[Update 10/12/09] Sadly That’s Amore is closing it’s doors this week and is no more :(
That’s Amore. Actually, it’s an anomaly. That’s Amore is an all vegetarian / vegan Italian restaurant in Cerritos. In a strip mail. No really, think about that for minute. Cerritos is one of the last places you’d think to find a vegan friendly restaurant, not to mention an Italian one. After all Italian food is all about the cheese, right? Sure, but did you really think that would stop us vegans from enjoying it? No way, Jose.
The fine folks at That’s Amore, a pleasant family run operation, have mastered the art of making vegan cheese indistinguishable from the real thing. They’re using Follow Your Heart cheese, which, unless you posses the secret magic power that enables you to get it to melt properly, you already know can be tricky to work with. Well the chef at That’s Amore has that power and this faux cheese melts at their command. They’ve got it down to a science… a breakthrough if you will.
But first we need to discuss the Bruschetta.
Straight up, That’s Amore makes a mean bruschetta. While bruschetta is a pretty simple concept, crusty bread with tomatoes, garlic, capers, basil, olive oil, they’ve managed to make it into an art form here. This bruschetta was 100% scrumptious! By some kind of precise combination of ingredients they’ve concocted a perfectly delicious appetizer that had my companians and I all greedily eying the last piece, quite ready to fight for it if necessary. Guess who won?
The selection of Italian/American vegan selections at That’s Amore is almost overwhelming. These are not the sorts of foods that vegans are used to having access to in such abundance. From lasagna to manicotti, from sausage sandwiches to chicken parmagiana, from meatball subs to fetuccini alfredo… ALL VEGAN. It’s seriously ridiculous! They also of course have a bunch of different specialty New York style pizzas, or you can design your own from their long list of all vegan toppings. I’ve already been spoiled by the delicious tomato and pesto based pizzas at Purgatory Pizza, so I wanted to try something unique to That’s Amore. That’s when I met one of my favorite pizzas ever.
Say hello to Potato Rosemary: Bechamel sauce, rosemary mash potato and artichokes. We got it along with the vegan mozzarella cheese and extra crushed garlic for stinky bonus points.
I’ll admit the concept of potato on pizza is relatively new to me. I’ve seen some foodporn pizza action involving thin slices of potato, but I hadn’t even considered mashed potatoes… on a pizza???… certainly had never tried it. Of course I had to, that’s just not something you walk away from.
WHOA. This pizza is fantastic. The bechamel sauce (French white sauce that would normally be made from milk & butter) = (gross), combined with the texture of mashed potato and melted cheese was heavenly = (not gross). Add to that a hint of rosemary and a blood-thinning amount of garlic and you’ve hit a home run as far as I’m concerned.
Gooey, melty, giant, with a perfect crust that you want to eat up every last bite of. I’m actually really glad this place is all the way down in Cerritos and not any closer to me. That would be dangerous for all involved.
Not only does That’s Amore offer (I think?) everything on their menu in a vegan version, but they cook the stuff separate as well. Look at the cute and effective assurance that you get to discover as you devour your pizza… even the serving tray is marked vegan. How awesome is that? No cooties!
While we’re still on the topic of all things awesome, I can’t not mention the Vegan Cannoli. How do people come up with these great ideas? It’s a vegan cannoli for chrissake… dipped in chocolate and covered in powdered sugar. A stroke of genius I tell you! The traditional ricotta cheese filling was replaced with what must have been some sort of tofu based cream, it was very tasty but I could definitely detect a hint of soy. Very well done and just the right closure to an excellent meal.
For the vegans who miss being able to indulge in all the yummy, cheesy Italian foods you’ve always enjoyed, or, for the not-yet-vegans who haven’t made the leap yet because they just can’t imagine life after cheese- you need to go eat at That’s Amore. Do it now and stop whining about what vegans can’t have and revel in all the wonderful things we can have. Detach yourself from the dairy industry’s teat already, there is no excuse: Go Vegan! Then go eat Italian food!
Bummer for you if you live too far away because you are missing out :(
Be happy in the knowledge of what is possible. Or, move!
Even if like me at first, you might be thinking, “why in the heck would I ever want to drive to Cerritos?”, realize it’s only about 30 minutes outside of L.A. if the traffic isn’t too bad (yeah, good luck with that), and it’s only about 15 minutes away from Disneyland regardless of which direction you’re coming from. It’s absolutely worth a quick diversion off the 5 freeway onto the 91 to try some of the finest Italian food you’re probably ever going to get as a vegan. At least, in Cerritos.
[Since I hate Yelp with a fiery passion, and That's Amore doesn't have their own website, I'll send you to the Quarrygirl review, since they pretty much put this place on the map. Mad props.]
[Thanks to reader Michelle for finding that they actually do have a website! Unfortunately it's really bad and would almost be better if they didn't. Doh!]
13349 Artesia Blvd.
Cerritos, CA 90703
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