A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

A step-by-step guide to where-to-eat, what-to-do, and where-to-go, for one glamorous weekend in the city of angels…

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Dinner time? You’re in for a treat!

Plant Food + Wine

If you only get to have one dinner in L.A., you have to go to Plant Food + Wine (by vegan superstar Matthew Kenney). This modern fine dining establishment is 100% plant-based and mostly raw. The restaurant has a gas fireplace in the front room, and a beautifully landscaped patio in the back that is lit up with strings of soft glowing lights in the evenings. You can see into the pristine and bustling kitchen and watch the professional chefs prepare the eye-catching dishes. Chef Matthew Kenney started this location as a teaching institution, and the upstairs part of the building houses a raw vegan cooking school. Everything is sourced locally a là Alice Waters, meaning that you get the best of the best of L.A.’s legendary local produce from the world’s first and greatest farmer’s market, the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. We tried the cheese plate, pressed miso pear salad, raw lasagna, and strawberry cheesecake, which was plenty to share. Go for a glass of vegan wine. Everything is animal-product free. Reservations should be made in advance to ensure that you can be seated, especially on weekends.

A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

KindKreme

This vegan ice cream shop is open until 10pm and nested inside of the vegan restaurant Sage. It’s across the street from Lassens, a local chain health store, making it the perfect stop in case you need to pick up something (or want to spot one of the many A-listers, like Olivia Wilde, that love this place). I recommend the mint chip gelato, which was very light and refreshing.

A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

The next morning, head over to:

Crossroads Kitchen

On your second day in Los Angeles, head to Crossroads Kitchen for breakfast (they open at 10am on weekends). This famous spot is the epicenter and leader of vegan cuisine, and it doesn’t disappoint. Chef Tal Ronnen has his own cookbook (grab a copy inside), and the décor is historic bistro feeling. The front room is lit by skylight and best for a sunny breakfast or brunch. We tried the shakshuka with chickpea fritters and warm homemade pita bread, the french toast, and Crossroads benedict. Don’t forget a side of persimmon and pomegranate fruit mélange and coffee. Their soy lattes are also fantastic. Be sure to make reservations in advance and to snap a pic in front of their iconic subway-tiled logo out front.

A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

After breakfast, if you feel like taking a long walk, take a stroll straight down Melrose, to:

MooShoes

A big breakfast calls for a post-indulgence shopping break, and MooShoes is just the place to head. This is the second location of the vegan shoe store that started in New York. Spend some time hanging with Owen (pictured below), and Wrigley, the store’s furry shopping assistants. While you’re there, pick up a new handbag as well, because you can never have too many eye-catching vegan fashion pieces to brag about to your friends. And when you’re done shopping, KindKreme is just around the corner, in case you didn’t get your fill last night!

A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

After shopping at MooShoes, head back the way you came, but this time through West Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, to:

Gracias Madre

This was my lunch spot in Los Angeles. Gracias Madre is an all-vegan Mexican-inspired restaurant in West Hollywood with a jaw-dropping gorgeous outdoor patio and open-air indoor seating. Think mosaic tile floors, dream Moroccan star-punched lanterns, and knobby shade trees. The menu was beyond fantastic. We split the tasting menu and added an order of Mexican street corn, which was more than enough for two. Our favorite was the sweet potato quesadilla. Dessert is included and the Mexican wedding cookie was worth noting, pairing perfectly with the Mexican chocolate ice cream. The decadent fare doesn’t weigh you down, leaving you feeling satisfied and light at the same time.

A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

Circle V

We planned our trip around the world’s first vegan music festival celebrating animal rights. The event was hosted by Moby and benefited Mercy for Animals, a nonprofit dedicated to animal rights. The inaugural events were at the Fonda Theater on Sunset strip and was the absolute best place to connect with the coolest of cool vegans. It is, after all, L.A.. If you can, plan your trip around an upcoming event with Eat Drink Vegan, the city’s go-to event planning entity for vegans. They do many amazing events every year and have a large Facebook page, which is great for connecting with locals and figuring out what’s going on in the city the weekend you plan on being there.

Here’s a fun taste of what Circle V is all about:

Travel Tips

Accommodations: L.A. doesn’t have any vegan or vegetarian hotels. I recommend doing what I did and staying in an AirBnB in Silver Lake. This neighborhood is L.A.’s Williamsburg. It’s cute and up-and-coming, with lots of shopping and dining options in the eastern part of the city. It’s a 20-minute drive to Hollywood and another 20 minutes to Venice Beach on the coast.

Getting around

L.A. is a very car-centric city with basically nonexistent public transportation. Everything is very spread out and you can’t walk between spots. You need a car to get around. I rented a ZipCar and used Uber to fill the gaps. It’s was cost effective, convenient, and liberating, not to mention really fun. You can even rent a convertible mini cooper for extra flare. If you go with ZipCar, leave a least a week and a half to register online so that you have time to get your ZipCar card in the mail.

Who says you have to sacrifice lifestyle for ethics? I certainly had both and don’t feel any worse for it.

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As the CEO of Unicorn Goods, the world’s largest ethical vegan catalog, Cayla is passionate about helping people live a cruelty-free lifestyle. She is a serial social entrepreneur motivated to make the world a better place. In past lives, she launched a print magazine for Nashville’s creative class, the South’s first certified organic restaurant, and a creative coworking space.

Reader Discussion: 52 Comments

  1. Melody Nguyen

    I just saw the donut. never read the article and it looks amazing. THEN I read the article and cannot believe my eyes. those are vegan donuts? wow.

  2. Donna Duncan

    I’m no vegan. just getting it out there. that being said, these foods are so gorgeous! that donut wow! that colorful drinks! just wooow!

  3. Joyce Scott

    really digging the interior of those restaurants. and they are completely vegan. I just can’t help myself and want to visit LA just to eat.

  4. Camilla Bells

    just here to say that the donuts are delish! tasted it when i was there for a good week. cannot believe that it is vegan.

  5. james nash

    I just saw the donut. never read the article and it looks amazing. THEN I read the article and cannot believe my eyes. those are vegan donuts? wow.

  6. I just saw the donut. never read the article and it looks amazing. THEN I read the article and cannot believe my eyes. those are vegan donuts? wow.

  7. I’m no vegan… just getting it out there. That being said, these foods are so gorgeous! That donut — WOW! And those colorful drinks! Just wooow!

  8. bruce parker

    I’m a simple man. I see donuts o comment. then I read it’s vegan! I instantly want to fly to L.A just for this. thanks for this heads-up. really appreciate this find.

  9. Kimberly Shaw

    I so love this post! I never imagine that you’ll find vegan restaurants/places in the land of big burgers!. I visit Hawaii the last time I went on a trip but I have never been to Los Angeles But this article makes me want to fly there just to taste Vegan donuts! Thank you so much for sharing your delightful Los Angeles experience!

  10. Sarah Parker

    I so love organic foods. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. 🙂

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