Tag Archive for: Vegan

This Christmas, we’re really excited to start a new family tradition by chucking the whole turkey idea, replacing the traditional holiday meal with some really great, local tamales. Of course, there are a lot of great places to get tamales in Los Angeles. Celaya Bakery in Echo Park and Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe are probably the most well-known in the immediate area, but we’re adding “White-Girl Tamale Maker” La Guera Tamales to the mix as a healthy and sustainable source for a new really tasty new family tradition.

The owner, chef, and self-proclaimed “white-girl tamale maker” is a sweet, soft-spoken but passionate Echo Park resident named Deborah. Her tamales are hand-tied, the salsas made from scratch, and none of her products have any lard, trans-fats or gluten, and are made of local, organic ingredients whenever possible. To Deborah, the corn is the most important organic ingredient – it is non-GMO, organic/pesticide-free, and really delicious. She describes the masa as being a little coarser than store-bought masa (which is highly processed), but it is definitely lighter and fluffier – it doesn’t leave that “brick” in your tummy feeling that over-processed tamale ingredients can do.

I thought I liked tamales before, but let’s face it – I’m not a traditional tamale type of eater. I don’t eat red meat or pork, and frankly I’m not a lot of meat at all these days; I grew up in a health food store, eat tofu, and probably might be labeled as a some kind of hippie/hipster. But I also know good healthy food – so we tried the Blue Corn Jalapeño tamale, and LOVED it.

Blue Corn Jalapeno tamale

The jalapeños in the Blue Corn tamale I ate are from Tutti Frutti Farms, which you can find at the Atwater Village Farmers’ Market. I topped it with sour cream and her homemade salsa (which also uses ingredients from the local farmers’ markets), adding another layer of flavor that just makes my mouth water. One Yelp! reviewer sums it up nicely for us: ” Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my freakin god these things are delicious.”

Although Deborah’s professional background is mainly in business rather than cooking, she learned the secrets of making tamales from a tamaleros family from Veracruz, Mexico. She also worked in Mama’s Hot Tamale Café through their business training program. The company tagline, “merging tradition with nutrition,” might help you more traditional tamale eaters digest her concept. It’s really important to her that the tamales are artisanal, not produced by a big factory.

It wasn't hard to finish the whole tamale....

For the carnivore, you have the choice of Organic free-range chicken or family farmed pork. There’s the Blue Corn Jalapeno and cheese for the vegetarians. The vegans (which are very excited about her tamales) have Spinach and Shiitake Mushroom Sesame Kale, Blue Corn Jalapeno and Dayia, and “Sasquash” (baked yam and butternut squash masa with sweet red bean filling). She also has vegan dessert tamales with fillings like FigNana, Ginger Pear, and Strawberry, that also make really great breakfast options.

Keep in mind that La Guera Tamales are not the cheap, frozen food aisle type of meals – although some might cringe at the $5 each price tag, it’s actually a pretty cheap meal as they will fill you up! A half dozen gets you a slight discount at $29, and a dozen for $58.

Where you’ll win at price-wise is the free delivery: Deborah personally delivers tamale orders for free to local Los Angeles locations. This works out for customers mainly because as she’s delivering to a regularly scheduled customer, she’ll let you know on her email list if she’s going to be in your neighborhood – that way she can deliver (for free) an order as small as two tamales.

Holidays are a busy time of year – but Deborah still delivers on Christmas Day. She just started offering nationwide shipping for those customers outside of LA who are craving La Guera Tamales (make sure to order by December 18). For local delivery, place your order with La Guera as soon as possible! Placing an order is easy online, but you can also find Deborah hanging out with her friend, The Flan King, at the Echo Park Farmers’ Market every Friday.

Go to gttamales.com to order and for more info!

Yogala, the new yoga studio in Echo Park, is hosting a “Vegan Supper” tonight, April 1, starting at 7:00 pm.

You can go in from 5:00 – 6:30 pm for te “Good Weekend Yoga and Sound Healing” class and then stay for dinner!

Bring any dish to share (remember vegan means no eggs, meat, or diary!) and a drink. Please RSVP to Sam@YogalaEchoPark.com or sign up at Yogala, located at 1840 Echo Park Ave.

Twitpic by kindkreme

Raw-vegan restaurant Mooi may have closed down in January, but that hasn’t stopped a couple of its former investors to open up a new vegan stop in the same location.

The owners of Millie’s are teaming up with vegan ice cream company KindKreme to open a combo restaurant, Sage Vegan Organic Bistro and KindKreme desserts, in the former Mooi space on Sunset Blvd. and and Logan. While they are technically two different businesses, you won’t have to worry about paying for your dessert on a separate check.

Some new things to expect at the new vegan spot: Raw options are available, but the menu will be also include cooked items, including “vegan comfort food,” as described by Mollie Angelheart of KindKreme. She lists some of the menu items for the Bistro, whose chef once worked at Flore, as “really delicious stuff, really unique food.” Hearing about items from the menu will make any non-vegan hungry: Hearty, delicious items like chili, polenta, portabello mango sloppy Joe sandwiches, falafel, artichoke tarts, mac n’ cheese, salads, and other seasonal food. You can also keep an eye out for Farmers’ Market specials on Fridays.

As for KindKreme, they’ll be tantalizing you with raw cakes and cheesecakes, fudge pies, pudding pies, gluten free cookies from Baby Cakes LA, and even waffles (think turning a vegan waffle into a made-to-order sundae or ice cream sandwich). The only thing she thinks might technically not be vegan in the shop is that they provide honey for your tea – a product Mollie feels particular about as the daughter of an upstate New York bee keeper.

The KindKreme counter will also serve up Groundworks coffee, including cold pressed coffee with house made nutmilk (almond and cocount made at their Pasadena location), fresh juices, espresso, and tea.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro and KindKreme will be open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm weekdays, open until 11:00 pm on Fridays, and will be offering brunch on the weekends from 9:00 am until 10 or 11:00 pm.

The location could be open as early as this weekend or next week! Like the photo above, they’ve been posting photos of their progress with the renovations on the KindKreme Twitter page. We’ll also keep you posted for their grand opening event once the details are finalized.

And, in case you’re wondering, you can enter the restaurant from the main doors on the corner.

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro / KindKreme is located at 1700 West Sunset Blvd. here in Echo Park.

Masa's vegan deep dish pizza. Photo by QuarryGirl

Saturday, January 29, was the first annual Vegan Pizza Day (sponsored by Teese Vegan Cheese and our friend Quarry Girl), meant to educate everyone that vegans can eat delicious food too!

Though we missed it, and that means you probably did too, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some vegan pizza delights locally in Echo Park at any time. The two places you should check out are actually not that far away from each other: Masa and Two Boots!

Quarry Girl swears by the vegan Chicago deep dish pizza, claiming it would be her last meal if she had to choose!

Two Boots:
Check out a by-the-slice vegan option called “Earth Mother” and let us know what you think!

Sometime soon, there will be some more vegan options in Echo Park when Tony Yanow’s new restaurant, Mohawk Bend, opens up in the old Ramon Theater. The former Mooi vegan restaurant is also opening up under a new name and new ownership, and will likely be offering some vegan pizza options if not plenty of vegan meals!

This isn’t exactly in Echo Park, but our soon-to-be neighbor and vegan Tony Yanow (who is opening up Mohawk Brasserie restaurant in the old Ramona Theater here in Echo Park) has teamed up with vegan blogger Quarry Girl to hold the Vegan Beer Fest at the Roxy tomorrow, Saturday, November 6.

I have a lot of people asking me why beer isn’t vegan already, it’s just barley/wheat, hops, water and yeast right? Well this might be a good chance for you to taste some deeelicious vegan beers such as Duvel, New Belgium, and Anchor Brewing, amongst many more, and learn why some beers are vegan and some are not.

For instance, not all beers are vegan because some animal products can be used in the filtration process, such as charcoal (sometimes made from animal bone) or gelatin. So if you’re really curious or just like good beer, you should check it out – oh and there are unlimited pours of the beers.

Tickets are $35 for GA or $45 for VIP if you buy in advance. Day-of tickets are $45 and $55.

To buy tickets call 310-278-9457 or visit the Roxy Theater Box Office on Sunset. Or click here to purchase online via Ticketmaster (but expect to pay an online purchasing fee).

Looks like Mooi will no longer be operating for dinner during normal restaurant/business hours on a daily basis. Instead, they’ll be open for dinner on Fridays for a set 5-7 course menu, and will be busy with the catering side of the business through the holidays.

Owner Stephen Hauptfuhr told vegan blogging queen Quarry Girl:

Currently we have been operating under non-regular hours, meaning we are not open for regular dinner service on a daily basis as before, we are open every Friday for a set prix fixe 5-7 course menu that changes each week from Stephen Hauptfuhr and occasional collaborations with guest chefs… if you would like to be made aware of these dinners and any other times we will be open, please email stephen@mooifood.com with the subject heading ‘email list request’ and you will be added to his private list to receive these messages..

To get updates on the Friday menus, find Mooi on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you place your special orders for the holiday soon – they are offering cakes, ice cream, and any regular menu items.

Tomorrow’s vegan, organic and raw Friday menu includes: butternut squash apple coconut soup, belgian endive, romain and asian pear salad with mustard seed vinaigrette, cauliflower mash potatoes and marinated asparagus, portabello meatloaf with plum ketchup, and pumpkin pie. Sounds yummy!

Cost is $20 per person with an RSVP, $25 for walk-ins. Don’t forget to RSVP to stephen@mooifood.com

Dinner in the Mythical Kingdom of Shambala (at Mooi)
Friday, October 15

This dinner is a collaboration between Mooi owner Stephen Hauptfuhr and Chef BeLive on Friday night; they are creating a special pre-set and pre-priced seven course Indian dinner that is completely vegan, gluten free and raw. The menu includes:

Curry Soup
Salad w/ Red Pepper Rose Vinaigrette
Samosas w/ Banana Tamarind & Pineapple Chutney
Indian Red Curry over Mock Rice
Pumpkin Curry Zucchini Pasta
Vegetable Korma
Coconut Yogurt
Chai Ice Cream w/ Cinnamon Chili Sauce
Served with Chamomile Jasmine Tea

Cost: $30 per person

RSVP is recommended but not required, email stephen@mooifood.com

Mooi is offering quite a few treats for us in the month of September, including a raw food seminar, speaking events, and a guest chef night. Here’s the low-down:

Tonight is the first night for a free raw food seminar by Lou Corona to be held every Thursday of September from 7-10:30 pm (we’ve heard food will be served!). Lou’s seminar is about raw food and his 38-year experience as a “raw living foodist.” He’ll be teachin the “4 principles” that have helped transformed his life. You don’t need to RSVP, and it’s free!

On Saturday, September 11, Mooi will host a guest chef with BeLive (“gourmet raw living culinary artist and visionary”).

On Friday, September 17, Mooi will host an event called “Farm of Life,” where guest speakers Brian and Jody Calvi talk about healing sickness and disease through a raw food diet, as well as their experiences on a raw vegan organic farm in Costa Rica. There will be two showings, one at 7:00 pm and one at 9:00 pm. The event is free! Go to www.farmoflifecr.com to learn more.

And, of course, every Tuesday from 3-5:00 pm Mooi is the pickup location for CSA subscribers.

Keep your eyes peeled, Mooi is also planning some film nights art shows, and more!

Mooi is located at 1700 W. Sunset Blvd.

Gourmet Raw Vegan
1700 W. Sunset Blvd. (in the Jensen’s Rec Center building, right on the corner)
(213) 413-1100

Breakfast and Lunch, Monday-Saturday: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Dinner, Wednesday-Saturday: 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Sunday Brunch: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Brunch just started yesterday (Sunday, August 29), so go check it out! Click here to view the entire Mooi menu.

Photo by QuarryGirl

Everyone goes crazy over Masa’s Chicago-style deep dish pizza, especially when the Cubs come into town and the favorite dish comes half off. Now vegans have more opportunities to join in on the fun – Masa has added an animal-free version of the pizza to its menu.

Chicago Soy Dairy supplies the vegan cheese called “Teese Soy Cheese,” and Masa uses olive oil instead of butter on the crust. Vegan blogger extraordinaire Quarry Girl has all the great details and a rave review of the new menu item.

Masa is located at 1800 W. Sunset Blvd.

Gourmet Raw Vegan
1700 W. Sunset Blvd. (in the Jensen’s Rec Center building, right on the corner)

Daytime menu

Nut milkshakes
Read more

Photo by Joel Henderson, via mooifood Twitpic

Update: The opening has been pushed back, probably to Monday. Thanks to Quarry Girl for the heads up!

As we reported last week, Mooi is set to open today with its creative raw-vegan menu featuring: juices, dessert and gourmet coffee at the ice cream bar, as well as a limited menu of breakfast and lunch items.

The winner of the vegan ice cream contest put on by Quarry Girl came up with the flavor called Cracker Jack: salted caramel ice cream with peanut butter swirl. The new item should be on Mooi’s new menu.

I went to the pre-opening party on Monday to sample the menu, but the event was incredibly crowded and it was difficult to get in on the food tray action. Of the three items I managed to try after hanging out by the prep area, I enjoyed two. The raw “sushi” item was really not my favorite (the nori just tasted overwhelmingly like a vitamin supplement), while the sweet and spicy flavor of the jalapeno pepper with some sort of vegan cheese filling was delicious. I was looking forward to trying some of the well-reviewed desserts, but didn’t see any come out of the prep area. That said, I’m willing to give Mooi another shot after it opens to the public.

Mooi is located on the corner of Sunset and Logan.

Hours are: Breakfast and Lunch Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm; Dinner fare Wednesday-Saturday, 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm; and Brunch on Sunday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Mooi in Echo Park

Looks like Mooi, a raw vegan restaurant we read about earlier this year, is no longer set to open up on Glendale Blvd. under the bridge – its new location has sprung up at the corner of Sunset and Logan. Taking over a former medical clinic, the new corner location is part of Jensen’s Recreation Center.

According to its website, the restaurant concept includes organic food, and, whenever possible, locally grown. They don’t use any animal protein or dairy products, soy, wheat, or gluten. They never deyhdrate anything over 118 degrees, “therefore preserving all of their natural nutriets and enzymes which allows us to bring you not only the best tasting but the healthiest and most nutritional food that we can.”

While we await their opening, you can try out their vegan desserts at Elf Cafe (2135 Sunset Boulevard).


VEGAN HAPPY HOUR at The Short Stop is going on every third Thursday of every month. Be there early, and bring something to share!

Vegan Chili, $2 pabst, pool, jukebox, drink specials, sexy vegans, and more.

Doors are at 5pm, and the potluck goes until 9pm.

The Short Stop is located at 1455 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park