• June 14th, 2011grassroots, LA restaurants

    i have driven by grassroots in south pasadena many times barely noticing it and passing it on by. well, i’m here to confess how foolish that was! grassroots is a small market and wonderful kitchen filled with healthy, organic, and vegan options in their store as well as a prepared food section. i was so hungry i walked straight up to the line for prepared food which was about 6-7 people deep. while i waited in the line that moved quicker than i anticipated (about 5 min) i glanced around and saw vegan mock meats, vegan desserts, and kombucha galore! waiting in line also gave me the much needed time to decide what to order. they had wraps, tacos, salads, burritos and, (as QG will be happy to hear) BOWLS!

    vegan beef bowl

    for my meal i went with the vegan beef bowl ($9.99) and it was A-MAZING!
    the food line at grassroots looks like that of a subway sandwich shop. you place your order and watch them put all the ingredients together in front of you while you confirm that they include only ingredients you like.

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  • March 7th, 2011quarrygirlcafe gratitude, LA restaurants

    last week we blogged about the opening of LA’s latest vegetarian restaurant, cafe gratitude. well, we finally made it there for a meal over the weekend and we were impressed!

    the brand spankin’ new larchmont village eatery is almost entirely vegan (other than one honey-containing drink, according to our server), and has a huge menu full of raw and cooked appetizers, entrees, desserts, smoothies…even beer and wine. from uber-healthy salads, to decadent “cheesy” potatoes and rich desserts, there’s something for everyone at cafe gratitude.

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  • October 13th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    we visited a lot of restaurants last month when we were in the bay area, and one of the highlights was cafe gratitude in san francisco. the small eclectic eatery specializes in mainly raw healthy food and is almost entirely vegan, with only a few dishes that contain honey. i’d heard mixed reviews about the place, from people saying they were wonderful to people calling them a cult, and i’m just glad we decided to check it out for ourselves because the food was absolutely delicious.

    as i said earlier, the cuisine at cafe gratitude is mostly raw….but we were in the mood for something cooked. we tried to order a couple of the cooked entrees off the menu, but the waitress informed us that they weren’t available at this location (there are a few other cafe gratitudes in the bay area). she then quickly pointed to a “grain bowl” section on the menu and said that they were cooked and available to order. BOWLS! yes, i fucking love bowls, so i knew we were in business.

    i am graceful indian biryani bowl: Steamed brown rice or quinoa tossed with seasonal veggies, basil, cilantro, mint & cashews in an Indian coconut-curry sauce. $15

    one thing you gotta get past right away at cafe gratitude are the menu descriptions, which i will admit made me giggle a bit. they are all worded as affirmations, stuff like the “i am insightful spring rolls” and “i am fabulous lasagna”. we decided to get a couple bowls, starting with the “i am graceful indian biryani bowl,” which came with steamed brown rice, vegetables, basil, cilantro, mint and cashews in a coconut curry sauce. each bowl is available in a half size for $10, or a full size for $15. because we were hungry and wanted to get the most for our money, we ordered full-sized bowls, and they were HUGE. i mean MASSIVE. enough to feed 2 people each for sure. anyways, the indian bowl was actually my husbands meal, and he assured me it was amazing. i didn’t try it because it had bell peppers in it (which i hate), but the creamy sauce looked and smelled really good.

    i am whole macrobiotic bowl: Shredded kale, sea vegetables, choice of grain, house-made kim chee & sprouts with garlic-tahini sauce & teriyaki almonds. $15

    for my lunch, i went with the “i am whole macrobiotic bowl,” which was absolutely fantastic! it came with brown rice, shredded kale, sea vegetables, house-made kim chee, and sprouts with garlic-tahini sauce and teriyaki almonds. i got mine with no nuts and the sauce on the side, and i just couldn’t believe how flavorful all the fresh and pickled vegetables were. i did eat a little bit of the sauce (which was phenomenal), but the bowl honestly didn’t even need it. it’s a shame the photo doesn’t do this dish justice, hidden underneath those carrots is a whole array of greens and vegetables. i would definitely order this again.

    we went with every intention of sharing a piece of raw vegan tiramisu, but after eating 2 entire rice bowls that were bigger than my head, we had absolutely no room for any more food. i hear the desserts at cafe gratitude are awesome though, and i can’t wait to return.

    inside, cafe gratitude has a sort of hippie vibe going on. it’s light and airy with a long bar, huge communal tables, and extremely friendly staff. they’ve even got this inspirational and spiritual board game available to play at your table. whaa??!! definitely unlike any restaurant i’ve ever visited before.

    the atmosphere and affirmations may not appeal to everyone, but i can promise you cafe gratitude has insanely tasty food. that alone is worth the trip. i know i will be back whenever i am up north.

    check out cafe gratitude’s website for hours and locations.

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  • August 28th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    chaos cafe is a great little spot in portland to grab a simple, tasty vegan breakfast. the casual restaurant is entirely vegetarian, has a sweet coffee bar, and opens everyday at 9am. we got there around that time and had the place to ourselves. chaos is exactly what i expected the pacific northwest to be like, i could have easily spent hours there. plus, the food was great!

    the big bang: marinated tofu scrambled with mixed veggies, served with breakfast potatoes and toast. $8.75

    we split a couple of entrees, starting with the vegan version of the big bang. this thing came with marinated tofu, mixed vegetables (including broccoli, onion, and tomato), toast, and a side of breakfast potatoes. everything was delicious, from the deeply flavorful tofu to the crispy vegetables and bite sized taters. i think it’s actually pretty hard to find a decent tofu scramble in restaurants, and this one definitely passed the test. the tofu was cubed and chunky, not all mushed together with tons of nutritional yeast.

    bowl with brown rice, black beans, steamed greens, broccoli, mushrooms, and salsa. $8

    even though it was only 9 in the morning, chaos was rockin’ the entire lunch menu, so we decided to split a bowl. have i mentioned before how much i LOVE BOWLS?! and bowls are everywhere in portland! man, if i lived up there, i’d eat a bowl at least everyday. anyways, the way the bowls work at chaos is: you get to customize everything from your grain, to your vegetables, to your sauce. we went with brown rice, black beans, steamed greens, broccoli, mushrooms, and salsa. SO GOOD. everything was on point, but the salsa really made this dish. it was thick and extra tomatoey, with a little bit of spice. i would order this bowl again, and again, and again.

    inside, chaos cafe is quite lovely. it’s brightly lit with comfy seats and funky decor. our waitress was friendly, the service was quick, and the coffee was good. all around, a great little place! <3

    chaos cafe
    2620 SE Powell Blvd
    Portland Oregon 97202
    Open Mon-Thur 9am-9pm
    Fri-Sat 9am-10pm
    Sun 9am-2pm.

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  • August 16th, 2010quarrygirlthe stand

    the stand in orange county is a southern california institution. people have been telling me about this restaurant for years, and according to reports on happycow, it’s been around since the ’60s. the tiny vegan eatery is located right by the ocean in laguna beach, and serves up a large yet simple menu consisting of things like salads, sandwiches, burritos, and smoothies.

    the focus is on plant-based natural foods, so that means no animal products, but also no processed fake meats or cheeses…even tofu and seitan are absent from the menu. the stand pulls it off though, with delicious meals based around fresh vegetables, legumes, brown rice, and incredible sauces. we went there for the first time last week and loved it.

    special bowl: our tasty beans and brown rice, topped with guacamole and seasoned with mild salsa. $5.95

    i have been kind of obsessed with bowls lately, and if i see one on a menu, i have to order it. luckily for me, the stand has tons of appetizing bowls to choose from, so i went with the special bowl. for just under 6 bucks, it came with filled up brown rice, pinto beans, mild salsa, and a garnish of shredded vegetables. it’s normally served with guacamole as well, but i opted for some extra hot salsa instead—so good. the sauce at the stand is so flavorful and fresh, it really took the entire bowl to the next level. for an extremely basic dish, i really loved this thing. all the ingredients were high quality, it was well cooked, and perfectly seasoned. positively scrumptious.

    vegetable salad: a combination of crisp red and green cabbage, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, green peppers, celery, zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, jicama, parsley, and sunflower seeds with lemon herb dressing. $6.95

    my husband went with the vegetable salad, a plate piled high with cabbage, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, celery, zucchini, sprouts, carrots, jimaca, parsley, and sunflower seeds…served with lemon herb dressing. he asked for it with no bell peppers, and the stand was happy to oblige. although the plate this thing was served on was a bit too small (i mean, just look at that pic!), everything was fresh and tasty.

    the atmosphere at the stand is kind of what you’d expect from a little beach joint. the place is really, actually A STAND, with a tiny counter to order at and a handful of outdoor tables to sit at. even at around 2:30pm on a weekday, this place was crowded—so i imagine summer weekends could get pretty crazy. although it was packed, our food was ready almost immediately, so whatever they are doing back there in that little kitchen is obviously working.

    i can’t wait to return to the stand, and i know this place will be a destination every time i’m in laguna beach. the food is simple yet tasty and fulfilling, and the atmosphere is modest yet charming. plus, it feels good to support an all vegan establishment that has been around for so long.

    the stand
    238 Thalia Street
    Laguna Beach, CA 92651-2712
    (949) 494-8101
    open daily 7am – 7pm
    check out the menu

    PS: when you are done eating at the stand, head directly across the street for beach access and a nice little public deck overlooking the ocean. lovely!

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  • August 7th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    portland, i love you with all my heart! you are a city of decadent vegan goodness, yet even the bastion of healthy eating in your land is better than most spots here in los angeles. i’m talking about prasad, a cafe that would be entirely animal-free were it not for honey on the menu and half & half by request.

    prasad is located downtown in blossoming lotus‘ former space—it’s a small eatery attached to the entrance of a sleek yoga studio. it opens early for the pre-work breakfast crew, yet stays open through dinnertime, so already the hours are impressive. the menu is on the lighter side, focusing on raw and cooked wholesome eats including salads, soups, wraps, bowls, and smoothies.

    at first glance, the food options may sound a bit simple…but i can assure that after indulging in portland’s crazy vegan meal scene, you will be all about prasad. we were. we ate there twice in two days. here’s how it went:

    mighty bowl: choice of bhutanese red rice or quinoa, steamed greens, beans. $7

    on the first day we were bowlin’. BOWLS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, why does nowhere carry bowls in LA?! i went with the most basic option, the mighty bowl. it comes with red rice or quinoa, steamed greens, beans, and choice of two sauces. i went with the red rice option, along with green chili and garlic tahini sauce. the sauces come on the side, so you can choose how much you wanna dump on…and i can tell you, this food is so good, it doesn’t even need sauce! the vegetables are fresh, the rice is perfectly steamed, and the beans are plump and hearty. so simple, but so damn delicious.

    dragon bowl: choice of bhutanese red rice or quinoa, beans, arame, wakame and dulse sea vegetables, avocado, steamed greens, sesame seeds, scallions and sprouts. $8.50

    my husband went with the dragon bowl, which was equally impressive. this dish came with red rice, beans, arame, wakame, and dulse sea vegetables, avocado, and steamed greens. just like my bowl, everything was fresh and tasty…and the addition of flavorful sea vegetables and creamy avocado made it even better.

    we enjoyed our meal at prasad so much, that we decided to return before the end of our trip for breakfast. although the scrambles sounded amazing, we decided to share a wrap off of the lunch menu (which is served from 9am on).

    gaucho wrap: chipotle marinated tempeh, slow roasted tomatoes, spinach, black beans, smashed avocado and lime in a whole wheat tortilla. $8

    the gaucho wrap was great—marinated tempeh, roasted tomatoes, spinach, black beans, smashed avocado, and lime all rolled up in a huge tortilla. overall it had a pretty sweet and smokey taste, and the tempeh and beans made it extra hearty and filling. while i loved this thing, i am still kind of wishing we went with one of the scrambles. i saw another customer eating one, and it looked insane.

    toast: new cascadia teff bread (gluten-free) with zucchini hummus, cucumber and tomato. $3.50

    we also split an order or toast, topped with zucchini hummus, tomatoes, and cucumber. the hummus was rich and creamy, the vegetables were crisp, and the bread was soft and spongey. seriously, the perfect light breakfast.

    the prasad space itself is rather cozy, a few little tables and one communal table to the right of the yoga reception area. you order at the counter and pay, then food is brought to where you are sitting. the service is friendly and attentive, and the wait time is pretty low. overall, prasad is just a sweet and wonderful little place with damn good vegan food. no wonder we went there twice, and i can’t wait to go back.

    925 NW Davis,
    Portland OR 97209
    within Yoga Pearl
    Monday – Friday 7:30am to 8pm
    Saturday and Sunday 9am to 8pm

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  • July 25th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    we ate a lot of food on our recent trip to portland, and some of the best was the simple nutritious fare from laughing planet. the quick serve restaurant has a few locations around portland, and offers a very vegan-friendly menu of burritos, bowls, soups, and salads.

    steamed veggies, rice, and beans: a medley of fresh veggies on a bed of pinto beans and brown rice, topped with pico de gallo. $4.75

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