LA Vegan

Shot stolen from Yelp of the front

I’ve been eating here for a considerable amount of time, and after today’s meal, I absolutely had to share my thoughts with teh interwebs.

To begin, its a small unassuming dime a dozen vegan thai restaurant. Next to a pet shop, its easy

The famous orange chicken, image also stolen from Yelp.

to miss – but once you’ve eaten here you’ll see why its become an obsession. There are a number of dishes I’d consider worth trying, but the most famous is the orange chicken.

Pictured on the right, the batter is just phenomenal. I shit you not – first time I tried this, I freaked out thinking I’d accidentally eaten regular chicken. Typical soy chicken texture is shite – and the same is true here, except in the orange chicken. It has to be the way they fry it, but its quite deceptive.

The lunch special comes with a salad, brown rice (FUCK YEA) and these awesome little dough pockets of potato and honey.

Other recommended items include the Green Curry, their corn pancake appetizer, dumplings, and, most recently, their PHO!

You heard (or…err…read. Since I’m not actually speaking to you…) me right – PHO!

I’d all but given up hope since going vegetarian that I’d ever taste the wonder of Pho, since it is, by nature, a dish consisting of meat broth and meat chunks. I didn’t truly believe it could be made vegetarian and still be considered Pho, but they fucking did it. And goddamn well.

Admittedly its a simple dish – a spicy broth with Soy Chicken, rice noodles and onion. You get your side dish of sprouts, chile’s, thai basil and lime, and some assorted sauces, usually Hoisin and Sriracha – all told, a mythical experience. Whether your hungover or just sick, this is the magic juice to burn out what ails you.

You can see just how good it is since I couldn’t wait to take the pic til I was nearly through the meal!

The staffs nice, the locations convenient, delivery is free, the food is good.

Pay attention to the daily specials – its quite evident they care about their food here.

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Cafe Bolivar

I stumbled across this place when i was idly surfing yelp – and i’ve been nothing but impressed since then. If you’ve never had arepas, this is the place to be. Hidden in the heart of Santa Monica behind a drab exterior, its a gallery/coffee shop/brazilian restaurant all rolled into one.

Image stolen ruthlessly from yelp.com

I’ve tasted their brazilian mocha, as well as both the domino and pacifico arepas (pictured below) – all were nearly perfect. The pacifico, in true California form, has thin slices of mango, avocado, and gruyere cheese, leading to a generally epic flavor profile. Friends of mine who enjoy flesh have spoken favorably of every other type of arepa on their menu – shit, even their house salad rocks.

Arepa's at Cafe Bolivar. I had mango and avocado, with gruyere...wonderful!

Just today I went and tried out the Vegan Torta – a different variety of sandwich, using only what I can qualify as french bread – and it was fantastic. Another family friend gave the Chicken Caesar sandwich w/soup dujour a shot…but with only lukewarm reviews.

I’d stick to the vegan/vegetarian options here. They don’t seem to treat their meat well, but I’d say thats a good thing!

Chicken Caesar on the left (eclipsed by the massive man paw), Vegan Torta on the right.

Take some time – when its bright and sunny, and the breeze blows just so that the faintest hint of ocean air hits you – and sit outside. Order a variety of arepas and coffee and wait, since the servers bring your food to you without expectation of compensation (though I suggest you tip, they aren’t the fastest kitchen i’ve encountered…so don’t come on a tight time schedule)

Maybe plan the rest of the day while you enjoy your slightly spicy house salad, and enjoy the eye candy as the beach babes exit their expensive Santa Monica properties, their hemp shoulder bags slung ever so casually across perfectly tanned shoulders-

take my word for it. You need the break, and Cafe Bolivar is a great place to take it.

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The Liquid Kitty

Oh my…where to start…

This is my favorite watering hole. My drink of choice is the dirty martini, and the bartender Damien makes the BEST I’ve ever had.

The atmosphere is sufficiently dark and dingy, and you get the impression everything’s…sticky…but its a classic Dive Bar for this and many other reasons. If you do stop by, try out the Evil Knievel. Its half a glass of Matador energy drink bombed with a shot of 151 and peach shnapps…that has been lit on fire!

FUCK YES. FIERY BOOZE.

Damien serving me and my friends some Evil Knievel's

I can’t count the number of nights i’ve stumbled out of here and asked Fernando the valet to call us a cab. Every time we meet new and interesting people, and thankfully its also located to a number of nice restaurants.

Simple unpretentious liquor, served with a smile and some conversation.

Wonderful.

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Kabob N’Roll Truck

Kabob N Roll Mediterranean

I oversee most of the food ordering at Treyarch, where I’m an Associate Producer – and as such we seeĀ  lot of food come through. And not much of it stands up to catering portions, so of late I have pursued this new phenomenon of food trucks – and Kabob N’Roll is my current favorite. Absolutely wonderful stuff – Y.L., the head chef and proprietor, has recently acquired a new truck which enables them to service large groups quickly and efficiently.

We were feeding approximately 140 hungry video game developers – and these guys churned it out in an hour, for less than 1000 bucks!

If you are in the mood, try the veggie pita sandwich – well worth your time. The tzatziki sauce is out of this world; savory, fresh, creamy…everything you would desire in a proper tzatziki.

Chicken Breast Pita Sandwich

They even have vegan options!

Average price for a meal ranges between 5-7 bucks. Check ’em out here, or follow them on twitter here.

I’ll grab some more pics the next time we have them stop by.