At the Herb Box, vegetables play an important role on the menu, according to chef/owner Becky Windels. “I don’t like vegetables to be an afterthought. I like them to be the star – the center of the plate – as much as they can be.” So it makes sense that her two best-selling items are vegetable-centric: Indian spiced kale with corn and onion pakora and Korean fried cauliflower ($12).
Traditionally, po’ boy sandwiches are made with fried seafood or meat . But at the Welcome Diner, chef/owner Michael Babcock whips up a pulled jackfruit po’ boy ($7) that fools even the most discerning carnivores.
Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit grows in tropical regions from India to Jamaica and when cooked, has the texture of a roasted turnip. Babcock buys the jackfruit in brine and gives it a dry rub with Cajun spices, cumin and salt and pepper. Next, he sears it and then braises it for two hours in Four Peaks Brewing Company Kilt Lifter ale, caramelized onions and liquid amino acids (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce) until the fruit is beer-tickled to perfection. After braising, the tender jackfruit is “pulled” into shreds and bite-size chunks.
It’s a good bet most vegetarians and vegans don’t crave meatloaf, but few would turn up their noses to the robust substitute whipped up by House of Tricks Executive Chef Scott Umscheid. He devised the mixed-mushroom and black bean meatloaf ($22) after discovering that a vegan was coming to dinner and realizing the menu lacked an entrée to accommodate the request. “If I was a vegetarian, I would want something hearty like this,” Umscheid says.
The Original Chop Shop Co. has a simple philosophy: “We believe healthy people are happy people.” To that end, the restaurant specializes in fresh and nutritional food for customers on the go and serves up a handful of tasty vegetarian selections, including a grilled protein bowl with tofu ($7). Served over a choice of heirloom rice, sweet potato hash with bits of onion and kale, or quinoa ($1 extra), the protein bowl boasts four pieces of crispy seared tofu atop a mound of roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, mushrooms, green onions and cilantro.
When Betty’s Nosh co-owners Phil Denaro and Justin Davis opened their Glendale eatery in 2011, they sought a novel idea to entice diners – “something that people hadn’t heard of before,” Davis says. Since Denaro is an avid fungi fan, the duo thought a mushroom bar might fill the bill.
At most Latin and Mexican restaurants, the guacamole is whipped up in the kitchen behind closed doors. But when you order guac ($12) at The Mission, the server crafts the creamy concoction tableside and lets you weigh in on the heat index – mild, medium or hot.