Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Remarkable Dessert At Cafe Rivva

On my mom's last night in LA, we visited one of my favorite ice cream parlors, Cafe Rivva. I had bought a voucher on gather green for $8 for $16 worth of smoothies and/or ice cream. We were both craving ice cream and my mom desired to try the Vegan version.

My mom ordered a coconut milk based chocolate chip cherry with a few toppings. She really enjoyed it and told me it was very creamy and had a strong cherry flavor.

I opted for the Vegan frozen yogurt, which only comes in Chocolate. According to the staff, they have tried other flavors, but only the chocolate tasted good. Similar to my mom, I also ordered a small with three toppings ($8). For my toppings I chose sprinkles, Oreos, and raw cacao nibs.

This frozen yogurt was some of the best I've had. It is a little pricy, but it does not have the artificial taste that so many Dairy frozen yogurts have. Instead, it had a rich chocolate flavor that tasted very pure and authentic. The consistency was very soft and creamy, which was contrasted by the crunchy cacao nibs and Oreo pieces. The Oreos enhanced the chocolate flavor of the ice cream, complimenting it perfectly. The sprinkles provided a more sugary taste and took the dessert over the top.

I really enjoyed the frozen yogurt and cannot wait to get some more soon, especially now that the weather is heating up. Cafe Rivva is the perfect place for Vegans on those long, hot days when we crave something cold and refreshing. This deal was so great and allowed my mom and me to indulge in these delicious sundaes for only $4 each. I am hoping Cafe Rivva will have another deal soon, although it seems they already do have frequent savings, including introducing a friend to the restaurant and getting a free froyo. I will be taking advantage of that deal very soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Blessed Lunch At Better Life Cuisine

My mom recently visited me and of course we spent the entire time stuffing our faces at the best Vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. While most of our dining experiences were very pricy, we did pay a visit to one of my favorite raw restaurants, Better Life Cuisine in Santa Monica. It was quite fitting to visit a raw restaurant that sunny afternoon, as we needed an immense amount of energy to take on the shops at the Promenade. Of course, our meal was quite cheap, as we used a $25 gift certificate. We ordered a lot of food and found ourselves stuffed, yet satisfied.

We decided to split a shake, two entrees, a dessert and a cinnamon roll.

First, our shake came out. It was the special of the day, which was a mix of almond milk, cacao and goji berries ($8).

This shake was so delicious. It was very frothy and chocolatey and the goji berries gave it a slightly tart flavor. It could have been a little more creamy to better resemble a milkshake, but I still really enjoyed it.

Next, the two salads that came with our entrees were brought out. We opted for a Thai salad and an Oriental salad.

The Thai salad was great and was my favorite of the two salads. The dressing was very creamy and had a slight tanginess. The noodles were fresh and very crunchy. There was a light assortment of vegetables interspersed that were also very crisp.

I also really enjoyed the Oriental salad.

This dressing on the salad was very tangy and slightly tart. There was a strong taste of soy sauce. The strawberries balanced out the dressing very well, adding a delicate sweetness. The vegetables were all very fresh and crisp.

Next, our entrees came out. Better Life's strong suit is definitely their main courses, which are so inventive and tasty. These dishes could fool any omnivore into believing they are the real deal.

First, I had the Fiesta Platter ($11.50).

This was such a lovely assortment of various concoctions. There were creamy globs of tuna, salmon and guacamole all coated in a decadent cream sauce. The dips were all very heavenly and the mock fish tasted very nutty and had a salty flavor. The guacamole had a sweeter taste, although it was also slightly salty. My favorite was the bruschetta, which was on a hard, crunchy cracker and coated with a delicious, lush pesto sauce and topped with a mixture of delicately seasoned tomato and basil pieces.

I then had my favorite dish at Better Life, Manicotti Rolls ($10.75)

This was just as good as I remembered it. The zucchini perfectly mimicked cooked pasta and the filling was rich and creamy, with a nut-based ricotta cheese. The tomatoes coating the rolls were very sweet and juicy. There was a beautifully salted parmesan cheese lightly sprinkled on each roll and used as a garnish along with thinly chopped pieces of basil.

Lastly, we had our desserts. We opted for the chocolate cake with goji berries topped with vanilla sauce ($7).

This cake was very delicious and had a rich, creamy consistency. It was a little too tart with the goji berries mixed in, but the vanilla sauce balanced out the sweetness very well. There were also notes of spiralina. The cake could have been a little more chocolatey, but other than that it was very good.

The cinnamon roll ($5) is my favorite dessert and I'm so glad we ordered it.

The roll was soft and luscious with a gooey interior. The cinnamon added a great spice and worked perfectly to balance out the sweet vanilla sauce.

I seriously love Better Life Cuisine. The food is always top-notch and very consistent. I do wish their desserts and shakes were a little better and they had more variety among their entrees. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed every visit there and my mom, who is not a Vegan, also loved the food. Our meal was very inexpensive at around $12 a person with the discount. It was definitely a great deal.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Golden Night At Golden China

A couple weeks ago, my friend and I had a serious craving for Chinese food. It had been so long since I'd eaten Chinese food, as it's so hard to find a good Vegan friendly Chinese restaurant not too far from my house. Luckily, I discovered a restaurant called Golden China, that had a completely separate Vegetarian menu, listed on While I had never heard of it, a quick internet search provided great reviews and many customers were quite satisfied with their Vegan options. I found myself purchasing the $25 dollar gift certificate and could not contain my excitement to try a new restaurant.

When we arrived at the restaurant in Culver City, it was nearly empty. This seems to be very typical of Asian restaurants, thus I did not worry about the quality of the food. The restaurant had a great vibe and had a traditional decor that made the restaurant seem very authentic.

We were both famished and since the gift certificate required a spending of at least $40, we went a little overboard in ordering. Nevertheless, we had very little leftovers. We began our meal with egg rolls ($5) as an appetizer, which oddly was the only appetizer that was Vegan. All of the other appetizers actually contained egg as an ingredient.

The egg rolls were massive and very delicious. The outside was deep-fried and very crispy. The interior consisted of well-seasoned, delicate vegetables. I love that the egg rolls were served on a bed of lettuce, as it made it seem healthier and the lettuce provided a cooling accompaniment. The egg rolls were also served with a sweet duck sauce, which worked perfectly with the mildly spiced filling.

Next, we had a hot and sour soup ($6.55) made Vegan (it normally contains egg).

The bowl was so large and was poured into two smaller bowls. We were able to get several portions out of this amazing soup. It was very spicy and had a tangy, vinegary flavor. There were soft, chunky pieces of tofu, along with various Chinese vegetables interspersed. The soup reminded me of the beefy version from my childhood and made me feel a little nostalgic, as I slurped it down.

Next, we had three fantastic entrees. First, we had the House Vegetable Pan Fried Noodles on a Sizzling Plate ($12).

This was very good. The vegetables were soft and well cooked, with a light seasoning. The sauce was delicious and seemed to be a combination of soy sauce and garlic sauce. It had a mild spice that was not too overwhelming. The noodles were mostly crunchy, although some were fairly soft and slurpy. There was a great assortment of vegetables, from the chewy pieces of broccoli to the crispy, slightly salty water chestnuts.

Next, we had the Kung Pao Soy Duck ($12).

The Duck was so delicious and was very meaty. It was not overly chewy, but actually replicated the meat quite well. The crunchy cashews and water chestnuts worked perfectly with the soft, delicate chunks of soy meat, providing a slight contrast. The sauce was very spicy and garlicky and had notes of soy sauce. The addition of the chili peppers created much heat in my mouth and I found myself grabbing for my water glass quite often. Fortunately, the waiter kept refilling it and brought us more complimentary tea.

Lastly, we had the Cashew Nuts Soy Chicken ($11).

While I enjoyed all the dishes, this was definitely my favorite. I think it's because it's such a familiar dish for me and I used to order it all the time when I was younger. The soy Chicken had a perfect consistency, matching the texture of Chicken almost to an exact. The sauce was also very scrumptious and had a sweet, tangy flavor, with a hint of garlic and soy sauce. It heavily coated every item in the dish. The stir-fried peppers were beautifully softened and meshed so well with the crunchy cashews.

With the check came a little surprise: a fortune cookie! I checked the ingredients to discover that the fortune cookie did not contain egg and was in fact vegan.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The restaurant is a little on the pricy side, but the portions are huge. Each dish we had was distinct, yet they all complimented one another very well. I would love to try more of their faux meats, along with the other various sauce options.  While we ordered a lot, the gift certificate significantly lowered the bill to around $16 with tax and tip. It was quite a deal for so much food (and some leftovers for lunch the next day). I will definitely be back, hopefully soon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Saving The Green At Pizza Cookery

On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Original Pizza Cookery's Vegan Tasting event in Woodland Hills. I had been to this restaurant once before and really enjoyed their deep dish Chicago Vegan pizza. I also fell in love with their soft, luscious Vegan garlic bread oozing with gooey Daiya cheese.  I was excited when I heard the restaurant was launching a brand new, expanded Vegan menu and were previewing it with a completely free event. I was a little nervous that there would not be much food, so imagine my surprise when I walk in to see a whole table covered with Vegan delicacies.  

The line for the buffet when I arrived was quite long, but definitely worth it. I could not wait to find a seat and enjoy the delicious food.

My first plate consisted of a garlic bread roll, fresh from the oven, accompanied by a creamy glob of whipped soy butter. The garlic bread was just as delicious as I remembered. It was nice and soft with a light coating of oil. The garlic pieces had a touch of saltiness that worked perfectly when dipped in the decadent butter. There was also a superb piece of pizza. The first piece I had was my favorite. It had a sweet barbeque sauce slabbed on and was topped with savory pieces of chunky soy chicken coated in melted Daiya cheese and thinly sliced onion pieces. The pasta was also fabulous and was covered in a meaty tomato sauce and topped with crumbly soy meatballs. Lastly, there was a delicious lasagna filled with soft, well-seasoned vegetables and a tofu ricotta completely reminiscent of real ricotta cheese. It was perfectly whipped and salted to capture the cheesy consistency and tasted so heavenly. The chicken parmesan was also delicious and quite satisfying.

I was also given a plate of salad and kale chips.

The kale chips were salted beautifully and were very crisp and crunchy. They had a slight cheesy flavor. The barbeque chicken salad was fantastic and the chunks of chicken were slightly chewy and very savory. The dressing was very creamy and had a subtle sweet flavor. The soy cheese seemed a little out of place in the dish, as it retained its odd taste. 

The fabulous staff at Pizza Cookery kept bringing more and more food out to please all the hungry Vegans and demonstrate the variety of their menu options. They even brought some calzones filled with barbeque chicken.

The calzone was amazing and was filled with small chunks of delicate soy chicken coated in the scrumptious barbeque sauce. The vegetables were well cooked and covered in melted, lightly seasoned Daiya cheese. The bread was soft and easy to bite into. 

Lastly, some desserts were served. A couple was celebrating their Anniversary and thus Chef A.J. baked a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter cake. As is the case with all of Chef A.J.'s lovely creations, this cake contained no oil and was sweetened with dates. 

The cake was moist and had a rich chocolate flavor. The peanut butter provided a very creamy filling, along with the heavenly chocolate frosting. The dessert was very satisfying and not overly sweet.

Fabe's cookies also provided a sampling of their offerings.

Their cookies are some of my favorite and were slightly chewy and fun to eat. I love that there were so many flavor varieties and each cookie tasted distinct.

A meal cannot be complete without a refreshing beverage. The Pizza Cookery provided pitchers of ice water and a cooling, freshly brewed iced tea. I opted for the iced tea and found myself going back for several refills.

The tea was delicious and washed down the meal very well. 

Everyone had a great time and the energy level was very high the entire time. It was great to see old faces and meet new people.

This event was so amazing. I am so glad that Pizza Cookery truly appreciates their Vegan customers and recognizes the demand for Vegan menu items. I cannot wait to return and support their fabulous new menu and hope you will all try it too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Fair Deal At Fresh East

Today only, Fresh East is offering a voucher for $7 for $15 worth of food and drink at their establishment. Their entrees are pretty inexpensive at around $8 or $9, so this could easily be used to feed two people (or one person with a fairly large appetite).

I really did not enjoy my entree at this restaurant on my previous visit, but I am still willing to give them another chance, in hopes that I either went on an off day or they have significantly improved. Nevertheless, the drink was delicious and the soup and salad were quite tasty. You can definitely make a meal out of these. I am looking forward to trying another entree and keeping my fingers crossed that one will actually be edible! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Delightful Deal At Desert Rose

Today only, Desert Rose is offering up a delightful deal for 50% off lunch or dinner. If you opt for the lunch deal you pay $10 for $20 worth of food and drink. The dinner option is $20 for $40 of food and drink. Or you can be ambitious and purchase both deals! The deal doesn't expire until October, which gives you plenty of time to use it. 

I cannot wait to return to Desert Rose. Their food is just so delicious and they have so many amazing Mediterranean and Italian Vegan options. My favorite of course is the pizza they get right next door at Cruzer's Pizza. My previous visit was superb. I am excited to try even more menu items on my next visit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Sadly Disappointing Meal At The Samosa House East

The Samosa House is one of my favorite eateries to grab some delicious, inexpensive Indian Street Food. Unfortunately, my last visit was quite unpleasant, which began with the rude service I encountered while ordering the food and ended with the bland food I forced myself to finish.

The server did not seem to understand me and was even a bit confused when I told her I wanted only their Vegan selections. I was a little worried she would sneak in some dairy, thus I was completely unaware that she was putting my food in to-go containers, despite my request to dine-in. She also scimped on the portions, especially the lentil soup, with which she barely filled the already small container. In addition, I ordered the white rice, but was given the brown rice and charged an extra 50 cents. I would not have found this a big deal, but I found the brown rice lacking in flavor and a bit too hard.

I began with the lentil soup.

The soup was pretty good and filled with soft, chunky vegetables. It was very mildly spiced, but needed to be a bit saltier. There was such a small amount of it that it was gone in just a few slurps.

Next, I had the three entrees. I chose soy chicken, jackfruit and smoked cauliflower.

The jackfruit was the best and had such a great meaty texture and a very subtle sweet taste. It needed more spice, however, as the flavor was pretty dull. There was also too much chewy basil in the dish and not enough of the luscious jackfruit. The soy chicken was also decent and had a great barbeque flavor. The soy meat was a bit chewy and also needed more spice and seasonings. I did not enjoy the smoked cauliflower dish at all, as it was too salty and had an odd bitter taste. The texture of the cauliflower did not work at all, and it was way too soft.

Next, I had the accompanying bread. The vegan option was the roti bread.

The bread was soft and delicate in some areas and hard and crunchy in others. It was also overly dry and lacked much flavor. I dipped a bit of it into the curries, but it still was difficult to eat.

I really am hoping this was just an off day for the Samosa House East and that both their food and service will improve.  I am disappointed at the value of the food, as it is usually such a great deal for $8. This time, it cost me almost $10 and I did not feel the least bit satisfied. I am willing to give them another chance, nevertheless, although I will wait awhile before returning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Nice Dinner At Nyalaa Restaurant

Last week, my friend and I decided to be adventurous and dine at Nyalaa Restaurant, which is conveniently located across the street from my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Rahel Vegan Restaurant. We were anxious to see how Nyalaa compared to Rahel, as I had heard Nyalaa was super Vegan friendly. While Nyalaa's Vegan menu was limited, the items were quite tasty and definitely exceeded my expectations. I was excited to use my $25 gift certificate for a superb discount.

While we looked over the menu, the waitress brought out a complimentary appetizer, an Ethiopian version of hummus and pita. 

The dip was very creamy and oily and had a rich olive taste. There were slight notes of pureed chickpea.  The accompanying bread was soft and delicate and lightly toasted. 

As an appetizer, I ordered a bowl of lentil soup ($4).

This was so delicious. The taste of lentils was dominant, with a hint of sweet tomatoes seeping through. It was mildly spiced, yet was hearty and comforting. This was a great way to begin the meal. 

Next, we had three entrees aesthetically assorted on one dish. We ordered the Red Lentil Stew ($11), the Mixed Vegetable Stew ($11) and the Vegetarian Combination ($12). When it first arrived, it was a bit overwhelming, but we actually devoured the entire meal. 

The entrees were so delicious and flavorful. They were mildly spiced and well-seasoned. The mixed vegetables were soft and delicate and had a slightly tangy flavor. The lentil stews were very smooth and had a creamy consistency. I was not a huge fan of the collard greens, as the texture was a bit too rough and stringy. I found the salad to be light, yet had a moderate spice to it. 

Unfortunately, Nyalaa did not have any Vegan desserts, so my sweet tooth was not satisfied. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the meal and loved the varied flavors on the entree plate. We only spent about $13 for our meal, which was such a great deal considering all the food we ordered. I will definitely return, although I prefer Rahel for delicious and authentic Vegan Ethiopian food.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Crazy Good Deal At Cowboys And Turbans

Today only, Cowboys And Turbans is having a wonderful deal for half off food and drink. I have been to the eatery once before (using a groupon of course), and had an amazing experience. Their menu consists of Indian-Mexican fusion street food, which may sound a bit odd, but is actually quite tasty. Each dish is so flavorful and perfectly spiced. They are also very Vegan friendly and have loads of options.

My favorite dish is the tofu masala burrito, which is a delicious creamy Indian curry inside a soft, delicate tortilla. I also love the spinach and cauliflower samosas, which are great takes on the traditional Indian appetizer. I cannot wait to go back.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Very Green Beauty Day

Yesterday, I attended a Green Beauty Makeover Party hosted by a lovely organization called the Green Lifestyle Film Festival, which encourages filmmakers to create work that addresses environmental issues and inspires change. I did not know much about the organization beforehand, but I left the party feeling so uplifted and found much of the discussion in their Q&A session really resonated with me. It's been so long that I've seen environmentalists promote a Vegan lifestyle and I'm so glad I found an organization that recognizes that sustainability is directly linked with a plant based diet. 

I had such an amazing time at the party and my beauty was definitely transformed inside outward. There were free facials, massages and makeup applications. After being made gorgeous, I made my way over to the wine bar for some free wine tasting. They had various types of organic wines and the supply seemed endless. 

There were also free dance demos, which were really enjoyable and left my body drenched in sweat. After a hard workout, I indulged in soy chicken fingers and kale salad provided by Veggie Grill. Sadly, I missed the raw chocolate cake, which was handed out while I was participating in one of the dance classes. Afterwards, there was a free juice bar set up, consisting of delicious mixed juice beverages. The juices ranged from spicy to sweet and were all natural and quite luscious (at least the sweet ones I opted for). 

When I got home, I felt so invigorated. My complexion was radiant and my body was energized from all the healthy food and drink I devoured. Even better, I had a goody bag to remember the day by and luxurious eco-friendly products to add to my collection. It made me even happier that the bag was completely made of grass and filled with so many Vegan items, including jelly beans (sans the gelatin). 

I am hoping this great organization will continue to have events this summer, and I encourage everyone to support them in any way they can. They have such an amazing energy and a fabulous motivation to make the world a better place. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Magnificent Deal At Mandoline Grill

Today only, Mandoline Grill is offering up a voucher for their delicious food for half off. The deal is for $5 for $10 worth of food and doesn't expire for a whole year. Mandoline Grill is one of my favorite food trucks and even without the deal the food is very reasonably priced.

On my most recent visit, I ordered the tofu tacos, which were so scrumptious. Check out my review. I cannot wait to go back and get more of these and of course try more menu items.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Lackluster Lunch At California Vegan

One of the first Vegan restaurants I discovered in Los Angeles was California Vegan. At the time, I was so excited to find a restaurant that provided a huge selection of menu items, many consisting of various faux meats. No longer was I limited to a bland stirfry, but rather I could reminisce in my carnivorous days when my options were plentiful. The restaurant was also conveniently located down the street from my home with ample parking. As I continued to explore the dining scene in Los Angeles, I realized the food at California Vegan is actually subpar, considering its fierce competition. I now rarely frequent the establishment, except for days when I am too tired to leave my vicinity and am having a severe craving for Thai food.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself weak with hunger, driving by California Vegan in Santa Monica. My hunger completely overtook my body and somehow I ended up driving down the ramp into the parking garage. It was just after 1 pm, so the parking was difficult, yet I still managed to find a spot. I opted to try the lunch special, as this is usually a good deal. The lunch special was quite expensive at $9.50 (plus tax) and included soup, salad, an egg roll, choice of entree and brown rice. I ordered the Orange Chicken as my entree. I decided to take it to go, as I was not in the mood to sit down and eat at a restaurant.

I dug into my takeout bag as soon I got home, only to realize there was no soup. I was greatly disappointed in having paid so much, for such a small amount of food. My best guess would be that they leave out the soup for takeout orders. I began eating the salad.

The salad was pretty good. The vegetables were crunchy, although they did not seem very fresh. The dressing was great and was very sweet and slightly creamy.

Next, I moved onto the main course.

The spring roll was very crisp and had a delectable interior, filled with soft, lightly seasoned vegetables. The sauce accompanying it was delicious and heavenly. Unfortunately, the orange chicken was a bit of a letdown. The faux meat was way too spongy and fairly difficult to eat. However, I did enjoy the light breading coating the chicken. The sauce was fairly sweet but lacked a tanginess typically prevalent in orange sauce. Overall, the dish was just too bland. The rice was decent but was a bit overcooked and also could have used more flavor.

I really want to like California Vegan. They have such a great menu, although it is merely a replica of every Vegan Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. There are so many better Vegan Thai restaurants, though, and I would not bother wasting time at this one. Nevertheless, I can't say I won't be back again, since it is just so convenient for me. The lunch special really is not a very good deal, especially with other Vegan Thai restaurants having better quality food at lower prices. I am really hoping one of those will open near me so I don't find myself going back to California Vegan.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Green Shopping Deal

This weekend, is having a great deal. For $25 you get a voucher for $50 that you can use to buy anything on their website.

At quick glance, I was surprised by the massive amount of products they sell, which range from clothing to accessories to cleaning products. While I do not have any experience with this site, their products look very high quality. This seems like a great chance to get stylish, organic products for way cheaper than they normally cost and spice up a Green home.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Superior Meal At SunCafe

SunCafe, previously called SunPower Naturals, has recently become one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles for delicious raw fusion cuisine. Having just gone to Leaf Organics a few days earlier, I was excited to have even more healthy food. On this visit, I opted for more cooked food than raw food. Nevertheless, the cooked food at SunCafe is more wholesome than the food at other restaurants and I still feel invigorated after a meal.

The only bad part about SunCafe is that the service is horrible there. The waitress kept returning to our table, asking what we ordered, although somehow she managed to give us the correct items. Going to SunCafe, I know to allow twice the amount of time as I would at any other restaurant, since the waitresses constantly ignore us. I am always a bit reluctant to use my $25 gift certificate there, as I am forced to pay a way higher tip than I normally would.

SunCafe's menu seemed to be a little larger than my previous visit. With the addition of a new head chef, they revamped several menu items and added more daily specials to their repertoire. While we scanned over the menu, we put an order in for a couple of my favorite offerings. We began with the Cacao Superfood Shake ($7). The waitress split it into two glasses, so we could both easily enjoy it. Thankfully, she gave us each generous portions of the drink.

The shake was so rich and chocolatey. It was reminiscent of a decadent milkshake, only much healthier and filled with nutrients. The shake was very frothy and creamy and worked perfectly with the meal and as a dessert. There was a delicate topping of coconut and goji berries, which added a slight bitterness and balanced out the sweetness of the smoothie very well.

Next, we had one of my all-time favorites, the Sunpower Nachos ($12).

These nachos are probably the best nachos I've ever had, vegan or not. They are loaded with toppings, from the savory pieces of "chorizo" to the creamy glob of guacamole to the heavenly cashew cheese drizzled on top of each chip. There is so much flavor going on, which is enhanced even more by the lightly scattered spicy jalapeno peppers and the moderately salted black olives. This dish is true perfection and in no way could this be made better.

For our entree, we shared a taco plate ($14), which had similar tastes to the nacho dish, but was even more savory.

The tortillas were very soft and lightly seasoned. They were filled with well massaged pieces of kale, which was interspersed with "chorizo". The juiciness of the faux meat worked perfectly with the soft and delicate kale. There was a generous topping of creamy cashew cheese sauce, which added an extra bit of saltiness to the dish. The mild salsa and smooth guacamole added even more texture and flavor to the dish. The quinoa salad accompanying the tacos was lightly sweet and refreshing.

Lastly, we ordered a small dessert, as we were just under the minimum requirement of $35 to use the gift certificate. We opted for a mini chocolate mousse ($3).

Even though the dessert was small, it was very rich and dense. It so delicious and decadent and truly a great way to end the meal. While it was very sweet, the goji berries added a hint of bitterness. The vanilla sauce drizzled on the plate was a great touch, especially with the cocoa powder interspersed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this meal. Everything was so amazing and it was even better than my previous visit. The meal was very inexpensive at $11, which is such a great deal considering how high quality the food is. I cannot wait to try more of the dishes at SunCafe. I am disappointed that the service is so bad, as it keeps me from frequenting the cafe more often.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Amazing Deal At Annapurna Cuisine

One of my favorite Vegetarian Indian restaurants is having a deal today only for $10 for $20 worth of food and drink. This fabulous place is located in a relatively hard to find strip mall in Culver City. While the outside may not be the greatest, the inside is very cozy and has an elegant decor. It's been a long time since I've frequented this restaurant, but when I did, I remember the food being delicious and authentic. Their specialty seems to be their dosas, which are gigantic and scrumptious.

I cannot wait to head back to Annapurna and use this deal. It has been way too long since I've been there and this is a great excuse to return. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Lovely Dinner At Leaf Organics

A couple weeks ago, I ventured back to Leaf Organics to try some more menu items. The menu is not too extensive, but since I had only been there a couple times before, I hadn't tried much. I love that Leaf Organics is fairly inexpensive, given that most of the menu consists of raw or raw fusion items. My friend and I used a $25 gift certificate for what turned out to be a very delicious and reasonably priced meal.

First, we started out with the Veggie Chili ($6.50).

The soup was very hearty and the strong taste of beans made it very savory. There was a light, creamy layer of "sour creme" which was a great contrast to the denseness of the soup. In addition, there was an light garnish of a mildly spiced tomato salsa that made the soup even more flavorful.

Next, our two entrees came out. We ordered a Philly Cheeze Stake Lavash ($11) and a Holy Moly Guacamole Wrap ($10). I dug into my Holy Moly Guacamole Wrap.

This wrap was so delicious and overloaded with a creamy, decadent guacamole. The taste of avocados was dominant, but it was filled with fresh, crunchy vegetables that were very well-seasoned. I opted for the sprouted tortilla wrap, which had a hard texture, yet worked very well with the interior. Nevertheless, the wrap was very messy and fell apart as soon as I removed the paper wrapping.

I tried some of my friend's Philly Cheeze Stake sandwich, which was also very good.

The dish consisted of a decadent cashew creme sauce which worked perfectly with the salty pieces of juicy soy meat. There was a light mixture of vegetables and sauerkraut interspersed. While I've never had the real deal, this seemed to replicate it well and my friend also enjoyed it.

Lastly, we saved the best for last. Leaf has amazing raw desserts and I was excited to order my favorite that I've had there: Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake ($8).

This was so rich and decadent and had a strong chocolate flavor. The taste of raspberry was also very prominent. The cheesecake was very soft and creamy and melted in my mouth. The raspberry syrup topping provided an even more heavenly flavor and added a slight bitterness to the sweetness of the cheesecake. I will definitely order this again.

Overall, I really enjoyed our meal. It was a great mixture of raw and cooked items and I did not feel disgusting afterwards. Leaf really is one of the best at integrating these two food types. The food is already well priced, but is even better when a discount is used. The total came out to around $9 a person. I cannot wait to go back and try more dishes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Terrific Tacos At Mandoline Grill

I find it quite odd that in the past year, food trucks seem to have suddenly taken over the streets and I can't seem to go anywhere without seeing one. There is so much allure to them, as the food is so inexpensive and delicious and each truck has its own innovative menu. Depending on what you're in the mood for, you can usually find a truck carrying some version of it within walking distance. Finding Vegan options on the truck can present a challenge, though I have found most trucks have at least one option, if not more.

One of my favorite trucks, of course, is Mandoline Grill, which advertises as being Vegan-friendly and eco-friendly. All of their menu items can be made Vegan with the substitution of tofu for meat and the replacement of a Vegan sauce. I was even more excited when I noticed they had a deal to encourage eco-friendly traveling. If you arrive to the truck with a bicycle in hand, you get a dollar off a combo of your choice. 

I debated over what to order and opted for one of my favorite dishes: tofu tacos ($6). The plate included three delicious soft tacos stuffed with grilled tofu and a small assortment of veggies, covered in an aioli sauce.

These tacos were so good and I love the fusion of Vietnamese and Mexican flavors. The tortilla was very soft and warm and filled with the juiciest tofu I've ever had. The tofu was cooked so well and coated in seasonings to create a very meaty texture and taste. There was also a perfect mixture of sweetness from the cucumbers and pickled vegetables and spiciness from the savory and creamy aioli sauce. The tacos were made even better by the light garnish of mint leaves, adding even more flavor to the already amazing dish.

I cannot wait to go back and order these tacos again. Six dollars is such a great deal for these, as they are so tasty and unlike any taco I've had before. They were also very filling and satisfying. Mandoline Grill has so many great Vegan options and luckily they're usually around my neighborhood once a week. Nevertheless, this a truck I would make the trek for, as their food is just that good and cannot be replicated.