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Friday, October 31, 2014

Tofu Chilaquiles & Walnut Sausage Florentine: Vegan brunch now serving in Echo Park

Vegan tacos. Photo by Valentina Silva

By Valentina Silva

I’m glad I live in a city where the mention of “vegan brunch” actually brings to mind more than a few delicious possibilities. Echo Park and Silver Lake, alone, have more full-on vegan restaurants (that are actually good) than most states in this country. It’s pretty exciting that, once sneered and rolled eyes at, vegetarian food’s hard-core sibling is becoming a cuisine like any other in L.A.

One of the best vegan menus in town, doing tons to make the cuisine more accessible, is at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Echo Park. Open for a little over a year—replacing their not-so-successful predecessor Mooi—Sage has evolved into a comfort food haven of non-meaty goodness. Think: bacon chili cheese burgers, eggplant parmesan, clam chowder, and bowls stuffed with everything from kale and quinoa to fried macaroni and cheese.

Their brunch toes the same line as their weekday menu, opting for grains, nuts, and other whole foods to recreate flavors instead of relying on over-processed fake meats. Tofu is used, but more often ingredients like jackfruit or seitan are chosen to give “meat” to standouts like their mole burrito, served wet and stuffed with nopales, black beans, and house-made mole. Similarly, Eggs Florentine is served with walnut sausage while hard-shell tacos are filled with a savory mashed potato filling and topped with a drizzle of nut-based crema.

Photo by Valentina Silva

Admittedly, their chilaquiles, made with tofu and daiya, are probably only a good stand-in if you really are vegan, but might not quite hit the spot if you’re allowed real eggs and cheese. However, the salsa verde is made in house. Still, you’d probably do better to order the gnocchi or enchiladas, both made with sweet potatoes. You might also be lured by dumplings sweetened with plantains and maple soy sauce or tomato confit topped polenta cakes.

Oh, and Kind Kreme ice cream makes for a nice finishing touch.

–Valentina

Sage Vegan Organic Bistro
1700 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.



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21 comments

  1. I love Sage!!

  2. I’m still sneering and rolling my eyes at the mention of vegan restaurants, food, and brunch.

    • Yes, because it’s ridiculous to eat like you give a damn. It’s absurd to take the environment into consideration when it comes to food. It’s crazy to try to live compassionately, with awareness and intelligence.

      • You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to A) give a damn, B) take the environment into consideration, C) live compassionately, with awareness and intelligence.

      • Yes Valerie , and you do not have a car right ? because its bad for the environment , and if you do have a car , you dont use the a.c because its bad for the environment , and you dont fly on planes , because you care about the environment , you dont use foil , ziploc bags or hell even toilet paper because you care about the environment . All your clothes shoes products are U.S.A made because shipping them is just so terrible for the environment right ? Hey , good for you ! You are SO much more intelligent than the rest of us. You are SO aware . Bravo

    • What is the point of a comment like that? TROLL. Be gone, troll.

      • Are you that ignorant that you can’t see the point of the comment in response to a preachy comment about how to care for the environment?

  3. Sage has never let me down! Super tasty eats. My meat-eating pals enjoy it too. Kind Kreme is delicious but I wish they weren’t so pricey.

  4. Their food is DELICIOUS!

  5. @Zaius, I feel the same way! I love Kind Kreme, but it’s so ridiculously expensive. A scoop is one thing, but I’m so tempted to have one of their sundaes. I never do, though, because they’re 10 bucks!

    • Pazzo Gelato in EP (next to the Brite Spot) has $1 scoops from 4-6pm everyday. Not quite as actively healthy as Kind Kreme, but they always have several yummy vegan flavors…the toasted coconut variety is pretty mind-blowing.

      • Kind Kreme is more expensive because the produce costs more than dairy and everything is hand made. People expect to a premium for organic, vegan and raw. If you want cheap ice cream, eat some factory made Baskin Robbins. That’s just down the road too.

  6. OPINIONATED OLD LADY SEZ

    BACON chili cheeseBURGERS and CLAM chowder? Someone please clue me in.

    • The chefs are using similar spices and cooking techniques to prepare something vegetarian that has a flavor reminiscent of an animal-based dish. Just the way you can make bacon from turkeys, even though people typically associate it with pigs, you can make it from tempeh. Most of the time it doesn’t really mimic the actual meat taste and becomes its own form of yumminess. Although there is a restaurant called Doomie’s which serves veggie comfort food, which includes lots of fake meat that is pretty authentic-tasting!

  7. I’m nowhere near a vegan or a vegetarian but I love Sage. Everything I’ve eaten out of there has been delicious and has been extremely fulfilling.

    Kind Kreme is okay; I’d rather walk a block away to Pazzo Gelato.

  8. Sage is one of the best lunch spots in town – vegan or not.

  9. Echo Park is and always has been about DIVERSITY. One persons’ `yuckie’ is another persons’ `yummy’…It is what makes this place so attractive..I have been here for over 50 years and have seen many changes. It has been a wild ride. Sit back and enjoy the view. Relax!

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