Here’s the first of a series of blogs I’ll be posting on my recent trip to Los Angeles. The theme for this blog is FOOD! If you’ve ever traveled to Los Angeles before, you know that there are always new restaurants opening up in every part of the city. One of the things I love most about traveling is trying out new restaurants everywhere I go. I’ve been vegetarian for over 12 years now and contrary to what most people think, I can eat just about everywhere (especially when traveling to California, where there are so many vegetarian-friendly dishes on all the menus!). I’d definitely say I’m an epicurean vegetarian! Here are 5 food discoveries I made while in LA earlier this month:
1) Fōnuts. Yes, there’s no typo here, fōnuts and not donuts. Fōnuts are donuts but better! Here’s why: they’re not fried, they are baked and/or steamed and come in so many incredible flavors, many of which are gluten-free and vegan. I first heard of fōnuts through Instagram and have been obsessively following their feed for the last couple of months, promising myself I’d check them out next time in LA. And that I did… not only once… or even twice, but three times! And boy was I not disappointed. I’d say, I became mildly obsessed with their baked goods while I was there. The thing I love most about them is that they use fresh and natural ingredients in every fōnut and they are made in-house daily. I love the “cake-like” taste & texture and the clever combination of flavors. They’re also not too filling as a result of not being fried and have a very different texture. Hands down my two favorites were the “Blueberry Earl Grey” and “Peanut Butter Chocolate“. A must if you’re in the Hollywood area. They’re located on West 3rd street, just at the corner of S. Crescent Heights Blvd.
2) Gracias Madre. I had been meaning to go to Gracias Madre last summer and then on my trips since but each time, I ended up somewhere else. Gracias Madre’s is all about serving local, organic and vegan food. Three key words that totally attracted my attention when I had first heard of this amazing restaurant. Added bonus: it’s all Mexican food!! But not any kind of Mexican food, Mexican food done with a modern and clever twist. All of the food we ate at Gracias Madre was so incredibly fresh and flavourful! It was just the right amount of spice and all the dishes were very well balanced. The drinks were also so incredibly tasty. I highly recommend sharing a bunch of plates. My favorite appetizer: “Gorditas“, which are potato cakes accompanied by avocado and cashew cream. My favorite main: “El Plato” a dish with butternut squash, cashew cheese and chorizo mushrooms. My favorite dessert: their incredibly yummy “Fudge Brownie” made with salted mezcal caramel. One of the best parts about eating at Gracias Madre, was being on their incredibly beautiful outdoor terrace. It’s decorated with an outdoor fire place, beautiful lights, lanterns and is in the middle of trees and plants. Super romantic! You can make reservations through OpenTable, just make sure you reserve a little while in advance, the place is always busy.
3) Sqirl. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a better brunch than the one I ate at Sqirl. Sqirl is a small cafe located in the Los Feliz area of LA. It’s packed with young hipsters, businessmen, actors, etc. who all come for their morning coffee, meetings or to just enjoy the incredible food their serve there. They’ve got a few seats inside but also have a great little alcove on the side of their restaurant with a bunch of chairs and tables. What makes Sqirl awesome is not only that everything is made from scratch in-house, including their jams, their almond milk, their hot sauce, etc., it’s also more than just a little cafe. They have an extensive breakfast/brunch and lunch menu that they make fresh in front of your eyes. Everything I tasted there was absolutely to die for! Things you NEED to try when you go to Sqirl: their vanilla bean lemonade, unreal! Also their open faced brioche with kale, tomatillo puree and fried egg. And finally for “dessert” their brioche with homemade jam and freshly milled almond hazelnut butter, WHA?! Take me back now!!
4) Fig & Olive. A discovery that Offner made while looking for new restaurants to check out in LA. The restaurant has definitely become a city hotspot over the last little while. Located on Melrose Place in West Hollywood, Fig & Olive is a beautiful and classy restaurant. The decoration is sophisticated and so are the people that eat there (or they at least seem to be!). They’ve got a great selection of wine and an interesting choice of plates for dinner. Though a little bit more on the pricier side, the food is delicious, tasty and worth dishing out the extra cash. The fish “Paella del mar” seems to be a favorite among customers, including Offner himself. The thing that I also loved, was their incredibly well presented desert. Good times!
5) Commissary. You’ll find this little oasis at The Line Hotel, located in Koreatown. The Line Hotel has only been open since the beginning of 2014 and is already attracting people from all over the world and incredibly hype (I will tell you more about the hotel itself on another upcoming blog!). Commissary is located in a greenhouse and is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their entire menu revolves around fruits and vegetables. Though not exclusively a vegetarian restaurant, there are definitely many veggie-friendly dishes. You can either sit at the bar or at one of their beautifully presented tables. The drink menu is original and savoury and so is the food. Another thing that’s super unique about this place, their menu contains no words, just pictures! A clever idea by the one and only chef Roy Choi (founder of the LA Kogi food truck!)! Yup! He’s the one responsible for the remarkably creative menu & space. Totally worth checking out!