Category Archives: Los Feliz

Vegan Cheese Takes Over the Neighborhood!

Upon learning that I’m vegan, 9 out of 10 people will respond by saying some variation of “Oh my stars, I would just keel over and die right here on this spot if I couldn’t have my beloved cheese!” For the 6 years I was a vegetarian, I said the same exact thing. But then eventually I went vegan and, oddly enough, I never miss cheese. Well almost never–since I’ve gone vegan the only time I crave curds and whey is occasionally when I make spaghetti I think it might be nice to have parmesan to go with it. And I don’t mean a fresh, gourmet parmesan. I mean the dry, shitty Kraft kind. It’s not like I was never into cheese either (au contraire, I was known to go through a small wheel of gouda in one day and I would eat goat cheese smeared on anything and everything). You would think I’d get cravings occasionally, but for whatever reason I just don’t.

So when a wave of vegan pizza options popped up around town I thought it was pretty cool but I wasn’t in a huge hurry to try them. But when I realized that there was vegan pizza within walking distance of my house, I figured I should go support any establishment that offers vegan options. Off I went to Lucifer’s Pizza.
Lucifer’s uses Teese cheese from Chicago Soy Dairy. I ordered a pie that was half Hawaiian (sans the ham) and half mushroom. Let’s talk about the non-cheese elements first. The crust was good, the mushrooms were fresh, and my favorite thing about the Hawaiian side was that it had a generous sprinkle of coconut flakes on it which was a totally sweet and yummy addition. I had a major problem with the sauce though. It tasted like they just opened up a can of plain tomato sauce and dumped it on. It was completely devoid of seasoning of any sort. It gave the pizza sort of a bitter taste. I tend to prefer my pizza sauce to be more in the vain of Papa John’s which is slightly sweet and smacks of basil and oregano. Lucifer’s sauce is just lame-o.
As for the Teese…it was…ok. It didn’t have much of a taste. It was pretty melted which is impressive for a vegan cheese. My biggest beef with the Teese was this strange tendency for it to stick to my teeth. Literally every time I took a bite of pizza, I had to use my napkin to scrape the Teese remnants off my incisors. Luckily I was eating this with the boyfriend, so I wasn’t mortified to be constantly de-flaking my mouth, but I am here to tell you that this is NOT ideal first date food. Overall, my pizza was enjoyable but I am in no rush to run back to Lucifer’s. The next time I’m there I will definitely just get a pizza with no cheese, because the Teese just really didn’t do anything for me. Hopefully in the mean time, they will do something with that subpar sauce as well.

A couple days after I had gone to Lucifer’s, I heard that ANOTHER pizza place in Los Feliz was now offering vegan pies, this time, with the infamous new Daiya cheese which is so cheese-like it has been known to cause vegans to questions whether it actually contains dairy. The place is Cruzer Pizza and, despite being a frequent customer of Cruzers neighbor Cap ‘N’ Cork, I never even knew this place existed. Cruzer is literally a hole-in-the-wall with a counter and no seating, so I ordered a half Hawaiian, half vegan pepperoni and mushroom pie to go and brought it to the boyfriend’s for lunch.

In general, I am not a fan of meat analogs, but I thought if I was trying the fake cheese, I might as well try it with the other new vegan options offered. Both sides of our pie were insanely delicious. We have to start with the cheese. Cruzer uses a mix of Daiya’s mozzarella and cheddar flavors, which seems like an odd choice–I don’t remember cheddar as being a typical pizza cheese–but let me tell you, the two cheeses melt together in a delightfully gooey mess. I am struggling to find the words to describe the sheer awesomeness of Daiya, but I feel that any description I could come up with would be inadequate. Let’s just say Daiya cheese on a pizza rocks my world. Oddly though, Daiya also has a tendency to stick to one’s teeth but it is extremely minimal–nothing like the adhesive bond that Teese seems to posess.

Even more surprising than me loving a fake cheese, is me loving the fake meat Cruzer uses! The ham on our Hawaiian pizza was so delish! The thin squares are sweet and salty bites that thankfully don’t taste enough like real ham to gross me out. The fake pepperoni (pictured at top) is not the greasy round slices one finds on regular pizza but instead are little spicy crumbles, more akin to bac ‘n’ bits in size and shape. As for the mushrooms, they are not dry, limp button mushrooms but are so big and juicy they might actually be portabellas.

Cruzer had me hooked from the first bite, so it wasn’t long before I was dialing them up for a delivery, this time going for a pie with fake chicken and mushrooms. Everything was as delcicious as before…except the chicken which was too much like the fake meats that I hate–thick, chewy, and way too close to real chicken for me. But no worries, I just picked it off and crammed an ENTIRE PIE into my big German head (please don’t tell anyone this). I had to run an extra 99 miles the next day to make up for it, but it was so worth it!

Until recently, I rarely had any sort of craving for cheese, but now that Daiya has entered my vernacular, I often find myself daydreaming about the gooey, stretchy, tasty pizza served at Cruzer. If Lucifer’s has any desire to keep a vegan customer base, they need to ditch the Teese and start piling on the Daiya.

Lucifer’s Pizza
1958 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.906.8603

Cruzer Pizza
4449 Prospect Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.666.0600

Tennis, Tofu, Two Scoops, and Tecate

I meant to spend my Saturday doing the bajillion errands I neglected to do during the week, such as fixing my tire which has been leaking air for over a month now. But of course that didn’t even come close to happening. Instead I started the day with a match of doubles tennis. I chose The Food Monster as my teammate and that turned out to be an excellent decision because not only did I discover he is insanely good at tennis, but he also had a very snazzy outfit that made him look a bit like Andre Agassi but less bald. We totally dominated, no thanks to me.

After that intense game we were all starving so we headed to the new Silver Lake location of Home which turned out to be just as whimsical and delicious as the original in Los Feliz. We ordered the Avocado Mash which is just avocados mashed onto a piece of thin sourdough. T’was slightly lame for three dollars. I got the tofu scramble which is by far the best of its kind in all of L.A., with the yellow curry being the ingredient that pushes it over the edge into crazy-good territory. The most drool-inducing food at the table however was The Food Monster’s Frozen Iced Peach which is a blend of peaches, ice, mango, and coconut milk. At five bucks it’s a tad more expensive than your average smoothie but its huge and could practically be your whole meal. I plan on making my own at home as soon as I get to the store.

After brunch we all seemed to have the same thought on our dessert-crazy brains: Scoops, of course. I think we all felt embarrassed about suggesting it as we had just stuffed ourselves like August Gloop proteges, but one of us sort of whispered it and that was all it took–we were off to Hel-Mel for the best gelato in the land. Scoops is always amazing, but they were in rare form–I tasted practically all the vegan flavors of the day: Vanilla Jack Daniels and Avocado Alcohol were good but I ended up getting Chocolate Sunflower Seed and Almond Mocha. Annnnnd that is the beauty of Scoops–when you order a One Scoop Cup you actually get two scoops! Oh Scoops, way to do your party in the great American obesity epidemic.

We returned to the The Food Monster’s casa where literally all of us proceeded to take three-hour food coma naps before our raucous poker game and subsequent Tecate-filled Wet Hot American Summer theme party that night (I dressed up as The Cure Girl). It wasn’t the most productive day, unless you count excessive eating and drinking as productive. Actually that sounds pretty good to me!


Home

2500 Riverside Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
323.665.0211

Scoops
712 N. Heliotrope Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323.906.2649

Indian restaurant’s are a jolly good place for vegheads!

I have been trying to get my mom to be vegetarian for years. It makes no sense that she isn’t one already–she is the one who got me into animal rights in the first place as a kid and she gives money to four different animal charities every month. I finally got through to her and she recently gave up meat (although she is still a pescatarian).

She is still getting used to having to order meatless meals in restaurants so while she was in town visiting I wanted her to see how limitless the vegetarian diet is. I had to take her to the best Indian place on my side of town: Electric Lotus. We created our own feast of Veggie Korma, Chana Masala, rice, and nan. The nan actually isn’t vegan, which I’m glad our waitress warned me about, so I stuck to the rice. Everything was perfectly spiced and we left with plenty left over for lunch the next day. We also ordered some samosas which were the best I’ve ever had. Sometimes they can leave a bitter aftertaste, but these were a little sweeter than usual.

There aren’t as many Indian options East of Vermont as there are, say, in West Hollywood, and I haven’t even been able to try the other ones yet because I like EL so much I can’t bear to pass it up!

Electric Lotus
1870 Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 953-0040