I may have a new favorite vegan place in Los Angeles!
Last night we took a short drive up Cahuenga into Studio City, to check out SunPower Natural Cafe. The owner, Ron, arranged for me to receive a complimentary meal (3 courses) to review for the blog. I shared everything with Abe, and we paid for one additional entree.
To start – Curry Cauliflower Fritters with Mango Chutney (one of the specials)
Probably our favorite dish – mashed cauliflower, mixed with seeds, spices (I tasted turmeric) and dried fruit – then fried…maybe in coconut oil? I feel like there was something coconut-y, but I forgot to ask. Perfect combo of salty and sweet, lighty and heavy.
Here’s my plate with the two main entrees split:
The Portobello Mushroom Sandwich (Marinated Portobello Mushrooms and onions, avocado, and spinach smothered in special sauce and cashew cheese)
This deliciousness (which is now on my list for The Best Vegetarian Sandwiches in L.A.) came with a side of Kale Salad (massaged with lemon, topped with basil ranch dressing, and some tomatoes/pine nuts)
Because SunPower Natural also has an extensive raw menu, we tried the Layered Vegetable Napoleon (zucchini, portobello, red cabbage, apple, jicama) …
…which came on a bed of spinach salad in garlic dressing, with some kale chips too
Messy, but yummy. I am not a huge fan of raw food, particularly raw garlic, but this was actually pleasing to my taste buds (though we both stunk for hours later).
Dessert was a Cookie Dough Pie (made from coconut cream, sweetened with agave)
We were stunned that this was totally raw. Each layer had a completely different mouthfeel – the bottom one reminiscent of sticky cookie dough, with its crunchy raw cacao nibs; the top so smooth and creamy it tasted like buttercream frosting. I didn’t even mind the goji berries, which I usually can’t stand the taste of – antioxidant points!
Totally rich, super sweet, and right up my alley
Most vegan places in Los Angeles are too far from me (in Santa Monica or Venice) or have really annoying parking situations (like in Silverlake or Echo Park). SunPower Cafe is close enough for us to become regulars, easy to find street parking, fancy enough for a dinner party (check out this back dining table, which you can curtain off for privacy) –
But casual enough to dine by yourself –
The food is reasonably priced, especially for organic, and the chef has an impressive resume – he worked at The Inn of the Seventh Ray (amazing place in Topanga that I’ve only been to twice because it’s a bit $$$) and Fattys (in Eagle Rock, reviewed here). The servers were incredibly knowledgeable and super friendly, as well.
Thank you so much, Ron! Will definitely be back!
Since we were already in the Valley and needed to digest, I suggested some mini golf – we headed to Castle Park in Sherman Oaks
Aside from 3 entirely separate courses of mini golf…
…they also have batting cages and a huge arcade. I was so intrigued to see this weird coin toss version of “Crazy Taxi”
When Abe and I first lived in NYC after college, we were obsessed with the Arcade version of this game (which was at our local pizza place). Soon after, it came out on Sega Dreamcast and I became a serious expert…to this day I cannot hear a song by “The Offspring” without having the urge to run over a bunch of mailboxes and bus stops.
So happy we ate beforehand – Castle Park’s snack bar looked really sad
Abe and I both started off strong, under par, but near the end we fell apart. The courses were pretty crowded with families and little kids, so the pressure to play quickly was on, and we wound up rushing through a hole or two…
…but on #17 I got a hole in one!!! No photographic evidence, you’ll just have to take my word.
And to end our wonderful date night, we saw the greatest vanity plate ever: