Toluca Lake’s Something Vegan has something for everyone

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If you think you’re not into vegan cuisine, think again. There is a lovely spot in Toluca Lake that just might change your mind.

The Magnum Salad, served with homemade pomegranate dressing. Visit Something Vegan on Riverside Dr. in Toluca Lake.

Something Vegan on Riverside Dr., across from Paty’s Restaurant, has an eclectic but strictly vegan menu that is anything but dull. Although many dishes have an Asian flair, there is a sprinkling of Mexican, Italian and American flavors as well.

While vegan restaurants are cropping up all over town, Something Vegan is definitely a must-try. Opened in October of last year at the former Toluca Garden site, it has dozens of items from which to choose.

For starters, Dynamite Drumsticks, with homemade Ranch dressing on the side, has a sweet chili sauce with a slight kick. The “meats” are made with soy tofu, and have the look, taste and texture of real meat. (The drumstick “bones” are really bamboo sticks.) The creamy sauces use vegan mayo, herbs and spices.

The Portobello Fries are light and crispy, and are accompanied by a garlic dipping sauce. Mmmmm. “Cheeses” such as those used on the Nacho Supreme and the Bacon Cheeses Fries (oh my!), are made from cashews — no dairy. Also a must-try is the Heavenly Beef & Magnum Salad with homemade pomegranate dressing.

The young owners did their homework when designing the menu, trying out a vast array of recipes and tweaking them through trial and error to get the finest flavors. The goal was to attract (and keep) the skeptics who think all vegan food is boring.

Dynamite Drumsticks, with homemade Ranch dressing on the side, has a sweet chili sauce with a slight kick.

Veganism is a lifestyle, a belief system, so to make it appealing to a wider audience is a strong incentive. Many vegans adopt this way of life after eating meat products in the past, and discover that they not only lose weight but also feel healthier in general.

Becoming vegan is a personal choice that is not for everyone, but Something Vegan offers such a delicious assortment of meat-free and dairy-free dishes, even the most die-hard carnivores can enjoy them.

This place already has loyal regulars and workers from nearby offices who walk over on their lunch breaks as well as out-of-towners who make it a point to visit when they are in the area. And, of course, the residents who are fortunate enough to live close to this little jewel. One customer likes a particular dish so much, he tries to make it at home, but no luck.

The restaurant has been renovated and has a clean, minimalist look. In cooler weather, enjoy the cozy fireplace. There are a couple of tables outside at the moment, but soon they plan to complete a patio dining area.

Something Vegan is located at 10000 Riverside Dr., at Clybourn Ave., in Toluca Lake. Visit SomethingVeganLA.com or call (818) 980-3888.

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