We finally made it over to Real Food Daily in Los Angeles. After having purchased the Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry, and having some success with the Turkish Lentil Stew and Chocolate Cake, we were anxious to try out the restaurant and see if it lived up to our expectations. And our expectations were high. The recipes are a little on the complicated side, but they're really, really good.
We went early and were lucky enough to find parking easily. We'd read reviews that parking could be an issue. The ambiance was average, and unfortunately for us, the sun was setting while we were eating so Jane was blinded by the light. But the food was worth it. This is the best vegan food we've had to date!
We told our waitress we were newbies and asked her to recommend our eats. She suggested we start with the Better with Cheddar Nachos. Jane was all for that as the "cheese" recipe in the cookbook seems a little daunting, and the few experiences we've had with vegan cheese have been less than stellar. Our waitress also suggested we add the taco mix. So we did. We both agreed that we could skip the taco mix next time, but the nachos were really amazing. The cheddar cheese, tastes like cheese, and we should know - we've had real cheese as late as June!
The nachos come with tortilla chips, melted cashew cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, tofu sour cream, all piled high on your plate. There's enough there for four people as an appetizer for sure! And oh, can I rave about the cheese some more!
For dinner, we shared "Pandora’s Box" - which is one of their September specials. It's creamed tofu spinach in whole wheat phyllo dough pastry topped with mushroom gravy. It comes with two sides: the Athena cold barley salad and a marinated baby beet salad. Jane commented that the gravy tasted "brown." She didn't care for that, but the spinach phyllo concoction was more than edible. And surprise, surprise, the beet salad was truly delicious. Neither of us is big on "grain" salads (Jane absolutely abhors Tabbouleh), so I'll skip the review of the barley salad.
For dessert, we shared the Coconut Moon Pie. It was pretty good too. We're still having trouble transitioning away from non-vegan desserts. They're just not as good. So we mostly have fresh fruit, or the soy desserts we've previously blogged about that we get at Trader Joe's.
Overall, we lament the fact that the restaurant is too far to put it in our regular rotation. We really enjoyed our experience and will definitely be back.