Dear Mr. Gold:
I’m going on 10 years of vegetarianism, but as a lifelong Angeleno, I’ve exhausted all my favorite vegetarian restaurants on the Eastside. I’m tired of the pop-up vegan Thai spots in Silver Lake and Hollywood. I’ve eaten enough sloppy-joe bruschettas at Fatty’s in Eagle Rock to last me a lifetime — same with the food at Elf on Sunset, Pure Luck on Heliotrope, Happy Family, India Sweets and Spices, Leonore’s vegetarian Mexican in the Valley, and even M Cafe. The list goes on. Can you recommend some good veggie food on the Eastside for a hungry girl who hates to drive farther west than Highland?
—Sarah Wang, Highland Park
Dear Ms. Wang:
You’ve pretty much exhausted the places I usually tell people about — maybe you should be telling me about vegetarian restaurants. I’m not a fan of the new vegan Thai places, but the venerable Mae Ploy is pretty good about having a separate vegan section to the menu — most Thai places will just load you up with fish sauce and not tell you about it. I suspect the few vegetarian dishes at Vietnamese-light places like Gingergrass and Blue Hen aren’t enough for you. Paru has competent southern Indian cooking, but I’m sure you know that; the nearest truly wonderful Indian vegetarian restaurant is probably Woodlands, way out in Northridge. Larkin’s, recently reviewed, is vegetarian-friendly: The chef was a vegetarian for several years, and the menu has a lot of non-meaty food, even vegetarian sausage at brunch. Tiara, Fred Eric’s restaurant in the Fashion District, always has vegan options: bubble bread, grilled seitan salad, chickpea fritters, etc. It’s out of your range, but vegan friends go on and on about Madeline Bistro in Tarzana. And, of course, there are all the Middle Eastern restaurants — Marouch is my favorite, but also Carousel, Carnival, Arax, Elena’s — which have so many delicious meze dishes that happen to be vegan.