Archive for the “Follow Your Heart” Category

I keep talking up the vegan Reuben sandwich at Follow Your Heart to any & all who will listen, but up until now I’ve only had a poorly lit picture to show for it. I am now finally able to present to you indisputable evidence, proving once and for all that Follow Your Heart serves The Worlds Best Vegan Reuben Sandwich. Don’t believe me?

World Best Vegan Reuben Sandwich

(each half is larger than my hand with all fingers outstretched)

Thinly sliced wheatmeat, sauerkraut, mustard and Vegenaise, Thousand Island dressing on oversized rye bread. Offered with Follow Your Heart cheese or “cottage-style tofu”. All vegan, giant, and about as close to bliss in deli style vegan sandwich form as you’ll ever get. What more do you need to know?

Follow Your Heart Vegan Reuben Sandwich

Actually, there is more you need to know. Get it with the cottage tofu. This step is absolutely crucial to achieving maximum religious intensity with this experience. The regular Follow Your Heart vegan cheese version is ok and all but it’s the tofu stuff that MAKES this thing. I don’t care how much you already think you love this mighty Reuben (or any other Reuben for that matter): you haven’t really had it until you’ve had it with the tofu cottage cheese. It’s chunky and crumbly and creamy and hopped up on some kind of herbs. It doesn’t taste anything like cottage cheese or tofu, it just taste like all sorts of awesome all up in your mouth. The tofu is necessary in order to transform it from just good into something supernatural. Something not of this world and ahead of it’s time.

The time is now. The place is Canoga Park, California.
818 represent: No wimpy Reubens allowed.

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I don’t write about Follow Your Heart restaurant in Canoga Park often enough, which is a cryin’ shame because their food is so darn good. I dig the old hippie vibe that infuses both the restaurant and the market (which share the same space) but I also like that their food has a lot more going on than just the stereotypical alfalfa sprouts & avocado sandwiches you’d expect from a hippie restaurant… though you bet they’ve got those too.

Lately I’ve been really feeling the breakfast / brunch vibe, so I’ve amassed a few visits worth of meals to share with you. Pull up a seat and join me, won’t you?

Follow Your Heart vegan brunch

This big beauty is known as Bob’s Breakfast a.k.a. Huevos No Tenemos: “Two Organic Corn Tortillas Covered with Black Beans, Tofu, Sauteed in a Mild Salsa Verde, and Topped with Red Sauce and Feta Cheese (Optional). Served with Spanish Rice, Guacamole, Sour Cream and Grilled Bananas”. Ask for their vegan sour cream and/or even opt for the vegan cheese like I did and you’ve got yourself an honest to goodness vegan lovefest on a plate. No patchouli required.
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Here’s a great stick-to-your-ribs breakfast I recently tried for the first time at Follow Your Heart, the “Two Bean Hash”.

Vegan Breakfast at Follow Your Heart

“White and Black Beans, Vegetables, Wheatmeat and Spices, Pan Fried Crispy. Served with Two Vegetarian “Sausage” Links, Guacamole and Sour Cream.”

This was delicious, a simple and straightforward combo of flavors and textures that all went very well together. Mixing in the guacamole, salsa and sour cream gave the dish a nice Mexican flair. If Emeril Lagasse were here he’d probably say that they kicked it up a notch. The sour cream was vegan but make sure your server knows that’s what you want just in case.

I didn’t like the sausages much at all; they tasted like your average fake-sausage from the freezer, and not of an amazingly realistic or particularly tasty variety. Spiced, smoked cardboard comes to mind. Nevertheless, the hash was lovely and I highly recommend it. Next time I’ll ask for a side of fruit or something instead of the snausages.

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I love the food at Follow Your Heart but it’s more on the hippy end of things, so I wasn’t sure how well they would pull off Indian Food.

'Vegan Tandoori and Curry

This is the ‘Tandoori and Curry’ plate, and I’m pleased to report that it was fantastic. “Tandoori Spiced Vegetarian “Chicken” and a Savory Tofu Curry, Served with Basmati Rice, a Vegetable Samosa and Mango Chutney.”

It was a large serving of food. The chicken was some sort of gluteny-seitan concoction. It was a bit on the chewy side, almost jerky-like, but that was a good thing. The tofu was also firm with a really nice texture, and both the tandoori and curry flavors were great. The samosa was tasty, though nothing special. The mango chutney was sweet and I enjoyed it with the rice. Overall a very yummy dish. FYH, sorry I doubted ya!

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The vegan Reuben at Follow Your Heart has long been at the top of my list of favorite foods to eat in Los Angeles, and I was loving this sandwich long before I was ever even a vegetarian or vegan. Yeah, it’s that good.

'Vegan Reuben sandwich at Follow Your Heart

This monster serving consists of: thinly sliced wheatmeat, sauerkraut, mustard and Vegenaise on oversized rye bread, with oven-baked baked fries. Served with dill pickle and Thousand Island dressing. It normally comes with Swiss cheese, but they offer it with their amazing non-dairy “cottage-style tofu” instead to make it vegan, and I tell you, that stuff is so delicious. I preferred it to the real stuff even when I was a cheese eater.

Despite how huge it looks in the picture, this really does not do justice to the size of this beast. It’s truly a giant sandwich. One half of it is probably enough to feed two people, so you can imagine that I was working on leftovers for a while. I’m not exaggerating when I rave to you about how yummy this sandwich is. It’s the sort of thing that you suddenly get a craving for late at night, long after the restaurant has closed and there’s not a thing you can do about it but wait until daytime. I’ve been going to Follow Your Heart specifically for this meal since I was a teenager and I still love it. They’ve got so many other fantastic items on their menu but I’ve tried only a few of them, because every time I go there and start checking out the menu, it’s always the Reuben that calls my name.

That said, I did have something different there recently… more on that soon to come.

p.s… Thank you Don Bolles, because if it wasn’t for the little review you wrote about this sandwich in the L.A. Weekly many years ago, I may have never learned of it’s existence. A tip of the hat, and a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s soap to you, Sir.

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As mentioned, another visit to Follow Your Heart presented itself, so for once I opted to have something other than the vegetarian Reuben.

'Organic Tempeh Tacos

I had the “Organic Tempeh Tacos: Two organically grown, stone ground corn tortilla shells, filled with seasoned, grilled organic tempeh, jack and cheddar cheese (substituted with their excellent vegan cheese), tomatoes and fresh cilantro. Served with Spanish rice, black beans guacamole and lime wedges.” It was good, they managed to give the tempeh a texture that was very similar to ground taco meat. The sides were all tasty too, and this serving like everything else there, was huge.

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