The Unvegan

Recent Posts

10 Years of Unvegan
A Quick Bite at Burrito Express
Serendipity at Northern Waters Smokehaus
Twerks and Burritos at Casa Amigos

‘Reviews’

Almost Deja Vu at the Nom Nom Truck (CLOSED)

Like a shiny beacon of Vietnamese-ness.
Like a shiny beacon of Vietnamese-ness.

A little more than eight months after my first taste of Kogi BBQ, I found myself once again standing in the parking lot of The Brig, eager to take on another food truck inspired by the fusion of Asian and Mexican food. If so much hadn’t changed in the food truck scene of LA since that first taste of Kogi, I would have felt some intense deja vu. Since the arrival of Kogi, it feels like a new food truck is unrolled every week. From the architecturally inspired ice cream sandwiches of Coolhaus to the beautiful women running Baby’s Badass Burger truck, I almost feel like LA offers more food on wheels than it does in restaurants, with more coming. Nonetheless, the official opening of the Vietnamese and Mexican fusion Nom Nom Truck was exciting for me, and I made my way to The Brig in Venice to see if I would have a new friend on wheels.

Tastes of the Northwoods, Part III: The Green Mill

Stupid stupid celery
Stupid stupid celery

The Green Mill (affectionately referred to as “The Mill”) in Duluth is a place I have to visit every time I’m in the area. It not only has good food and drinks, but it has a great happy hour as well. What used to be 1/2 price appetizers and wings has now become 5 bucks. This isn’t such a big deal, since the prices are still so low.

Through many visits, I finally discovered the best that The Mill has to offer, Dixie Wings. These are wings with a buffalo-like sauce that stings the mouth, but always leaves me wanting more. The Mill is also one of the few places where I opt for boneless wings versus the much manlier wings with bones. For some reason, the Dixie Wing sauce just seems to work so much better with boneless wings.

Further Down the Riva (CLOSED)

Well, it looks pretty.
Well, it looks pretty.

My friend told me about a relatively new “pizza” place called Riva in Santa Monica. I put pizza in quotes because in my mind a pizza place is like a parlor. This, however, was no parlor. Rather it was a posh and fancy restaurant that happened to have pizza as its specialty.

We took the bar-style seats that had a perfect view of the preparation area and the wood-burning oven. While sitting there, it was really unnecessary to look at the menu, because we could decide what we wanted based on what we saw in front of us.

In this case, I took a slight deviation from my usual unvegan pizzas. Instead of getting the meaty offering, I got the Patate Semplice, which is just a fancy Italian way of saying potato, rosemary, fontina and sea salt pizza.

In the meantime, I enjoyed the appetizer of Wood Fired Pizza Bread. With olive oil, it tasted pretty good, but almost seemed silly to order a partial pizza as I was waiting for a real pizza. Nonetheless, the wait was quite short, as I watched my pizza go in the oven mere moments before it was pulled out fully cooked.

Two for One at The Right Bank

Ewww orange veggies.
Ewww orange veggies.

For my last meal in Rancho Mirage, I headed to The Right Bank. Why it isn’t called the Left Bank boggles my mind, but at least it isn’t called the West Bank.

As I sat down and looked at the menu, I couldn’t get over how expensive the place was, but then my grandparents revealed to me that just about ever night they offer buy one get one free for entrees. This was a pretty good deal, so I didn’t feel so terrible about ordering something decent.

The Appropriately Named Thai Smile (RELOCATED)

It would look much better if it weren't for those vegetables.
It would look much better if it weren’t for those vegetables.

One of the nights that I was visiting my grandparents in Rancho Mirage, we went to a restaurant called Thai Smile. There was a 20 minute wait, but I was assured that it would be worth it. Besides, I really had nothing better to do.

While waiting, we checked out the menu so we could order as soon as we got our table. It really took me a long time to decide what to order because the Chicken Spicy Peanut Sauce looked great except that it had green beans and peppers, while I could just create my own dish, but none of the customizable items looked as good as the chicken dish.

A Wholesome Breakfast at Palms Cafe

Looks good enough to eat.
Looks good enough to eat.

While visiting my grandparents in Rancho Mirage, they took me to a great little breakfast place called Palms Cafe in Palm Desert. Knowing my grandparents would never lead me astray, I was pretty excited.

We took a seat outside and perused the menu. As most cafes go, they had a pretty good collection of food, but I sought out my favorite breakfast food, the omelet. Since I don’t think I had ever seen turkey offered in an omelet before, I ordered one with turkey and cheese. I also got some bacon on the side.

It came out pretty quickly and was one of the most interesting omelets I’ve ever seen.

Doing Tapas at Bar Pintxo

MMMMM cheeeese
MMMMM cheeeese

Bar Pintxo. How the hell do you pronounce this place? ┬áIt’s not an easy thing to do. If only the x moved back one letter to be before the t, things would be much easier. Alas, that is the restaurant I went to for some tapas.

Ordering at this tapas bar was kind of a double-edged sword for an unvegan. On one hand, I could take a look at all food available and decide what to order based on which tapas didn’t have vegetables. On the other hand, all the tapas were prepared ahead of time and I couldn’t order without the veggies.

Before, ordering, however, we had to get ourselves some libations.

The Road Less Traveled at Teddy’s Cafe

That's some sneaky little lettuce under there...
That’s some sneaky little lettuce under there…

On my way to Taco Bell one night, I saw a beacon of fluorescence with the name “Teddy’s Cafe” on it. In a bold move, I decided I had to try the place out. On the outside it doesn’t look like much, and the inside is equally plain. Although it was around 9:00 on a Sunday night, the place was totally empty except for me and my eating companions.

A look at the menu showed a wide variety of products, all for an incredibly cheap price. Hoping to have an experience like I did at Mandy’s and possibly attempting to relive Thanksgiving, I ordered the Hot Turkey Sandwich, which came with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Getting it All Wrong at Thai Boom

Is this Pla Prik Pao?
Is this Pla Prik Pao?

Living in close proximity, I’ve ordered from Thai Boom tons of times. I’ve always found it to be a safe bet for Thai food. The best thing about their menu is that they serve their lunch specials all day. This covers a wide variety of food, but aldo includes rice and a fried wonton.

Feeling adventurous, I ordered the Pla Prik Pao, which is sauteed roasted curry with basil. For my meat I chose tofu. Just kidding, I got chicken. I picked up my food from the carry-out and brought it home for eating. When I opened it up, I was a little taken aback. If this was chicken with curry, it was the strangest chicken and curry I had ever seen. On top of that, there were peppers, which most certainly were not included with my dish. It almost distracted me from the fact that there was a tiny little salad in the corner. Almost.

Eating Like Obama at Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Juicy and delicious.
Juicy and delicious.

Through a buddy of mine and my girlfriend, I learned of a burger place called Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Although originally from the east coast, Five Guys has an outpost down in Carson, which is about as south as you can get in LA County without crossing the border into the OC.