• February 22nd, 2011quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants, sunpower natural cafe

    raw vegan lasagna at cru is no more!

    hey everyone, just a quick update on the cru silverlake situation…

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  • February 15th, 2011quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants

    WTF?! this can’t be good! cru, one of our favorite vegetarian restaurants, has shut down temporarily and is changing chefs?! the news comes to us via eater.com:

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  • This week we brought you a list of the 5 best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, an update on last year’s list. But if a 100% vegan eatery isn’t on the cards for whatever reason, LA has a superb selection of vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants, some of which rival or exceed the offerings available at vegan-only establishments. From a 60s-era hippie health-food store to a modern hipster hangout, LA has it all. Check out our top five vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants and please let us know in the comments if you think any don’t deserve the list, or you have a favorite that should be on it.


    This tiny restaurant without any signage on a busy section of Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park is quite the find. With seating for only a handful of people, and usual wait times an hour or more, there has to be something cool about Elf. And, indeed, there is. While vegetarian, many dishes are either vegan or vegan optional with everything prepared from scratch in the open kitchen. Being strictly word of mouth (I mean, a restaurant with no sign outside that doesn’t advertise anywhere has to be, right?) yet so busy shows that there’s something very special inside.

    Roasted Flatbread Shawarma made with Crispy Oyster Mushrooms at Elf

    The menu is relatively diminutive, yet highly inventive. Some of the food items have been there for a while, and others rotate in and out as the chefs see fit. The atmosphere is dark, and romantic until, that is, the place fills up then it gets incredibly loud and busy and the tables are very close together so one can sometimes feel cramped. Also, they have a BYO policy so you can bring your own wine and pay a small ($4) corkage fee, which always works out to be a fraction of the price you’d pay for the normal 100%+ mark-up on restaurant wine.

    Hummus King

    UPDATE: hummus king in thee valley has closed down, but they are offering catering and free delivery until they hopefully re-open in silverlake!

    I don’t know much about Kosher restaurant certification other than it’s difficult and expensive to get and involves visits from Rabbis etc. I’d imagine, though, that the certification is easier if there’s not meat served in an establishment, so I’m really pleased that Hummus King is 100% OU Kosher and 100% vegetarian (which means basically vegan except for some optional toppings).

    Vegan Shwarama Sandwich at Hummus King

    Hummus king has a few things going for it, principally the BEST hummus in the 818, probably the BEST falafel (my personal favorite is the crazily spicy “fire ball” falafel) and the best meaty vegan shawarma available. The generous portion sizes, incredible value and beyond polite service make Hummus King one of my favorite places to visit. Whether you’re up for a full-on dine in meal or you just want to grab a stuffed pita to go, Hummus King has you covered. Don’t let the bright fluorescent lights and plastic seats fool you: what lies beneath the low-rent exterior is some of the best vegan food you’ll ever eat.

    And, if you’re strictly Kosher, why not try Hummus King? Be cruelty free – it won’t hurt (you or the animals).


    I’ve been to Cru a bunch of times, always enjoyed the food and atmosphere but for me it really defies classification. It’s a raw restaurant that serves some cooked food. It’s a vegan restaurant that serves honey (therefore proudly titling itself “vegetarian”). It’s also a small space that never really seems crowded, even though it’s frequently full with long hour plus waits on the outside. One good thing is that Cru seems to be dropping honey as an ingredient in many of its dishes, which is a great thing. Of all non-vegan ingredients, honey is perhaps the easiest to substitute and I’m looking forward to being able to eat more and more of the menu as time goes on.

    Raw Lasagna Portobello at Cru

    The menu is pretty diverse, but seems to contain the same narrow list of root ingredients, so if you order a few things you may end up with strikingly similar appearing and tasting dishes. Normally that would be instant disqualification from a “best of” list, but because those base ingredients are so damn good everything works out to be excellent. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the care that went into preparing them. I typically stick to the raw dishes for a change, but the cooked items are superb. Cru won’t disappoint you, but be careful for hidden honey.

    Samosa House

    We’ve had a hot and cold relationship with Samosa House in the past, but their inclusion on this list is proof positive that our earlier misgivings are all resolved. Located on the Western end of Culver City, Samosa House is an Indian vegetarian paradise. They not only serve the crispiest, tastiest samosas this side of Bangalore, but have a 20-item prepared food section that rotates regularly and is mostly vegan.

    Vegetarian Dinner Combo at Samosa House

    For only $7.99 you can fill up on rice, roti and three selections from the prepared food section, and occasionally there are some special extras like a burger or bhelpuri that’s been specially created by the chef. Although this is prepared food served at the back of a grocery store, don’t let that fool you, as the quality you’ll get meets or exceeds what most Indian restaurants in LA can offer, and for a fraction of the price.

    One word of warning, the lines can get long at the counter, especially after 7pm so go early to avoid the rush. Your food will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and heats up just fine in the microwave. Great food, great deal and some of the nicest people anywhere wait for you at Samosa House.

    Follow Your Heart

    It’s a pure coincidence that the last two entries on this list are both supermarkets as well as restaurants. You can fill up on groceries as well as yummy food on one visit, which is a good thing in my book, especially at Follow Your Heart, an amazing vegetarian oasis, established in 1970 in Canoga Park, which has LA’s premier (= only) vegetarian grocery store with a TON of vegan products (some of which can’t be purchased anywhere else). Not only that, it has a cosy restaurant and patio where some of LA’s finest vegan food is waiting for you.

    Vegan Reuben with Cottage-Style Tofu at Follow Your Heart

    Don’t miss the Reuben Sandwich (make sure you ask for extra 1,000 island dressing), as a human being has to try this out at least once in their life! There are many, many dishes with home made fake meats, and vegan entrees such as breakfast burritos, benedicts etc. Follow Your Heart does a SUPER job with the restaurant food and you pretty much can’t go wrong. If you’re averse to honey (hopefully you are, bees are cool), the buns have honey in them, so be sure to order your delicious burger on VEGAN bread.

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  • July 14th, 2010quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants

    SWEET! i just received this email from the executive chef of cru (one of our favorite raw restaurants in town) regarding their stance on honey. it looks like the restaurant is going to quickly become even more vegan-friendly. check it:

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  • June 15th, 2010quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants

    as far as i’m concerned, cru vegetarian restaurant serves up some of the best food in los angeles.

    the small, comfy silverlake eatery focuses mainly on raw cuisine, but also has a delicious selection of cooked entrees as well. their creative, healthy dishes aim to please…and i’ve never been disappointed with a meal from cru yet. cru doesn’t use any meat, dairy, or eggs….in fact, the only animal product at the restaurant is honey. my only complaint is, i wish they’d quit using SO much honey.

    this is actually a pretty well-timed post, because when i ate a lot of the food i’m blogging about today, the menu items containing honey weren’t even clearly marked. then they started specifying the items with honey on the restaurant menu but not the online menu, and now, FINALLY the online menu is up to date with honey labels as well. so vegans: be careful, and just read everything twice before ordering.

    now, onto the FOOD!…

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  • November 21st, 2008quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants

    UPDATE 6/15/10: since reading this post, i have found that many of cru’s menu items are not vegan because they contain honey (including the deep green salad). please check out cru’s menu online to see which items are safe to eat.

    cru is a vegan, mostly raw restaurant that i’ve been wanting to check out for quite some time. my little hipster omnivore friends go on and on about it at the office, and recently it got quite a glowing review on to live and eat in la. so last weekend, i finally decided to go check out cru for myself and see what everyone was raving about. oh, and i found out: simple, fresh, organic fare that’s bursting with tons of flavor.

    deep green salad: marinated kale with avocado, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds in a chili lime dressing. $10

    deep green salad: marinated kale with avocado, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds in a chili lime dressing. $10

    i went to cru, like everywhere else, with my husband…and he opted for the deep green salad. it was a mix of delicious kale, vegetables and seeds all tossed in a light and refreshing dressing. i would say this salad was pretty much perfect. not sure how they do it at cru, but they really concentrate on packing tons of flavor into each dish. most salads, even the tasty ones, are pretty boring and nondescript…the deep green salad at cru though, had a life of its own. when i tried it, i was tasting flavors i never knew existed.

    i decided to get something off the cooked menu. i know, i know…lame of me, but i wasn’t in the mood for raw! i can’t find exactly what i ordered on the online menu, but it was an amazing mix of sauteed spinach, onion, squash, sauerkraut and mixed greens atop a bed of steaming quinoa. it was INSANE.

    awesome cooked entree.

    awesome cooked entree.

    like the salad, the cooked bowl was just going crazy with deliciousness. i was bombarded with so many new and exciting tastes, i seriously can’t wait to go back to cru and see what else they have to offer. the quinoa wasn’t the least bit boring either, they cooked it with something that gave it an incredible silky texture that soaked up all the vegetables’ flavors.

    we also split a glass of freshly made juice that was pretty invigorating.

    spinach cucumber apple ginger juice. $6

    spinach cucumber apple ginger juice. $6

    it was a rather strange flavor combo, but it ended up being divine. light and made with fresh ingredients, the juice had a distinct ginger flavor that was tasty, but didn’t overpower the fruits and vegetables.

    after two scrumptious and ostensibly healthy meals, we decided to splurge and split a piece of cru’s famous raw chocolate truffle cake.

    chocolate truffle cake. $8

    chocolate truffle cake. $8

    dude, this truffle cake was crazy. it didn’t taste or feel like you’d expect from looking at it. when it arrived at our table, i shoved my fork in it to grab a bite, and the fork just got stuck. breaking off each piece was kind of a chore. this isn’t your normal cake, think of it like a huge, thick, firm piece of pure chocolate. that being said, it soooo good. even my husband held his own and ate up half of the cake, and he usually can’t compete with my sweet tooth.

    man, oh man, that cake was so rich! i loved it, but i highly doubt i will be able to justify ordering it again any time soon. i can only take that decadence once every so often.

    on top of having insanely yummy food, cru was also quite pleasant and comfortable. i’d read on yelp that the place was absolutely tiny, so we decided to go for lunch (which they only offer on friday and saturday), in order to miss the dinner crowd. when we were there, the place was nearly empty. i would definitely recommend hitting them up during their lunch hours if you wanna bypass the craziness. plus, i’m pretty sure they give you a discount at lunch time. our meal seemed really cheap compared to the prices on the menu. maybe they just thought we were awesome, though…that wouldn’t surprise me.

    so go get some cru. raw, cooked, drinks, desserts, it’s all off the chain.

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