Making Vegan A New Normal

IT was a warm California evening in the city of West Hollywood, and Kathy Freston was sipping a martini.

“Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you don’t want to have fun,” she said, sitting in a booth at a restaurant called Craig’s. “I’m a decadent gal. I want to drink. I want to feel full at the end of a meal. I just don’t want it to have any animals in it, for a variety of reasons.”

Tall, slim and golden-tressed enough to be mistaken for a movie star, Ms. Freston is the author of books like “Quantum Wellness” and “The Lean,” and a high-profile advocate for veganism. She strives to consume nothing that can be traced back to sentient creatures: no meat, no eggs, no dairy.

But chilled vodka with extra olives? No problem. Nor did she have any qualms about eating from a menu that includes an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak.

Craig’s, hatched last year by Craig Susser, an alumnus of Dan Tana’s, the age-defying hangout on Santa Monica Boulevard, is not a vegan restaurant. It represents a new culinary wave that can be felt all over Southern California, that reliable ripple-generator of so many national trends: the omnivore’s restaurant that courts vegans and vegetarians (particularly the glamorous and powerful ones who are a crucial engine of the dining economy here) by preparing meatless dishes that surpass the droopy steamed-vegetable platters of yore.

Read More: Vegan Food is in the Mainstream in Southern California

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