• July 13th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, starbucks

    although starbucks outlets in the UK have catered to vegans for years (the falafel panini doesn’t suck!), the stores in the united states have always been lacking in animal-free food options…until now.

    according to the starbucks website, they currently offer a “sesame noodles bento box”. while the meal doesn’t explicitly say “vegan” on it, the ingredients are posted and they all check out. have a look…

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  • September 1st, 2010quarrygirlbrooklyn, more restaurants (not LA), NYC

    do you have a list of vegan food places you need to visit before you die? i’m not talking about an LA-based list, but a one that knows no boundaries. a “wish list” of all the insane animal-free food on this planet that NEEDS TO BE EATEN at some point, some point SOON. if you do, add foodswings in brooklyn to that list.

    i’d heard people rave about foodswings forever, i don’t know why it took me so long to get over there. it’s basically an all vegan fast food joint with a giant menu full of deep fried and hearty goodness. if anyone were to ever say they had a hard time going vegan because they missed “normal food,” this place would quickly change their mind.

    gyro: seasoned homemade seitan w/ lettuce, tomato, red onion, and vegan tzatziki sauce wrapped in flatbread. $7.50

    i had a super hard time deciding what to order. i went back and forth between the baked potato skins, the reuben, and fish n chips…but eventually decided on the gyro. i had a meat gyro once years ago when i was a kid, and i remember really liking it, so i wanted to see how this one measured up. naturally, it was amazing. it came filled with foodswings’ homemade seitan, lettuce, onion, and tomato all covered in a vegan tzatziki sauce then wrapped up in warm flatbread. the seitan was spongy and slightly spicy, so wonderfully seasoned. the tzatziki was also delicious, super milky (you’d never know it was vegan), and filled with cucumber flavor. let’s just say i loved this sandwich.

    combo plate: 3 drumsticks with choice of side. (here we have 2 southern fried, 1 buffalo style drumstick, + the creamy mac n cheese!) $8.75

    we also got the combo plate, which comes with 3 of any flavors of foodswings drumsticks, as well as a side. again the decision was tough, but we went with 2 southern fried and 1 buffalo drumstick, with a serving of mac and cheese. i’m pretty sure the drumsticks were just pre-packaged mock meats, but foodswings did wonders to them in the cooking process. the buffalo one was breaded, fried, and smothered in spicy sauce and served with a cool and creamy bleu cheese dip. the southern ones were battered and fried—super bready and crispy on the outside. there are two types of mac and cheese to choose from at foodswings, original (which is made with nutritional yeast), and creamy (which is daiya-based). we went with the creamy one, and it was fantastic. it reminded me a bit of the amy’s frozen mac and cheese, but even better.

    inside, foodswings is like a cleaner and hipper version of a normal fast food place. there’s a huge chalk board menu, and you order at the counter then wait for them to bring the food for your table. it was a super quick and comfortable dining experience. oh, and i think it’s also byob!

    overall, we loved foodswings and cannot wait to return. this was definitely the best vegan fast food fix i’ve ever gotten; with a blend of pre-packaged ingredients and their own homemade recipes, foodswings makes magic in their kitchen. you gotta check this place out!

    295 Grand Street Brooklyn, New York
    Monday 11:30am to 11pm
    Tuesday 11:30am to 12am
    Wednesday 11:30am to 12am
    Thursday 11:30am to 12am
    Friday 11:30am to 2am
    Saturday 11:30am to 2am
    Sunday 11:30am to 11pm

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  • July 22nd, 2009quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland
    vegan curried vegetable fish. $2

    vegan curried vegetable fish. $2

    no fish! go fish! is a vegan-friendly restaurant in portland serving cute little pockets of fish-shaped food that they refer to as “sandwiches.” while the place does serve meat, they have have plenty of vegan “sandwich,” soup and appetizer options that are pretty damn delicious. we hit up no fish! go fish! recently on our trip to portland and shared two of the premium vegan sandwiches: curried vegetable and mushroom pate.

    i can’t even tell you how cute and tiny these fishes were! they come out lightly fried in the shape of a sweet little fish, with complete definition of gills and tail. they are quite small, so expect to eat a couple of them at least before you are filled up. check out how little they are next to an iphone.

    curry vegetable fish and mushroom pate fish. $2 each

    curry vegetable fish and mushroom pate fish. $2 each

    of the two, the curried vegetable was definitely the favorite. stuffed with peas, spices, and tons of flavor…that’s the one we found ourselves fighting over. the mushroom pate one was excellent as well, just a bit more bland than the curry awesomeness.

    we also split a vegan spring roll appetizer, which was your typical chopped up vegetable bits fried up in rice paper. these were delicious and a great deal at $4. what made all this food even better though, was the selection of hot sauces. they had several different types of sauces, even ones i’d never even heard of before. i gotta say, portland sure does beat the hell out of LA when it comes to hot sauce.

    spring rolls $4

    spring rolls $4

    inside, the restaurant was roomy and pleasant with a few small tables and lots of sunlight. they also have tap beer, which is rad…and excellent service.


    when it portland, i recommend you give this place a try. and don’t miss the curried vegetable fish!


    they also have a food cart location downtown. check their website for locations and hours. no fish! go fish!

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  • April 3rd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, quiznos

    for a long time, quiznos has been a place for vegans to avoid. up until very recently, all of their breads have contained dairy, making it impossible to order a vegan sandwich. all this has changed though, with the introduction of the torpedo!

    vegan quiznos torpedo: guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomato, red onions, mushrooms. (no cheese, no vinaigrette) $4

    vegan quiznos torpedo: guacamole, black olives, lettuce, tomato, red onions, mushrooms. (no cheese, no vinaigrette) $4

    the new sleek sandwich is over one foot long, about two inches wide, and comes on baked ciabatta bread that is delicious and dairy-free. although none of the standard torpedo combinations are vegan (or even vegetarian), you can order a vegan sandwich by getting a torpedo with the the veggie sub fillings, minus the cheese and vinaigrette (which contains dairy). the end result is actually extremely tasty, and a damn good deal for 4 bucks. plus, isn’t it great to know we vegans can finally eat at quiznos?!?! i am sooo burnt out on subway.

    oh, and you get extra credit vegan points if you bring in your own tofurky and add it to your sandwich. it really takes the torpedo to the next level.

    vegan quiznos torpedo with some added tofurky action

    vegan quiznos torpedo with some added tofurky action

    so there you have it. vegan fast food for under 5 dollars. if you are ever stranded in need of a vegan meal, chances are you are probably near a quiznos. do the torpedo!

    oh, and in case you were wondering…my friend double checked with the quiznos hq about the torpedo bread being vegan, and they sent her a list of ingredients in the ciabatta. click here if you want to check them out.

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  • March 27th, 2009quarrygirlastro burger, LA restaurants

    for vegans in hollywood who are looking for some quick, cheap and decent fast food…astro burger is your place. located on the corner of melrose and gower, the legendary burger joint has been around since the 70’s and has a really impressive vegetarian menu, with vegan items clearly marked.

    i hit up astro burger for the first time with one of my vegan homies, and we both left stuffed and feelin’ happy. most of the vegan items at astroburger are provided by gardenburger; they offer several of their products including the chik’n grill, bbq riblets, flame grilled burger and more. while the food is mass-produced store-bought stuff and isn’t exceptional, it’s really well-prepared at astro burger and pretty inexpensive. (everything costs around 5 bucks)

    chik'n grill vegan sandwich with no bbq sauce, + mushrooms, + onions, + avocado

    chik'n grill vegan sandwich with no bbq sauce, + mushrooms, + onions, + avocado

    my friend ordered the chik’n grill sandwich and (being the astroburger pro that she is) got it modified with from average to delicious by adding extra toppings. she shared some with me and i was wishing i had ordered this for myself as well. the chik’n grill normally comes with lettuce, tomato and bbq sauce…but she got it without the sauce, plus grilled onions, mushrooms and avocado. absolutely wonderful. the chik’n patty was really thick and juicy, the onions and mushrooms added tons of flavor, and the avocado provided a cool and creamy texture that complimented the cooked vegetables perfectly. it may have been falling apart, but it was one of the better vegan fast food sandwiches in los angeles, for sure. it would have been much more boring with just lettuce and tomatoes on it.

    flame grilled vegan gardenburger

    flame grilled vegan gardenburger

    i ordered the vegan flame grilled burger which came with lettuce and tomatoes, and tasted like a standard store-bought gardenburger. not much to really describe about this one, it was lightly grilled and didn’t have much flavor…next time i am totally gonna add some onions and mushrooms.

    vegan chili fries

    vegan chili fries

    we also split an order of vegan chilli fries, which were excellent. i was expecting the chilli to contain fake meat and probably be out of a can, but instead it was just beans with a really thick sauce, sliced round carrots, and huge chunks of chillies. the crispy fries were absolutely covered with it, and it was all topped off with a load of fresh chopped onions. i really, really dug the chilli fries and would definitely order them again. between the two of us, not a single fry or bean was left behind.


    so there you have it, astro burger is definitely a place to grab some vegan fast food if you are hungry in the hollywood area. they have a parking lot and a drive thru, which is super convenient but they are cash only, which is not so convenient. they also have an atm inside the restaurant if you don’t mind paying a buck fifty surcharge in order to buy a burger.

    oh and don’t get this astro burger on melrose and gower confused with the one in weho on santa monica blvd. i think they are owned by the same people, but the vegan menu at the melrose/gower location is much more extensive. and yes, the vegan items are cooked on a separate grill with separate utensils, it even says so on their website. enjoy!


    astro burger
    5601 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90038
    (323) 469-1924

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  • February 21st, 2009quarrygirlbrighton, london, more restaurants (not LA)

    if you find yourself in england jonesing for some fast food, you can always count on red veg. they deem their fare “proper fast food”, and they are absolutely right—the sloppy little diner has two locations, one in london’s soho and the other in brighton, and both serve up quick and tasty american-style classic burgers and hot dogs that don’t disappoint. the brightly lit interior, along with cheap tables and chairs, and food served in greasy paper sleeves make red veg feel like all the fast food joints back home in the states, with one catch…red veg is 100% vegetarian, and everything on the menu can be veganized.

    mushroom vegburger

    mushroom vegburger

    on our recent trip to the uk, my husband and i stayed in brighton for one night. the only evening we spent there was a rainy one, and to be honest, all we wanted to do was huddle into pubs that were located very close to our hotel. when we finally drank so much that we needed sustenance to continue, we wandered over to red veg, the closest vegan-friendly restaurant that was open after 8pm. we found ourselves in a neat little cafe full of vegan junk food…complete with punk rock posters on the wall and blaring loud music coming from tiny speakers. the staff was cooler-than-thou but very friendly, and most importantly very knowledgeable about veganism.

    my husband got the mushroom vegburger pictured above, and he absolutely loved it. it came out in record time, and was pretty cheap. i don’t remember exactly how much, but i remember it being more than reasonable. the picture doesn’t look that appetizing, i know, i know…but this is really just fast food. nothing fancy, just cheap awesome fast food…except, we can actually eat it due to the lack of dead animal bits. the patty was really decent, and the mushrooms were well cooked. we’d totally order this again.

    vegwurst with caramelized onions

    vegwurst with caramelized onions

    i went with the vegwurst and carmelized onions with loads of hot sauce. the frank was pretty small, but whatever, it tasted good. the onions were delicious and perfectly sauteed, and the hot sauce topped it all off nicely. now while this dog was nothing to write home about (not everyone can be the frankenstand), it definitely filled the void and reminded me of old school fast food fare that i haven’t had in well over ten years.



    we topped everything off with an order of fries to split, and they were great. total thin fast food fries, red veg has got the formula down! and they even served them with a side of vegan mayo! um……..mayo on my fries?!!?!?! oh, you crazy brits!


    so if you find yourself in brighton on a stormy evening and need to dry off with some easy burger joint cuisine, check out red veg. they won’t let you down. i assume the london location is just as good, if not better, because it was the first one they opened.

    americans should definitely hit up red veg when in england. it will remind you of all the cool burger places that you can’t eat at back home. go get vegetarian fast food, it’s the way of the future!


    red veg
    21 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UP
    Telephone: 01273 679910
    Monday to Saturday 12 noon until 9pm
    95 Dean Street, London, W1V 5RB
    Telephone: 020 7437 3109
    Monday to Saturday 12 noon until 10pm
    Sunday 12 noon until 6.30pm

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