Real Food Daily is not the kind of place I’d have dreamed of when I was younger fantasizing about Hollywood. Vegan cuisine in West Hollywood? Does that even make sense? Well, yes it does.
Hegui and I stumbled upon this wonderful spot on a stroll back to our hotel on West 3rd after catching up with my long-time friend and former roommate, Gene, and his delightful boyfriend, Paul. Paul works at the Getty Museum in the photography department so regaled us about the opening bash for the current exhibit: Herb Ritts, L. A. Style. The show is a must-see and the party sounded incredible. As you might expect at a Ritts retrospective, it was full of stars and models. I thought it cute that Paul seemed so put-out Madonna hadn’t bothered to show up. Ah, LA! It’s such a different California.
Anyhoo back to Real Food Daily. The founder, Ann Gentry, has an amazing all-American dream story herself. According to the web site (how in the world did they get the address, “realfood?”) she’s originally from Tennessee, had a short stint in New York where she became fascinated with the relationship between food and health, then migrated to Los Angeles in the Eighties to work as personal chef for Danny DeVito. Things expanded into a home delivery service then she opened the first RFD location in Santa Monica in 1993. The West Hollywood restaurant opened in the late Nineties with a lot of fanfare and critical acclaim.
‘course I didn’t know any of that when we walked by the place on La Cienega Boulevard that night. I merely pointed it out to Hegui as a vegan curiosity. We ended up going there for their marvelous Sunday brunch after an abortive attempt to eat at the classic diner, Norm’s, up the same street.
We weren’t sure about RFD so somehow forgot to photograph the exterior. The inside was all clean lines, blond wood, skylights, gorgeous staff and flagrant displays of perfectly ripe veggies. Sort of like Golden Era in San Francisco, the menu uses meaty terms to describe its vegan offerings, though here it’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek. So though Hegui ordered a popular sausage scramble, I tried the no-huevos rancheros. I liked the name and the dish itself was wonderful. My favorite thing had to have been the cinnamon bun. I’ve no idea how someone might make one of those vegan but you sure couldn’t tell by its incredible taste.
The service was good; the food, great. This is a place I’d enjoy visiting again sometime soon. Perhaps Ann could open one in San Francisco as her next venture? That would be awesome!