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Adventures in Veganism: Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant in Baldwin Hills

Quesadilla at Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant
Quesadilla at Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant
Hope Lee

Whether it's dating or menus, there's no greater two-word combination than "Mexican vegan," which means the food at Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant doesn't have to try too hard to make up for the eatery's unfortunate location, confusing website and misleading name.

Fortunately, Olga's doesn't rest on its two-word catchphrase. Instead, the food is tasty and the portions are massive. And size matters, which might explain why the quesadilla - -  served with vegan cheese, black beans, corn and tomato - is a meal unto itself. Seriously, it's nearly half the size of a 12-inch vinyl record,  AND it comes with chips, salsa, a small salad and guacamole.

The wrap at Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant
The wrap at Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant
Hope Lee

The vegan Baja chicken wrap might not be as large as the quesadilla, but remember: It's not how large your wrap is, it's how many roasted veggies you can fit into it. Or something like that. Stuffed with corn, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, greens, black beans, faux chicken and garlic chipotle sauce, this dish epitomizes Olga's long, slightly confusing name in that it tastes like traditional Mexican food but also feels like something you'd get at a vegan restaurant.

The tomato tortilla might have something to do with that. Or maybe it's the grill lines on the fake chicken and the roasted vegetables that smell almost better than they taste. Whatever the case, it's pretty great. However, whose idea was it to cut a wrap into three pieces? Is this person unaware of what happens to the middle portion of a wrap that isn't, you know, wrapped?

As far as salads go, the Madre Tierra salad - organic kale, organic spinach, organic greens, chunks of green apple, organic celery, sun-dried cranberries and a side of sugar-free golden balsamic vinaigrette  - is light, healthy and tasty. The apple chunks add a nice touch of sweet while the dressing isn't overpowering. Sure, it's no quesadilla grande, but what is?

Still, there are those pesky issues. First, the eatery is close enough to a Taco Bell that you could throw a baseball and break a window. Not that you should, but you could. Just a thought, but if you're opening a Mexican restaurant, perhaps you might consider a storefront not within clear view of a corporate entity serving the same cuisine as your business (OK, calling Taco Bell "Mexican cuisine" is a stretch, but still).

Second, the website appears to be for another Olga's. But maybe it isn't. There's a picture of a couple standing in front of a location that definitely isn't the La Cienega restaurant, while the logo at Olga's, although similar, is not the same as the one on the site. But the address is the same and there's plenty of mention of vegan options. Estas confundido?

Third, and most importantly, is the name. When you hear or read "Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant," you assume certain things. One of these things is that the restaurant is 100 percent vegan. Because you don't often encounter meat-serving restaurants with the term "vegan restaurant" in their names. But Olga's does serve meat. And plenty of it.

Unfortunate location, confusing website and misleading name aside, Olga's will satisfy anyone looking for good Mexican vegan food. Sadly, finding a Mexican vegan to date is up to you.

See also: Adventures in Veganism: Tony's Darts Away


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Olga's Naturally Mexican Vegan Restaurant

3560 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

323-965-0269


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