• February 3rd, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    a warning to all my los angeles readers, before you get your hopes up, lula’s sweet apothecary is located in new york. sad but true…

    lula’s is like a modern version of those romantic 1950’s ice cream parlours you grew up hearing about—it’s got a huge menu of various frozen treats, bar stools lining a counter, and friendly staff members who greet you with a smile. the big difference with lula’s is the whole place is 100% VEGAN. that’s right…the floats, shakes, malts, cones, sundaes, and banana splits are all entirely animal-free. woooooo!

    brownie sundae: 2 scoops or soft serve + 1 sauce + 1 topping. topped with whipped cream and a cherry. $8.50

    my first trip to lula’s in manhattan was in december on the coldest day of 2009. even in that ridiculous weather, a huge brownie sundae smothered in hot fudge and cookie crumbles went down extremely well. for my two ice cream flavors i chose the soft serve “cake batter” and the hand-packed “mint chip,” both of which were exquisite.

    when i asked the girl behind the counter what cake batter would taste like, she said casually, “oh it’s like when you are making a cake and then you lick the batter off the mixer…”. granted, i had no idea what to expect after that explanation, but she was right on the money. i haven’t made a cake like that in years, and it’s a taste i would have forgotten entirely, but lula’s really nailed the flavor of old school boxed cake batter. it was like being 8 years old all over again with a box of betty crocker.

    everything from the cherry on top to the moist fudgey brownie on bottom, was absolutely perfect. if you are vegan and you like desserts, you will highly appreciate lula’s sweet apothecary.

    nothing tasted “dairy-free” at all, this was just seriously some of the best fucking ice cream i’ve ever had in my entire life! and the menu is so massive…i may have to move to new york just so i can make my way through it. wow, so good. vegan bakeries are cool, but i’d like to see a lot more vegan ice cream parlours.

    hello! los angeles, you are failing! it is always hot here….and it is always cold in nyc. why do they have such a bad-ass ice cream place and we don’t? sad. sad. sad.

    lula’s sweet apothecary
    516 E 6th St
    (between Avenue A & Avenue B)
    New York, NY 10009
    (646) 912-4549

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  • January 19th, 2010quarrygirlcarvel ice cream, LA restaurants

    UPDATE: i just found out carvel has extended their FREE ICE CREAM giveaway! they open officially this weekend, but are giving out free vegan samples from 11am-4pm until FRIDAY 1/29! get over there!

    free vegan soft serve!


    do i have your attention now? remember carvel los angeles, the place i blogged about back in the summertime that was offering vegan soft serve? well they have been in the process of relocating to beverly hills, and construction is finally complete! they aren’t officially open for business yet, but AS OF NOW monday through friday from 11am-4pm they are handing out free samples and introducing their new vegan line.

    i heard this info from a pre-recorded message when i called their location at 310-278-5411 (try it for yourself!), and it sounded way too good to be true. lo and behold, i showed up today at around 1pm and was greeted by 3 friendly staff members who wouldn’t let me pay for my ice cream. they gave me some vegan vanilla soft serve with nuts (pictured above), as well as a slice of chocolate ice cream cake. they also explained that when they open, the carvel beverly hills will be half vegan with even more animal-free flavors and toppings (including chocolate sauce)! woooo!

    free vegan ice cream cake sample!

    the ice cream cake and soft serve were both great! they were really sweet, but also very healthy tasting, and not overly rich. back at the old location, carvel was using temptation soft serve from one of our favorite companies, chicago soy dairy. not sure if this stuff was temptation as well, but it was damn good. i can’t wait until these guys open for real, because i am totally gonna have them make me a vegan cookie puss!

    i highly encourage you to do whatever you can to get to beverly hills this week and hit up carvel for some FREE ICE CREAM! dude, soft serve and cake, at no charge?!!?!?!? what could possibly be better than that?

    they are located on rodeo drive, in the rodeo collection….on the very bottom level, by the valets. i parked north for super cheap in the metered parking lot at santa monica blvd and rodeo drive. if you enter from rodeo, this is what it looks like, and just take the escalators to the bottom level.

    carvel 90210
    421 N. Rodeo Dr.
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    PS: if you do go this week and take advantage of the free stuff, leave a nice tip! i, stupidly, had no cash on me today….so if you could throw in an extra buck on my behalf i’d be totally grateful!

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  • December 22nd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mooi

    WARNING: you probably shouldn’t even read this unless you have a massive and i mean MASSIVE sweet tooth…

    recently when mr. meaner and i celebrated our wedding anniversary, stephen hauptfuhr from mooifood got in touch with me and told me he was going to make us something special as a gift. i had no idea what to expect, but after having tried several flavors of mooifood ice cream, i knew it would be delicious.

    about a week later i received an enormous raw, vegan, organic pie that was so sweet, words don’t do it justice. it came in an extra thick cinnamon almond crust, with a full-bodied layer of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and peanut butter…all finished off with a pecan caramel topping. there were so many nutty and sugary flavors going on in this thing, one bite just about knocked me over.

    seriously, i cut myself a small slice and had to take breaks while i was eating it because it was so rich….but in a GOOD way. if you need an opponent for a super fierce sweet tooth, call mooifood and order one of these. there is absolutely no match for this pie! pure lusciousness.

    just so you know, everything at mooifood is raw, organic, and vegan…and they are opening up a restaurant soon in los angeles which is gonna have a full on ice cream bar, and i am soooo fucking excited!


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  • December 3rd, 2009quarrygirlproducts, stores, vegan bakers

    not long ago i wrote a very positive review of earth cafe’s raw vegan cheesecakes and pies, and in the comments section y’all agreed that they were great but bitched about the high price. well guess what, i was at whole foods today and saw that they had dropped the price by 60 cents per slice!!

    Cherry Dream Cheesecake by Earth Cafe

    Cherry Dream Cheesecake by Earth Cafe

    now you can get a slice of one of the best desserts i’ve ever had for just $5.99 at whole foods. seriously, you can’t complain about that price when you take into consideration that this stuff is all raw, vegan, gluten-free and with no refined sugars or hydrogenated oils. this stuff is actually good for you…but it sure doesn’t taste like it.

    well done, people. obviously The Man was listening to your complaints. maybe other stores will take whole foods’ lead and start dropping prices on vegan shiz as well!

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  • November 23rd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, yummy cupcakes

    vegan peanut butter cupcake in a jar

    yummy cupcakes is a bakery that certainly lives up to its name. with two locations (one in the valley and one on the west side), plenty of animal-free offerings, and absolutely delicious treats, it is probably my favorite place to get vegan desserts in los angeles.

    on top of offering vegan cupcakes at their storefronts on fridays, sundays and mondays, yummy also has an extensive vegan menu for large orders which features basically any cupcake you could possibly dream up. they also have an absolutely brilliant product for special order called “cupcake-in-a-jar.” yep, it is exactly like you would imagine…fluffly frosting and moist cake all piled up in a mason jar, to be eaten with a spoon.

    recently, yummy sent me some of their cupcakes in jars to try out—and boy oh boy, they made a believer out of me! chocolate with vanilla frosting, almond with almond butter cream, and peanut butter cup were all part of the deal…and they were all delicious. the best thing about the cupcake in a jar is, you don’t have to eat it all at once. you can just spoon out a bite of yummy frosting and cake, then store the rest in the fridge until later.

    i gave one of the cupcake-filled jars to my omnivorous co-worker, and she was completely blown away. first off, it was so decadent that she couldn’t believe it was vegan. secondly, she noted that the idea of layering cake and frosting in a mason jar is “fucking brilliant.” and i agree with her. you think you like vegan cupcakes? well, try eating them with a spoon. you will never look back. YUMMY!

    yummy cupcakes in jars!

    yummy cupcakes
    313 Wilshire Blvd 90401

    2918 W. Magnolia Blvd 91505

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  • October 28th, 2009quarrygirla votre sante, LA restaurants

    are you looking for a place to recharge with some healthy food after dining out on all the rich and decadent vegan cuisine that los angeles has to offer? well then look no further than a votre sante in brentwood. the cozy eatery offers light and simple natural cuisine that’s healthy yet extremely delicious.

    we hit up a votre sante recently with none other than the healthy vegans, who turned us on to the place, and had a 3 course dinner that left us feeling energized and satisfied rather than stuffed and bloated.

    Dragontail: Fresh vegetables, hijiki, organic tofu, ginger tamari sauce, organic brown rice, organic black beans, and soy tahini.  $13.95

    Dragontail: Fresh vegetables, hijiki, organic tofu, ginger tamari sauce, organic brown rice, organic black beans, and soy tahini. $13.95

    for my main course i ordered the dragontail from a votre sante’s vegan menu. although the restaurant has a separate vegan menu, don’t be fooled—most of their other offerings are vegan as well. for instance, they have a health mex menu on which almost everything is vegan. anyways, the dragontail was a winner. the bowl of food was absolutely massive and filled with vegetables, tofu, rice and black beans…all covered in tamari, tahini and hijiki. man, this thing was incredible. so fresh and simple yet packed with flavor. i don’t know how i managed to eat it all, but i did! the rice was some of the fluffiest i’ve ever tried, and the tofu was soft and juicy. i couldn’t get enough of the sauce either—at the end of the meal, i was practically licking the bowl.

    Blackened Tofu Feast: Blackened organic tofu, steamed vegetables, organic brown rice, and soy tahini sauce.  $13.95

    Blackened Tofu Feast: Blackened organic tofu, steamed vegetables, organic brown rice, and soy tahini sauce. $13.95

    mr. meaner also dined off the vegan menu, and ordered the blackened tofu feast with steamed vegetables and brown rice. this perhaps wasn’t the best angle to take the picture from, because you can’t really see the huge mound of marinated and blackened tofu! oh well, at least you can see that a votre sante didn’t skimp on the vegetables. i tasted a bit of the tofu and it was awesome…however, i still preferred my dragontail. this is definitely a super healthy option though, as you can see the plate is 80% vegetables, paired with extremely high quality rice and tofu.

    our dining partners lex and kristin ordered some salad and pasta dishes, both of which looked delicious. they also ordered their entrees oil-free, and a votre sante was happy to accommodate…good to know, if you are in the mood to eat something uber-healthy.

    soup du jour: corn chowder. $3.95

    soup du jour: corn chowder. $3.95

    but lemme back up a bit, i forgot to tell you about the soup! everyday, a votre sante offers two vegan soup options, served with a vegan corn muffin. we got cups of soup around the table; mine being the corn chowder (pictured above) and mr. meaner’s the vegetable (below).

    soup du jour: vegetable. $3.95

    soup du jour: vegetable. $3.95

    both soups were extremely tasty and hit the spot—i really can’t fault them. the perect warm, comforting starter on a blustery autumn night.

    pumpkin pie

    pumpkin pie

    even after all that food, we still saved room for a bit of dessert. we got the pumpkin pie (we are less than a week away from halloween, after all!) and it was awesome. it was thick, moist and oozing with sweet pumpkin and cinnamon flavor. it definitely tasted “healthy,” but not in a bad way…just in a way that made me feel really good about eating it. the crust was thick and chewy, and it was even topped with a swirl of vegan whipped cream. total yumz!

    i can’t believe it has taken me so long to eat at a votre sante, and i would highly reccommend it for a refreshingly light and tasty meal. the vegan options are plentiful, they use high quality ingredients, the service is polite, and the atmosphere is relaxing. i am thinking i will be back very soon for a healthy lunch prior to a stroll on the beach. we definitely need more places like this in LA!

    a votre sante
    13016 San Vicente Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90049
    (310) 451-1813

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  • September 6th, 2009quarrygirlvegan bakers

    exciting news, people. vegan desserts in los angeles have just been taken to the next level. since my first taste of products from the fakery bakery, i’ve been a huge fan of their animal-free goodies. their peanut butter cups and baklava won me over immediately, as did their willingness to take on the challenge of “veganizing” anything customers could dream up.

    vegan cadbury creme eggs from the fakery bakery

    vegan cadbury creme eggs from the fakery bakery

    well, i can say from first hand experience that the fakery bakery is not fucking around when they say that they’ll make a vegan version of pretty much any dessert. i was lucky enough to get an order of their amazing faux cadbury creme eggs, and they absolutely blew my mind. while these suckers aren’t on the fakery’s online menu, you can special order them…and you won’t regret it. it has been years since i had a real cadbury creme egg, and these vegan versions were so damn close, i almost cried. i seriously ate 3 immediately without even thinking about it. the fluffy white center complete gooey yellow “yolk”, the soft velvety chocolate and all around sugary madness, it was all there. the only big difference between these fakery eggs and their non-vegan counterparts, is that the fakery ones were much bigger and shaped slightly differently. more candy per serving? i’m not complaining.

    peanut butter cups 2.0 from the fakery bakery

    peanut butter cups 2.0 from the fakery bakery

    and there’s even more exciting news! since my original post about the fakery bakery’s awesome peanut butter cups, they have wowed me again with their peanut butter cups 2.0. the old cups were basically little round open-face chocolate containers, filled with a swirly peanut butter filling. the new ones however, are closer to the old school peanut butter cups i ate as a kid. delicious peanut buttery-sugary filling, surrounded completely by rich chocolate in the shape of a cupcake. i loved these so hard.


    like the cadbury eggs, these special new peanut butter cups are not listed on the fakery’s menu, but they are available for special order. i suggest you get your hands (and mouth) on this stuff as soon as you can. your inner fat kid will thank you.

    check out the fakery bakery’s website.
    follow them on twitter.
    and dream up some amazing dessert you never thought could be veganized, email them and tell them, and let your mind blow.


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  • August 20th, 2009quarrygirlvegan bakers


    about a month ago, i made an announcement on this blog about the start of a new vegan bakery in los angeles called the fakery bakery. well i finally got a chance to try some of their goods—and boy, oh boy!—these desserts are a force to be reckoned with.

    although everything on the fakery’s menu looks incredible, the first thing that caught my eye were peanut butter cups pictured on their website’s homepage. recently i had a small get-together with some friends and the fakery bakery was kind enough to provide us with dessert—a batch of the peanut butter cups i’ve been craving and also a whole box of vegan baklava—both of which were amazing.

    vegan chocolate peanut butter cups from the fakery bakery

    vegan chocolate peanut butter cups from the fakery bakery

    these peanut butter cups were everything i’d hoped for and more. they tasted like a gourmet twist on the trashy reeses peanut butter cups i used to love as a kid. these were made of rich flavorful chocolate and were filled with a thick sugary peanut butter mixture that was extremely additive, and way better than actual peanut butter. not only did the cups taste incredible, but they were gorgeous to look at as well. each chocolate cup was perfectly formed, and the peanut butter mixture was piped into beautiful swirly shapes.


    the fakery bakery’s vegan baklava was also fucking delicious, and just as good as the real thing.

    vegan baklava from the fakery bakery

    vegan baklava from the fakery bakery

    the flaky phyllo crust tasted exactly like the buttery stuff i remember from eating baklava in my pre-vegan days. the insides were filled with chopped nuts and a gooey sugary sauce that tasted so much like honey, i couldn’t believe it. everyone was completely blown away by these things; they were so rick and decadent, i would challenge any omnivore to discern between the fakery bakery’s vegan baklava and the real stuff made with gross dairy products and bee spit.


    there is no mention of vegan bakalava on the fakery bakery’s website, but just shoot them an email about it and they can whip some up for you. in fact, if you can think of any desserts you miss from before you were vegan, you should let the fakery know….they can probably make you a vegan version that will blow you away.

    so los angeles vegans, if you want decadent sugary sweets that don’t taste vegan and can fool your omnivore friends, hit up the fakery bakery. and make SURE you try the peanut butter cups, those things are unbelievable.

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  • July 21st, 2009quarrygirlvegan bakers

    there are new vegan treats in town, and they are comin’ straight outta the fakery bakery! the vegan baker whose whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls and peanut butter cups have been making a huge splash among some lucky eaters, has now opened her own bakery and started selling her goods to the public online.



    the fakery’s new website is up and running with a full on menu, ordering info, and absolutely gorgeous photos taken by foodeater of ToLiveAndEatInLA.com! seriously, this stuff is all super drool-worthy. the fakery has everything from cakes, cupcakes, cookies and bars….to whoopie pies, muffins, cheesecakes and breads. and if you feel like putting the fakery bakery up to a challenge, you can email them a special request.

    before the fakery bakery was official, i got the chance to try some of their cookies, cakes, and even pound cake. everything i sampled was absolutely amazing, i am so stoked that these goods will be available to the general public. these are some of the best vegan baked goods i’ve ever tried.

    i will be ordering something from the fakery bakery ASAP and will post a review here for you to read. i am thinking it’s gonna have to be some peanut butter cups. what do y’all think looks the best? here’s the menu.

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  • May 28th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    i have been looking all over the place for vegan tiramisu in los angeles, and the whole time it was right under my nose.

    vegan tiramisu from m cafe. $6

    vegan tiramisu from m cafe. $6

    in my search for the cheese and egg-filled dessert, i never thought to look at m cafe de chaya on melrose, which happens to be right down the street from my office. the macrobiotic restaurant is almost entirely vegan (except for a few dishes containing stinky dead fish), and has an entire case filled up with cakes, muffins, cupcakes…and little dishes of tiramisu. while the vegan tiramisu from m cafe comes in a cup and is kind of parfait-style with the lady fingers mashed up, i can tell you it is extremely delicious and authentic. right down to the espresso infused cream mixture and the cocoa sprinkles on top, it tastes just as good as the original.

    i have heard some people complain that m cafe’s deserts are too ‘healthy-tasting’ and not decadent enough, but that’s just not true of their tiramisu. they perfectly mimicked the texture of something made with eggs and creamy mascarpone, all mixed up with chocolate, coffee and cookies. if you, like me, have been missing tiramisu…no need to look any further. m cafe has got it down.

    right now i don’t know of anywhere else to get vegan tiramisu in los angeles. if i am wrong, holler at me.

    m cafe de chaya
    7119 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    (323) 525-0588

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  • May 27th, 2009quarrygirlau lac, LA restaurants

    if you live in los angeles and want to have a completely unique vegan food experience, lemme tell you, it is definitely worth making the hour-plus drive to orange county to visit au lac. located in fountain valley, the humanese restaurant offers an entirely vegan menu, with several raw and cooked selections. all the raw foodies i know have nothing but wonderful things to say about this place, so my husband and i stopped in to check it out a few weeks ago when we were in the area.

    we decided to go all out, ordering appetizers off both the raw and cooked menus, plus dessert (which is only available in raw). thankfully, although we ordered several dishes, the some of them were quite small, so we left feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed.

    dau hu rang muoi: battered soft tofu seasoned in salt, black pepper, cilantro and jalapeno. $8

    dau hu rang muoi: battered soft tofu seasoned in salt, black pepper, cilantro and jalapeno. $8

    for our cooked appetizer, we started with a flash-fried tofu dish called ‘da hu rang muoi,’ which consisted of ultra-soft tofu in a light batter and cooked with salt, pepper, cilantro and jalapeno. this may sound like a typical asian tofu appetizer, but oh my word, it wasn’t! probably the best tofu dish i’ve ever tasted, it was barely coated with batter, completely covered in seasoning, and perfectly soft and moist in the middle.

    for our raw appetizer, we went with the chimichurri, which turned out to be two slices of doughy bread with an oil and herb sauce for dipping. i seriously have no clue how they got ‘raw’ bread to taste so fucking good, but this dish was spongy, soft and porous beyond belief. even if you aren’t in to raw food, i’d recommend the chimichurri. not to mention the perfect infusion of fresh herbs and oil…excellent dipping sauce any way you look at it. at $5, it was pretty pricey for two pieces of bread, but i definitely think it was worth it.

    chimichurri: dip with garlic bread. $5

    chimichurri: dip with garlic bread. $5

    for his main course, my husband ordered the ‘bo luc lac’, which was a massive plate of watercress and vegetables tossed in a light vinegar dressing, all topped with several slabs of faux beef. for just ten bucks this thing was absolutely huge, and everything tasted amazing. the soy meat was tender and well seasoned, and all the vegetables tasted extra fresh. i stole several bites of this throughout the meal.

    bo luc lac: watercress, soy beef, garic, vinegar dressing, tomato, onion. $10

    bo luc lac: watercress, soy beef, garic, vinegar dressing, tomato, onion. $10

    i went raw on my main dish and ordered jino’s pizza, a small round of raw bread covered in vegetables and a ‘cheese’ sauce. while i ended up liking my pizza in the long run, my enjoyment was overshadowed by the fact it arrived about 20 minutes later than my husband’s main course. in fact, he finished his food before i even started mine! when the pizza finally did arrive, it was delicious, albeit rather small for $12. i guess raw food is just phenomenally expensive any way you look at it, so at least this tasted really good. the crust was soft and squishy, kinda like the chimichurri appetizer, and was covered in just the right amount of herbs and vegetables. the cheese sauce was exceptionally creamy and tangy, and i couldn’t help but wonder what it would taste like on a plate of raw nachos. don’t let the picture fool you, the pizza was very small, maybe 3 or 4 inches across, i’d say the size of a medium pancake.

    jinos pizza: roma, sundried tomato, marinara, basil, melted mozzarella. $12

    jinos pizza: roma, sundried tomato, marinara, basil, melted mozzarella. $12

    au lac offers a raw dessert menu, and i was told by several people not to leave without trying the donut holes. while i was a bit skeptical of raw donut holes, these suckers definitely converted me. covered in a sugary powder, the round little treats had a distinctively nutty flavor and were filled with a thick rich syrup.

    raw donut holes. $7

    raw donut holes. $7

    i actually almost spilled the syrup all over me when biting into the first one, because i didn’t know what to expect! while my husband wasn’t a fan of the donut holes at all, i thought they were wonderful. definitely like nothing i’ve ever eaten before, i highly recommend them.


    so overall, our visit to au lac was a great success, leaving us filled to the brim with healthy vegan raw and cooked food. the cuisine there is definitely unusual, as is the decor (think asian-inspired 1980s), so this place may not be for everyone. although if you have an appreciation for raw food or humanese cuisine, or if you are just in for a tasty adventure, au lac will not disappoint.


    plus, did i mention they have the coolest parking spots ever? check out the one above…reserved just for me. 🙂


    au lac
    16563 Brookhurst St
    Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    (714) 418-0658
    Tue-Sun. 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Tue-Sun. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

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  • May 26th, 2009quarrygirlice pan (closed), LA restaurants

    UPDATE 2011: this place has closed.

    los angeles vegans with a big time sweet tooth, you need to pick yourselves up stat and head over to ice pan in west hollywood. the ‘natural’ and ‘nutritious’ ice cream parlor offers ten low sugar, low fat flavors with no added preservatives, all of which can be made vegan by choosing the soy milk option. i checked ice pan out over the weekend and ordered their nondairy chocolate ice cream with oreo topping, which did not disappoint.

    chocolate and oreo soy ice cream. $4.95

    chocolate and oreo soy ice cream. $4.95

    for a dessert that prides itself on being ‘healthy,’ this stuff sure was creamy and decadent tasting. the soy ice cream could definitely pass for the real thing, and the crispy little oreo bits added a delightfully crunchy texture. oh, and i’m leaving out probably the coolest thing about ice pan: they make the ice cream right there in front of you! you get to watch as they blend up your ice cream and milk mixture, poor it onto the ice pan and mix it until it becomes firm. then they lay the toppings on top of the ice cream, mash it all up, and scoop into your container. neato! (for more about how they make it, check out this step-by-step.)


    so let’s just review here: ten flavors of ice cream with a vegan option, tons of toppings to choose from, amazing taste and creamy texture, all made right before your eyes. oh and let’s not leave out the bit about it being ‘healthier’ than normal ice cream and having no artificial flavors or preservatives. bottom line, i think you need to get down to ice pan right now and try out their vegan ice cream. you won’t be sorry.


    ice pan
    7100 Santa Monica Blvd # 135
    West Hollywood, CA 90046
    (323) 883-0267
    Mon-Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

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  • May 4th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, sunpower natural cafe

    hey kids, i’ve got some good news for ya. today marked the opening of los angeles’ newest vegan restaurant…and it wasn’t vegan thai. that’s right, sunpower natural cafe in studio city opened its doors to the public with organic raw and cooked offerings for the health-conscious, ranging from burgers and salads to quiches and cakes. i know what you are thinking: a 100% vegan restaurant in studio city that doesn’t serve thai food? it sounds too good to be true! fortunately though, sunpower is a reality. you gotta get over there and check them out asap.

    i hit up sunpower with my friend and fellow vegan blogger, brittany from sickoflettuce.com, and both of us are dying to go back. for a newly opened establishment, sunpower is already making some bangin good food, and i’m pretty excited to see what the future holds.

    chopped seitan salad sandwich: seitan, celery, onions, vegenaise, dill and parsley on a whole grain bun. with a side of hummus and pita. $8

    chopped seitan salad sandwich: seitan, celery, onions, vegenaise, dill and parsley on a whole grain bun. with a side of hummus and pita. $8

    tons of stuff on the menu looked delicious, but i decided to go with the less adventurous seitan salad sandwich. this was basically like an old-fashioned tuna sandwich made with seitan instead of fish, and sunpower really nailed it. the seitan was top notch, the vegenaise was creamy, and the chopped vegetables were fresh and flavorful but not overwhelming. the seitan salad itself was really exceptional. although it sounds a bit boring, it was just so perfectly mixed and the seitan was so succulent, i doubt i could replicate this at home. i’d definitely order it again.


    the sandwich came with “choice of side dish” and i went with the pita and hummus, which i loved. other options included coleslaw, cookies, vegetables with dipping sauce, and kale. the hummus turned out to be an excellent choice, because they gave me like a vat of it. 8 bucks for a load of hummus and hearty seitan sandwich? can’t beat that.

    for dessert, brittany and i split a slice of the special of the day “cacao cheesecake”. the thing was so rich and dense, it was fucking ridiculous. i loved every bite, but it was so thick that it was hard to eat with a plastic fork! this cheesecake probably could be a meal on its own, it was so decadent. however, it didn’t sit like a brick in my stomach as do many desserts. sunpower really has conquered the intersection of delicious and healthy(er).

    vegan cacao cheesecake. $6

    vegan cacao cheesecake. $6

    a few things to note about sunpower: they are a ‘take out’ restaurant officially…kinda like seed in venice. so while they have tables, your food is served in to-go containers and you pay at the counter. the service is great and the meals come out super fast. this is an excellent choice if you are in a hurry. also, the staff and ownership are pretty passionate about veganism. we really felt at home there and the people serving us showed genuine concern that our food was good. hell, they even invited us to an animal rights conference happening soon in LA! total vegan homies. oh, and they were also open to criticism…so if you eat here and don’t 100% love everything, they seem like the kinda people who would appreciate your feedback.

    so vegans, let’s welcome this new animal-free restaurant to los angeles. get your asses out to studio city and eat at sunpower natural cafe!

    sunpower natural cafe
    3711 Cahuenga Blvd
    Studio City, CA
    (818) 308-7420
    11am to 8:30pm, 7 days a week

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  • May 1st, 2009quarrygirlcake and art, LA restaurants, vegan bakers

    hey los angeles! i just wanna update you with one more place in this town you can get vegan cupcakes, cake and art on santa monica blvd in west hollywood.

    mini vegan cupcakes

    mini vegan cupcakes

    to be honest, until recently i didn’t know this place existed. their website doesn’t even advertise vegan cupcakes, but they carry both a chocolate and vanilla flavor that are delicious. last week i had some friends over, and one of my vegan homies showed up with a box of mini cupcakes from cake and art. the moist little cakes were topped with loads of rich creamy frosting, and they were so good that we all stood around the kitchen fighting over them until not a crumb was left.

    i live pretty close to west hollywood, so it’s pretty dangerous knowing this place is around. a shop where i can stroll in off the street and get cupcakes this good is bound to lead to disaster.

    cake and art
    8709 Santa Monica Blvd
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
    (310) 657-8694

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  • When you eat food that was prepared by somebody else, you’re entering into an unwritten contract of trust that is centuries old. On a base level, you’re trusting that the food preparer took all the necessary steps to ensure that what you’re about to eat was made with ingredients that are wholesome (not contaminated, past a use-by date etc.) and prepared in an environment that’s clean and sanitary. For us vegans, especially when dining in an omnivorous establishment, we’re also trusting that our food is animal free – something we take very seriously.

    The ultimate slap in the face, though, is to be served food under the guise of it being vegan, only to find out that it not only contains animal products but was prepared on equipment so dirty that it’s a clear health hazard and contravenes a number of health codes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: the non-vegan donuts cooked in a filthy deep-fat fryer.

    Let’s first examine the non-vegan nature of the ingredients. We understand, from two eye-witnesses that the sprinkles for the donuts contain “Confectioner’s Glaze”, or Shellac, which is made from the secretion of the lac insect (the manufacturing process involves keeping thousands of insects under warm lamps so that they secrete like crazy until they die from heat exhaustion after only a few hours). The resulting secretion turns into a hard, shell-like compound when cooled (hence the name Shellac – Shell from the Lac insect) and is the coating on the sprinkles of Dee’s Donuts. Nice, huh?

    Now, there are plenty of non-shellac sprinkles available – however, they are more expensive than the regular kind and more difficult to obtain. Still, not impossible and by no means prohibitively expensive as a simple search on the Web will confirm.

    the donut machine that makes dee's donuts

    the donut machine that makes dee's donuts (also note the layer of dust next to the oil underneath. YUCK)

    Now, what about the dirty preparation conditions? You probably know that donuts have to be deep fried – this is what gives them an utterly decadent flavor, as the combination of sugar and oil wrapped up in a crispy surface tastes just great! You probably don’t want to know, though, the details of how to maintain and care for a professional deep fat frying machine, and apparently neither does the person who makes Dee’s Donuts.

    In a restaurant I frequent regularly, along the main corridor between the dining area and the restroom, is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen: the deep fat fryer used by Dee’s Donuts. To be honest, I thought that it was a piece of scrap kitchen equipment that was discarded and ready to be taken away as junk and even joked as much with the person who owns the kitchen. Apparently, Dee’s Donuts rent the restaurant kitchen early in the morning to make the donuts, and then leave the fryer for 20 hours, in a main corridor completely uncovered.

    Kitchen health rules (and common sense) state that fryers must be covered when not being used, as cold oil is very sticky and attracts flies, hair, insects, dander and fluff. Every fryer I’ve ever seen has a cover that’s put in place when the kitchen closes, and then removed when the oil is heated up for the next shift. Sadly, Dee’s Bakery and Donuts don’t think us vegans are worth protecting and leave a dirty fryer open for many, many hours so it can absorb god knows what crap before being used again for the next batch of donuts. I took a close look at the surface of the oil with a flashlight, and could see plenty of hair fibers and what appeared to be a small black fly that had obviously flown to the fryer, attracted by the smell only to meet a sticky death before being cooked into a donut that some unsuspecting person would eat the next day.


    This harks back to a comment one LA vegan made some time ago that there was “a hair” stuck in the coating of his donut. No fucking wonder! And, I’m absolutely serious about all this — the photographic evidence proves it, as well as several eye witness accounts of the fryer’s neglect.

    These days, it’s cool to be a vegan baker — seems like everybody is doing it (Dee’s Donuts were even featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show). An avalanche of decadent vegan products is a welcome addition to our diets (in moderation, of course!) and really helps dispel the myth that we vegans live on cabbage and tofu. However, it’s one thing to be too cool for school and create something vegan, and another to be responsible enough to ensure that you keep your side of the unwritten contract of common decency.

    I’d urge Dee’s Bakery and Donuts customers (Intelligentsia, Locali, Café Muse, Café De Leche and others) to stop carrying the products immediately and pull anything unsold out of the desert case and put it into the trash where it belongs. If you’re in one of those establishments and you see Dee’s Donuts baked goods for sale tell them about the hair and fly-filled fryer and insect secretions.

    I’ve eaten several Dee’s Donuts over the past few months, and even given them to vegan friends. After seeing that fryer and reading about shellac I really feel like I want to puke. Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: you really let us all down. Thanks for sidling up to the vegan community of LA (this blog included) for a bunch of free publicity and a lot of love and hope from us, in return to feed us insect secretions, flies and hairs. Thank you very fucking much.

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