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I am on Day 30 of trying to complete 30 Days of Vegetarian eating. This was lunch. Meaning I only technically have one meal – dinner – and possibly an evening snack to go before I can successfully say I did 30 days with zero meat. So to not bury the lead, that is why I’m eating vegan bacon this lovely Thursday afternoon.

Vegan bacon is an odd thing. It looks like a thick dark brown popsicle stick that is slightly chewy and flavored with liquid smoke and a lot of salt. You know just like real bacon. No seriously, it’s bacon-ish at best. While bacon-ish is the best I can say about the vegan bacon itself, I am happy to share that the B.L.T.A. (Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado) I ate it in was pretty good.

You’re probably scratching your head wondering how can a chewy, smoke, salt popsicle shaped substance taste good in anything? It’s a fair thing to wonder, but I swear it really does work in this vegan version of a B.L.T.A. sandwich.

The combination of the fresh ingredients and vegan mayonnaise with the grilled sourdough bread makes it a solid sandwich and one I’d definitely order again, even if I wasn’t doing a no meat personal challenge. Does that mean this sandwich is better than the real thing – a B.L.T.A. with real “B”?  Possibly. I’ve had some poorly executed real B.L.T.A. sandwiches that I’d pass for the vegan alternative. I still prefer real bacon and yes I did miss it in the rest of this perfectly executed sandwich. And that’s okay. I survived vegan bacon and it wasn’t that bad when the rest is right.

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The sandwich comes with a couple choices for sides including mixed green salad, coleslaw or potato salad. I went with the potato salad.  I prefered this vegan version over the typical potato salad with egg whites which is something I pick around, as I’m not much of a fan of eggs. It was a nice compliment to the sandwich as I’m sure the salad or coleslaw would be as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick lunch.  The sandwich was reasonably priced at $12 including the side.

I look forward to coming back and trying some more from the menu. The Burrito Fore and some of the vegan tacos sound delicious.

Learn more about Flore Vegan on their website: http://florevegan.com/

Address: 3818 W. Sunset Blvd. Silverlake, CA 90026

Phone: (323) 953-0611

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My Meat Prayers have been Answered

On May 4, 2013, in Featured, Food, by Chris Baccus
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Thank you Meat God.

When we moved out of Texas last year to come back to my home state California, one thing I knew I’d miss was Burgundy Pasture Beef.  The ranch in Grandview, Texas was a gem in where I sourced my meats. We would drive to the ranch about every 6 weeks (it was a hour drive south of Dallas) and get $300-$400 of meat while enjoying some of the best burgers in my life. Life was good. I had found an amazing small ranch, grass-fed beef place I loved going to visit and support with my dollars.

Los Angeles is not Dallas. Or is it California is not Texas?

LA is not full of ranches within a hour drive and the area is known more for vegetarian, raw food which I love too, but it just isn’t a mecca for beef like Texas.  So I went around the local Farmers’ Markets and bought from a couple good grass-fed vendors.  Nothing was that impressive and at least I found some sources outside of the supermarkets or mail order.

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That’s when fate intervened.  We were interviewing some interns for a open position we had where I work and one of the interns mentioned she was doing social media for an organic, grass-fed butcher in Los Angeles called Lindy and Grundy. My ears perked up and I asked her to tell us more about the place, where it was and what she was learning about grass-fed meat. I noted the place and went to it that Saturday when the weekend arrived. I’ve been back since about four times.

Lindy & Grundy sells local, pastured raised, organic meats including beef, pork, chicken and a few other options. I had the pleasure this week of finally meeting one of the two owners Amelia Posada. She was great sharing how she spent some of her time growing up in Pasadena just like myself. I bought some beautiful baby back ribs, chicken, and Amelia’s family recipe pork carnitas.

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We had the carnitas tonight. Oh. My. God. They were delicious. The lard, oranges, garlic and spices brought out so much wonderful flavor I couldn’t stop eating. The shop was also selling fresh tortillas today from the Boyle Heights location of Guisados Tacos. Writing about this I’m now thinking of raiding the refrigerator to make another taco.

So while I love doing vegetarian/vegan meals every 3 to 4 times a week, having a great place to get high quality, sustainable, grass-fed meats is a blessing to my meat quest. Amen.

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Taco Truck Tacos… Simple and Great

On March 3, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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When I lived in South Pasadena, California I used to stop by a taco truck in Pasadena along Fair Oaks Boulevard. It was a big yellow truck parked in an empty parking lot that sat there in the late hours of the night. We would usually get some tacos there around midnight, or later, after having some fun. The tacos were simple. They were like no taco I had ever had before. There was no shredded cheese. No shredded lettuce. No sour cream. All it was were small corn tortillas with diced onions, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, a slice of lime, and chopped beef (though you could order brains or intestines if you wanted, I was never so daring.)

I created a very similar taco at home. Here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy it. It’s not exactly taco truck, but it is pretty damn close. Also, if you like a nice economical meal, it is a cheap dinner for the family that is quick and easy to make. Let me know what you think!

Taco Truck Tacos
Serves 4
Makes 12 tacos

1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 red onion, finely diced
1 cilantro bunch, chopped
corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying

3 limes
your favorite hot sauce

Heat the ground beef in a medium high pan. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste the ground beef, continue to brown for about 5-8 minutes. Once cooked all the way turn heat down to lowest setting to keep warm. While the beef is cooking, chop the red onion and cilantro and mix the two together. Set aside.

Heat oil on medium-high in saute pan. Add enough oil, about a 1/2 inch, to dip corn tortillas into turning each side to cook 5 seconds on each side. Remove each tortilla quickly and set on paper towels. Continue until all tortillas are cooked (should be soft after cooking in oil, you don’t want them crispy.)

Assemble tacos by placing spoonful of beef atop tortillas then spoon cilantro and red onion mixture over beef. Add some hot sauce and serve with sliced limes. Squeeze lime slices over tacos and enjoy.

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