• February 5th, 2010quarrygirlproducts, vegan bakers

    last week we brought you the news of frozen cookie dough by luscious organic desserts, and today we want to let know about another one of their brand new products: frozen brownie batter.

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  • January 29th, 2010quarrygirlvegan bakers

    remember buying dough at the grocery to make cookies with, and eating almost the entire package raw, before any of it ever hit the oven? i do! well now you can get that simple pleasure back with pre-made frozen cookie dough by luscious organic desserts.

    luscious is one of our favorite vegan companies, and i can definitely say they’ve unlocked the secret to the perfect cookie dough. i tried the chocolate chip flavor, as well as white chocolate pecan, and both were fabulous. each little container of dough costs $6.50…and i think it makes about a dozen cookies (i can’t say for sure because i ate so much of the dough raw).

    the dough is already separated into little balls, so all you have to do is smoosh it down on a baking sheet and bake it at 375 for about 8 minutes. it’s so unbelievably easy—i made about a billion cookies in under half an hour.

    the cookies turned out absolutely delicious, and i shared them with friends who all agreed on that. they are real crowd-pleasers, super easy to make, and are done in no time. what more could you want than that? oh, and the dough tastes straight up AMAZING raw.

    for ordering info, contact luscious organic desserts. i think they are already selling this stuff, but still waiting on final packaging and labels.

    PS: i owe veggywood a big thanks for picking up this dough for me! check out her review of the cookie dough here.

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  • April 24th, 2009quarrygirlcoachella, vegan bakers, venues

    the title of that book is right, vegan cupcakes really are taking over the world. vegan bakers all over the place are trying their hand at the classic dessert and some of the results are better than others. one line of vegan cupcakes i can definitely vouch for is luscious organic desserts. the orange county based company was recently selling their goods at coachella and i got to try 3 different flavors, all of which were superb.

    luscious organic desserts oreo cupcake

    luscious organic desserts oreo cupcake

    of the 3 i tried, the oreo cupcake was probably my favorite. slathered in creamy cookie-flavored frosting, the chocolate cake was incredibly moist. i’ve decided luscious is the perfect name for this company, because their desserts definitely are.

    luscious organic desserts espresso cupcake

    luscious organic desserts espresso cupcake

    i also tried the espresso cupcake and the chocolate cupcake. both types of frosting were extremely rich and packed with flavor. i don’t know how they got the coffee taste down so perfectly in the espresso frosting, but it was unbelievable. these cupcakes were decadent in every sense of the word. they didn’t taste dry, bland, or have any kind of weird vegan-y texture…instead they were creamy frosting and juicy cake goodness.

    luscious organic desserts chocolate cupcake

    luscious organic desserts chocolate cupcake

    since i don’t find myself in orange county very often, i am super glad i got to try luscious cupcakes at coachella. currently you can find luscious cupcakes at native foods in costa mesa, mothers market in santa ana, and vegi wokery in cerritos. they also make tons of other mouth-watering desserts that you can order through their website. these are definitely vegan desserts i could get used to.

    luscious organic desserts
    949-378-7102

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  • January 12th, 2009quarrygirlpizza, recipes

    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!

    sheese, teese, cheezly, and follow your heart. which vegan cheese will prevail?

    sheese, teese, cheezly, and follow your heart. which vegan cheese will prevail?

    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.

    1.) teese
    http://www.teesecheese.com/

    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”

    teese pizza

    teese pizza

    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

    teese melty-ness

    teese melty-ness

    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

    2.) sheese
    http://www.buteisland.com/

    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.”

    sheese pizza

    sheese pizza

    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

    sheese melty-ness

    sheese melty-ness

    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
    http://www.imearthkind.com/

    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!”

    follow your heart vegan gourmet pizza

    follow your heart vegan gourmet pizza

    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

    follow your heart melty-ness

    follow your heart melty-ness

    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

    4.) cheezly
    http://www.redwoodfoods.es/

    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!”

    cheezly pizza

    cheezly pizza

    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

    cheezly melty-ness

    cheezly melty-ness

    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!

    cheeze-chart

    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.

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  • December 13th, 2008quarrygirlintelligentsia coffee, LA restaurants

    UPDATE!!! PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT DEE’S DONUTS BEFORE EATING THEM.

    yawn! i usually don’t post on saturday morning, but as of today, there are finally vegan donuts in los angeles and that is so worth writing about at this dreadful hour! intelligentsia in silver lake has started selling dee’s nuts donuts and i can’t get enough.

    dee's nuts vegan donut with chocolate frosting and purple sprinkles. yum.

    dee's nuts vegan donut with chocolate frosting and purple sprinkles. yum.

    it’s about fucking time vegan donuts made their way to los angeles. i mean, jeez, we have a gazzilion vegan restaurants, vegan cupcakes, vegan cookies, and (my fave) vegan twinkies, but no vegan donuts. …UNTIL NOW.

    today, it seems that dee’s nuts donuts, a vegan donut brand has shot up overnight and started offering a line of baked goods at the very popular intelligentsia coffee shop in silver lake. dee’s nuts is a one-woman, animal-free donut company (she doesn’t advertise her goods as vegan, because the v word makes flesh-eaters recoil in horror) who has has been getting quite the buzz in the vegan community and causing a stir among herbivores on twitter.

    dee’s nuts treats have been available for private order through her website for quite awhile. but today for the first time, they made their debut on the los angeles restaurant scene. since silver lake seems to have the most vegan restaurants per capita, it seems fitting that vegan donuts would first show up at a trendy sunset junction coffee shop.

    intelligentsia is known for its superior coffee, tea, and pastries. how awesome is it that thanks to dee’s nuts, vegans from all of la county have a huge reason to visit there now.

    vegan donuts at intelligentsia. $2.50 each.

    vegan donuts at intelligentsia. $2.50 each.

    glazed and chocolate-coconut are both delicious.

    glazed and chocolate-coconut are both delicious.

    dee’s nuts creates a line of super fresh donuts, baked right in our own downtown los angeles, that taste authentic and sinful just like the real thing. plump, porous, juicy cake deep fried and covered in thick and creamy frosting make for absolute decadence. and at only $2.50 a pop, they are very reasonably priced, and give you an excuse to buy several.

    because they aren’t advertised as vegan, i know that SO MANY omnivores will order these donuts and think they are “real.” muahahahahhahahahahahaha.

    la vegans, get over to intelligentsia and buy some donuts. right now they only have one dozen per day. i got my silly ass there at 6am on a saturday and heard that other people had been calling about them as well. considering there are no other vegan donuts in town, i’d act fast and buy ‘em whenever the fuck you can.

    i was so stoked when i heard about these vegan donuts, that i couldn’t even wait for them to become available in stores. lucky for me, deanna of dee’s nuts invited me to her kitchen yesterday and gave me a quick tour, as well as a piping-hot donut fresh off the press. you can order your own batch through her website, and i highly recommend doing so, even if its just to be able to taste a donut moments after its been made. check out this cell phone picture i snapped of the vegan donut maker:

    this is where vegan donuts come from.

    this is where vegan donuts come from.

    i know, i know. i am very lucky.

    dee’s nuts donuts also made a smaller debut today at fix coffee in echo park. fix has already been offering cookies baked by dee’s nuts, and as of today they will be selling donuts too. if you can stomach it, i would recommend getting to fix and trying the cookies out as well. there is a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie that is melty and out of this world, along with a thick spongy sugar cookie slathered in creamy frosting. these treats are also not advertised as vegan, and they are tasty enough to fool anybody.

    vegan sugar cookie. $2.50 and vegan chocolate chip cookie. $2.25

    vegan sugar cookie. $2.50 and vegan chocolate chip cookie. $2.25

    i will keep you posted as these baked goods and donuts become available in more locations. now that i’ve had vegan donuts in la, i definitely don’t want them to go away.

    oh yeah, and dee’s nuts! lol.

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  • December 12th, 2008quarrygirlcafe muse, LA restaurants

    as of yesterday, there’s one more reason to love cafe muse in hollywood. not only do they have breakfast daily, a great vegan selection of wraps, delicious sandwiches and huge, hearty build-your-own salads; but now they sell no whey VEGAN CUPCAKES! i don’t know of anywhere else in hollywood i can get vegan cupcakes, and this place happens to be like 5 feet from my work. 

    chocolate and vanilla vegan cupcakes. $3.25 each.

    chocolate and vanilla vegan cupcakes. $3.25 each.

    cafe muse sells both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and both flavors are out of this world. i bought one for my omnivorous friend, and she just couldn’t believe they were vegan. she said the actual cake bit tasted way better than any she’d ever tried before, and the frosting was just as rich and creamy as on other cupcakes.

    i would have to agree with her. these cupcakes were just as good as the ones i used to get from leda’s bakeshop in the valley, which has closed to the public and is only taking special orders. it’s so great to have top notch vegan cupcakes again, and right here in hollywood!

    no whey, the vegan baking company that makes these cupcakes, is owned by jenn shaggy, the maker of the famous los angeles vegan twinkies. her twinkies have gained a lot of local press, and i can say her cupcakes are just as good.

    so hollywood vegans, rejoice! cafe muse has super awesome vegan cupcakes. go check out this cafe if you haven’t already. they have a ton of great food and now some really tasty desserts.

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  • October 21st, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, leda's bake shop

    well, leda’s vegan cupcakes are kinda no more…is what i meant to say. leda’s bake shop, famous for their irresistible vegan cupcakes, has officially closed its storefront as of october 19, 2008. the modest bakery located in sherman oaks bills the shutdown as “great news” and details their “exciting new plans” on their website. according to leda’s, the bake shop can’t “divulge the specifics,” but is “undergoing some exciting changes and developing an innovative new concept to meet the growing needs of our large and loyal following.” hmmmm. i guess it’s just a coincidence that the economy is in the toilet, and this small eco-friendly bakery in the valley is closing their doors for undisclosed reasons. i don’t mean to sound cynical, don’t get me wrong, i hope leda’s is planning a huge comeback that will knock all our vegan socks off. for now though, it looks like they may be going through hard times.

    upon hearing the sad news, i absolutely had to get in there on leda’s last day in business (saturday october 18) and buy as many cookies and cupcakes as me and poor, supportive omnivore parents could possibly eat.

    all the flavors i could possibly eat! $1.50 each.

    all the flavors i could possibly eat! $1.50 each.

    the vegan cupcakes were absolutely to die for. of the flavors i purchased were chocoate chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate espresso, velvet and coconut. i got the miniature cupcakes so we could try as many as possible, and every flavor was absolutely divine! i didn’t even get a chance to try them all, my parents and husband were all over these little decadent devils. of the ones i tried, the chocolate espresso, and my old favorite chocolate chocolate stood out.

    chocolate espresso cupcake

    chocolate espresso cupcake

    chocolate chocolate cupcake

    chocolate chocolate cupcake

    it’s a shame this place is gonna stop selling life-changing vegan cupcakes to passerbys like me. i’m half thinking of renewing my vows or throwing a meaningless party, so i can get leda’s to cater my event.

    just because i had to, i also stocked up on some chocolate chip cookies before i left leda’s. this little bag was waaaaay too expensive at over five bucks, but i just had to indulge. i mean, what if they completely go out of business? i would spend the rest of my life in regret over these cookies, right? i wasn’t about to let that happen.

    not quite as pretty, but just as delicious as the cupcakes, the cookies were gone in absolute record time. the chocolate chips were moist, and the dough was perfectly baked and greasy. i’m glad these were so small, it made me feel much better about the fact that i ate four of them.

    ahhhh. leda’s bake shop has long been one of los angeles’ favorite vegan-friendly spots. everyone loves vegan cupcakes, and it’s so sad to see them scale back their service.

    last day rush for leda's cupcakes and cookies

    last day rush for leda's cupcakes and cookies

    if you take one thing from this post….for crimony’s sake, cater your next party with leda’s. or, if you feel like squandering some cash or are super hungry, spurge for 24 cupcakes, which is leda’s new minimum order. it’s a small price to pay to keep this modest vegan staple in business. and you know i’m right.

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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 31st, 2008quarrygirlquick meals, recipes

    i don’t like mondays! nothing is worse than waking up after 2 relaxing days filled with downtime, vegan meals, and alcohol, knowing it’s time to go to work and start a brand new week. luckily, today i knew i wouldn’t have to stress out about making dinner…i had all the ingredients on hand to make crescent pups, the perfect monday night meal that can be ready in minutes.

    pup-close-up.JPG

    tofu pups yum

    this is a really quick & easy recipe to make, and all the necessary ingredients have months of shelf-life. that being said, if you keep your fridge stocked, you can have crescent pups ready to go anytime as an impromptu appetizer, a hurried dinner, or an unexpected snack. they come in especially handy after weeknight gigs—-nothing beats coming home tired and half-drunk after rocking out and having pups to turn to.

    recipe after the jump…

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