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Small Bites: Drago Centro's panini bar; red velvet goes vegan at Sprinkles

January 22, 2010 |  6:00 am


It's good to be vegan: Babycakes isn't the only vegan-cupcake game in town. Sprinkles has announced that "after months of testing, trials and research," it is unveiling new vegan and gluten-free versions of its signature red velvet cupcake. They'll be available at all Sprinkles starting Monday. The vegan red velvet cupcake is made with soy milk, tofu-based cream cheese and pure coconut oil. Gluten-free red velvet is made with gluten-free flour and topped with Sprinkles' original cream cheese frosting. See www.sprinkles.com for locations. 

Call me Dagwood: Downtown's sandwich options keep expanding: There are now two branches of Mendocino Farms; the Lazy Ox, now open for lunch, is serving oyster po' boys and shrimp rolls along with grilled cheese and its signature burger; and now Drago Centro introduces its panini bar. Made-to-order sandwiches can be eaten at the restaurant bar or ordered to go, such as fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil ($9); pork sausage with onions, peppers and garlic aioli ($9.50); Kobe meatballs with arrabiata sauce ($9.50); and porchetta with Gorgonzola dolce, fig mustard and arugula ($9.50). Cookies (pistachio and orange biscotti) are $2. Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 228-8998, www.dragocentro.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Sprinkles' red velvet cupcakes. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times