Vurger Guyz (Juneteenth 2024!)

In honor of Juneteenth 2024, we decided to highlight an African American owned business in Los Angeles.  When I say we were not prepared for such a great find – I mean it!

Wow!  That’s what we have to say about the vegan cheeseburger at Vurger Guyz.   It is amazing!  The soft bun, carmalized onions, melted vegan cheese, pickles, and nicely chard patty all mix so well together.  You can add yummy seasoned fries or sweet potato fries on the side.  I usually get their lemonade soda pop for a refreshment with the scrumptious meal.  Yes – I have already gone back TWICE! They also have a great cream soda option.

Above photo of Vurger Guyz owner – Mr. V

Mr. V, the owner, is super friendly.  He has brought the positive small community energy of Brooklyn right to the streets of L.A.

Everyone I’ve seen leaves the truck full and satisfied!

Parking tip for their regular location next to Whole Foods:

For one free hour of parking, park in the parking garage under Whole Foods – get something small at Whole Foods for parking validation and walk to their back balcony.  You can see and walk to the Vurger Guyz Food Truck from the back balcony.

Juneteenth Celebration

Vurger Guyz will be at the Leimert Park Juneteenth Celebration (Wednesday, June 19, 2024).

Event Location: 4317 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008.

Festivities are from 11am to 8pm.

Vurger Guyz

ADDRESS:

788 S Grand Ave., Los Angeles (Downtown), CA 90014

[This is their regular daily location]

HOURS:

Everyday 12pm – 7pm

PHONE:

(213)-298-1724

EMAIL:

CATERING@VURGERGUYZ.COM

WEBSITE:

https://www.vurgerguyz.com/

BeeWali’s – Mediterranean & Indian Restaurant

I had the chance to visit the diner style vegan restaurant BeeWali’s this weekend!  

One side is facing the main road – Eagle Rock Blvd. – and the other side is tucked on a corner just off of the quiet residential street Addison Way.

This family owned restaurant started with a father who loves to cook, worked as an electrician, and decided to become vegan.  His wife, Bee, teasingly called him “Wali” when they were dating because it’s the beginning of his unique last name.  Bee was working full time as a hotel manager and she eventually chose to become vegan as well.  They were surprised at the variety of good food they were enjoying.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they decided to go even further with their new way of eating and start a vegan restaurant: BeeWali’s!  A fun mixture of their first and last names.  They recruited their teenage son as a server and hired an additional staff member who also has become like family.

While at BeeWali’s I got the Meddi Bowl Falafel (that is the half sized Falafel plate – they have a full sized falafel plate also).  They give good portions.  The Meddi Bowl Falafel comes with hummus, pita bread, rice topped with veggies, three large falafel balls, and a side of the house sauce.  I also want to try their plant-based chicken Kabob Wrap and fries – next time I guess!  They have Mediterranean and Indian options!

If you go and can only get one thing, get their pita bread and hummus – yum, yum!

After you eat at BeeWali’s, let us know in the comments what you got!

ADDRESS

4862 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041

PHONE: (323) 289-2660

PARKING

– Free 2-hour parking on their cross street Addison Way

– There is also untimed free parking a little further up the street on Addison Way in the residential area

WEBSITE 

https://www.beewalisveganaf.com

[CLOSED] The Gray Zebra (100% Plant-Based; 100% Woman-Owned)

Quote from the About page of The Gray Zebra website: “…come join our herd and let’s get grazy!”

Outside of the Gray Zebra we noticed its cool exterior and funky design. It is also quite literally on the (northwest) corner of Sunset Boulevard and Normandie Avenue.

As we entered we were greeted warmly by the chef – Chef Ali! She was very inviting and asked us to make ourselves at home. I made a guess that her accent is from Australia. When she arrived to take our orders (very quickly after we sat) I asked and she’s actually from South Africa! Too cool!

There is limited seating, so I would suggest calling in advance – we did and it worked out perfectly. They were able to tell us a family was just leaving so they would have tables ready when we got there. (Inside there are three tables, plus a long high table with stools and a couple tables outside.)

There is a lot of yummy stuff on the menu:


I wanted nachos, but I’m usually not a fan of chorizo – they were topped with vegan chorizo. The chef offered to prepare them without the chorizo, but said she thought I may like the way they do it. I took the gamble and she was right! Oh my goodness the chorizo was perfectly seasoned – not too firm and not too soft. I was a happy “grayzer”!


Our table shared the Crispy “Chicken” sandwich (actually listed on the menu under “Burgers”) and I think it may be the best vegan crispy chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. I knew immediately that next time I want one all for myself *grin* – and I think I would ask for a little extra vegan cheese on it.

One of us got a mix-berry smoothie without the banana and the “Grazy Cobb” salad and oh my stripes! I gladly accepted the offer to try some and once again, things I normally avoid (in this case tempeh and ranch dressing) were “grazy” good! The dressing was lightly tossed throughout the salad, perfectly covering each leaf and wasn’t a heavy ranch flavor. I started with a little nibble off a piece of tempeh and it was so tender and yummy I popped the whole thing in my mouth, followed by a couple more I had commandeered out of my neighbor’s container and had to keep myself from trying to sneak a few more. It was another one I plan to order in the future!

My cousin (who is not vegan) got a BBQ Beyond Burger with a Green Smoothie and said they were both really good!

Chef Ali was so welcoming we could have just sat and talked with her. I’m so happy we tried The Gray Zebra because now we have a new vegan restaurant to add to our favorites!

VEGANavigate TIPS:

  • If you’re dining-in, bring change for 2-hour metered parking
  • You can order food in advance for pick-up
  • The Gray Zebra also offers Catering!

ADDRESS:

The Gray Zebra, 5101 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027

PHONE: (424) 401-5101

WEBSITE: https://thegrayzebra.com/

INSTAGRAM: @thegrayzebra

Happy National Lasagna Day!

Yeah, we didn’t know National Lasagna Day existed either, but it was a great excuse to eat vegan lasagna at the all vegan restaurant – SunCafe! Don’t let the name fool you, it is a full-service restaurant located in a business area of Studio City, California. However, its enclosed parking lot in front of the leafy vine-covered entrance makes it feel secluded.

It would be a great place for a romantic dinner. It is also a good location for brunch with a friend or a work lunch with a colleague. There is indoor and outdoor seating. If you choose to sit outdoors it has a bit of the feeling of a shared secret garden restaurant that only you and the other patrons there know about.

The atmosphere is calm and the staff is friendly. One of the bussers politely directed my attention to the QR code on the table that can be scanned to view the menu before the waiter arrives. After I ordered there was a small wait, but not too long to be discouraged and the time could definitely be filled with easy conversation. The presentation of the food was delightful.

I chose to get the lasagna of course. The vegan ricotta in the center was exceptional. A happy surprise was the green pesto on one of the layers in the lasagna. Yum!

I asked for dessert and it came out quickly. I already knew what I wanted – I had seen it online before I arrived. Blueberry cheesecake! It was fresh, it was blueberry-ee and had halves of real blueberries inside. Yes please!

I left satisfied and plan to go back to SunCafe for the nachos, mac n’cheese, and more of the cheesecake – I’ll try a different flavor next time like Strawberry, Mango, Raw Almond Butter, or Key Lime!


VEGANavigate Tips

  • The head chef/co-owner (Ron Russell) of SunCafe teaches cooking lessons! Yeah boy-ee. With his help, we can now all make these great dishes and desserts.

Here is the cooking class schedule: https://suncafe.com/?page_id=897

  • The co-owner, Rebecca, of SunCafe designed their new location.
  • You can also get your special event catered by SunCafe!
    Here’s the catering menu: https://suncafe.com/?page_id=875
  • Their website offers additional free and paid parking options outside of their own 12 space lot in front. Here is what it said when I went:

PARKING

* Parking lot with 12 spaces

* Valet on Hollywood Bowl Nights $5

* Pick Up orders – 2 Reserved Complimentary spots

* Street Parking – 2 hour metered parking

* FREE additional public parking lot across the street

ADDRESS: SunCafe,10820 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604

PHONE: (818) 927-4100

CONTACT PAGE: https://suncafe.com/?page_id=116

WEBSITE: https://suncafe.com/

SALAYA (100% plant-based restaurant in L.A.)

We would like to highlight the Asian/Pacific Islander community, by featuring the Thai restaurant in Los Angeles named Salaya. It definitely deserves recognition!

Salaya is a 100% plant-based Thai restaurant filled with yummy goodness. It is also a 100% women-owned restaurant! Noop and Annie are the co-owners of this warmly lit, clean and friendly dining experience. They have a large menu of appetizers, soups, salads, rice plates, noodle dishes, curries, unique entrees, house specialty meals, desserts, side orders and non-alcoholic drinks.

Front of Menu
Back of Menu
I wasn’t sure what to order, so I asked the server, Bell, what she would recommend. I told her I wanted to try a rice and noodle dish that were the most popular and authentic to the Thai heritage. She pointed out five or six dishes and also offered further information on the flavors of each – sweat, spicy, and savory. This was very helpful in helping me narrow down my selections. I ended up deciding to order the Pad Thai – the third item listed on the front of the menu in the far right column – and the Pineapple Fried Rice – the second item listed on the back of the menu in the far left column.

Pad Thai

Pineapple Fried Rice

Each noodle and rice plate includes the option to add tofu, plant-based peppered-“beef,” or plant-based “chicken.” I asked Bell what she preferred with the Pad Thai and Pineapple Fried Rice dishes. Her answer was tofu with the former and plant-based peppered “beef” with the latter. So I went with that. I also got a side of spring rolls – perhaps they are not part of the traditional Thai cuisine, but I can never resist good hot crispy spring rolls!

Spring Rolls

During a very short wait (as the food came out very quickly), I had the opportunity to meet one of the owners. Noop was there that night. She has a kind face and had on a pretty brightly colored blouse with a long flowing white skirt. Noop was clearly attentive to all aspects of the restaurant, including helping to provide great customer service.

If I had to pick a personal favorite between the Pad Thai and the Pineapple Fried Rice, I would say my preference leaned towards the Pineapple Fried Rice. Also, not all restaurants know how to prepare tofu well, so I am happy to say the tofu in the Pad Thai was baked or fried nicely on the outside and had a nice chewy texture. I found myself popping a few more of the golden-tan cubes into my mouth as I packed up my meals to go. While doing this, I was happy to see their to-go containers were NOT plastic, but neat eco-friendly paper boxes.

I definitely want to go back to Salaya – looking at the menu again, I want to try the curries! Especially the Pumpkin Curry, Panang Curry, and Avocado Curry. I also want to try the Spicy Cashew Nut entree. I am super curious to try the House Specialties Orange Chicken, Fish-n-Green Apple Salad, Dumpling In Green Curry, and Crispy Fish Panang Curry. I don’t know what I was thinking not getting a dessert this time. I guess I was too excited to eat the dishes in front of me. So on my next visits I need to try the Coconut Vegan Ice Cream, Vegan Creme Brulee, Mango and Sticky Rice, Banana Roll w/Coconut, and other Vegan Ice Cream flavors! …Did I just list everything on the dessert menu? Yeah…I think I did – Haha! Well, at least we all know where my heart lies!

Salaya also has a booming delivery service. Order via phone (323-741-0074) or online at https://salayala.com/


Salaya (100% plant-based restaurant)

5185 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90027
United States