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Los Angeles: Flore, Babycakes, Native Foods

September 30, 2011

Thank you for your nice comments on the photoshoot outtakes from my last post! To be honest, I was a little nervous about posting them…you may have noticed I don’t tend to “showcase” myself like that very often. But considering I’m going to be a published author soon, I guess I better start practicing now, right?

Anyway, on to our fourth and final day in Los Angeles!

Although we seriously considered returning to the amazingness that was Sage Organic Bistro for brunch on Sunday, we mixed it up by going to Flore Vegan Cuisine instead. Matt drank a frosty Raw Superfruit smoothie to start: blueberry, mangosteen, strawberry, orange, and agave.

I wanted to get some greens in me, so I went for the Raw Coconut Kale Smoothie: coconut meat, coconut milk, almonds, banana, and kale. They get points for using fresh coconut meat, but to be honest, I couldn’t finish this. It’s way too evident to me when a restaurant does not use high-speed blenders, especially with hard-to-blend things like kale and almonds…I guess I’m a smoothie snob! I’ll stick to smoothies at raw restaurants from now on, heh.

True to form, Matt ordered the Breakfast Burrito: whole wheat tortilla, tofu scramble, potatoes, tempeh bacon, avocado, and cashew cheese, with pico de gallo and mixed fruit. Though he couldn’t pinpoint why, he said this was one of the BEST breakfast burritos he’s ever had. He couldn’t stop raving about it.

Though it’s well-known that I dislike comfort food in general, I’ve been warming up to “soul food” little by little (Bianca, I’m lookin’ at you!), and I do have a soft spot for biscuits and gravy, which is what I went for at Flore: two extremely fluffy biscuits with mushroom gravy and seitan “sausage,” plus breakfast potatoes. The seitan was a bit dry, but still good; the fluffiness of the biscuits actually made me wish for a little more crustiness to the edges, but I can’t complain about pillow-soft biscuits! The gravy, though, was KILLER.

Later that afternoon, after realizing Babycakes NYC had a location in downtown Los Angeles, we had to go.

It was like a little magical fairyland…

…of gluten-free and vegan sweet treats.

Matt got a slice of chocolate chip banana bread, and I got a lemon-coconut cupcake top. We ate these for breakfast on the way to the airport the next morning. Not my usual A.M. fare, but wow, so good! I actually liked how the gluten-free cupcake top had a denser, crumblier consistency.

We spent the late afternoon/early evening cruising up to Malibu to admire the views and ogle big houses.

That area is a little slice of paradise.

When we’d worked up an appetite again (because, you know, sightseeing is hard work), we went to dinner at Native Foods Cafรฉ in Culver City. It’s sort of a fast-casual vegan dining chain, with locations in multiple states.

Matt drank an aรงaรญ berry wheat beer. Interesting!

We ordered the Sweet Potato Taquitos for an appetizer: crispy corn tortillas filled with coconut-mashed sweet potatoes, drizzled with Native Chipotle Crema and served with guacamole. They were good, but there was not nearly enough filling to offset those oily tortillas.

Matt kept the greasy food comin’ with the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger: thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted “cheddar,” caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato, topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips. Um, wow.

This burger was HUGE! Matt liked it a lot, but commented that he’s not used to eating fatty foods like these anymore. That’s my boy! ๐Ÿ˜›

I got the Rockinโ€™ Moroccan Earth Bowl: Native Chicken marinated in homemade Moroccan sauce with grilled veggies and quinoa, topped with currants and toasted almonds. This was seriously fantastic. The Moroccan sauce was a little lemony, a little spicy, and just all-around delicious, and the varying textures in the dish were wonderful.

We wrapped up with a Peanut Butter Parfait for dessert: creamy whipped peanut butter filling layered between Boogie Bar crumbles (their house-made banana bread loaded with almonds, oats, and coconut!) and chocolate chips.

That concludes our trip to Los Angeles! Needless to say, I’m already wondering how soon we can get back there. Thanks again to Vega and Brendan for flying us out. L.A., I hope to see you again soon!

3 years ago…
Indian curried lentils
2 years ago…
Almost Vegan returns from Europe!
1 year ago…
Flourless chocolate almond butter cookies
Creamy broccoli-mushroom bake

40 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    September 30, 2011 9:38 am

    So that smoothie was one of the most unremarkable I’ve ever tasted but the breakfast burrito was SO good!

    FYI about Babycakes. It is in a terrible location. And by terrible, I mean it is easier to find illicit drugs than open stores in that neighborhood. We went into Babycakes and they had this Disney fairy princess music pumping loudly through the small shop space. It felt a little like the scene in Labrynth where the chick was in a filthy dungeon and wakes up in a stylized version of her pristine bedroom. Weird.

    And yeah, that “burger” gave me indigestion. I haven’t had that feeling for quite some time. Proof positive that I do eat healthy now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:45 am

      I still don’t quite understand why you felt that burrito was SO outrageously good, but I’m very glad you enjoyed it that much. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yeah, the environs around Babycakes were…a bit unsettling, at best, especially when contrasted with the interior.

  2. September 30, 2011 11:01 am

    Darling, all your food adventures make me want to beg to be your travel companion and leave the boys at home and politely ask Matt if I can take over from his role ๐Ÿ™‚

    I, too, don’t think much of venues that don’t use high speed blenders for their smoothies especially ones with kale! I’ve had the same experience where I’ve thought I was a smoothie snob as well.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:50 am

      Hehe! Matt’s a gentleman, so I’m sure he’d step aside for a trip or two to allow you to accompany me instead! ๐Ÿ˜›

      I blame 105degrees for making us smoothie snobs…srsly…

  3. September 30, 2011 11:01 am

    And LOVE Matt’s comment re illicit drugs above, haha.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:50 am

      And I’m afraid it’s the truth!

  4. September 30, 2011 11:25 am

    I went to a cooking demo at Native Foods last weekend, which was a great time! They veganized Paula Deen recipes – no small feat ๐Ÿ˜‰ I need to try that Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:51 am

      Wow, did they really? What a cool event that must’ve been!

  5. September 30, 2011 11:28 am

    Yum! I actually like mushroom gravies beter than the real stuff. That plate of biscuits swimming in it looks amazing.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:54 am

      I don’t like mushroom gravies that are TOO shroom-heavy, but this one was just perfect.

  6. September 30, 2011 12:54 pm

    sometimes even places with high speed blenders still make the smoothies chunky. they don’t blend long enough. inexperienced staff.

    i haven’t had much luck with eating babycakes the day after. i am told they must be eaten the day of or they don’t taste as great. my last one i waited a day and it wasnt so great.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 10:56 am

      Now that’s just a travesty – the right blender, but someone who doesn’t know how to use it? Sad.

      Really? Matt’s bread was a tad dry, but my cupcake top was perfect…probably because it was encased in fatty frosting, I’m guessing.

  7. September 30, 2011 1:35 pm

    I don’t care if it’s a gut bomb, that burger looks amazing! The healthy stuff looks good to, but…yeah…vegan bacon cheeseburger with fried pickles will steal my heart every time!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:06 am

      Hehe, to each her own! ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. September 30, 2011 2:14 pm

    I’m definitely more of a breakfast burrito person vs. comfort food person. I would have ordered the burrito, and my husband would have ordered your meal. I’m super excited that there is now a Native Foods in Chicago since I go there more frequently. We always leave Disneyland for a couple of hours and get lunch at Native Foods, then head back. I never order bowls, but that one you got looks amazing! I agree with Bitt above about babycakes. Everything was really dry when I went there in NYC. And I SO wanted to like it.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:09 am

      I’m definitely going to hit up Native Foods again next time I’m in L.A. OR Chicago.

  9. September 30, 2011 5:42 pm

    I’ll be in LA next week and I already had these places on my “to try” list, guess I’ll have some idea of what to order now!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:18 am

      Great! Glad I could help ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. September 30, 2011 11:48 pm

    You’re so cruel. So cruel to me. I was mostly coping with this, breathing through the bangs for mangosteen and pickle chips, but then that parfait. CRUEL.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:19 am

      Aww. Don’t fret, I’ll make you one when you come here. I’m building up quite a Make-For-Hannah list, aren’t I?

  11. October 1, 2011 5:54 pm

    I think it’s great that you’re trying out the ‘self-showcasing.’ I definitely think that when we try on acting a certain way, it’s easier to have it come naturally with time–just practice.

    Those are some decadent-looking meals. Just incredible that all those vegan/gf friendly places are in one area!

    I’m surprised at the idea that a vegan restau. wouldn’t have a high-speed blender. Hope you gave them feedback about it, they need to know.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:20 am

      Heh, I hope so! I suppose it’s good to get outside my comfort zone sometimes, whatever the results.

  12. October 1, 2011 8:18 pm

    wow all that looks so amazing. that moroccan earth bowl especially!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:22 am

      It was! I need to recreate it at home soon.

  13. October 1, 2011 9:11 pm

    I think you must be one of the luckiest girls on the planet!!! All that amazing food, a great trip, a book deal….wow….

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:26 am

      I’m not gonna lie, I agree with you there. I’m very thankful for everything that’s come my way this past year! โค

  14. October 2, 2011 6:32 am

    That Rockinโ€™ Moroccan Earth Bowl looks INCREDIBLE.

    Eel River makes the BEST beer. Never tried that one but the rest are excellent.
    And like always, all the food you tried looks great! Matt’s burrito and burger look awesome.

    I heart California with all the wonderful vegan/veg places to eat at. ๐Ÿ™‚ Too bad I’m way too far away to get to them! Babycakes is on my list of place to one day visit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:29 am

      I know NOTHING about beer, and to be honest I hate 99.9% of it, but I’ve had a couple I didn’t mind – coffee-flavored beers! Not bad. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. October 2, 2011 10:36 am

    yum yum yum – everything looks incredible! Well maybe not the deep fried tortillas! haha..

    Malibu is so gorgeous! I’m going to check out the photo shoot photos now!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 2, 2011 11:30 am

      Yeah, those were WAY too fried for me…the filling was good though!

  16. October 3, 2011 3:09 am

    this post has made me want to go to LA even more now! Great eats – that breakfast burrito looks fab!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 4, 2011 2:07 pm

      You’ve gotta go someday! It’s a vegan mecca.

  17. October 3, 2011 11:26 am

    Beautiful photos. Can’t wait to see your cookbook!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 4, 2011 2:08 pm

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. October 3, 2011 1:19 pm

    Chef Tanya from Native Foods Cafe works her butt off. She has some videos on youtube, and a blog. Check out their website. They only just opened the Chicago location this summer. I really loved it when I went, but we went to the O.C. location.
    Note on BabyCakes: The location is not ideal, but I loved the feel and the atmosphere, especially with the Bakers Window. Remember, property in LA isn’t cheap. And it’s hard to find a prime location. But for those who are Gluten Free, and haven’t had a decent cupcake in a year or two, a trip to Babycakes was totally worth it!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 4, 2011 2:09 pm

      I believe it! She looks to be a busy, busy lady. Love what she’s doing.

      Oh of course, I realize that the real estate situation in L.A. for such a business isn’t ideal, but they’ve made a nice little oasis in an otherwise not-so-nice part of downtown. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. actorsdiet permalink
    October 4, 2011 10:38 pm

    they’re opening another baby cakes down the street from me! my wallet’s in trouble!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 5, 2011 11:43 am

      WHOA! You lucky lady, you! My wallet AND my waistline would be in trouble ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. October 7, 2011 1:43 am

    That beer is from one of my local Breweries. What a small world!
    Thanks for coming by AtV – I’m exciting to have made a new friend. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2011 12:08 pm

      Small world indeed! I’m happy we’ve “met” each other as well ๐Ÿ˜€

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