Category Archives: Mexican

Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe dishes it up!

Kirby Von Scrumptious finally had some time off between her semesters as a full time teacher and a full time masters student (I don’t know how she does it!) so we decided to try out Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe in Macarthur Park.  Mama’s is a restaurant with Mexican and South American cuisine that doubles as a non-profit that trains low-income people for careers in food.  The only tamale I’d had since going vegan was a really crappy one from Whole Foods, so I was overdue for a good one.  Mama’s tamales did not disappoint.

Mama’s has a variety of different combos you can order for lunch and every item that can be ordered vegan is clearly marked with a cute little ear of corn .  Kirby and I both opted for two tamales with a salad.  I ordered the two vegan tamales they were offering that day: black bean and herbs and the very unique kimchi tamale, made with rice instead of corn.  Both arrived quickly after we ordered with a tomatillo dipping sauce.

The masa in the black bean and herb tamale was downright creamy.  With some of the tomatillo sauce spread on top, this baby was a delight.

The kimchi tamale was out of this world.  The pillowy rice with the tangy kimchi as a perfect combo.  I could have easily eaten 3 or 4 more of these.

I chose Mama’s House Salad because the avocado-cilantro vinaigrette sounded so appealing.  The salad contents were pretty basic (greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, tortilla strips, and hold the queso fresco) but the dressing took it to another level.  It was cooling, creamy, and the cilantro was delightfully prominent.

In addition to the daily rotation of tamales, Mama’s also has different kinds of agua fresca every day.  On this particular day I was thrilled to hear they had horchata and that it was vegan.  To my great frustration, it is quite difficult to find vegan horchata in this town (which is extremely annoying as classic Mexican horchata is simply rice milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon–why do these places have to go and add milk to it?!)  I had high hopes but unfortunately, Mama’s horchata was way too sweet.  If they cut back on the sugar a bit it would have been perfect.  Of course I sucked the whole thing down anyway so I guess it wasn’t that big of a problem!

The restaurant itself is very pleasant with bright murals on the walls and a big window that overlooks the pond in the park.  The staff was very friendly and attentive and they were very knowledgeable about veganism.  I’d also like to add that I love the chairs and tables at Mama’s!  They are slightly wider than your average seating arrangement and I felt like a queen eating on her throne.  Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, those tables were made for feasting.

I cannot wait to get back to this awesome spot and it will be easier now that they are open for dinner as well as lunch!  I am looking forward to trying their menu items with Daiya like the burrito and the Argentine empanadas.

Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe
2122 West Seventh St.
Los Angeles, CA  90057


Odds and Ends

Hello friends! Long time no blog. I have been M.I.A. for a while due to general holiday insanity. Before I skipped town to visit various family members in various cities, I was super busy running around like a maniac making Christmas presents, doing things that I had put off all fall because I couldn’t bring myself to leave the hammock, and taking my dog to visit Santa.

Here are some odds and ends from the vegan life of late.

Vegan Potluck
Vegyogini and Your Vegan Mom hosted a wonderful vegan potluck for the local vegan blogging community. Everyone brought an hors d’oeuvres which meant that we had one mean spread to feast on. All the food was amazing. Personally, I think I ate about 300 of the little testicular Saku that Foodeater brought along with 99 fried raviolis (I can’t remember who brought those ravioli but damn they were good!) in addition to all the other awesome goodies that were there. I had planned on making homemade summer rolls but with the aforementioned insanity that was December, I needed something less labor intensive. So I ended up whipping up a batch of Veganomicon’s walnut-mushroom paté. It was pretty tasty and was fairly simple to make so I would definitely recommend it. The group of omni boys who happened to be shooting a web video in my apartment while I was making it (seriously, December was truly bananas) gobbled up the paté that didn’t fit into my serving dish.

It was so awesome finally being able to put faces to bloggers! Hopefully there will be more meet ups in the future. Unfortunately I had to peace out a little early because I had to run and catch The Food Monster on his last night in town before he moved out of L.A. I can pretty much guarantee the vegan blogging community will not miss you one bit my offensive friend, but I, for one, have cried myself to sleep every night since you left. At least we didn’t have to have a teary goodbye on The Food Monster’s last night in town as we met up mere days later at my favorite karaoke spot in North Carolina. Good times, good times.

A Mighty-O Surprise!
Ever since I heard about Mighty-O Donuts in Seattle about a year ago, I have been gushing about wanting to try to them to my friend Leif, a Seattle native. When I got back to L.A. for my one day between trips right before New Year’s, Leif dropped by my house with a surprise: TWO DOZEN MIGHTY-O DONUTS and an ADORABLE Mighty-O t-shirt!!! Happy New Year to me! I could barely manage to snap this photo of the donuts before I tore into them. There was a vast assortment of flavors including lemon poppy seed (my personal favorite), chocolate coconut, plain, chocolate glazed, chocolate peanut, cinnamon sugar (my second favorite), and sprinkle.

Holy cannoli these were so friggin’ good. Many regular donuts (i.e. not cake-style) are actually inherently vegan but cake donuts are not, so it has been a long while since I’ve had the joy of stuffing a scrumptious cake donut into my head. This was the perfect treat at the perfect time– I stuffed these into my car for the second leg of my holiday vacation to Las Vegas and Mammoth and they managed to continue feeding me and my passengers for the next 5 days! I was shocked how long the shelf life of these babies were, especially since they don’t have preservatives. I mean they didn’t taste 100% fresh after a week (Leif got them to me two days after he bought them) but they still tasted great and not at all stale. Everyone who tried the donuts could not believe they were vegan, which is the ultimate test of how good your vegan product is. It’s probably a pretty good thing we don’t have a Mighty-O in L.A., elst I might pack on a few hundred more pounds. Thanks Leify!!!!

An Awesome Vegan Cheesecake

My boyfriend and I had our own post-Christmas Christmas dinner since we weren’t in the same state for the actual day. He volunteered to make dessert and found a recipe for a vegan cheesecake. I must admit, I was a little skeptical about whether or not he could pull it off. He literally had never baked anything before in his life. He had to call me a couple times for some clarification (what’s a water bath? how do you zest a lemon?) but that damn cheesecake came out perfectly! He smashed up some blackberries and picked up a can of Soy Whip whipped cream for toppings. He even made the crust from scratch! I was very, very impressed. If you are looking for a good vegan cheesecake recipe, I totally recommend this one.

Veg food in Mammoth Lakes
The last leg of my holiday tour took me and the bf to Mammoth for a few days of snowboarding. I was fully prepared to be able to eat pretty much nothing both on the slopes and in the town, and had packed an arsenal of Lara Bars and other goodies to keep me fed, but was pleasantly surprised to find that Mammoth is very vegan friendly! I was shocked when we stopped to rest at Mill Cafe on the mountain in between runs and found vegetarian chili. Usually ski lodges are about as veg-friendly as ballparks (although Dodger stadium actually is veg-friendly, you know what I mean–like most other baseball stadiums). We asked if they could pour our chili over an order of fries and that was basically the best idea of all time. I couldn’t think of a more perfect snack to warm me up and give me an energy boost than those delicious chili fries. I don’t know if they have that chili at all of Mammoth’s food spots, so be sure to check before you ski down there.
We also had a super excellent meal at a Mexican joint in town called Gomez’s. We both ordered the Grande Veggie Burrito which was filled with super fresh veggies and was surprisingly light for being a pretty ginormous burrito. Their complimentary chips and salsa were pretty much the best I’ve ever had. The chips were so light and non-greasy somehow. It was one of the best Mexican meals I’ve had.

Everyone can now Comment 🙂
It was brought to my attention (thank you, Foodeater!) that my blog was set so that only people with gmail accounts could post comments. I had no idea! Oooooops. I have changed the setting so now everyone should be able to comment away!

It’s detox time!
In February of last year, Kirby Von Scrumptious and I did a 28 day detox that was pretty difficult but was really great as it makes you feel really fantabulous. As I am already vegan, the detox just requires that I don’t have any white flour, wheat, refined sugar, salt, caffeine, or alcohol. It may not sound too difficult but trust me, after a week with no flour, you start having dreams about eating 45 bags of plain tortillas. I had started the detox but then got derailed two days in to it (woops!) so I am starting again tomorrow. And now I have to. Because it is published. on the web. its official. see? Anyway, look out for a lot of healthy posts from me in the near future!


Hugo’s Tacos: One Reason to Not Hate the Valley

I recently got some terrible news: A really good friend was moving…to…THE VALLEY. (Insert scary horror movie music here). Now, I’m not some snob that refuses to go to the valley ever or give it its props for certain things. It’s just that I have the unique pleasure of having all of my close friends live within walking distance of me, so actually getting in my car and getting on the *gasp!* freeway to get somewhere seems like a big pain in the ass. And it’s no exaggeration that it’s often 10 degrees hotter in the valley than in the rest of L.A., and in the summer that is no picnic.

Upon my first visit to the new pad, however, I changed my tune. Pulling off the 101 onto Coldwater Canyon, there on the corner was Hugo’s Tacos and then I crossed the street and saw Hugo’s restaurant and I was reminded that the valley is full of amazing veg-friendly restaurants that I rarely get the chance to go to! Looks like there will be lots of new culinary adventures in my future!
When I first moved to L.A. and lived in West Hollywood, I would go to the Hugo’s restaurant on Santa Monica quite a bit. I could not get enough of their veggie-packed sweet potato bowl and other vegan goodies. So I was so incredibly pumped to see that my friend lives mere blocks from Hugo’s Studio City locations. Hugo’s Tacos is the restaurant’s sister stand with a choose-your-own-adventure style menu: you choose the type of meal you want (ranging from tacos to salsa burgers), and then the filling and sauce you want to go with it.
On my first visit I ordered a bowl with the soyrizo, potato, and zuchinni filling, and the honey chipotle salsa (yes, I am a honey-eating vegan). The bowl comes with organic Spanish rice, organic white beans, onion, cilantro, lettuce, guacamole, and cotija cheese (which Hugo’s happily offers to sub out with soy cheese). Stir all these lovely ingredients together into a gooey mess and you get one big bowl of delicious!
On my many subsequent visits (eek! How am I supposed to avoid going there when it’s right there by the freeway entrance just begging me to turn in???) I have been unable to force myself to order anything different because I just love the bowl so much. I now ask for no cheese–the soy mozzarella has absolutely no flavor and I don’t see the point in adding extra calories onto this already heavy dish. Although I do love the pain of being so full you want to die after eating the whole thing. I also LOVE the honey chipotle salsa. It is a perfect combo of spicy and sweet and is the element that pushes this dish into the realm of the super tasty.
Hugo’s food is enough to bring me there time after time, but their daily rotation of agua frescas will keep me a fan for life. Their watermelon agua fresca, which is my drink of choice–I would mainline the stuff if I could–is sublime. If their horchata–an excellent balance of cinnamon, sweetness, and rice milk–is any indication of how good their (completely vegan) rice pudding is, I will definitely be hitting up some of that next time so I can have a sugar high on top of my food coma.
Between the icy agua fresca and the misters that are constantly on (and are pictured at top with some awesome skeleton garland), the valley heat doesn’t even interfere with the meal. Recently as I was chowing down and being thankful that there isn’t a Hugo’s closer to my house because I would surely gain a dubrillion pounds, I saw a sign advertising a new location right over the bridge from me in Atwater Village! Le sigh, guess I’ll just have to put in a few more hours at the gym every week…
4749 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City, CA 91607