Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 15 of 35

Photos: Courtesy P.Y.T. 16 wholelifetimes.com CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS By Genie Davis A Haven for Vegans and Vegetarians in DTLA P.Y.T. eat here now L ocated in downtown Los Angeles' historic core, P.Y.T. is one of a variety of restaurants created by its renowned chef Josef Centeno. This one, a relatively small space adjoining Centeno's Ledlow, is a haven for vegans and vegetarians. Imagine going to a trend-setting restaurant with spectac- ularly innovative dishes and discovering that you don't have to search high and low for the one lone veg dish, or rely on undistinguished sides. Imagine a place in which veg cuisine is re- ally all about the vegetables, not pretend soy or Gardein "meats." Imagine, too, so- phisticated craft cocktails and an eco-chic setting in which to enjoy bold fl avors and an edgy, bistro-style setting. The vegetari- an dishes can mostly be made vegan upon request, and the freshness of the produce is unquestioned. The vegetables themselves absolutely have the starring role here, and there is nothing to upstage them, although one lone meat dish is available. Centeno uses fresh, local produce, a good portion of it purchased from The Los Angeles Leader- ship Academy's organic urban farm, run by students. A popular starter, and justifi ably so, is the potato chapati bread, a taste of India that's delightfully light and crisp. Try all three of the dips offered with the bread: turmeric yuzu butter, Ar- gental-berbere cheese dip, or tomatillo salsa. The zingy turmeric yuzu butter added a whole new dimension to the bread. Two of our favorite dishes were the brilliant melon with cu- cumbers and the crudités with a mix of both raw and cooked fruit and vegetables. Both dishes are deceptively simple; the perfection of the vegetables themselves matched by inter- esting but not overwhelming dressings. The melon dish fea- tures a nori ranch dressing with a subtly smoky fl avor, celery leaves, and black sesame; the crudités, beyond the interest- ing raw/cooked contrast, is en- hanced with a roasted tomatillo crème fraiche. Another not-to-be-missed dish is the lace-battered squash blos- soms. I'm a fan of squash blos- soms and they're a farmers' mar- ket staple for me, but I've never tasted them with honey and pi- mento cheese before; and the batter was light as air. The sweet and savory combination is deli- cious and so is the grilled baby corn, something that you can or- der in many area restaurants. With that in mind, why order it here? This corn is heightened with basil, Cotija cheese, and a pepita pesto which gives it a distinctively deep, layered fl avor. Less subtle is the hand-torn pasta with shishito pep- per, crafted with a lush green garlic cream, and the green piri-piri rice that comes with an over-easy egg. The crisp rice and the fl avor of the lime zest in the latter dish is something completely original, harkening to internation- al cuisine and distinctively Los Angeles all at once. And speaking of an LA-centric dish, the restaurant, which is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday, is also open for brunch Saturday and Sunday. It's here that you'll see a real hybrid of Los Angelenos, brunch, and fresh veggie food that has an Asian fl air. You'll fi nd fried eggs with exotic maitake mushrooms, a resurrection of the green piri-piri rice is also here, pre- pared with an over-easy cooked egg. You'll also fi nd dishes like the feathery light lemon ricotta pancakes served with coconut butter – it's both a far cry from IHOP and a paean to the place. Also on the menu: a somewhat ubiquitous avocado toast, and an airy pain au chocolat among other brunch-centric dishes. Charming day or night, P.Y.T. – the meaning of the acronym remains a secret – is all about the vegetables. 400 S. Main St., LA, 90013. Call (213) 687-7015; pytlosangeles.com.

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