Sunpower Natural Cafe

July 24, 2010

in restaurant, salads, vegan

I may have a new favorite vegan place in Los Angeles!

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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)

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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:

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The Portobello Mushroom Sandwich (Marinated Portobello Mushrooms and onions, avocado, and spinach smothered in special sauce and cashew cheese)

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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)

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Because SunPower Natural also has an extensive raw menu, we tried the Layered Vegetable Napoleon (zucchini, portobello, red cabbage, apple, jicama) …

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…which came on a bed of spinach salad in garlic dressing, with some kale chips too

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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)

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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

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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) -

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But casual enough to dine by yourself -

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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!

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Since we were already in the Valley and needed to digest, I suggested some mini golf – we headed to Castle Park in Sherman Oaks

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Aside from 3 entirely separate courses of mini golf…

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…they also have batting cages and a huge arcade. I was so intrigued to see this weird coin toss version of “Crazy Taxi

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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

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sad pizza, sad churros, sad nachos

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…

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…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:

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SunPower Natural Cafe on Urbanspoon

{ 29 comments }

1 clairedille July 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

that vegan place looks and sounds, ummmmmm delicious. I am so jealous of all the plant based restaurants..I want some!

I miss mini golf, it’s been too long!

happy weekend lady!

2 luvtoeat July 24, 2010 at 11:09 am

Glad you two lovebirds had a good time. I love that you guys always have such fun dates after being married for a while :-D. Woot woot for the hole in one!

3 Cindy July 24, 2010 at 11:20 am

Wow, the food looked great! I’m past due for lunch which is not helping my drool factor. Love miniature golf…never had anyone friend/partner who quite shared my enthusiasm. :(

My favorite vanity plate has to be $tock$ , on a stock broker’s Mercedes I met years ago.

4 Anna July 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm

This food looks SO good!! So vibrant and colorful!

5 vanillasugar July 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

you go to the best places. so jealous. and missing la so much.
i was obesessed with crazy taxi on nintendo or playstation (can’t remember which)–i should dig it out again.

6 Monet July 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

What a lovely evening! I think vegan restaurants are serving some of the most creative cuisine in the country right now. And I love the raw food movement too!

7 Vicky @ eat live sweat July 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Your meal looked amazing! And mini golf is so much fun!

8 sensorydefensiveness July 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Crazy Taxi! I have the same problem with the Offspring and Bad Religion. That was one of two video games from my childhood I actually loved. So much that my guy insisted on putting it on my laptop in his never ending quest to get me addicted to video games.

9 Andrea@WellnessNotes July 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm

The restaurant sounds great! I have been craving kale lately; I’ll have to get some…

10 Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I feel like with minigolfing I always get worse as I go along. In the beginning it’ll be 2 putts for each hole and then by 11 it’s like 6, haha. Good job 0n that hole-in-one, though!

11 missyrayn July 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Oh my goodness I could actually eat that pie and it looks delicious. I really think California needs to be added to my vacation destination list.

12 Jocelyn July 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm

wow..I wish we had veg places like that here! Your dessert of cookie dough pie looks out of this world!!

13 wendy lee July 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Restaurant looked amazing!
Hole in one IS amazing!
Good times….

14 biz319 July 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I agree, sometimes raw garlic can be a bit much. Glad you were able to get an almost free meal out though!

I haven’t been miniature golfing in years – so fun! Hope you are having a great weekend!

15 Rosey Rebecca July 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

That place looks awesome! Glad you guys had such a great date! I love mini-golf.

16 Jen Cheung July 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm

woahhhhhhhhhh! looks you had such an eventful day !!! hehehe. all those food looks deliciously good!

btw, im adding you on my blogroll, so i have your lovely blog saved there! feel free to add me too :) thanks.

PS: have a lovely weekend love.

Jen

17 Evan Thomas July 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

That pie–WOW. That looks so good.

18 Becki @ HikeBikeEat July 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I’ll need to try that place! What’s the average plate price?

19 Lynn at The Actors Diet July 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

About 11 to 12 dollars on the entrées.

20 MarathonVal July 24, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Yet again, I am ridiculously jealous that I don’t live in LA…. those meals look mouth watering… go back there soon and eat a vegan meal for me, k?

21 Nicole @ Making Good Choices July 25, 2010 at 4:46 am

That vegan restaurant looks like it has SO many good food choices. I want to try it all, especially that pie!

22 carascravings July 25, 2010 at 5:52 am

Wow, sign me up for that meal.
That portabello sandwich looks divine.

23 lowandbhold July 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Gosh, that cauliflower dish looks perfect!

24 Bekah July 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

There are so many restaurants in LA!! Of all the times I’ve been to California and San Diego, I can’t really believe I’ve never taken a trip out to LA. The food looks delicious!

25 Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) July 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Yum, your meal has me craving a portabella mushroom sandwich!

26 Muna July 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

hmmm.. YUMMY! I Love Vege… =D

27 katecooks July 27, 2010 at 11:49 am

thanks for the review! i will have to add this place to the list. i have a few friends who live in studio city so making the trek over the hill is definitely realistic. i’m always pleasantly surprised every time i go to RAW in santa monica and actually find myself craving their noodle dishes. i’d love to try a new spot!!

28 Kt July 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Hi Lynn! I absolutely love your blog. I am going through a very similar recover from anorexia and bed, and I find it so inspiring that you have made it to where you are now. I really like the fact that you have an after meal ritual. I tried the candy/tea thing and it gave me a really big sense of comfort to have a ritual I could depend on. I did find, though, that I didn’t enjoy eating so much sugar. Do you have any other ideas for after meal rituals? Any other suggestions you’ve come by? I am on a search for my own comforting ritual. thanks!

29 Lynn at The Actors Diet July 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Hi Katie!
Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. Yes, rituals are key for me! Aside from my candy, tea and gum habit, I usually do similar activities following each meal. Like I will set my dvr recordings after breakfast, blog after lunch, shower after dinner, etc. It varies day to day of course but when I notice I’m feeling binge-y these activities help me stay calm.

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