Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day, when non-animal eaters tout the benefits and compassion of plant-based and man-made food consumption. It’s a relatively new thing in terms of “days.” It was established in 1994 by the Vegan Society in the U.K., which spearheaded the movement on a larger scale, and had been around for 50 years. The organization also is credited with creating the terms "vegan" and “veganism.” The group’s leader at the time said he chose Nov. 1 because he wanted to coincide with Halloween and Day of the Dead, when people do a lot of feasting.
Makes sense. After a few weeks of confection-crammed party tables touting deviled eggs, toothpick meatballs and creamy dips, not to mention Hershey’s minis and booze (boos!), post-Halloween is a time many of us start to think about cleaner eating. Cutting out beef, pork, chicken and even fish is one thing, but dairy, too? For most of us it’s a daunting idea. Or is it? There’s a lot to choose from in terms of fruits, veggies and grains, and there are more meat and milk substitutes available than ever.
Going out to eat, especially in L.A., offers lots of tasty options. Here are a couple of suggestions and special promos to get you in and trying veganism today — and maybe for all your days, if you're so inclined. World Vegan Day turned into World Vegan Month at some point, so if you like the experience you may even want to start looking at Tofurky for Thanksgiving, and beyond.
Tattoo artist and beauty mogul Kat Von D has been supporting the vegan lifestyle for several years via her 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free makeup products. Launched in 2008, the brand’s products have always been cruelty-free, but in 2016 it committed to changing all of its formulas to align with “vegan values.” This year the Los Angeles native is increasing her efforts to promote a global understanding of eating this way, both locally and internationally.
Starting today, the brand is offering a series of promotions at all the hottest vegan restaurants in L.A. including Crossroads Kitchen, the award-winning Mediterranean-driven vegan restaurant, and Gracias Madre, West Hollywood's hot vegan Mexico kitchen, both of which will be giving away Von D's popular liquid lipsticks; and Little Pine, known for flavorful vegan comfort food, which will be participating in a contest.
Check out KVD Beauty’s additional promos with Crossroads via the restaurant's Instagram (a giveaway of Kat Von D Beauty products, a fine-dining experience for two and a copy of The Crossroads Cookbook signed by chef Tal Ronnen) and Gracias Madre's Instagram (those who dine there today can enter to win a meal for two and a prize pack of lip essentials) plus promos with Peta, Peta Latino and via KVD Beauty's own Instagram. Use the hastag #KVBDxVEGAN for everything.
Crossroads, 8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 782-9245, crossroadskitchen.com/menu
Gracias Madre, 8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 978-2170, graciasmadreweho.com
Little Pine, 2870 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake; (323) 741-8148, littlepinerestaurant.com.
Vegan food drive
Veg Out Los Angeles has teamed up with several L.A. vegan restaurants and the Los Angeles Food Bank to host a food drive all month long. Their goal is to pack the food bank with vegan food by encouraging Angelenos to drop off vegan nonperishables at all participating restaurants in November. The donation gets you a 10 percent discount at the following locations: Doomie’s NextMex, Bodhi Bowl, Cinnaholic and Cosmic Brewery. Cocobella Creamery offers a free basic topping with your order. Other eateries will have L.A. Food Bank collection bins, too. See the full list at Vegoutla.com and its Instagram. Temember to tag your photos #vegoutla and #vegoutfooddrive — let’s see how much vegan food we can collect!
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Chicas Taco’s, known for its zesty Mexican menu developed by James Beard Award–nominated executive chef Eduardo Ruiz (recently named one of Zagat Los Angeles’ 30 Under 30), has developed a new menu featuring thoughtfully crafted vegan options, just in time for World Vegan Day. Using locally sourced and organic veggies with all his dishes, Ruiz's Alta California style blends authentic flavors and bold blends. The vegan menu includes a vegan jackfruit taco (sautéed jackfruit, avocado cashew crema, cherry tomato pico de gallo and cilantro on corn tortilla), a vegan queso (rich, creamy vegan queso made with an all-vegetable base, without nuts, and served with pickled veggies and chips), and vegan horchata (a rich, creamy vegan horchata with a hint of coconut). 728 Olive St., downtown; (213) 896-0373, chicastacos.com.