Is it local? Why yes, in fact! Read on to find out where to find some delicious, California-grown vegan grub close to home.
You’ve probably seen my posts about LA Vegan Beer Fest before, where I go on and on about the amazing plant-based foods that made available by local LA restaurants. Well, if you didn’t know, the creative minds behind the fest have offerings year-round!
I’ve been a frequent visitor of their establishments for years. We get our growler filled with almond milk stout at their brewpub, Golden Road in Los Angeles (on the edge of Glendale) whenever we’re there for trivia night. We’ve met for birthday dinners many a time in the Echo Park hotspot, Mohawk Bend. But my most recent discovery is a cozy pub in Burbank called Tony’s Darts Away. I fell in love with their vegan buffalo wings during my first visit so I was THRILLED when I was recently invited to try their new vegan menu items!
From buffalo wraps and Brazilian burritos to tater tots topped with chili and cheese, Tony’s Darts Away has somehow managed to exceed my expectations!
Of course everyone loves new stuff, especially when it comes to high-quality, delicious vegan food. But these new additions at Tony’s Darts Away aren’t simply for the fun(or taste) of it. Their shift in culinary selections also comes with a shiny new manifesto:
“All Craft. All Draught. All California. It’s more than a slogan, it’s a commitment. We are committed to serving fresh, California-sourced food made in the best way possible.”
Almost all of the ingredients on the new menu are locally sourced here in our own state, something that is very important to owner Amy Yanow. To make this a reality, Chef Caroline Concha works with local farmers markets and bakeries to find the freshest local produce and breads.
I love their reasoning behind the new effort, saying they source local and sustainable ingredients because “they taste better, are better for the environment and support the California economy” and that it helps “our guests stay connected to the California.” Here in Los Angeles, we are seriously lucky to have access to such a wide variety or crops, and I definitely agree that cooking seasonally is a wonderful way to show our appreciation!
After learning about their new earthly agenda, I was eager to get my hands on some of this locally-sourced vegan amazingness. I brought my friend Katie so that we could try as much as possible and give everyone the full scoop. When I scanned the specials menu my eyes immediately landed on “tater tots.” And then once I saw the whole “chili cheese” part, I was sold! I don’t think it’s possible to screw up Chili Cheese Tater Tots, but these are definitely the best I’ve ever had! The vegan chili was hearty and spicy, exactly the way I like it. And the best part? 100% vegan!
Since our first choice was deep-fried, we decided we should probably order a salad to try and balance things out. We opted for the West Coast Salad, which consists of thinly sliced fennel topped with vegan shrimp. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first to try the vegan shrimp. It looked very real!
The texture was almost spot on. They gave me a clue of how it’s made – tapioca. For non-vegans the realistic texture might be a good thing, and maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten shellfish in such a long time, but the this item was not my favorite. However, the flavor was mild and reminiscent of what I remember shrimp tasting like. The citrus dressing was tasty – light and refreshing, peppered with an occasional burst of flavor from the black sesame seeds. If you’re vegan and craving “seafood,” or simply feeling adventurous, you should give it a try.
After salad, we turned the heat up a notch with the Buffalo Wrap, made from a seitan sunflower cutlet topped with buffalo sauce, carrots, cabbage slaw and vegan ranch. Let me just say…WHOA! This was the a flavor-filled taste explosion! My friend and I agreed it was our favorite menu item so far and we devoured it in no time. I’m not a huge fan of processed vegan “meats” but I was very impressed with the way the seitan was prepared and all of the items in the wrap complimented the overall experience. Highly recommended!
At this point, we couldn’t deny that we were getting just a little bit full. But we could not resist ordering another item off of the specials menu – and we are so glad we did! The Brazilian Burrito was so unique and a wonderful blend of spicy and sweet flavors. Pulled jackfruit (my favorite!), spicy sausage, black beans, rice, avocado, sweet potato tots, plantains and molasses BBQ sauce.
If you ever see this on the specials menu(updated weekly), get it! I promise you will not be disappointed. The vegan sausage provided spice and salt, the tater tots added crunch, the avocado brought some creaminess while the plantains and molasses BBQ sauce were a nice burst of sweetness. All around, superb!
As you can tell, I was really impressed with the food. They also have a great beer list, a pool table and lots of fun games. So get hungry, bring your friends and get there soon!
Tony’s Darts Away is located at 1710 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91506. Check out their menu here.