Category Archives: Silver Lake

Brunch with Friends at Flore…the Perfect Weekend Morning

There are few things I love more than brunch at Flore.  When my friends Emily and Derek were in town from Oregon last weekend and suggested we go there with the rest of our gang, I was pumped.

My friend and I shared two dishes.  I got the Tofu Benediction with tempeh bacon as my side.  Baked tofu, tomatoes, avocado, and kale with a creamy hollandaise are served over toast (I opted for the delicious millet bread to make the dish gluten-free.)  I wonder if they make that bread in-house or if they buy it–it tastes so much like regular bread!


My friend ordered the Chicken and Waffles which comes with some sort of yummy banana waffle.  This is an ideal brunch dish as it has both the salty and the sweet going on.

Every vegan loves when their omnivore friends are shocked at how “real” meat analogues can taste, but it’s even better when said friends say this not just to placate you but because they really mean it.  My friends kept saying repeatedly how chicken-y the “chicken” is.  I was surprised when they waiter told us it isn’t made with seitan but with tofu.  Now I really don’t know how they achieve the meaty texture.

Another dish that I tried at our table was the Southwestern Tofu Scramble.  It needed a few shakes of salt and pepper, but other than that it was scrump.

I am not shy about eating the scraps of food my friends leave behind on their plates, so I think I probably cumulatively ended up eating enough food to last me the whole week.  Oops, my b!  Flore continues to impress me and my friends so I hope they keep doing what they’re doing.

New brunch items at Flore!

Madeleine Bistro is my all-time favorite vegan restaurant.  But Flore is firmly at the number two spot.  I love it because the menu really ranges from light, healthy fare to more indulgent treats, but all the while using fresh, whole foods.  I had brunch there last weekend and was excited to see a couple new items had been added to the menu since my last visit.

“The Good Morning” may seem a bit mundane to some, but to me it is totally ideal.  This dish consists of fresh fruit with soy yogurt, toast with soy butter and jam, a glass of fresh pressed orange juice, and your choice of coffee or hot tea.  Because Flore is always willing to accommodate, my server made my fruit bowl without any cantaloupe (which makes me GAG, blech) or even fruit that had come in contact with that gross, slimy melon.  For my toast I said ixnay to the butter and opted for the spelt bread.  You could also choose 6-grain, sourdough, or rye but honestly the spelt is just so perfect for toast (and is the healthiest choice) you shouldn’t even worry yourself with the other options!  The Good Morning is basic but totally hits the spot.  I must must must find out where Flore gets their jam.  It has chunks of real fruit in it (some apple I think?) and is just absolutely incredible!

My friend was eying the breakfast burrito, but I coerced her into ordering the new Biscuits and Gravy.  I’m constantly hearing about the amazing vegan biscuits and gravy at vegan restaurants in other parts of the U.S., but L.A. is seriously lacking when it comes to this southern delicacy.  Until now, that is, for I can assure you that Flore’s version is epic: two big melt-in-your-mouth biscuits smothered in creamy gravy and topped with seitan sausage.  I came very close to licking the last dregs of gravy right off the plate (and it wasn’t even mine!)  This is a must-try meal for any Angeleno vegan.

We were stuffed but I’ve been itching to try one of Flore’s raw shakes to see how it compares to the ones at Sunpower Natural Cafe, so my friend and I decided to split one.  We went for the Raw Chocolate Shake made with cacao, almonds, agave, and banana.  While it was no match for the impossibly creamy epiphany that is Sunpower’s Cacao Superfood Shake, Flore’s shake was taaaasty.  It is on the thin side, which is fine by me because unlike the cashew-packed drink at Sunpower, I don’t have to feel guilty afterward about consuming copious amounts of fat.  You can also definitely taste the banana, which I don’t prefer, but nonetheless, I chugged this cold guy back in less than 2 minutes.  I will definitely order this again to take along on strolls through the neighborhood.  It’s a perfect drink for a hot summer day.

Get ye to Flore Cafe pronto for some mega brunch action!

Oh…and stay tuned for an awesome giveaway I’ll be doing in the next day or so!

Flore
3818 W. Sunset Blvd.
LA, CA  90026
323.953.0611

Flore Cafe morphs into The Meet Market

Flore Cafe, home to the beloved all-you-can-eat weekend buffets, is switching up their concept. Instead of being a full-fledged restaurant, they are morphing into a 100% vegan cafe/market hybrid. They now have a small menu of soup, salads, and sandwiches along with an array of vegan goodies including tasties like boxes of mac ‘n’ cheese, an array of non-dairy milks, and a few bulk bins filled with goods like gelatin-free gummy bears. I stopped in today to check it out.

To start off I ordered a juice, instructing the very friendly counter dude just to make his own concoction. He whipped up a perfect mixture of apple, celery, kale, ginger, and carrot that made a very refreshing drink with just a hint of zing that wasn’t at all overpowering.

I’m not a meat analog fan but the philly cheesesteak sounded appealing to me. I was feeling nostalgic for the summer during high school when one of my friend’s worked at Quizno’s and I ate more free cheesesteak subs than I care to admit. The sandwich came piping hot fresh off the grill and did not disappoint. There was shredded fake beef, lots of perfectly grilled onions, the best vegan mozzarella I’ve ever had, and an amazing red sauce that had a bit of spice. I don’t know if The Meet Market makes that sauce themselves but if they do they need to start selling me jars of it by the case! Could that mozzarella have been Follow Your Heart? Whatever brand it is, I need to know stat so I can go stock up on that too. This sandwich was heavenly and after finishing the whole thing I was super stuffed. Definitely plenty of bang for your buck.

In the refrigerated display case there is a small selection of cupcakes made by the owner herself. I think there was a carrot cake one and maybe a strawberry vanilla–I couldn’t really tell you because I stopped paying attention after I heard “peanut butter chocolate torte.” This baby was not so much a cupcake as a mini pie complete with a nutty peanut butter crust, a rich fudgey center, and peanut butter frosting on top. Holy. mother. If you don’t get your hands on one of these treats you will be missing out on what has just topped my list of favorite desserts in Los Angeles. Yes, it even surpasses Scoops, and I fucking LOVE ice cream, so that is really saying something. These tortes are very decadent so I’m saving my second half for tomorrow. At $2.75 a pop, these are really reasonably priced.

In fact, I am really impressed with all the prices at The Meet Market. Their sandwiches are beyond filling and they top out at 6 bucks. Their grocery goods are also affordable. I won’t name names, but I can think of at least a couple similar vegan/health stores that require me to be in a whole different tax bracket to shop there with any frequency.

The Meet Market maintains Flore Cafe’s good vibe and its sunny staff while switching it up a bit–with great results. The best part is that the all-you-can-eats aren’t going anywhere. Will I see anyone else for Southern Brunch on Saturday morning? I will definitely be there this weekend and probably again soon after that!

The Meet Market
3206 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
323.667.0116

*For more on The Meet Market, check out Quarrygirl’s take and the menu below

Flore Cafe’s all-you-can-eat Indian leaves me stuffed like a samosa

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I just got back from stuffing my face full of amazing vegan Indian food at one of Flore Cafe‘s All-You-Can-Eat nights.  Pictured above you can see (from top) aloo gobi, saag paneer, jasmine rice, lentil dal, and flat bread.  Everything was out-of-this-world good. The saag paneer was especially amazing and my dining mate, who I dragged with me, mentioned that the dish may have singlehandedly converted him from Indian food hater to Indian food luvva.  The flatbread was crispy and buttery at the same time.  Delightful iced mint tea was provided to wash it all down.

For dessert, there was a giant bowl of kheer–an Indian rice pudding.  It tasted like your basic delicious rice pudding except for one unqiue element–cilantro!  Who would have thought cilantro would taste good in a creamy dessert?  Not moi!  But it actually added a really interesting and subtle kick.  This photo is extremely unappetizing, but I assure you it tasted far better than it photographs.

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My friend and I arrive around 8:45 and the place was practically empty.  While we were eating a little later than most people tend to have dinner, I was hoping there would be more of a crowd.  Listen up my fellow L.A. vegans!  We need to be supporting vegan establishments like Flore Cafe!  And at ten bucks for all the food you can stuff in your gut, this is a total steal!  I can’t wait to see what all-you-can-eat menus Flore Cafe will have in the future.  Maybe they will do another Indian theme for Diwali next week?  In the meantime, does anyone have a really good recipe for vegan saag paneer?

Flore Cafe

3206 W. Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA  90026

323.667.0116

mofo3

Local: Good Eats from Not-So-Far Away

These days I am really trying to eat as locally as possible. Before this season of our show started I resolved to bring in my lunch at least thrice a week so as to reduce the insane amount of packaging we go through for our daily lunch orders. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve lived up to that goal. It seems that the last thing I want to do after getting home from work is pack a lunch for the next day. Le sigh. But fear not, I still manage to do my part by occasionally giving up my paid-for lunch for a thrown together melange of veggies from our kitchen at work and I get 90 percent of all my produce from the farmer’s market (I just can’t resist the baby brussel sprout bags at Trader Joe’s, I just can’t! They are so cute and easy to microwave. ok?!?!?!). Luckily, to make up for my slack in the lunch department, I can enjoy lovely local weeknight meals at the appropriately named Local restaurant in Silver Lake.

Local’s shtick is that they used locally farmed, organic ingredients whenever possible and they use only recycled or completely biodegradable packaging. Hey, that sounds great! At Local, you order at the counter, get your number, and wait for your meals to be brought to you by the super friendly staff. Most of the seating is outdoors in a comfortable shaded patio. While you’re waiting to order you can scope out the pretty awesome salad bar where the selection includes a handful of vegan-friendly prepared salads for 8 bucks per pound. On recent visits there has been a tasty looking wheatberry salad, a raw kale concoction, and a scrumptious edamame mix, among other choices.

Local’s menu is definitely more suited to an omnivorous diet but there are more than a few vegan options, one of them being the quinoa burger. When I asked if the burger was vegan, the cashier informed me that arrowroot, not eggs, is used to bind the ingredients. Welllllll it turns out that arrowroot doesn’t actually bind all that well. This quinoa creation is really more of a quinoa salad than a burger as the grains barely stick together, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The quinoa still tastes great so who cares about semantics!

Most items on the menu come with your choice of french fries, spicy fries, or a side salad. I had the spicy fries on my first visit and found them way too salty to enjoy. Thinking the salt came from the spice mix, I ordered the regular fries on my next go around and found them to be insanely salty as well. It’s too bad the seasoning was off because the fries were really good texture-wise.
The Local menu also boasted a Vegan Tempeh Sloppy Joe with Soy Mozzarella. I ordered the soy cheese on the side as I am generally not a fan of fake cheese. The Sloppy Joe was a divine mixture of tempeh, green peppers, onions (and other tasty veggies I am probably overlooking) in a delightfully tangy tomato sauce. While I was thoroughly enjoying my sammy, I noticed that the soy cheese didn’t look like any of the brands of vegan cheese I have seen before. After asking the chef for more info on the soy cheese, I informed him that it was a brand that contains casein and is therefore not vegan. He was genuinely surprised and was very apologetic. When I last checked in with Local, they informed me that they were very disappointed to learn about the casein issue and are currently exploring new vegan cheese options. In the meantime, they no longer refer to the Sloppy Joe as vegan but they do instruct customers that the sandwich can be made vegan by asking for the cheese to be left off.

One thing that struck me as odd during my dining experiences at Local, is that you are presented with all these dishes made with awesome local, organic ingredients but yet the condiments provided are anything but. It is a little odd to be eating an organic burger and smothering it in Heinz ketchup which is not only completely mass produced but it contains high fructose corn syrup for pete’s sake!
Local is a very bright and pleasant place for a great meal. While the restaurant definitely has a number of great vegan options, it is apparent that the chefs aren’t exactly trained in all things vegan (otherwise they probably would have a more burger-y burger). Their mission also seems to be a bit inconsistent–I mean they could at least get the cheap organic ketchup from Trader Joe’s or something! Regardless, I will be eating at Local on a regular basis as I want to support their efforts in getting people to eat food grown where they live and I need to satisfy the constant craving I have for that damn good Sloppy Joe.
Local
2943 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
323.662.4740