One of the most difficult parts of being an informed eater is deciding which culinary paths to follow. Do you shop only at farmers’ markets, or are organic supermarket products acceptable? What makes more sense, pescetarian or flexitarian? The answers to these questions might be different for everybody, but we are all trying to figure out the same thing: what’s healthiest?
That’s the premise behind Seed in Venice, California. The vegan restaurant adheres to the principles of its owners, one of who eschewed standard western medicine when she was diagnosed with cancer. She believes the vegan, macrobiotic diet she adopted after her diagnosis held the key to her cure – its only natural that she’d want to share this lifestyle with others. And Seed's been winning awards in the process: LA Confidential voted them most environmentally friendly, and PETA awarded them second place in a national "faux foie gras" competition.
The menu at Seed includes burgers made of seitan, tempeh or beans and grains, vegetable and grain bowls served plain or in curries, big salads, and desserts made without sugar (maple and brown rice are used instead). The Japanese curry is made well, with perfectly cooked kabocha squash and shiitake mushrooms on top of tender brown rice. Seitan is the recommended add-on to this dish, and while it’s a good effort at approximating steak, those not used to fake meats will still detect the chemical-y flavor often found in processed products like this.
The very presence of meat stand-ins might come as a surprise to some. Not all vegans eat seitan and tempeh, finding the processing required to get meat-like substance from wheat and soy to be too similar to the problems inherent in meat production.
On the other hand, other vegans are happy to eat conventional, packaged products that are meat product-free, like Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies, Famous Amos cookies, Fritos and Rice Krispies (among many others). It goes to show: there is no one right answer when it comes to feeding yourself.
Regardless of how you feel about Seed’s vegan food, it’s nice to know they’re focusing on the environment, as well. They compost, decorate with reclaimed wood, and most interestingly, never use microwaves or non-stick pans. The food may not appeal to everybody, but they are making a stand.