables just sounds gross! But I couldn't have been more wrong. This kale shake was just so delicious, there are no words! Who would have thought a drink so healthy would taste so good? It was like eating a really fruity, really sweet, really creamy smoothie. It tasted like drinking ice cream or rather a milkshake. If I wasn't told there was kale in it, I never would have known!

Anyway, our meal was very delicious save for the awkward kelp noodle dish which I will be sure never to order again. We used the $25 gift certificate to and ended up only paying about $15 per person (which includes tax and tip). Pretty good considering we ordered a really expensive meal and were stuffed! My only regret would be ordering another pizza instead of the kelp noodles since their pizzas are definitely their strong suit and would have made the bill cheaper. Oh, well, you live and you learn! I can't wait to go back next month and use another gift certificate there. Until then, my ventures will continue at the next restaurant that offers a discount...

SunPower Natural Cafe
3711 W. Cahuenga Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AMAZING, yummy deal today!!

50% off Doomie's Home Cookin!

Doomie's Home Cookin, a delicious restaurant that serves vegetarian comfort fare that can be easily made vegan. Their faux cheeses and meats are amazing and can fool anyone into thinking they're the real thing. Menu items that are a must try are the chili cheese fries, western burger, and pulled pork sandwich. The onion rings and fried oreos are also amazing! A lot of this stuff sounded disgusting to me at first, especially as someone who never enjoyed meat, but their spin on comfort food is refreshing, innovative and unique. I can't wait to use this and if you buy it, let me know your experience! I'll be sure to post mine!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Green Beauty Post

When I was younger, the kids at school used to call me "pizza face". No, it had nothing to do with my immense love of food, but the red skin blotches that coated my face (acne). I sought professional help through a dermatologist, tried various medications, but nothing seemed to help. It wasn't until I discovered the natural, organic line that magically appeared at a new grocery store, not too far from my house. I tore through the shelves to find a product that sounded like it might finally give me the skin I desired. I came to realize my skin problems may have been caused by all the harmful chemicals that are in so many of the products I normally use (and even the ones that claim to be gentle that my derm recommended). As I put that natural/organic moisturizer on my face the first time, I felt this amazing sensation. My skin didn't feel tight or burning, as it did with so many of the generic products I used, but I could feel my skin absorbing it. It's so funny that I get compliments on my skin now, when I would always mask my face in layers of coverup and foundation and now I rarely put a drop on it!

The problem with natural/organic products is that they tend to be pricey, WAY more pricey than standard items are.  I recently had a convo with a friend in which she told me her frustrations of purchasing these items because they are out of her budget.  My response was, "seriously, you pay full price for that stuff?" She looked at me funny and I told her, "yeah, you can go to whole foods OR you can buy it for way cheaper somewhere else." Where is the somewhere else, you ask?

My first recommendation is That place is AMAZING. I constantly am finding discount codes for them, plus if you're a new customer the shipping is free if you spend $25. always publishes the codes. On top of this, the natural items almost always seem to be on sale. And they don't just sell beauty items. They have household items, personal items, vitamins, pretty much everything a drugstore would have only tons of hard to find items at cheap prices! There's also This place is constantly on groupon, plus they have pretty frequent sales. I've never used the site, but my parents had a great experience with it buying seventh generation products.

I also really like Costco a lot. Their inventory constantly changes, but they frequently have natural/organic items nestled between generic brands. A couple years ago I paid only 20 dollars for 6 big items of alba botanica and that stuff is expensive! Another place I really love and use a lot is Bed, Bath and Beyond. They mark down the prices from the retail price and on top of that you can use 20% off coupons. Not many people seem to know you can use a coupon per item and on top of that you can also use the 5 dollar off coupon! At that rate, your item is almost free! Other stores where you can find these items really cheap are stores like Ross and Marshalls. Just be sure to get one that isn't dirty, as some of the items may have been tampered with.

Let me know of any other places I may have missed!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First Post

I've always felt a first post is a bit awkward. How am I supposed to start this blog? Well, I'll begin by telling you all my goal for this blog. Since as far back as I can remember I've always been frugal. I've always looked for ways to save money. It's not that I grew up poor. It's just that I learned the meaning of money at a young age and it can disappear just as fast as it can come. People who are well off stay that way because they know how to manage their money, how to budget. The goal of this blog isn't to teach people how to budget. No. It's to help people realize they can live lavishly while saving their money. I also want to encourage others to save the world and go green. The best way to do this is to have a plant-based diet. So yes, this blog is about saving money and eating a (kinda) healthy vegan diet. So many people don't realize how easy it is and how inexpensive it can actually be. Just because you go to an expensive, fancy restaurant DOES NOT mean you have to spend a lot of money for a filling meal! You can eat like a king or queen without breaking the bank. How you ask? There are sooo many discounts that restaurants offer, you just gotta know how to find them! That's where this blog comes in. It's a way to help others eat amazing vegan food for WAY less than it actually costs. Feel free to contribute your own knowledge, both the good and the bad. Just as there are so many amazing vegan restaurants out there, there are also some horrible ones too and this way we can be sure to avoid those!