And now for a brief programming break. Much as we love this town's glorious meat-driven cuisine, our cheese-thatched burgers and hand-pounded tortillas brimming with barbacoa and carne asada, our chefs with their penchant for nose-to-tail cuisine, sometimes we feel like lighter fare. Maybe even a whole lot lighter -- something absent the animals altogether.
You might consider going vegetarian or vegan for ethical, environmental or economic reasons, for one day a week or seven, for an evening or a few of them or even all of them. Regardless of your motivation, here are five more reasons.
5. It's a chance to outdo Mark Bittman
Whether or not you still get the hard copy of the Sunday New York Times, you read a lot of Mark Bittman's food pieces, you find yourself using his How to Cook Everything more than you'll ever admit (the bombastic title is surprisingly accurate), and you went along with him when he became a vegan. Or rather, when he became a vegan before 6 p.m. -- yes, the food writer famously decided that he would eat "mostly unprocessed plants before 6 p.m., and then whatever I want afterward. And, in answer to the most frequently asked question: Yes, I cheat."
Now you can go Bittman one further and become vegan at night, too. All you have to do is give up making his backyard bulgogi at midnight. (Maybe just go to bed really early?)
4. You're tired of blowing all your cash at Lindy and Grundy.
Much as you love your local butchers and the kitchen brigades of chefs who have been elevating the art of whole-animal cookery to levels not seen since Richard Olney strung up a whole lamb in his fireplace, you just can't afford another Berkshire pig. Nuts and grains may not have the Portlandia cachet of bone-in rib-eye, Kansas City steak or a huge rolled porchetta, but both your wallet and your cholesterol count require that you start eating those acorns yourself instead of feeding them to the pigs.
3. L.A.'s amazing vegan restaurants
If you think that vegan dining condemns you to a life of wilted salad, you haven't been getting out enough. Pull up a seat at Tal Ronnen's Melrose Avenue restaurant, Crossroads, and dine on crab cakes, veal scallopini and lasagne, made not with meat or seafood but with hearts of palm, chickpeas, seaweed, nut cheeses and other mysteriously orchestrated plant-based foods. It's stylish and smart, and dinner for two won't cost you nearly as much as a porterhouse at Cut. (See, again, #4.)
2. All those meat recalls
Sure, the government is back up and running (if you can call it that), but almost a month of sketchy oversight at the FDA hasn't helped consumer confidence in this country's food chain. Thousands of pounds of ground beef tainted with E. coli, chicken recalled for salmonella, chicken recalled for Listeria, more chicken recalled for more salmonella, arsenic in animal feed -- who'd have thought, a few thousand years ago, that eating animals would be more dangerous than actually catching and killing them?
1. If it's good enough for Hillary's husband, it's good enough for you.
Maybe you miss the '90s (no), or maybe you're looking ahead to 2016, when you've already got your ballot ready for Hillary. Either way, if embracing a vegan diet helped the future First Husband lose all that McDonald's weight, get in better shape and stay in his wife's good graces, then it's certainly worth a shot. If Bill Clinton can go from eating all that Iowa diner food to veggie burgers and almond milk smoothies and, God help us, whipped cauliflower, then anyone can.
See also: Top 10 Famous Vegans, 2012 Edition