2013 Daily 49er Food Guide
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 21:02
Best Vegan Food
Angela Ratzlaff, News Editor
Address:6473 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803
Vegan. The word often conjures up images of underweight cardigan-clad college students who wear expressions of “I could care less” under their non-prescription glasses.
Whether it’s a hipster trend or health fad, vegan and vegetarian food is certainly more delightful and much less guilt bearing than a grease-drenched burger from a nearby fast food restaurant. Long Beach’s Roots Gourmet proves that food sans dairy and meat can also be more flavorful and just as satisfying, if not more.
Roots owner and self-taught chef Dalet Hamby, who is an active athlete herself, opened the restaurant with health and nutrition in mind.
“I was vegan for a couple of years … I understood the demand for it,” she said.
Dalet, however, adds her Latin flair with something she calls “salzòn.”
“[It means] to have passion, zest, spice and creativity,” she said.
Zest, spice and creativity jump from the menu items like their specialty Mexican Mayan mocha, a cinnamon infused coffee drink combined with a homemade chocolate mix. They also offer the traditional empanadas, with flavors including the plantain and black bean stuffed Cuban, chili-cheese, chicken and beef. A vegan and gluten free empanada is always available, of course.
The vegan empanada is stuffed with black as well as garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers and corn. The dough is fried to make a golden crust, and it is served with their homemade green salsa.
The café does offer meat options, if vegan food proves to be too intimidating. One of their most popular dishes is the turkey albondigas, a traditional Mexican meatball soup that fills more than 60 bowls a day. The original recipe usually calls for pork; however, Roots revamps the nutrition level and makes the meatballs with lean turkey and house-made vegetable broth.
Other than spice-infused entrées and coffee drinks, the café keeps prepared foods, like soyrizo-stuffed Portobello mushrooms and vegetable lasagna, in their deli case. A bakery filled with vegan and gluten free treats, like a gluten free carrot cake and vegan chocolate tortes, sits next to the deli.
After two years of business, Dalet said that the best part of Roots has been the Long Beach community.
“The success has been great,” Dalet said. “Community support has been tremendous … our goal is to foster a great sense of community.”
Roots is open on Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..
Best Date Night
Address:6272 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803
What a great little date spot! The ambiance is warm and inviting and the food is pretty exceptional, albeit a little overpriced if you’re not taking advantage of Sunday Brunch or happy hour. The menu has a variety of Asian inspired dishes and some of the best Kobe beef sliders around. Their calamari is mouthwatering and cooked to perfection, and their mac ‘n’ cheese comes in a hot skillet covered with toasted breadcrumbs. The transition from brunch to happy hour on Sundays is seamless, so the prices hardly change – only the menus do. They have live music Wednesday through Sunday and sits right on the Marina so the view is unbelievable. The bar lines an entire window-filled wall in this spacious spot—with cozy couches facing the water so guests can grab a drink and enjoy the sunset after a long hard day. Happy hour lasts all day Mondays, Tuesday – Friday & Sundays it is from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 10a.m. – 2 p.m.
Best Weird Food
Address:929 Redondo Ave, Long Beach, CA 90804
Can’t decide between Italian and Thai food again? Look no further. Just a hole in the wall on an easily overlooked corner, Dean’s Pizza is home to one of Long Beach’s most unlikely hidden gems: Thai Curry Pizza. It’s really not as weird as it sounds. Instead of tomato sauce, Dean’s Pizza uses curry to give their unique creation its signature kick. Their menu has everything from pasta to pad Thai, although I’ve never been brave enough to try anything but the pizza. Stuck next to the smoke shop off of 10th and Redondo, Dean’s isn’t the most inviting place. But hey, they deliver on-time in a smart car and at $13 for a large, Thai Curry Pizza makes one hell of a late night snack.
Best Dive Bar
The Stache Bar
Address:941 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90802