we are self-proclaimed vegan pizza addicts, and our favorite place to get it at the moment is pizza guru in santa barbara. we love pizza guru so much, in fact, that in january we made the 90 mile drive up the coast just to eat dinner there and celebrate vegan pizza day. thankfully, we found a great table in the corner, made ourselves comfy, and spent a few hours leisurely dining.
considering it was a holiday and all, we decided to go all out. garlic bread, pizza, calzones, and of course, lots of alcohol. we stared with a huge plate of daiya covered bread (pictured above) and a pitcher of firestone union jack (pictured below). the bread was nothing short of phenomenal—moist, spongy, and packed with garlic flavor. just be sure to specify that you want it made vegan, because by default it comes with dairy cheese.
firestone walker on draught never disappoints, and it was perfect for soaking up all the greasy bread. i love that this place does beer by the pitcher…it’s not something i get to enjoy with vegan pizza very often.
next up, THE PIZZA:
good god, this was the most fantastic pizza i’ve ever tasted.Tags: beer, calzone, pizza, santa barbara
we told you a few days ago that cruzer pizza in los feliz would be making the leap to become a 100% vegan pizzeria, and as of yesterday they have officially stopped selling animal products! i stopped by on cruzer’s first night of being an animal-free establishment and they even let me test some products and start designing my very own “quarrygirl pizza” to appear on their january menu!
although they don’t offer it now, cruzer was experimenting with some italian field roast sausage in the kitchen last night. this is one of my favorite fake meats ever, so i had to use it as a topping on the quarrygirl pizza.
other toppings included two types of marinated mushrooms…
daiya cheese, garlic, and plenty of olive oil…
i even got to put this in the oven myself and see it through the whole process!
the pizza came out absolutely wonderful. it was very rich and greasy, with a heavy mushroom taste and crispy crumbled sausage. there was no tomato sauce on it, but rather an oil base. by the time this actually ends up on cruzer’s menu, the sauce and flavors will be more sophisticated….but hey, it was great for a first try!
while i was at cruzer, i also got to make a gluten-free pizza and test that out. i must admit, it was pretty damn good! the g-f pizzas are smaller and the crust is much crispier, but i quite enjoyed it.
it was great hanging out at cruzer on their first night as a vegan pizzeria, and hearing all the orders come in. there were even a few people that called up for meat pizzas, and ended up trying out the vegan ones instead! so awesome. although cruzer is using daiya, gardein, and yves products right now, they are looking to expand and carry a variety of vegan cheeses as well as other mock meats. stay tuned, because i have a feeling that their menu is going to get really fucking interesting. until then, go support cruzer anyway. hooray for LA’s first and only vegan pizza place!
oh and BTW, now you can follow cruzer on twitter!
cruzer pizzaTags: calzone, cruzer, los feliz, pizza
4449 Prospect Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
did you know: not only does portland oregon have a billion rad vegan eateries, vegan options at almost every restaurant, and loads of vegan-friendly pubs—the city also has its very own vegan strip mall. sounds too good to be true, right?
southeast stark street in portland boasts the neat row of vegan businesses pictured above which from left to right include sweetpea baking company, herbivore clothing, food fight grocery and scapegoat tattoo. on our recent visit to portland, we hit up each one of these places (other than the tattoo parlor) and filled up on some hardcore veganocity for the journey home.
sweetpea baking company was our first stop. the 100% vegan bakery was (i believe) the first of its kind on the west coast, and the staff was super friendly and helpful. having already eaten lunch, and gearing up for our return to LA, we grabbed a dinner to eat on the go at the airport. it’s a good thing we did too, because our flight ended up being delayed!
we started with a pepperoni calzone, which came with thick spicy slices of seitan in a doughy pastry shell. meant to be enjoyed warm, this calzone was still delicious unheated.
we also shared a seitan sandwich, which was the perfect grab-n-go treat. fresh bread, creamy dressing, and fat chunks of savory wheat meat. perfection! next time i visit portland, i will definitely grab some actual baked treats from sweetpea. but i can tell you, if you don’t have a chance to try their cookies or muffins, the sandwiches and calzones are awesome as well.
next we hit up herbivore, an ultra rad vegan clothing company that sells a wide array of shirts, hoodies, and stickers. we bought some rags that would help us promote veganism everywhere, as well as a shirt to support bj and alex. the staff was polite, the clothes were great, and i felt extra good about spending money at this place.
lastly we hit up food fight, which is basically a small completely vegan convenience store. they had loads of vegan meats, vegan cheeses, canned goods, as well as steamed tofurky sausages. we bought some bacon cheezly, which turned out to be exceptional, and were on our way.
so let’s just say the vegan strip mall in portland is all around awesome. you can eat a fresh cupcake, buy a new vegan hoodie, stock up on faux meat, and get some vegan ink…without traveling more than 300 feet. i can’t wait to return.Tags: calzone, cheezly, clothing, food fight, herbivore, oregon, portland, sandwich, sweetpea baking
I discovered my love of vegetables as a toddler ‘helping’ my grandfather plant and dig potatoes, carrots and green beans in his small suburban garden. Although he passed away when I was only two years of age, his passion for growing things, and glee when he held vegetables he was responsible for producing was an early part of my subsequent vegetarian commitment, and reinforced my transition into the Vegan world some years later.
For me, it’s therefore very fitting that the one of the UK’s few entirely vegetarian pubs should be called The Gardener’s Arms, and my love of the great institution that is the English Pub is no secret! So, imagine how pleased I was on a recent trip home to be able to visit The Gardener’s Arms, and I enjoyed absolutely wonderful vegan pub food like never before.
Now, vegan dining in the UK is fairly ubiquitous — there are lots and lots of great vegan, or vegan-friendly restaurants to frequent (usually before or after a visit to a pub). With The Gardener’s Arms, though, you get the entire experience all rolled into one. On a basic level, The Gardener’s Arms is a traditional English Pub, complete with fireplaces, friendly bar staff, comfortable couches and even a house dog that had its very own chair to sit on!
However, the menu is entirely vegetarian and most dishes either come vegan or can be prepared vegan upon request. The menu is an interesting intersection of traditional pub fayre – burgers, sausages, chips (fries for you Americans), pies and vegetables – and exotic stuff like Thai curry, Tapas and Flatbread Calzone.
Well, after a long day of driving in the rain we were completely famished so were ready to pig out and drink up. The restaurant part of the pub is officially called “The Garden”, but it’s fully integrated into the pub so you can order everything from the bar.
In the usual style, we started off with a couple of choice ales, before ordering a combination of traditional pub food and a couple of dishes from the more eclectic side of the menu. I almost had to pinch myself when I inquired if the food contained dairy or egg – I got a kinda snooty “of course, your food is entirely vegan”, which to me is always a good sign. Indignation over an accusation of dairy/egg content is one great litmus test of how serious a place about catering for vegans.
Anyway, on to the food. We started with Garlic Flatbread and a Side Salad with Pita. Well, OMG! The Garlic Flatbread was crispy on the outside (clearly griddled with some form of vegan butter), but creamy on the inside, just like it is supposed to be. We ate it so quickly, but I can still remember the taste and texture: Perfectly garlicky, crunchy and gooey. I think it’s the best garlic bread I’ve eaten since becoming vegan.
The Side Salad deserves little mention, because it was exactly what you’d expect: crunchy, fresh salad with olives and pita bread.
Moving on to the main dishes, my burger and fries were awesome. Served in a floury bap with all the trimmings, it wasn’t fancy or anything — in fact, its simplicity and “back to basics” approach (as you can see in the picture) were its defining characteristics. Yeah, it had fries too, and they were surprisingly clean tasting — clearly because they were never fried in the same oil as chicken, fish and god knows what in that contamination tank called a “deep fat fryer”.
Our other main dish was the Flat Bread Vegetable Calzone. The bad news is that is looked like a repeat of the Garlic Flatbread – I mean, it was a doppelganger for our appetizer visually, but tasted quite different. It had, like, a million vegetables in it with that similar creamy sauce as the Garlic Flatbread, but the end result was a completely different type of taste. Even though it didn’t claim to have any kind of vegan cheese inside, it had a most cheesy kind of texture, something that’s rare for us vegans.
For most visitors to the UK, The Gardener’s Arms is off the beaten track on the outskirts of Oxford, some 60 miles outside London. If you find yourself with a spare day in London, Oxford makes a nice day trip (the train journey is about an hour), and it really is a beautiful town with lots to see and do. If you’re looking for a bit of Old England, with great vegan food you might not find better than The Gardener’s Arms.
Map of the pub after the jump.Tags: beer, burger, calzone, england, pita, pub food, salad
There’s a Piazza in Rome with a small pizza house in it called “American Pizza Company”. It always makes me chuckle whenever I walk by – the terms “ice to eskimos”, “coal to Newcsatle” and “pizza to Roma” all imply the duplicative, perhaps unwanted and inferior activity of taking something to somewhere where there’s already plenty of it there.
Now, while Americans don’t (Chicago pizza aside) have much to teach the Italians about making pizza, they did invent an interesting variation called a “Calzone”. When we in the west adapt a food item from another culture we instantly give it an overly authentic name, hence “Calzone” – can’t sound more Italian than that. We British did the same thing with Vindaloo – a fictitious “Indian” curry based upon, of all things, a Portuguese recipe.
Anyway, while there are plenty of vegan pizza recipes around I thought it would be fun to set about creating a vegan calzone recipe, in honor of the American Pizza Company which serves a damn good, albeit non-vegan calzone.
A calzone is basically a pizza folded in half with lots of extra ‘toppings’ tucked inside. The secret to a properly prepared calzone is to get the crust just right, and then shove in as many toppings as you can without the thing bursting or leaking while it’s being baked.Tags: calzone, recipe, teese
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