Friday, December 12, 2008

A Review of a Vegan Favorite in Los Angeles: Doomie's

This morning, Yo Soy!, my roommate and I were faced with our usual dilemma. Where to go for lunch? We broke it down (for quite awhile) and ultimately decided on the Vegan friendly and supposedly carnivore-pleasing Doomie's Home Cookin. I even read many blogs praising the food at Doomie's, all of whom I have the utmost respect for, and usually am happy with their recommendations.

However, this time it was different. Where should I even begin. I guess I can start from the begininning. After picking the place, I remembered reading about it being dog friendly, so we brought along the pup as well. After making our way through the crowded Chinatown area we managed a parking spot close by. Then a quick walk up the flight of stairs, then nothing... No people, just an abandoned night club, with a sign informing us that Doomie's is not serving French Onion soup today. I was well aware of the fact that the interior left everything to be desired, but having no sign of life was a little bleak. After poking our head inside, we were met with a friendly waitress who was patient and happy to answer our questions. We sat at an outside booth overlooking Chinatown. .

It was nice to have the place to ourselves, and the waitress instantly brought Hayley a bowl of water, after our round of waters. She was was one of the high points of the meal.

Actually, let me go ahead and list the rest of the high points of the meal, before I start railing.

Not Crowded
Fresh Air
Comfortable Booth
Great View
Onion Rings (These things were fantastic, almost rival Home's)
Onion Rings, they were good enough to list twice
Fries, they had a seasoning on it that was similar to the Philly Steak Factory's. A non-vegan heaven.
The ability to split half fries, half onion rings, lots of restaurants are sticklers about this. It's not hard to do people, thank you Doomie's. I would also like to add, that for Quarry Girl, they were able to make the philly steak without the peppers, I myself can't stand Bell Peppers. This was a major positive.
Doomie's now accepts credit cards, which made paying much eaiser for the group.
Pet friendly
Simple things like providing the dog with water.

I started watching, and recently completed the series Arrested Development, so in that vein, I will now downgrade Doomie's from a "Don't Buy" to a "Sell".

Here's why.

Both Von Scrumptious and To Live and Eat, raved about the Mac and Cheese. We ended up splitting a bowl as an appetizer. What a mistake that was. The whole bowl was exactly as Yo Soy described it, "absolutely flavorless." This fake cheese sauce, was the consistency of sticky orange water, that miraculously coated the macaroni in a slimy bath. There were even some of the elbows in the bottom that missed the sauce bath. These tasted about the same and were a healthier alternative than the rest of the bowl.
To Live and Eat, said this about the mac and cheese, "the best way I can describe it to you is to say that it tastes exactly as if it had come right out of a blue Kraft mac & cheese box." As a non-vegan, I know what Kraft mac & cheese is out of the blue box. This wasn't even close, there is no way a vegan switcharoo could ever be pulled on anyone who has had the real thing. Let me repeat that, it was not even close to Kraft. Not that Kraft mac & cheese is something that I would go to a restaurant hoping to be served. The level of acceptability is set at what Taste of Life makes. All other mac and cheese should be as good or better, or not consumed by non-vegans.

My roommate JD, got the BLT.
The main response I got regarding it, was underwhelming. Every meat eater knows, that there is no substitute for Bacon. Tempeh Bacon, Turkey Bacon, nothing else cuts it. Having a menu based on imitating meats, is instantly considered a failure as soon as "Bacon" is added to the menu. It was also underwhelming in portion size. Come on Doomie's, throw some more "Bacon", Lettuce and Tomato on there, aside from the bread and veganayse, it only has three ingredients.

Liz ordered the Philly Steak Sandwich. Bravo for trying to recreate meat. That's all the praise this sandwich will receive. The meat didn't come close. The texture was only a few hundred yards off, and the look was within the vicinity, but this isn't an art gallery people. Try any other Philly Steak, even the bad meat ones, and they will blow this sandwich away. Why on earth would you smother it in the bland cheese sauce that accompanied the mac and cheese? At least there were onion rings and fries on the plate. If you don't know where else to turn try any of these posts.

Onto, the Chili Cheese Burger. This was a terrible burger. The burger itself, was an unpleasant consistancy, complete with tough edges that often comes with microwaving foods. There was less flavor than in a fast food burger. I opted for Provelone cheese. I was horrified to read that the only two options of cheese were Vegan, and American. Neither of which is cheese. Luckily, I saw that Provelone was an option on another plate. The Chili, was to die for and not in a good way. I have tasted some very great vegetarian chilis. This was an imitation of meat chili. Why would you try to imitate a meat chili, when a vegetarian chili is perfectly acceptable and expected from a meat eater at a vegan joint? Grade F on this plate. The lonely slice of tomato covered almost half of the burger. This item needs some real work, or should be taken off the menu immediately.

Finally, we get to the twinkie. I was in utter amazement at this piece of work. First of all, this picture was taken close up, but I think that the plate was close to the size of a saucer, which gives you an idea that this twinkie was no bigger than a cell phone from 2002.
As you can see, the cream that Yo Soy mentioned, is harldy present. Some has sunk down to the bottom, but this Twinkie was drier than my burger. It also tasted like an oddly made cornbread roll. This item, which cost an arm and a leg at $3, was so far away from mimicking an actual twinkie. Again, like the mac and cheese, not something you would want to duplicate anyway, but this item was simply terrible. I don't know how else to describe it. I couldn't wait to get the check and get the hell out of there. Hoping to spot a Pork Bao cart on the way to my car, to feed my hunger that never threatened to leave. Even after a split appetizer, small plate of food and a piece of twinkie.
As one of my last meals in Los Angeles, I was dissapointed and hope this is a warning to all of the meat-eater friends of Vegans out there. Quarry Girl said "i think any meat-lovin’ carnivore could dine out a[t] doomie’s and completely forget they are eating a vegan meal." This couldn't be further from the truth. Please don't be dragged to Doomie's. Go to Flore, Pure Luck, Taste of Life, anywhere else but here. I love the vegans for building such a supportive and friendly blogging environment, but they seemed to have strayed a little from the truth at times. I hope this serves as a wake up call and people can be a little more honest in their assesment of Vegan establishments.

Restaurant rating: D--

686 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(714) 883-7657


Foodeater said...

Bummer. I was all sympathetic to your plight up until the end when you declared that we "seemed to have strayed a little from the truth at times."

I'd never do that man. I either like something or I don't. When I don't I'm honest about it, or I don't blog about it at all. The food I ate at Doomies wasn't just good, it was downright incredible, and that's not an exaggeration. I've got no vested interested in convincing you to like this place, but do you really think that Quarrygirl and myself are so bored that we sit around making up stories about imaginary delicious mac & cheese? That stuff was seriously delicious, so either you guys have no tastebuds, or something went seriously wrong in the kitchen the day you were there.

It sounds like you guys unfortunately went there on an off day... and that sucks, but it happens. I love and have blogged about all the other places you mention but I've also had shitty meals at each one of them (Flore, Pure Luck and Taste of Life) - but I still go back there because I know those were exceptions to the rule. I'm not saying you have to like a place just because everyone else does... but come on, just about everyone loves Doomies! It's too bad your last meal in L.A. sucked, and it's too bad your only meal at Doomies didn't go so well, but please allow us our opinions and we'll allow you yours. It's a bit much to imply that we were lying.

At least we'll never have to fight over the mac & cheese... I promise you that I will eat it all :)

The Food Monster said...

Thank you for your comment. My blog may have taken too harsh a turn in the last paragraph, it was probably the bad taste in my mouth after the experience, pardon the pun. The quote you referenced was referring to the hype about how much this particular food could be mistaken for its culinary counterpart.

I didn't mean to infer you were all apart of a lying conspiracy. I respect and value your opinions and blogs, and without the great vegan blogs of Los Angeles, I wouldn't have tried the other three (Flore, Pure Luck, Taste of Life).

I talked with Von Scrumptious and her man friend afterwards about my experience, and they stood by Doomie's as well. So, hopefully, it was just an off day in the kitchen.

Foodeater said...

You stated that we "stray from the truth". That's a bit more than just making a comment about what you thought of the food, that's directly calling our integrity into question, complete with quotes you lifted directly from our blogs to back you up. Your last words about how people should be "a little more honest in their assesment of Vegan establishments" is essentially calling us liars in so many words or less.

Bottom line is that everyone likes what they like: food is subjective, and, some restaurants don't get it right 100% of the time. I'd never tell you to not write a negative review if you don't like a place, but to drag other bloggers into it and claim that we "stray from the truth" and are dishonest just because you didn't agree with the reviews you read on our blogs? That's not cool.

What I write on my blog is just my opinion, nothing more and nothing less. I have no reason to lie and say that I like a place if I don't. If you don't agree with my opinion, it doesn't make me a liar. I've been blogging for a few years now, and even when I've thought restaurants were awful, I've never felt the need to resort to putting down other bloggers who liked that place in order to make my point.

Kirby! said...

Oh Food Monster, what a shame. I SWEAR that Philly Cheesesteak WAS one of the scrummiest things I have ever tasted, and the mac and cheese was straight blue box (which, like you said, I guess you don't expect at a restaurant, but that shit is good! especially if you are a vegan searching for the perfect fake cheese).

Steve said...

This post about a vegan place sparked a question I've long pondered:

Why do vegan and vegetarian meals so often go out of their way to try to resemble meat? There is something philosophically jarring about that to me.

I love vegetables and have had and made fabulous vegan and vegetarian meals. Why ruing them? For example, veggie burgers are a terrible way to prepare vegetables combined with a bad way to prepare soy protein. I'd much rather just grill fresh vegetables and eat edamame. And tofurkeys just strike me as morally confusing.

I have Celiac Disease (can't eat gluten - no wheat, barley, rye, etc., so no bread, pizza, beer, etc.). For years the replacement breads made with rice and potatoes and mixes of a dozen flours never appealed to me, but all the books on eating GF were all about making bread and cookies, not about the great food that doesn't have gluten. Gluten free baked goods are getting a lot better now, but to this day I don't fully understood why people obsess with making 'not wheat' taste like wheat. That's not quite the same situation as vegetarian food, but I get the special, restrictive diet thing, and the appeal of eating something 'normal'

Still, I guess I've never fully understood going out of your way to make a special diet meal look like the thing you are trying to avoid.

I thoroughly enjoy just about everything edible and like to think I have a good appreciation of the different ways to prepare a given ingredient. But, for some reason, I kind of see sculpting tasteless 'meat' out of perfectly good soy beans as kind of offensive in a weird way.

Anyway, thought I'd throw a random, poorly thought out, semi-philosophical notion in there as I'm going to bed.


The Food Monster said...

Thank you Foodeater, Von Scrumptious, and Steve for your comments.
I'm not trying to make a Vegan non-Vegan rift here, because as an occasional meat eater, I also eat Vegan food. That makes me Vegan during certain meals. While my post wasn't related to Steve's philosophical question of why people imitate meat, I appreciate the in-depth comment.
Again, I'm not trying to equate bloggers who have ever liked or posted a positive review of Doomie's as liars, if you enjoyed the food, great, if you haven't tried it, go ahead and try it and draw your own conclusions. I just felt blindsided at the meal from all the positive hype without a negative review anywhere out there. There is a disconnect between my party's experience that day, and the happy hype that Doomie's bathes in.

On a different note, if you have any Vegan recommendations or otherwise for North Carolina (specifically the Triangle) please let me know.

Foodeater said...

Again, I'm not trying to equate bloggers who have ever liked or posted a positive review of Doomie's as liars...

Again, then why tell the world that we've "strayed from the truth" based on those reviews of ours that you disagree with?

Look, I'm not going to keep coming back to rag at you about this, but I still don't think you understand why we find what you've written to be personally insulting. You could have just as easily written your honest review of this place based on your experience without resorting to calling into question the honesty of others who genuinely like the place.

christy said...

I totally agree, Doomies was pretty awful. I'm not surprised at all that it closed.

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