• December 13th, 2009quarrygirlproducts

    vegan roman bar

    the roman bar was born in 1990 when roman starno had the idea to dip a fig newton into some chocolate and let it cool. today, almost 20 years later, a variation of that experiment is available at stores all over southern california and beyond. they come in several different flavors, and recently i had an opportunity to sample the raspberry variety. completely vegan, this treat tastes just like a fruity fig newton encased in thick chocolate. chewy and soft in the middle and perfectly sweet, the roman bar packs tons of delicious flavor. each bar is under 200 calories, so they make for a tasty and guilt-free snack any time of day.

    you can find the roman bar at select whole foods locations in socal, as well as in the nature mart bulk bins, at the santa monica co-opportunity, and at follow your heart market. if you are in the mood for something fruity and chocolatey, give the roman bar a try, it won’t disappoint!

    box of roman bars

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  • May 5th, 2009quarrygirlcafe flourish (closed), LA restaurants

    i know that only yesterday we broke the news of a brand new vegan restaurant in los angeles. well, today we have one more recently-opened, cruelty-free eatery to report: cafe flourish located on wilshire at cloverdale. hell yeah, miracle mile finally has it’s own 100% vegan establishment, and it has officially come out of the gates swingin. i got a tip about cafe flourish from a reader called “mc”, and naturally i dragged one of my co-workers there to check it out immediately. although the cafe has just been in business a couple of weeks old and only offers a ‘limited opening menu,’ there was a buzzing lunch crowd when we visited, and the food was pretty impressive.

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    for just a soft opening menu, cafe flourish sure offers a ton of mouth-watering selections, and i had a tough time deciding what to order. from a rueben, to a quesadilla, to a french dip, to a burrito, to jackfruit tacos, and assorted pizzas, there was more than enough food to choose from. i settled on the “flourish plate” because it sound soul foodish, yet light at the same time. boy, was i spot on!—i’m very happy with my decision, because the flourish plate had that traditional home-cookin’ feel, yet without all the oil or heaviness. the only thing decadent about it was the creamy-cheese-style-sauce. the plate consisted of a huge guilt-free portion of greens, some light but well-seasoned rice, and whole beans covered in the most amazing white sauce mixture. the gluten-free cornbread was also quite tasty: light, moist, and squishy…and not nearly as greasy as the cornbread i am used to eating. this is definitely a way to get a southern fix without feeling like you are about to give birth to a food baby.

    my omnivorous friend ordered the BLT&A (which i took a large portion of), and both of us were quite pleased with it.

    cafe-flourish-blta-cu

    although it may look a bit simple, the sandwich was quite exceptional with delicately toasted bread, creamy vegenaise, fresh vegetables, soft avocado, and moist flavorful tempeh. the fact that both a meat eater and herbivore were in love with this sandwich speaks volumes. oh, and it came with a choice of side salad. she got the quinoa, which turned out to be the best thing at the table! she even went back in and got her own side order to take home. m cafe and its deli case have got nothin on this, baby.

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    of course, we couldn’t leave this new found vegan paradise without ordering dessert. although the glass case of cakes was pretty appetizing, we decided to splurge in a small way and split a minty-chocolate-chip cookie. damn, fucking incredible! fluffy and soft with huge, melty chunks of minty chocolate…i defy you to find me a vegetarian cookie as good (and healthy) as this.

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    even though the place has been around just a couple weeks, cafe flourish truly has its shit together. the tiny take-out stlye eatery was crowded when we were there, the service was friendly, the wait was minimal, and the food was excellent. what more do i require? plus, mid-wilshire has been begging for a vegan restaurant for quite a while. this would be the perfect place to grab dinner before a show at the el rey, or to pick up take-out to eat at the little bar.

    from cafe flourish’s menu: “we are committed to sustainable food practices; we use organic whenever possible, we don’t use animal products, we compost for low waste, and our food is lovingly prepared, embedded with positive intentions. your choice to eat here today is a contribution toward the planet, your community and your health. we thank you, and may your flourish!” …..in other words…..“nom!!!!!”

    hope you all enjoy this place as much as i did. thanks again to my reader mc for sending this in.

    cafe flourish
    5406 wilshire blvd.
    los angeles ca 90036
    323-939-3932
    monday-saturday 11am-10pm

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  • February 16th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mani's bakery (closed)

    so the economy sucks and lots of people are out of work. that’s a fact. businesses are closing, personal savings are being depleted, and the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. we all know and love people who have been laid off…maybe we even are those people in some cases. but wtf mate, the tragedy has officially now come home for all los angeles herbivores and started to affect local vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants. within 2 short months we saw the shutting of the vegan spot and of doomie’s home cookin’, arguably the best 2 places to get a meat-free sandwich in la. both closures were untimely and undeserved…so vegans, please, let’s go throw our moneys at some of the local restaurants that need our help, starting with mani’s bakery on fairfax.

    the long-standing los angeles institution is nearly as old as i am, and is still being threatened by the crappy economic climate. in a recent plea on their blog (which i saw via eater la), mani’s tells its customers,“Unfortunately, we face the very real possibility of not making it through 2009, unless we can modify our business to function more efficiently in today’s environment.” they go on to add, “December was the weakest sales Mäni’s has ever had. At this level we will not be able to continue.” ummm…i dunno what you make of that, but to me that sounds like some fatal-apocalyptic-scary shit meaning, buy our food if you want us to be here in the morning. well, it worked on me. i hit up mani’s as soon as i read this, and i gotta say, i will feel pretty bad and dead inside if they do go out of business. their vegan food is really, really, really good. i’ve posted before about mani’s ENORMOUS VEGAN SELECTION…and let’s just say on this return visit, i was even more impressed.

    chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie. $3.50

    chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie. $3.50

    i’m gonna work in reverse on this post because the dessert is the best thing that mani’s offers. the menu is absolutely huge, and all the vegan/veganizable items are clearly marked. almost everything can be made animal-free, and this is extremely handy when it comes to the desserts. vegan truffles, breakfast bars, almond rocas, cakes and pies are just some of the decadent treats that mani’s has in store. my husband and i split a chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie on our last visit, and we could barely finish it. it was so rich and tasty, i think any vegetarian would be fooled by it.

    but not just the dessert items at mani’s are awesome…there are also tons of vegan-friendly appetizers and entrees. on our recent visit and attempt to save mani’s from bankruptcy and decline, i ordered the pesto sandwich.

    the pesto: vegan pesto spread on rosemary bread with fresh mixed greens, avocado, tomato and marinated tofu. with a vegan caesar salad. $11

    the pesto: vegan pesto spread on rosemary bread with fresh mixed greens, avocado, tomato and marinated tofu. with a vegan caesar salad. $11

    of course i got the vegan version (with tofu instead of meat) and everything was divine. the pesto was thick, oily, and slightly greasy in a really good way. the tofu was grilled but still soft in the middle, and it was all stacked with fresh vegetables on really soft and spongy bread.

    manis-pesto-sandwich-cu

    my husband got the california club, which was also excellent. the sandwich came in neatly chopped pieces, all stacked high with vegan cheese, vegetables, crispy tempeh bacon and crunchy breaded seitan. there was nothing to complain about. i mean seriously, with the vegan spot and doomie’s both totally gone, i don’t know where else to obtain such a hearty and satisfying vegan sandwich in this town.

    the california club: layered bread, breaded seitan with tempeh bacon, vegan cheddar, lettuce and tomato. $12

    the california club: layered bread, breaded seitan with tempeh bacon, vegan cheddar, lettuce and tomato. $12

    yeah, yeah, yeah, mani’s is a bit expensive. but so fucking what?!?! where isn’t at this point? it’s as good a deal as pure luck or m cafe, plus the menu is like 90x bigger. they also have the best vegan bakery and pastry selection in town. if they do shut, i know i will feel the same way as if a beloved relative has died—totally wracked with guilt, torturing myself over every lunchtime or coffee break i could have spent in mani’s company.

    in my opinion, the vegan scene will suck a lot more hardcore if mani’s goes away. let’s ensure that doesn’t happen. please go eat there as soon as possible…um, it may be your last chance. :(

    mani’s bakery
    519 S. fairfax avenue
    los angeles, ca 90036
    (323) 938-8800

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