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

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A (Vegan) Foodie Tour of Los Angeles

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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.

29 Comments

  1. Marina Bozek

    What a great article 🙂 I’m going to use it step-by-step for my next trip

  2. Kseniya Tomlin

    I’m serious salivating. Yummmm

  3. Jesse Wyss

    OMG that picture! Those donuts!

  4. Jessie Fernande

    I love all the #vegan articles you’re publishing — please keep it up!

  5. Yuliya Bruce

    I read that piece in Forbes – I can’t wait to try Plant Food + Wine!

  6. Lisa Bryson

    What’s the difference between vegan and regular clothing?

  7. Deanna Woods

    Those donuts look delicious

  8. Joel Bonpensiero

    Incredible post! Very useful and helpful for the vegan travelers whose road will cross Los Angeles. Never been to Los Angeles before, and won’t be making my way there until mid summer 2017, but all the things I read in your article makes me wish I lived there! Thank you so much for sharing your delightful Los Angeles experience!

  9. Daisy Clarke

    LA is literally #GOALS !! Endless vegan food options, all the vegan fashion brands, even the night life can be vegan if you want it to be. I just really need to move there. Working hard for it!

  10. I love that it’s so easy to find organic and vegan food in Los Angeles because most of the population is health conscious. ?

  11. Lana Urie

    Amazing!!! What wouldn’t I give to be in Los Angeles right now… There should have been a disclaimer at the top of the article: DO NOT READ IF HUNGRY! Lol

    • Hahaha very true! Even if you’re not hungry, you will get hungry! Because Cayla seriously picked some heavenly deliciousness for this article. ?

  12. Diana Hewitt

    Wonderful piece, Cayla! Absolutely love it. I’ve been to Vegan Scene last summer. Such a cute store!!

  13. Kim Hartford

    What a neat and useful article! All the locations are beautifully described, loving the pictures that you used too! Keep up the great work!

  14. Loraine Aguilar

    Wow Cayla! Oh my god!! I’m gonna be in Los Angeles next week and this read has made the wait so much harder. Here in Muskegon we have like 2 good vegan restaurants. I fear I might not know what to eat when I see all the endless options Los Angeles vegan scene has to offer!

  15. Jennifer McSween

    I prefer renting a car to Uber. I’ll sign up ZipCar for my next trip. Just looked it up and I saw they have fairly reasonable prices, and the fact that you can pick eco-friendly hybrid cars is just so cool!

  16. Ingrid Winston

    Loving these tips and the locations you’re talking about in the article. Brough back some memories. Back when I used to live in LA, The Juice and Donut Friend were my first stop in the morning on my way to work.

  17. Julia MacLean

    Wow! I suppose you can say Los Angeles is the ultimate Vegan Heaven!

  18. Gerry Carlton

    Moving to Los Angeles soon, and I couldn’t be more excited. Especially after this article. Can’t wait to dig into the LA vegan scene and visit all these places one by one!

  19. Elin Hanks

    Great post! Really enjoyed it. Probably could’ve enjoyed it more if I could taste the food through the computer screen but oh well, I guess you can’t have it all. ??

  20. Betty O'Leary

    What do you mean with Vegan Scene is the only one of it’s kind in the world? Surely there are other vegan vegan boutiques and shops in the world. What makes it so unique? Could you please give more information. Thank you! 🙂

  21. Winona Miller

    I love this list, and you’ve included some of my favorite places, but you’ve missed the most delicious vegan cupcakes at Lark! Of course there are plenty of vegan cupcakes in LA, but trust me, Lark’s vegan cupcakes are the BEST!

  22. Sabrina Grattidge

    Whooaaaa!!!! So many options. I’m not used to that… lol I can’t wait to go to Los Angeles and taste all the vegan delicious goodness! ?

  23. Evelyn Sandler

    I love the fact that it’s so easy to find vegan food, and vegan brands in L.A. while it’s certainly more difficult find in most other cities.

  24. Lovely piece. Thanks for the tips and information, but I need to mention one thing: ZipCar is cool and all, until you need to use it for a one way trip… It always has to be returned to the point where you picked it from. So I wouldn’t suggest it for one way trips.

  25. Shelley Donalds

    Oh my god. I’m totally craving for a vegan donut right now ??

  26. Monica Collins

    Couldn’t help but to check all the links you shared. All of these places have amazing menus. Yummy!

  27. Pamela Sanabria

    Loved reading this! Los Angeles really has a vegan scene that is off the charts. Café Gratitude, Planet Raw, KindKreme and M.A.K.E. are my favorite places to eat!

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