• September 21st, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, wok n roll

    hey dudes! time for a field report on vegan chinese food from a somewhat local spot, wok n roll in long beach. what?!?! how have i not eaten here? i go to LBC all the time, and this place wasn’t even on my radar until joel wrote to me about it. anyways, here’s what he said:

    Wok n Roll is easily my favorite spot in Long Beach, the city is a little lacking as I know you are aware. This place does something special; it’s a little vegan chinese fast food gem. Granted this place isn’t entirely vegan, they have a whole vegan-friendly vegetarian menu including ‘meat’ fried rice or chow mein, a couple of sandwiches, soups, and seriously THE BEST vegan chicken nuggets i’ve tried thus far.

    vegan chicken nuggets $6.69

    As for the main options, they pretty much can make you anything off their regular menu but vegan of course…

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  • February 12th, 2011quarrygirllas vegas, more restaurants (not LA)

    as you probably already know, since going vegan himself, vegas mogul steve wynn has ensured that every restaurant in his strip hotel has a vegan menu. we’ve already posted most of the menus online for you to check out, but what about the food we’ve actually eaten?aside from pizza place (which we reviewed earlier), the only other wynn establishment we’ve dined at is red 8, a fancy pants chinese bistro.

    upon arriving and asking for the vegan menu, we realized it was all pretty standard “vegan 1.0” stuff (meaning mostly vegetables with a touch of tofu), but we decided to give it a whirl anyways…

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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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  • June 18th, 2010more restaurants (not LA), NYC

    hey guys, qg here. today is an exciting day, because our very first field reporter is now an official quarrygirl writer. i’d like to introduce you to this.charming.man! from now on, i won’t preface his entries. so sit back and enjoy his brief, honest, and often hilarious posts…the first being this one about zen palate in nyc.


    zen palate. nothing cray cray to rave about this place besides how great the food was and how quick it came. convenient and true vegan “fast food.” QG has already posted one of these dishes, the tofu delight, so i chose to try that myself yet opt for the fresh moo-shu rolls instead of fried taro roll which more fits my “palate.” after walking 50 some blocks from the upper west side, exploring where we now will call home, 2 iphones in hand: one with google maps blazin and the second with QG.com screaming, we choose ZP to cure our craving for chinese food….

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  • February 14th, 2010mr meanerLA restaurants, mao's kitchen

    In our inaugural Pub ‘n’ Grub, we stumbled from a student infested Irish sports bar to Native Foods, in the “scenic” district of Westwood, under the shadow of the UCLA campus. This time around, we decided to shun the down-to-earth college vibe and go for something a little more quixotic, perhaps exotic and certainly chaotic: LA’s Melrose Avenue. Also, in celebration of Chinese New Year, we decided on an Asian angle too.

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  • February 2nd, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mao's kitchen

    looking for a daily vegan lunch special that will fill your belly up with satisfaction and play nice with your wallet? well look no further than mao’s kitchen on melrose. the starkly designed communist china-themed restaurant (sounds weird, i know) offers an extremely delicious and vegan-friendly menu. and everyday from 11am to 5pm, you can have your pick of several different 3 course animal-free lunch specials for just $7.50.

    what you get when you order the lunch special, is a scaled down version of any entree from mao’s menu…plus your choice of 2 of the following: soup, salad, or bejing spring roll. we tried out this meal deal over the weekend, and left mao’s completely stuffed and less than 20 bucks poorer.

    vegan great harvest soup: pureed vegetables, brown rice, herbs.

    i started with a cup of vegan great harvest soup…a rich blend of vegetables, rice and herbs. this stuff has so many complex flavors going on; it would have to be one of my favorite soups in LA. i’m not sure exactly what they put in it, but it’s super warming and satisfying.

    salad: lettuce, cucumber & shredded carrots with our sweet & light vinegar-soy dressing.

    rather than soup, my husband went with the salad option. it came with cool crisp leaves, fresh cucumber and carrot shreds, all mixed up in a soy dressing. it was light, refreshing, and definitely tasty…but i don’t think it comes close to the awesomeness that is the great harvest soup.

    beijing spring roll

    we both chose the vegan beijing spring roll with our lunch special, so that’s a double order you see pictured above. each roll was cut in half, shoved full of grated vegetables, and deep fried to perfection. it was so rich, i couldn’t even finish mine.

    long march camp fry: chinese cabbage, snow pea, tomato, wood-ear mushroom, white mushroom, zucchini & bean sprouts.

    for my entree, i ordered the long march camp fry with smoked tofu. i tried this once and have ordered it every single time i have been to mao’s since then—i love it so much! it costs an extra dollar to add smoked tofu, but man it is so worth it. the best thing about this dish is they mix in a generous amount of delicate and flavorful wood-ear mushrooms. i could eat an entire plate of the mushrooms just on their own.

    black-bean: soft tofu with broccoli, zucchini, onion, mushroom & carrot in a hearty garlic black-bean sauce.

    my husband went with the black bean entree with soft tofu, a blend of garlicky black bean sauce and lots of vegetables. also a really excellent choice, this came with lots of crunchy broccoli and soft zucchini rounds. as with all the dishes at mao’s, be sure to specify that you want them prepared vegan. most of the vegetable ones are vegan by default….but you’d hate to get stuck with an animal-containing sauce by accident.

    after our meal our server brought us some fortune cookies, and while i don’t know if the cookies themselves were vegan or not, i ripped my fortune out just for fun…

    i’d say it was right on the money.

    so next time you want to fill up on lunch for under ten dollars, check out mao’s kitchen on melrose. tasty, clean, affordable chinese food in a place that has the word “vegan” all over the menu. gotta love that!

    mao's even has its own parking lot!

    mao’s kitchen
    7313 melrose avenue
    LA, CA 90046

    PS: this place also has free wifi!
    PPS: there is another mao’s kitchen in venice which has the same menu…but i’m not sure if they do discounted lunch specials.

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  • March 29th, 2009quarrygirlliverpool, more restaurants (not LA)

    the corner of duke street and berry street in liverpool is pretty fucking awesome. not just because it’s home to a derelict pub which sports banksy’s biggest and most valuable piece of graffiti…but also because it’s steps away from a kick ass vegan-friendly chinese restaurant called yuet ben.

    yuet ben restaurant and famous banksy graffiti in liverpool

    yuet ben restaurant and famous banksy graffiti in liverpool

    i found out about yuet ben from the must-read vegan liverpool website, scouseveg.co.uk. scouse veg is a great resource and gives the lowdown on all the veg-friendly places in the city. that is after all, where i read about the awesome egg cafe. i was stoked to visit yuet ben’s website and find that they had an entirely separate vegetarian/vegan menu that was simple yet appetizing. on our one night in liverpool a couple of months ago, we decided to put the chips and curry on hold and dine at yuet ben for a dinner of vegan chinese food.

    imagine how stoked we were to trudge up the hill to yuet ben and see before us a huge piece of banksy graffiti that i’d been reading about online. the depiction of a giant cat/rat creature stands about 20 feet high and is said to be banksy’s biggest work of art. it has raised the value of the disused pub it adorns, the whitehorse, to an estimated £1 million! if you are a fan of street art (what self-respecting vegan isn’t?), then yuet ben is definitely the place to dine in liverpool.

    crappy dark pictures of our tasty dinner after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • March 17th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mao's kitchen, pizza

    well, well, well…back in the day, my companion mr. meaner wrote a review of mao’s kitchen on melrose in which he commented on the delicious food, yet unpredictable service and portion sizes. the stark and modern byob chinese cafe is the newer sister restaurant to mao’s kitchen in venice and offers really decent, healthy-tasting asian food with loads of vegan options. i have always loved the food there, but last june my experience was so annoying (slow service, overcharging on the bill, and skimping on the main ingredients in our dishes), that i vowed to never return.

    after about 9 months of cooling down and recovering from the situation, i was convinced by my husband to break my protest against mao’s kitchen…after all, they have damn tasty tofu. however when we headed over for lunch one saturday, although i was no longer protesting mao’s, several angry chinese people were. that’s right, there was a fucking picket line outside the melrose cafe, with angry dudes shouting into bullhorns and carrying signs that said things like, “MAO’S KITCHEN = HITLER’S BBQ!! RENAME YOUR RESTAURANT!!” there was such a scene going down, we decided it was all too much and went to bulan instead. i mean, i’m not a fan of mao himself or anything (c’mon, anyone john lennon personally disses in a beatles song is probably a total cunt), but didn’t these chinese protesters have anything better to do? isn’t there some actual violence to object to, rather than picketing outside a cafe owned by ignorant white people who are probably just trying to be trendy? sheesh!

    luckily, i did get a chance to return to mao’s recently with a friend for lunch…no angry mob in sight. the meal was so absolutely delicious, i think i can put all my hard feelings about mao’s kitchen waaaaaay behind me. the portions were huge, the vegetables were plentiful, and our waiter was delightful.

    coconut curry: green beans, eggplant, tomato, broccoli, black mushroom, carrot, onion & bokchoy with choice of protein. (tofu!!) $11

    coconut curry: green beans, eggplant, tomato, broccoli, black mushroom, carrot, onion & bokchoy with choice of protein. (tofu!!) $11

    my friend ordered the green curry with tofu, which i took a pretty huge helping of. i usually don’t order asian curries in restaurants, because coconut milk strikes me as a bit meh. this stuff was amazing though. the sauce was thick with a darker color to it and was packed with spices and tons of heat. floating in the savory and drool-worthy sauce was an ample amount of crispy fresh asian vegetables. no complaints what-so-ever about this dish. oh, and it also came with a grip of fluffy rice (not pictured) to mop up all the curry goodness.

    long march camp-fry: chinese cabbage, snow pea, tomato, wood-ear mushroom, white mushroom, zucchini & bean sprouts. plus tofu. $9

    long march camp-fry: chinese cabbage, snow pea, tomato, wood-ear mushroom, white mushroom, zucchini & bean sprouts. plus tofu. $9

    i went for the long march camp-fry which is normally 7 bucks, but i added tofu which brought it up to $9. this dish was nothing short of w00t. seriously, if you are in a healthy-kick kinda mood and want billions of vegetables with baked tofu in a light vegan (yet extremely flavorful) sauce, eat this! i have been to mao’s several times and never ordered this before, but now i know it will be one of my standard go-to dishes. it was packed with really scrumptious vegetables like cabbage, tomato, peas and my new favorite…wood ear mushrooms! the fluffy little mushrooms look like dark leafy greens but pack all the texture and flavor of a really tasty portobello. i’m going into food high just thinking about it. i especially recommend the long march camp-fry if you are dining out with others and want a vegetable dish to share. it’s artfully prepared, well-balanced and above all delicious. i’m never ordering steamed vegetables again.

    vegan crack: deep fried thingys. free!

    vegan crack: deep fried thingys. free!

    oh and one more thing, the food at mao’s kitchen is very good…so be sure not to fill up on the tempting vegan crack they bring to your table for free when you are seated. these deep fried crackers with sweet vegan sauce will sneak up on you…then all of a sudden…half the bowl is gone and you have no room for food because your brain is swimming in huge amounts of grease you just consumed. beware.

    hit up mao’s kitchen on melrose for really awesome vegan chinese food. to avoid any contamination, just let them know you are vegan and that you want all your sauces animal-free. they seem to be pretty knowledgeable and always able to accommodate. good luck in there…hopefully you won’t run into crazy/bored protesters like me and the mr. did. if you do, there is always bulan or m cafe just blocks away. 😉

    P.S. mao’s kitchen has a parking lot (epic melrose score!), it isn’t busy at lunch time, and you can take in your own booze. you officially have no excuse not to eat there.

    mao's kitchen melrose

    mao's kitchen melrose

    mao’s kitchen
    7315 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90046
    (323) 932-9681
    open 7 days
    11am – 12am

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  • March 4th, 2009quarrygirlkung pao bistro, LA restaurants

    los angeles vegans, i know you’ve had your fill of vegan thai food. on every corner there’s a vegan express, vegan house, vegan plate, or vegan-whatever-the-fuck…all dishing out indistinguishable pad see ew, freshy rolls and garlic pepper entrees. well now if you need an asian fix, you can put the thai habit on hold and grab some vegan-friendly chinese food from kung pao bistro.

    the asian eatery has two locations, one in studio city and one in weho, and both serve up loads of vegan options. they have an entirely separate vegetarian menu, plus the option to make any meat dish vegetarian by subbing faux for real meat at a $3 charge. while some of the fake meat has milk powder in it, plenty of it doesn’t, so rest assured…there are plenty of vegan options.

    i’ve been to kung pao bistro a few times. the weho location is close to my office, and has ample parking, so it’s usually a pretty no-brainer place to meet my mom for lunch when she’s in the area. while the vegetarian menu looks pretty inviting, we always get the same thing off the omnivore menu and veganize it for an additional 3 bucks…because it is so damn good.

    soy beef pan fried noodles. $13.50

    soy beef pan fried noodles. $13.50

    the pan fried noodles are like nothing i’ve ever had. they are the weirdest middle ground between soft and fried…they are crunchy yet soak up all the sauce, brittle and chewy at the same time. i love ordering them because they taste nothing like the vegan asian cuisine i’m used to, which of course consists mainly of thai food.


    the soy beef is delicious as well. it isn’t too sweet like it is at many asian places, and the texture is realistic and hearty but not gross. another good thing about the soy beef is it is definitely vegan. kung pao bistro clearly states on their website: “Not all dishes are vegan. Some of the vegetarian meats are made with milk or whey protiens. Please make sure when ordering to ask which dishes are vegan friendly.” well, unfortunately the staff doesn’t know shit about what is vegan. seriously, the few times i’ve asked them, they said all fake meats were vegan. i got to the bottom of the issue and emailed the restaurant directly. the manager wrote back and confirmed that the soy beef, normal soy chicken, and soy fish are vegan. the breaded soy chicken items such as orange chicken and faux shrimp both contain a milk protein. the dude totally knew what vegan meant, and if you have any additional questions, totally email him. just be sure vegans, if you order chicken at kung pao to make sure it isn’t of the breaded or battered variety.

    i went with whiter-than-white, all-vegan beef and it was delicious! even my mom loved it! and she doesn’t suffer crappy meat substitutes well. seriously.

    we also split a side of broccoli which was absolutely delicious, but a bit of a butt-rape at $7.50.

    sauteed broccoli. $7.50

    sauteed broccoli. $7.50

    cooked to perfection and flavorful as can be, i really can’t fault this stuff. but come ON! over 7 bucks for a plate of broccoli?!?! this is a $4 plate, tops. anyhow, i keep coming back to it because it’s really good. but i know i’m getting the shaft every time.

    vegan fortune cookie. compliments of the house!

    vegan fortune cookie. compliments of the house!

    when you are all done eating, kung pao serves up not just the bill, but VEGAN FORTUNE COOKIES! yep. the one pictured was totally animal-free. read the label on the one you get before you eat it, because it coulda been just a lucky coincidence; i mean, who knows who their distributor is? if you are fortunate enough to have a vegan fortune cookie (ha ha), don’t waste that shit.

    that’s all, kung pao bistro is a great vegan-friendly find. it isn’t necessarily a destination to travel to for some amazing experience or anything, but it’s damn good chinese food that you can trust to be free of dead animal bits. that’s not something we vegans get to eat very often, as most places are beyond sketchy. i will continue to go back, and next time i will try to order something different. (but damn those noodles are GOOD.)

    kung pao bistro
    west hollywood
    7853 santa monica blvd
    west hollywood, ca 90046
    (323) 848-9888

    studio city
    11838 ventura blvd
    studio city, ca 91604
    (818) 766-8686

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  • June 20th, 2008mr meanermao's kitchen

    I must admit that I’m a sucker for cold war era imagery. All those gray clothes, communist soldiers marching in line on icy streets under the watchful eye of Chairman Mao while eating Black Bean Tofu (only joking about the last bit, of course). Anyway, a bit of Communist China can be found much further West on Melrose and La Brea in the form of Mao’s Kitchen (sister outlet to Mao’s Kitchen in Venice). This restaurant seems to have it all: Airy interior, not too crowded, “any dish can be prepared vegan” promise on the menu, BYO (for cheapskates like me) and even a friggin’ parking lot — something very rare on Melrose.

    Broccoli and black bean spicy tofu.

    The menu is fairly eclectic, with all the meat options you’d expect plus a healthy selection of delicious appetizers and entrées that would make any vegan proud. If you visit, I recommend starting with the one dollar salad — a medium portion of salad greens with sesame dressing for only (you guessed it) $1.

    One Dollar Salad. Name says it all.

    Most of the dishes have vegan sauces, and in almost all cases meat can be substituted for smoked, fried or soft tofu so you can enjoy sweet and sour, peanut, green curry or black bean (among many others) sauces with your favorite tofu indulgence.

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