The Unvegan

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Street Food Spotlight: Taiwanese Chou Doufu
Vietnamese Fast Food at Pho 24
My Wings at My Banh Mi

‘Cafes’

Neighborhood Eating at Cafe Nouveau

So beautiful.

Perched on a corner in what is more neighborhood than retail area in Ventura is a restaurant called Cafe Nouveau. The restaurant boasts a pretty great outdoor eating area, but the wait there was nuts so we went inside to what felt like a home that had been converted into a cafe. I set to work at figuring out what to order, but after a quick look at the menu I had made up my mind.

The Burger at The Malibu Cafe

More like cala-meh-ri
More like cala-meh-ri

The Malibu Cafe might be one of the coolest places to hang out in LA. The sprawling grounds are like an Anthropologie fan’s orgasm, with box lights, upside down umbrellas, giant chess pieces and pillows with words on them. Plus, it’s super family friendly. After winning me over at the Burger Battle in Santa Monica earlier this year, I was eager to find out what the restaurant itself would be like.

Planting at Seed Bakery

Not short on mustard.
Not short on mustard.

Seed Bakery is one of those spots in northern Pasadena attempting to make the area more desirable. It started out as a farmer’s market staple, but has been around for a number of months – and because I live down the street I feel like this review should have come long ago. Regardless, Seed is a breakfast and lunch sort of place serving all kinds of things on breads. Well, at least sandwiches and toasts.

Parked at Square One at the Boathouse (CLOSED)

Ugh onions.
Ugh onions.

Oh the park at Echo Park. While it is unquestionably a Mecca for local Hispanic family picnics, it is also unquestionably working hard to attract the local hipsters. Hence, Square One at the Boathouse exists literally in the boathouse where people can rent paddle boats and serves up some good-looking if not exciting-looking food.

A Lamb Good Time at The Cafe at the Frick

Now with real lamb!
Now with real lamb!

At some point The Cafe at the Frick came up as a place I needed to grab a meal at. This, of course, came as a surprise because most museum cafes offer up barely passable food to a captive audience. But I figured why the hell not and headed to the Frick for lunch. As could probably be expected, my wife and I were decades younger than the next youngest patron that hadn’t been dragged there by grandparents, but we hoped that our still active taste buds would be rewarded.

Popping Beignets at Cafe du Monde

So much powder.
So much powder.

Back in the days when our nation was in the grips of civil war, a little French doughnut and coffee shop opened in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The year was 1862 and the shop was Cafe du Monde, which is still standing in the same place and seemingly serving the same doughnuts and coffee it was serving 150 years ago. Of course, being French the dougnuts are actually beignets and the coffee is cafe au lait, which are much more than just a translation.

A Juicy Sammich at Marty’s Market (CLOSED)

So special.
So special.

For a long time I was living a lie. A lie that Marty’s Market in the Strip District is simply a cool grocery store. Upon learning of this untruth, I set out with a couple of the ladies in my life to grab their brunch that was apparently the talk of the town (or at least the talk of a few people in my social circle). The restaurant area of Marty’s Market is set off to the side from the rest of the actual grocery store and there was a table waiting for us when we arrived.

A Delicious Departure at Zaza

A final taste.
A final taste.

On our way out of Orlando early in the morning, I was in need of something to get me through our flight. That’s when we happened upon Zaza in the airport. Well, in truth, it seemed to be the only place with decent coffee for my traveling companions. Nonetheless, as soon as I saw they had a Vaca con Queso sandwich I knew I had to make it mine.

Polentas and Omelets at Coca Cafe

An eggy polenta.
An eggy polenta.

Down in South America, coca means a very specific thing. You know, that thing that gave Coca-Cola its name. But up here in Pittsburgh, namely Lawrenceville, coca is for Coca Cafe which, as far as I know, has no connection to cocaine. Instead, it seems to be very connected to brunch. So, with little concern for accidental drug use, we braved the 45 minute wait and got ourselves in for a little Sunday brunch.

Not So Special at Specialty’s

I call this sandwich.
I call this sandwich.

Randomly placed in California, Washington and Illinois is a sandwich cafe called Specialty’s. Why it is placed so sporadically throughout the United States is surely a question someone in their strategy team can answer, but for me the only thing that matters is that when I needed a quick bite in Bellevue, Washington, Specialty’s was there for me.