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Vegan Wings Tour Of Los Angeles

Two vegans, one day. 92 vegan wings...

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1. Equelecua Cuban Café

Equelecua Café claims to be the first and only all-vegan Cuban restaurant in the US. It's in a small strip mall not far from LAX and has a great patio that tries to transport you to Cuba. You'll be hard-pressed to find vegan food this good in Cuba though.

We ordered two baskets of wings, one with mojo sauce (a Cuban garlic sauce) and the other mustard agave sauce (both house-made sauces). They also have fire agave and no-sauce options. The wings were the standard "vegan meat on a stick" kind of wings that we ended up having at a number of the places on the tour. The mojo wings were very garlicky--like basically pure garlic (and I do love garlic), but we were really suckers for the sweet mustard wings.

2. LA Vegan

LA Vegan is one of a large handful of vegan Thai restaurants in LA that has a large menu of Asian, American, and fusion (to be polite) foods on the menu. This type of restaurant is where I was first introduced to the soy-based, "vegan meat on a stick" wing, which are generally a Chinese import. Even in my meat-eating days I was never into eating off of bones, but eating off a wooden stick is pretty rad. I love these wings so much.

We ordered the “hot wings," which were served on sweet chili sauce, but were not really all that hot. They were crispier than the Cuban wings though.

Total Wing Count: 15

LA Vegan is in Culver City at 4507 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066.

3. Native Foods

Unlike the first two stops, Native Foods makes their own chicken wings. Their wings can be ordered crispy or grilled and with or without buffalo sauce. We ordered the crispy buffalo wings, that come with a house-made ranch sauce. These were classic buffalo wings - covered in the perfect amount of delicious buffalo sauce, but the ranch was a bit runny.

Total Wing Count: 23

Native Foods has multiple locations. The Los Angeles location is in Westwood at 1114 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

4. Founder’s Ale House

Founders Ale House was one of our top finds from this tour - a standard bar and restaurant that has a ton of vegan cauliflower wings (Cajun, BBQ, Buffalo, Lemon Pepper, Sweet Smoke, etc) complete with vegan ranch! The bartender told us that the black garlic cauliflower wings were basically a signature dish, so we ordered that. The wings were light but with a nice crispiness. They had a thin coating, like with some corn meal to give it a nice nice texture. They were really good and the bartender was super-friendly.

Total Wing Count: 31

Founders Ale House is at 8771 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035.

5. Love Baked Wings

Love Baked Wings veggie option are these adorable chickpea wings (almost like chickpea fries) shaped as tiny drumsticks. They win the award for cutest wings by a long shot. Once you choose what type of wing you want (like which meat or the chickpeas), then you choose which flavor. Seven out of nine flavors are vegan, as are six of the dipping sauces - so there's plenty of variety and reason to come back.

We ordered 12 wings for $5 (24 for $9 is also an option) and opted for the "Love Baked Wings Infamous" (a spicy hot wing) flavor with pomegranate vinaigrette and ghost pepper sauce dipping sauces. The wings were messy (as wings should be) and very very crispy, and dry and light (they were, after all, baked not fried - because they love us). Not surprisingly the ghost pepper sauce was like way too hot to do more than dip a little chickpea toe into. We can't wait to go back and try more flavors and sauces.

Total Wing Count: 41

Love Baked Wings is at 7350 Melrose Ave A, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

6. Doomie's Home Cookin'

At the all-vegan comfort food joint, Doomie's, we were back at "vegan meat on a stick" wings. We ordered the Buffalo Legs, which have a classic buffalo flavor and come with a really delicious creamy ranch sauce. These had the best ranch of the day.

Total Wing Count: 46

Doomie's Home Cookin' is in Hollywood at 1253 Vine St #9, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

7. Veggie Grill

Veggie Grill's wings were most similar to their long-time competitor Native Foods' wings. We ordered the buffalo wings with ranch, and like Native Foods, they look more like chicken tenders. These were crispier and with more heat. We thought the ranch was an improvement to Native Foods, but not as good as Doomie's.

Total Wing Count: 51

Veggie Grill has many locations in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

8. SunCafe

SunCafe, a nice all-vegan sit down restaurant, in Studio City not surprisingly had the fanciest wings of the day. We ordered the BBQ cauliflower with basil ranch, and the the wings were served with green onions, dill pickles, a dusting of pistachio, and with a basil ranch dressing. The cauliflower wings themselves were very BBQ-y, and had a fresher feeling than other wings (fitting with the healthy-leaning theme of SunCafe) - they weren't covered in a batter and seemed just lightly cooked - not fried like other wings. They weren't trying to trick you into thinking you weren't eating a vegetable.

Total Wing Count: 59

SunCafe is in Studio City at 10820 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604.

9. Tony’s Darts Away

Tony's Darts Away is a very-vegan friendly beer bar that we last visited during our vegan hot dog tour. Their buffalo wings are seitan and sunflower strips, covered in a buffalo sauce. They had a great chewy texture, very strong hot buffalo sauce, and brought back memories for Ryan of a bar he used to work at - he was in love with these wings.

Total Wing Count: 67

Tony's Darts Away is in Burbank at 1710 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506.

10. Bulan Thai

There are enough places in LA (especially Thai places) for us to have just eaten the "vegan meat on a stick" wings, but we chose the all-vegetarian Thai restaurant Bulan as our fourth and last. We ordered with the veggie chicken wings with hot sauce and vegan ranch. These wings were hot - by far the spiciest of the day - and pushing the limits of our heat enjoyment. The vegan ranch was a bit runny and the wings were perhaps the same brand as the other soy-based wings on wooden sticks we had but this batch seemed a bit more rubbery.

Total Wing Count: 72

Bulan Thai has locations in Melrose and Silver Lake.

11. Mohawk Bend

Mohawk Bend is a sister restaurant to Tony's Darts Away, and is just as vegan-friendly, but with a larger restaurant-sized menu and space (but still with lots and lots of beer). We got the buffalo cauliflower - one of their signature menu items (which is available all the way from their brunch menu to the late night menu). The cauliflower is soaked with a delicious buffalo sauce and sitting on vegan bleu cheese. The wings are soaked in pretty spicy and well just about perfect - if you want cauliflower buffalo wings, look no further than Mohawk Bend.

In terms of how we were faring eating all these wings - this is where we started to really feel full. I learned that 39 wings is the line from "Yes, I love vegan wings, I want to eat more" to "Hmm... I maybe don't want to eat too many more." I now knew it'd be an uphill battle to reach my goal of 50 wings.

Total Wing Count: 78

Mohawk Bend is in Echo Park at 2141 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026.

12. Sage Vegan Bistro

This is the third time we've hit Sage Vegan Bistro during one of our vegan food tours. It's one of my fave restaurants.

When we asked for two orders of cauliflower wings (we were so full, but trying to push ourselves) our server gave us a hot tip that they had a (at the time) secret menu item of a wings platter. Could the tour have ended on a better note? The huge platter (that didn't appear on the menu until they opened their pizza/bar expansion) has three kinds of wings: buffalo, BBQ, and sweet and sour. Holy shit, this huge platter is not made for two people - especially two people who have already had 78 wings between them.

The wings were all fried (versus having a more wet buffalo sauce), and both the sweet and sour wings and the BBQ wings were similarly sweet. So while we would have enjoyed some more variation, we liked how crunchy the wings were and honestly at this point in our day of vegan wings eating it was going to be hard to get too excited about any wings.

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