LYFE expectancy — Looking for vegetarian food near Metro

Beets and farro salad

Beets and farro salad

Question of the day: Where can we find good vegetarian food near Metro?

One possible answer is LYFE Kitchen in Culver City. (If you have other suggestions, please email us at

Admittedly, LYFE is a 15-minute walk from the Culver City Expo Station but hey, walking is healthy. And it’s easy to grab Metro Local 33 bus down Venice Boulevard from the Expo Line Culver City Station to the Cardiff Avenue stop. A short walk and you’re there.

What we find on Culver and Washington avenues is a strip of restaurants too delicious to ignore. Among them is LYFE Kitchen, the latest in a chain of vegetarian fast food restaurants that are becoming the darlings of Millennials, as well as Boomers concerned about the health of their aging bodies. In fact, Advertising Age reports that McDonald’s — a Boomers fav — doesn’t even rank in the top 10 fast food favorites of Millennials, as many as 80 million people, ages 18 to 32.

Ad Age also says that particularly with food, Millennials are trending toward fresh and organic and value companies that are proactive with sustainable farming practices and are environmentally conscious. That might spell vegetarian or meatless, which is what the fast-food industry — and LYFE — seem to be responding to.

On its website LYFE elaborates: “Great food can do amazing things. It can make you feel better. It can support local farms. Promote sustainability. Reward environmentally sound businesses. Give back to the community. And, best of all, it will make you savor every single bite.”

Kabocha squash risotto

Kabocha squash risotto

LYFE certainly reflects those tastes, as does nearby Tender Greens at 9523 Culver Blvd. Two dishes tasted and enjoyed at LYFE are Kabocha Squash Risotto and the Beets and Farro salad. But the menu includes grilled barramundi white fish with soba noodles, a few Gardein (plant-based chicken or beef substitute) dishes and a classic burger of 100 percent grass-fed beef.

These entrees run in the $9 to $13 range. Add a drink and you can probably count on $15. But seated on the patio on a balmy summer day, the price seems worth it … even though just across the street is Honey’s Kettle yummy greasy fried chicken with biscuits and honey (9537 Culver Blvd. 90232). Being a vegetarian can have its challenges.

Send your suggestions for good vegetarian near Metro (put Dine & Ride in the subject field) to and we’ll post them and put them on our Ride & Dine map.

LYFE Kitchen, 9540 Washington Blvd., Culver City 90232

Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 20

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

One legislative note worth making although I don't believe it received much news coverage: the state Assembly last week approved Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (by Bob Blumenfield) that would lower the threshold for transportation sales taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent. However, the amendment awaits action in the State Senate and that doesn't appear imminent in this legislative year. Blumenfield has been elected to the L.A. City Council and will be sworn in on July 1.

Doing away with rail honor system is common sense (L.A. Times)

The author of this opinion piece is pleased to see the gates latched at the entrances to the subway at Union Station, saying it's a sign that the county's rail system is growing up.

House GOP gets its knives out (D.C. Streetsblog)

The transportation subcommittee of the House's Appropriations Committee proposes 15 percent cuts to transportation funding in the next fiscal year, including a ban on funding high-speed rail in California and a two percent chop to the New Starts program that funds big transportation projects. Will this make it into law? Probably not, but always interesting to see the House's priorities, or lack thereof.

After Hollywood outcry, Spring Street bike lane to lose some paint (L.A. Times)

About 80 to 90 percent of the bright green paint on the 1.5-mile lane in downtown L.A. will be removed and replaced with dark green pain inside the lane's boundaries. The film industry says it will make it easier to film on Spring Street, a popular place to shoot.

On a completely unrelated note, I watched “The Dark Knight Rises” on cable the other night and realized that Bane's kangaroo court — with the Scarecrow as presiding judge — was filmed in Union Station's old ticket room. Very cool. Partially related to my unrelated note: is “Man of Steel” worth my $13 or did director Zack Snyder screw it up?


Today is Dump the Pump Day — the perfect time to try public transit or share the ride

Metro and transit agencies across the country are celebrating Dump the Pump Day to encourage all of us to leave our cars at home and try out transit and ride sharing to save money, improve mobility and help our environment. Here’s the release from Metro:

This year to celebrate National Dump the Pump Day today, June 20, Metro is working hard to develop a 21st Century transit system so that the people of Los Angeles County can dump the pump with increasing ease.

“To save money on gas, reduce congestion and improve air quality, Los AngelesCounty residents are invited to try public transportation or carpool today,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “And tomorrow we’re breaking ground on a new Metrolink station, linking our commuter rail service from the AntelopeValley to BobHopeAirport.”

With increasing options, it’s easier than ever to abandon our cars. During the past 20 years Metro opened nearly 88 miles of rail. It has three rail projects now in the works and scheduled to open over the next couple of years. Together those projects will add 26 more miles of rail. (Two additional rail projects will be under construction soon.) Last fall Metro opened the state-of-the-art El Monte Station, the largest bus station west of Chicago. Metro is buying more than 500 new buses and next week the Metro Board will consider purchasing its first zero-emission buses.

“Our goal is to build a transit system that can carry us into the next century,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “We want a region where Dump the Pump Day is no longer necessary to inspire people to try out transit because most people are riding transit. We’re building so that our children can easily live without a car. I think we’re well on our way to doing just that.”

The first National Dump the Pump Day was organized in June, 2006 after gas reached $3 a gallon — a price considered astonishingly high. Public transit systems and other organizations across the country participate in National Dump the Pump Day to encourage the public to try out public transit — if only for a day — to help our environment and our world.

Metro Research Quick Poll: Do you TAP on the bus? Plus, recent poll results!

Gate latching is upon us!

Whether you love it or you hate it, we’re curious if gate latching is expanding the reach of TAP cards to bus rides.  Answer this quick poll, and view the results to see how other readers and patrons are using TAP cards on the bus.

For results from our last poll, continue reading.

Continue reading

One mile of new traffic lane added to the 405 project


New traffic lane on I-405. Photo credit: Ned Racine

Metro, Caltrans and Kiewit have opened another one-mile section of new freeway lane on the I-405 between Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard, making good on a promise to continue opening parts of the freeway improvements project as soon as they’re ready for public use.

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, the project opened a 1.7-mile section of additional lane between the I-10 and Santa Monica Boulevard to help ease traffic flows for drivers navigating through the I-10/I-405 interchange. See this earlier Source post for details.

This latest lane opening now officially extends nearly three (3) miles – one-third of the overall 10-mile freeway widening project. The No. 1 lane closest to the freeway median will continue to operate as a general purpose lane until the contractor can later convert it to an HOV lane.

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, June 18

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Regional Connector construction concerns (Downtown News) 

The editorial loves the project but has concerns about Metro’s request for construction permits that could potentially allow the agency to work around-the-clock. Metro, in turn, has said that it is seeking flexibility to help keep the project on schedule and on budget. My three cents: one reason the Connector project is so expensive ($1.36 billion) and work intensive is because Metro listened to downtown residents and workers and is building the project underground instead of mostly at street level.

Mayor Villaraigosa unveils new downtown L.A. park (L.A. Times) 

Goodbye parking lot, hello new 2/3-acre park along Spring Street. And more excellent news: the city of L.A. has purchased the plot of land along 1st Street between Spring and Broadway. It used to house a state office building, but has been empty and an eyesore since 1976. The mayor said it will become a park which makes sense given it’s adjacent to Grand Park. If the federal courthouse ever gets built and Related ever builds its Grand Avenue project, the Civic Center part of downtown may actually look like a…downtown. The Red/Purple Line already serves the area and the Regional Connector will have stations at both 2nd/Broadway and 2nd/Hope.

Can a Fairfax area trolley solve wall-to-wall congestion from the Grove? (CityWatch) 

The article suggests that it would be better to improve the pedestrian experience in the areas around the Grove so more people could walk there — perhaps from the future subway.

A train that flies (Global Rail News)

If they could clip a couple of Amtrak cars to a Southwest plane, I’d give it a try. It would solve my travel woes: I won’t take long-distance trains in the U.S. — pack mules are usually faster — and I don’t like to fly, because I don’t like waiting in lines and the concept of carry-on luggage makes my see red.

Transportation headlines, Monday, June 17

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Some L.A. County bus drivers say pesticides are making them ill (L.A. Times)

At least 14 Metro bus operators are pursuing workers comp claims, according to their attorney, and three operators have lodged complaints with CAL/OSHA, alleging that a common pesticide used by Metro on buses is making them ill. CAL/OSHA declined comment to the Times because an inquiry is pending. Here’s an excerpt with Metro’s response:

Metro officials said ample precautions are taken when buses are treated to kill roaches and other insects attracted by crumbs from sandwiches, chips, candy and other food items that passengers often bring on board.

They say that safety information is provided to operators, and no more than eight driver complaints have been officially lodged in the last five years. In a recent letter, the authority told Cal/OSHA that employee exposures are insignificant because of the controlled conditions and limited amounts of pesticide applied.

“Spraying buses is common to prevent insect infestations,” said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman. “These are standard industry practices, and the chemicals are used for a multitude of purposes.”

The pesticides in question are pyrethrins made of a natural substance from chrysanthemums or their synthetic equivalent known as pyrethroids.


The story goes on to note that transit agencies commonly spray pesticides but also says that two agencies — OCTA and Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica — usually use gels that can be applied directly to problem areas in buses and that both agencies rarely spray. 

The truth about Tejon Pass (California High-Speed Rail Blog) 

A guest post makes the case that the bullet train’s route between the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles should take the tracks over/under Tejon Pass instead of Tehachapi Pass because it would cheaper to build, be more profitable and shave 12 minutes off travel times. The post also argues that the California High-Speed Rail agency should have studied a different — and cheaper — route over Tejon Pass.

Not mentioned is this: a Tejon Pass alignment would mean the bullet train would not run through the Antelope Valley. And I’m guessing some Los Angeles County politicians would have something not super nice to say about that.

County may grab millions from South Bay road projects to pay for Crenshaw/LAX Line (Daily Breeze) 

In order to accomodate the growing cost of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Metro staff are recommending moving about $95 million in funds from South Bay ramp and interchange projects and the Airport Metro Connector project to help pay for the light rail line’s two new stations, as well as increased contingency funds. South Bay officials want the road money to stay put. The article is a bit one-sided, as Metro officials declined comment.

The Board will be considering a contract to build the Crenshaw/LAX Line at its June meeting and it’s obvious they’ll have questions about the financing plan for the projects. It’s also worth noting the the vast majority of the Board voted to add the stations two weeks prior to Metro staff releasing its recommendation for a construction contract that helped detail the project’s entire cost (only Board Member Diane DuBois voted against). Two councilman in Los Angeles last week complained that some of the city’s Measure R funds would be used to help build the stations.

My three cents: before everyone has a total conniption, I hope everyone considers the big question here: in the coming decades, will spending the money on stations have/not have a greater impact than some of the other possible uses of the funds? That’s the heart of the debate here.

Electric bus charges in 15 seconds (Forbes) 

The technology, from the Swiss firm ABB, would allow buses to quickly charge and stay on schedule. It also means no overhead wires — the reason that many cities have shunned using electric-powered buses in the past. Electric buses can save on fuel costs (obviously) and are often quieter than buses powered by natural gas or diesel.