Vegan "Ham" Sandwich, courtesy of vinhloitofu.com
One of the greenest things you can do is to eat less meat, but that's its own article so I won't address that here. Suffice it to say, you are interested or curious about eating vegetarian at restaurants. Not every restaurant I review is strictly vegetarian. I've categorized restaurants as vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly to make that distinction clear.
Hugo's Restaurant - vegetarian-friendly, 8401 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood 90069 12851 Riverside Drive, Studio City CA 91607, http://hugosrestaurant.com
With locations on both sides of the hill, Hugo's Restaurant is a great place to have a casual but fine dining experience. Hugo's has long been a place to go where you could find a commitment to healthy dining in all of its forms. Many of its foods are or can be produced vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free and Hugo's works to procure organic and sustainably sourced products. For breakfast I love their Go Green Frittata with just about every green you can imagine (chard, beet greens, kale, and spinach) as well as green vegetables such as broccolini, zucchini and asparagus. A healthy dose of garlic, olive oil and some quinoa for extra texture and protein makes this egg dish a sumptuous brunch feast. When I'm feeling like some "comfort food" their mac and cheese, with gorgonzola and parmesan, is the perfect indulgence, and their veggie burger and fries also does the job (ask for their Santa Fe vegenaise...it's the best!) But my favorite dish is their Tika Masala Vegetable Patties: a lighter take on my favorite Indian sauce, their tika masala has all of the warmth and exotic blend of flavors of a traditional tika masala, but without all the cream that usually accompanies this dish in Indian restaurants.
Vinh Loi Tofu, vegan, 18625 Sherman Way #101, Reseda CA 91335, http://www.vinhloitofu.com/
So the other day I was craving udon, and went searching on YELP for an answer to my craving. LUCKY for me, the highest rated location (4.5 stars with over 100 reviews) happened to be vegan, and thus was I introduced to Vin Loi Tofu. Now I don't personally eat a lot of tofu, I prefer to get my protein elsewhere, but if you like soy faux meats, then this is the place for you. Of all the faux meats that I tried at Vinh Loi - shrimp, scallop, chicken, beef, fish, sausage and BBQ duck - my favorite was the BBQ duck. I also thought the sausage and the scallop were excellent. The chicken and beef were a little too realistic looking for me and so I didn't care for them, but their look is an amazing facsimile. If you go there and are new to vegan or Vietnamese food, owner Kevin Tran will be happy to help you out. He pointed us in the right direction with their House Special Fried Rice, with faux sausage, scallop and BBQ duck, which was incredible. I could have licked the plate clean. Everything we had was excellently seasoned and very flavorful. The veggies for the noodle soups were super fresh, and Vinh Loi only uses non-GMO soy. If you have room left over be sure to try the tofu pudding with coconut milk, it was decadently rich and dreamy.