Any man can make bacon taste good.
George Foreman among them.
But it takes a magician to make a man go weak at the knees for falafel.
And yet we found that man, along with five other new chefs that are doing up clean, healthy bowls, ramen, sandwiches, sausages and more.
Call it the "new year, less you" guide to eating out.
At first pass, Baroo won't jump out at you as a den of green eats and clean living. It’s in a strip center in East Hollywood next to a few vacant spaces and a run-down convenience store. But inside is the test kitchen for newcomer Kwong Uh, a chef who like to get creative with his own signature brand of fermented, eco-friendly cuisine. Like: Noorook, a grain dish traditionally made in East Asia that Chef Uh keeps local with fermented farro, a koji beet cream and a concentrated kombu dashi that lends the dish an umami kick. When it came out, we thought it was covered in shaved parm. The kimchi rice (main image) with a sous vide egg is also a must-order.
Ramen Hood, the new stand in Grand Market from the Gorbals guy, is a 100% vegan bowl of ramen. And yet it tastes like it’s creamy, thick and full of meat. It’s not. The egg is made from yeast and soy milk, the broth oyster mushrooms and blended pumpkin seeds. We go often.
Little Pine, Moby’s new vegan restaurant in Silver Lake, is open all day and merits a visit — if not to chill out in the woodsy, Scandinavian ambience, then for the salty smashed potatoes served with a red pepper aioli or the pear and gruyère cheese sandwich. They make the gruyère from nuts and oils; it's creamy like the real thing, but lower-cal and still delicious. The fennel sausage is made from wheat and spices and charred to death in the way that every chef is crisping pork these days.
The carrots at Fala Bar are spicy, sweet and evaporate like cotton candy when they hit your palate. Dip them in Fala’s creamy-as-pudding hummus. Also great: the Mediterranean burger with sweet potato falafel and the Israeli salad with tahini and hummus.
A busy schedule will divert a healthy diet faster than anything. So if you need something quick, Beaming, now open in both WeHo and Santa Monica, is a fast casual eatery with a grab-and-go section full of falafel dishes, hearty soups and a mean açai bowl.
NYC outfit the Butcher’s Daughter (a self-proclaimed veggie butcher) is en route to Abbot Kinney. The avocado toast on thick-cut bread with a soft boiled egg will give you plenty of morning energy and a serious hankering to return tomorrow. Same goes for the spicy kale caesar if you pop in around lunchtime.