What good is a guide to a city if it doesn’t come from the locals themselves? In abillion’s city guide series, we speak to abillion members, asking for their recommendations to their home towns. Our first guide comes to us from Los Angeles resident Asher Brown, abillion member, entrepreneur, filmmaker, and social activist.
Brown has lived in LA for 15 years and has been a vegan since he was nine. “Going vegan is the easiest, simplest, fastest way that we can make an impact on the lives of animals and the health of our planet. I’ve been on a lifelong journey to make food and product choices that reflect my values and make a positive impact on the world,” says Brown.
Must-try vegan restaurants
Sage Vegan Bistro
Sage is a plant-based restaurant offering a mix of American and Mexican classics: burritos, tacos, pizza, burgers, weekend brunch and more. They have four outlets in California. Sage also donates plant-based meals to underprivileged children, homeless shelters, seniors and centers in marginalized communities.
Vinh Loi Tofu
Located in Reseda’s Kafco Plaza, 19-year-old Vinh Loi Tofus takes authentic Vietnamese classic dishes and makes them plant-based. The all-vegan menu features unique dishes like lemongrass duck rolls, fried tofu salad, and doughnut sliders. If you’re looking for comfort food, this restaurant offers some of the best soups and noodles.
Photo of Kevin Fried Rice by @coolcuisine from Vinh Loi Tofu.
Brown highly recommends this Santa Monica Blvd restaurant. The dish to get is their Cauliflower Wings—battered and deep-fried cauliflower coated in golden BBQ, buffalo, and mango habanero sauce. To justify its name, Jackfruit Cafe offers several jackfruit-based dishes, including BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich, Jackfruit Bowl, Korean Jackfruit Taco and even a Jackfruit Smoothie made with ripe jackfruit, dates, plantain and coconut milk.
V Tree is owned and run by celebrity chef and soul food oracle Chef Velvet Jacobs. She is also the co-Founder of “Vegan in the Hood,” a global program that teaches underserved communities the importance of community gardens, self-sustainability, and the life benefits of a healthy diet.
Chef Velvet’s specialty includes ‘African Peanut Stew,’ which is a creamy, hearty stew filled with onions, celery, and plenty of traditional spices; Krab Cake Sandwich made with lots of veggies, textures, tons of flavor served on lettuce with tomato and a toasted bun; and her version ‘Black-eyed Peas’ house-made savory black-eyed peas seasoned perfectly served cornbread.
Photo of Calabrese by @maxwagner from Pura Vita.
If biodynamic wines, plant-based Italian dishes and charming ambiance is your thing, then Pura Vita is the perfect place for you. Located in West Hollywood, it was actually the first 100% plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar in the country. Pura Vita has the ambiance of a New York City wine bar with a traditional menu reflecting the best of Southern Italy. Pura Vita also has a vegan pizzeria, located right next to their main restaurant in Hollywood. The pizzeria offers 100% plant-based Neapolitan-style pizzas made from scratch. A third location at Redondo Beach offers traditional pasta and Neapolitan pizzas with beachfront outdoor dining and sunset views.
Real Food Daily
Real Food Daily has two locations, one in Pasadena and the other in Los Angeles International Airport (post-security) in the departure level food court. The latter is Asher’s personal favorite stop before a flight at LAX. Real Food Daily has a healthy menu that includes breakfast pizzas and calzones. Their sweet treats are just as good. Do try their petite vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting.
Photo of Asher Brown trying a sandwich from Glowing Juices.