• September 4th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    i kinda wanna move to portland, just so i can hit up the all you can eat vegan brunch at sweetpea baking company every sunday.

    sweetpea is located in the famous vegan strip mall, a sight that must be seen to be believed. honestly, i thought it was a mirage the first time i went there—an entirely vegan clothing shop, bakery, grocery store, and tattoo parlor all right next to each other. it seemed too good to be true.

    sweetpea is the all vegan bakery of the bunch, but they do much more than just baked goods. of course they have a slew of vegan cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecakes…but they also make daily soups, sandwiches, and even host an unbelievable ALL YOU CAN EAT SUNDAY BRUNCH! and that’s what this post is about; the motherfuckin’ brunch. oh yes.

    the buffet-style brunch takes place every sunday from 9am until noon (or until food runs out), and features rotating specials each week. be sure to check sweetpea’s website for the latest on hours and menu. the brunch we attended was all about biscuits & gravy, chicken fried seitan, kale, and tofu scramble. plus coffee! sounds amazing, right? we decided to get there early to ensure a good seat.

    we arrived at 9:08am, and the place was already hoppin! i’m talking a solid buffet line, with about 3/4 the tables full, and many people already happily eating. it looked pretty busy, but the line moved fast. the trays were quickly emptied by hungry folks, but were always immediately refilled with what seemed like an endless supply of food.

    we were able to grab a seat at the counter by the window, which suited me perfectly. we were on stools rather than chairs, but we weren’t crammed in, and eating in the sunlight was lovely.

    all you can eat brunch: biscuits and gravy, chicken fried seitan, kale, tofu scramble and coffee. $10

    most importantly, the food was excellent. as you probably know, portland is known for its vegan biscuits & gravy, and these held their own against the best of them! the gravy was a tad on the thin side, but what it lacked in creaminess it made up in flavor. the biscuits were absolutely perfect—moist, soft, and slightly flaky. next up, the chicken fried seitan was unbelievable. a deep fried crispy shell covering an incredibly moist and spongy wheat meat center. i ate about 9 pieces of this stuff, and then i felt like i couldn’t move…in a good way. the kale and tofu scramble were also on point. i have no complaints whatsoever.

    there was also something sweet at the brunch, maybe it was apple cobbler? i forget. i didn’t try it, whatever it was…because i don’t usually like baked fruit. i’m sure it was awesome though, because everything else was WONDERFUL.

    i can’t speak highly enough of sweetpea’s brunch. the food was perfect, we got a decent seat even though it was crowded, and we ate a load of good stuff for a ridiculously cheap amount. and it was ALL VEGAN. god, i love portland. go there!

    sweetpea baking
    1205 SE Stark Street,
    Portland, OR 97214
    (503) 477-5916
    sunday brunch 9am-12pm

    PS: this week’s brunch 9/5 is Faux McMuffins and McGriddles, with sides of hashbrown patties and kale, and fried apple pies for dessert!! GET ON THAT.

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  • May 1st, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), norfolk

    hey everyone, time for another vegan field report from norfolk, virginia! this one (just like the last one) was written by steve….so i’ll let him take it away:

    Okay, you REALLY have to bear with me on this one. In Norfolk, VA one of the most interesting vegan restaurants is actually a place called “San Antonio Sam’s“. It’s a no-apologies Texas Grill, with pictures of cowboys on horses rounding up cattle on its website, as well as all sorts of awfully un-vegan food offerings on its menu.

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  • April 18th, 2010mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    The UK is littered with Chinese restaurants called “Peking Palace”. There were two in the small town I grew up in, and one a few feet away from my house in London. Although they’re not related to each other as some kind of chain, the menus are almost all the same as are the red flock wallpaper and white tablecloth interiors. Back when I was a vegetarian, the only “safe” thing to eat at one of these types of restaurants was steamed white rice – even vegetable dishes and noodles were made with chicken stock.

    On my last trip home, though, I was delighted to discover the best Peking Palace of them all, nestled on busy Holloway Road in north London. Proudly adorning a “100% Pure Vegetarian” banner on the outside, Peking Palace is actually entirely vegan, as it’s one of the Supreme Master locations in London.

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  • January 21st, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, rahel vegan cuisine

    since the first time we reviewed the all you can eat brunch at rahel ethiopian vegan cuisine, a lot has changed. the restaurant has had expanded to take over the space next door, making for a much brighter and more comfortable dining experience, and has introduced a buffet table to their lunch special (rather than a server bringing you plates of food as you ask for them). overall, these improvements have transformed lunch at rahel from decent to downright exceptional.

    new space along with buffet table

    the way the all you can eat lunch works now is, you walk in and tell the server you’d like the buffet special. she then brings you your choice of soup or salad as an appetizer.

    both are small, but very tasty.

    after your warm up course, it’s time to dive in to the main event: plate after plate of hot ethiopian stew and spongy bread.

    grab a plate and get your fill from the seven vegetable and lentil dishes, the two types of rice, and basket full of injera. also, be sure to get a huge helping of the bright green sauce. i dunno what it is exactly, but it’s incredible.

    typically, ethiopian cuisine consists of various stews or wots served atop of and with a side of injera, a porous stretchy bread. you are supposed to use your hands to neatly scoop up the stew with the bread and stick the whole thing in your gob. presented with an all you can eat option, though, it’s really easy to go overboard and load your plate up with way too much stew. luckily, rahel’s provides forks for this very reason.

    when i visit the buffet table, i like to spread a piece of injera out on my plate and then stack it up with the various vegetable dishes. as you can see in the picture at the top of the post, i get a bit of everything. we’ve got some red lentils, yellow lentils, potato stew, kale, carrots and green beans, cabbage, and more. i have no idea the proper name for all this stuff, but it is all mind-blowingly flavorful.

    whatever you do, be sure to go to rahel’s all you can eat lunch with a completely empty stomach…because the food is so good, you can’t leave without at least a couple trips to the buffet table.

    view from rahel's new section. the restaurant used to be only the room with the umbrellas on the ceiling.

    seriously, i can’t think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than relaxing with plate after plate of warm ethiopian cuisine in such a light and spacious environment. the all you can eat buffet takes place everyday from 11am-3pm, and costs $8.99 per person. while that’s a damn good deal any way you look at it, it has to be noted that nyala directly across the street has an all you can eat vegan buffet for just $6.99 (over 20% cheaper!). however, considering rahel’s new buffet is so plentiful and tasty, and the atmosphere is so pleasant…i’d rather shell out an extra 2 bucks and support the only vegan business on the block.

    so be sure to hit up the new rahel vegan ethiopian cuisine as soon as you can. all you can eat vegan food, under $9, 7 days a week. hell yes.

    rahel vegan cuisine
    1047 south fairfax avenue
    los angeles ca 90019
    open daily
    11am to 11pm
    all you can eat lunch special
    11am – 3pm

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  • December 27th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    I cannot lie. I’ve found myself wandering, hungry, around the West End after a night on the town more than once over the years. On the most recent occasion, as I was walking back to Camden Town from Leicester Square, I happened upon Joi Buffet on Percy St., right off Tottenham Court Road. There was a large board outside with the word “Vegan Food” written on it in chalk, and somehow I found myself inside and seated semi-automatically (vegan restaurants have a habit of sucking me in) on the verge of a very interesting dining experience.

    Joi has, by far, the largest vegan self-serve buffet I’ve ever seen. I stopped counting the number of dishes when I got to 70, and there were many more to go – probably in the order of 90-100 or so food items from every kind of fake meat and Asian-influenced cuisine you can imagine (Chinese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian and Japanese) to vegan staples like meat loaf, roast potatoes and gravy as well as salads and 8 different kinds of hot sauce! About the only food item missing was pizza, but that was more than made up for with several kinds of pasta and sauces. Also, new dishes kept coming out from the kitchen every few minutes. It seemed like when one dish was empty it wasn’t always replaced with the same thing, so the food item turnover during a typical dining interval added to the sheer amount of stuff you could feast on.

    And feast we did. Buffets are always difficult for me — I act like a starving man in some post-apololyptical food oasis, filling my plate to the brim on each of way too many visits. And dining at Joi wasn’t an exception. I ate food from all eight continents (the 8th, by the way, was the buffet table itself – somewhere between the size of Antarctica and Australasia).

    There were way too many food items to take pictures of them all, or even remember which ones we ate, but we were delighted with our nice table, friendly waitstaff (who were not in the slightest bit bothered that we kept asking if everything was 100% vegan) and huge selection.

    Now, many people think that a vegan diet is healthy – and indeed it can be – but eating this kind of food every day will be anything but healthy. Everything tastes great, because it’s cooked in plenty of oil with little to no regard for calorific content. I can vouch for that as I’ve rarely been so stuffed after leaving a restaurant (only myself to blame, of course), and I probably didn’t eat a thing for 18 hours afterwards.

    Bottom line: Joi Buffet is conveniently located, has great opening hours and an unparalleled choice of vegan food, of which you can eat as much as you like. Just don’t eat there three times a day, and be prepared for some decompression time and extreme exercise to work off the thousands of calories you’ll undoubtedly consume unless you’re very diligent with what you eat.

    Oh, and the whole place is excellent value – the “all you can eat” option which includes every food item in the place is only £6.50 (around $10), and you can also fill up a to go box for just £3.50.

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  • December 19th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    one great thing about london is that there’s no shortage of all you can eat vegan buffets. on our recent trip, we hit up 3 of them, my favorite being at 222 veggie vegan. 222 has an entirely animal-free food menu, and the only non-vegan item in the restaurant is the choice of skimmed milk for coffee. by day, 222 operates as a lunchtime buffet, and by evening they are an a la carte eatery.

    the buffet menu when we went was on the simple and on the healthy side, with a large focus on vegetable-based dishes. it was a great deal for all-you-can-eat at just ₤7.50 per person, and we did eat absolutely all that we possibly could. take a look at our spread:

    starting in the upper left and going clockwise, we had a small lentil veggie patty, a slice of quiche, some stir-fried vegetables, roasted potatoes, rice and channa dal. all of it delicious. here is the same plate again from the other side:

    while i loved every single thing pictured, my two favorites were the quiche and the channa dal. i went back for multiple servings of each.

    slightly burned with a soft fluffy texture, this was definitely the best vegan quiche i’ve had anywhere.

    along with hot foods, 222 also offered a huge cold salad bar. here’s what i took away from there:

    a mix of cold soba noodles, marinated vegetables, a bean salad, and several types of leaves. this really hit the spot.

    if you are looking for a tasty, nutritious, affordable lunch in london, 222 veggie vegan is your place. this is the kind of vegan food we SHOULD be eating—vegetables, grains and noodles rather than loads of fake meat. i can’t wait to return.

    check out this dude, he liked his lunch! and lemme just say that it’s a crime this restaurant wasn’t PACKED.

    222 Veggie Vegan Restaurant
    222 North End Road
    West Kensington
    London W14 9NU
    Hours: lunchtime 12:00 – 15:30 evening 17:30 – 22:30

    PS: on a previous london trip, we had a bad dinner experience at 222. after this amazing lunch though, i can’t wait to give their dinner another try!

    Tel: 020 738 12322

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  • October 9th, 2009quarrygirlflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants
    flore cafe vegan soul food buffet. all you can eat. $10. (photo courtesy of cuteanddelicious.com)

    flore cafe vegan soul food buffet. all you can eat. $10. (photo courtesy of cuteanddelicious.com)

    hey los angeles vegans, we’ve got some news about one of your local restaurants and some important info about what you should be eating this weekend. it turns out flore cafe has switched up their business model a bit. they are no longer open during normal hours, and are instead bringing us a few bottomless epic vegan feasts each week for just 10 bucks a pop. coming up saturday through monday, flore cafe is hosting three vegan buffets consisting of soul food on saturday, brunch on sunday, and curry on monday. this is gonna get awesome. (btw, do not confuse flore cafe with its sister restaurant flore down the street. flore cafe is at the corner of sunset and descanso!)

    if you are wondering why the picture above is so damn lovely…it’s because i borrowed it from last week’s review of the flore cafe soul food lunch buffet on the cute and delicious blog. the post praises the buffet and asks, “What could be better than all you can eat vegan macaroni and cheese?…The cole slaw was honestly the best slaw I’ve ever had in my life…It was fresh, crunchy and sweet. So good.”

    while flore cafe is still around (they not be for long), you should really take advantage of their ten buck all you can eat deals…starting with this weekend. saturday you have the amazing soul food deal as raved about above, sunday you have the incredible brunch that we have blogged about several times before, and monday you have an all new indian dinner that sounds pretty damn exciting to me.

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  • September 22nd, 2009quarrygirlflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants


    hey los angeles vegans, this just in! saturday through monday, flore cafe (3206 w. sunset blvd) will be hosting 3 vegan all-you-can-eat events! they are each $10 per person, what a deal. i highly suggest you get over there and fill up your plate like 80,000 times. here are the menus:

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  • June 9th, 2009quarrygirlinn of the seventh ray, LA restaurants

    every sunday, deep in the heart of topanga canyon, inn of the seventh ray offers an all-you-can-eat vegetarian brunch with plenty of vegan options. the atmosphere at the restaurant is quite serene, with outdoor seating surrounded by trees, all overlooking a quiet stream. new age hippie waitresses keep the place running, and are ready to answer any question about the organic food that carries ‘cosmic energy’, or the vitamin infused water that will make you ‘live forever’ (i’m not kidding, they really say that). the price tag for the buffet is pretty hefty at $31 per person (is it possible to eat over 30 bucks worth of vegetarian food in one sitting?), but hey, the surroundings are beautiful and you can fill your plate up as many times as you want.

    vegetarian brunch buffet with vegan options. $31 per person.

    vegetarian brunch buffet with vegan options. $31 per person.

    i hit up inn of the seventh ray for sunday brunch recently with my husband and fellow vegan blogger foodeater, and we were all pretty satisfied with the vegan options. although the seating is outdoors, the food trays are displayed inside, away from the bugs and elements. all the vegan food is labeled appropriately, and the meat is all together in one section (yeah, inn of the seventh ray also offers chicken and crab for an extra 4 bucks, blech).

    my first trip to the buffet table yielded what’s pictured above. starting at the top and going clockwise, that’s a quinoa scone, tabouli, assorted salads, asparagus, white bean stew, hummus, and vegan mock duck with raspberries and cherry tomatoes. all of the food was deliciously fresh and filled with well-seasoned vegetables. i’ve never left an all-you-can-eat buffet feeling so light and energized, so i know this must have been pretty healthy. the only ‘fake’ meat offered was the mock duck, it was moist and chewy with a bit of a stringy texture and a savory flavor….and omg was it fantastic. my subsequent trips to the buffet line were seriously just to stock up on the vegan duck.

    mock duck. oh so fucking wonderful.

    mock duck. oh so fucking wonderful.

    the other highlight of my meal was the quinoa scone. i don’t think i’ve ever had a vegan scone before, but this thing was soft and fluffy in the middle and perfectly hard and crunchy on the outside. it was small and light, the perfect accompaniment to large feast. it would be pretty easy to fill up on these guys without feeling all gross and weighed down.

    vegan quinoa scone. i could eat approx 8,000 of these.

    vegan quinoa scone. i could eat approx 8,000 of these.

    the sunday brunch at inn of the seventh ray seems must be pretty popular, there weren’t many people there when we showed up at 11am, but as we were leaving at around 12:30, the place was already full. i suggest making a reservation and arriving a bit early like we did, to ensure you get a good seat.


    we were lucky enough to get a stone ‘booth’ table with a creekside view, right next to the little stream that they call ‘the Mother flow’. according to the restaurant’s website, the area where we were sitting is filled with ‘angelic vibrations,’ so i am pretty stoked we got a table in that spot. on our way out i saw lots of customers paying the same price for their meals that i did, but crammed into little two-top tables, with no view of the stream. suckers.


    after our meal, we got adventurous and went exploring in ‘the Mother flow’ to check out what kind of wildlife she was housing. we saw a lizard…


    and tons of pollywogs, but no frogs in sight!


    inn of the seventh ray is definitely one of the most unique restaurants i’ve ever visited, and their sunday brunch has plenty of things for us vegans to eat. i suggest you give it a try, because even if you don’t end up loving it, it’s a pretty special place. it’s a little too hippie dippy for my taste, and the prices are pretty high for what you get, but dude where else can you eat next to a stream and drink water that will make you live forever? you gotta go see this place for yourself.


    inn of the seventh ray
    128 Old Topanga Canyon Road
    Topanga, CA 90290
    (310) 455-1311

    P.S. oooh, one more thing, and this is important: be sure to let your waitress know that you are eating the vegetarian buffet. we got charged $4 extra per person for the crab leg/chicken/death buffet, and didn’t even realize it until after we’d left! don’t let that happen to you. i’m pretty devastated because i guess that means that extra money we spent went to ‘supporting’ the sale of meat. (shudders)

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  • April 25th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    vegans, pack your bags up and move to london. seriously, i would if i could. LA has got nothing on that place…even in terms of vegan food. london’s west end is packed with tons of meatless restaurants, and beetroot in soho is one of the best we visited. entirely vegetarian and mostly vegan, beetroot is a restaurant where you choose your container size and pay for it, then fill it up with your pick of 10 hot dishes.

    trays of vegan food at beetroot in london

    trays of vegan food at beetroot in london

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  • March 24th, 2009quarrygirlcasa de tree (closed), LA restaurants

    so a few months ago, i wrote about this new little japanese/french vegan deli/bakery that opened up in west los angeles on motor avenue called casa de tree. at the time of posting, the restaurant was the sister to the recently-closed torrance location, and didn’t offer a full menu yet…just a pay-by-weight salad and hot food bar with a few blackboard specials to choose from each day.

    3 months later, i am happy to announce that the west la casa de tree has expanded their menu and lowered their prices. these changes aren’t even reflected on the casa de tree website yet (most of the online info is out of date), so pay close attention to the prices and the menu that i will post below. not just that, but they wave before us the promise of their torrance location re-opening soon, which would be great news for the vegan community.

    i had the awesome opportunity to catch up at casa de tree with like-minded herbivores last weekend for an oh-so-fun and sporadic happycow.net meeting. now for all you vegan angelenos who want to know about these meetings in the future…just join happycow, leave some reviews, and specify that you want in on all the vegan shindig info for your area. this site is a great place to meet other veg-heads and stay abreast of all vegan/vegetarian-goings ons in yer area.

    that being said, the husband and i decided to have a slap-up feast, starting with the curry donut to share. as of recently, casa de tree offers several pastries…some savory and some sweet. so whether you are in the mood for an appetizer or dessert, they will definitely find a way to loosen your waistline.

    curry donut: vegan curry paste inside crunchy bread crumbed dough. $2.50

    curry donut: vegan curry paste inside crunchy bread crumbed dough. $2.50

    the curry donut was nothing short of exceptional. seriously, even though it took a bit long for them to heat it up behind the counter, one bite of it immediately launched casa de tree into the category of “favorite vegan restaurants, ever”. and that’s a bold statement. it was fried with little crumby edges…all crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. not just that, but it was ooooooooOOOOOOooozing with salty and chunky curry goodness.


    for my entree, i decided to order off the newly-introduced fixed menu. as i said, last time i went to casa de tree i was limited to the pay-by-weight buffet option, so on my recent trip i couldn’t help but test out one of the MANY BURGERS AND SANDWICHES they are now offering daily. not just that, but the meals are cheaper than they were even at the original torrance location. damn, i was having a fantasy menu field day when deciding what to order, there was so much awesomeness. i eventually settled on the katsu sandwich, which was a great choice.

    katsu sandwich: homemade organic seitan katsu, cabbage, mustard and italian miso sauce. served with salad and side dish. $8.95

    katsu sandwich: homemade organic seitan katsu, cabbage, mustard and italian miso sauce. served with salad and side dish. $8.95

    although it took way too long to arrive (maybe it just felt that way because all my fellow diners went with the buffet option), the katsu sandwich was totally worth it, and was a bargain at $8.95 with a salad and a side dish. the bread was remarkably soft and porous, the cabbage was fresh and crispy, the mustard was hot and tangy, and above all the seitan was crispy and just fatty enough. it was a sinful yet healthy tasting food, if you can imagine that…truly the best of both worlds. it came with a light and well-prepared salad as well as a cold and a creamy noodle dish which was packed with flavor. i’d order this again in a jiffy…after exploring the other amazing sounding sandwich and burger options, of course…


    sticking to tradition, my husband went with with the pay-by-weight buffet option, which is probably the most obvious thing to do at casa de tree (it isn’t exactly clear when you walk in that they have a proper menu). since our last visit, the restaurant has lowered their price to $7.99 per pound, the exact same price as whole foods, but with much MUCH better shit. he filled up on loads of salad, sushi, tofu steak hamburgers, deep fried jalapenos, vegetable gyoza, and potato cakes. it really is a little self-serve vegan paradise. just be aware that it will cost you!

    vegan buffet: $7.99 per pound.

    vegan buffet: $7.99 per pound.

    the buffet is a great option if you are feeling up for eating samples of 15 different things, but i think in the future i will order off the newly-available set menu at casa de tree. they really give you a lot of food for the (now lower) price, and although it takes a while longer, it is so worth it.

    check out the menu i’ve posted below. as i said, the items AND prices are different than the ones listed on the casa de tree website, which is well old and useless. also please note that casa de tree is CASH ONLY. if you come prepared with enough cash to foot the bill, this could easily be the best restaurant in los angeles. if you fill up on heavy shit from the buffet and get overcharged, then have to run to the atm…this could leave you with a very bad taste in your mouth. i hope my little hints will help you make the best of your experience.

    casa-de-tree-menu-1 casa-de-tree-menu-2

    casa de tree
    3741 motor ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90034

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  • February 18th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, nyala ethiopian

    with such a huge selection of local restaurants, being a vegan in los angeles is easy…but it sure isn’t cheap. most meals cost anywhere between 9-14 bucks, and if you are one to grab lunch from a restaurant during the workweek, this can add up really fast. luckily there is at least one place in this town where herbivores can get stuffed at lunch time without too much wallet damage—nyala ethioipian on fairfax has an all-you-can-eat vegan lunch special from 11:30am-3:30pm on weekdays for just $6.95. that’s right, for under 7 bucks you can eat all the ethiopian food you want, and it’s all animal-free. if i worked anywhere near this place, i’d probably be there every day.

    nyala vegan buffet $6.95

    nyala vegan buffet $6.95

    you may remember that i’ve written about ethiopian food before on this blog and described how most meals consist of several thick, spicy stews called wots and that are served on top of a large piece spongey sourdough bread called injera, with more rolls served on the side. traditionally you use the bread to scoop of bits of the wot and eat it, without any utensils. for the vegan buffet, nyala’s doesn’t serve the stew on injera (i guess that wouldn’t be practical for getting seconds), but they do offer plenty of bread on the side.


    i got my fill of spicy stews consisting of lentils, potatoes, assorted vegetables and greens. it was all absolutely delicious and i took extreme comfort in the fact that every single thing offered at the buffet was vegan. the bread worked well on the side, and was perfect for scooping up the thick wot. with so many different flavors of stew and the option to go back and get as much as you like, i can’t see how they keep this buffet under $7! seriously, it’s the best vegan lunch deal in this town that i’ve ever come across.

    the atmosphere is also quite lovely at nyala. the place is large and spacious, and has big windows that the sun shines through during the day. the booths are comfy and there’s a mix of modern and traditional ethiopian decor.


    so for a delicious and cheap vegan lunch that will stuff you to the gills, hit up nyala on fairfax for their weekday special. all those who work in the area, consider yourselves very lucky. i am just waiting for the next federal holiday so i can eat nyala’s lunch special again–president’s day this week was my first opportunity!


    nyala ethiopian
    1076 south fairfax avenue
    los angeles ca 90019


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