• October 3rd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    how does native foods continually manage to have the coolest facebook contests ever?! a couple months ago, they sent two fans of the restaurant to chicago (the winners found out about the contest from this blog, btw!), and now they’re picking 3 different winners to have a pre-thanksgiving meal for 7 cooked in their very own home by chef tanya herself.

    eeeep! could you imagine having your friends over for a dinner cooked by THE chef tanya?! native foods will be picking a winner from southern california, chicago, and portland—so if you live in one of those areas, be sure to enter! here are the details on the contest:

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  • August 30th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    2 native foods blog posts in one day?! you bet. not only is their regular menu stellar, but the restaurant never misses a chance to offer new and inventive specials. the newest one will be available this labor day weekend, friday through monday. let me introduce you to the “chimichurri burger”.

    labor day chimichurri burger: homemade thinly sliced seitan, topped with warm grilled zucchini slices, sweet roasted peppers, caramelized onions and freshly blended chimichurri sauce. served with garlic fries and a veggie credit skewer with extra chimi sauce. $9.95

    good god, the thinly sliced seitan is amazing. if this is even half as good as their epic oklahoma bacon burger, you’re in for a treat.

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  • August 30th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    the more i eat at native foods, the more i love it. ever since they opened up their new spacious location in culver city, i can’t stay away. they even have a rewards card program, and just last week i got an email saying i’d earned ten bucks worth of free food!

    i recently took my omnivorous sister and niece to native foods and they were impressed. seriously, they were shocked that it was vegan. have a look at what we ordered:

    chili cheese fries: seasoned potato fries smothered in homemade native chili. topped with native cheese and diced red onions. $5.95

    topped with meaty vegan chili and homemade “cheese,” these fries are not to be messed with.

    native nachos: homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, native taco meat, native chipotle crema, native cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. topped with corn, green onions, and cilantro. $7.95

    we couldn’t decide between the chili fries and the nachos, so we got both. best decision ever.

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  • August 12th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    you just gotta love native foods! as if that restaurant isn’t already awesome enough, they’re always keeping it interesting with new and appetizing specials. this weekend, to celebrate their newly opened restaurant in the windy city, they’re giving californians a taste of the chicago dip au jus.

    thinly sliced native peppered seitan piled high on a freshly baked baguette smothered with homemade "giardinera extrordinaire," au jus, and native fries. $9.95

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  • July 25th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    with 7 locations and counting, a commitment to house-made ingredients, an impressive bottled craft beer selection, and a rotating menu of ridiculously appetizing specials, it’s no wonder that native foods is our favorite fast-casual vegan restaurant in southern california.

    well now it looks like midwesterners can get into the fun, because native foods is expanding to chicago with THREE locations opening up over the next few months…and the first one is scheduled for august 8th! to celebrate this joyous event, native foods is offering up a FREE TRIP TO CHICAGO for you and a friend with FREE FOOD, A FREE HOTEL ROOM, BONUS SPENDING $$$, and LOLLAPALOOZA TICKETS! all you gotta do is…

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  • June 26th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    woo hoo! native foods is launching a new summer menu on wednesday june 29th, and we have a sneak peek at the items. i can’t wait to try it all. here are the official descriptions from the restaurant.

    BBQ Love Burger
: Thinly sliced Native Original Seitan slathered in smokehouse BBQ sauce and topped with crunchy Asian sesame slaw. A traditional Native favorite for Summer. $9.95

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  • April 2nd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    pizza, cheesecake, and buffalo wings?! yep, it’s new menu time again over at native foods. they are rolling out EIGHT new vegan items tomorrow, and they’ve sent us a sneak peek along with a few snaps. it all sounds delicious, check it out!

    Sweet Potato Taquitos: Crispy corn tortillas filled with coconut mashed sweet potatoes, drizzled with Native Chipotle Crema and served with guacamole. $6.95

    seven more after the jump…

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  • January 26th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    UPDATED: this special is so awesome, it will now run through sunday february 6th! eat up!

    vegan meatball sub available this weekend only at native foods!

    Italian sausage meatballs, marinara sauce, caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, pumpkin seed pesto, roasted garlic crema and homemade parmesan on a warm grilled baguette, served with an onion ring pileup. Ranch dressing on the sideline!

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  • January 8th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    i’ve got some very exciting news! native foods is launching a whole new menu tomorrow, and they’re giving quarrygirl readers a sneak peek at the goods! chef tanya has created some fantastic dishes for the winter season, and i don’t know about you guys, but i’m totally jonesing to try them all. have a look at the 8 new mouthwatering items.

    first up, there are 2 new appetizers:

    Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip: Served warm with crispy crostini and dipping veggies. $6.95

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  • December 6th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    hey everyone! tuesday and wednesday of this week, native foods is kicking off “native days,” their monthly celebration of the environment, animals, and food.

    Turkey Loves Rye Sandwich: Organic toasted marble rye stacked with warmed thinly sliced seitan, native stuffing, cranberry orange sauce, shredded lettuce, and dijon mayo. Served with a side of mushroom shallot gravy. $9.95

    to get you in the mood to party, they’ve got a new special holiday entree called the turkey loves rye sandwich, available exclusively for native days (this tuesday and wednesday only!). you better go eat this thing, because it sounds insane: thinly sliced seitan, stuffing, cranberry sauce, lettuce and dijon mayo on marble rye with mushroom gravy. it’s a crime that it will only be offered for two days!

    native foods will also be debuting two new desserts…

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  • November 15th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    today is a super exciting day, because it marks the grand opening of the new native foods location in culver city! the popular vegan restaurant already has 6 locations scattered around southern california, and we are thrilled that their 7th is going to be right here in los angeles. native foods culver city opens today at 5pm, but we attended a pre-opening party over the weekend and got a sneak peak at their beautiful new space and their delicious menu items.

    the new culver city location is absolutely lovely inside. it’s bright and spacious with colorful walls and lots of pretty decorations. you order at the counter, then take a number, choose a table, and wait for your food to be delivered. since the weather was nice, we grabbed a spot at a long communal table outside on the patio.

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  • did y’all know that it’s international day of the nacho (look it up)?! and to celebrate, we’re bring you a quickie list of our 5 favorite places to get vegan nachos in los angeles! you should eat some today…you know, to honor the holiday. here we go:

    1.) veggie grill: uptown nachos

    Uptown Nachos Tortilla chips, chili, VG-cheese, corn salsa, avocado, soy cream, jalapenos … $4.95

    i think these nachos are the best, because they come with everything i love: daiya cheese, bean chili, salsa, avocado, soy sour cream, and jalapenos all on top of crispy chips. super good and SUPER cheap at under 5 bucks!

    2.) real food daily: not-chos

    better with cheddar nachos: Tortilla chips, melted cashew cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, tofu sour cream. $11.75

    the not-chos at real food daily are BY FAR the best thing on the menu, and i have to order them every time i go. tortilla chips topped with the best homemade cashew cheese i’ve ever tasted, along with black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and tofu sour cream. you can add taco mix for an extra $2.75…but with an $11.75 base price, i think these nachos are expensive enough. pro tip: if you like spicy food, be sure to ask for the jalapeno cashew cheese!

    3.) hugo’s tacos: vegan nacho grande

    nacho grande (vegan): Freshly made tortilla chips topped with your choice of filling, choice of salsa, daiya cheese, topped with a dollop of guacamole. $5.92

    hugo’s tacos sells “normal” nachos, but if you request them with a vegetable filling and daiya cheese, they are instantly vegan. they use the italian blend daiya rather than cheddar, which may sound a little bit odd, but it’s surprisingly good! i get mine with the soyrizo, potato, and zucchini filling; along with the jalapeno hot sauce! the serving size is absolutely massive (enough for 2 people to share), yet only costs $5.92.

    4.) chili addiction: chili vegan addiction nachos

    Chili Addiction Nachos: Try our fabulous homemade corn tortilla chips (or potato chips) smothered with chili, VEGAN cheese, and diced jalapenos! $8

    what makes these nachos stand out are chili addiction’s phenomenal homemade chips and chili. the chips just taste incredibly fresh, and the chili is by far the best in town. you get a huge portion of those, plus a layer of daiya cheese, diced jalapenos, and onions for $8. if they would just melt the daiya a little, these things would be PERFECT.

    5.) mandoline grill: vegan vietnamese nachos

    vegan vietnamese nachos: tofu served over crispy corn tortilla chips topped with scallions, jalapeno, mint, cilantro, and sriracha aioli. $4.50

    a fresh take on vegan nachos, these don’t have any kind of fake cheese on them, but instead are covered with a creamy sriacha aioli. they also come with a healthy amount of mandoline’s amazing lemongrass fried tofu, scallions, mint, cilantro, and jalapeno. and at just $4.50, they’re an excellent value!

    those are our picks for the best vegan nachos we’ve actually tried in LA, but native foods has some brand new nachos as well that look amazing:

    Nuevo Native Nachos: Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, and cilantro. $7.95

    these are definitely at the top of my list of foods i need to try. with both homemade chips and cheese, i bet they are spectacular!

    so let’s all go eat some vegan nachos tonight, and show everyone that the international day of the nacho doesn’t need to include meat or dairy. weeee!

  • October 21st, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café, native foods

    m cafe in culver city has shut down, but native foods will be taking over the lease

    so i guess you can file this under “bad news” and “good news.” as of today, m cafe’s culver city location has shut down and a trusted source tells me that native foods will be taking over the space. I CANNOT WAIT. while i am sad to see m cafe go, at least an awesome vegan restaurant will be replacing it. FINALLY, a native foods in LA with proper parking and seating. you gotta admit, the westwood location is a bit awkward.

    m cafe lovers can still enjoy their awesome vegan food at the melrose and beverly hills locations. our heart goes out to m cafe, and we wish them the best…but this cloud appears to have quite a silver lining. let’s all cross our fingers.

    special thanks to my anonymous informant!

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  • October 12th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    they are always thinking of great new offers over at native foods, and now they are introducing “native days”: a monthly celebration of the environment, animals, and good food.

    on october 12th and 13th (that’s today and tomorrow, people!) they will be giving away tons of freebies including FREE DESSERT and an exclusive DVD to customers. details after the jump!!


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  • While we usually cover LA’s extraordinary selection of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants (vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly), some individual menu items in our city stand out as exceptional, and we thought they deserved their own post. We also opted to choose entirely new menu items from those of last year’s list as there are so many new things to check out on the LA vegan scene.

    We chose no-compromise vegan foods: menu items that make no apology for being vegan and that, with only a couple of exceptions, you can order pretty much any time.
    Have some things to add to the list, or stuff you don’t like? Let us know in the comments!

    Masa of Echo Park Chicago deep dish pizza with Teese

    Vegan Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

    Undoubtedly my favorite new thing on this year’s list. The combination of Masa’s 100% authentic Chicago crust, super tangy and chunky sauce and cooking method combined with real Chicago SoyDairy Teese (yeah, even the vegan cheese is from Chicago) is a mighty fine dish. The thing tastes almost the same as the real Chicagoland staple (and I should know, I’ve eaten a LOT of them over the years) but can be prepared entirely vegan (sub Teese for cheese, and ask that they use olive oil rather than butter in the pan).

    I advise going for the medium or large even though you’ll not be able to eat it all, but it travels well, re-heats like a champ and will even freeze for weeks. It’s especially nice with a couple of low-key toppings like spinach or mushrooms, but the real star here is the crust and texture.

    Native Foods Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger

    There are a lot of vegan burgers in LA. Most of them are pretty darn good, but one stands head and shoulders above all others: The Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger from Native Foods. It seems as though Chef Tanya has studied those high-end burger joints and gone vegan mediaeval on the recipe. She’s taken the Native Foods Seitan (perhaps the best money can buy), sliced it thinly and soaked it in a special sauce topped with crunchy tempeh bacon, lettuce, two types of onions, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, carrots, tomatoes and even crunchy fried dill pickles.

    Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger: thinly sliced original seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, crispy tempeh bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomato and topped with crunchy battered dill pickles chips. $9.95

    Yes, this burger has every ingredient you can think of perfectly proportioned and excellently presented. A meal unto itself, the burger is heartily filling yet not unhealthily so.

    Shojin Dynamite Roll

    The dynamite roll started out as a special item available only on Monday sushi nights, but the dish was so popular that Shojin quickly added it to the normal menu. Having eaten this roll several times, I can say without a doubt that it’s some of the best vegan sushi I’ve ever tasted, and definitely the best in Los Angeles.

    dynamite roll: spicy "tuna" and avocado inside, spicy mayo and green onion on top. with spicy sauce. $10.95

    The rice-based roll is filled up with avocado and Shojin’s genius spicy “tuna” mixture – a creamy, hearty blend of vegetables and soy that’s so good I could eat a bowl of it straight. Each slice is then topped with a dollop of spicy vegan mayo and slivers of green onions. Usually when dining out on sushi, I like to get a several rolls and share them around the table. At Shojin, however, I always make sure to get a dynamite roll just for myself.

    Elf Cornmeal and Herb Dusted Spicy Oyster Mushrooms

    Cornmeal and herb dusted spicy oyster mushrooms (made vegan): Our version of "hot wings" crispy oyster mushrooms served with marinated celery salad. $10

    Every once in a while, you come across a dish that changes the rules of cuisine a little. You get exposed to something new, perhaps a taste, texture or presentation that’s so different and tasty that you remember it forever. The Spicy Oyster Mushrooms at Echo Park’s Elf is just such a dish. It’s described on the menu in a low-key way that almost makes it sound unappetizing: “Our version of ‘hot wings’ – crispy oyster mushrooms served with marinated celery salad and bleu cheese cream reduction”. Clearly, it has to be ordered without the bleu cheese for the vegans, but I can tell you this dish can stand on its own with or without the cheese.

    The texture is crunchy yet soft and the flavors are so complex and delicate that this will be quite a unique experience. Even the celery is amazing – I don’t know what it’s marinated in, but I can tell you that I could eat a plate of just the celery any time! My only beef with the dish is that there’s no vegan substitute offered for the bleu cheese. I mean, some vegenaise and herbs wouldn’t go amiss, would it?

    Pizza Cookery Vegan Bread Rolls (they’re FREE!)

    Yeah, one of our top omnivorous restaurant choices also carries a bucket list item, and it’s actually something served for free when you show up to get a pizza. Just be sure to ask for the vegan bread rolls, as the default ones are filled with dairy cheese. BE WARNED, though, these rolls are so freakin’ amazing that you are in danger of filling up on them (as did I) and not wanting to eat any of your pizza (as did I) and so end up taking it home (as did I). Assuming that you can exercise restraint here, these rolls are an awesome way to start off your meal.

    Perfectly cooked, stuffed with vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart as it happens, but this is one of those occasions where it actually works very well) and dipped in garlic olive oil with real garlic bits these will take you to a different place for sure.

    Flore Biscuits & Gravy

    biscuits and gravy: two biscuits topped with vegan gravy and served with your choice of tempeh bacon, fruit, or potatoes. $9.9

    Take two humongous biscuits, perfectly crunchy on the outside yet smooth and steamy on the inside then cover them with juicy and tasty gravy (with sausage bits!). That’d be a meal on its own, but Flore lets you add a serving of their legendary tempeh bacon, fruit or potatoes, and the dish comes with a delicious bed of steamed kale to boot. All for $9.95. All organic. And all fucking amazing! Unfortunately, this is a weekend brunch only dish, so you only have 2 days per week to get your fill.

    Mandoline Grill Tofu Banh Mi

    Tofu Banh Mi: 12" French baguette topped with lemongrass marinated tofu, cucumber slices, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapenos, vegenaise and scallion oil. $6

    There are a few vegan Banh Mi’s out there, but nobody does it like Mandoline Grill, and I’m really pleased that this vegan-friendly food truck has a menu item that made it into this list. First off, the Banh Mi is absolutely HUGE. It’s a 12″, vegan French-style baguette with all the usual Banh Mi fixin’s including cucumber slices, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapenos, vegenaise and scallion oil. Despite the fact that the bread and ingredients are fresh and tasty beyond belief, the real kicker is the slyly named “lemongrass marinated tofu”, which comes in thick chunks and is unquestionably one of the most tasty things you’ll ever eat. I don’t know how chef/owner Mong Skillman can prepare such a gourmet experience from a tiny food truck, and frankly I don’t care how she does it. I’m usually too busy eating the thing to worry about the details!

    Zpizza The Tuscan (veganized)

    Tuscan Pizza (veganized): homemade roasted garlic sauce, daiya cheese, cremini, shiitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle oil and thyme.

    Yes, we’re pizza obsessed. Yes, there are two pizzas on the bucket list and YES, this one is damn good, but couldn’t be further in concept, taste and style than the Masa Chicago Pizza up top. The Tuscan is going for that Italian intersection of thin crust, oils and mushrooms that Zpizza does so well. The regular pizza isn’t vegan, but they will sub Daiya for the mozzarella and leave off the feta if you ask, and you will be home and dry with an absolutely stunning pie.

    This thing has a bunch of ingredients. In addition to Z’s incredible crust, there’s homemade roasted garlic sauce, Daiya cheese, three kinds of mushrooms (cremini, shiitake and button), sweet caramelized onions, drizzles of truffle oil and fresh thyme. If you think this SOUNDS delicious, wait until you taste one – you will be blown away. For extra spice, pile on the dried chilies (they go especially well with the muted tastes of the oils and shrooms).

    Shin BBQ Seitan Bulgogi

    Seitan Bulgogi: vegan seitan served in shin's secret marinade. $18

    I was as shocked as the next guy to discover Shin BBQ’s vegan-friendly options, headlined with the incredible Seitan Bulgogi. Although clearly modeled on meat-based entree, this dish has a character all of its own, and even omnivores are ordering it regularly now. Slices of chewy seitan are marinated in something called “Shin’s secret marinade” – I have no idea what this is, but all I know is it’s 100% vegan and 200% tasty. The dish goes perfectly over some rice and don’t forget to pile on some of the excellent kimchi that will arrive in abundance at your table.

    Tender Greens The Happy Vegan

    happy Vegan: tabbouleh, hummus, pasta pearls, farro wheat, young kale, tender greens. $10.50

    This is another dish that I feel the need to eat on a regular basis, so I’m really happy that the WeHo Tender Greens is on my way home, and I can park for a dollar! Tender Greens is an upmarket, salad-oriented restaurant where you order at the counter, they make your salad and then bring it to your table. The Happy Vegan is so aptly named, as I don’t believe that any vegan would be something other than very happy post-consumption.

    There are a ton of seemingly exotic ingredients in the salad: tabbouleh, hummus, pasta pearls, farro wheat, young kale and the eponymous “tender greens”. There’s also some crispy baguette slices dribbled with extra virgin olive oil to boot. For a salad, the price of $10.50 may seem high at face value, but I’d think nothing of paying $20 or more for this dish in a fancy restaurant.

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