More and more people are eating less meat (fish is meat) – with A-list celebs, like former president Bill Clinton and J. Lo making headlines on a regular basis. Even Beyonce and Jay Z gave it a shot, with a recent 22-day ‘cleanse.’
But it’s not just celebs; millions of people in the US are vegetarian, and restaurants are seeing a surge in people looking for vegan options.
And it’s no surprise. Many of our top killers in the US are directly linked to what’s on our plates, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer - and vegetarian diets have proven powerful in preventing these diseases, and maintaining a healthy weight.
But eating less meat will not only benefit your own health, it also spares the lives of countless animals suffering from abuse and neglect on today’s factory farms. With vegan-friendly dishes all over LA, there’s never been a better time to ditch meat. Here are just a few of the great vegan options in our neighborhood:
The Grain Café 4222 W Pico Blvd. (w. of Crenshaw)
This entirely plant-based café makes a mean smoothie, has an extensive breakfast menu, and will deliver within 2 miles. Try the ‘Chicken’ Tacos, Chilaquiles, Cobb Salad, or one of the many mouth-watering sandwiches, including the Reuben, Club Sandwich, and ‘Tuna’ Melt.
Palm Grove Ethiopian Rest. 1905 S. Western Ave #11. (s.w. corner of Western)
This unassuming restaurant is neatly tucked away in a strip mall. But don’t let that fool you! Palm Grove is known for their excellent service, and always fresh, aromatic ingredients. Served with fresh baked injera, the Vegetarian Special is always a hit, and enough to share with a friend or two.
The Blu Elefant Café 2024 W. Washington Blvd. (w. of Crenshaw)
A tiny café that has turned into a neighborhood favorite, Blu Elefant offers a multitude of milk alternatives like soy and almond, as well as a few veggie sandwiches. Try an almond milk latte, with the Veggie Panini, Sesame Salad, or the local Hummus Plate.
Pizza Rev 4550 W. Pico Blvd. (at San Vicente Blvd.)
This isn’t your typical pizza place, with a special oven that can cook pizzas in 3 minutes. Build your own personal pizza that starts with homemade dough, and choose from a lineup that includes tons of veggies, (as well as fennel seeds, olives, mushrooms), and a dairy-free cheese.
Sky’s Gourmet Tacos 5408 W. Pico Blvd.
Of course you can get bean tacos at a bunch of places around town, but Sky’s offers non-dairy sour cream and cheese, as well as meatless meat. Try the Potato or Wild Rice & Yam tacos, the Vegan Signature Burrito, the Veggie Torta or a Quesadilla -- or you can just ask for anything ‘vegan style’.
Papa Cristo’s Greek Restaurant 2771 W. Pico Blvd (and Normandie)
This Greek restaurant, market, and bakery is a neighborhood gem, and has a separate vegetarian menu. Try the Grilled Eggplant, Baba Ghanouj, Lentil Soup, and the Falafel or Veggie Kebab Sandwich (hold the tzatziki!) served on a Greek pita. And try their crusty delicious baguettes.
Vien Café 6118 W. Pico Blvd. (E. of La Cienega)
Love Vietnamese? This place uses tons of fresh, colorful ingredients, and won’t break the bank.Try the Vegetarian Pho, or Vegetarian Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich, with the Nuoc da Chanh (homemade lemonade).
Mateo’s 4234 W. Pico Blvd. (Next to Grain Cafe)
With a few locations around town, Mateo’s has built a name for itself with delicious frozen treats. Try the Fresh Juices, Smoothies, and the Real Fruit Bars, in flavors like lemon, guava, tamarind, jamaica, mango, and yellow cherry.
Bloom Café 5544 Pico Blvd.
This local favorite offers a variety of fresh juices, coconut water, and fresh squeezed lemonade, as well as several vegan-friendly food options. Try the Three Grain Vegetable Burger, the Gorgeous Green salad, or the Vegetarian Curry on Brown Rice.
Still hungry? For more options near you, check out HappyCow.net, or download their app.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.