• May 21st, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, newsroom

    if you live in los angeles, you probably know that beverly hills is a part of town where it’s hard to find vegan food. however the newsroom cafe on robertson is an extremely vegan-friendly eatery that’s often overlooked. they’ve a huge menu of healthy-style options, a full juice bar, hearty breakfasts, baked goods, desserts….even beer, wine and fresh-fruit-filled cocktails.

    i used to frequent the newsroom often a couple years ago, though i always found it a bit trendy and over-crowded with ‘celebrity’ clientele and health-nut yuppie types. fortunately and unfortunately, the place was smacked with a C rating from the health department a year ago, and business has slowed down a bit. while at first i was horrified about the low grade, i later found it was due to meat refrigeration temperatures and i talked myself into thinking, “fuckit, i’ll still eat there. serves those carnivores right! meat’s murder after all.” so now after a long break, i have finally returned to the newsroom, which is much emptier than i remember it, but the food is still bloody spectacular.

    Monja's Tofu Scramble (no cheese): tofu scrambled with spinach, bits of broken vegan sausage and caramelized oninos with ciabatta toast. $11.25

    Monja's Tofu Scramble (no cheese): tofu scrambled with spinach, bits of broken vegan sausage and caramelized oninos with ciabatta toast. $11.25

    today with my husband, i visited the newsroom after a very long break and i went with something i’d never ordered before—monja’s tofu scramble with no cheese. when my food arrived, the huge plate was loaded up with well-seasoned scramble, thick soy sausage bits, sauteed spinach, caramelized onions, and more crispy breakfast potatoes than i could ever eat. albeit a tad expensive, this dish was a serious food score…i highly recommend monja’s. plus, as a side it came with two ginormous slices of ciabatta bread that were so crispy i could barely eat them…in a good way. although it was a seemingly boring tofu scramble, monja’s managed to be a completely unique and refreshing take on vegan breakfast. here here.

    my husband stuck with the good ‘ole spicy tofu cancun, which i’ve blogged about before, but was every bit as excellent this time around.

    spicy tofu cancun: spicy tofu scrambled with salsa chipotle, baked corn tortilla rajas, tomatillo salsa and salsa quemada w/whole wheat tortilla. $10.50

    spicy tofu cancun: spicy tofu scrambled with salsa chipotle, baked corn tortilla rajas, tomatillo salsa and salsa quemada w/whole wheat tortilla. $10.50

    i used to eat the tofu cancun at the newsroom at least twice a week back in the day, and when i tried it this morning, it tasted better than ever. something about the steaming chunks of seasoned tofu all mixed in with softly cooked tortilla chips, then slathered in hot sauce…where can you go wrong? definitely give this thing a whirl; i’d say it’s up there with the best breakfasts in los angeles.

    so at the end of the day: i know i have condemned the newsroom for having a low health score before, but i cannot lie…their food is brilliant. go load up on a huge vegan breakfast with fresh juice and a few animal-free sides next time you get the chance. it will cost you, but it’s definitely worth it. and if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, hit up the sister-location interim cafe in santa monica…the menu is almost the same, except even more vegan friendly and less expensive.

    oh also, let’s take a moment to look at the silver lining. the newsroom used to be filled to the brim with total d-bags. now that they have had health department dramz, the place is mellow and much more enjoyable. since the issues were eventually about the meat storing systems, i think i can look at the dramz as their loss and my gain. let’s go enjoy the newsroom before it gets full of yuppie cuntz again.

    newsroom cafe
    120 N Robertson Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90048

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  • March 8th, 2009mr meanerholy cow, LA restaurants

    Well, not IN the Beverly Center, but right across the street across from Souplantation on 3rd St., just East of La Cienega. Holy Cow is an honest to goodness fast-food style Indian eat-in/carry-out kitchen with a range of veg and non-veg offerings. As is common with many Southern-Indian restaurants there’s no beef on the bill of fayre (probably due to quasi-Hindi leanings of its owners) which leaves an extra-large gap in the menu for vegetarian food, much of which is either naturally vegan or can be made as such.

    vegan take-out dinner from holy cow

    vegan take-out dinner from holy cow

    On our recent visit, we rolled up at 8pm on a Saturday evening, and made that classic mistake: allowing cell a couple of ‘phone babbling people to go into the restaurant ahead of us. By the time they’d figured out what they wanted to eat, changed it three times, and had any number of ‘phone conversations with friends about the menu selections, we’d been standing by the counter for a good 10 minutes. However, the experience was rather educational as we deduced the gang in front of us were somewhat observant Jewish people, most particular to ensure that there was no dairy in anything they ordered – in this way, we got a good grounder of what could, and could not be, veganized without having to go through a big Q&A with the person taking the order.

    When it was finally our turn, a very nice Indian gentleman of some stature and presence politely engaged with us, helping guide our choices. As is common with West Coast outlets like this (especially Indian), ordering a “dinner” is excellent value. For only a couple of bucks more than an a-la-carte single main dish one can get a appetizer, main dish, side of vegetables, rice and bread. Sadly for us, the naan bread contained eggs, so we had to order a-la-carte, even though a better economic decision might have been to order the dinner and trash the naan bread. But that’s not very vegan, now is it?

    vegetarian samosas: crisp turnovers filled with potatoes and peas. $3.95

    vegetarian samosas: crisp turnovers filled with potatoes and peas. $3.95

    We started off with two Vegetable Samosas – at only $3.95 they were exceptional value and extremely tasty, being freshly prepared in the kitchen when our order was taken.


    They had that crispy outside with hot steamy inside that is so unique to this dish. The nearest thing is a Chimichanga – that decadent Mexican-style deep-fried burrito, but I’d rather a samosa any day!

    aloo gobi: potato and cauliflower cooked with herb and spices $6.95...and saag tofu: pureed spinach with tofu and spices. $6.95. plus rice!$2.95

    aloo gobi: potato and cauliflower cooked with herb and spices $6.95...and saag tofu: pureed spinach with tofu and spices. $6.95. plus rice!$2.95

    I have a complete weakness for Potato and Cauliflower curries, particularly the Aloo Gobi which, if done right, can be a sublime dish. There’s something about the intersection of basic ingredients like vegetables, spices and oils that Indian cuisine does so well, and Holy Cow’s rendition holds up to the highest standards.

    Our other entrée was Saag Aloo with Tofu – basically pureed spinach (spinach haters stop reading this paragraph now!) with chunky potatoes, spices and small, firm tofu pieces. This can very much be a hit or miss dish in many Indian restaurants because the cooking times of everything vary so much – seconds for the spinach, but 30 minutes or more for the potatoes and tofu, so a juggling act in the kitchen is needed to pull this delicate dish off to perfection – and whomever was back-stage at Holy Cow knows exactly how to make Saag Aloo happen: the end result being perfection.

    Finally, we ordered White Rice, which was a bit misleading (albeit in a good way), because the rice was actually cooked in herbs and spices, including turmeric, which gave it a yellowy look and, spicy flavor that complemented the food perfectly.

    So, bottom line, Holy Cow was a GREAT, inexpensive Indian take-away very much in the tradition of my homeland in England where you can take home the curry or sit in a brightly lit restaurant and eat it there. Holy Cow has the ambience of a vegan Thai restaurant, but the food is so much better.

    With convenient parking, incredibly polite and helpful staff as well as completely above-average food, you can’t go wrong. The only competition is Samosa House, which is distant competition both in miles to travel (it’s in Culver City) and taste of the food.

    Thanks for being there, Holy Cow, and thanks for understanding about vegans and our standards. We’ll be regular customers.

    holy cow

    holy cow

    holy cow
    8474 W 3rd St
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    (323) 852-8900

    monday – friday
    sat and sun

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  • February 14th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    m cafe de chaya is probably one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants ever. they started out as a melrose location offering hip and trendy macrobiotic cuisine and soon the demand was so high that they opened up another location in culver city…and now even another in beverly hills. i’m still not exactly sure what macrobiotic means, but m cafe assures their customers that they serve no eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry. it’s basically an entire vegan paradise offset by a few gross-nasty fish items. all the breads, cheeses, faux meats and sauces are safe for us herbivores, and the pesce items are clearly marked.

    when i read on vegan-la that a new m cafe location had just opened, i had to book it there and get some food asap. the husband and i went by for our favorite m cafe meal…breakfast!! while the food that the beverly hills location served us was awesome, i could tell this restaurant was still definitely working out some kinks. they sure aren’t doing bad though, considering we hit them up just days after the grand opening.

    breakfast panini: scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, grilled country bread. $8.45

    breakfast panini: scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, grilled country bread. $8.45

    the one big thing we didn’t realise before bolting over to m cafe in bev hills at 8:30 am on a weekday is that they only serve a “continental breakfast” monday thru friday, meaning mostly cold pastries and coffee. that vegan benedict and breakfast enchilada that we were craving are only available at the weekend brunch. not just that, but if you arrive at the bh location early and decide to grab lunch, you are shit out of luck; they don’t start serving the normal menu until 10 am. that leaves you in limbo for two hours with very limited breakfast options. luckily, although m bev hills doesn’t offer all the awesome morning meal options on weekdays, they do offer one hot dish, a scaled-down version of the breakfast panini.

    i ordered the panini and was very impressed. the quality and freshness of the ingredients were top notch and it was an all-around tasty dish. fluffy tofu, chopped onions, a magniffy blend of spices along with tempeh bacon on freshly baked bread…absolutely flawless. it was simple and didn’t come with sweet potato hash like it does at the other locations, but without a side it was still more than enough food. they really should have knocked the price down though, for not including the hash. >:(


    my husband grabbed a tofu salad sandwich from the display case, and it was excellent as well.

    tofu salad sandwich. $6.95

    tofu salad sandwich. $6.95

    considering it was so early in the morning, we suspected the sandwiches on display may have been leftover from the previous day. this sure wasn’t the case! our sandwich wasn’t soggy or stale in the least. everything tasted freshly chopped and perfect. i’ve never had one of the ready-made sandwiches from m cafe before, so i was blown away by how good it was.


    the location of the new m cafe is quiet and pleasant at the moment. i’m used to the melrose storefront being packed; heaving with hollywood cunts and actor wannabes. the beverly hills location only opened a few days ago, so it isn’t crowded at all…i’m assuming that will change though. it’s located in the what used to be the backstage cafe, which was owned by police drummer stewart copeland’s brother. the place looks totally different. no rock paraphernalia adorning the walls, no whiskey bottles lined up on the counter…just spotless tables and huge barren display case showing off the few items that m cafe beverly hills has in stock.

    m cafe beverly hills. as you can see, there isn't much food on display! hopefully this will change.

    m cafe beverly hills. as you can see, there isn't much food on display! hopefully this will change.

    overall, we had a really lovely breakfast with some amazing food, and i am looking forward to going back. my only complaint is the lack of selection. i know, i know, they just opened, so i will let it slide. but had i just been walking by and wanting a proper breakfast, i wouldn’t have stayed at m cafe. they should make it a point to go overboard and offer everything they can, and at least carry the same menu as the other two successful locations. to be fair, i have a friend who hit up this m cafe the same day i did, but he went for lunch and the menu was in full swing. he loved it.

    so there you have it, finally some good vegan food in beverly hills! go get some before this m cafe gets all douchey like the melrose outlet. oh, and just a tip: parking is tough in this area. if you want to be stealth about it, grab a spot in the whole foods parking lot on crescent. they will never be the wiser. plus, they stock celebration roasts at that whole foods, so you can pick up a few on your way back to the car. 😉


    m cafe de chaya
    9433 Brighton Way
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Monday thru Sunday
    8:00 am – 7:00 pm

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  • October 9th, 2008quarrygirlindia's grill, indian food, LA restaurants

    curry can be a vegan’s best friend, especially if you get it from a restaurant where the staff is knowledgeable and straight up about ingredients. fortunately for us herbivores who live west of vermont (sorry, ¡yo soy!), the owners of the vegan-friendly hipster hangout electric lotus also have another fine, less trendy indian restaurant on san vicente: india’s grill.

    the service at india’s grill is impeccable, the interior is lovely, and most importantly, the food is delicious. we often get our curry to go, however, because india’s grill is on the way home from my husband’s work. plus, i like to eat dinner and watch twin peaks at the same time.

    because the portions from india’s grill are pretty huge, i usually end up with leftovers. hence takeaway breakfast curry. i assure you, it’s just as good the second time around.

    whole wheat roti ($1.95) with pulao rice ($4.95) and aloo gobhi ($8.95)

    whole wheat roti ($1.95) with pulao rice ($4.95) and aloo gobhi ($8.95)

    i think curry for breakfast is underrated. it’s great to wake up with tons of flavor and food that sets your mouth on fire. gets you ready for the day, i tell ya!

    while india’s grill specializes in several vegetarian dishes that can be made vegan, aloo gobhi is my favorite. potatoes in cauliflower in a light sauce blended together with the perfect spices. i always ask them to make it extra hot, because most curry dishes are too mild for me otherwise. this dish goes perfect with the pulao rice: saffron, grean peas and onions all sauteed together.

    and don’t forget to wrap everything up with a big piece of roti to make a scrumptious curry burrito. i’m pretty sure the naan contains eggs, but the roti is a-ok. just a minute on the grill, and the roti will be as good as new, even on the following day.

    so if you want an indian feast near weho or beverly hills, be sure to give india’s grill a shot. dine-in or take-out, they always rock my world.

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