• November 1st, 2011quarrygirlhamburger hamlet, hugo's tacos, LA restaurants, two boots

    today is world vegan day, and to celebrate, a few places of town are offering up vegan specials! i’ll list the ones i know about, and if i miss anything, please leave it in the comments.

    hugo’s tacos is offering 20% off select items all day including burritos w/ soy chorizo or mixed vegetables, green tamales plain or w/ mixed veg topping or soy chorizo, salad, and frozato.

    two boots in echo park has launched a new v for vegan pizza, which comes with daiya cheese, artichokes, shiitakes, red onions, and basil & red pepper pesto.

    most surprisingly of all, hamburger hamlet is unveiling two new vegan options today: a portobello mushroom burger with all the fixins, along with ratatouille and basmati rice.

    so, game plan: breakfast burrito at hugo’s tacos, lunch at hamburger hamlet, pizza for dinner at two boots.

    let me know if i’m missing anything.

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  • October 13th, 2011quarrygirlbands, more restaurants (not LA), sacramento, vegan events

    finding vegan food can be hard sometimes, but imagine being a vegan musician on tour. shuffling around from city to city, being away from home, and dealing with the pressures of performing—all while trying to find 3 animal-free meals per day in uncharted territory. sounds challenging, eh? well that’s what alex estrada is up to right now, as his band silver snakes embarks on a 10 day tour from california to nevada, to washington and oregon and back again. for educational purposes, alex has agreed to document his vegan tour experience via text to me, and i’m gonna post it all here on the blog. the tour culminates here in LA with a CD release party on october 23rd, so i expect to see you all there after reading what’s gone into the silver snakes’ stomachs for ten days straight. if you aren’t familiar with silver snakes yet, check out their site, listen to them on spotify, and read up on them at peta2.

    their tour kicked off today in sacramento, and the band stopped off at a chipotle in lebec, CA for lunch, followed by some sugar plum vegan in sacramento for dinner. here are the photos, along with alex’s direct words via SMS.

    chipotle veggie bowl with extra beans, all the salsas, and extra corn tortillas

    California classic. Lebec, CA – chipotle veggie bowl. Extra beans, all the salsas, corn tortilla on the side. I have no idea where we are… I think we are by bakersfield.

    I found a place in Sacramento I want to try. I hope we make it in time! Dude I heard this place has a jackfruit/walnut tuna melt and animal style fries.. pray4me ;)…

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  • October 6th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, papa john's

    the other evening, i was feeling a little timesick and craving papa john’s pizza. it used to be my absolute favorite as a kid—probably because every pie came with it’s own pot of ridiculously rich garlic sauce. it was only relatively recently that i discovered the original crust, tomato sauce, and even the garlic dipping sauce (how is that even possible?) are all vegan. even with so many other fake cheese pizza options available in LA, i had to succumb to a throw back papa john’s friday night in front of the television.

    papa john's cheeseless pizza with tomatoes and portobellos. around $10?

    choosing a pizza wasn’t hard, because the topping selection at pj’s is rather limited. i went with a couple old favorites: tomato and mushroom, minus the cheese, extra sauce. i had a coupon, so i think the pizza came to around ten dollars—not bad considering a vegan cheese pie in this town is usually in the thirty buck range…

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  • September 24th, 2011quarrygirlbay area, more restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    a seagull with one leg on alcatraz!

    this post is like a joke with a crappy punch line. there’s no food at all (vegan or otherwise) on alcatraz island, and the stuff that’s available on the ferry is nothing to write home about. that being said, i’m sure some that someday a starving tourist who has skipped a meal will wind up in the long ass line to get a boat to the island, and search for vegan alcatraz options on their smart phone. it’s that person who this post is written for…because that’s EXACTLY what i went through a couple of months ago.

    i booked my alcatraz tickets way in advance (you have to—tours fill up quickly), i mapped out the appropriate public transport, and i allowed for enough time to eat breakfast at a nearby vegan-friendly restaurant. however, the bus was late and my plans were foiled. i boarded the alcatraz ferry hungry as fuck and was beyond relieved to see an old vegan standby staring me in the face.

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  • September 14th, 2011quarrygirlcheesecake factory, LA restaurants

    ah, vegan chain dining! we don’t like it…but sometimes we just gotta do it. it may not be the best meal in the world, but it’s worth noting that the cheesecake factory has at least one decent vegan option.

    thai lettuce wraps (no chicken!): carrots, bean sprouts, coconut curry noodles and lettuce leaves. served with peanut, red chili, and tamarind cashew sauce. $12.95

    you’d think that a restaurant with a menu the size of a college text book would have more to offer us, but sadly their best vegan option is the thai lettuce wraps, minus the chicken. the dish comes stacked with fresh vegetables, noodles, and an assortment of sauces for you to assemble yourself. fun!

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  • August 21st, 2011quarrygirllas vegas, more restaurants (not LA)

    we may not like it, but on occasion we vegans have to travel to unvegan-friendly places or dine out with omnivores…and sometimes we find ourselves at the most dreaded establishments of all: chain restaurants. don’t fret though, team QG is here to help! here at the blog we are committed to helping vegans find edible food at “normal restaurants”. we’ve covered fast food joints like chipotle and baja fresh, as well as higher brow chains like CPK and macaroni grill. today we’re all about the super tasty and vegan-friendly il fornaio.

    if you haven’t been to il fornaio yet, you are missing out on one of the best vegan chain dining experiences available. their freshly baked ciabatta is unmatched, and it’s FREE with every meal. not just that, but their vegan options are plentiful…

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  • July 13th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, starbucks

    although starbucks outlets in the UK have catered to vegans for years (the falafel panini doesn’t suck!), the stores in the united states have always been lacking in animal-free food options…until now.

    according to the starbucks website, they currently offer a “sesame noodles bento box”. while the meal doesn’t explicitly say “vegan” on it, the ingredients are posted and they all check out. have a look…

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  • January 28th, 2011quarrygirlbj's brewhouse, LA restaurants

    UPDATED 2/01/11: we tracked down the makers of the buttery “phase oil” that bj’s uses on their pizza, and the stuff is 100% vegan! we are good to go. as long as you order your pizza w/o cheese, you should be safe.

    UPDATED 01/28/2011: HUGE UPDATE, people! mr. wishbone got on the case and found out some new info. you need to SPECIFY THAT YOU ARE VEGAN when you order this pizza and ask for it NOT to be brushed with butter. the pizza crust comes butter brushed by default, but BJ’s can sub olive oil instead. so be careful!

    we’ve blogged about cheeseless vegan pizza at restaurant chains—from cpk here at home, to pizza express across the pond—and i can say without a doubt that the deep dish at bj’s brewhouse takes it to a whole new level. they’ve got locations scattered all over the country, so even if you live in a town where pizzerias don’t carry vegan cheese, you can still celebrate vegan pizza day at bj’s!

    we have been going to bj’s for ages just to drink (did i mention they also brew amazing vegan-friendly beer on site?), but never thought to ask about food options until recently when we attended a celebration there for my mom’s 65th birthday. i emailed the restaurant in advance to suss out the vegan situation, and a very nice man named david got back to me with a handy allergen PDF. he also assured me that both the normal crust and gluten-free crust, as well as the sauce at bj’s contain no animal products…so we should be safe ordering cheeseless pizza. and that’s exactly what we did.

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  • January 13th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, red brick pizza

    holy shit guys, the vegan pizza revolution is underway! the other day i was getting ready for vegan pizza day and browsing their website for pizzerias that sell vegan pie. i coudn’t believe my eyes when i clicked on the valencia tab and saw that red brick pizza (the huge chain) is now offering daiya.

    please note: this is not a red brick pizza, it's a daiya publicity photo

    in disbelief, i picked up the phone and called the red brick pizza on copper hill in santa clarita. sure enough the dude on the phone confirmed that they had just started carrying daiya, and that both the standard crust and sauce were vegan. i hung up and called the pasadena location. they had daiya as well. i hung up and called the long beach location. they were out of daiya, but would be getting more soon.

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  • January 11th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    As a London-resident lacto-ovo vegetarian for decades, I’d always enjoy a trip to Pizza Express. The stone cold marble tables, tiled floor and dim halogen lighting set an urban chic vibe alongside some amazing pizza offerings, many of which are vegetarian. Re-visiting Pizza Express, though, as a vegan required some reorientation with both the the menu and ordering tradition.

    Pizza Express uses a brick oven and hand creates all its dough from scratch daily, as well as preparing fresh ingredients for all the pizzas. The menu often changes, but there is a common core of excellent pizzas, and many of the famous stables (like my old favorite, the Fiorentina) are vegetarian. As any vegan knows, it’s MUCH easier to engineer vegan options from a strongly lacto-ovo menu than it is to try and eke out a vegan existence in a very meat-friendly establishment.

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  • January 10th, 2011quarrygirlchipotle, LA restaurants

    we will miss you, garden blend!

    this is sad news indeed! after a trial run period that lasted about 8 months, we’ve heard that chipotle has decided to pull the plug on gardein and stop offering the vegan garden blend option at most of its LA locations.

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  • December 15th, 2010quarrygirlcalifornia pizza kitchen, LA restaurants

    i think it’s great when huge chain restaurants make the effort to have vegan-friendly items on their menu, and that’s exactly what california pizza kitchen has done. we checked out cpk at the beverly center recently, and i’m happy to report that it was super easy to order a ton of animal-free food, and everything we ate was delicious.

    i can imagine that for people who live in some parts of the country, cpk is a godsend…not every city is like los angeles, with a vegan restaurant on every corner. cpk has hundreds of locations all over the country, and they’ve clearly posted their vegetarian and vegan information online for everyone to see. i love that they’ve done that! it saves all the guesswork of quizzing the waiters and/or emailing the corporate office.

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  • November 19th, 2010quarrygirlbaja fresh, LA restaurants

    UPDATE 11/22: people are pretty divided on this churro issue. i am gonna let y’all do your own research on this one!

    UPDATE 11/22: after some sleuthing, it would appear as though churros at baja fresh are NOT vegan. look for the **** at the very bottom of the post for more info.

    UPDATE 11/19: the churros at baja fresh are VEGAN as well! 🙂

    i don’t usually jump at the chance to eat out at chain fast food restaurants, but it’s always nice to know when they have vegan options.

    recently we were checking out a movie at the arclight, and had to find somewhere to grab a super quick lunch before the show. we haven’t been to baja fresh in years, so we decided to give their vegan options a whirl. i was pleasantly surprised by how decent it was, by how much food we got for $8, and by their epic all you can eat salsa bar. honestly, anywhere with a bottomless salsa bar is alright in my book.

    here’s a quick rundown of what’s vegan at baja fresh…

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  • September 8th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, p.f. chang's

    i can’t say that we’ve eaten at pf chang’s very much since our last somewhat damning post on the chain restaurant, but we have been back a few times. if you are dining out with omnivores, or are in a city without much vegan food, pf chang’s can be a life saver. they’ve got locations all over the country, and some decent animal-free options. in fact their entire vegetarian menu is free of animal ingredients, and might be considered vegan, depending on whether or not you eat bone char sugar.

    buddha's feast: vegetable medley with five-spice tofu served steamed or stir-fried.

    i contacted pf chang’s recently to find out exactly what was vegan on their menu, and within a few hours, i got the following response:

    “Thank you for your note and inquiry! There are a couple of items on our menu that are vegan and others that can be, when modified. If cane sugar is not an issue for you, I recommend any items from our “Vegetarian Plates and Sides” and vegetarian marked menu items. If cane sugar is an issue, I recommend the following:

    Steamed Buddha’s Feast – you can add soft tofu or pressed tofu to this dish.

    Stir-Fried Spinach – garlic, salt and pepper. You can add soft tofu or pressed tofu to this dish.

    Garlic Snap Peas – garlic, salt and pepper. You can add soft tofu or pressed tofu to this dish.

    You can also order any vegetable or tofu with a modified sauce. Please ask to speak to a manager and they will be happy to accommodate you accordingly. I hope this information is helpful.

    Thanks and have a wonderful day!”

    excellent! so basically all the vegetarian dishes are safe to eat, unless you wanna avoid bone char sugar. then you can stick with buddha’s feast, the spinach, and the snap peas.

    we hit up pf chang’s recently to give the vegan dishes another whirl, and while i wasn’t blown away by the food, it wan’t as bad as i remember it. i got the steamed buddha’s feast, pictured above, which is basically a big old lump of vegetables and sliced tofu. it was tasty and well-prepared, but definitely something i could make at home.

    spinach stir-fried with garlic: the name says it all!

    we also got the spinach stir-fried with garlic to share, which was great. again, a pretty standard dish that i could probably re-create.

    ma po tofu: sichuan's famous dish of crispy silken tofu in a vegetarian sauce with steamed broccoli

    my husband ordered the ma po tofu (which contains the evil sugar), and it was by far the best dish on the table. the tofu is just cooked so nicely, all crispy and gooey on the outside and so soft in the middle. plus, it comes with a ton of steamed broccoli.

    although pf chang’s uses the bad sugar, i’m super stoked that their entire vegetarian menu is free of dairy and eggs. they do have an egg noodle dish, but the menu doesn’t specify it as vegetarian…so that’s cool. so if you are in a pinch, pf chang’s is a great chain to hit up, unlike most chinese restaurants where the only vegetarian option looks like this:

    check out pf chang’s website for locations.

    PS: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BONE CHAR SUGAR? i’m curious. because we all love ronald’s donuts, right? they use bone char sugar. so does zpizza, i think. and i bet sriracha does too. check out this forum thread and chime in.

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  • August 2nd, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants

    chain dining. most of us have to do it sometimes, and for vegans it can be difficult. luckily for us though, the international chain romano’s macaroni grill can serve up a more than decent animal-free meal.

    i have written about macaroni grill before, but since then they have added a whole “vegetarian options” section to there website, that is constantly updated with which foods do and don’t contain animal products. they’ve even got handy little indicators to let you know which items contain eggs “(E)”, dairy “(D)”, and honey “(H)”. this pdf is a vegan’s dream come true. just be sure to check it before each visit to the restaurant, because it changes constantly.

    on our recent trip to macaroni grill in westlake village, we started with a huge hunk of peasant bread, some olive oil, and red wine. the bread at this place is so damn good, i could probably make a meal of it alone….however that would be a bit rude, considering it’s free and all.

    create your own pasta: penne, arrabbiata, fresh broccoli, fresh mushrooms, fresh spinach.

    for our entree, we both went with the “create your own pasta.” with this dish you get to customize your meal any way you want it, from the sauce, to the noodles, to the vegetables. after consulting with the vegetarian guide and letting our waitress know we were vegan, i ordered mine with penne pasta, arrabbiata sauce, broccoli, mushrooms, and spinach. all the ingredients were fresh and tasty—i really can’t complain!

    create your own pasta with spaghetti, olive oil, grape tomatoes, fresh broccoli, fresh spinach.

    my husband ordered his “create your own” dish with spaghetti, garlic and olive oil sauce, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach. i tried a bit of this, and it was fantastic—even better than what i ordered. it’s kinda sad though, because the “garlic and olive oil” sauce is now missing from macaroni grill’s online menu. hopefully they haven’t discontinued it forever, because it really was their best vegan sauce. anyways, if you see it—it’s a good bet!

    overall, i wouldn’t recommend vegans seek out macaroni grill and eat there…but if you are stuck in a small town, or dining with omnivores, at least they have some good pasta options. just be sure to examine the vegetarian guide and allergen info…!

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