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Mäni's Caters to (Octo-Lacto) Vegetarians
In 1989, the seeds for Mäni's were sown. The small Fairfax bakery began as a coffee house -- one that preceded the big Starbucks boom of the 90s. Like RFD, Mäni's has a Danny DeVito connection. The production company for Other People's Money asked Mäni's to make baked doughnuts for the film. In return, Mäni's would receive product placement. Though the placement was ditched at the 11th hour, People Magazine picked up the story. The subsequent press put Mäni's on the map. (Read the entire history on their blog.)
Flash forward to 2005. The bakery has a formidable menu that touts organic and vegetarian options, in addition to some chicken and tuna options for carnivores. There are a few Vegan selections, but they're sparse. Almost every item has bread, cheese or dairy mixed with it. The good news is they don't frown on substitutions. So you can easily make dishes Vegan friendly... just be careful to read all the ingredients.
For Vegans, we recommend the Vegan wheat-free pancakes, made with barley & oat flour, topped with your choice of fresh fruit or compote. There are also several dairy-free soups, which change daily. Unfortunately most of the sandwiches, wraps and salads come with cheese or meat. However, you can easily substitute tofu and hold any dairy from the salads.
For octo-lacto vegetarians, Mäni's is paradise. The delicious wraps (pictured) and salads will require few, if any modifications. They are constantly updating their menu. Recent additions include hummus and pita with veggies and "To-Fu-Caught-Cha" Sandwich.
Vegans, vegetarians and even diabetics will be able to sample the dessert menu. The sugar and dairy content is clearly posted for all desserts. Our favorite items include the macaroons and the Vegan half-dipped chocolate chip cookies.
Mäni's is located along Fairfax, between LACMA and the Grove. The crowd is relaxed. However, the street noises, simple metal tables and pedestrian foot traffic make Mäni's a better destination for an informal meal (i.e., we wouldn't bring a date here). That being said, it has neighborhood charm and a friendly staff. Prices average $9-10 per entree. So it's not cheap, but it's not as pricey as RFD.
We highly recommend this to octo-lacto vegetarians. For now, we think Vegans can find a better deal and variety at other Southland restaurants.