Green Peas is such clever name for a healthy restaurant that I decided to try it based on the name alone. The exterior has several outdoor tables, so since today was a perfect summer day, I combined my car’s oil change appointment with a vegan lunch to keep my body running smoothly. The menu has meat choices including beef and chicken, so this is a great place to come with friends who are either meat or vegan eaters. You can choose to have either meat or vegan protein in every dish, whether it is a salad, sandwich, pizza, or quesadilla for the same price. They use Gardein for the meatless versions of beef and chicken, and Daiya for the vegan cheese, so the quality of their products speaks volumes for the care they take in preparing their dishes. The coffee they serve is free trade and their vegetables are organic or local, so you can be green just by eating here.

This is a casual place, so you order at the counter and they bring it to your seat. Since everything here is under $10, they save on things like printed menus; the only menu is written on a huge chalkboard above the counter and the servers are also the busboys. Since I had come in for a late lunch, they seemed a bit overwhelmed with the crowd; only one of the four empty tables was bussed and clean. I chose to sit on the patio and wiped down the table myself with some napkins.

I ordered the Chicken Picatta Sandwich, made with Chicken breast, capers, garlic, fresh oregano, spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pesto aioli and grilled onions ($9.95). I had a choice of soup, or salad with my sandwich so I chose the special creamy potato with garlic.

The soup was surprisingly tasty and rich for a nondairy soup. It had enough of a smooth mouth taste to satisfy even a cream loving non vegan. If it had not been a summer day, I would have wanted to have a big bowl of this for lunch.

The Chicken Picatta Sandwich came on a lightly toasted baguette, but all their sandwiches give you a choice of other breads from whole wheat pitas, non gluten bread, and ciabatta, to sweet soft pretzel bread. Since I am so picky about baguettes, I thought it would be a good test and I am happy to say their baguette passed with enough texture to hold up to the sandwich and enough give to make chewing and biting easy. Since I chose the vegan Gardein chicken, I also got the veganaise and if I had not placed the order myself I would be hard pressed to say it was not the meat version. Although it was light on the capers, garlic, and grilled onions, it was a nice savory combination of ingredients that worked well together.

The server offered to wet wipe down my table when she brought out my meal, after I had done my napkin wipe, and it was nice to know they actually do get around to cleaning tables even if it takes them awhile to get to every table. The pots of flowers on the terrace are a pretty distraction from the bustling traffic on Sepulveda Blvd, and the free wifi seems to keep the place fairly full even in the later afternoon hours.

I was watching the line at the fast food restaurant across the street and thought if those people would simply cross the street, they could have a healthier fresh choice. It is sometimes a huge step to simply try something new, so for everyone looking to be a little greener, this is a great place to start, even though I didn’t see any peas on the menu.

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