Vegan's Chronicles + [travel]

A Vegan Food Adventure in West LA (Westwood)

My sister is currently doing the UCLA extension program, so on Wednesday, I tagged along with her to Westwood to look around the area. For lunch we went to 'Native Foods' which is an all-vegan restaurant with several locations around California. When I was volunteering at the COOP Art Gallery at The Camp a few years ago (good times), I ate at the Native Foods in Costa Mesa, but I'd never been to the Westwood location. Compared to the one in Costa Mesa, this one was very small and cozy, with only a few tables on the 2nd floor, but there were still quite a lot of customers coming through. My sister and I shared the Portobello & Sausage Burger.

Here's the description of it from their website menu: "Big grilled beauties with seitan sausage, pommodoro, caramelized onions, vegan mayo, pesto and sweet roasted garlic." And oh my ggaa... what a beauty it was. I think I can safely say that this was THE best burger I have ever had in my life. Definitely the most memorable. It was sooo juicy and flavorful, dripping with pesto and olive oil dressing, and filled with marinated portobello mushrooms, this was one lust-worthy burger. Even my non-veg sister was in love with every bite.

We also ordered a "snack" plate of Chili Fries, which ended up being more like another huuuge entree. They were really good too, sprinkled with spices and covered with chili beans. Perfect for satisfying the 'fat' craving. yum!!

And finally, just for fun, we tested their 'Sam's Native Cheesecake' made with tofu and berries on the side. It was decent, but it could've had a little more texture to it, and it also had a slight weird flowery, lotion-ish aftertaste. I've heard that the desserts at Native Foods are lacking, and I guess this cheesecake experience somewhat reinforced that rumor. But the previous two dishes were so awesome that this last flop didn't bother me too much. I still love Native Foods and wish I could eat there every day! I know I will be craving that Portobello & Sausage Burger for a long time to come.

After lunch we went across the street to 'Novel Cafe' and had me some English breakfast tea with soymilk. I love that I can go to practically any cafe here and they will have soymilk available.

Next, after my sister went to her class, I walked around the neighborhood, went to 'Whole Foods' supermarket, and also strolled through the Farmer's Market that was set up (every Wednesday). It was such a great afternoon, I sat on one of the benches, read my book, and listened to a nice-looking guy singing some soulful tunes.

Next stop, 'Pizza Fusion' at Santa Monica. This vacation, if I didn't do anything else, I was determined to eat vegan pizza made by someone other than me, and with vegan cheese. So after checking out some suggestions from Quarry Girl's blog, we decided Pizza Fusion would be our best option. This place isn't 100% vegan, but their menu does say that they can substitute cheese with soy cheese for any pizza- amazing!

To start, we got their basic 'Fusion Salad' dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. It was super fresh and healthy. :)

But enough talk about the salad... . let's talk about their pizza! The Farmer's Market signature pizza: "A farmer's medley of roasted artichoke hearts, red onion, roasted zucchini and roasted Portobello with tomato sauce, and [vegan cheese]." We also picked a whole grain crust over a regular crust.

The verdict: mind-blowingly delicious. I've only tasted vegan cheese once before, and that time I wasn't too thrilled, but the cheese they used here was amazing. It was melty and, in my opinion, exuded an impressive cheesy flavor! The texture was slightly more creamy rather than stringy/chewy, but I really couldn't give a hoot about that. I was just over the moon about my vegan pizza. Seriously, Korea needs to get with the program and start a vegan pizza restaurant, or at least import some good vegan cheese! Oh, and we got the 'personal size' that was actually perfect for my sister and I to share. I miss Pizza Fusion already.