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


Braving the Recession at Rubio’s

Maybe the recession ain't so bad...
Maybe the recession ain’t so bad…

In a world crumbling under the pressure of mounting recession and potential depression, deals can be found aplenty. Well, that is assuming you still have enough money to eat. When I went to Rubio’s in Marina Del Rey, they were offering up a little recession combo that I decided to take advantage of. This was two street tacos, chips, beans and a 20 oz. drink for only $5.

The choice of taco innards was up to me, so I got one with steak and one with chicken. They came with guacamole and an unfortunate mix of onions and cilantro. I would have liked the cilantro, but it was all or nothing and I couldn’t risk having onions on my tacos.

El Pollo Loco

The el bland meal-o.
El bland-o meal-o.

The heart of fast food is its ability to satisfy (at least in the short term) while remaining at impossibly cheap prices. These two essential elements are really quite reliant upon each other, because it is hard to achieve gastro-satisfaction if you think you are paying too much.

On my trip to El Pollo Loco in El Segundo, I had high expectations. Being a fan of Taco Bell, I have always been told to try it. When I arrived, the menu completely confused me. I couldn’t figure out what was what except for the value menu. Having been around since 1975, you would think they could have figured out a way to just show a list of the food they offer, but no. Instead, I stood silent for a long time at a loss of what to order.


Is there any meat in there?
Is there any meat in that mess?

A few years ago, Subway changed the name of the “Meatball” sub to the “Meatball Marinara.” I’m not sure why this particular change occurred. Maybe it was to placate healthy people who would be more attracted to the word “marinara.” I never felt this was a particularly bad thing, after all, rebranding to increase sales is a huge component of our capitalistic system.

That all changed when I went to the Subway at Pico and La Cienega. I ordered a Meatball Marinara sub on Italian herbs and cheese bread, with provolone and parmesan cheese. It seemed like such a great idea, until I started watching the man behind the counter make my sub.

Taco Bell: Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch

The Gordita Crunch...of DOOM!
The Gordita Crunch…of DOOM!

In reading this article today, I knew something had to be done quickly to defend the good name of Taco Bell.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am uncomfortably (and unhealthily) in love with the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, without lettuce. It represents all that is good in this world and I often find it difficult to push myself to eat anything else.

Recently, a friend alerted me to the newest Taco Bell creation, the Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch. The name alone is enough to make the weak queezy, but I simply could not believe that my world could be graced with genius! If bacon can improve donuts, why not the gordita?


Corn is nothing more than an indigestible grain.
Corn is nothing more than an indigestible grain.

In the past few years, Chipotle has burst onto the Mexican fast food scene. The layout of the restaurant and apparent freshness has quickly made even the most healthy forget that it was created once owned by McDonald’s.

Luckily, the unvegan in me has not forgotten this and I embrace the unhealthiness of Chipotle with the voracity of a reckless child with the metabolism of a horse.

Last time I had Chipotle, I went to one in Culver City and ordered their signature meal, the burrito. One of the beauties of Chipotle is their assembly line style of burrito-making. They have certainly come a long way since Henry Ford.

Papa John’s

A pair of glorious meatsa pizzas.
A pair of glorious meatsa pizzas.

In just a few years, Papa John’s has gone from a second-tier pizza chain to the top level, joining Domino’s and Pizza Hut. It even has branches in China.

The Papa John’s on National Boulevard in LA offers a fantastic $6.99 carry-out special for a large, one-topping pizza. Last time I went, I ordered pepperoni and sausage, the two greatest meats to ever find themselves atop a pizza.

Coco’s (CLOSED)


Fruit makes for an excellent vegetable replacement.
Fruit makes for an excellent vegetable replacement.

Coco’s and I have a long and interesting history. A few years ago, I lived in Japan and a Coco’s was attached to my building. Coco’s (pronounced Cocosu in Japanese) was a Japanese attempt at American food and despite the fact that it wasn’t at all like American food, it was still pretty decent. We had a healthy relationship and I even had the frequent diner card. When I returned from Japan, Coco’s and I took a break, we couldn’t handle the distance and I had no knowledge of Coco’s in America. That all changed when I found a Coco’s on Pico and Robertson in LA. I went in with great expectations that would be impossible to meet.

Taco Bell

Behold! The Cheesy Gordita Crunch...and partner.
Behold! The Cheesy Gordita Crunch…and partner.

People look at Taco Bell in many different ways. Some worry about the meat quality. Some are willing to wait 30 minutes for it on their lunch break. Some think it is true Mexican food. Some refuse to eat it. Whatever can be said about Taco Bell, there is no denying that it is a late-night refuge for the hungry and/or intoxicated.

I am lucky enough to have a Taco Bell in LA that is open until 4 am. Every time I go, I leave with a story, so with these thoughts in mind, I set off for Taco Bell around 2 am.


Half-baked with love.
Half-baked with love.

On my last day in Chicago, I was craving Chicago-style deep dish pizza, but I didn’t have enough time before my flight to wait for an entire pizza to cook. Luckily, I was told that Giordano’s can “half-bake” a pizza for you so you can finish it off later without losing the texture and flavor typically lost in a reheated pizza. With this knowledge, I called Giordano’s up to order a half-baked medium with pepperoni. Giordano’s has locations throughout the Chicago area, with my pizza coming from the Evanston branch.

I brought the 10-pound monster of a pizza on my flight back to Los Angeles and threw it in my fridge for the next day.