By: Amy Cowan
I would love to go back and tell my college self, whose life included concerts dancing to the tunes of Moby, that future me would one day be feasting on a sophisticated, plant-based meal at Moby’s LA based vegan restaurant. Little Pine was no less than magical. I arrived at the restaurant tucked into the Silver Lake section of LA ready for a showy restaurant front and found instead a welcoming, sophisticated neighborhood restaurant.
Don’t let the cozy, book-lined foyer, warm candles, and twinkling patio lights fool you, Little Pine is a humble name for a huge step in modern day vegan dining. We are in an age when eating ethically transcends stereotypes. Musicians and movie stars, now turned vegans, are singing the praises of a cruelty-free life. Moby has been vegan for 28 years and when deciding to open a restaurant, there was never a question that he would only serve the food that he eats at home.
Moby describes his food as Mediterranean and California inspired. He cares about his lifestyle and wanted to transform his passion into a “beautiful plate of food served in a beautiful space.” Interestingly, my favorite Moby songs, “Natural Blues” and “In This World,” will never be played inside the restaurant. In his humble fashion, Moby decided to keep his two passions, music and food, separate. Impressively, 100% of Little Pine’s profits go to animal rights organizations.
My guests and I started with the warm and savory mushroom crostini appetizer, drizzled with pesto. Next, fried cauliflower with kimchi aioli, anyone? Yes, please and thank you. Other interesting options to choose from included crispy smashed potatoes, sriracha glazed brussel sprouts, broccoli arancini, and charred broccolini.
We ordered several main entrees for the table. The first dish to arrive was the fennel flatbread pizza. I found it a lovely combination of homemade sausage, spinach, and parmesan. The second dish was the pan-fried gnocchi with romesco, complemented with beautiful bright purple cauliflower in a cream sauce. The third dish was the macaroni & cheese served in housemade cheese sauce and toasted breadcrumbs. Lastly came the panko crusted piccata. The sauce on this dish is special! The “piccata” rested on top of mashed potatoes and was finished with a creamy mixture of scallopini, garlic butter, lemon, white wine, and capers. Swoon-worthy.
Despite wanting to order all 6 options, we first ordered the cookies & milk. There is something nostalgic about a glass of milk served with chocolate chip cookies. However, my cookies as a child were cold and from a package. These were warm, gooey and straight from the oven. The presentation was whimsical, with a mini glass bottle and colorful striped straw. We also ordered the apple berry crumble. Somehow the ice cream remained cold throughout the dish, despite the accompanying hot cobbler.
If this wasn’t enough, Courtney the manager, in her infinite wisdom, sent over an order of banana cream pie to the table. You will not find a description next to the banana cream pie on the menu. I have my theory. There are no words that would accurately describe the deliciousness of this dish, but I will try. While “mind-blown” is an underestimate for how I felt, “obsessed” accurately describes how I acted the next two days in LA as I continually suggested to my travel mates that perhaps we should drive across town and grab just one more banana cream pie to go. I will leave the taste to your imagination in hopes that you will soon visit this gem of a restaurant that pays homage to the art of vegan cooking, the future of plant-based diets, and downright fun eating.