• November 2nd, 2011mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), portland

    Back in 2009, we raved like it was 1986 about Portobello restaurant in Portland. Back then, it was a sort-of popup affair, taking over the space of a small east-side coffee shop after hours, and opening its doors to hungry patrons who usually had to book way in advance. Although our experience was stellar, we’d heard that other visitors had suffered from long waits, and the restaurant had a propensity to run out of some food items early on in the evening.

    Clearly, there was a supply and demand mismatch so something had to happen. In mid-2010 we were delighted to hear that Portobello had graduated from the intimate coffee shop and had moved into a proper space of its own, with a high-budget build-out, new chefs and a much larger staff.

    It was, then, with some trepidation that we made reservations to visit the “new” Portobello on a recent trip to Portland. After all, would its newfound influx of cash and staff affect its food? Would its new location lack the atmosphere of the old one? Would the gnocchi be as chewy and the bread be as crispy as before?

    Well, to cut a long story slightly less long we were even more delighted with the new Portobello than we were with the old one. Yes, in many ways it’s like eating at a different restaurant, but the owners have clearly maintained what’s good about the original concept and expanded it into a broader, more capable offering that moves it several notches higher in the all-vegan fine dining league table.

    The new location is in a modern strip mall in a faintly industrial area much further south than before. Across the street is a machine tool shop, and in the same parking lot is a large beer store, as well as an acupuncture clinic. Even for typically diverse PDX, this is quite varietal.

    Of course, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but the inside is what counts. It seems that no expense has been spared to create a wonderful dining experience. Dark woods, steel and concrete and floral designs come together perfectly to create an ambience somewhere between a casual cafe and upscale restaurant…

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  • October 25th, 2011quarrygirldoomie's, LA restaurants

    the other day i hit up doomie’s with my better half to prove to him that i wasn’t lying about the insane vegan big mac on the secret menu. thankfully the restaurant is still serving up the double decker sandwiches to customers in the know, and we were able to score one…

    vegan big mac with fries. $10.95

    my second vegan big mac experience was just as good as the first, and i feel the need to re-iterate that i think this is the best fast food style burger by far in LA, and maybe even the whole world. i’ve never had anything like it. the combination of the fat soy beefy patties and doomie’s homemade cheddar-style cheese is a beautiful one. plus they have all the big mac details down, from the shredded lettuce to the diced onions to the sesame seed bun and the flavors in the sauce.

    we also grabbed a philly cheesesteak sandwich (without bell peppers)…

    vegan philly cheesesteak: strips of beef smothered in homemade vegan cheese with grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms. $8.95

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  • October 18th, 2011quarrygirldoomie's, LA restaurants

    *for an explanation on the secret menu, scroll to the bottom of the post.

    oh god doomie’s, are you trying to kill me? i stopped in the other day and inquired about their current “secret menu*” (something ALWAYS worth doing when dining there), and they pointed me towards a brand new vegan big mac. i can say without hesitation that this was the most gigantic, delicious, ridiculous burger i’ve ever eaten. nothing else comes close. if you’re feeling like having a healthy, light-eating day, stay away from this thing. if you want the a vegan burger that you’ll remember for years to come, proceed.

    vegan big mac with fries. $10.95

    this thing was what a real big mac should look like (massive, not smashed the way fast food always is), except it was 100% vegan. two huge beefy patties, tons of melty vegan cheese (look at it in the bottom left of the picture!), creamy special sauce, lettuce, onion, (i got mine w/o pickles), double bread, and a sesame seed bun. we all know how much i love doomie’s, but they’ve really outdone themselves this time. get over there and beg them to let you try it.

    but wait, there’s more…

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  • October 2nd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    listen up, parents! take your kids to any veggie grill location this monday october 3rd and try their brand new kids’ meal v-burger on the house.

    this is a normal sized v-burger at veggie grill

    i haven’t tried the new kids’ burger, because i’m way over 12 years old…but if it’s anything like their normal v-burger, i’m sure it’s fantastic. here’s the official VG description of the burger:

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  • September 19th, 2011quarrygirlblue palms brewhouse, LA restaurants

    i love pubbin’, i love grubbin’, and blue palms in hollywood is the perfect place for both.

    we’ve been fans of the craft beer bar since it opened 3 years ago (the draught selection is bonkers!!!), and back in 2008 we sang the praises of their blackened tofu platter. i’m happy to report that since then, their cruelty-free options have expanded to include several field roast sausages and a veganizable homemade veggie burger. of course when i heard about all this, i rushed over to check it out.

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  • June 7th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, tony's darts away

    great news, peeps! staring this weekend tony’s darts away, LA’s very own vegan-friendly pub, will offer specialty burgers on sundays on a bi-weekly basis.

    vegan burger and beer: you complete me.

    photo by kat nguyen

    that means every other sunday, they’ll have a different vegan burger available to wash down with one of their many tasty california craft brews. this week’s burger sounds awesome. it’s only tuesday, and i’m already jonesing for it…

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  • June 2nd, 2011quarrygirldoomie's, LA restaurants

    check out today’s special at doomie’s home cookin’

    Guacamole and bacon burger for $8.95!! Make it a double burger for $3 and/or have it with onion rings for $1!

    go get it!

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  • May 18th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    update 5/18/11: turns out the “soy bacon” on the village natural burger isn’t vegan! the restaurant is aware of this and is supposedly changing the menu. full update at the bottom of the post. meanwhile: beware.


    hey guys! i’m happy to announce we have a field report today from a legit writer—can you believe it? simon goddard, music journalist extraordinaire and author of the mozipedia (one of our favorite books, look!), penned us this post about his culinary adventures in manhattan. from pizza and burgers to vegan fish and chips…i want it all. enjoy!

    Oh, New York! It’s a bit of a temptress. I’m a fiercely loyal Londoner and still every time I set foot in Manhattan I have my doubts as to which is the greatest city on earth. As the song goes, I like the sight, the sound and even the stink of it. In London we have signs which read “No parking, clamping in operation.” In Manhattan they have signs which read “Don’t even THINK of parking here.” Therein lies the singular genius of New York, a masterpiece of concrete, clay and invincible human character.

    I digress. I was lucky enough to be working there again this month so promised the estimable Quarrygirl I’d scribble some words for her blog about a few of the nicer things I put in my mouth. And here they are. Whenever in New York, I almost always end up in Greenwich Village at some point, if only for a sneaky stroke of the Bleecker Street Records cat (irresistible) or to marvel at the 300 year-old English Elm in Washington Square (unbelievable). So for all similarly besotted cat-botherers and tree-huggers who may find themselves in the area hankering for impeccable death-free nibbles, here are three personal recommendations.

    Village Natural

    For years this has been my favourite vegetarian spot in New York, even if I’ve always been in the daytime when it’s fairly quiet and “vibes” are minimal (it’s a bit “yoga” if you know what I mean) but the food seldom disappoints. It’s Vietnamese-owned though the menu ranges from Asian to salads, burgers and Mexican dishes. I’ve tried various mains here, but you can’t beat the burgers.

    Black Bean Bacon Burger: Vegan. A delightfully unique veggie burger topped with guacamole, crispy soy bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and onion. $9.50

    My favourite is this black-bean burger. It comes open with a dollop of guacamole, a generous fresh salad topped with a strip of crispy veggie bacon***(read update below) brought vigorously to life by a side of orange and ginger dressing. As a meal it strikes a perfect balance between guilty “bad” burger food (and it is a glorious big, flat, more-ish monster of a burger) and enriching “good” healthy salad: you definitely don’t miss fries.

    The only disappointment this visit was dessert. In the past they’ve done the most amazing vegan tiramisu, probably the best I’ve ever tasted and one that I’ve all but sadistically enthused about to Quarrygirl to jealousy-inducing extremes. Alas, for whatever reason it wasn’t an option on the blackboard this time. To compensate, I ordered the vegan mocha pie which looked like this:

    Mocha Pie. $4.95

    It had a porridgy-base, a chalky texture and altogether tasted like somebody had dropped a triangle of brown shoe polish on some oatmeal, then tried to make it smell better by administering a few extra squirts of Tweed by Lentheric. That is, it was cloggy with a wretched perfumed hue and not remotely mocha-ish. If their tiramisu was a 10, the mocha pie just scraped a 2. But despite this Hindenburg of sweet catastrophes, the sometimes slow-to-react zombiefied waiters and the sad fact they serve a handful of fish options, I still rate this place highly. I just pray they get that tiramisu back on their menu before I next darken its door.

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  • April 4th, 2011quarrygirljuicy ladies, LA restaurants

    over the weekend we visited one of the few vegan restaurants in los angeles we hadn’t been to yet, juicy ladies. it’s actually more of a juice bar or take out place than a proper restaurant, with a counter to order at and seating inside for maybe 5 or 6 people. we arrived at around 11am and were lucky enough to snag one of the few tables.

    juicy ladies may be small in size, but the menu is mighty with a great selection of breakfast items, salads, bowls and sandwiches. there’s also a full on juice and smoothie menu as well as a fridge full of grab and go meals for people in a hurry.

    juicy special burger: black bean and brown rice patty, lettuce, pickles, tomato, thousand island dressing, grilled onions and tapioca cheese on a whole wheat bun. served with mixed greens. $10.25

    my husband ordered the juicy special burger and had no complaints…

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  • March 21st, 2011quarrygirlrecipes, vegan cheese

    what you sick people come here for.

    today, ladies and gentlemen, alex estrada brings us the vegan double double burger.

    double meat, double cheese, no animal products. it can be done. thanks, alex! ingredients are after the jump…

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  • February 16th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, the counter

    if you live in los angeles, you’ve probably heard of the counter, a super popular burger joint with several locations and loads of quality beer on tap.

    lucky for us herbivore folks, the veggie burger patty at the counter is vegan…and even though the buns are not, you can opt for your burger in a bowl atop a salad. normally, we wouldn’t be thrilled by this option, but the killer draught list inspired us to check the counter out.

    we hit up the brand new wilshire location over the weekend and were pleasantly surprised…

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  • February 5th, 2011quarrygirlaustin, more restaurants (not LA)

    hey everyone, time for another field report by bess from i dream of greenie! today she reviews vegetarian restaurant mother’s cafe and garden in austin, texas…and all i know is now i’m absolutely dying to go there and grub up on burgers and mexican food. seriously looking into texas flights. check it out:

    While on a recent trip to Austin, I had the pleasure of eating some of the best vegan meals I have ever had. In fact, I am still riding on a food high from the meal I ate at Mother’s Café and Garden.

    This fully vegetarian spot (with almost everything veganize-able) was almost not on our meal itinerary (yes I plan out the restaurants before we arrive), but the place we were planning to eat at was closed on Monday (Beets Café, I’ll hit you up next time). However, our omni host was quick tor recommend Mother’s and all I can say is that I am forever grateful to her for this recommendation…

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  • January 18th, 2011quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    …well, almost all vegan! this week chili addiction rolled out a brand new “vegan menu,” although there are a couple clearly marked real-dairy-vegetarian items on it including mac n cheese and cornbread muffins. other than that though, it looks epic! the lists of vegan dogs, burgers, and sausages are HUGE compared to what they used to be!

    quarrygirl: our fantastic vegan burger topped with homemade sauerkraut. $10

    a few of the new vegan items include the quarrygirl burger (pictured above) which was a previous special, the buffalo wing dog, and the jalapeno magic sausage. i can’t wait to go try all this stuff. check the new menu here.

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  • January 13th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Back in the early 80s I lived in Camden Town, North London. It was a wonderful place to be. I could (and did) pop to the Camden Palais to see The Smiths perform. I nightclubbed there with Blondie, Ringo Starr and even Iggy Pop (but I don’t recall much of that evening…).

    Camden is known mainly for its street market which, back then, was only open on Sundays. Unless you were visiting specifically for the market it was best to avoid the whole area, as thousands of Londoners and tourists would descend, rendering it impassable for everybody else. Nowadays, the laws of supply and demand have prevailed and Camden Market has expanded to about two square miles with hundreds of stalls and FIVE dedicated food areas. The market is also open seven days a week, and now sells everything from boots to boiled bagels.

    Sometimes when we visit London, we stay in Camden – it’s convenient for getting around and the late night scene (although no longer at the now-defunct Camden Palais) means that there are plenty of bars and clubs open to the wee hours. One of our favorite places to chill is in the Hawley Arms, the world-famous watering hole oft-frequented by Amy Winehouse, Blur, Oasis (of course, never at the same time) and Alice Cooper, to name but a few.

    Steps away from the Hawley Arms is the northern part of the market which is built under old railway arches and a train repair shop right by the canal. The place is beautiful, and really worth a trip when you go. We visited a few vegan places there last autumn, but none was more memorable (in the worst way possible) than Ha Ha Veggie Bar.

    Ha Ha Veggie Bar is the stand on the right, with the menu written in green

    We showed up mid-morning just as the market was getting going for the day and were greeted in a somewhat sullen manner by the lady serving at the counter. After establishing that nearly everything was vegan (other than the real cheese option), we ordered the Garlic Home Made Veggie Burger, which she prepared on a hot grill inside the stand right in front of us using fresh ingredients. After a wait of about 10 minutes we were handed a plump, juicy burger with grilled onions, crunchy lettuce and wonderful vegan garlic mayo. I’m glad we ordered only one to share, because it was way too big for one person to eat alone.

    Vegan Burger with Garlic Mayo, Lettuce and Onion. ₤3

    After we finished the burger, I returned to the stand to thank the server and take a couple of pictures (from a distance) ready to blog my guts out about how wonderful the experience had been…

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  • December 20th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    the moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here! as of today, the latest veggie grill location is now open in santa monica. this place is EXACTLY what the west side needs.

    as you probably know, veggie grill has already got a number of locations scattered around socal (the closest to me being the one in west hollywood), and they serve up healthy and delicious alternatives to fast food. their menu packs everything from soups and salads to nachos and burgers…even kids meals and desserts! we were invited over the weekend to check out the new restaurant during a special complimentary “sneak peek” lunch, and i’m happy to report that the food was fantastic and the space was beautiful.

    we started with a plate of “chill out wings,” which were to die for…

    chill out wings: bite sized chillin’ chickin’ served with dipping sauces.

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