Friday, January 31, 2014
One of my omnivorous colleagues has taken an interest in my veganism. It's amusing because our first conversation was him asking me where I live and then suggesting a ribs place in my neighborhood, to which I had to answer, "I'm vegan." Since then, he has purchased stock in Tofutti and somehow, of all places near our office, found LYFE Kitchen. We went for lunch last Friday.
I'm a little baffled by omnivorous LYFE Kitchen. When it was in its initial phase a couple years ago, I read a lot about it on VegNews and in other sources. It seems obvious that the intention is to showcase Gardein and compete with Veggie Grill (even LYFE's interior is very similar to Veggie Grill's color scheme). Chefs Tal Ronnen (of Crossroads) and Art Smith (he's worked with Oprah) are behind the chain, which led me to think it'd have a lot of publicity. Despite all this, I didn't hear or read a word about the restaurant opening in Culver City last March. None of my vegan friends have mentioned it in person or via social media. Perhaps the all-vegan Native Foods directly across the street is more appealing?
This Ginger Mint Chia drink (filtered water infused with ginger, lime, mint, strawberries, and chia seeds) was so good that I'm going to recreate it at home. I love that it was naturally sweet and full of nutrient-rich ingredients.
The Crispy Gardein Chicken Sandwich (shishito pepper relish, organic romaine, chipotle aioli on a nine-grain bun) was pretty good. In all honesty, the equivalent sandwich at Veggie Grill is much better. I was expecting it to be spicy and it was mild, although I did like the shishito pepper relish as a flavorful touch with a tiny bit of smoky heat. The kale side salad was fresh with a delicious, lemony vinaigrette. We also shared the sweet potato fries in the background.
There are a couple other menu items that look interesting, such as the Tofu Tacos and Gardein Sausage and Daiya Mozzarella Ravioli. I can't say I'll be back anytime soon, with all the other vegan options we have in LA, but I'm happy to have had the experience and I'll always welcome a new vegan-friendly restaurant into the mix.