when i tried the new tofurky frozen pizza at natural products expo west a few months ago, it was seriously love at first bite. covered in stretchy daiya cheese and plump pepperoni bits, it was the best frozen pizza i’d ever tasted.
imagine my excitement then, when i got a letter from tofurky advertising their new pizza line, along with a coupon to get one for free. the only problem is, i couldn’t find a store in LA selling the pizzas yet. i had no choice but to hop on a plane and head up to the cutting edge food fight grocery in portland, oregon.Tags: daiya, pdx, pizza, portland, tofurky
Tags: cheezly, chicago soy dairy, pizza, teese, vegan cheese, what you sick people come here for
here at quarrygirl.com, we do our best to scour the los angeles restaurant scene and report back on all the vegan pizza that’s available. recently, one of our secret operatives was relocated to las vegas for a couple months, and within the first 4 hours of his arrival, he sent us evidence of vegan pizza in the desert.
it turns out the massive vegan-friendly whole foods on la vegas blvd is serving up vegan pizza in their prepared food section. and like a handful of whole foods stores in southern california, the vegas location is now using stretchy, melty daiya vegan cheese to cover their pies. if ronald’s donuts wasn’t enough, it looks like there is another amazing cruelty-free option in sin city. seriously, if you haven’t had daiya yet, you need to try it and see what all the fuss is about.
of course our operative ordered the vegan pizza and sent us his findings, as well as all the awesome photos throughout this post. here is some of the vital information we gathered from his report.
– the girl making pizza was super nice and friendly.
– operative questioned the employee about the brand of cheese. she said it was new and went to get the box. she returned to the counter with a “big ass box” of daiya cheese.
– vegas whole foods offers a large pizza, as well as 12″ and 8″ versions
– operative was told the large pizza “would take about 30-35 minutes because they had to clean the oven because of not having over spill from normal pizzas infect the vegan pizza” but the 8 or 12 inch are quicker because “they put it on a pizza pan and they don’t have to clean the oven because the pizza cooks on the pan.”
– operative ordered the 12″ which cost $8.99.
– toppings ordered were daiya, tomato, basil and fresh garlic. the cloves of garlic were so huge, they looked like pearl onions, but were not over powering on any level.
– the vegan pizza is available on white or wheat crust. operative chose wheat. “delicious.”
– the pizza crust was more than satisfactory, operative could not tell that the pizza was cooked on a pan, described it as “super crispy, yet chewy in the middle, not to thin not to thick.”
– PBR tall boys are $1.99 at whole foods, and go great with pizza.
so next time you find yourself in vegas, be sure to get off the strip for some high-quality vegan pizza. this whole does a great job at making tasty pizzas, as well as putting time and care into cleaning/separating vegan cooking utensils. and of course, most importantly, they have daiya cheese! special thanks to our secret operative for sending us these great pictures and info. hopefully he will find many more tasty things during his stay in las vegas.
6689 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119-3215
Tags: alcohol, beer, daiya, garlic, las vegas, pbr, pizza
well, well, well…back in the day, my companion mr. meaner wrote a review of mao’s kitchen on melrose in which he commented on the delicious food, yet unpredictable service and portion sizes. the stark and modern byob chinese cafe is the newer sister restaurant to mao’s kitchen in venice and offers really decent, healthy-tasting asian food with loads of vegan options. i have always loved the food there, but last june my experience was so annoying (slow service, overcharging on the bill, and skimping on the main ingredients in our dishes), that i vowed to never return.
after about 9 months of cooling down and recovering from the situation, i was convinced by my husband to break my protest against mao’s kitchen…after all, they have damn tasty tofu. however when we headed over for lunch one saturday, although i was no longer protesting mao’s, several angry chinese people were. that’s right, there was a fucking picket line outside the melrose cafe, with angry dudes shouting into bullhorns and carrying signs that said things like, “MAO’S KITCHEN = HITLER’S BBQ!! RENAME YOUR RESTAURANT!!” there was such a scene going down, we decided it was all too much and went to bulan instead. i mean, i’m not a fan of mao himself or anything (c’mon, anyone john lennon personally disses in a beatles song is probably a total cunt), but didn’t these chinese protesters have anything better to do? isn’t there some actual violence to object to, rather than picketing outside a cafe owned by ignorant white people who are probably just trying to be trendy? sheesh!
luckily, i did get a chance to return to mao’s recently with a friend for lunch…no angry mob in sight. the meal was so absolutely delicious, i think i can put all my hard feelings about mao’s kitchen waaaaaay behind me. the portions were huge, the vegetables were plentiful, and our waiter was delightful.
my friend ordered the green curry with tofu, which i took a pretty huge helping of. i usually don’t order asian curries in restaurants, because coconut milk strikes me as a bit meh. this stuff was amazing though. the sauce was thick with a darker color to it and was packed with spices and tons of heat. floating in the savory and drool-worthy sauce was an ample amount of crispy fresh asian vegetables. no complaints what-so-ever about this dish. oh, and it also came with a grip of fluffy rice (not pictured) to mop up all the curry goodness.
i went for the long march camp-fry which is normally 7 bucks, but i added tofu which brought it up to $9. this dish was nothing short of w00t. seriously, if you are in a healthy-kick kinda mood and want billions of vegetables with baked tofu in a light vegan (yet extremely flavorful) sauce, eat this! i have been to mao’s several times and never ordered this before, but now i know it will be one of my standard go-to dishes. it was packed with really scrumptious vegetables like cabbage, tomato, peas and my new favorite…wood ear mushrooms! the fluffy little mushrooms look like dark leafy greens but pack all the texture and flavor of a really tasty portobello. i’m going into food high just thinking about it. i especially recommend the long march camp-fry if you are dining out with others and want a vegetable dish to share. it’s artfully prepared, well-balanced and above all delicious. i’m never ordering steamed vegetables again.
oh and one more thing, the food at mao’s kitchen is very good…so be sure not to fill up on the tempting vegan crack they bring to your table for free when you are seated. these deep fried crackers with sweet vegan sauce will sneak up on you…then all of a sudden…half the bowl is gone and you have no room for food because your brain is swimming in huge amounts of grease you just consumed. beware.
hit up mao’s kitchen on melrose for really awesome vegan chinese food. to avoid any contamination, just let them know you are vegan and that you want all your sauces animal-free. they seem to be pretty knowledgeable and always able to accommodate. good luck in there…hopefully you won’t run into crazy/bored protesters like me and the mr. did. if you do, there is always bulan or m cafe just blocks away. 😉
P.S. mao’s kitchen has a parking lot (epic melrose score!), it isn’t busy at lunch time, and you can take in your own booze. you officially have no excuse not to eat there.
mao’s kitchenTags: chinese, communist, curry, tofu, west hollywood
7315 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
open 7 days
11am – 12am
Gluten intolerance must be a really difficult thing to live with, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Even if you’re an omnivore, so many delicious foods that gluten-tolerant people eat are completely off-bounds if you can’t digest the base ingredient in flour – indeed, the very thing that holds most baked goods together and turns crumbs into something chewy and tastily edible.
As a vegan by choice I know how having minority dietary requirements can be a real problem for eating out, but to be gluten intolerant, and therefore have NO choice but to avoid many foods (or get sick) must be a real bind, to say the least. I was pleased to see on a recent trip to Locali some tiny (a little under 6”) vegan, gluten-free pizzas in the freezer all wrapped up in a bag. Being a pizza fan of the highest order I grabbed a bag of four and headed to the cash register. When the gentleman rang up $25, I assumed it was a mistake, and jokingly said “hey! Don’t want to break the bank!”, to which he replied “Oh, this is a special price. They’re normally $7 each but four are only $25.”. I headed straight back to the freezer with them, and settled for a bag of wasabi peas instead.
I did some research when I got home, and it turns out the pizzas are made by The Sensitive Baker in Culver City, and are sold on their website for the exact same price. I love a challenge to discern the value of something expensive, so I was delighted when, on another trip to Locali, they were selling the pizzas individually. I threw down $14+tax of hard earned cash, and headed home with two frozen pizzas in hand.
Now, I’m used to eating pizza by the slice with a good crust and hearty toppings – and, as anybody that’s seen my girth lately can tell you, several slices at that. When I got home I unpacked the pizza to expose something that really wasn’t much bigger in diameter than one of those large chocolate-chip cookies they sell at the checkout of Whole Foods, only a whole lot thinner. By thin, I mean the thickness of a couple of stacked quarters.
I’m commenting on the size (or lack thereof!) of the pizzas because I had just spent so much money on two, and wishing I’d bought four to feed two people — clearly, the “four in a bag for $25” deal should be what you’d go for, assuming money is no object. Anyways, I popped the pizzas in the oven per the directions and wolfed one down in about 30 seconds, taking eight bites to do so. I then immediately made myself a boca burger with salsa on top as I was so hungry.
And, after checking the nutrition information I was SHOCKED to learn that each pizza was 450 CALORIES — that’s as much energy as in three bags of potato chips. No, not the healthy “baked” kind, but the good, old-fashioned “Lay’s Classic” that makes one feel bloated after eating. This pizza is a source of concentrated calories of about the same as a three slices of a Pizza Hut 12” pizza, but a whole lot less satisfying.
From the bottom up, this was not an exceptional pizza, and certainly nothing special for the price. The crust was hard and crispy with no soft interior (I’ve been told that can be a side-effect of poorly designed gluten-free dough — after all, I’ve had gluten-free burger buns that are perfectly crispy and soft in all the right places). The sauce was watery – like somebody opened a can of tomato puree, diluted it and brushed it on the ‘crust’. There were about two tablespoons of cashew/tahini “cheese” which tasted decent (only because it was fattening enough to meet the nutritional requirements of 5 people in one day) right on top of the aqueous tomato puree.
So, a pizza that was this unimpressive (I’m a-telling you: a piece of dough with watered-down tomato puree and some Follow Your Heart cheese would be an equal match) begs many, many questions….
So, help me out here. Are you gluten intolerant? Do you know anybody that is? Have you ever made a gluten-free pizza… Or a gluten-free anything? Should a gluten-free pizza be nasty yet cost almost 90 cents a bite? Are gluten-intolerant people so desperate for a pizza that this is actually a god-send and value for money?
If this is the state of the art of gluten-free cooking, and it’s value for money I’d love to know – please leave a comment. If not, there has to be a better way to feed our gluten-free friends (some of whom are vegan: that requires a lot of dedication and courage).Tags: gluten-free, pizza, sensitive baker
After two weeks traipsing around the UK, we were completely set for a quiet weekend to be spent mostly at home. Until, that is, we read this post on Vegan LA. I mean, come on – one of LA’s most established and respected pizza joints, Purgatory Pizza, suddenly announces that all their pizzas are available with vegan cheese? And not the chemical mass that is follow your heart, but none other than the joint winner of the recent Vegan Cheese Pizza Challenge, Teese from Chicago Soy Dairy.
So, after settling onto the couch with our slippers on, we were jolted to action and filled with a mission to check out Purgatory Pizza post haste even though we had a rather low expectation of what we might find, exacerbated by a 40 minute drive through Hollywood to downtown LA, on the purgatorious 101 freeway.
Well, the visit to Purgatory Pizza is one of the most memorable vegan dining events I’ve had in a while, possibly since dining on a 50-year old London bus. We arrived at a brightly lit storefront with convenient alleyway parking adjacent, and strode valiantly inside with vegan heads held up high to be greeted by a very nice lady who seemed extremely pleased that we’d shown up as the first customers of the new vegan menu. Indeed, she told us that she’d only posted on Vegan LA a few hours before and was surprised that people were already asking for the vegan cheese.
She was knowledgeable about the cheese/Teese, explaining that she had spoken with the manufacturer and tried several different vegan cheeses before settling on Teese as she felt it cooked and tasted the best. So, we placed our order of a large Teese pizza with garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes.
It was only when we sat at one of the large, comfortable tables that we realized we were somewhere special. The walls were covered in wonderful avant garde murals saying things like “She is pure and perfect and she colors her hair with magic markers”, there were candles on the tables and some great classic rock deep cuts were playing (The Beatles, Queen, The Doors, Elvis…..). We rocked out, read the murals and drank our wine while we waited for the pizza to arrive, our drinking and rocking only punctuated by a wonderfully sweet and helpful teenage girl popping to the table on a regular basis with plates, napkins and an inquisition “Is everything OK? Do you need anything?”
After about 15 minutes our pizza arrived, and for a split second I thought I was sitting in Ray’s Pizza on 7th Avenue at 53rd St. in Manhattan, one of my favorite pre-vegan pizza joints. I’m telling you – this was no ordinary mass-produced pizza but a real, NY-style hand tossed crust with the perfect ratio of toppings, “cheese” and sauce. The entire 16” pie was completely gone within about 5 minutes as we wolfed down bite after bite of crunchy crust, tangy basil-infused sauce and perfectly melted Teese.
The whole experience is a million miles away from the usual vegan pizza experience, where a vegan restaurant attempts to create a pizza from bread dough, chopped vegetables and cashew cheese (ugh now I think about it). No, this is the real deal. Authentic New York-style pizza cooked and prepared perfectly but substituting soy for dairy. As a vegan, you’re dining on the edge here — as authentic a pizza journey as it gets, but screeching to a halt before any animal cruelty.
Purgatory has a busy delivery and carry-out business (they must have fulfilled 5 or 6 orders in the short time we were there, which was around 6pm — hardly peak time for pizza orders!) yet the eat-in experience is really worth doing. One last positive note, Purgatory doesn’t serve alcohol, but they welcome a BYO-style system, and we fortunately had a bottle of wine in the car. It’s so much better spending $10 at a grocery store on a bottle of reasonable wine than $6 on a glass of franzia “house red” at a restaurant. This just makes Purgatory Pizza even better!
Purgatory has probably always been a special place, but now it’s accessible to LA vegans, and I highly encourage you to check it out. Amazing pizza, BYO beer/wine, easy parking, 5 minute drive off the 101. Rather than Purgatory, I think I might just have found pizza heaven in downtown LA.
Here’s the menu (redacted to protect the innocent):
1326 east 1st street
los angeles, ca 90033
323 262 5310
open everyday 6pm – 11pm
For a surreal moment, check out this video of the artist who made the mural:Tags: downtown, pizza, purgatory pizza, teese, wine
UPDATED 2011: since the time of this post, a new revolutionary vegan cheese called daiya has come along. it melts and stretches like real cheese, and is available at whole foods and ralphs. you can read our review of it here. also, teese has come out with a new and improved version of their product that is vastly superior to the one below. lastly, cheezly is no longer available in the united states. so as it stands today, 2 years later, cheezly is still the best tasting vegan cheese, but daiya and teese are close behind and are pretty easy to find.
PIZZA!! it’s the one thing i really miss as a vegan. i fantasize about one day in my future, when nondairy cheese is just as convincing as vegan ice cream—when the soy stuff tastes and feels like the real thing. until then, i am constantly looking for the best solution, even if that means ordering several vegan cheeses online and pitting them against each other in the ultimate pizza challenge. …so here it goes!
we took all the top retail vegan cheeses and they faced off in the ultimate pizza contest. the contenders consisted of all the top competitors: follow your heart, sheese, cheezly and teese. we ordered them all online at veganessentials.com and used them all on a standard, basic, homemade pizza crust.
let’s start off by defining the rating system. we will determine the absolute best of these cheeses by evaluating them based upon 5 very simple qualifications: taste uncooked, taste cooked, meltyness, value, and availability. the scale is on a 1 – 5 scale, 5 being the best of the best of the best.
from the ordering website: “Teese is the exciting new vegan cheese made by the Chicago Soydairy, makers of the popular Temptation brand vegan ice cream. Teese is the first dairy-free and casein-free cheese that melts and tastes like a real dairy cheese. Teese is crafted through a proprietary process by certified “Teesemakers” to taste just like artisanal cheese. Teese promises to deliver the taste and melt non-dairy connoisseurs have sought for years”
taste uncooked: the taste raw is definitely sour. cheese-like, but weird, wet and waxy. 3 out of 5
taste cooked: pretty close to real cheese, i’ll take it! 4 out of 5
meltyness: teese’s melt factor was insane! we threw this pizza in the oven, and when it came out, the cheese on top was a pinkish SOUP. i have tried a few times subsequently, and it seems that teese cheese always turns into pink mush. i found if you let it cool for about 10 minutes, the pink teese soup turns into a decent edible pizza cheese, thus ultimately warranting a 3 out of 5
value: teese is $7.49 for 16 oz, that works out to $0.47/oz. 4 out of 5
availability: not sold in my area, but always available online. 4 out of 5
from the ordering website: “imported from Scotland, Sheese is a delicious alternative to dairy-based cheese that’s firm in texture and is by far the best eat-straight-from-the-package vegan cheese we’ve ever tried. It can also be used in many recipes, too – it takes a bit longer to melt than other vegan cheeses due to the firmness, but it works extremely well in just about any recipe you use.”
taste uncooked: oddly enough, this stuff grated beautifully, but it tasted like ice cream! there wasn’t a sour raw flavor to it, instead something oddly vanilla or cake-like. 3 out of 5
taste cooked: when cooked, the vanilla taste of sheese was not so prominent. it was still a tad to sugary, but had definite hints of mozzarella. 4 out of 5
melty-ness: sheese just straight up refuses to melt. you can see, the grated shreds just sit there, after 45 minutes in the oven, totally refusing to budge. 1 out of 5
value: sheese typically costs 8.69 for an 8 oz package—this equates to $1.08/oz. 2 out of 5
availability: while sheese isn’t available at your typical whole foods, it’s pretty easy to find. grab it online at veganessentials or one of the many vegan specialty internet grocers. 4 out of 5
3.) follow your heart vegan gourmet
from the ordering website: “Hailed as the best American-made vegan cheese, Vegan Gourmet melts beautifully and has a delicious, authentic cheese flavor. Perfect for topping pizzas, pastas, Mexican dishes, or shredded plain in salads!”
taste uncooked: edible but not great. the shreds were wet and waxy and a slight taste of chemicals…WTF. 2 out of 5
taste cooked: when on homemade pizza, follow your heart still has a strange taste. while not as prominent as when raw, there is a definitely chemical flavor. 3 out of 5.
meltyness: follow your heart cheese melts sometimes; and in my experience, even after a round in the oven, it needs some microwave love to get it melted. plus, it started falling off the pizza in big clumps. 3 out of 5
value: vegan gourmet does very well in this category—it seems that follow your heart is basically giving this shit away! a mere $4.69 for a 10 oz package puts it at a shocking $0.47/oz! 4 out of 5
availability: finally, follow your heart’s reach is just as impressive as its price tag. i find this shit in basically every whole foods, and even some ralphs outlets. i’m in la, so i can’t speak for the rest of the country, but here the availability is 5 out of 5
from the ordering website: “Cheezly is simply incredible and must be tasted to be believed. We’ve never used a vegan cheese that melts this well AND tastes so much like real dairy cheese! Ideal for pizzas, quesadillas, pastas, grilled cheese sandwiches- anything you can imagine melting cheese onto or into!”
taste uncooked: cheezly tasted pretty damn good raw. it was firm, chewy and slightly sour. pretty fucking impressive. 4 out of 5
taste cooked: the taste of the cheezly on a pizza was absolutely delicious. it was salty, cheesy, milky, and probably the best tasting fake cheese i’ve ever had. 5 out of 5
meltyness: cheezly’s melt factor was awesome. pretty much like real cheese. 4 out of 5
value: when it’s not on sale, cheezly will run you $8.95 for 6.7 oz, that’s $1.34/oz! whoa!! pretty pricey. 1 out of 5
availability: cheezly is only available for me in los angeles via internet order. still, it’s pretty easy to find online. 4 out of 5
and now, for the results!
in the end, teese and cheezly tied for the win with 18 points! follow your heart was right behind with 17 points, and sheese coming in last with 14 points.
even though teese scored the same number of points, cheezly will always be the winner in my book. cheezly won most of its points on pure taste, but fell behind because it’s 3 times the price of teese. so if you don’t mind paying extra, go with cheezly. in my opinion, it is the best tasting vegan cheese.
there ya have it. now go eat some vegan pizza! you’re welcome.Tags: baking, cheezly, daiya, follow your heart, pizza, sheese, teese
for us vegans in los angeles, there sure aren’t very many pizza options. a lot of places have a soy cheese option, but that usually contains casein…some places do offer vegan pizza, but the fake cheese never melts quite right. lucky for us, though, a new all-vegetarian and vegan-friendly pizza parlor has opened up just 30 miles away in cerritos, and dude, it is so worth the drive. we headed out to that’s amore over the weekend and had vegan pizza so good, it tasted vegetarian.
that’s amore is a pure vegetarian pizza kitchen with a large menu full of of entrees, pizzas and sandwiches that can ALL be veganized. seriously, it’s a dream come true. if this place were closer to my house, i’d be there several times a week. i know it sounds too good to be true, so check out there menu here:
my husband and i took a detour to that’s amore last weekend, on our way home from long beach, and seriously…the food was not to be believed. although the menu was massive and tempting, we opted for the build-your-own pizza option, and settled on a pie with vegan cheese, tofurky sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes. wow, can you believe that order? vegan cheese, vegetable toppings and tofurky sausage?!?!?! i don’t know anywhere i could get such a vegan feast, other than my own kitchen. almost all the food at that’s amore is vegan, except they do have a normal cheese option. other than that, you can close your eyes and point at random shit on the menu, order it and be fine. i can’t even express how wonderful this is to me. they also clearly state on the menu that “vegan dishes are cooked with exclusive utensils.” there ya have it: no cross-contamination worries.
our pizza came out of the oven in record time, the thing was bloody huge, and the crust was amazing. definitely the most authentic new york style crust i’ve ever tried since becoming a vegan: thin, chalky and oh so tasty.
not to mention, the VEGAN CHEESE! this shit was melty-ist, most wonderful vegan dairy-style concoction i’ve ever tasted. the super-friendly server told us they use follow your heart cheese, but i assure you, it tasted much better than that. in my experience FYH cheese is pretty stubborn when it comes to melting, but that’s amore somehow gets around the problem. maybe it’s their oven, or the way they shred it…either way, this stuff melts and has the texture of real fucking cheese. amazing.
when you fill up on pizza from that’s amore, ask your sweet and helpful server about the dessert options. we inquired and wound up with an incredible, freshly-made vegan cannoli. de-lish! they should really add this stuff to the menu, it would be a tragedy for sweet-seeking vegans to leave that’s amore, never knowing they have incredible desserts.
that’s amore makes me want to move to the oc, full stop. the food is killer, it’s all meat-free, and everything can be veganized. oh oh oh, and they serve wine and beer, what’s not to like?
…well…um….ok, if i wanna get nit-picky, the ambience leaves something to be desired. it’s in a strip mall, the lighting is so bright that it’s annoying, and they play a rotation of 8 really corny italian-themed rat pack songs nonstop, turned up to 11. if i lived in cerritos, that’s amore would definitely be the perfect place to get a pizza to-go. i would only eat in because i live about an hour away, and i would rather put up with a less-than-perfect atmosphere than a reheated pizza.
overall though, that’s amore is incredible. head out to cerritos as soon as you can, and try everything on the menu. it’s gotta be the best, authentic, new york style vegan pizza i’ve ever had.
that’s amoreTags: cerritos, follow your heart, italian, orange county, pizza, tofurky, vegan cheese
13349 artesia blvd.
cerritos, ca 90703
Following the outpouring of disagreement following my post on Samosa House in Culver City a few weeks ago, we decided to wipe the slate clean and try again. This time, we did everything right. Rather than ordering the “combo plate” (where they put a little of everything in a container), we went completely a-la-carte.
So, we ordered the signature Jack Fruit curry, Saag (Spinach) curry, Channa Dahl (lentils), and Aloo Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower), along with the requisite roti, and a side of basmati rice.
Maybe the staff at Samosa House recall the days of the Raj when they hear my English accent, or they hate Brits, bald people or dudes over 40. I don’t know, but when I (over-politely) asked where the jackfruit curry was, the lady said “It will be out in a five minutes!” with an expression like a bothered parent who has responded “soon” 50 times when a kid has asked “are we there yet?” from the back seat of the cay. Now, I’m not being paranoid here as she was very, very nice to the person behind me, when asked the same thing: “Oh, I’m sorry, we’re just preparing some more now. It’ll be out in two minutes. Can I get you something while you’re waiting?”.
Anyway, I decided to rise above the brush-off and to kill the waiting time browsed the aisles full of stuff I used to eat when I was only a lowly vegetarian (particularly the British chocolate – sorry, Americans, your Twix ain’t as good as ours, and that’s the way it is).
Finally, the jackfruit arrived, and we headed home with some boxes of warm curry in the trunk. After unpacking the dishes, we served ourselves to heaps of gorgeous-looking food, and settled down to a movie with a nice bottle of vegan wine.
Oh boy. Within 3 seconds I was on my way to the spice closet so I could get some TASTE into my curry. I sprinkled on curry powder and cayenne pepper, cuz I’m telling you that this food is so bland it’s an insult to the great cuisine of India.
The beans tasted like one of those complimentary side dishes you get served at a crappy Mexican restaurant while the cauliflower/potato was so overcooked that everything had turned into much and I honestly could not tell if I was eating a potato or a cauliflower. The spinach was watery (it even had a layer of green water on top of it – UGH) and finally the roti was overcooked on one side, and undercooked on the other.
Sorry, Samosa House, but you guys don’t know how to make remotely tasty Indian food and that’s a pity because you charge high prices and have a front of authenticity.Tags: curry, samosa house
UPDATE: as of 2010, the pizza dough at patty’s is NOT VEGAN. 🙁
Back in the late 90s when I lived in Seattle, there was a craze sweeping called “take and bake pizza”. The basic premise is that the pizza joint will make you a super dooper pizza with the crust, sauce, cheese and toppings you desire and hand it to you uncooked. You take it home, and when you’re ready for it, pop it in the oven and get piping hot, fresh pizza within a few minutes. The best known take and bake chain is Papa Murphy’s, which sadly has no Southern California outlets.
It’s no secret (bear with me here) that I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at Father’s Office, a snobby bar in Santa Monica with a great beer selection. Sadly, their insane “no substitution or alteration” menu policy leaves us vegans with no food option other than very, very greasy fries. Fear not, as an amazing vegan pizza concoction can be pieced together by walking a few blocks around said establishment on Montana Avenue to gather up the ingredients before heading home to cook them.
First, visit the Montana Whole Foods Market. This used to be a very swanky Wild Oats until Whole Foods bought the chain and converted it a year or so ago. Pick up the requisite Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella cheese and maybe a nice bottle of wine from the over-priced and limited selection that is a trademark of Whole Foods wine departments everywhere. Be careful not to trip over the guilty-liberal-starbucks-sipping-leggings-wearing-yoga-mat-toting Santa Monica residents on your way out.
Then, trot a few blocks down south on Montana to Patty’s Pizza which is, as far as I know, LA’s only take and bake pizza place (there’s a Nick ‘n’ Willy’s take and bake outlet in Valencia, which I have to try sometime unless SCVegan beats me to it). Basically, you can order any vegetarian pizza you want but ask for NO cheese (you have all the cheese you need in your Whole Foods paper bag, don’t forget). As the pizza isn’t being cooked, it’ll usually be ready in about five minutes after you order it.
So, head home with your cheese, uncooked pizza and a bottle of wine (entirely optional, but highly recommended!). I don’t know about Patty’s pizza, but in my (somewhat extensive) experience of purchasing Papa Murphy’s pizzas to take home and bake, you can leave the pizza uncooked in its plastic wrap in a fridge for a day or two and it still cooks up just fine.
Preparing the pizza is a snap. All you have to do is grate a small amount of Follow Your Heart cheese and carefully apply it to said dish. For this 18-incher we used around a third of a slab. As we’re using the dubiously meltable Follow Your Heart, make sure you grate the cheese finely (using the smallest grating holes on your greater), and press the cheese lightly down into the sauce as it melts better that way.
Also, be careful when you’re grating the cheese as these slabs are a little slimy (like picking up a toad), and you won’t want it to slip out of your hands and slap down in the middle of your pie!
Once you’ve topped out the pizza, simply follow the directions on the label to the letter and in about 10 minutes you will have a very, very good pizza that’s probably better than anything you can create at home.
Oh, I checked with the lady in the store, and she confirmed that the dough and sauce are vegan, and that the optional soy cheese does contain casein, so you have no real option but to cheese it yourself.
So, what’s the catch? Well, I have two pet peeves about Patty’s pizza. The first is that they don’t discount any money for asking for no cheese — why can’t it at least be priced as an optional topping? The cheese must be the most expensive ingredient, so they’re saving quite a bit on pizzas ordered without it. In our case $18.75 for the pizza with three toppings.
The second peeve is the rude service. Frankly, the people on the cash register there are not very nice. The lady that took my order was rushed (even though we were the only people in line) and when I came back to pick up the pizza after using the restroom it was basically thrown at me with no eye contact by another lady.
Bottom line: Don’t go to Patty’s for a low-budget dinner, or to feel appreciated but do go there for a really easy to prepare vegan pizza that tastes absolutely delicious.
UPDATE: since this post, the vegan spot has CLOSED. a new vegetarian cafe has taken its place. this is very sad news indeed. there is no more vegan spot…but i will leave the original post up below for those of you who want to reminisce.
as you probably know, lately i’ve been having a passionate love affair with the vegan spot in silver lake. especially since there’s been so much talk about them going up for sale on craigslist, i feel that it’s my duty to eat there as much as possible, meaning i’ve been stopping in a couple times per week. in a quest to try everything on the vegan spot’s menu, i order something new almost every time i go, and am continually amazed at their ability to make each dish even better than the last. the vegan spot is frickin’ incredible.
as you can see, all this shit was really really good. i don’t think i’ve ever tried so many things at one restaurant and have them all be so unbelievably tasty. i’ve been eager to try the pizza from the vegan spot for quite some time, because all the fake cheese in their other entrees has been very melty. i was anxious to see if the soy mozz would be equally impressive. of course, it was! the single serving pizza was the perfect meal, stacked with incredible gooey real-tasting cheese, thick juicy tomatoes and fresh basil. i was rubbing my tummy for hours after eating this.
next up, the turkey dinner sandwich was something unlike any food i’ve ever tasted. huge, thick salty strips of fake turkey (imagine that delicious pre-packaged deli-sliced tofurky and multiply its tastiness by 1000!), small cranberry chunks along with soft cream cheese and garlic sauce. seriously, this was better than any thanksgiving i’ve ever had. plus, they served it up with a side of spinach leaves drenched in the most amazing dressing. you have to try this meal out to believe me. nothing i can write will possibly describe how well a turkey dinner can be consolidated in a vegan sandwich. nothing short of magic.
the portobello sandwich was also extremely succulent. a plump and juicy meat-a-licious mushroom went with the crusty and oily foccacia so bloody well. not to mention the slightly-wilted greens in the middle which soaked up the mild grease from the bread perfectly. this sandwich was all around super. the perfect healthy-ish junk food: maybe a little heavy on the oil, but balanced out by the fact that the main attraction was a portobello (basically no calories).
lastly, the blta was of course awesome as well. taking the blt one step further, this vegan version consisted of bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado. everything was top notch, and this sumptuous version took the old sammy to a new level. mostly thanks to the fake maple bacon that the vegan spot has invented. it borders on the sweet side, but is still completely irresistible. so much salty-meaty flavor combined with grilled bread, fresh tomato and creamy avocado makes for ultimate sandwich bliss. this entree sounds more simple than the others, but it is every bit as tasty.
so, if you can’t tell by now, i’m kind of obsessed with the vegan spot. i hope they aren’t going anywhere soon because their food is fucking crazy good.
get over there and try out something. everything i’ve had on the menu is awesome.
oh, and in case you need the menu, here it is.
for now, the vegan spot definitely has the best vegan take-out, the best sandwiches, and the best fake cheese in town…full stop. 😀Tags: pizza, portobello, sandwich, silverlake, veganmofo
It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Indian cuisine. Growing up in the UK where it is, of course, the national dish has enabled me to be quite discerning when Indian food is placed in front of me. So, I was delighted at the prospect of visiting the Samosa House in Culver City this past weekend to try their extensive vegan selection (they have seven vegan and three vegetarian entrees).
Well, I can tell you that the experience started off really well. The restaurant is deli-style, where orders are placed and served from heated containers right in front of you in a very clean and orderly environment. The service is excellent – the nice man behind the counter described all the dishes, including which were vegan. We could not decide which of the seven to taste, so we ordered them all as two 3-side samplers (with rice and bread) for $7.99 each, and one side (for the odd man out, final entrée: more to come on that).
The seven dishes were as follows:
Potatoes: Pretty much as the name suggests – lightly spiced potatoes served dry in no sauce
Chickpeas: Your common chickpea curry served in a light sauce
Lentils: Usually my favorite side, lentils served in a dark, creamy sauce, of which more later
Potatoes with Long Beans: The name says it all – again, not a very saucy dish
Bitter Melon: Seemed to be small fruits in a tangy sauce. Much more of a condiment than a side, if you ask me
Spinach Tofu: Creamed spinach and small tofu chunks (although there were al most no tofu chunks in ours)
Jackfruit: Pure Luck style jackfruit in a dry curry sauce
We also had a very hearty serving of rice with each sampler (in fact, the rice accounted for around 60% of the volume of each container) and two small chapatti breads. Of course, we couldn’t help but order two of their signature samosas which were wrapped and fried right there. No microwaved samosas wrapped in foil here!
We ordered the dishes to go, and hightailed it through West LA as fast as we could to get home – largely because carrying Indian food in your car leaves a lingering odor that lasts in direct proportion to how long you carried the food for. Although our journey was only about 20 minutes, I could still smell the curry in my car the following morning — even though we carried it in the trunk!Tags: chickpea, curry, indian food, jackfruit, lentil, melon, potatoes, samosa, spinach, take-out, tofu, veganmofo
curry can be a vegan’s best friend, especially if you get it from a restaurant where the staff is knowledgeable and straight up about ingredients. fortunately for us herbivores who live west of vermont (sorry, ¡yo soy!), the owners of the vegan-friendly hipster hangout electric lotus also have another fine, less trendy indian restaurant on san vicente: india’s grill.
the service at india’s grill is impeccable, the interior is lovely, and most importantly, the food is delicious. we often get our curry to go, however, because india’s grill is on the way home from my husband’s work. plus, i like to eat dinner and watch twin peaks at the same time.
because the portions from india’s grill are pretty huge, i usually end up with leftovers. hence takeaway breakfast curry. i assure you, it’s just as good the second time around.
i think curry for breakfast is underrated. it’s great to wake up with tons of flavor and food that sets your mouth on fire. gets you ready for the day, i tell ya!
while india’s grill specializes in several vegetarian dishes that can be made vegan, aloo gobhi is my favorite. potatoes in cauliflower in a light sauce blended together with the perfect spices. i always ask them to make it extra hot, because most curry dishes are too mild for me otherwise. this dish goes perfect with the pulao rice: saffron, grean peas and onions all sauteed together.
and don’t forget to wrap everything up with a big piece of roti to make a scrumptious curry burrito. i’m pretty sure the naan contains eggs, but the roti is a-ok. just a minute on the grill, and the roti will be as good as new, even on the following day.
so if you want an indian feast near weho or beverly hills, be sure to give india’s grill a shot. dine-in or take-out, they always rock my world.Tags: aloo gobhi, beverly hills, breakfast, curry, indian, indian food, pulao rice, roti, take-out, veganmofo, weho
on my recent trip to florida, i ate at a ton of cool veg restaurants, but none of them compared to the vegan perfection i would find at SUBLIME. actually, nowhere i’ve ever been compares to sublime, a high-class vegan eatery in ft. lauderdale, florida that boasts numerous celebrity patrons, including paul mccartney. i can safely say it is there that i ate the best meal i’ve ever had, and the owner wasn’t lying when she stopped by our table and assured us, “there’s nowhere like sublime in the entire united states.”
i could tell the moment i walked into the entirely vegan restaurant and saw the fancy interior complete with waterfalls, the neatly dressed staff and enormous bar that i was somewhere special. i would have to treat myself to a full on slap-up meal consisting of an aperitif, an appetizer, two entrees (to be shared by me & my husband), and dessert. so that’s just what i did.
(i apologize in advance for the dark photos in this post. sublime is a classy joint with dim lights, not ideal for taking pix that are up to snuff. you will have to believe me when i say these snapshots don’t do the food justice.)
before we even ordered, our fabulous waiter showed up at our table with a small plate of complimentary pesto polenta. i knew we were off to a good start. it, of course, was delicious.
for my pre-meal cocktail, i ordered a mojito—this is florida, after all, and drinking anything else would be a crime. it was cool and refreshing. sweet and minty. ahh.
now, let’s get TASTY. sublime offers a pretty big appetizer menu and all of it sounds good, but one dish in particular caught my attention: sublime sliders.
i see people chomping on these mini burgers in bars all the time—a common happy hour food, most weekends i find myself 3 stools away from a plate of sliders and an endless stream of bud light. being super into vegan burgers, i’ve daydreamed from time to time about creating my own cruelty-free slider recipe. unfortunately, it all falls apart when i think about forming and baking miniature buns, or getting the itsy-bitsy patties just right. luckily for me, sublime took care of all that for me. i finally know what it’s like to eat a slider…fucking awesome. if there was a vegan heaven, god would serve sublime’s sliders
after devouring my shameless, hamburger-emulating appetizer, i knew sublime was ready to bring it—i had to order some entrees that would be difficult to veganize; stuff normally reserved for omnivores. after those sliders, i had a feeling sublime would be up for the challenge.
what better way to start than with a quiche? upon googling a quiche recipe, the first result i found called for 4 eggs, 1 cup of half & half, 1/2 cup of real mayonnaise, and 8 ounces of cheddar cheese. yep, it could skate by as vegetarian, but the quiche contains all the vegan’s worst enemies. how could any fine restaurant possibly create one that i could actually eat? i dunno. but sublime sure as fuck did.
this quiche was off the chain: delicious, soft, melty and moist. each bite was an explosion of creamy flavor. the order also came complete with sinful oily leafy greens and perfectly grilled potatoes. i’ve never had such a perfect replication of cheese, milk and eggs all in one. this tasted REAL, sans the cruelty and dead shit. give me any omnivore, and i guarantee they would believe they were eating the bloody puss-filled dairy products they are used to. i mean this all in a good way. there is NO reason not to be vegan.
next up, the even bigger test…PIZZA. other than tomato joe’s, nobody has made a vegan pizza that i’m totally impressed with. i knew that if sublime was on point, they’d be able to pull a out a decent vegan pizza. of course, they did.
sublime’s vegan pizza is unique, because it doesn’t contain the crappy over-used follow your heart cheese that runs rampant here in los angeles. being a vegan cheese fanatic, i can swear that sublime’s cheese substitute tastes just like TEESE…a tasty brand that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. beyond taste, the sublime pizza’s cheese had an ever-so-slight pinkish tinge to it, another teese characteristic. of course, it was delectable. it’s so refreshing to eat vegan pizza in a restaurant, free of follow your heart’s impudent and never-melting fake cheese. this stuff was gooey and stringy, melty-licious and unruly…almost just like real cheese. a definite winner. cooked more like a fancy italian restaurant pizza, this isn’t your huge take-out, tv dinner pie. instead, sublime serves their dusty pizza on a thinner crust, with decorative garnishes and fresh light ingredients. the presentation, exquisite taste and top-notch fake cheese make this pizza an A+++++++++++++.
after eating away and sipping cocktails into oblivion, my husband and i agreed that this was, without a doubt, the best dinner ever. sublime was truly the most special, wonderful, magical place that we’d ever eaten. there is absolutely no way we could pass up on dessert. it just wouldn’t be right, to us, and ESPECIALLY to you!
being a choc-o-holic, i chose the chocolate nirvana cake with ice cream on the side. never before has being a vegan felt so decadent and delicious.
this cake was better than any crappy vegetarian cake i’ve ever eaten. i think whoever made it possesses secret powers. seriously, it was soooo luscious. the frosting was rich and creamy, the cake itself was moist, and it came with a huge piece of chocolate candy that was sumptuous. it totally had me scraping the plate and licking the fork. even my husband, mr. “i don’t like sweet stuff” was all over it. best dessert ever. wow.
my experience proves that only one word can describe sublime: perfect. this place is amazing, and the only thing i hate about it is that it’s located so far away from me. it’s absolutely superb—i recommend if you visit florida, or any of the surrounding states for that matter, you do whatever it takes to have dinner at sublime. it will be worth your while. i’m looking into booking another trip to florida ASAP just to eat there again.
best food. killer atmosphere. huge selection. what more do we vegans require? plus, the rock star on my banner eats there. go there. it will be so fucking tasty!
Tags: cake, dessert, florida, ice cream, pizza, quiche, sliders, veganmofo, veggie burger
when i was a vegetarian, pizza was my favorite food. at least once a week, i’d treat myself to a piping hot slice (or 10) of cheesy pie. even then i was pretty picky, and finding a truly awesome pizza (in my mind) was rare. as you can imagine, now that i’m a vegan, it’s damn near impossible.
luckily for me, tomato joe’s has made it possible for me to eat exceptional pizza that can please vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. all i have to do is pay a visit to my home town, santa clarita. i first heard about tomato joe’s from scvegan.com, and being both a vegan and a pizza lover, i knew i had to check it out. plus, it gave me the perfect excuse to drop by and surprise my parents with a meatless dinner.
dude, i can’t even tell you how good this pizza was. if i lived in santa clarita, i would be eating this every other day…and now that i found it, i KNOW mom & dad will be getting sick of me pretty quick. i’ve been on the vegan pizza hunt for quite some time. i’ve tried eating out, cooking countless recipes at home, buying it from the store, and it’s never been quite right…until now. tomato joe’s pizza is perfect. they even use follow your heart cheese, which i have never been a great fan of, and it STILL tastes just right. they get it melty and everything!
i can tell they use only the best ingredients at tomato joe’s—the toppings are fresh, the sauce is delectable, and the crust is off the chain. i can’t speak highly enough of the soft on the inside and crispy on the outside micro-brew option. it is unbelievable. the menu describes it as “hand tossed dough flavored with a locally brewed hefeweizen. puffy edge and thick center.” this crust was so delicious, i think if this pizza were cheeseless and toppingless, it would still be some of the best out there. the menu goes on to specify that the micro-brew crust is entirely vegan and only offered in 16″ (large). i just LOVE it when restaurants know what “vegan” means, and mark items that i can eat clearly on their menu. this is not the small town santa clarita that i remember from when i was growing up! i also love that this scrumptious crust only comes in large…it just forces me to get more pizza. damn. 😉
my parents, on the other hand, opted for the garden combo pizza with a thin crust. they assured me that it was absolutely delicious. i still refused to go near it, though, ’cause it was covered in bell peppers (which i hate).
one trick i did pull, was to not tell my mom that she was eating vegan cheese. when she said the pizza was wonderful, i let her know that it was dairy-free. she was astonished. if this vegan pizza could fool my southern, meat-eatin’ mama, it must be pretty damn good!
the crust on this one looked yummy as well. my parents loved it, and my dad told me it was just as good as the micro-brew, which he also tried. the menu describes the thin crust as “slightly more crispy dough flavored with garlic and extra virgin olive oil,” and also vegan. mmm mmm mmm.
so as you can probably tell, tomato joe’s was a great find. i am gonna make it a point to go there as often as possible, and my parents have vowed to switch over from pizza hut. so great to find a vegan-friendly pizza place with genuinely great food.
so all you vegan LAers, next time you go to magic mountain, YOU NEED TO CHECK THIS PLACE OUT.Tags: follow your heart, garlic, pizza, santa clarita