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{The Getty Center}

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How many times can someone have brunch in a week? With so many delicious brunch options to choose from the great city of Los Angeles, breakfast fare, maximized, made up a good portion of my eats. Today, on my last full day, is no exception. This morning we dined at Real Food Daily, a well-known all-vegan hot spot with three locations in the LA area. We headed to West Hollywood to taste this vegan staple.

Satisfying both of my savory and sweet cravings, I ordered The Weekender: scrambled tofu, onions, tomatoes, cashew jalapeno cheese, tempeh bacon with two slices of french toast and hashbrowns.

While every bite I ate made my taste buds high five each other, it was the French toast that had those buds jumping up and down. Vegan French toast can go wrong in so many ways (too soggy, too thin, too thick that you get plain bread in the center, etc) but this was spot-on. And the eggy-like batter, vanilla soy flaxseed, made the toast’s texture awesome.

For our final dinner in town, we hit up Madeleine Bistro, yet another eatery whose website has sat patiently waiting in my bookmarks for this West coast eating frenzy. The posh, gourmet restaurant was only open on weekends and had limited hours. We made a door-buster reservation and decided quickly on the 4-course sampler.The first course, a spectacular soup, was a good indication of what was to come. It was a sweet corn bisque, creamy and frothy with seasonal, local corn. Though soup makes for an unexciting picture, believe me that the taste was very unbelievable. My salad course, their beautiful red beet tartare was delectable–a tower of tenderized red beet, a crispy-skinned super-creamy tofu cheese crouton, finely sliced cucumber in a balsamic glace. How gorgeous and delicious.

My beet tartare salad in all its glory. Very large and substancial for a salad course, I might add.

Then came the entree, course 3: Lemon-rosemary seitan, delicate haricot and cream crepes with a side of haricots. The house-made seitan was so tender and flavorful. The crepe was oh-so creamy. I just wished there were a bit more of a variety of veggies inside. It was the perfect portion, helping to leave me enough room for dessert. And dessert, course 4, was the best of all!

This capital-A Amazing ice cream treat gave me everything I needed. It is their Bananas Foster Split, the culmination of housemade components that had me speechless and ready to lap the bananas foster sauce off the plate. The vanilla ice cream was creamy, the hot fudge was the perfect flavor and texture (not simply brown and sweet), and the whipped crème real. No packages. Everything made from scratch. This was an amazing dessert. Thank you, Madeleine, for your high standards. They translate to pure, unadulterated deliciousness.

Goodnight L.A.

{El Matador State Beach}

I have just returned from a tremendous bout of traffic along U.S. Coastal Route 1. If I didn’t think that this was one of the most beautiful highways in the entire country, I’d probably be a bit more frustrated now. But a day of eating fried and hearty fare and I am cemented here dazed, trying to channel enough brain activity to complete this post. I’m going to be brief, as a picture is worth 10,000 words.

Today’s food highlights: Flore in Silver Lake for a spectacular brunch.

I got the Chicken & Waffles. Breaded and seared Gardein chicken cutlet and a thin banana waffle served with real maple syrup and Earth Balance with a side of gravy-smothered homefries.

Behold one fantastic dish. So, so salty, the maple syrup was oh so necessary. I was a member of the clean plate club.

I don’t usually like to eat things like Gardein (super-processed frozen patty type things), but every 3 or 4 years, sure.

For dessert, a lemon-berry cupcake. Adorable and so fine. The cake was light and spongey and the frosting was not cloyingly sweet or all shortening-ish.

The view of today, hazy and hot, from the Griffith Observatory.

Mohawk Bend is a huge restaurant, bar, and venue in Echo Park. They also have some amazing vegan dishes.

My choice, the Avo & Chips, beer-battered deep-fried avocado, side of fries, some horseradish slaw, and smoked paprika aioli. Deep fried avocado. What can be better?

Looking a bit closer.

CandyPenny‘s selection: Bangers & Mash. Amazing pub fare at an awesome space.

I think I need to fast when I get back to New York.

Vegan Treats makes some damn good doughnuts. Good, like, a decadent pillow of fried goodness, damn good donut. Not a circular airy cake but a cream-filled, ooey, gooey, cover-your-mouth-in-fantastic-film… needing to gargle with black coffee kind of damn good. A donut. Like I remember from my non-vegan days.

After eating a few lifetimes worth of donuts at Seattle’s Mighty O, I think I convinced myself that the East coast couldn’t “bring it” with vegan donuts. I mean.. besides Mighty O, the West has Ronald’s Donuts (Las Vegas) and Voodoo Doughnuts (Portland, OR), too. And Los Angeles, don’t even get me started. They totally out-vegan New York City. But yes, New York’s best vegan donuts are from Pennsylvania. 

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