Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday night, a friend (same friend with whom I saw Jack Johnson and ate at Native Foods) and I went to see Alanis Morissette play at The Orpheum Theatre in L.A. She put on an amazingly energetic performance and was very in tune with her audience.
Before the show, there was food!
While we intended to eat dinner at Shojin, a series of events (fortunate or unfortunate depending on your outlook) meant we couldn't actually find the restaurant. We were forced, instead, to head for the theatre and hope there was something vegan to eat in the area. I spotted a sign that said SipTea a couple doors down and thought there might be a decent chance of food there, so we walked in and I asked the woman behind the counter if there were vegan options. Lo and behold, there were 4 vegan menu items and multiple vegan desserts, plus soy or rice milk for the tea!
I ordered the Tofu Salad (from the menu: with heirloom tomatoes, green onion, and miso dressing (bonito flakes optional)). Let me tell you right off the bat that the menu at the restaurant did not say what the online menu says. There was no mention of bonito flakes on the menu, so thank goodness I made myself explicitly clear that I was vegan. Of course, I asked for no onion, and you can see from the photo that there was arugula included in the salad. The menu also omitted the fact that by tofu, it meant a half block of plain tofu with miso dressing on top. Now, thank goodness I'm far enough into my veganism that I can enjoy a plain block of tofu with a little miso dressing on top, but this is probably not a meal that an omni or a blossoming vegetarian would appreciate.
On top of it, my half block of tofu (which would have cost about 50 cents at Trader Joe's) cost $10.95! Oh, and when I asked for a roll so that I could at least make a sandwich out of my tofu, they charged us an extra $1 plus tax! So, a total of $12.03 for what would have essentially cost $1 to make at home. Cue the voice over: "A vegan meal two doors down from The Orpheum Theatre...priceless." All kidding aside, this was really a delicious meal that contained fresh ingredients and had clean flavors. The heirloom tomatoes were absolutely gorgeous, too.
Oh, let's not forget dessert! I convinced my buddy that we needed to try the Coconut-Lime Bar instead of the Pomegranate Cheesecake (both vegan, of course). I thought the dessert was ok, but there was something waxen about it. I could tell that it had a pureed date base, but I had a really hard time putting my finger on the waxy issue. It bothered me until late that night when I realized that it tasted like a Larabar, so that explains why it wasn't high on my list of desserts. The chai with soy milk I had was really lovely, though.
I feel like SipTea needs a disclaimer because it's only a month old. What I had there was enjoyable, the restaurant space was bright and cheerful, and they had a lot of customers in the hour we were there. I'd definitely go back and I think they can only improve. They already get big points for having so many vegan options for both meals and desserts. Give it a try and let me know what you think!