ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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August 2020

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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Dining!

Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre’s Patio

Gracias Madre

  • By Kymberly Chase

Gracias Madre, specializing in vegan Mexican food, is the innovation of the Café Gratitude family. Born out of love for Mother Earth and reverence for all mothers, the traditional Mexican cuisine is plant-based and created all from scratch using local, organic ingredients. Meat eaters will also be completely satisfied — the food is that delicious! During these trying times, the spacious, bright, and airy patio offers socially distanced marble-top tables along with comfortable chairs and many upholstered couches. Tall hurricane candles that light every table along with strings of light bulbs create a charming ambience for outdoor evening dining.

The menu is beyond impressive. We started off with margaritas, chips, salsa, and guacamole, all absolutely delicious! My favorite, which I will be ordering every time I eat here, is traditional hominy stew featuring ancho-chile broth, cashew crema, avocado, and tortilla strips. It’s as good as home-made! Some of the other top entrees are mushroom fajitas, chimichangas, and flautas. I went with the chimichanga and what an incredible choice I made. The crispy shell was stuffed with veggies, potatoes, and beans with guacamole, crema, and pepitas on top. Another delish dish was the flautas de camote-sweet potatoes, caramelized onion, guacamole, cashew nacho cheese, and black beans. Be sure to try it! No matter what time of day it is, the Gracias Madre patio is one of the best spots for outdoor dining in LA!

Gracias Madre is located at 8905 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.

Crossroads

Crossroads Kitchen’s Artichoke and Oysters

Crossroads

  • By Kymberly Chase

Crossroads is an intersection where vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores can cross paths to share a delicious meal and a good time. This place has a great setup in response to the pandemic. I went for an early dinner and sat outside in their new patio area. It was my first time back at a restaurant since quarantine began and the experience was very pleasant and extremely safe (including hand sanitizer at each table). Crossroads redefines the concept of vegan dining, although the word “vegan” never appears. The restaurant bills itself as Mediterranean, small-plates, fine dining. You’ll see “plant-based” tucked in among other descriptors, but that’s the only hint that there’s no meat or dairy on the menu. As the website says, “Crossroads is defined not by what’s missing but by what it is.”

My favorite appetizer is the zucchini blossoms which are crisp and delicious with a marinara dipping sauce. I also had the eggplant filet for a vegetable dish. For the main courses the bolognese and the Italian sausage, yummm! The “meat” sauce had great texture and flavor. The Italian sausage was the best vegan sausage ever.  For pasta lovers, the fettuccine and fresh shaved truffles are to die for! So many dishes here are on my favorites list. Vegan crab cakes, lasagna, the impossible burger, artichoke ‘oysters,’ vegan cheese plate, and flatbreads. And a very extensive farm-to-glass cocktails and wine list! Go!

Crossroads is located at 8284 Melrose Avenue in L.A.

Galanga Thai

Galanga Thai Fusion’s Dining Room

Galanga Thai

  • By Ken Werther

For me, Galanga Thai Fusion in West Hollywood redefines how delicious truly great Thai food can be. I have to admit I came to it kind of late — their unassuming location is a less-than-five-minute walk from my home (where I’ve lived for the past 28 years!) but I only ‘discovered’ it about five years ago. Walked by and drove by countless times without noticing it. Following my first visit I could not believe what I had been missing! The restaurant is small and cozy with an outdoor patio in the back. Atmosphere is really laid back and casual. The staff are always friendly, respectful, and accommodating. The service is speedy. (Currently only takeout is available.) Bonus: there’s a free parking lot right outside!

The papaya salad is always fresh and packs a punch. The Pad Thai is flavorful and addicting, and the portion is huge — you’ll definitely have some left over to take home. My appetizer favorites are the crab rolls (spiced crab meat rolled in wonton wrappers, standing in hot creamy mango sauce) and the shrimp rolls (marinated shrimp fried crisp in wonton wrappers). For your entrée, I highly recommend the cashew nut chicken (also available with beef or tofu) or the teriyaki chicken. For my money, the best vegetable dish is the broccoli with garlic oyster sauce. I highly recommend Galanga! You really cannot go wrong here. It’s fresh, authentic, and the prices are great!

Galanga Thai Fusion is located at 7440 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

SIMPLY WHOLESOME

Simply Wholesome

SIMPLY WHOLESOME

  • By KYMBERLY CHASE

Simply Wholesome is simply divine. They’ve been at the forefront of turning Windsor Hills from a food desert into a food oasis since 1981! It’s not only a restaurant with lots of inside and outside seating — there is a fully stocked health food store attached featuring everything from nutrition books, crystals, supplements, herbs, spices, snacks, and other plant-based treats. I’ve been coming here for over 20 years because this spot emphasized healthy vegan and vegetarian food from the very beginning.

During the coronavirus crisis, Percell Keeling, owner of this family run business and an avid health advocate, has chosen to offer take-out only. There is a single line for pick-up as they limit the number of people inside to maintain the healthiest situation for all customers. Due to Simply Wholesome’s popularity, I highly recommend calling in your order in advance. Vegetarian, vegan, Caribbean, and soul food all in one place. I recently had the “We Are One,” grilled fish with macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas with okra, and cornbread with sides of yams and plantains. I’m also a big fan of the Jamaican patties, spinach, and jerk chicken. There’s an extensive smoothie menu from which you’ll be sure to find something to love.

This place is a true gem, a one-stop for all kinds of healthy yumminess, including amazing desserts (don’t miss the sweet potato pecan pie and vegan banana pudding)! Go!

Simply Wholesome is located at 4508 W Slauson Avenue in L.A.

What's Hot!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve adjusted our content this month.

LAArtsOnline now features two NEW pages: BOOKS and EXTRA! We’ll look at what’s hot in the world of books and reading along with some suggestions of EXTRA! things to check out, read about, and do!

Stay positive, stay safe.

Paige Petrone
Founder / Publisher

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