This weekend my friend Zandy and I had our usual weekly lunch date. We normally hit up the epic salad bar at Mrs. Winston’s since it is so conveniently located to where I live and where he works. Zandy went in to work on the weekend however, so his commuting time was a little more lax. This meant one thing and one thing only: time to try a new vegan restaurant. Yesssss. I have eaten at Golden Mean once before but it was over three years ago right when they first opened. I have no recollection of what I ordered or how it was so clearly a trip back was in order. Zandy and I met at this quaint little cafe with our hopes high and our bellies full, ready to indulge in our weekly binge fest. Game on.
Golden Mean Vegan Cafe
1028 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Hours: Mon-Wed, Sun 11 am – 9 pm, Thu-Sat 11 am – 10 pm
I got lucky and found a spot right in front, but Zandy circled the block for a while before he found parking, so be warned it can be heinous. This cute little cafe is small and inviting. There was only one other table dining at the restaurant which was a treat for the usually crowded lunch rush at most places.
Their menu is pretty substantial and since it was a Saturday they even had a separate brunch menu available as well. Everything sounded so so yummy I kind of didn’t know where to start. Drinks were first and we got strawberry lemonades and a sparkling water. Their freshly made and agave sweetened lemonade was so dope! Not to sweet and bursting with berry tartness. Into it.
Next we ordered the “egg roll” appetizer, which from the description on the menu I was pretty thrilled about. These vegan fried wonder pockets boast sun-dried tomato and avocado – two of my true loves.
These were so freakin dope. Fried anything is pretty much automatically good but the filling really took it to the next level. These slightly crunchy, melt in your mouth, hot mini pouches of magic came with a tamarind dipping sauce was pretty much flawless to boot. Five stars.
Next our entrees came. I got the “When In Rome” salad, Golden Mean’s take on the vegan caesar, and Zandy absolutely destroyed it with his order of their Works Burger boasting avocado, tempeh bacon, vegan cheese and added a portabello mushroom in their cause Zandy doesn’t fuck around. Ummmm I basically demanded a bite as soon as the order left his mouth. I mean it doesn’t get more gangster than that. His dish also came with the choice of one of their deli case side salads and Zandy chose to go with the kelp noodles. Reading my mind. When our dishes arrived I could not stop gawking at and potentially foaming at the mouth over Zandy’s burger. Clearly the salad got no love when that beautiful veggie burger work of art came to the table.
Holly veggie burger utopia. I took about fifteen pictures of this beaut. Calm down Arielle.
Being the kind-hearted caring individual he is, Zandy let me have some of his burger and let me tell you guys this is legit the best veggie burger I have had. We both agreed it beats out M Cafe’s Big Macro (NOT from Bev Hill location) which Zandy and I normally go crazy for. Guys I am telling you this burger had it all, and with Zandy’s genius addition of a portabello mushroom to this king sized beast, how could you expect anything less. Savory, hearty, bursting with flavor, this is now king veggie burger. 10 out of 5. Ten I say!!!!!
The side of kelp noodles was pretty good too but not sure if it will be a returning player. Get the quinoa instead. I tried the quinoa at the end of our meal (i went up to the counter and they graciously gave me a sample) and I was very impressed. Quinoa can be kind of boring sometimes, but this one had beans, zucchini, carrots and a great dressing. Do it.
On to my salad which I clearly temporarily forgot was in front of me.
My salad was good. It wasn’t amazing. I really liked the sweet potato cornbread croutons but there weren’t enough of them. This is really nitpicky but the menu said red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and there were only maybe four pieces of red cherry tomatoes, no, yellow, and then just regular tomatoes. I think it would have been more flavorful if it was made as advertised. The vegan caesar dressing was pretty spot on though. I love vegan caesars and finding a really great one can be hard to come by. This dressing tasted eerily like how I remember regular caesar dressing to taste. I was pleased. Overall salad was 3 out of 5 stars I think. To be fair I don’t really know how much I would have liked any salad after having some of Zandy’s burger though. I mean come on. Lettuce or the best burger I have ever tasted? Clearly next time I won’t be so healthy.
We obviously finished our lunch with dessert. They had tons of cake options that sounded absurdly delicious but Zandy chose the Coconut Variety and I was pretty pumped. All of Golden Mean’s desserts are wheat free, refined sugar-free, and have gluten-free options as well. This cake was not gluten-free as it was made using spelt flour (def asked, I’m so “that girl”) but as long as wheat isn’t involved I’m usually okay with indulging in non gluten-free treats from time to time. The waitress brought us the incredibly gorgeous slice of cake and we dug in.
Ummm this was out of this world good. I have no idea how or why but we both agreed the cake tasted like cookie dough. The texture was moist and crumbley (in fact we made a mess, shocker) and the flavors were dead on. Sweet sugary (without real sugar!) coconut heaven. It had different layers of frosting I tried to dissect as well, my favorite being the top layer of super sweet vanilla frosting generously sprinkled with shredded coconut. I was so enamored with the frosting in fact I asked if our waitress could ask what was in it for me. The ingredients? Earth Balance, raw sugar and vanilla extract. Butter and sugar, hmmmm, wonder why I loved it so much. This cake was veggie burger level 10 out of 5 stars. Damn gurl. Zandy and I obviously destroyed this cake. We left the table looking like we made it rain shredded coconut. I’m a baller that way.
Zandy and I were having a pretty deep conversation when he told me I had a huge chunk of cake hanging off my face and had for a while now. I’m tho thexy.
To say this restaurant outing was a success would be a huge understatement. The works veggie burger and the coconut cake are worth making the trip to Golden Mean no matter where in LA you live. Legit this place just shot to the top of my list as a new favorite. Gah I love when that happens. I’m so excited to go back and try their gluten-free cornmeal crust pizza as well as their breakfast burrito which looked pretty incredible. Seriously I might need to go there today. Like right now. Now if only I could get my homemade veggie burgers to taste half as good as theirs I might reclaim my honor in the kitch. This week I plan to roll the dice and try my luck at veggie burger making again. Keep me in your prayers.
Your Vegan Girlfriend