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dineLA is an exciting 2-week dining event created by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitor Bureau (aka LA, INC) to introduce diners to hundreds of neighborhood restaurants throughout Los Angeles County. LA’s a huge county full of many great spots for food and drink. So, to help filter through over 300 participating restaurants, dineLA’s invited me to call out a few restaurants offering vegetarian dineLA menu items. I live in West Hollywood, so most of my recommendations are for spots in my area.

For dineLA, participating restaurants offer a fixed 3-course menu for lunch and/or dinner…a great way to taste popular dishes. If a restaurant offers only 1 or 2 vegetarian items on their dineLA menu, many will let you order just those vegetarian items, so do ask. You’ll also find a few vegan and almost raw items too.

With so many great dineLA restaurants, it was challenging to choose just 10! Here’s a few vegetarian items to look for. If you prefer vegan, ask to leave off the dairy. It’s that simple. Click each link below to view their dineLA menu:

  • Akasha - Chef Akasha and I share a similar outlook for living a life that’s eco green, treading lightly on our planet Earth. Her dinner menu includes a Black Kale Salad, Olive Oil Croutons, Sheep Cheese, Meyer Lemons Vinaigrette – I love kale for it’s texture, color, flavor, and potent nutrient profile. Meyer lemons have a sweeter, less acidic flavor that the more common store bought lemon varieties. Akasha’s desserts sound yummy too: Salted Caramel + Chocolate Fudge Sunday (sounds so gooey and decadent), Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and a Flourless Tiramisu (I always like to choose flourless as a  gluten-free option). Akasha is a sustainable business that was built using reclaimed materials, is lit with LED lights, and uses hemp material for their aprons.
    View Akasha’s menu
  • Bar + Kitchen - Located inside the O Hotel downtown LA, this spot has a wonderful ambience. For lunch, they’re offering a Watercress + Endive Salad with Pears, Maytag Blue Cheese, Walnuts, Honey Sherry Vinaigrette which sounds amazing as the sweetness of pears and the bitterness of endives pair well together. Also, a Roasted Mushroom Toast with fried egg and whole grain mustard. For dinner, they’re offering a Butternut Squash + Ginger Soup with Creme Fraiche and Spiced Pepitas (super seasonal), Farrotto (aka farro) with roasted broccoli, aged white cheddar, and crispy shallots. Farrotto mimics risotto, and is a thick and chewy whole grain similar to barley. Desserts are the same of lunch and dinner, choose between a Banana Pudding, Warm Chocolate + Peanut Butter Cake (peanut butter and chocolate, yum!), and Butterscotch Pot De Creme.
    View Bar + Kitchen menu
  • BLD - Owner and Chef Neal Fraser and I both had recipes featured in the Food + Wine Magazine’s Annual Cookbook, which was how I first discovered BLD, a great spot for comfort foods. BLD always offers vegan items on their daily menu. Vegetarian items on their dineLA dinner menu include a Roasted Carrot Soup; Grapefruit Salad with Fennel, Avocado, Pecorino Cheese, and Tangerine Vinaigrette; and a Butternut Squash Gnocchi. Now that’s an antioxidant and vitamin C blast from beta carotene, grapefruit, and tangerine…yum. Desserts include a Warm Monkey Bread with Bourbon Creme Anglaise (Monkey? I must figure out what this is, love monkeys!) and Banana Caramel Ice Cream, or a Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Parfait with Peanut Butter Pudding.
    View BLD menu
  • Lexington Social House - Owner Junella Chin is a fellow Cornell Alumni, and on their dinner menu they’re offering a Local Beet Salad with Tangerines, Pistachios, Arugula, Aged Goat Cheese, and Lemon or a Local Apple and Pomegranate Salad. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants for boosting our immune system for the winter months, a farmer once told me we should be eating a pomegranate daily for its vitamins and nutrients, to boost our overall health. So, the Apple Salad will help me eat more pomegranates! For the main, Parpardelle with Kale Pesto…love Kale! And dessert is a choice of Apple Tart, Monkey Bread (I’m year of the Monkey and love everything Monkey!), or Flourless Chocolate Souffle with and Almond Milk Cream (dairy-free, perhaps gluten-free too, nice!).
    View Lexington Social House menu
  • Loteria! Grill – Hollywood - Owner and Chef Jimmy Shaw tells me since most of his food is meat stock based, he is offering optional vegetarian/vegan sauces. For lunch, Esquites with corn, crema, guse anejo, onion, epazote, and chile; Chile Relleno De Quesillo O Picadillo (the red sauce has meat, so ask for the green tomatillo sauce that’s vegan); and desserts include Helado De Chocolate O Chongos, Guava Cheesecake, and Poached Pear. For dinner, he’s  offering a puree of Chile Poblano; an interesting Hibiscus Flower Salad that sounds beautiful; Ensalada De Milpa Asada; and 3 desserts to choose from including Crepes, a Rum Custard Ice Cream (recipe inspired by Nuns of the Convent of Santa Clara in Puebla, how intriguing); and the Guava Cheesecake.
    View Loteria! Grill – Hollywood menu
  • Penthouse at the Huntley - This is one of my favorite spaces as it sits at the top floor of the Huntley Hotel with amazing view of the ocean and Santa Monica. I’m forever grateful to Exec Chef Seth Greenburg for inviting me in to  spend the day with him in his kitchen teaching me his molecular gastronomy techniques. The lunch menu has several vegetarian items including a Romaine Hearts Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Lemon-Caper Dressing. I love capers, which are a pickled vegetable and a great source for probiotics that aide digestion. Spicy Tomato Capellini; and 3 desserts to choose from including a Chocolate Lava Cake, Creme Brulee, and Profiteroles.
    View Penthouse at the Huntley menu
  • Ray’s and Stark Bar - Bravo to Exec Chef Morningstar for being named Best New Restaurant 2011 by Esquire Magazine. Chef Morningstar has a garden where he grows some of his green and herbs behind the restaurant. Dinner items include Little Gem Lettuces, Truffled Rice Agnolotti with hen of the woods mushrooms and wild arugula, yummy; Aged Nantes Carrots; and choice of 2 desserts: Chocolate-Peppermint Mousse or Johah Gold Apple Crumble or Variations of this week’s market citrus. I was stoked when Morningstar told me his boss Master Chef Joachim Splichal gave him a copy of “Ani’s Raw Food Essentials” to use while designing recipes and menus for Google campus.
    View Ray’s and Stark Bar menu
  • RH at Andaz West Hollywood - I was taken to this restaurant recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that about a third of their menu is vegan, with a “V” denoting vegan items placed throughout their menu. For lunch, Vegetable Soup; Caesar Salad; Truffle Grilled Cheese with Fries (I love truffle anything!); Portabello Mushroom Burger with Fries; and an Agnolotti Pasta. For dinner, Vegetable Soup; Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata and baby arugula. Heirloom tomatoes have been open-pollinated, are not hybridized, and are not genetically modified. Truffle Risotto with wild mushrooms (I love mushrooms for flavor and they have been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine to boost immunity). For dessert, choose between Apple Tart or Chocolate Cake.
    View RH at Andaz West Hollywood menu
  • Simon LA - Owner and Exec Chef Simon is all about making his diners happy, and is super accommodating with substitutions and requests. So just ask to leave out the cheese or dairy if you’re looking for vegan. For lunch, Market Roasted Vegetable Kale Salad with Fennel Pollen and a Sherry Vinaigrette; Mascarpone Polenta; and 3 desserts: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Vietnamese Banana Creme Brulee, and House Made Kit Kat (omg, yum!). For dinner, Spinach Salad with dates, persimmon, blue cheese and a warm sherry vinaigrette. Desserts include Warm Goat Cheese on Toast with Frisee and toasted almond and citrus zests, Sea Salt Chocolate Pot De Creme, or a Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Blueberries.
    View Simon LA menu
  • Tar Pit - Chef Jason Fullilove (great last name!) has moved over from Campanille to revamp the Tar Pit menu, and is offering 2 vegan dishes on his dineLA dinner menu including a Terrine of roasted vegetables, caramelized kumquats, and plantains or a Pasta with winter root vegetables, roasted tomato, and bitter greens. Love kumquats this time of year for their tart flavor, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Choose from 3 desserts including Bandy Chocolate Cake, Bananas Foster topped with toasted marshmallow (whoa), and Apple Tart Tatin.
    View Tar Pit menu
:: Check out photos from the dineLA Kickoff Celebration at the W Hotel in Westwood last week with my Exec Chef friends.

Join the discussion on my Facebook page and at Twitter.
Watch my award-winning cooking shows on YouTube.

Download my free 2012 Healthy Jumpstart report with tips for recharging your immune system, nourishing your body, and boosting your metabolism at www.RawFoodRockStar.com.

 

 

dineLA Restaurant Week is a 2-week dining event created by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitor Bureau (aka LA, inc) to introduce diners to hundreds of neighborhood restaurants throughout Los Angeles County.

:: Check out my dineLA Vegetarian Roundup – my top 10 picks for restaurants who have vegetarian and even vegan items on their dineLA menus.

To celebrate, dineLA hosted a party at the W Hotel in Westwood last week on Jan 11th, 2012 with flowing scotch, champagne, beer, and wine. Though I’ve taken a break from drinking, I had to have just one scotch because it was Highland Park 12 year, neat with one ice cubes on the side please.

Chef Jason Fullilove from The Tar Pit has the best last name ever! He may look familiar because he was on the 1st episode of Chef Hunter on Food Network last month. Keep a look out, as he’ll soon be on Cooking Channel too. Finally, diversity on TV, yeah! Chef Jason’s food is yummy. For dineLA, you will find 2 vegan dishes on his vegetarian menu including a Roasted Vegetable TerrineWinter Root Vegetable Pasta, and a choice of 3 decadent desserts.

Executive Chef Chris Morningstar from Ray’s and Stark Bar, hailed by Esquire Magazine as “One of the best new restaurants of 2011″. Bravo Chef Chris! Chris and I first met while we were both preparing for our Test Kitchen dinners as Chris’ dinner was the night following my 2-nights of Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique. His menu was completely opposite mine….all animal products vs. my vegan raw. I get a kick out of the fact his last name, Morningstar….it’s the brand name of popular vegan and vegetarian breakfast sausages….though Chris’ expertise is with meat. Ray’s and Stark Bar is a Patina group restaurant, and I was super stoked when Chris told me his boss and Master Chef Joachim Splichal had given him a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials to use while creating menus and recipes for Google campus.

Exec Chef and owner Kerry Simon from Simon L.A. is offering several vegetarian items on his lunch and dinner dineLA menus including Market Roasted Vegetable Kale Salad, Fennel Pollen, Sherry Vinaigrette (I love kale!), Spinach Salad with Dates and Persimmon, plus desserts that look amazing like a House Made Kit Kat. Yum! Chef Kerry is very accommodating, is happy to let you order items from the dineLA menu, plus is fine with you making substitutions and requests. So just ask, and you shall receive!

dineLA asked artist Phil Lumbang to illustrate chef characters that were being silk screened onto canvas dineLA bags for everyone. What a fun idea, and very cool bag. Chef Chris Morningstar had a character screened onto his chef jacket, super cute!

Shana Wong (LA Magazine), William Karz (LA, inc), Shelley Leopold (LA Weekly), and I watching the screening of characters onto the canvas bags.

Our hostess Stacey Sun is red. She makes dineLA happen. Thanks Stacey! Excited to check out new restaurants beginning next week!

Join our discussion on my Facebook page and at Twitter.
Watch my award-winning cooking shows on YouTube.

Download my free 2012 Healthy Jumpstart report with tips for recharging your immune system, nourishing your body, and boosting your metabolism at www.RawFoodRockStar.com.

New Year’s Day 2012 I took a trip out to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl to help with the Donate Life float for the Rose Parade, which was on Jan 2nd this year. Donate Life is an amazing organization that raises awareness so we stick that pink dot onto our driver’s license, to help save lives by being an organ donor. My dad was a kidney recipient, so this organization rings very close to my heart.

This is the beautiful finished float. The folks sitting on it are the stars of the show…family members of donors from 2011. The stories I heard yesterday were so moving, and I broke into tears numerous times. One woman’s 9-year old daughter had gone to the hospital for an ear infection. The hospital misdiagnosed and mistreated her (not uncommon), and she died. Her mom was proud to share how her daughter lives on in others, literally, and that her daughter has saved many lives by being a donor. You can see the portraits of each donor on 6 clock faces, a total of 72 donors are honored.

My good friend Vicky is a ‘red jacket’ and one of the team leaders on this huge project. She’s been here working on the float for weeks from early morning until 11pm. A huge undertaking, whew.

We are all misting the flowers with water before the float is moved outdoors for judging. It was gorgeous in Pasadena, 80 degrees!

Everything on all of the floats in the Rose Parade are all organic! This means only living materials like flowers, leaves, seeds,…all put on by hand.

Look at this detail….mustard seeds painstakingly glued onto the surface. Wow.

Beans and flower petals have all been attached by hand.

This is the bed of roses underneath the clock with the moving hands at the front of the float.

Look closely and you can see each of these red roses has a wish tied onto them.

When the float moved outside into the sun, all the colors popped so brightly! You can see the driver of the float inside the open door. The driver can’t see a thing, and is guided by audio by someone outside the float.

At one point, everyone held hands in a circle around the float. It was very moving. And even the judges teared up and cried when they talked with the donor families and heard all the incredible stories. Today, I discovered (since I don’t have a TV to watch the parade myself) that our float won one of the top 3 trophies and the craftsmanship award for outstanding showmanship and dramatic impact over 55 feet! Yeah! I also heard that floats cost about a half a million dollars to build! Great exposure and for a wonderful cause.

This was one of the best, most memorable New Year Day’s of my life. What a way to spend the 1st day of the new year. Plus, I felt like it was in honor too of my dad, who was so very blessed to have had a kidney transplant, which helped extended his life another 10 or 12 years. I learned that a liver lives for 100 years, so even after someone passes from old age, a liver can be donated to help another person live. Amazing.

I’ve chosen to be an organ donor for as long as I can remember, and I hope you will also consider joining me in helping save lives so someone else may live one more day! For more information check out Donate Life.

 

 

 

 

This was the beautiful view of the rose gardens as we arrived at the NetKal Gala event….. gathering of Asian Americans in entertainment.

Styled by my favorite fashion designer Linda Loudermilk of all time, plus…she’s all about luxury eco! Makeup and hair by the best artist ever, Dorit Genazzani.

The beautiful Lisa Ling (Oprah Winfrey Network, Our America) and her husband Dr. Paul Song.

Bryan Tee from Fast and the Furious. I can count all of 2 Asian actors in film. At least they’re representing! Yeah.

From the TV show Dexter, actor C.S. Lee. Okay, this makes 2 Asian actors…one TV, one film, so far. I can think of one more Asian male from TV. Hopefully, you can too.

The NetKal Gala was held at USC at the Annenberg Center.

The event was catered by my friends at Good Gracious Catering. I met Pauline and Joanne at Sunset Magazine’s annual Celebration weekend event last spring, where I was invited along with Chef Rick Bayless (Frontera), Candace Nelson (Sprinkles), and Govind Armstrong (8oz Burger). So impressive they included vegan raw along side these TV celebrities.

The food was presented beautifully. And, my friends hooked me up with a vegan meal, of course!

Check out this space, there was a pool and water fountain in the center. It was cold that night though. The ladies were all freezing in their cocktail dresses. I had my coat on for dinner. Dinner was accompanied by performances by 3 Korean pop stars. Sort of made me giggle. USA and Korea entertainment is very different. An incredible event. And great conference the following day with discussions and inspiration for ways to encourage more diversity in the media. Some said it’ll take a few years. I’m not holding my breath though….

Thank you Nathan Nowack for these gorgeous photos. Please visit Nathan Nowack for more photos from this event.

 

The weekend before Halloween, Tami Erin and I went to Monster Massive in downtown LA. It’s a huge 40,000 person rave. I think it was probably the hugest party I’ve attended, and it was packed. I won’t bother posting up photos of the crowd, just imagine a sea of people dancing up a storm inside a huge sports arena.

You won’t normally find me at such a high energy event, but since Moby personally invited me, I wasn’t about to miss it. I have to admit, I had a great time. I love dancing, it’s one of my favorite pastimes, great exercise, and Moby rocked the house. I’ve never seen a DJ jump up onto the speakers to dance while spinning records. He had so much energy, a testament to his healthy vegan, whole food, and heavily raw food diet. Moby had the crowd going nuts, they loved him, as we all do.

I had the honor of leading Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals with founder Gene Baur in Santa Monica. You may remember I was invited during the summer to speak at the annual Hoe Down in Watkin’s Glenn, NY with China Study author Dr. Colin Campbell.

We kicked off the walk with talks by Gene and I. Kanga, my pooch, was happy to be a part of the Walk for Animals.

Tami Erin, who played Pipi Longstocking as a child, was our celebrity who came to show her support.

Gene, Tami, Kanga, and myself lead the walk. We covered about 3 miles north from City Hall through the 3rd street promenade. It was a beautiful sunny day, and tons of cars beeped to show their support as they were driving past.

The walk finished back at City Hall in Santa Monica, where Gene and I signed books. The lovely Jolia Allen and Moira Nordholt walked with us too. It was the largest turnout yet, with over 150 walkers.

moby and ani phyo raw food

Moby, one of my favorite musicians, was at the Skirball Cultural Center last night on tour speaking about his new book Gristle. It’s a compilation of 10 chapters on topics including health, environment, and government subsidies that make less healthy food cheaper and more accessible that healthier options. Moby’s got quite a sense of humor. He’s funny.

Moby co-edited Gristle with leading food policy activist Miyun Park, a spunky, tattooed, muscular, well spoken, Korean American beauty. Nice to see a strong Korean American woman who obviously tells it like it is, no holds bar.

Moby explained how he used to be one of those annoying, extremist vegans, and would irritate his family and friends. Today, he has compassion and understanding for people from all backgrounds and experiences. Rather than being militant about veganism, he recommended we lead by example by looking healthy and happy. I love his message, and share the same philosophy. We won’t win people over by making them feel bad, alienated, or wrong.

I was happy to be able to gift Moby with an early copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials, and Miyun with a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Desserts. ani phyo frances fisher

I met up with the lovely Frances Fisher, nominated in 1998 for her outstanding performance in the film the Titanic. Frances was sharing with me her story about her last Christmas event that was catered vegan. No one realized there was no meat served. That’s always the best way, when the food tastes so good, no one misses the meat!

I looked up Frances’ age (born 1952), and my goodness, she looks great! Obviously, her diet and lifestyle make her radiate with health and vitality.

The same crew where all there to see Moby as the past several days of vegan events: Brendan Brazier (contributor to Gristle, bravo!), Robert Cheeke, Jordan and Jolia Allen, Benny Chan, Kato Space, and many other friends. It was a great eve, and I’m realizing I need to get back to the Skirball to check out the exhibits during the day soon.

moira ani raw food vegan venice california

Sunday was the annual post Genesis Awards Vegan Lovers Brunch hosted by Chef Moira Nordholt and Ron at their lovely home on the beach in Venice.

The food was delicious, as always, and included a raw lasagna, raw cheeze filled endive boats, kale salad, green salad, sushi rolls, mac and cheese, and chocolate truffles, and many other delicious treats. One interesting item on the menu were these fiddlehead ferns.

fiddle head ferns

These ferns are only available 1 week each year at the farmers’ market. This was our lucky week to get to enjoy these unfurled fronds of the young fern. They look so interesting, and the taste reminded me of a Korean vegetable side dish.

It was a relaxing Sunday afternoon haven amidst the craze of the LA Marathon earlier that morning. We enjoyed great food and company including Lorri Bauston (Animal Acres), Elizabeth Castoria (VegNews Magazine), Jolia Allen (Vegetarian Times), Brendan Brazier (Vega), and Robert Cheeke (Vegan Body Building), to name a few.

Mayor Gavin Newsom at SF Green Festival last Saturday. It’s the largest green festival in the country. Mayor Newsom is a long time vegetarian.

The hall was packed for my talk on raw food desserts, nutrition, and overall well being. I demoed my famous Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake and Spiced Blueberry Cobbler, recipes from “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts”. There was a feeding frenzy over the sample tastes of the desserts, and they were delicious!

Read more about the SF Green Fest on VegNews Magazine’s blog.


Matthew Kenney’s done it again! This time in Oaklahoma City with his partner Dara Prentice. This amazing duo has opened the 1st accredited Culinary Academy for Raw Living Foods, along with a restaurant where you can enjoy Matthew’s amazing food.

Join me, Matthew, Dara, and other folks from our community on Oct 3, 2009 in OKC at 105Degrees for a day of talks, demos, dinner, and celebration!

•Philip McCluskey (weight loss)
•Karen Knowler (UK raw coach)
•Tim VanOrden (Running Raw Project)
•Anthony Anderson (raw model)
•Hope Ferdawsian (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)
•Courtney Pool (Tree of Life, Gabriel Cousens)
•Penni Shelton (raw coach)
If you’re anyplace near OKC on Oct 3rd, I hope to see you at this amazing celebration at 105Degrees.

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