[A NON-VEGAN TRIES VEGAN FOOD is Best of Vegan editor Sara Vierra‘s column sharing her experience of embarking on an exploration of Los Angeles’ vegan restaurant scene as a skeptical non-vegan. All opinions expressed are her own.]
National Taco Day, The Vegan Way
Tacos are one of the biggest constants in my life. Might sound dramatic, but I’m not kidding. Birthdays, holidays, normal days; breakfast, lunch and dinner (and dessert if you count taco bell’s choco taco, but you probably don’t because you’re vegan and I respect that). They literally always fit in, but each one is different, and there has never been a taco I didn’t like.
“Tacos are one of the biggest constants in my life. Might sound dramatic, but I’m not kidding.”
A plant-based taqueria founded by and ran by women (Amen)
Fast-forward to Best of Vegan asking me to check out Sugar Taco in LA, a plant-based taqueria founded by and ran by women (Amen). For the first time in my life, I felt skeptical. Not knowing how one might recreate a carne asada or a carnitas in order to make it vegan and presenting as something so sweet given sugar is part of the name, I just wasn’t sure how to feel. Nonetheless, the wild escapades I go on in order to explore the world of veganism never let me down, and my intrigue of the situation was strong. I set the date and time, grabbed my roommate, because sometimes it’s hard to eat alone, and headed out to embrace a new experience.
Upon arriving, the urge to Instagram was intense. The sign outside was cute, the wallpaper made me feel like I needed a serious lesson in interior design, ANNNND they had merch! I hadn’t eaten a thing and I was sold. I’m pretty sure my favorite thing of all was that they used tarot cards for table numbers.
After looking around and spending too long debating whether or not I needed to buy one of each piece of merchandise they had out on display, I finally got in line to order. In my last article we established that I’m not a vegan and that I’m slightly indecisive, so yes, ordering was weighing heavily on my mind.
Thankfully, that problem was resolved, as soon as I got to the register. The woman working walked me through nearly every item on the menu, told me how much of everything I needed and even convinced me to buy the cutest glass jar to drink my horchata out of. And yes, I justified that purchase because it meant I had a new glass jar I could reuse aka take another step in saving our planet.
My four tacos, guacamole, and nachos came and went within minutes. The tacos we had were vegan versions of carne asada, al pastor, carnitas and pollo, and I kid you not, they tasted like the real deal. The jackfruit concept staged as carnitas really threw me for a loop, but I stopped fighting the fact that I knew it wasn’t meat because it was freaking GOOD!
“The jackfruit concept staged as carnitas really threw me for a loop, but I stopped fighting the fact that I knew it wasn’t meat because it was freaking GOOD!”
[Image: our skeptical non-vegan editor Sara as she gives the vegan tacos a try!]
Sugar Taco has found a way to extend the joy that is tacos to the vegan community, and for that, I thank them. The combination of the cashew cheese, use of fresh veggies and fruits, and protein substitutes like jackfruit and seitan to make the cuisine of a traditional taqueria, a place of warm, lively and inviting gatherings, is so well done that I recommend Sugar Taco as a MUST to anyone passing through Los Angeles.
“I recommend Sugar Taco as a MUST to anyone passing through Los Angeles.”
And on that note, today happens to be #NationalTacoDay, so please – live your best life, head out to Melrose Ave and enjoy yourself some vegan tacos and other Mexican fare in the beautiful space that the women of Sugar Taco have created.
Text & Photography by Sara Vierra.