Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh the Vegan Thrills of Fried Dill Pickle Chips and Cabernet Beer: Pure Luck, Los Angeles, CA

Enter Hel-Mel
The Los Angeles City College - School of the Blind - Not quite Hollywood nor Hipster- wasteland known as Hel-Mel that's home to some of the most interesting establishments (besides the aforementioned) in LA such as Scoops (avocado beer ice cream?! ), the Bicycle Kitchen and Pure Luck. Not to mention super cool pre-sanctioned graffiti!
And the kind of scary graffiti combined with barred windows on the outside of Pure Luck that made me think twice about eating here my very first time. 
 But alas, this was one of those things that kind of scared me, so I had to do it. I had to meet my fellow Greek Orthodox faster compatriot, Spyros, a year ago for a Lenten dinner, redeeming myself for the awful vegan pizza we had at Two Boots in Silverlake a few weeks prior. Pure Luck was fun and tasty. So we went again this year for round two. Because...well...Jesus loves us.  I swear we are not Jesus freaks; fasting helps to get in touch with your spirituality - not to mention discipline and self-awareness.

Pure Luck has some of the most interesting selection of vegan beers around.
I started off with a cabernale, which is a beer made with a bunch of cabernet grapes thrown into the batch. The result is a refreshing mix of berries and a slightly bitter effervesce of hops. It's the perfect beverage for vegan cuisine.
Cabernale, for those who can't decide.

Spyros went with the dark specialty manly beer. The beers on tap rotate quite frequently at Pure Luck.
A perfectly poured pint

We started off with fried dill pickle chips. I've been thinking about them for a whole year. They were everything I could of hoped for and more: the tangy and sourness of the pickle was balanced with the mellow cornmeal batter. The pickles, fried in peanut oil, remained snappy despite the frying process while the outsides kept their crunch. The BBQ sauce was merely an afterthought to the flavorful pickle chips.
Fried dill pickle chips: pucker up baby!

The potato pals paled in comparison to the fried pickle chips.They were basically gnocchi fried in peanut oil to crunch the outsides, sprinkled with salt and pepper and served with their house made balsamic-peanut-esque sauce. Besides the sauce, there was no taste explosion like the pickles. However, Spyros definitely made friends with the potato pals.
Potato pals. Wait a sec, that looks like gnocchi.

The Pure Luck Cesar Rolls are available fried or non-fried. Our grunge waitress (hey, Kurt Cobain lives on 4-eva!) endorsed the fried version but since we had just ordered two fried appetizers we went for the later option. As a went in for a bite, the romaine lettuce, soft tofu, onions and sprouts began to escape (on to my plate, the table, and my lap) and I realized why the fried version might have been a little more finger food friendlier. The dipping juice was on the soy-terryiaki side.
Pure Luck César Rolls
Next time I will fry you!
Angelica's garbanzo salad called out to me.  The description said "think tuna/chicken salad but extra delicious." And it really was. 


Enough garden to feed a factory farm of bunnies. Besides that, the garbanzo salad really did taste like the tangy, relish enhanced tuna salads that I'd eat in the early 90s, you know the type that's scooped out of a large Tupperware bowl and not the least bit chunky? It was a blast from the past, but veganized (thank god). 
 Angélica’s Garbanzo Salad: Enough garden for the whole family.

Pure Luck is good stuff even though I wasn't lucky and got a $55 parking ticket. I would go back in a heartbeat regardless of fasting or not. Just make sure to park in their parking lot.
Pure Luck Restaurant
707 N Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 660-5993


Peter M said...

Tonight, I had a Bifteki stuffed with Graviera cheese, topped with sauteed mushrooms, frizzled onions and a side of fries.

I did it all for you....really! :P

H. C. said...

Ah, the oxymoronic-sounding vegan greasy spoon. Still have yet to pay a trip there, but one of these days - I'll definitely swing by for an appetizer... before going for some Scoops!

Unknown said...

you're turning me Vegan... almost... too bad i didn't ready your bloggggggg before dinner! Mmmm, maybe I'll need to eat again.

Diana said...

I would definitely go back to Pure Luck with you some time, TALF! Love me some vegan feasts. (Though don't love me some parking tickets - ouch!)

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - oh yeah, right, thanks. My cholesterol thanks you from the bottom of its heart.

H.C. - Yes! It's the perfect stop for a fried vegan appetizer. and then vegan ice cream across the street.

Debra - next time i will try my dardest to coordinate posting time with your dinner schedule.

Diana - Bring it on TALF! But we'll have to go to my favorite ice cream spot - Scoops - afterward ;)

Kung Food Panda said...

I've been by there, but didn't eat at Pure Luck since I was heading to Scoops.

Sucks about the ticket, did you park in the residential section? Because I think I got the same ticket a few months ago.... :(

Banana Wonder said...

Kung Food P - now I know you could very well handle a Pure Luck AND Scoops session, in fact I went to Scoops for a double scoop o vegan ice cream after this Pure Luck sesh. Ok next time and yeah, street parking. didn't read all 99 of the signs.