My hippie vegan neighbor shamed us to supporting a new Highland Park business and we went with a bunch of friends to Cinnamon last night. She’s pretty snarky at me because I’m not only a breeder, I feed my spawn dead animals. I must proffer my pedigree as a 20 year vegetarian and a real connoisseur of vegetarian foods. I once met Deborah Madison and Paul Westerberg in the same week and my life is now complete. Plus, I’m a sucker for neighborhood businesses, particularly DINING establishments in MY neighborhood. I tried to call all afternoon for reservations but the phone wasn’t answered. Their website www.cinnamonvegetarian.com listed the hours though and I took a chance and found them open. The restaurant is cute and colorful in that family done-on-the-cheap with flair and true love kind of way. The staff was all Hispanic and a bit tentative in English although obviously eager to please our dauntingly large party. One of our friends noticed a Christian themed decoration and my wild stab is that they’re 7th Day Adventists. The other old timer vegetarian at the meal and I reminisced about Loma Linda and Lindburg’s IN THE PINK from back in the day, but we both agreed that the veggie dog that Spuds absolutely refused to eat bore suspicious similarity to a Loma Linda canned product. Undaunted by the vile hotdog, Spuds, suffering from lifelong shrimp (and Christmas) envy dove into a really authentic looking shrimp cocktail. The product definitely had the appearance and nearly the texture of shrimp and a vaguely “I know this is SUPPOSED to taste like shrimp” flavor. I’ve purchased these faux shrimp a couple times at the Hawaiian Market in San Gabriel. They come frozen and I’ve used them on occasion to my family’s (not overwhelming) satisfaction but they’re cute in sort of a doofy way and not absolutely inedible.
We shared some decent chorizo and carnitas tacos and everyone liked the vegan tamales. They had two different soups-a lentil and a pozole, which is what I’ll try next time. There are also a number of interesting sounding salads, and even some Middle Eastern inspired dishes on the menu. The kids loved the smoothies although my celery, beet, ginger juice was chalky and had no detectable taste of ginger. I ordered steak fajitas which were just fine except for the steak part, some sort of wheat meat thing but the sautéed peppers, onions and tomatoes were nice with rice and beans and homemade tortillas. The vegetarians in our party were much more enthusiastic about the substitute products but even when I was a committed vegetarian it was always like substituting margarine for real butter. Why bother? It’s never gonna taste as good.. Would I go back to Cinnamon? Yes. But I would order the dishes that don’t rely on the suspension of belief. Would I go there if I weren’t entertaining a vegetarian? No. But I know so many vegetarians and they’re all so sanctimonious that they need a lot of entertaining
5511 N Figueroa St
Highland Park, CA 90044
Phone: (323) 982 9480
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