• August 13th, 2011quarrygirlbarcelona, more restaurants (not LA)

    hey everyone! i’m very pleased and honored to report that today we have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, fat gay vegan. he usually writes about places in london where he lives, but today he has taken time from his relaxing spanish vacation to send us a review of a vegetarian restaurant in barcelona. my mouth is watering…enjoy!

    If you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself in the breathtaking city of Barcelona, you certainly will not go hungry. This world-class destination is packed solid with vegan dining and shopping options. There are at least two vegan grocery stores as well as a vegan deli, numerous restaurants, falafel merchants, juice stands, organic grocers and even Indian cuisine suitable for cruelty-free diners. I have taken leave from my own blog to wander across to talk to you about that last category… Indian food.

    Veg World India is situated in the historical inner-city neighbourhood of Gràcia that once stood alone from Barcelona as a separate village. This district is cluttered with bars, coffee shops, cinemas and boutiques. It delicately treads that fine line between local tradition and chic progress perfectly. Veg World India slots effortlessly into this bustling bohemia and offers a satisfying food experience.

    A sign outside reading “90% Vegan” was a lovely welcome on my visit and the knowledgable servers went out of their way to ensure all my vegan concerns were met. The starter plate for two was modified to remove paneer and we were informed our choices would be cooked in separate oil.

    Everything on the plate was fabulous with special mention going to the outstanding onion bhajis.

    My main meal was a stunning combination of lemon rice, cauliflower/potato curry as well as a spinach/tofu curry. A basket of naan bread was supplied with the meal and refilled as quickly as I could empty it.

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  • June 14th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Indian-inspired curries are the national dish of my home country, England. We Brits eat an astonishing 3.5 Indian dishes per person EVERY WEEK, we have over 10,000 Indian restaurants (as opposed to “only” 1,400 McDonald’s outlets) and Tikka Masala is the number one consumed dish by a very wide margin in the UK. Indeed, Fish and Chips have long been relegated to and also-ran in the national culinary identity league.

    As a vegan, I’ve yet to find an Indian restaurant that can’t cater to my preferences. Most can prepare vegan dishes if you ask that they not be cooked with butter ghee, and instead use oil or vegetable ghee and omit any yoghurt or cream. Also, there are many Indian restaurants (often Hindu owned or run) which have a strict lacto-ovo vegetarian policy having no meat anywhere on the premises.

    One such restaurant in London is Indian Veg Bhelpoori House which has stood for over 30 years on picturesque Chapel Market in Islington, a few minutes walk from Angel tube station or a nice stroll from busy King’s Cross station. Chapel Market is a narrow cobbled street that has hosted a daily market since Victorian times. Despite much modernization and full immersion into the cultural smorgasbord of the area, Chapel Market oozes old time London – one could be in the 1940s or the 2000s. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell depending on your viewing angle.

    Crammed into what looks like the ground floor space of three large Georgian houses, Indian Veg Bhelpoori House has loud green banners outside proclaiming things like “A vegetarian diet will save the world!” and “Come and try our £3.95 all-you-can-eat buffet!”. Yes, the restaurant is at the same time lovingly familiar yet absolutely quirky.

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  • March 14th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, streets of india cafe

    hey y’all! today’s quick bite (aka reader review) comes to us from greg c. in los angeles. he recently checked out the valley’s new all vegetarian indian restaurant and loaded up on tons of tastiness from samosas to dosas. an entirely meatless restaurant with great food and low prices? yes, please! i am freaking dying to go here. check it out:

    I was flipping though some of that junkmail w/ local businesses & coupons, and an ad for Streets of India Cafe in Encino caught my eye. The ad said “VEGETARIAN/VEGAN” ….so of course I had to check this out! I found their website, checked out the menu….and – they have DOSA!!!!!!!! Dosa’s my favorite Indian food, but not that many Indian restaurants make it. I’d go to Paru’s in Hollywood for my dosa fix, but Encino is closer to me so I was very excited.

    Samosa: Crispy triangular turnover stuffed w/ veggies. $4

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  • tuesday evening was pretty awesome because it marked the launch of highland park’s din din a go go, a weekly vegan-friendly truck feast in the parking lot of figueroa produce. i arrived at right at the beginning (5:30pm), and there were already tons of hungry peeps milling around, waiting to get their grub on.

    when i saw the multiple trucks lined up neatly behind figueroa produce to the right, i knew it was gonna be an epic night. all the trucks had vegan items on their menus (many added specifically for this event), so i had a pretty tough time deciding what to order. i chose my meals (yes, i ate multiple meals) depending on who was ready to serve and had the shortest line. first up, lomo arigato.

    tofu lomo saltado: tofu sauteed with onions, tomatoes, french fries, soy sauce, and red wine. served over peruvian rice.

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  • February 9th, 2011quarrygirlfresh east, LA restaurants

    over the past couple years, we’ve seen west hollywood grow into quite the little vegan mecca. santa monica boulevard, west of la cienega specifically, has been just blowing up with options lately—from zpizza, to tender greens, to millions of milkshakes, to o!burger—everyone is serving up cruelty-free cuisine. the latest addition to the list is fresh east, a quick casual asian eatery that specializes in healthy fare with loads of meatless options.

    after scoping out the menu online, we decided to check out fresh east for a fast weeknight dinner. when we walked in, i was immediately smitten by the bright, clean interior—colorful yet simple with lots of comfy seating.

    we approached the counter to place our order, and i noticed that fresh east’s menu was even more vegan-friendly than i thought. there’s a little V symbol next to each item that can be veganized, including several dishes where tofu can be subbed for the meat. unfortunately the vegan symbol isn’t shown on the online menu right now, but trust me, there are loads of options.

    after much deliberation, we decided to share a noodle and a curry dish, both of which were exceptional…

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  • February 8th, 2011quarrygirlaustin, more restaurants (not LA)

    vegan field report time! it’s another one by bess of i dream of greenie, and this one comes to us again from austin, texas. here she gives us quick reviews on 2 different places. she covers some awesome thai food at veggie heaven, as well as some vegan soft serve from toy joy. i am officially more jealous than i ever thought possible of those of you who are heading to sxsw next month. check it:

    Curry Bun: Made of flour dough outside and filled with onions, tofu, vegetable cooked in curry sauce. $2.50

    After eating and drinking my weight in vegan tacos, enchiladas and tequila, for my last meal in Austin, I decided to switch things up a bit.

    My friend and I spent the day in the UT campus area and after consulting the Compassion Over Killing Austin dining guide, opted to check out Veggie Heaven…

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  • January 16th, 2011mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Vegan curry is plentiful in Camden Market

    Recently, we skewered an otherwise excellent food stand in London’s Camden Market due to its terrible customer service. Gladly, though, there are several wonderful food choices in the market that serve some pretty damn good Indian food. If you look hard enough, you’ll see “Halal Indian Food” on a few stalls, along with some huge, bubbling pots of very tasty curries.


    If you stay away from anything with meat, the vegetable dishes are nearly always vegan and absolutely always tasty…

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  • December 25th, 2010mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    When flying back to America from mainland Europe, I rarely take the convenient direct flights. Usually, I find some excuse to stop off in my native London (even though the layover adds six or more hours to an 11 hour journey). Why put myself through such traveling torture? Because I can’t resist an opportunity to dine on my favourite of all cuisines: British Indian food, served in a local tandoori restaurant. That’s why!

    Moments after touching down at Heathrow I’m usually in a black taxi heading east towards Central London and my favourite of all Indian restaurants: Victoria Tandoori. Yes, I really do like Indian food, the way we prepare it in Britain… it’s the best cuisine there is, and few places do it better than Victoria Tandoori. The travel time is more than worth it, and the smiling faces of the vegan-knowledgeable staff are a welcome respite from the rainy London streets.

    Now, a word of warning: many Indian restaurants in the UK add ghee (a kind of thick butter), yogurt or cream liberally through the cooking process for most dishes – they say to satiate the Western taste buds. So, when dining in most restaurants I’ve become used to eating “healthy” style Indian food: Bhel Poori (a rice dish, requested without yoghurt), Chickpea curries, plain breads etc. The good news, though, is that most restaurants add in the dairy after they have cooked the base sauces, so can happily leave it or and substitute other oils (usually peanut) upon request.

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  • December 6th, 2010mr meanerlas vegas, more restaurants (not LA)

    Just hours before our recent trip to Las Vegas, a vegan friend (and Vegas native) recommended Mint Indian Bistro, a vegan-friendly Indian restaurant a couple of blocks off the strip. After we checked out the menu online, and saw that almost all their vegetarian dishes are “vegan friendly” by default, we made up our mind to visit at the earliest opportunity.

    We’d originally planned out our meal from the online menu, but were a little disappointed when we arrived to find that they had taken a reservation for a large party (of 40 people!) and so would be doing a fixed price buffet service rather than a la carte. Of course, it was just our luck that this was the first time ever the restaurant had operated a buffet in the evening and so the regular menu wouldn’t be available.

    We asked if the buffet had any vegan items, and were told “there are lots of vegan options, you won’t go hungry!”. Even with that reassurance, we checked out the buffet tables before we settled in, and any hint of disappointment was swiftly dissipated by what we found…

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  • November 10th, 2010quarrygirledinburgh, more restaurants (not LA)

    the baked potato shop in edinburgh scotland would have to be one of my favorite places on the planet. the all vegetarian establishment is more of a hole in the wall than an actual restaurant, and with a small ordering counter and just one booth to sit at, most of their business is take-out. as their name would suggest, they specialize in baked potatoes with various fillings, but also have several other menu items including vegan sausage rolls, samosas, soups, salads and cakes.

    we arrived to a wet and dreary edinburgh in late september via the caledonian sleeper, and walked uphill in the pouring rain to open the baked potato shop at 9am. now please be warned: even though the shop opens at 9, baked potatoes are not available until 11am. since the weather was awful and most places were closed at that hour, we set up fort in a nearby shopping mall and decided to just wait until the potatoes were ready. 2 hours in a mall may not sound that bad, but the time we spent sitting in that food court under florescent lights with loud 80s music blasting felt like an eternity. anyways, i am happy to report that when we got back to the baked potato shop at around 10:50am, the potatoes were ready and well worth the wait.

    vegan haggis medium baked potato. ₤3.95

    we had a hard time deciding what to order, with the whole shop being vegetarian and over half the menu being vegan. there were cold fillings like hummus, cous cous, and pasta as well as hot fillings like beans, chilli, and curry. but when we saw that vegan haggis was an option, we knew we had to try it. haggis is a traditional scottish dish made from all kinds of disgusting sheep parts, but the vegan version was a quite delicious blend of kidney beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables, oatmeal and seasonings. i’ve never had the real thing so i can’t tell if it tasted “authentic”, but it sure was good. i really wish vegetarian haggis was available here in los angeles.

    there are 3 sizes of potatoes available at the baked potato shop, and i highly suggest you get a small or a medium. the medium size is pictured above, and is more than enough for one person. if you look closely, i think it’s actually 3 smaller potatoes split in half. whatever it was, it was incredible. perfectly warm and soft on the inside and slightly tough on the outside.

    vegan curry medium baked potato. ₤3.85

    we also got a medium potato filled with curry, and it was fantastic as well. the filling was a mix of chickpeas, carrots, and cauliflower in a tomatoey-indian sauce. honestly, the perfect food for a cold and rainy day. like the haggis potato, this one was massive even though we ordered the “medium”. so much food, and a damn good deal at under ₤4.

    hot sausage roll. ₤1.40

    even though we were stuffed to the brim with baked potato, we couldn’t resist ordering some items off the “savouries” menu as well. first up we tried the vegan sausage roll, a long flaky pastry filled up with what i think was soy sausage. i could eat about a million of these things, and like baked potatoes, i think vegan sausage rolls need to become widely available here in the states.

    vegan samosa. ₤1.15

    there are also two vegan samosa options on the shop’s menu—one is filled with haggis, and one with traditional vegetables. after trying the vegan haggis on a potato, we went with the traditional samosa option and it really hit the spot. the enormous stuffed pastry was filled up with warm mushy potatoes, indian spices, and peas. so tasty, we couldn’t get enough.

    while the food is amazing at the baked potato shop, the atmosphere and service are wonderful as well. the walls are lined with colorful gig posters and as i mentioned earlier, there one cozy booth if you are lucky enough to snag it. we were there early on a weekday and the place was empty, so we were able to sit in and eat. thank goodness, because the weather outside was awful and we had nowhere else to go!

    as we were enjoying our meal and ordering item after item, the vegetarian shop owner struck up a conversation with us about everything from fake meat, to our travels, to black licorice. he was so genuinely nice and friendly, not something i’m used to here in los angeles. after we’d shared stories about visiting places around the world, he made us a special cup of tea with hibiscus he’d gotten in egypt!

    it tasted so good, and on top of that, what a kind gesture. i will always remember this sweet little shop for its delicious animal-free food, and also for its friendly owner, charles.

    seriously if you are ever in edinburgh, you absolutely MUST visit the baked potato shop. its such a charming little place, with such wonderful healthy food. i promise you will fall in love with it like we did. my advice: get there early so it’s not crowded, but not so early that they aren’t serving potatoes yet.

    the baked potato shop
    56 Cockburn Street
    EH1 1PB
    0131 225 7572
    Open Mon-Sun 9:00 (11:00 if you actually want potatoes) – 21:00

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  • October 20th, 2010quarrygirlproducts

    here at QG headquarters, half of our household is british—so naturally, curry plays a huge part in our lives. we’ve shared with you our favorite recipe and told you about basu’s homestyle prepared foods…and today, we are giving you a heads up on an awesome vegan-friendly product line that’s available at whole foods: sukhi’s gourmet indian foods.

    sukhi’s contacted us a while back and offered to send us some of their products for review. always interested in trying new things, we said, “of course!” a couple days later, a package arrived in the mail filled with tasty indian goodies. the first thing we tried was my favorite of all: the naanwich.

    i love naan, i love sandwiches, and i love channa masala…so imagine how excited i was to see all three of those things rolled into one! the naanwich was fantastic. we heated it up in the oven to get it nice and crispy.

    the filling was hearty and deliciously flavored, and the bread was soft and cushy. it was a special treat to have this vegan naan, because nearly every brand of naan bread contains eggs. i’m so happy sukhi’s busted out an animal-free version.

    next up, we tried a box of frozen mini samosas.

    these bite-sized babies were filled up with spiced potatoes and peas, and were gone in no time. seriously, so addictive! they came with a tasty cilantro chutney that was to die for, and we also dipped them in some of the other chutneys sukhi’s sent us: mango, jalapeno, and mango pickle. YUM!

    lastly, we tried 2 of sukhi’s frozen vegan entrees—the vegan chili chicken with naan and the channa masala with naan, as well as a cauliflower and spinach curry we made ourselves using sukhi’s vindaloo sauce.

    it was all fantastic! the only thing i didn’t eat much of was the vegan chicken, because it had bell peppers in it (which i hate). my husband assured me it was great though, and i was a huge fan of the channa masala and the vindaloo. these samples totally won us over, and we have been buying sukhi’s at whole foods ever since. they even have a new low-fat frozen line with vegan options that rock!

    so if you are looking for a quick and tasty indian meal, sukhi’s has gotcha covered. seriously guys, you gotta try the naanwich!

    for more info on sukhi’s check out their website!

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  • This week we brought you a list of the 5 best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, an update on last year’s list. But if a 100% vegan eatery isn’t on the cards for whatever reason, LA has a superb selection of vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants, some of which rival or exceed the offerings available at vegan-only establishments. From a 60s-era hippie health-food store to a modern hipster hangout, LA has it all. Check out our top five vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants and please let us know in the comments if you think any don’t deserve the list, or you have a favorite that should be on it.


    This tiny restaurant without any signage on a busy section of Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park is quite the find. With seating for only a handful of people, and usual wait times an hour or more, there has to be something cool about Elf. And, indeed, there is. While vegetarian, many dishes are either vegan or vegan optional with everything prepared from scratch in the open kitchen. Being strictly word of mouth (I mean, a restaurant with no sign outside that doesn’t advertise anywhere has to be, right?) yet so busy shows that there’s something very special inside.

    Roasted Flatbread Shawarma made with Crispy Oyster Mushrooms at Elf

    The menu is relatively diminutive, yet highly inventive. Some of the food items have been there for a while, and others rotate in and out as the chefs see fit. The atmosphere is dark, and romantic until, that is, the place fills up then it gets incredibly loud and busy and the tables are very close together so one can sometimes feel cramped. Also, they have a BYO policy so you can bring your own wine and pay a small ($4) corkage fee, which always works out to be a fraction of the price you’d pay for the normal 100%+ mark-up on restaurant wine.

    Hummus King

    UPDATE: hummus king in thee valley has closed down, but they are offering catering and free delivery until they hopefully re-open in silverlake!

    I don’t know much about Kosher restaurant certification other than it’s difficult and expensive to get and involves visits from Rabbis etc. I’d imagine, though, that the certification is easier if there’s not meat served in an establishment, so I’m really pleased that Hummus King is 100% OU Kosher and 100% vegetarian (which means basically vegan except for some optional toppings).

    Vegan Shwarama Sandwich at Hummus King

    Hummus king has a few things going for it, principally the BEST hummus in the 818, probably the BEST falafel (my personal favorite is the crazily spicy “fire ball” falafel) and the best meaty vegan shawarma available. The generous portion sizes, incredible value and beyond polite service make Hummus King one of my favorite places to visit. Whether you’re up for a full-on dine in meal or you just want to grab a stuffed pita to go, Hummus King has you covered. Don’t let the bright fluorescent lights and plastic seats fool you: what lies beneath the low-rent exterior is some of the best vegan food you’ll ever eat.

    And, if you’re strictly Kosher, why not try Hummus King? Be cruelty free – it won’t hurt (you or the animals).


    I’ve been to Cru a bunch of times, always enjoyed the food and atmosphere but for me it really defies classification. It’s a raw restaurant that serves some cooked food. It’s a vegan restaurant that serves honey (therefore proudly titling itself “vegetarian”). It’s also a small space that never really seems crowded, even though it’s frequently full with long hour plus waits on the outside. One good thing is that Cru seems to be dropping honey as an ingredient in many of its dishes, which is a great thing. Of all non-vegan ingredients, honey is perhaps the easiest to substitute and I’m looking forward to being able to eat more and more of the menu as time goes on.

    Raw Lasagna Portobello at Cru

    The menu is pretty diverse, but seems to contain the same narrow list of root ingredients, so if you order a few things you may end up with strikingly similar appearing and tasting dishes. Normally that would be instant disqualification from a “best of” list, but because those base ingredients are so damn good everything works out to be excellent. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the care that went into preparing them. I typically stick to the raw dishes for a change, but the cooked items are superb. Cru won’t disappoint you, but be careful for hidden honey.

    Samosa House

    We’ve had a hot and cold relationship with Samosa House in the past, but their inclusion on this list is proof positive that our earlier misgivings are all resolved. Located on the Western end of Culver City, Samosa House is an Indian vegetarian paradise. They not only serve the crispiest, tastiest samosas this side of Bangalore, but have a 20-item prepared food section that rotates regularly and is mostly vegan.

    Vegetarian Dinner Combo at Samosa House

    For only $7.99 you can fill up on rice, roti and three selections from the prepared food section, and occasionally there are some special extras like a burger or bhelpuri that’s been specially created by the chef. Although this is prepared food served at the back of a grocery store, don’t let that fool you, as the quality you’ll get meets or exceeds what most Indian restaurants in LA can offer, and for a fraction of the price.

    One word of warning, the lines can get long at the counter, especially after 7pm so go early to avoid the rush. Your food will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and heats up just fine in the microwave. Great food, great deal and some of the nicest people anywhere wait for you at Samosa House.

    Follow Your Heart

    It’s a pure coincidence that the last two entries on this list are both supermarkets as well as restaurants. You can fill up on groceries as well as yummy food on one visit, which is a good thing in my book, especially at Follow Your Heart, an amazing vegetarian oasis, established in 1970 in Canoga Park, which has LA’s premier (= only) vegetarian grocery store with a TON of vegan products (some of which can’t be purchased anywhere else). Not only that, it has a cosy restaurant and patio where some of LA’s finest vegan food is waiting for you.

    Vegan Reuben with Cottage-Style Tofu at Follow Your Heart

    Don’t miss the Reuben Sandwich (make sure you ask for extra 1,000 island dressing), as a human being has to try this out at least once in their life! There are many, many dishes with home made fake meats, and vegan entrees such as breakfast burritos, benedicts etc. Follow Your Heart does a SUPER job with the restaurant food and you pretty much can’t go wrong. If you’re averse to honey (hopefully you are, bees are cool), the buns have honey in them, so be sure to order your delicious burger on VEGAN bread.

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  • May 3rd, 2010quarrygirlcowboys and turbans, LA restaurants

    hey LA, we have some great news! our favorite indian/mexican-inspired food joint has added a slew of new animal-free dishes to its menu!

    that’s right, cowboys and turbans has had a total face-lift, and their new menu includes even more delicious vegan items than before. not just that, but they now DELIVER (literally, not just on taste) to the silverlake area.

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  • April 13th, 2010mr meanergangadin, LA restaurants

    I grew up in the pubs and curry houses of England. I distinctly recall dodging in and out of doorways on many rainy nights as I made my way along cobbled streets between The Dog and Duck and Raj Palace in East London. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a pint followed by a curry – indeed, Indian food is now the national cuisine of England!

    I’m regretful that Indian food hasn’t really taken off that well in the USA, but most cities have a pretty good choice of excellent restaurants these days, and one of the best in LA is Gangadin in Studio City. We’ve raved about this place before, and couldn’t resist hitting it up again, but this time with a twist: We’d hit up a pub first just like back home!

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  • January 7th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, samosa house

    looking for authentic and vegan indian street food? look no further than LA’s very own samosa house in culver city. in addition to their dinner combo menu (which is hard to veer away from but often worth it), they also offer a vegan version of the classic vegetarian street dish: bhelpuri.

    bhelpuri is a popular indian dish which consists of hot puffed rice, chopped vegetables, boiled potatoes and tamarind sauce. does that sound weird?! well it should because it IS. it’s like a savory rice krispies treats vegetable dish for dinner, but it’s really fucking good. go try it out at the samosa house. and be sure to say that you want it made vegan (otherwise they may put yogurt on it, ew!) seriously, this stuff is worth writing home about.

    the samosa house
    1510 W. Washington Blvd
    Culver City CA, 90066

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