L.A. Plant Based Scene: Brewery, Lunch, Ice Cream à la Non-Dairy. Cheers!
Stumbling into good places can feel like great discoveries that leave you wanting to know more. What exactly is it? When did it open? Who’s the genius behind it?
That is exactly what happened to me while waiting for the light to turn green to cross Sunset Blvd, across from my new go-to spot apparently.
On the corner of Sunset and Logan St in Echo Park, there is an unassuming bistro with a good amount of people walking in and out of it at 11 am, on a Tuesday, on a rainy day – in L.A. As a former resident of Los Angeles, it’s common knowledge that people in L.A. don’t react well to the rain and yet, in a matter of three minutes, I saw about fifteen people cross through the doors of Sage Vegan Bistro. Things have changed…
The place looked interesting. Think industrial kitchen meets farm with coffee shop over a nice craft beer on tap – that’s all I got from standing outside those three minutes. So, as Mary Poppins would say, “See for yourself” and I did.
The ambiance is very welcoming. Everything from the friendly staff to the coffee shop vibe, but on a grander scale, it offered people a space to relax and have a great looking lunch on a rainy L.A. day. I had to know more about this place.
It’s a big deal
“Sage’s founder, Mollie Engelhart, was raised vegan on a small farm in upstate New York.”
After skimming through the bistro’s website, let’s just say chef Mollie knows a thing or two about a plant based diet. Her cool take on the restaurant’s menu and style can make people want to be vegan as well.
Her initial project was actually KindKreme, a non-dairy ice cream with specialty flavors like coffee chip and coconut chip. It was well received by the people of L.A. which allowed chef Mollie to expand to more locations. In 2011, she opened her third KindKreme location which is now known as Sage Vegan Bistro – “a place where people come to to escape the rain.” Ok, that was just that one day, but it was like a haven for a few of us.
A few days later, I set out to visit the Culver City location to get a better feel of the overall business. This location opened in 2013 and it looks like it just opened. It’s a beer garden in a plant based world and it works. The menu is a bit extensive but that just goes to show all the great things Sage has to offer.
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These are our new rescued pigs, we are so excited to partner with them on the land the have a very important “job” eating all the scraps from the restaurant and make compost? they were living near Compton inside the city limits and the city was not having it so their owners had to find them a home, they wanted to make sure it was a home where they wouldn’t get eaten. Now they have A forever home with a forever stream of organic goodness coming from the restaurants for them. They are two years old and their names are Bella big boy and big girl
Locally sourced • Plant based • Organic
These three concepts are the essence of what Sage is and what it stands for. Chef Mollie believes in locally sustained and produced food. Everything about the restaurant projects her mission of sustainability, from the biodegradable compostable to-go coffee cups to the simple choice of offering oat milk over almond milk.
Back to the farm
Chef Mollie is extremely driven and talented, but thankfully she’s not doing it all alone. Her partner in crime is none other than her husband, chef Elias Sosa. Formerly, the sous chef at Sage, chef Sosa has been by her side throughout this incredible journey. Following the Sage brand’s essence, they decided to take the business all the way to the root of all its goodness – fresh, organic produce. Committed to regenerative agriculture, the Sow A Heart farm produces food for Sage and other restaurants interested in sustainable farm and business practices.
Let’s talk food…and beer
As Jack would say, “TO DIE FOR.” The menu has something for everyone and the slight influence of Mexican cuisine makes it extra special – I’m biased. Seriously, cornbread jalapeño pancakes and Mexican pizza? We see you Chef Sosa…
The unique dishes are complemented by KindKreme’s ice cream selection and what makes Sage a great option for this weekend – craft beer on tap. Sage could very well be the first vegan beer garden and we’re all for it.
Plan a trip to one of their locations. Make it a “Happy Valentine’s Day month” date and try the Hibiscus Sour Wit or Habanero Pilsner with some loaded nachos. Be inspired by the dynamic duo chefs and feel all the feels at Sage.
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Think Vegan beer gardens will be the new thing in California? Know of any others? DM us their profile!
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This is one feature within our “Venturing Through LA” series. Check out the rest:
- Time Travel: Echo Park Takes Us On A Writing Journey… Through A Wormhole
- DTLA: Chicas Tacos For Days…
- Tierra Mía Coffee: Is This the Latin Take On Starbucks?
- DTLA: A Place Where Pupusas Shine Bright Just For You
- East L.A., Sara’s Market: Bringing Local Goodness to the Neighborhood
- Voted World’s Best Cuban Sandwich, Silverlake’s Cuban Gem : El Cochinito