Saturday, December 19, 2009

L.A. Vegan Reubens, aka the Reuben Wars

Long in the making, a war began brewing...and despite my slowness in coverage, it seems to be mounting. A controversy amongst our vegan friends to the South: Which is the best vegan reuben to be had in Los Angeles?

Flore, Follow Your Heart and Cafe Flourish are all oft-noted contenders...but in early November Quarrygirl posted a review of a new entrant, the Cafe Muse reuben.

She admitted it wasn't the best, but perhaps the best deal at under ten bucks. (Yeah, this is L.A.).

On December 2nd, Quarrygirl posted again. With yet another reuben. (Portland, you need to step it up). This picture kinda made me drool. She says it's the best, and looking at that crispy marble rye and a "meat" with red to rival the famed Chicago Diner's Radical Reuben, I believe her.

The thinly sliced "pastrami" reminds me of the Liquid Earth vegan reuben in Baltimore that B. and I sought out upon the recommendation of a television character. The fact is has the oft-praised Daiya cheese also bears mention. (Look for a future recipe post in which we try this mythical cheese, procured not too long ago from Food Fight--and check out this New York Times article on veganism in Long Island that refers to it.).

Meanwhile, Elderberries has entered the scene. While no contender, it clearly adds some variety and innovation.

As to whether this is really a "war" or not, I'm not so sure. I haven't heard much argument, and neither is there evidence of overt competition between the various providers of reubens. In fact, Portland probably still has more vegan reuben restaurants than L.A., I would wager. But we do seem to lack a drive to up the ante. I'm a big fan of the tempeh reuben, but maybe it's time to get a bit more creative.