• August 12th, 2008quarrygirlindian food, LA restaurants, paru's

    don’t be scared when you see a ragged building on a shady stretch of sunset blvd. that looks more like a bails bond office than an eatery. after they buzz you through the creepy-looking door, you find yourself in a dimly-lit, cozy indian restaurant, where the waiters are well-dressed and the decorations are traditional. it’s like stumbling into an eerie cave and finding a perfect, warm hideaway. i avoided paru’s vegetarian for ages, and little did i know that i was completely missing out on the loveliest curry house in all of la.

    i can’t wait to return and get a full-on slap-up dinner, because on this particular visit we just opted to split a few sides…all of which were amazing.

    cauliflower with potato $7.95

    cauliflower with potato $7.95

    spinach with lentils $7.95

    spinach with lentils $7.95

    sambar lentil gravy $1.95

    sambar lentil gravy $1.95

    the food at paru’s is a welcome change; much different to the indian food i’m used to eating. you see, i’ve been getting a little fed up with curry restaurants in la. none of them compare to london establishments, and since i have been spoiled by the best curry ever at home, i’ve had no reason to eat it when i’m out. so paru’s is officially the first indian restaurant i’ve been to since i got back from a vacation in the uk…9 months ago.

    and it did not disappoint! paru’s totally redefined curry in my book. while my favorite dishes are usually full of oil and on the very saucy side, paru’s food was very light, a bit dry, but still full of flavor. paru’s really puts it best on their website when they state, “we specialize in the cuisine of South India, where cooks typically use rich spices and aromatic herbs to transform intricate conjurations of vegetables, lentils, and rice into tasty meals that are as fulfilling as they are filling.” i left completely satisfied and feeling energized. yum.

    the cauliflower and potatoes were fantastic, but my favorite dish was the spinach and lentils. it went down perfectly with a side of pulau rice that was littered with peas and carrots. the paratha was also delicious—fluffy and warm, great for scooping up little bits of curry. i didn’t quite know what to expect from the sambar, and what i thought would be a gravy sauce turned out to be more like a vegetable soup. in any case, i loved it. we just passed the dish back and forth and ate it with a spoon until the bowl was dry.

    the best thing about paru’s, for me, is that they are a 100% vegetarian restaurant, and definitely know the meaning of the word vegan. our waiter told us exactly which dishes contained dairy before we even ordered, so we knew just what to avoid. i highly recommend you go and support this place. they sure deserve it…even if their exterior makes me a little uneasy.

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  • August 10th, 2008mr meanercalzone, pizza, recipes

    There’s a Piazza in Rome with a small pizza house in it called “American Pizza Company”. It always makes me chuckle whenever I walk by – the terms “ice to eskimos”, “coal to Newcsatle” and “pizza to Roma” all imply the duplicative, perhaps unwanted and inferior activity of taking something to somewhere where there’s already plenty of it there.

    Now, while Americans don’t (Chicago pizza aside) have much to teach the Italians about making pizza, they did invent an interesting variation called a “Calzone”. When we in the west adapt a food item from another culture we instantly give it an overly authentic name, hence “Calzone” – can’t sound more Italian than that. We British did the same thing with Vindaloo – a fictitious “Indian” curry based upon, of all things, a Portuguese recipe.

    Anyway, while there are plenty of vegan pizza recipes around I thought it would be fun to set about creating a vegan calzone recipe, in honor of the American Pizza Company which serves a damn good, albeit non-vegan calzone.

    A calzone is basically a pizza folded in half with lots of extra ‘toppings’ tucked inside. The secret to a properly prepared calzone is to get the crust just right, and then shove in as many toppings as  you can without the thing bursting or leaking while it’s being baked.
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  • July 28th, 2008quarrygirlpizza

    sometimes i forget how great i’ve got it in los angeles—from basically everywhere, i can head in any direction and find myself surrounded by vegan options within minutes. that is so not the case in downtown fresno. fresno is the kind of town where as a vegan, you may find yourself either going hungry or making an emergency call to the nearest pizza hut.

    vegan pizza at pizza hut: hand-tossed crust with olives and mushrooms
    large pizza: hand-tossed crust, extra sauce, mushrooms and olives

    i haven’t ordered food from pizza hut in years, but i found out this weekend that it makes the perfect “when-all-else-fails” meal. and if you are drunk and hungry enough, it tastes pretty damn good!

    you see, we booked a hotel in downtown fresno on our way up north assuming there would be tons of vegan-friendly options to choose from. i mean anywhere that has a “downtown” area with hotels and shops has got to offer a wide variety of cuisines, right? wrong. fresno’s downtown area is more like a ghost town: shops and restaurants close early and the streets are lined with mostly thrift stores and steak houses. when we arrived at around 9pm, priority #1 was to find a bar…which we did. i think we succeeded in finding the one bar in town that was open, and even then we were the only customers. the bartender was so excited to have us there, he even bought us a free round of drinks. after much mobile yelping and google-mapping, we decided on subway for dinner. it appeared to be the only restaurant within walking distance. however, when we stumbled out of the bar a couple of hours later, all 3 nearby subways had closed. did i mention i feel lucky to live in LA?

    we walked back to the hotel, buzzed with empty stomachs and decided on ordering a from the in-house pizza hut we’d seen advertised. however, we were thwarted again when they told us they only served pan dough pizzas. grrrrrrrrr, we’d done our homework and discovered that the pan dough contains milk! the kind employee did however tell us about a local pizza hut that would be closing soon, and suggested we order food from there directly to our room. so that’s just what we did.

    vegan pizza at pizza hut: hand-tossed crust with olives and mushrooms

    when ordering from pizza hut, vegans must remember to order only hand-tossed or thin ‘n crispy dough, and to always request extra sauce. the normal amount of sauce just doesn’t cut it—the pizza tastes way too dry and bready.

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  • May 27th, 2008mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), pizza, seattle

    Well, the unavailability of most good vegan food in LA is very sad. What’s sadder is how available it is in Seattle, where I lived for a long time as a lowly vegetarian before I saw the light. The wonderful “eclectic vegan grocery store”, Sidecar for Pig’s Peace, stocks stuff I wish I could get at Erewhon or Whole Foods down here in LA and I’d shop there every day if I lived in Seattle, even with the unbelievably snooty person behind the cash register (lady, don’t shit on your own doorstep and poke fun of out of town vegans and where they live…). Fortunately, right across the street is an entirely vegan pizza joint, the only one I’ve ever been to and one I would (again) shop at every day.


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  • April 30th, 2008quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), native foods, pizza

    as you may or may not know, i’m a huge fan of native foods. it’s a westwood vegan establishment with several original options whose ingredients i completely trust. imagine how delighted i was on my coachella vacation last weekend when i looked up the nearest vegan restaurant to my hotel in palm springs and found a native foods just 2 MILES AWAY!
    …bliss!

    latino lover pizza: mexican marinara, soy taco meat, salsa fresca, corn, avocado, cilantro, and vegan sour cream. he cha-cha! $13.95

    yes, luckily my parents happened to be in town, and i definitely owed them lunch for saving my ass. so what better place to treat them to a meal at, than the quarrygirl.com approved native foods?

    now, while i LOVE native foods, my only problem with this restaurant is the ubiquitous unadvertised bell peppers which DRIVE ME MAD and are sprinkled all over most dishes. no matter what i do, i can’t seem to remember to ask for my meals without them. i digress. back to the wonderful food!

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  • coachella saturday was the day of technical difficulties. the screens went out during death cab for cutie‘s set, when M.I.A. took the stage the lights broke, and the biggest technical difficulty of all made us several hours late for the festival, causing us to miss the beloved MGMT.

    luckily, the food was even better than it was on friday! god bless vegan rockers—at coachella, i reap the benefits of their dietary choices.


    combination plate: coconut rice with dal and tomato pea curry $8

    taking veganism one step further than the night prior, on saturday we decided to eat dinner at the bombay station, a stand that proclaimed to be ENTIRELY vegan.
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  • April 23rd, 2008mr meanercurry, indian food, vegan stuff

    We British love our curry. For sure, a vindaloo is the British national dish over fish and chips – factually, more brits eat curry on a regular basis than any other cuisine. They say “you never miss what you never had”. Well, I’ve had it and I miss it, yearning frequently for a rainy evening where I can pop out of my local pub into the Bombay Palace restaurant across the road, and order an onion bhaji followed by vegetable vindaloo with pilau rice and a roti. Don’t get me wrong – there are Indian restaurants here in LA, but none of them come remotely close to the taste, texture and experience of a British curry.

    So, I set out to emulate the Great British Curry in my own kitchen, and I can tell you that I’ve come pretty close.

    Here’s a close-up of what you can expect:

    And here it is in a dish ready to be served:

    Within an hour of prep time I can make a curry dish that tastes so similar to a curry house back home that I can close my eyes after eating it and hear the patter of rain on the streets of London.

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  • April 20th, 2008mr meanerfollow your heart, pizza, products, recipes

    Ordering pizza was one of my favorite activities before I became a vegan. Now, though, that avenue of pleasure is firmly closed off to me since I don’t eat dairy. All is not lost, though — if you live close to Hollywood in LA, there’s always Damiano’s, but their delivery customer service is appalling (last time I ordered it took them nearly two hours to deliver a cold pizza — and that was when I lived under two miles away). There’s a reasonable frozen pizza option, but nothing beats freshly made pizza with ingredients you can select and add at will.

    So, I set about creating a similar experience to delivery pizza in terms of taste, timing and effort. I succeeded in two of those (taste and timing), but on the effort front, nothing beats the convenience of calling a ‘phone number to get hot food delivered to your home, just as nothing beats not being milked to death if you’re a cow.

    When I used to order pizza, it would take around 40-50 minutes from picking up the ‘phone to the local Pizza Hut to when it arrived on my doorstep. This method of preparing this pizza takes a little less time, but the end result is very comparable to delivered pizza if you’re happy to put in the effort.

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  • April 17th, 2008quarrygirlpizza, zpizza

    NEW UPDATE 07/25/09: ZPIZZA is replacing their non-vegan soy cheese with DAIYA VEGAN CHEESE! the NEW VEGAN CHEESE is AVAILABLE AT THE WEST HOLLYWOOD LOCATION. soon, it should be available at all zpizzas!

    UPDATE: VEGANS, DON’T EAT SOY CHEESE AT ZPIZZA 🙁

    this truly is a sad day because i have to recommend that my fellow vegans refrain from feeding their mock-mozzarella fix with zpizza soy cheese. i am sorry to announce that sources have confirmed the soy cheese at zpizza lacks total veganocity. i’ve gotten many mixed messages from both fellow vegans, and the corporate office of fransmart (the company behind the zpizza franchises) regarding the casein content of their soy cheese…to the point that i definitely don’t feel comfortable eating it! details to follow. and many thanks to scvegan for bringing this issue and new information to my attention.

    now, all you awesome vegans can resume eating at damiano’s.

    it is with great pleasure and relief that i can finally announce to the world, vegan zpizza in west hollywood is back!

    for 3 weeks there was a huge gaping hole in my life, when zpizza mysteriously stopped carrying their amazing soy cheese. this was seriously life-altering cheese that made it possible for me to be a vegan. i’ve never found anything like it, follow your heart came nowhere near. it melted almost like REAL cheese, and i’d grown addicted to it, needing zpizza once a week at the very least!

    that being said, you can imagine how my dreams were crushed one friday night when i called in an order after a peroni session at the formosa cafe only to find they were out of soy cheese! damn…surely it will be back tomorrow, i thought. but when i tried again the next day, still nothing—and it didn’t stop there! weeks passed as i called and called the restaurant and each time they assured me the cheese would be back soon. i was beginning to believe i would never taste this beautiful zpizza again.

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  • April 4th, 2008quarrygirlpizza, tofutti

    it’s rough coming home from a gig late at night, half drunk and too lazy to cook. luckily, tofutti has it all taken care of for us.

    in 25 minutes max (that is, if you follow the “for the best results” instructions) you can have a crispy mouth-watering pizza, with MELTING vegan cheese ready to suit any occasion.

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  • March 30th, 2008mr meanerindian food

    What’s more British than Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth and the red ‘phone box COMBINED? the answer is an authentic Indian Meal (referred to as a ‘curry’ by my good countryfolks). Living in the UK it’s easy to get Indian food quickly and inexpensively – for under US$15 you can enjoy a three-course meal that will leave you bursting at the seams with enjoyment. And, if you order carefully, the food is naturally Vegan – butter and yoghurt are used, but only in certain dishes.

    Traditional British Indian Restaurant/Curry House

    Unfortunately, stateside, there’s almost no customer demand for good curry in the face of ubiquitous ethnic foods of the US immigrant population (Asian, South American, etc.). Above all the lack of expertise to prepare Indian food (the British way, that is) means that it’s impossible to experience anything remotely like a British curry on this side of the pond. So, what’s a Brit over here to do?

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  • March 28th, 2008quarrygirldamiano mr. pizza, LA restaurants, pizza

    being a vegan, it’s pretty hard to find a safe pizza in los angeles….or should i say, it’s easy to find vegan pizza that merely omits the cheese, but rarely do i come across a restaurant that serves a standard pizza with a non-dairy cheese substitute. luckily, damiano mr. pizza pizza on fairfax has survived as the bastion of vegan(pizza)ism in los angeles—it’s pretty easy to grab an enormous, fresh, tasty pizza there…when all else fails.

    img_6155.JPG

    the downside? well, the pizza pictured above cost $36 before tip. seriously. an extra large w/ vegan cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and chopped garlic will completely break your bank. but i guess it’s worth it. just try not to think about the fact that a beautiful cheese and mushroom pan pizza from pizza hut would only cost you $14.24.in mr. pizza pizza’s defense, though, the food is damn good.

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