Long Beach’s original vegan restaurant, Steamed, moves forward with the times

When Steamed’s owners Stephanie Lyn and Bryan Carlough took over a former pot dispensary in 2011, they brought with them a pioneering idea: give quality, decadent, addictive vegan food to the masses in Long Beach and start a food revolution.

While that revolution didn’t happen overnight, it eventually came: over the past three years, Long Beach has seen an infusion of vegan restaurants and menus flood the city, an occurrence that, in some ways, has left Steamed behind. I don’t mean this as a slight toward Steamed; it still has its flow of regular patrons, many of whom depend on their food for health reasons like dealing with cancer, facing auto-immune issues or simply seeking a better way to nourish their bodies. What I mean is that we, collectively as a city, don’t give it the credit it deserves in the age when places like Seabirds are garnering cult-like followings.

“We were the first restaurant in the city to toss out our microwaves and oven hoods,” Stephanie Lyn recalled. “Times change, but we walk the walk here. It’s not always easy but we insist on it because people depend on our food. Steamed is a sacred community space where people gather to fuel their temples with fresh, organic local food.”

Steamed’s owners Stephanie Lyn (left) and Bryan Carlough (right).

On top of being the first place to toss out the microwaves, they were also the first to operate on a greener level: biodegradable to-go bags, compostable to-go containers, composting, paperless receipts, Energy Star appliances. Pair this with the restaurant’s use of second-hand silverware, placeware, glasses, chairs, and tables, and you understand why the place has scored recognition for minimizing its carbon footprint.

Old-school patrons will be happy to know that their vegan tuna, “Happy Tuna,” will once again be available to take home in jars come summertime while also getting in on some of the space’s newest offerings, from cashew sour cream and milk to vegan mousses in mini-jars. (Yes, vegan lemon mousse is coming to your taste buds very soon.)

“We got local beer and wine, Fine Feathers Kombucha, teas, sodas, and fair-trade housemade cold brew coffee. We’ll have specials like two-dollar raspberry leaf tea tonics—we’re trying to go all-out,” Stephanie Lyn said.

Steamed has always allowed you to build burritos and quesadillas to your vegetarian and vegan delight, something they plan on expanding.

A trio of tacos to be served on Taco Tuesday. The center taco, The East Village Taco, will be served daily.

The new Sierra Madre Burrito, for example, is a locally made wheat tortilla with choice of rice and beans—they offer white basmati or brown basmati rice, pinto or black beans—chipotle sauce, walnut taco meat, local kale, red onion and it’s topped with their cashew sour cream. And the East Village Tacos? They’ll have kale, pinto beans, walnut taco meat, red onion and chipotle sauce.

On top of this, they’ll be partnering with carb master Arturo Alonzo Enciso of Gusto Bread, which will now be an option for their Happy Tuna sandwich along with their new avocado toast, with every ingredient is locally sourced.

“In the spirit of the summer season, we’ve also expanded our hours., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on weekends,” Stephanie Lyn said. “So, please, stop in, whether you know what we do or not.”

Steamed is located at 801 E. Third St.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.


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