Hugo’s January Specials and a very vegan birthday

Happy belated birthday to Bess!

This weekend Bess celebrated her birthday at Hugo’s in West Hollywood, one of my all time favorite vegan restaurants. I was thrilled when Bess told me she wanted to celebrate her bday at Hugo’s because I already had my eye on their amazing sounding vegan specials of the month. True to form, Bess and I shared several dishes each better than the next!


We got the vegan food party started with the nacho appetizer to share with the table.

Los Nachos Con Queso - Crispy corn tortilla chips over a bed of tomato-chipotle black beans. Topped with Chef Nabor’s zesty vegan queso sauce. Accented with pico de gallo, diced grilled green chilies, avocado and chopped cilantro.

I’ve had the vegan nachos at Hugo’s once before but I don’t remember them being this insanely good. The nacho cheese sauce the chips come smothered in is absolutely incredible; I could seriously eat a vat of just that.  Every component of these nachos is great and we all gobbled them up in a blink of an eye. Two huge thumbs up for this amazing app that’s perfect for sharing with all your friends! Weeeee.

Next Bess and I shared one of Hugo’s monthly specials, the polenta and portabello ragout appetizer.

Grilled Polenta & Portabello Ragout - Grilled polenta topped with sautéed diced portabello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, broccolini, and sun dried tomato, in a cashew-cream marsala-tomato sauce. Sprinkled with fresh chopped basil.

Um OMFG this was BOMBBBBBBBBB. My favorite dish of the night, this seasonal app sums up everything I love about vegan food. The cashew cream marsala sauce was “I can’t believe this is vegan” good. So so creamy and rich and lightly spiced with Italian flavors, the rich sauce paired perfectly with the big chunks of the “meaty” portabellos. The grilled polenta was golden and buttery, hearty and comforting. The other veggies in the ragout were also amazing especially the broccolini, which I normally am not the hugest fan of because it can be bitter. Not in this dish. Everything was 11 out of 10 good. Run out of your door and go to Hugo’s and order this because it will only be on the menu until the end of the month. MUST MUST MUST order. So damn good and entirely vegan and gluten-free!

For our entrée, Bess and I decided to do splitsies yet again, and we decided on another stellar January special, the oyster mushroom tacos (yes oyster mushrooms are vegan!)

Oyster Mushroom Tacos - Warm corn tortillas filled with breaded crispy fried oyster mushrooms. Topped with shredded lettuce, jalapeno-marinated vegetables, fire-roasted-tomato salsa and cilantro. Served with chopped romaine salad and Caesar dressing.

All I can say is yes yes yes. So much yes going on on this plate. The piping hot mushrooms inside of the hot corn tortillas were fried to a crisp golden brown and contrasted so nicely with the cool crunch of the shredded lettuce and salsa. I think these tacos were a play on Ensenada style fish tacos, a California favorite of my meat-eating friends. I love that Hugo’s veganized and improved upon classic fish tacos and more importantly that they tasted so freakin’ good! The “meaty” quality of the shrooms was simply the perfect filling for a perfect taco. Yum yum yumeroooo.

A better shot of the crispy fried mushroom filling.

Although the polenta ragout was still my favorite order of the night (cause it was on anotha level good) these tacos are a def must order and I highly recommend getting them before they go off of the menu. (PS – why is vegan Mexican food always SO good). The caesar salad the tacos were served with, as always, was great too. The vegan caesar dressing at Hugo’s is def the best in town. Go get this special now! You can’t go wrong.

For dessert Bess’ birthday guests and I decided to surprise her with two seasonal desserts, the vegan pumpkin pie and the vegan chocolate brownie torte, both totally vegan and totally gluten-free!

Pumpkin Pie - Smooth, pumpkin pie spiced with ground clove, cinnamon, ginger & cardamom in a coconut and pecan crust. Topped with pumpkin seed brittle and served with whipped cream (not vegan) upon request.

Okay so this wasn’t my jam but I am weird and hate nutmeg, which the pie was heavily seasoned with, so that conclusion was inevitable. The other guests really enjoyed it though so don’t let my potpourri spice hating taste buds dissuade you. That being said, I think everyone agreed the torte was the clear dessert winner.

Brownie Tort - A wonderful chewy chocolate pecan brownie topped with a fudge frosting and a ripe strawberry. They are so full of whole ingredients we consider them a more nutritious food source than any ordinary dessert.

Don’t even know where to begin. I normally don’t go crazy for super rich chocolate desserts in general but oh my vegan stars was this thing delicious. I normally don’t like fruit either, but the strawberries paired with the fudgey gooey brownie like torte were the most insane and perfect flavor combo ever. How in the world this is both vegan and more astonishingly gluten-free I don’t know. I do know, however, that is was blowing my damn mind. This dessert is seriously DANGEROUS. I am so glad I had other people to share it with (errr or fight over it with) because lord only knows I could eat the whole thing myself in a heart beat. And then another. This torte is heaven on a plate people, pure vegan heaven on a plate. MUST MUST MUST ORDERRRRRRRRRRR.


Every month Hugo’s never ceases to amaze me with the inventiveness, creativity and execution of their specials. January proved to feature one of my favorite menus yet and I give my full endorsement for every delicious item I tried. All gluten-free and all vegan lose your mind apps, entrées and desserts at an omnivorous restaurant? Is this real life? Yes, yes it is. It’s Hugo’s.


My one complaint was regarding the service. The dinner service at Hugo’s West Hollywood is always a little, err, shall we say, lacking. Our waitress was kinda hard to flag down and def had a ‘tude. However, the hostess (possibly manager?) at the front totally picked up her slack and is always amazing to all the customers whenever I eat there. Regardless of service gripes, Hugo’s continues to be one of my favorite vegan friendly restaurants in LA. I think Bess had a great birthday and that’s all that really matters. I will def be hitting Hugo’s up again in January before those rockin specials disappear!




Your Vegan Girlfriend


3 thoughts on “Hugo’s January Specials and a very vegan birthday

  1. Not my finest photo that’s for sure but what amazing food and company…you are my favorite to go splitsies with.

    That polenta appetizer was unreal in a “I cannot believe this luscious saucy, flavorful beast is vegan” way and echo the sentiments about them making the best vegan caesar dressing in LA (I like that it isn’t gloppy and/or gelatinous).

    Though for the desserts, I was slightly more partial to the pumpkin pie!

  2. Is this affiliated with the Hugos in Atwater? If so, these nachos look SO much better. The ones I had from Atwater were just melted vegan cheese, no amazing sauce that is making me want to leave work to go eat now… (why am I reading this blog at work anyway?)

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