I never thought I would put words like “vegan” and “love” in a same sentence — being the hard-core carnivore that I am. But I’ll say it. I love vegan food! And I’ll say it again and again. I also love Ann Gentry’s Real Food Daily restaurant in West Hollywood for opening my cow-obsessed eyes to the infinite possibilities of fresh, organic, natural ingredients that make vegan dishes one of a kind.
My sister took me to this vegan joint she frequents, located a few blocks from the Beverly Center on restaurant-packed La Cienega. It was a Super Bowl Sunday and although neither of us are girly girls, we just don’t have much appreciation for football, so it was a perfect day for us to get out for a “healthy” day out — while the entire nation sat home and indulged in beer and junk food.
I love all kinds of vegetable and incorporate plenty of them in my daily meals but there was something very foreign and frightening about “vegan” food that completely omitted everything that once had a mother or a head. I was definitely intimidated to try non-dairy cheese and a tofu molded in a shape of a turkey (and mysteriously tasted like one). I wondered — how tasty can these creations be?
But may I just say … WOW. Everything I had was a touchdown – one of the best food I’ve had in months. My sister and I started out with a tall glass of spinach/celery/carrots/apple/ginger juice. At first, I wasn’t sure about the combination of putting vegetable in a drink. Yes, I’ve seen Jack LaLanne rave about how delicious these juices are (at 2:00 in a morning), but the idea of putting stinky celery and spinach in a juice sort of grossed me out. Well, I guess the good old Jack knew what he was talking about because the juice was smooth, refreshing and delicious. Sweet apples and spicy ginger mellowed out the strong scent and the aftertaste of celery. It was a pleasant surprise.
I ordered a Portobello Sandwich and although this was no different from a vegetarian sandwich you would order at regular restaurants as far as ingredients (Portobello mushroom, tomato, leafy greens and red onion), it was fresher, more flavorful and satisfying than anything I’ve tasted. The pesto spread made the sandwich out of this world.
My sister ordered a bowl of Fettuccini Alfredo with (non) meatballs. Believe it or not, the vegan version of the meatball was more dense and juicy than any of the ones I’ve had at Italian joints, and I absolutely could not believe they contained no meat products! She also ordered a side of kale, which was very simple but delicious nonetheless.
We ate so much but we didn’t feel gross at all. Because everything was made out of fresh, organic ingredients, we felt great for the rest of the day. I highly recommend this place to anyone who’s curious about vegan cooking, or anyone who just wants to experience an unbelievably delicious food that makes your body jump in joy.
Real Food Daily
414 N. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
P.S. We headed to Korean Spa after lunch and got our entire body scrubbed. We soaked in hot baths and sweated all the toxins out in steam rooms. Talk about a healthy day, I tell you … well, so we thought … until we went to Korean BBQ for dinner that night and put all the gunk back into our body!