M Cafe and Carvel Froyo – Meh Vegan Dining in Beverly Hills

Yesterday my friend Jose and I went to eat in Beverly Hills. Why the Bev? Well I live in Santa Monica and he lives in Hollywood so we tried to meet half way. I am normally a big fan of M Cafe (especially when it was in Culver City) but rarely treck to its Melrose and La Brea location to indulge in my beloved Big Macro and Kale with Peanut Sauce. Somehow I always forget that there is an M Cafe in Beverly Hills – probably because I’ve never been there and or because I rarely go to Beverly Hills. So yesterday seemed like the perfect excuse to suss out this location … and try some vegan froyo at Carvel which is conveniently located down the block. Now Jose is far from being a vegan but I know this man loves a good burger so I thought M would do the trick since they boast one of the best vegan veggie burgers in town. Sadly M let me down today and here’s why.

M Cafe

9433 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(photo courtesy of quarry girl)

This location is super small with only a few tables inside and outside. You order at the counter and get a number and then a server brings you your food. After we ordered we had to wait for someone to get up to get a seat which luckily didn’t take too long, but during rush times I would not recommend dining here as space is super limited. Also let it be noted that there are no babycakes desserts here like their Hollywood location, which if you’ve ever had a babycake cupcake you know is a major bummer. I told Jose that he might like the off the menu “loaded” Big Macro which is essentially their famous burger with avocado and tempeh bacon. He also got fries and a lemonade, thus deeming it the macro combo. Very solid order. I got the big macro but asked for it over a big bed of lettuce so it would be a big macro salad. The woman at the counter said they did that all the time and it would be no problem. Awesome (or so I thought). I also ordered my favorite kale in peanut sauce on the side and a kale lemonade. Kale-tastic per usu.

We sat down at a table by the window and after what seemed to be a unusually long while we were brought two regular lemonades. Except I asked for a kale lemonade. The waiter exchanged it for a ginger green lemonade. Um no still not what I ordered but I was thirsty and I like ginger so I said “that works” and drank it. Not a good sign when they can’t get a lemonade order right, twice.

NOT my lemonade

A while after that our food came and I was pretty speechless on account of my supposed burger salad looking like this….

Big Macro sans bun - whole grain brown rice & vegetable burger, special sauce, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion, and sprouts

Okay so this was clearly not going to work. It was SOOO tiny! Not appropriate lunch size for this growing girl. Not to mention they forgot my kale and I had to ask them to bring it. Ughhh.

Kale with Spicy Peanut Dressing

At this point I actually went up to the counter and explained that I wanted my burger over a salad not in between two shockingly small pieces of lettuce. I thought the woman behind the counter finally understood. Okay, we all make mistakes right? Well that is when they brought me this…..

Shredded iceberg lettuce with no dressing .....

Ummmmm NO. What.The.Fuck. At this point I kind of just laughed, ate Jose’s fries and was excited to put this salad fiasco on the blog for entertainment purposes. I mean really M, REALLY???? Worst part? The Small Macro as I dubbed it with its sad romaine “bun” was not even very good. I normally love it and I was not all hopped up post burger bliss like I was expecting. The kale was also not as good as I remember it being. Buhhhhh!!!! SO disappointing. I think Jose liked his burger just okay but this was definitely not the place to take a skeptical non-vegan.

Loaded Macro - big macro topped with tempeh bacon and fresh avocado and fries

We finished our meals but clearly something was lacking. And so I did what any sane woman does after a unsatisfying meal. Hit up froyo. Yes, I thought I would try to turn our mediocre lunch around with some delightful creamy soft serve that of course was vegan. I heard that Carvel on Rodeo had vegan froyo and toppings and it was a block away so we walked over to check it out.

Carvel

421 N. Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(photo courtesy of quarry girl)

Pretty unhelpful signage

It’s kind of in a bizarre location. You have to walk down three levels from the ground floor and then hidden next to a valet parking garage is this little rinky dink hole in the wall froyo shop. I asked the employee there is they had vegan froyo and he kind of looked at me blankly and turned around without saying anything. I was quite confused and asked him if he worked there. Then another employee came through the entrance and apologized explaining he was in training. Still not sure how tat explains is muteness but whatever. They only had one flavor of vegan froyo which I tasted and was not jazzed about at all. It had a good texture but lacked in the flavor department. Their vegan soft serve is soy based and flavored with beet sugar fyi. Jose passed on the froyo (can’t blame him it was not very good) but I felt like I had better get some since I dragged his ass all the way through this wacky adventure into so-so vegan dining. I got a small froyo with coconut and vegan cookies on top.

Froyo machine featuring one dairy option and one vegan option

Small vanilla vegan frozen yogurt with toasted coconut and vegan chocolate "flying saucer" cookies

It was pretty gross. The cookies were the in between ahrd and soft stage aka stale. I didn’t eat all of it because it melted within 3 minutes in the sun and because it sucked. BUMMER!!! (Kind Kreme I will never cheat on you again I swear).

Luckily Jose is excellent company so a lot of laughter and sunshine made the food flops in the afternoon seem like nbd. We laughed over stories about bacon, rape, and letting the body do what the heart wants. Totes normsies. So my friends, Beverly Hills was a bust but I have not given up on M Cafe, just that location. Carvel’s nast-tastic cup of shame has even inspired me to create my own ice cream so get ready for that post later today. See!? When life gives you lettuce make dessert! Hmmm maybe didn’t nail it with that one. Sho-well. I’m having ice cream for breakfast so everyone wins.

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

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3 thoughts on “M Cafe and Carvel Froyo – Meh Vegan Dining in Beverly Hills

  1. I much prefer the Melrose location of M Cafe as well, though I’m pretty bummed that all the M Cafes took their paninis off the menu and that the tea house next door that made bomb vegan desserts closed its doors.

    Good to hear about Carvel…I’ll stick with KindKreme thankyouverymuch!

  2. Pingback: Chaya – veganizable fine dining in Venice « Your Vegan Girlfriend

  3. i work in (and essentially FOR) beverly hills so I spend a lot of time here. most of the time i pack my own lunch, but there are some vegan-friendly options.

    first off, you’re totally right about the size and busy/cramped nature of m café so i avoid it during the week, but have never had issues with their food quality when I visit on the weekends! big macro and side of the peanut kale does me right every time.

    next time you’re in the city, head down south beverly drive to fresh brothers pizza. they have gluten free crusts and daiya cheese! i get their personal pizza with vegan cheese, artichoke hearts, onion and green peppers and it rocks.

    it’s not quite the same budget as m café, but scarpetta at the montage hotel has an extensive vegetarian menu with vegan or vegan-izable items! of course, it’s all heavenly.

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