Rice Bowl/Valentina Silva
Vegan food has become quite the rage in past few years, breaking through to the mainstream with chains like Native Foods, Veggie Grill and Real Food Daily. Still, by my estimations, none of them have managed to even come close to Silver Lake’s Flore Vegan Cuisine. This mainstay cafe has been a go-to for omnivores and vegans, alike, for years because it’s so damn good. The comfort-driven menu, grounded in organic ingredients, has all the hits, from sloppy burgers and classic sandwiches to fat burritos and breakfast til 1 pm.
I find it hard to veer from Flore’s generally gluttonous sandwiches. The Tempeh Tu-No Melt is close to the real thing but stands on its own, plus any deviation is made up for by the fact that it isn’t chock-full of mercury. Chunky with ideal crunch, the tuna-like tempeh mixture is melted with cashew cheese, which adds a luscious texture and slightly sweet flavor. It does the same for the Tempeh Reuben, grilled on rye and absolutely gooey with layers of cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. All sandwiches come with mixed green salad or potato salad.
But all is not audacious at Flore. Their use of organic ingredients really shines with their salads and rice bowls, which are more understated than their sandwiches, burgers and burritos but still designed to satisfy. The Mediterranean and taco salads are no brainers, but even the raw salads, loaded with leafy greens and fruit, aim to please with the addition of healthy fats, like walnuts, avocado and bold dressings. Likewise the Basmati Brown Rice Bowl gratifies with its mixture of kale, sunflower seeds, daikon sprouts and teriyaki seitan. Tahini and tamari sauces make it pop.
Desserts—the cakes in particular—should not be passed up, and alone are justification for a visit. The Chocolate Strawberry Cake and Lemon Berry Cake are two standouts. Both have dense but moist textures and thick, sugary frosting. Fresh berries spill out from between the layers, adding delectable contrast to the sweet richness. You also can’t go wrong with the tart and creamy Raw Key Lime Pie.
Strawberry Cake/Valentina Silva
Flore Vegan Cuisine
3818 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.
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