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Adventures in Veganism

4 Courses to Make an Excellent Vegan Meal For Earth Day

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Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge Crab cakes from Crossroads - CROSSROADS
  • Crossroads
  • Crab cakes from Crossroads
On paper, Earth Day sounds awesome. For example, planting trees, speaking to elementary school classrooms about the benefits of recycling, cleaning up the beach and riding a bicycle to work are all great ways to help save our planet. Unfortunately, all those things suck. 

What doesn't suck but still helps the environment is eating vegan, which reduces pollution (both air and water), prevents rainforest destruction and cuts down on harmful greenhouse gases. Even better, you can leave the bike in the garage, meaning you won't show up to work drenched in sweat. That's called a "win-win situation." 

Celebrated every April 22 since 1970, Earth Day is a global event highlighting environmental issues that cause harm to the planet. More than 190 countries participate in the festivities, which often include ways for people to make positive changes to their lives in order to protect, save and preserve Earth. Which, admittedly, doesn't suck but is not as much fun as eating and drinking.

Here, then, is a suggestion for four-courses (yes, booze is a course) you can eat in order to do your part for Earth Day without having to get your hands dirty. 
click to enlarge Vegan Cobb - STEVE GIFFORD
  • Steve Gifford
  • Vegan Cobb
Appetizer: Vegan Cobb from Swingers
You go to Swingers because the waitresses are gorgeous, because the menu has pictures of Wilt Chamberlain, Kool-Aid Man and Iggy Pop, because it's 2:30 a.m. and you're drunk and because the girls sitting next to you and your friend are too cool to care that he used to be in Nine Inch Nails. You also go to Swingers because the vegan Cobb salad is one of the best salads in the city. Made with organic mixed baby greens, avocado, tomato, sauteed tofu, fake cheese, carrots and crispy onions and topped with tahini-dill dressing, you'll appreciate this staple of American cuisine because of its simplicity. 8020 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-653-5858.

click to enlarge Crab cakes from Crossroads - CROSSROADS
  • Crossroads
  • Crab cakes from Crossroads
Entree: Crab Cakes from Crossroads 
According to chef Tal Ronnen, the crab cakes at Crossroads are made from hearts of palm braised in Kombu seaweed, then pulsed in a food processor, which creates a texture similar to lump crab meat. Then they are blended with chickpeas, seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning and breaded with Panko. That might sound like a foreign language to the average eater (present company included), so allow me to translate: The crab cakes are Los Angeles' undisputed heavyweight champion of faux seafood meals and you'd be a damn fool not to eat them on Earth Day. Or any day.  8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-782-9245. 

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