Vegetarian and Vegan Cuisine in Pasdena and the Westside.
I’m not a vegetarian, but I am sensitive to the needs to real Vegetarians and Vegans. They need a place to grub down like anybody else, and from what I hear (again, not a Vegetarian) Real Food Daily is where a lot of them choose to do it.
First off, Real Food Daily is a nice place. It’s not a hole-in-the-wall, off-the-beaten-path kind of a place. No, no, no. It’s nice. It’s just a couple of blocks from the Beverly Center and Cedars Sinai. It looks like a place you could, and should, hang out on a Friday Night with your…well, non-meat eating friends. Second, the food is decently tasty…decently. I mean, for me, there isn’t anything on the menu that couldn’t be helped by the addition of copious amounts of animal protein, but I know that’s not the point. The mission is to give you the great taste of the dishes you love, without the guilt or shame of eating meat.
Do they succeed? Well, it’s kind of a hit or miss affair for me, the non-vegetarian. My thing is always going to be about taste and flavor. Too many times, Vegetarians seem willing to grade their food on a curve, sacrificing flavor in service to their ideals. For me, Real Food Daily bent in that direction. The flavors totally do not suck, but I’ve had vegetarian cuisine where the food tasted like sunshine, instead of tasting like…well, vegetarian food.
Well, I don’t have to make that bet. Besides that, I’ve been to Indian restaurants and Chinese restaurants with full-throated, sock-you-in-the-face tasty Vegetarian dishes that made you want to come back for more. I’ve had Vegetarian food that made you openly question my meat-eating lifestyle, and wonder where this food has been all my life. Real Food Daily? Well…
I tried their Mexican-style Tacos, and it was…I hate to say, an average Taco. Not a bad Taco, by any sense, but not a great one either. After having it, did I want to give up La Serenata for anything they’re serving? Hell no.
So, I guess that really boils down my experience at Real Food Daily. Is it a fave for Vegetarians? Yes. Will you survive going there if you’re not a vegetarian? Yes. Should you go out of your way to try it? If you’re a Vegan or Vegetarian, hell yes. If you’re not…
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Like I said, the Tacos were only okay. Now mind you, the Tacos I had were on special. I doubt I would have fared much better with the Tac-o The Town, which is Corn tortillas, seasoned Seitan (??), onions, peppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream, Spanish rice and black beans.
What is Seitan? Well, according to Wikipedia, it’s a kind of Wheat gluten, made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving an elastic mass, which is then cooked before being eaten. Wheat gluten is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu.
Your experience may vary. I will say that the Agave Sweetened Sodas, particularly the Ginger Ale. Very nice.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I got to admit part of me wasn’t too cool with the fact that they used an Almond purée in their sauces, and didn’t make it clear they were doing so on the menu. Now, I’ve got a Peanut allergy, and I tend to avoid nuts in general as a result. I ate the food, felt fine afterward, and generally don’t suffer ill effects from almonds in my food, but I don’t think it was too cool for me warned by the party I was with about the Almonds and not the restaurant.
West Hollywood: Valet parking is available after 6 p.m., and there is two hour free parking on the side streets during the day.