Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Going South; more dining in Los Angeles & beyond!

Please head over to my new blog at TheUrbanHousewife.com, where you'll find this post & more!

It always seems I'm on the go these days & a few weeks ago I found myself on a weekend trip to Southern California to visit family & have another round of tattooing done on my arm. Never one to turn down an opportunity to find delicious vegan dining options, I set out in search of places I hadn't been before, but also visited an old favorite.

A somewhat new dining option in Ventura is Mary's Secret Garden, an all vegan, organic spot, nestled in a former residential space. The vibe is a bit hippie, they have many raw food options, & while we found our dining companions, four omni family members, to be a bit perplexed by the place, everyone was willing to try it out. I started with a salad that wasn't even on the menu! A couple dining at the next table over had a large salad that looked amazing, so I had to ask what it was. It turns out it's a salad that the regulars know about & Mary prepares especially for people "in the know". Well, I'm glad I found out about it, as the salad with kalamata olives, chopped nuts, & a tangy dressing on a bed of heirloom tomatoes topped in nut based cheese was fabulous! Next up were the entrees & I decided to go with the "Rawvolis". Sheets of jicama made up what would typically be pasta & they were filled with more of the delicious housemade nut cheese with a butternut squash sauce, pesto, kalamata olives, & pistachios. Ryan had a burger, Mary style, with a side of raw slaw & was happy with his selection.

For dessert, we split two options, the strawberry shortcake, & a raw apple pie. The strawberry shortcake didn't do it for me, as it was quite dense, likely from the use of whole wheat flour. The nut based ice creams on the other hand were a tasty treat! The raw apple pie was a bit hard to eat, but a lovely, flavorful selection we both enjoyed! I would certainly return to Mary's Secret Garden again, especially as we have family in the area & it's a great dining option!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I headed to the LA Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale to pick up some treats for the family. Of course, I needed savory food as well, so I hit the Hollywood Farmers Market in search of some grub & hit the jackpot! I started out at A Taste of Life & loaded up on all the soul food staples; Mac & Cheese, Pot Roast, Black Eyed Peas, Kale Greens, Cornbread, & some not-so-traditional Lasagna. We loved the sweet, fluffy cornbread, as well as the black eyed peas & we love anything kale related! Next up, I was told to check out Dave's Gourmet Korean Food, a booth with two sweet, smiling girls who were happy to dish out the samples. While the spicy veggies we bought certainly lived up to their name, we fell in love with the smooth & chewy Black Bean & Rice Tempeh! Seriously, delicious soy free Tempeh! Another stop was at Corn Maiden Tamales for a savory Vegetable tamale & a Green Corn with Sweet Yellow Corn tamale for dessert. These hit the spot late at night when our appetites kicked back in!

After enjoying brunch at M Cafe last time, I decided Ryan should try it out as well. Of course, I took the opportunity to meet up with friends again & was joined by Adriana from Anarchy in the Garden, QuarryGirl, Allison from Could It Be Seitan?, & Britt from Sick of Lettuce. After much fanfare, Ryan had to try the Big Macro; one all veggie patty, special sauce, lettuce, (soy) cheese, pickles, onion.. & sprouts, on a whole wheat bun. While I believe he prefers the Bigger Maque at Madeleine Bistro, this still hit the spot, especially with a side of the wonderful Kale in Spicy Peanut Sauce! I opted for a salad trio, with the Broccolini Pepperoncini I tried last time, plus the Scarlet Quinoa, & a Curried Cauliflower salad with lots of tasty vegetables & cashews. I wish San Francisco had a similar place to M Cafe with delicious, healthy fare!

After another 6 hour session of tattooing with Hannah Aitchison, I was ready for some serious eating. Enter Purgatory Pizza! We met up with the brains behind To Live and Eat In LA, plus other friends Natalie, Michael, & Scott, so we could throw down on 3 pizzas! We had an Olive, Garlic, & Pineapple with the new vegan cheese Daiya on top, another Daiya topped pie with Field Roast Italian Sausage & Olives, & an "Armagarden" with Teese. The Daiya is VERY creamy & sticks to the roof of your mouth, something I wasn't ready for! I think I may prefer the Cheddar style as something to use in quesadillas, but I may have to get my hands on some & start experimenting to really find out! Teese is always a good melty standby, so of course that pie was tasty as well. Once again, Los Angeles proves it has a ton of great vegan options for people with palates of any sort!

In other news, I wrote a piece on Vegan Activism for CrazySexyLife.com. Please go check it out for great ways to get started in helping out the animals who need us!

34 comments:

vegan.in.brighton said...

Wow those pizzas look awesome! I can't wait to get myself back to the US to try some Daiya.

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Not only do you get around, but you eat the most amazing food when you do! I can't get over those sandwiches-- and the 'in the know' salad!

Peterson Family said...

Wow, those sandwiches look amazing! I am sooo hungry after reading this post!

quarrygirl said...

melisser! dude i didn't get to see you enough when you were here. :/ boo! it looks like you ate all the best stuff though. i'm glad you finally got to try purgatory.

so when do we get to hang out again?!?!

DJ said...

Wow, all the food looks amazing! You lucky lucky girl!!

nora said...

Oh god, pizzaaa. I just went to Viva Herbal in NYC and now I'm always craving pizza!

Is there any way to make your pictures slightly bigger? They look so good, but I find myself always putting my face really close to the screen to get the details! I know it's not my business at all, haha, sorry melisser :)

Adriana said...

I still have not been to Purgatory... I think you managed to get a sliver of my BBQ sammie from M. You have to be quick when I'm around food =)

Come back soon... Or we'll have to go up there!

Bianca said...

I look at pictures like these, and it amazes that tons of people still aren't vegan. How could people not go vegan with such amazing options?

Foodeater said...

Mmmmmmm.... now I want more pizza!

halfeaten said...

I still haven't been to Purgatory! What's wrong with me? Mary's looks real good, I'm gonna go hit it up in a couple of weeks with my friend. Can't wait!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

So many good eats! And I haven't heard of Daiya "cheese." In St. Louis, native non-vegans love to put Provel cheese on their pizzas which also sticks to your mouth, so I wonder if this has a similar texture. I think you have to be born in St. Louis to like it that way!

veganfoodism said...

everything looks and sounds really good. a sandwich would especially hit the spot right about now. i guess, i have to go back cali, go back to cali, i think so!

herbstsonne said...

OMG. I'm coming in your suitcase next time. Or maybe I can squeeze into Strummber's carrier with her. I want that rawvioli! Everything looks so tasty!

shellyfish said...

Damn, I really want me some of that pizza, though the rawviolis sound pretty damn good, too.

miss v said...

you are sooo lucky to live where you do. when i travel, it get's more rural and meat-centric. they also say things like, "vay-ghun?"

gotta love the midwest.

Vegetation said...

Did I just read....soy...free....tempeh??!?!?! *dies*. I WANT!!! (not that I'm going to get it over here, but a soy free girl can dream!)

Honestly though, there's so much amazing food here to drool over! I'm jealous (I'm always jealous :P)

Hannah said...

So freaking jealous...! Everything looks amazingly delicious. Seems like a good enough reason to take a trip out west!

JennShaggy said...

For real, dude. I can't believe I've remained unscathed by all my destructive tendencies. I think it's all the Kombucha...or kale...or vegan pizza ;)

Seriously, though..hit of tofu ya in berkeley. Holy crap. Great.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Awesome!! Heading LA way soon and your post comes in handy. :o)

indavao said...

hi... just dropping by!
http://www.fileafro.com
http://mobileandetc.blogspot.com
http://kantahanan.blogspot.com

Tessa said...

Mmm all these dishes look delicious! I'm jealous of all your tasty travels! Thanks for sharing about them :-)

Sal said...

your travel posts always make me want to go buy a plane ticket!! that pizza looks amazing.

Mihl said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wanna come and travel with you! And I wouldn't say no to those rawvolis.

Hair Braiding said...

When you do the next site, please FIND http://www.lobbyhobby.net and FIND "Lobby Hobby Directory" and REPLACE with the new title anchor text

Gaming Freebies said...

Register, Complete the offers and competition entries earn the required point to redeem your free gaming gift. Free Counter Strike, Free Call Of Duty, Free Left For Dead, Free Team Fortress 2, Free Far Cry 2, Free Half Life, Free iRacing, Free LFS

Paint Contractors, Painting Jobs said...

You share valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up. Please come visit my site Contractor Painter Business Directory when you got time.

dreaminitvegan said...

We really like Mary's Secret Garden.
My son loves the "Rawvolis". If you are there and the dessert is the peanut butter chocolate cake or mint chocolate cake, get it. It is so moist and good. yum!!!! They also have a wonderful curry.

New Haven Connecticut Yellow Pages said...

I'm glad you're back to posting. I love reading about your shopping adventures and great finds. Your outfits are always super cute too! Very inspirational. Please come visit my site
New Haven Connecticut Yellow Pages when you got time.

Hartford Connecticut Yellow Pages said...

i love the style, i have several similar one, i usually wear them to work or shopping. Please come visit my site Hartford Connecticut Yellow Pages when you got time.

Gaming Freebies said...

Register, Complete the offers and competition entries earn the required point to redeem your free gaming gift. Free Counter Strike, Free Call Of Duty, Free Left For Dead, Free Team Fortress 2, Free Far Cry 2, Free Half Life, Free iRacing, Free LFS

poll said...

There is obviously a lot more than this. Would you mind telling me how long it took you to gather your content? Please come visit my site Cincinnati Yellow Page Business Directory when you got time.

poll said...

This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday. Please come visit my site Toledo Business Directory when you got time.

poll said...

I really liked your blog! You have some great content. Please come visit my site Akron Yellow Page Business Directory when you got time.

poll said...

Hello, What enticed you to post this article. It was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for info on this subject last Thursday. Please come visit my site Virginia Beach Yellow Page Business Directory when you got time.