We have been longing to go the LA County Museum of Art lately. There is a women’s surrealist show called “In Wonderland” that looks intriguing. It features many originals from Frida Kahlo, one of my favorite artists, which is a big plus.

vegan kung pao

Hunka Burnin’ Love from Real Food Daily

My husband suggested finding a local vegan restaurant to add to the day’s festivities. I used an iPhone App called “VegOut” that helps you find vegetarian, vegan, or vegetarian-friendly restaurants locally. There are reviews to help you find something you’ll enjoy. It’s kind of like Yelp for vegetarians powered by HappyCow.net.

We decided to go a little out of our way and head into Santa Monica first to Real Food Daily. We arrived a little before they opened, but were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely library right across the street. We were able to visit the library, use the restroom and spend a little time before Real Food Daily opened.

It’s a bright and cheery restaurant. We were seated upstairs overlooking the counter and dining area below. It was a little loud when they were running the steamer and juicer, but the lovely scent of cinnamon and freshly juiced carrots made up for it.

total rueben sandwich

Total Rueben from Real Food Daily

I ordered the Hunk of Burning Love special, which was a kung pao tempeh fried rice with pineapples and cashews. Dave ordered the Total Rueben which was baked marinated tempeh on toasted rye bread with tofu cheese spread, thousand-island dressing and tangy sauerkraut. He got a Cesar salad as his side dish.

So how was it? It was good. Not great. I’m not sure if we are spoiled by having a Native Foods and FreeSoulCaffe so close by, but our standards for vegan food are pretty high. Both meals were good enough, but not something I would go out of my way for again. I’m not sure if it is because it is LA, but the prices were much higher, too. The place was crowded however, so people must like it. Maybe it’s the location since it is in a nice part of town. Most of the patrons seemed well off.

So if you are in Santa Monica, should you go? Sure. It’s good enough to be worth a try, especially to support a vegan business. I think I’m just spoiled by Tanya Petrovna’s exquisite cuisine at Native Foods. If only she would open a nice sit down restaurant, I’d be in heaven.

Oh, and the surrealist show at LACMA? Go see it! It was wonderful. I even found a new women surrealist painter to admire named, Sylvia Fein.