• January 22nd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, zpizza

    vegan pizza day is just one week away, and zpizza is helping everyone get into the mood with vegan slices and a great giveaway!

    here is the info:

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  • January 6th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan bakers, vegan cheese, zpizza

    in celebration of the upcoming vegan pizza day (which you should all be spreading the word and blogging about), i’m gonna make an effort to post more about pizza on the blog throughout january…which shouldn’t be hard, because we eat a lot of it!

    berkeley vegan: marinara sauce, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions. (no bell peppers)

    there are TONS of vegan-friendly pizza joints in los angeles, and we think zpizza is one of the best. we even added their amazing tuscan pizza to our vegan bucket list, it’s that damn good. another awesome thing about zpizza is, they’re a national chain and every location offers vegan pizza! so even if you aren’t in LA, you may very well have a zpizza near you.

    recently we had a little zpizza shindig with us and the team from clara’s cakes, which meant not only was tasty pizza involved, but also mouthwatering desserts…

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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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  • February 12th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, zpizza

    back in the day when i was a teenager, my friends and i used to have epic pizza parties. we’d order way more than we could eat from the nearest delivery place and stay up all night chowing on pizza, guzzling soda, and watching movies. when i turned vegan, i assumed that avenue of pleasure was forever closed off to me. i mean, i could always make own vegan pizza, but there was no way i could eat pie from my closest delivery joint.

    well now many years later, zpizza has re-opened that door. the chain has several locations all over the nation, and offers delicious vegan pizza covered with daiya cheese. recently my friend hosted a good old fashioned pizza party that reminded me of the early days…except everything was vegan, there was no movie watching, and i was drinking beer instead of soda. just have a look at the spread:

    vegan california: organic tomato sauce, daiya mozzarella, fresh rounds of tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives.

    vegan greek: daiya mozzarella, red onions, greek olives, fresh rounds of tomatoes, oregano.

    vegan napoli: homemade roasted garlic sauce, daiya mozzarella, fresh rounds of tomatoes, fresh basil.

    vegan provence: organic tomato sauce, homemade roasted garlic sauce, daiya mozzarella, artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, fresh basil.

    vegan tuscan: roasted garlic sauce, daiya mozzarella, cremini, shiitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle oil and thyme.

    vegan cheese pizza with daiya mozzarella

    our haul was amazing, and i can’t even believe we are at a day in age where we can get this much VEGAN PIZZA from a NATIONAL CHAIN. how FUCKING AWESOME IS THAT?! i could die happy.

    one thing to note: when ordering from zpizza, you must specify that you want vegan cheese, and ask that they leave off non-vegan ingredients. for example, a lot of these pizzas come with extra feta by default…so just be sure to read the menu description before ordering. also, zpizza offers a “berkeley vegan” pizza that isn’t always vegan. some locations are still using morningstar farms crumbles, which contain milk and egg, so be sure to ask.

    anyways, if you need some more plans for this 3 day weekend, i suggest you round up some friends and have an epic vegan zpizza party. a splendid time is guaranteed for all!

    check out zpizza’s website for all their locations.

    PS: i’d like to thank brittany from sick of lettuce for all this pizza. i am still full.

  • November 11th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, zpizza

    ever since zpizza (my favorite pizza chain ever) started carrying daiya cheese, i have been on a mission to try everything they offer that’s veganize-able. from the vegan sausage pizza, to the tuscan, to the provence, i have been working my way through their menu.

    vegan california: organic tomato sauce, daiya cheese, fresh rounds of tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, zucchini, black olives

    vegan california: organic tomato sauce, daiya cheese, fresh rounds of tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, zucchini, black olives

    over the weekend i tried out the california pizza with daiya rather than mozzarella cheese, and jalapenos instead of bell peppers. almost every time i try something new at zpizza, i instantly have a new favorite. the same was true of the california pizza, this thing was fucking awesome!

    vegan california pizza at zpizza

    covered in a generous amount of fresh vegetables and topped with perfectly-melted daiya cheese, i really can’t think of a better pizza.

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  • October 9th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, zpizza

    UPDATE 11/12: apparently some zpizza locations are now carrying non-vegan crumbles. so be sure to check ingredients before eating.

    UPDATE 11/11: i have been talking to zpizza, and the veggie crumbles are STILL VEGAN, and they are lining up a new supplier!

    UPDATE 10/15: zpizza corporate has contacted me, and they still have the OLD (vegan) morningstar crumbles in stock…and that stock should last for about 2 months. zpizza is scrambling right now to find new replacement crumbles that are still vegan. i’m sure with all the great faux meats out there, they will be successful. we will keep you updated! THANKS FOR BEING SO AWESOME, ZPIZZA. you make my vegan heart and tummy happy!

    UPDATE 10/10: since the time of this post, i have learned that zpizza’s veggie crumbles are NO LONGER VEGAN. this isn’t zpizza’s fault…unfortunately, they use morningstar farms meal starters which used to be vegan but now CONTAIN MILK AND EGGS! GAH! why did morningstar farms have to go and ruin a good thing. SHAME ON THEM. you should still totally go to zpizza though, just avoid the crumbles.

    …and that means vegan zpizza with daiya cheese!

    i seriously can’t believe how the vegan pizza scene in los angeles has exploded over the past few months. we went from having almost no pizza options to having several, with tons of pizzerias offering daiya vegan cheese (a product so convincing and amazing, it changed my life). and of all the vegan pizza options in this town, one of the tastiest (and by far the most convenient) is zpizza, a national pizza chain with several LA locations. we have been working our way through the the zpizza menu, veganizing different pizzas to find which one is the best. recently we tried out the tuscan, which was amazing, and since then we have tried two more delicious creations.

    vegan sausage and mushroom pizza with soy crumbles and daiya cheese

    vegan sausage and mushroom pizza with soy crumbles and daiya cheese

    the first was from the “pizza standards” menu, a veganized version of the sausage and mushroom. we ordered the pizza and substituted daiya for real cheese, and soy crumbles for sausage. we also got it with roasted garlic sauce, because that sauce is the best sauce on the planet. this may sound like a pretty typical combo, but i can tell you this pizza was nothing short of spectacular. it was right up there in with the tuscan in awesomeness…perfectly garlicky and creamy with succulent mushrooms and fennel-seasoned crumbles. i highly recommend you try this one out.


    the next pizza we tried was the provence (veganized) from the zpizza creations menu…

    vegan provence pizza with daiya cheese. hold the capers, add mushrooms.

    vegan provence pizza with daiya cheese. hold the capers, add mushrooms.

    this pizza normally comes with capers, which we replaced with mushrooms….so our provence was covered with tomato sauce, roasted garlic sauce, daiya cheese, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh basil. this pizza was also really damn tasty, i loved the two sauce combination! the ingredients were all super fresh, and the thing was packed with flavor from the garlic sauce and basil. while i didn’t like this quite as much as the tuscan or sausage and mushroom, i’d highly suggest you try it if you are in an italian-y pizza kind of mood.


    so what are you gonna order on your pizza tonight?! remember, friday night is PIZZA NIGHT!!!! hit up zpizza and go wild. here is a list of their vegan options!

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  • August 13th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, zpizza
    one of the best pizzas i've ever had.

    one of the best pizzas i've ever had.

    i’m sure you’ve heard by now that zpizza, an awesome organic chain with locations all over the country, is offering vegan pizza with daiya cheese. they have a few locations in los angeles, and many throughout southern california. while most of the zpizzas in socal are already offering vegan cheese, every location across the united states should have daiya within the next couple months. if you haven’t stopped by and tried one of their vegan pies yet, well i don’t know what the hell you’re waiting for.

    i have been going to zpizza for ages, and until last night i always ordered the same thing: a build-your-own pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic. recently, on their facebook page, zpizza took the time to create a list of all their vegan-friendly pizzas and which substitutions need to be made to veganize them, as well as a list of which sauces and toppings are vegan. i was shocked by how many items off the “zpizza creations” menu were easily made vegan, and i was inspired to try something new.

    i went with the tuscan, which is easily veganized by omitting the feta and ordering it with daiya cheese instead of mozzarella.

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

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

    the vegan tuscan pizza came with a delicious mix of cremini, shiitake and button mushrooms as well as caramelized onions, truffle oil and thyme—all atop melty daiya cheese and homemade roasted garlic sauce. now i was already a huge fan of zpizza, and i can tell you this pizza blew my mind. i can’t believe a pizza chain could make something that tastes so unique and high-quality, and be VEGAN at the same time. i have heard people rave about the roasted garlic sauce, and they were absolutely right—no description could possibly do it justice. and the amazing sauce mixed in with truffle oil, sweet onions, and a variety of mushrooms was an absolutely heavenly combination. i cannot believe that i have been going to zpizza for so long and missing out on this bliss.

    another thing to note about this pizza is how perfectly distributed and melted the daiya was. they’ve gotten even better with the vegan cheese since my first vegan pie at zpizza a few weeks ago. with vegan cheese this good available, there is absolutely no excuse to be a vegetarian.


    really guys, i can’t speak highly enough of this thing. go to your nearest zpizza and get yourself a vegan tuscan pizza ASAP. oh and for a limited time, you can fill out this survey to $5 off your purchase at zpizza. i suggest you take advantage of this, as money off pizza is never a bad thing.

    in los angeles, daiya vegan pizza is available at both the west hollywood, burbank and larcmont zpizza locations. if you are going to any of the other zpizzas, i would call and check to be sure they have vegan cheese.

    truly amazing vegan pizza from a national chain. oh my friends, i never thought i’d see the day.

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  • July 24th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan cheese, zpizza
    zpizza with vegan daiya cheese

    zpizza with vegan daiya cheese

    it’s finally happened. zpizza, a national pizza chain, has decided to get rid of their casein-laden soy cheese and roll out pies covered in daiya, making vegan pizza available to the masses. from LA, to manhattan…from santa clarita to montana, zillions of vegans across the united states will be able to dig into that familiar box of home-delivered goodness. zpizza has started serving vegan pizza at their west hollywood outlet, and over the next several weeks should be selling it in all 68 locations throughout the country.

    in case you were wondering, daiya is a vegan cheese that has been taking los angeles (and the rest of the country) by storm. it stretches and melts almost exactly like real cheese, and it doesn’t contain soy. it has even gotten the attention of whole foods, who have started using it on pizzas in their prepared foods section. …and zpizza is a national chain serving up organic and healthy style pizza that tastes like authentic delivery. they have been serving a non-vegan soy cheese as a healthy alternative to regular dairy, but are swiftly replacing it. yes!

    since hearing about zpizza’s plan to offer daiya, we have been regularly tracking their status (almost daily if you can believe it!). we didn’t expect it to hit LA so soon, but today we called the west hollywood location and found out they had “the new vegan cheese” in stock. we headed over and skeptically asked to see the new cheese. they brought a large bag from behind the counter of daiya italian shreds, and we were in business. we specified NOT to use any of the old non-vegan soy cheese on our pizza, and they assured us that they would be using the vegan cheese from now on. for safety though, even at the weho zpizza, you should confirm that what you are getting on your pizza is indeed daiya.

    make sure you get a receipt that says you are vegan, y'all!

    make sure you get a receipt that says you are vegan, y'all!

    large pizza with daiya cheese, mushroom, tomato, and chopped garlic. $19.48

    large pizza with daiya cheese, mushroom, tomato, and chopped garlic. $19.48

    after eating this for dinner, i can tell you that the marriage of zpizza and daiya is a fucking beautiful thing. zpizza has a 650 degree oven that melts the cheese like none other. the crust and sauce at zpizza have always been a favorite of mine, and the toppings are as fresh as they come. the fact that a national chain is offering vegan pizza this good is absolutely mind-blowing. it’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s consistent, and it’s VEGAN. seriously, i never thought i’d see the day!


    after flipping out and doing a happy dance over my vegan pizza, i called the other local zpizza locations to see if they had the goods as well. larchmont village, burbank, woodland hills, and santa clarita are still serving non-vegan soy cheese for now…although most of the locations assured me that they would have the new vegan cheese next week. zpizza claims that all of their locations will be serving a 100% vegan option within the next 6-8 weeks. until then, head over to the weho location and ask them for some vegan pizza. you won’t be sorry.


    8869 Santa Monica Blvd
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
    (310) 360-1414

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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!


    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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