Crossroads Los Angeles

 Crossroads

8284 Melrose Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323) 782 – 9245

Atmosphere:  As you walk into Crossroads, the motif is what first grabs your attention! Chandeliers, dark wood accents, cathedral ceilings, and crisp white linens create a sophisticated and upscale environment with a just a touch of mystery. The hostess quickly asks “Do you have a reservation?”, which of course, I did not. Nonetheless, my boyfriend and I were seated quickly at a small table with a chair on one side and a long, wooden booth that ran the length of the entire dining area.

It seemed clear that there were many visitors like myself… those interested in vegan food  in general, and those wanting to try out the Impossible Burger, like the couple sitting next to us. When I looked up, I couldnt help but notice that Kat Von D was there. Quietly dining and keeping to herself. I liked her even before my vegan days (way before hers), but I couldnt bring myself to even wave. She was just there to eat some great food, afterall.

Food: The Weekday Lunch Menu includes Sandwiches and Hotplates, Cold Plates, Soups and Sides, as well as a selection of milkshakes, alcoholic drinks, coffees, teas, and others like kombucha and lemonade. I knew that I had to order the Chicken & Waffles ($14.00 USD) which consisted of “fried chicken, waffles, and warm maple hot sauce.”

The Chicken & Waffles arrived to the table quickly. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was going to change after I took my first bite! The fried chicken was… CHICKEN?! The taste, texture, and smell were the absolute closest plant-based meat product that I have EVER had! The breading was light and fried to perfection with hints of black pepper and herbs. The maple hot sauce BLEW MY MIND! I’m not the biggest hot sauce fan, but somehow the warm maple syrup blended in perfect ratio with the hot sauce amped up the chicken even higher! The waffles were tender and chewy with just the right amount of crispiness. I honestly have no idea how they did this, I just know that I want more!!!

Midway through the meal, I decided to order the Mac and Cheese ($6.00 USD) I mean, I was at Crossroads, can you blame me? Let me tell you, it was absolutely outstanding. The pasta was cooked to pefection (slightly al dente) and the cheese sauce was thin and mild. It tasted to me like a blend of American Cheese with a hint of Cheddar. Salty parm was sprinkled on top, which only brought out the delcious cheese flavors. UGH. I give this Mac and Cheese a million stars!

Dig it OR Ditch it?

If you’ve made it to this point, you can guess that Crossroads is an absolute DIG IT! The ambience, service, and mind-blowingly delicious food truly created a unique and fantastic experience! If I lived in LA, I would be there as much as possible. Who am I kidding, I would probably be there every damn day and camp out in front so I could be served first. Crossroads has truly opened my eyes as to how fabulous vegan food can be. That is saying a lot since I’ve had more than my fair share! My boyfriend is not vegan, and raved about this place as much as I did. This would be the perfect place to take skeptics and those that are considering veganism, to show them that they can have food even BETTER than they are used to.   If you have the opportunity, PLEASE go here. You will regret it if you don’t!

 

 

Nine Mile West

Location:  

Nine Mile West

751 Haywood Road

Asheville, North Carolina 28806

Atmosphere: This vegetarian/vegan spot is right in the middle of trendy, casual West Asheville, and serves up “Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, a handful of traditional pasta dishes, daily specials, and an array of locally made desserts.” As with most Asheville restaurants, they offer locally made microbrews and seasonal wines as well.  This place is super laid back and casual, with Bob Marley providing the sound track for your meal.

Food: Check out their large menu of Caribbean meals here

I ordered the “Jamaican Me Crazy” meal with jerk tofu. The red curry/coconut sauce gave the dish a sweet and smoky flavor which was lightened up with veggies, including; red peppers, roasted tomatoes, red cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, and green onion. The jerk tofu added protein and heartiness, and the fluffy basmati rice soaked up all of the flavors perfectly. 2 big pieces of their wonderful, overly-garlicked (I may have made that word up, but it works) “Natty Bread” rounded out the healthy, filling, and flavorful lunch.


DIG it or DITCH it?

DIG IT! Check this place out if you like Carribean flavors, laid back vibes, and locally made spirits.  There are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and raw options… So there’s something for everyone. One Love! ❤️

The Green Cat Juice Bar and Market

Location:

3801 Pacific Ave.

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

website

Atmosphere: Go put on a pair of (vegan) Birkenstocks, download The Doors Greatest Hits from iTunes, and roll up a fat… lettuce wrap on your way to the oceanfront.  This small restaurant/shop channels the hungry souls of Hendrix and Joplin, all while serving you a $9 smoothie.  The front end of the store sells vegan leather bags, jewelry, stationary, and other souvenirs. The restaurant’s menu is all vegan and organic, making ordering a simple task… or so I thought.  With a multitude of smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, oatmeal options, and soups to choose from, I appreciated the friendly suggestions from the counter girl.  This place has windows throughout, so there’s  no shortage of sunshine… which adds to the overall relaxing and cheerful vibes.  There is patio section, with even more sunlight, and a small green house (What exactly are you growing in there, huh?)

Food:

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After deliberating  for quite some time, I decided on the “Sippin’ on Zen” smoothie, for $9.00 (no, that is not a typo), and the “No Chicken” Salad for $12.00. The smoothie was thick, flavorful, and an absolute treat.   Bananas, strawberries, almond milk, and agave made it sweet and fresh, while almond butter gave it a rich, smooth texture and taste.

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The salad was interesting. It was everything that you would find in a traditional chicken salad… like onion, tomato, celery, pepper, carrots, broccoli, and it even had raisins… only with no chicken. I was expecting a meat alternative to be in it, and I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of throwing sweet fruit into mixtures of savory ingredients. However,  the mix of the sweet raisins and savory vegetables in a creamy cashew dill dressing was actually pretty pleasant.  It was crunchy, tangy, and sweet… not at all what I expected, but shockingly good.

DIG IT OR DITCH IT?

For the hippy vibes, the fresh all vegan menu, and the overall groovy atmosphere of this place, I’ll say that there is vegan treasure here! I DIG IT! While this place is expensive, it wouldn’t be a daily (or even weekly) stop on my list… but for a fun, healthy spot to hit up while vacationing or hanging on the beach, this place is perfect.  Dab on some patchouli, dig out that tie dye t-shirt you made in 4th grade summer camp, and get your little hippie butt to The Green Cat and let me know what you liked best!

Yorgo’s Bageldashery

Location:

2123 Colonial Ave.

Norfolk, Virginia

Yorgosbageldashery.com

Atmosphere:

Laid-back, super casual, college-y vibes set the tone of this bagel shop.  With a constant steady flow of people in and out, you might guess that this place was the only source of food for miles. What could be so good about this place?!?

Then, I saw it.

I stared at the menu in absolute shock and awe. More than one or two vegan options?! Is this real life?

I’m talking vegan egg, sausage, and cheese on freshly made bagels, philly cheese steaks, BLTs, Italian hoagies, BBQ chiken, breakfast wraps, and more!

(Side note: Check out this mural on the wall!)


Food:

I managed to snap out of my menu induced trance, and ordered the egg, sausage and cheese on an everything bagel ($5.25), pictured below.


The bagel was absolutely perfect. Soft and chewy with a nice onion flavor. The house-made sausage had a spot-on texture with pleasant understated spiciness. The tofu eggs added substance to the sandwich, and the flavor and texture were true-to-the-real thing. The cheese was cheddar Daiya, and its creaminess and sharp flavor paired nicely with the spicy sausage.

Did I stop there? Nope. I ordered a breakfast wrap called “The Peterson” to take home.  It had hashbrowns, tofu scramble, onions, sausage, and cheese wrapped up in a wheat tortilla. ($6.75)


This wrap was outstanding. Substantial, flavorful, and fresh, pair this with a strong cup of coffee and its the perfect breakfast.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?!

DIG IT! There is vegan treasure here!!! So many vegan options, it’s absolutely a place you could visit often and never get bored.  Great prices, fresh ingredients, and quick, friendly service makes this place hard to beat.  They even have vegan cream cheeses and other treats for sale.  I will be visiting this place many, many more times to try all that Yorgo’s has to offer. I’m hungry already! 

Java Surf Café and Espresso Bar

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Location:

Java Surf Café and Espresso Bar

301 25th Street

Virginia Beach, VA

757.963.6600

Atmosphere:

This is a quirky little coffee and sandwich spot located in a strip mall.  With outdoor seating, a chill surfer motif, and plenty of seasonal menu items to choose from, it’s no wonder why this seems to be a favorite of local hipsters and tourists. You’ll always know when a certain employee is around because evidently he failed the oh-so-important “indoor voices” challenge in 1st grade, and still seems to struggle to master that lesson.  Nonetheless, there’s free wifi, so just bring your headphones and let some Fleetwood Foxes drown that guy out.

Food:

Almond and soy milk are in the building for coffees and lattés. Woo hoo! I’m always grateful for establishments that cater to my raging coffee addiction. I actually ordered 2 iced lattes, coconut and vanilla for $4 a pop. They were smooth, sweet, flavorful, and strong.  What more could you ask for in an iced latté?

There was only 1 menu item that was specifically labelled as vegan… So I got it for $9. The “Chicken Avocado Panini” was pretty damn good! As you can tell from the picture, they didn’t skimp on the avocado (and you didn’t have to hear them say “Guac is extra, is that OK?”).  I believe the chiken was Gardien. It was cooked perfectly and had a nice grilled flavor. The combo of the fresh avo, tomato, seasoned chiken, and the bakery quality bread, made this a home run for sure.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

Dig it!  The relaxed, friendly atmosphere, along with awesome coffee and quality ingredients, makes this place a winner.  The waitress let me know that they can veganize just about any of the menu items, so I’m going back for sure! Now put on some sunglasses and practice your best surfer-stoner accent, and head on over! Order a coffee for me, dude!