• 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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  • Okay, so we’ve already posted about the best vegan and best vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles, but sometimes we vegans HAVE to eat in omnivorous restaurants. That’s a part of life. What’s interesting, though, is when we find meat-serving restaurants that we WANT to eat in. That’s a whole different story, and LA has a few outstanding omnivorous establishments that go out of their way to cater to vegans. Here are our favorites, updated from last year’s list.

    Tony’s Darts Away

    The first time I heard about Tony’s Darts Away, I thought somebody was messing with me. I mean, a craft beer bar with an over 50% vegan menu? C’mon, people, who are you kidding? When I stepped into Tony’s on the night it opened I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I was awake and not dreaming. First off there was a HUGE selection of California craft beers, including many of my favorites and some that I’m very glad to have discovered. Next up, there’s a menu with a ton of awesome vegan offerings including a build-your-own vegan dog with three different sausage flavors.

    Vegan Italian Sausage with slow-grilled onions, sauerkraut, Vegenaise, and aoili at Tony's Darts Away

    Seriously, what better way to wash down some awesome vegan food than with an equally awesome craft beer? Tony’s Darts Away is one of the best places to open in Los Angeles in years. Vegans, omnivores and everything in between should not hesitate to check it out.


    Chili Addiction

    Although firmly omnivorous with its menu items, Chili Addiction is a vegan’s delight in every way. At any given time there will be at least two vegan chili dishes available, and the selection of vegan dogs, burgers, sorbets, fries and plain ol’ chili is to die for. This is one of those places where everything on the menu is so good that you have real trouble deciding what to order. I usually go for an order of Chili Mac, and a dog or burger sometimes with a side of chili fries to share, and everything I’ve ever had has been top notch.

    Chili Mac at Chili Addiction

    In fact, I think Chef Johnny, co-owner and genius behind the award-winning dishes at Chili Addiction, could be one of the most talented and under-rated chefs working in LA right now. If he’s in the counter-service restaurant when you visit, he’ll happily give you a taste of anything on the menu as well as run you through the ingredients and even explain the concept behind the dish. On a recent visit I enjoyed some amazing hominy chili while Chef Johnny explained how he had come up with the recipe and how he was challenged to get the hominy texture “just right”. On another occasion, I enjoyed the best vegan sorbet of my life, and Chef Johnny took delight in telling me about a special machine he had obtained to make it!

    Chili Addiction has parking out back, and is only steps from the Beverly Center in West Hollywood so there’s really no excuse to go there and eat. Just do it, you won’t be sorry.

    Pizza Cookery

    it’s no secret that we love pizza here on this blog. I mean, who doesn’t? There would have to be something wrong with anybody that didn’t love a perfect crust, tangy sauce, fresh toppings and a yummy vegan cheese, right? Well, assuming that you’re on the same page as the above, you need to get over to Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills ASAP. Unceremoniously accessed through a side entrance of a somewhat decrepit 70s-era shopping mall awaits some of the best vegan pizza you can get, as well as an environment and ambiance that feels more like Old Chicago or New York than deep in the 818. A combination of funky retro styling (old cast iron soda vending machines) and sawdust on the floor along with faux-gas lamps everywhere really evoke an intimate atmosphere that’s as suitable for a first date as it is an office party.

    Vegan Pizza with Daiya at Pizza Cookery

    The menu is hugely vegan-friendly with a selection of salads and breads most of which can be made vegan. Everything is stunningly fresh and very well prepared, from the vegan caesar salad to the amazingly tasty and filling cheesy rolls. The pizza crust is soft and chewy, while the brick oven takes care of nicely charring the bottom. All the toppings were bright and colorful and the sauce and Daiya cheese mixed perfectly together.

    Pizza cookery is the best pizza place in LA that serves vegan pizza and is dine-in. You’ll feel like you’re in a real pizza parlor of yesteryear, and leave very full and very satisfied.

    M Cafe

    With a totally vegan menu except for fish, M Cafe has a chic urban appeal, backed up with an A-list of ingredients (and clientele) all layered over an efficient kitchen and fair pricing, considering how great the food is. While the last year or two M Cafe’s items have been prepared by kitchen staff rather than chefs, their menu items are still some of the best in town.

    Vegan Benedict at M Cafe

    The Big Macro is arguably LA’s best vegan burger. The broccolini pepporochini is without a doubt LA’s premier broccolini, and the Vegan Benedict is constantly voted one of the “best” breakfast items on any local menu. There are plenty of vegan options at all times of the day, and the rotating menu constantly keeps one coming back for more. The deserts are out of this world, along with some of the best vegan tiramisu known to humanity. Check it out!!

    Hugo’s Restaurant

    With two locations (West Hollywood and Studio City), and a full-on meat-oriented menu, one might be surprised to find that the Hugo’s chefs have created some seriously innovative vegan cuisine. Not only do they have loads of options, but the menu has several clearly marked animal-free alternatives, as well as dishes that can be optionally veganized. If you can get past the trendy atmosphere, long waits and constant celebrity sightings you’re in for a vegan treat.

    Although I’ve long been a fan of the tofu scramble, I also love the Very Green Casserole (one of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever tasted atop stewed vegetables and sauce in a pot) as well as the salads, tikka masala veggie patties, stir-frys and wraps. Make sure you specify “VEGAN” clearly when you order, while the restaurant is extremely vegan-friendly, there may be butter hiding in unsuspecting dishes.

    Vegan Pasta Carbonara Special at Hugo's Restaurant

    Since the last time we voted Hugo’s onto this list, they’ve introduced some astounding vegan specials that rotate in and out, and usually stay on the menu for a week or two before being replaced with something new. This is a very welcome addition, and the specials have been some of the best vegan dishes we’ve eaten anywhere.

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  • July 17th, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    okay, so i know i have raved, and raved, and raved about the burgers, sausages, and fried delicacies from chili addiction…but lately i am straight up obsessed with their bowl of chili mac. this thing is SO FREAKING GOOD, it makes me wanna re-write the vegan bucket list just so i can add it.

    chili mac: any of our delicious chili varieties as a topping on a bowl of elbow macaroni. $8

    the chili mac is simple: you pick any of the restaurant’s amazing chilies to top off a hearty bowl of elbow macaroni. there are usually 2 vegan options to choose from, and lately i can’t get enough the 3 bean euphoria…a mix of garbanzo, pinto, and black beans. if you are craving meatiness, chili addiction also always has an amazing option containing match (the most convincing vegan meat EVER).

    i know a serving of chili spooned onto a bowl of noodles may sound like something you can make at home, but i can assure you that it isn’t. chili addiction puts so much time and effort into each of their chilies, i swear it’s like nothing you’ve ever eaten. this stuff tastes like it has been cooking for days, with unique flavors and spices buried deep in every bite. i can’t even describe how good this chili is, you just need to go experience it for yourself.

    as if the bowl alone isn’t awesome enough, chili addiction also has a self serve condiment bar with limitless jalapenos, onions, and cilantro. you seriously gotta try this meal out—i’m drooling just thinking about it.

    chili addiction
    408 N. La Cienega Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    (323) 203-1793
    lunch 12pm-3pm
    dinner 5:30pm-9pm

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  • June 2nd, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    chili addiction in west hollywood doesn’t get nearly as much ink on this blog as it should. the place is seriously a godsend for vegans and has some of the the best animal-free chili, burgers, and sausages you will ever eat.

    vegan chili cheese fries: Try our fabulous Belgian fries covered with any of our daily chilis and heaped with VEGAN cheddar cheese! $6

    i went to chili addiction with some pals last night, and we had a whole table full of feastage…

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  • March 24th, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    since chili addiction opened, they’ve been getting more and more vegan-friendly and have been experimenting with tons of new products. it started with the simple addition of daiya cheese and field roast sausage, then they went and created an entire vegan menu, and now they are testing out what i think is the most realistic fake meat ever, match.

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  • March 15th, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    about a month ago, we wrote a post about the very awesome and vegan-friendly restaurant, chili addiction. well since then, they’ve expanded their animal-free offerings, and now even have a separate vegan menu!

    Chili Mac: Choose ANY of our delicious chili varieties as a topping on a bowl of elbow macaroni...a Midwest favorite. $8

    last week, i hit up chili addiction with brittany from sick of lettuce to check out the new menu, and the food did not disappoint! since i’d already tried the vegan chili cheese sausage (which is amazing), we went with all new stuff and ordered the chili mac and chili addiction nachos. we got the chili mac (pictured above) with soyrizo hominy chili and daiya cheese, and it was absolutely incredible. i’ve never had chili on top of noodles before, but i can promise you it’s a great combo. the homemade chili was super hearty and flavorful; by far the best vegan chili i’ve had in LA.

    Chili Addiction Nachos: Try our fabulous homemade corn tortilla chips (or potato chips) smothered with chili, VEGAN cheese, diced jalapenos, and sauteed onions! $6

    we ordered the nachos with the three bean vegan chili, and they were even better than the mac! if you are a fan of vegan nachos, chili addiction is your place, because they make both the chips and chili from scratch. these babies came smothered with tons of chili, daiya vegan cheese, jalapenos and onions. plus, the restaurant has a toppings bar where you can add more onions, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro.

    we also ordered a side of the sauerkraut, which was mind-blowingly tasty. like everything at chili addiction, this stuff was completely homemade and perfectly spiced. my only complaint is that i wanted more!

    Vegan Sauerkraut from scratch. $1

    so head on over to chili addiction as soon as you can and check out their new vegan menu. they’ve got chili dogs, nachos, and a whole slew of side dishes that you are sure to love.

    chili addiction
    408 N. La Cienega Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    (323) 203-1793
    lunch 12pm-3pm
    dinner 5:30pm-9pm

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  • February 18th, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    vegans, there has never been a better day than this to head over to weho and try out chili addiction. the brand new restaurant opened up last week and when i dropped by last night, they not only had their standard vegan chili offerings, but were also testing out soy hot dogs, vegan sausages, and daiya cheese.

    Hom-onious Chorizo: First you take some Soy Chorizo, then you add some Hominy, cook it with Johnny's secret blend of spices and...Presto..a perfectly harmonized, savory, and full textured 100% VEGAN CHILI!

    i started with an order of what i came for, the vegan “hom-onious chorizo chili”. i read about it on chili addiction’s website and immediately knew i had to get it. i am a huge fan of hominy, so the thought of adding it to soy meat and chili addiction’s secret spices sounded absolutely delicious.

    hominy and soyrizo chili with daiya cheese

    the result was a hearty and full-bodied homemade chili mix that was incredibly flavorful and incredibly filling. they even gave me a side of daiya cheddar which complimented it perfectly. this is the second time i’ve eaten the vegan chili from chili addiction, and i must say i am smitten. it’s so much better than the stuff you find sold in a can, or than anything i could make at home. hominy mixed in with soy chorizo really is as good as it sounds.

    vegan field roast sausage with soyrizo hominy chili and daiya cheese

    i also got a vegan chili cheese sausage to go, which was super awesome. it came with a field roast sausage (my favorite kind) smothered in the same incredible hominy soyrizo chili and topped with daiya cheddar.

    they should still have the sausages, cheese, and dogs in stock today…so get over there and order some. i’m pretty sure this is the first time in my life i’ve ever had a vegan chili cheese dog, and it was sooooo good. let’s go buy these today and encourage chili addiction to offer these options regularly.

    and if they run out of sausages or cheese before you get there, there are plenty more drool-worthy items on the menu. they usually have two vegan chilis in stock (one soy and one non-soy), which you can add to all kinds of delicious things. you can have chili mac, chili fries, chili sweet potato fries, or chili potato chip nachos. not to mention their homemade sauerkraut which i tasted and LOVED.

    and everything at chili addiction is high quality and made completely from scratch—from the chili itself right down to the condiments and potato chips.

    so head on over to chili addiction today and try out some of their new vegan items. vegan chili cheese fries sound like a lunch plan to me….

    Chili Addiction
    408 N. La Cienega Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    (323) 203-1793
    lunch 12pm-3pm
    dinner 5:30pm-9pm

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  • February 10th, 2010quarrygirlchili addiction, LA restaurants

    great news, vegans! the long-awaited and vegan-friendly chili addiction is finally opening to the public at noon this friday. not just that, but one of their newsletter subscribers told me they are also set to have a soft opening sometime this evening (call them for more info).

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  • February 9th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    soup and salad combo: large soup or chili with a side serving of an entree salad. $8.50

    lately, i just can’t get enough of the soup and salad combo at veggie grill. for only $8.50, it comes with a huge bowl of chili or soup of the day, along with a healthy portion of the salad of your choice. i order this all the time, and i rarely finish it—it’s so much food!

    chop-chop chef: chopped romain, tempeh, veggie steak, chillin' chickin, green onion, roasted corn salsa with a chipotle ranch dressing.

    i have tried a bunch of the salads at veggie grill, and my favorite one by far is the chop-chop chef. it comes fully loaded with two kinds of gardein meat, fluffy quinoa, tempeh and vegetables all in a creamy ranch dressing. seriously, it’s soooooo good. even just the side salad that is served with the combo is pretty big and filling on its own…and i haven’t even gotten to the chili yet!

    bean me up chili: red and white beans, touch of soy cream, chopped green and red onion.

    i am a huge fan of the chili at veggie grill, so that’s almost always what i get with my combo. it doesn’t have any fake meat in it; instead it’s just a rich flavorful mixture of red and white beans garnished with soy sour cream. the serving with the combo is generous, and it even comes with a side of delicious herb toasted crisps (not pictured).

    i could seriously eat this soup/salad combination every single day. it’s so tasty and so filling, and it’s under 10 dollars. what more do i require?!

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  • January 26th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mendocino farms

    parking sucks and one-way streets are a bitch, but there is one awesome thing about downtown los angeles on weekdays: mendocino farms.

    the artisan sandwich shop specializes in local organic cuisine, and always has more than a few vegan options. they have a vegan sandwich on their permanent menu, as well as one on their seasonal menu, and they offer a rotating selection of vegan soups and salads daily. i hit up mendocino recently with some of my friends who work downtown, and it was a most delicious and pleasant experience.

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  • December 29th, 2009mr meanerblue dog tavern, LA restaurants

    Everybody hates going to the dentist, which is why last summer some very nice people gutted a crappy dentist’s office in Sherman Oaks and replaced it with the Blue Dog Tavern: an honest, homely place with one of the valley’s best beer selections and ample parking all just seconds from the 405.

    We hit up the Blue Dog one Sunday lunchtime for a quick drink on the way home, and settled into a comfortable booth with a nice, fresh German beer (they had 8 amazing beers on the menu when we were there and 16 more in bottles). Usually, a “real” bar – the kind with TVs showing football and burgers on the menu – has nothing vegan for us kind, but we were shocked to find Vegan Chili on the menu, boasting “10 different vegetables”, which was a good thing as we hadn’t made lunch plans.

    vegan chili: 10 different vegentables and protein-rich kidney beans. $5.99

    Well, $5.99 and another round of beers later we were chowing down on some awesome vegan chili, which was really tasty and just the right texture. This thing was full of vegetables and beans in a rich tomatoey sauce, and arrived with a hunk of toasted bread.

    Sadly we were only passing through and had to drive otherwise we could have comfortably spent the entire afternoon there eating bowl after bowl of chili and drinking everything from Duvel Green to Chimay ON TAP!!

    For vegans in the 818, or vegans who live close to the 101 or the 405 (basically all of Southern California) the Blue Dog is a great destination for lunch, dinner or as a start to a great night out. For movie fans, it’s within walking distance of the Arclight at Sherman Oaks Galleria.

    Oh, and it’s worth pointing out that (literally) across the street is the Sherman Oaks Wholefoods so if you want to stock up on pretty much any vegan produce just stagger out of Blue Dog with a belly full of beer and chili to buy your essentials.

    10/10 and huge kudos to Blue Dog for having something vegan on the menu. We really appreciate it and will be back time and again.

    blue dog tavern
    4524 Saugus Ave
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

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  • December 26th, 2009quarrygirlchili addiction, farmers market, LA restaurants

    vegan bean chili. $6.50

    the hollywood farmers market is a vegan mecca. of course we know about the amazing animal-free vendors like a taste of life (best breakfast sandwich ever) and c’est la v (killer cupcakes), but even the meat-peddling vendors like chili addiction have options to please us!

    i never thought a stand called chili addiction would be so damn vegan-friendly, but when i read a glowing blog review of their meatless options, i was inspired to check them out. sure enough, i hit them up at the farmers market and was blown away by their vegan chili! they are at the hfm every sunday, right next to the c’est la v stand on cosmo street, and offer at least one vegan selection each week.

    when i visited, they had a vegan bean chili on special that consisted of garbanzo, pinto and black beans. plus, they had a self-serve bar (if you can call it that—it was tiny!) of chopped onions and fresh jalapenos. so delish. bonus points to any restaurant or food stand that grants me unlimited access to jalapenos. just sayin. the homemade chili was amazing, oozing with full-bodied flavor and perfect seasoning. my only gripe would be that it was kinda expensive. a tiny bowl for $6.50?! just seems a bit steep.

    in typical farmers market fashion, this chili was enjoyed quickly, while standing. as you can see above, a bollard became a makeshift table for our meal. soon though, i will be able to relax and eat me some chili addiction whilst sitting at a proper table inside a permanent building. they are opening up a restaurant on la cienega within the next coupla weeks, and will be serving at least two vegan chilis at all times! i can’t wait.

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  • November 12th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, the waffle

    UPDATE: since writing this post, i have found out that the soy cheese and fake bacon at the waffle are NOT VEGAN, although the menu advertises them as vegan. this is very fucking upsetting, and i suggest you don’t eat at the waffle. if you must, avoid the veggie bacon and soy cheese. ugh. original post below.

    the waffle in hollywood is swanky little hipster diner on sunset and vine that serves up comfort food and breakfast fare from the early, early morning to the wee hours of the night. they have huge home-cookin’-style portions, snazzy decor, and super-trendy clientele—it’s a little bit of an a-hole fest. however, i have been intrigued and anxious to try the waffle because i heard that they were pretty vegetarian-friendly.

    turns out the waffle dedicates a whole section of its extensive menu to vegetarian items, many of which even have the word “vegan” in their title. hell yeah, i was super stoked. because i have a hard time dragging my husband to any fast food/guilty-tasting restaurants other than the amazing vegan spot, i set up a lunch date to check out the waffle with my mom. it is located right next to my work after all…how convenient.

    we both ate vegan (thanks for being such a sport, mama!), and i opted for the vegan cobb.

    vegan cobb salad: faux-fowl, avocado, fakin' bacon, baby tomatoes, red onions, chick peas, peppers, lettuce and soy cheese. $12

    vegan cobb salad: faux-fowl, avocado, fakin' bacon, baby tomatoes, red onions, chick peas, peppers, lettuce and soy cheese. $12

    the vegan cobb was pretty big…but don’t let the picture fool you. 70% of the huge bowl was lettuce. there wasn’t really much faux-fowl, and the vegetables were eaten up pretty quick. people always rave about the vegan cobb over at swingers, and i’ve never had it…but i gotta imagine it was better than this. it just didn’t feel right forking over 12 bucks for a huge bowl of lettuce with some shredded tofurkey. don’t get me wrong, i really applaud the waffle for even catering to us vegans at all, but this is definitely nothing to get excited about.

    my mom, being from the south ‘n shit, of course went with the waffle’s take on vegan chili: the vegan bowl of red. not bad at all!

    vegan bowl of red: vegan style chili served with side of onions and your choice of cheese. $9

    vegan bowl of red: vegan style chili served with side of onions and your choice of cheese. $9

    the chili didn’t arrive with onions, as the menu advertised, but a pot of jalapenos instead. whatevs, we were flexible. the vegan bowl of red was pretty tasty…it tasted exactly like the trader joe’s vegan chili they sell by the can. i think morningstar farms has a brand as well that is also comparable. so again, like the cobb, her meal was pretty good…but $9?!?!?!!? for real? this was a six buck meal at the most…especially considering it almost certainly came from a can.

    the service at the waffle was also lacking. our waitress was nice, but the food took forever to arrive and when it did, they’d FORGOTTEN our order of waffle fries. instead of spending 2 hours trying to flag down a server, we let it slide…but they still tried to charge us for the fries anyways. bastards! at the end of the day it all worked out, we didn’t get charged and we had enough to eat…but still. not great service on their part.

    the waffle also offers vegan milkshakes which i was super pumped to try…until i found out they were $6.50! for realz? if john travolta can be shocked by a five dollar milkshake, i can be straight-up pissed about one that costs $6.50. and it’s not even like they charge extra for the vegan version—the regular milkshakes are $6.50 as well! jeeeez! i wanted to keep the meal under $30, so decided to pass on the shake. i’m sure it would have been awesome though. i just can’t justify spending almost seven bucks on some soy ice cream that’s been through a blender. please.

    so overall, the waffle wasn’t bad. it was just really freaking expensive and had crap service. plus, seriously, the food is nothing to bust a nut over. if you have to go to lunch with a bunch of omnivores in hollywood, the waffle is PERFECT! you will be grateful to see a whole safe section of the menu you can order from. but if you are scouring the city for good vegan food and wanna get as tasty as possible, put the waffle way down at the bottom of your list. i guess what i’m sayin’ is, it’ll do in a pinch.

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  • i write this post for two reasons: to give you a wonderful, hearty chili recipe that can be ready in no time, AND to show you a great new product i just discovered.

    extra protein seitan and worthington chili

    this chili recipe is awesome, and soooooo full of protein…but even more importantly, i hope it introduces you to a WHOLE NEW VEGAN PRODUCT that’s been right under your nose for years: worthington! 

    have you ever even heard of this product? i hadn’t until recently. but now that i know it exists, i find it in every ralphs i visit, from city to city. 

    recipe after the jump. (and even if you are familiar with worthington, you’ll wanna read how to make this ultimate seitan chili meal anyways!)
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