• October 25th, 2009mr meanerother, products
    gardein vegan chicken scallopini

    gardein vegan chicken scallopini

    Throughout my entire professional life, I’ve spent most of my waking hours with omnivorous coworkers. I’m used to being a wallflower at pot lucks, pizza parties, brown bag lunches, birthday celebrations and fancy executive dinners, fortunate to nibble on some fresh fruit or dry burger buns while my omni-workers fill up on stuff I won’t eat.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times somebody has walked up to my desk and offered some “amazing left-over” food. Everything from caviar crackers to chicken wings to home made cookies, I’m always the one saying “Oh, that looks amazing, but I have to pass as I’m a vegetarian/vegan”.

    Sometimes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised when somebody has prepared something specially for me, like the time the IT guy in Seattle made vegan cornish pasties on a whim: “I thought it would be a challenge, you know”. After I ate all three of them before I got home I can confirm that he met said challenge with aplomb.

    What I’d never participated in, though, is the random: “I made too much of [insert non-vegan food] last night. Want some?”. Until, that is, last week when my only ever vegan coworker (the amazingly talented Benny Strange) popped in to my office and casually said “Hey, I made WAY too much vegan pesto last night. Want some?”. Did I EVER.

    vegan bennystrange pesto

    vegan bennystrange pesto

    The timing could not have been better, frankly, as back home I had some amazing Gardein Chick’n Scallopini burning a hole in the freezer, and was already considering some Italian-style accompaniments: The thought of a meal based on vegan pesto (something rather difficult to find in the wild) immediately resonated with me, so I rushed home with pesto in hand and started to cook up a storm.


    First, I need to take a moment to talk about the Gardein Chick’n, which is a seriously tasty and flexible alternative to fake meats and, of course, real meat. They arrive pre-cooked so all you have to do is heat them to your taste, season further if you like and cook ’em. For this dish, I brushed them with a little olive oil, fresh garlic and dried Italian herbs then seared them over the grill for 5 minutes.

    For the rest of the dish, I boiled some angel hair pasta in salted water for a few minutes, and then drained and added the vegan pesto, mixing throughly.


    Adding some steamed broccoli was the icing on the cake, as this wonderful dish came together rather well. Spearheaded by the sublime smoothness of the absolutely amazing vegan pesto (better than the stuff you can buy in Whole Foods), some al dente pasta and the sumptuously juicy Gardein Scallopinis this really was an excellent meal.

    I’m really grateful to Benny Strange for bringing in his leftover pesto as it ignited a meal idea I’d never have considered, and which turned out to be truly amazing. Let’s hope many more vegans show up in workplaces everywhere so we can bring our leftovers and trade them with each other. Who knows, our omni coworkers might even learn a thing or two about how wonderful cruelty-free food can be.

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  • October 20th, 2009quarrygirlother, products


    i am loving gardein’s new vegan frozen food line, and finally it’s available in los angeles. i’ve already told you all about the amazing spicy buffalo wings, so today it’s all about chick’n good stuff.


    this little meal comes in packs of two and is basically a vegan take on stuffed chicken, complete with marinara sauce and daiya cheese in the middle. i topped mine with even more daiya cheese that i had on hand, and served it up with roasted brussels sprouts and collard greens.


    on bite of this thing, and i was SOLD. the crispy bread crumb coating was garlicky and flavorful, and the vegan chicken was moist and perfectly chewy. as soon as i cut into it, rich daiya cheese and marinara sauce oozed out of it all over the place. the sauce was awesome, and i’m sure you already know how amazing daiya is. i’ve never had a vegan frozen product this tasty….seriously!


    each stuffed chick’n is definitely enough for a 1 person meal…i even had a bit left over. these things pack so much decadent taste, i couldn’t believe it when i picked up the package and saw they only contain 210 calories each! i know i will be eating these on a regular basis.


    oh and it looks like i CAN be eating these on a regular basis, because they are available at ralphs! i’d never seen gardein at a normal supermarket before, so i was pleasantly surprised when i saw their entire frozen line in stock at ralphs in hollywood yesterday. and at just under $4.50 per bag, the price is right as well.

    come on, it’s VEGAN CHICKEN stuffed with VEGAN CHEESE….available at the grocery store!!!! i never thought i’d see the day!

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  • October 19th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, purgatory pizza


    it’s been a bad year for some of our favorite restaurants. a taste of life has closed its storefront, that’s amore is completely gone, and flore cafe is on the brink of shutting down as well. on top of all this, today i found out that the shitty economy is threatening the best place to get vegan pizza in los angeles: purgatory pizza.

    vegan pizza: daiya cheese, roasted garlic, fresh basil, tomatoes, red onions.

    vegan pizza: daiya cheese, roasted garlic, fresh basil, tomatoes, red onions.

    the owner of purgatory pizza tweeted this morning, “TRYING to stay open…. Damn economy!” i dug a bit deeper, and the restaurant confirmed that if business doesn’t pick up, it’s a very real possibility that they could be forced to close their doors. i can’t even stress to you WHAT AN EPIC TRAGEDY THIS WOULD BE FOR THE LOS ANGELES VEGAN SCENE. after all, purgatory was named one of the top 5 omnivorous restaurants in los angeles. i know that tons of places in LA are offering daiya pizza now, but purgatory is the only place where you can get pizza with daiya cheese, gardein vegan chicken, AND field roast artisan grain meats. it’s also the best place to get nyc style vegan pizza in town, and they even have vegan pesto as well!

    Vegan Chicken Pesto Pizza with Gardein and Daiya at Purgatory Pizza.

    Vegan Chicken Pesto Pizza with Gardein and Daiya at Purgatory Pizza.

    seriously, purgatory pizza is a one-of-a-kind restaurant and we can’t let it go out of business. they were the first pizza place to bend over backwards for vegans in los angeles, and i think it’s safe to say they have some of the best (if not THE BEST) vegan pizza in LA. they are a little bit out of the way for most folks, but the food is worth it and they have a quiet atmosphere where you can BYOB! so get out and spend some money at purgatory pizza ASAP. i highly recommend you try either the gardein chicken with pesto or the “classic” pizza with added field roast sausage. they know how to melt daiya vegan cheese perfectly, and i’ve never had a pizza there i didn’t absolutely love. if they shut down, i will cry.

    purgatory pizza
    1326 East 1st Street
    Los Angeles CA 90033
    (323) 262-5310

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  • October 12th, 2009quarrygirlproducts

    gardein classic style buffalo wings.





    this fall, gardein is launching a new frozen line all over the united states & canada, so keep an eye out for their products coming to a whole foods near you. if you live on the east coast, you may have already seen this stuff. gardein sent me a sampling of their new line to try out, and i immediately fell in love with their classic style buffalo wings. spicy, tangy, moist and chewy, these bite-sized snacks were everything you could want in a meaty appetizer. they packed a lot of heat, and went down perfectly with cool and creamy vegenaise dip.

    being a vegan is super easy with companies like gardein around to create cruelty-free versions of old meaty favorites. stay tuned for more gardein products coming soon to a freezer near you. and if you spot these wings when you are out grocery shopping, trust me, YOU GOTTA TRY ‘EM. i am gonna buy up bags of these wings as soon as i have the chance.

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  • September 26th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    just a brief bit of vegan news for you all in los angeles…


    on tuesday september 29, veggie grill is opening its newest location in west hollywood. 8000 sunset to be exact, at crescent heights in the sunset 5 complex. woo hoo!


    veggie grill already has a few locations in southern california, and they make awesome fast-food style cuisine using mock meats such as gardein. get over to weho and check them out asap.


    welcome to the neighborhood, veggie grill!

    veggie grill
    8000 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90046

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  • August 18th, 2009quarrygirlvegan cheese
    daiya vegan cheese pizza with gardein crumbles

    daiya vegan cheese pizza with gardein crumbles

    a couple nights ago i got together with some friends and had a good old-fashioned vegan pizza throw down. the los angeles vegan pizza scene has kind of exploded lately, since daiya vegan cheese has become available at purgatory pizza, cruzer, whole foods and zpizza—so i went for quite a while without making pizza at home.

    luckily now, daiya vegan shreds are available not just on take out pizza, but for to-go purchase by weight at nearly every whole foods in the los angeles area. no more ordering online and paying outrageous shipping fees—now you can take a stroll to the nearest whole foods and buy as many containers of daiya as you can carry. i suggest you follow my lead, round up some friends, and throw your own pizza party.


    we made several pizzas, although some of them were devoured before i could photograph them. in addition to covering the pies with daiya, we also topped them with products from one of our favorite fake meat providers, gardein. if you haven’t had gardein yet, you really need to find out what you are missing. they have the BEST mock chicken product around, as well as mock pulled pork, mock beef, and other mock meats. you can find their stuff at whole foods, trader joes, fresh and easy, and even sometimes at ralphs. for more info, check out their website.

    on the pizza pictured above, we used gardein’s meatless crumbles which were insanely delicious. they were soft and flavorful and tasted so much like what i remember ground beef tasting like…but without the weird animal texture. my favorite pizza of the night, however, was the one pictured below: white sauce, sauteed mushrooms, garlic, gardein chik’n strips and daiya vegan cheese. this thing was freaking incredible. the white sauce was filled with herbs, oil & seasoning, and was the perfect compliment to the meaty chik’n strips.

    white vegan pizza with daiya cheese and gardein chick'n strips

    white vegan pizza with daiya cheese and gardein chick'n strips

    these chik’n slices are definitely one of my favorite gardein products—i have had omnivores tell me they taste way better than real chicken. they are moist and full of flavor, but not overly dry like gross real meat. seriously, a bite of these mixed up with melted daiya and oily sauce is nothing short of heavenly.


    as you can tell, the pizza shindig was a huge success thanks to all the amazing toppings, and also to the excellent pizza chef studiodrome who spent a lot of time in the kitchen making these things.

    so what are you waiting for? everything you need to make the pizza of your dreams is available at nearby supermarkets. to think a year ago in los angeles, there were basically no vegan pizza options—and now we can make incredible vegan pizzas AT HOME with cheese and meat that taste like the real thing…it’s pretty damn amazing.

    check your local whole foods for daiya vegan cheese, and check gardein’s website for where you can find their products.

    oh, and if you feel lazy and want a gardein daiya pizza made for you, head on over to purgatory pizza. i’m pretty sure they are the only place that carries both these products right now. and they make the best pesto pizza with gardein chik’n that i’ve ever had.

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  • August 5th, 2009quarrygirlgreen peas, LA restaurants
    gardein chicken sandwich: gardein chicken breast marinated w/ rosemary garlic & lemon juice, baby spinach, fresh tomato, cucumber, daiya cheese and vegenaise. $6.99

    gardein chicken sandwich: gardein chicken breast marinated w/ rosemary garlic & lemon juice, baby spinach, fresh tomato, cucumber, daiya cheese and vegenaise. $6.99

    while the westside has lots of perks like money, beaches and prius-driving environmentalists, one thing it has been lacking for quite some time is quality vegan-friendly restaurants….especially in culver city. sure, for a while they’ve had m cafe, tender greens and akasha…but there hasn’t been a place to get a huge, cheap, satisfying vegan meal…until now. green peas casual food is a new cafe that opened in late june and offers loads of vegan options including sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, and even pizzas.

    we checked out green peas recently and were quite impressed with the quality of food, low prices, and friendly staff. the first thing we ordered was the gardein chicken sandwich, a thick ciabatta roll topped with gardein chicken breast, melty daiya cheese and fresh vegetables. the sandwich originally came with bell peppers, and when we asked for them to be left off, the dude at the counter suggested we replace them with any other vegetable. see that? nice, helpful service? most places will just omit ingredients without offering to replace them.

    the sandwich itself was huge and awesome. it came with a large side salad of dark leafy greens, and was absolutely packed with vegetables, gardein and daiya. i couldn’t believe this thing was only $6.99. at most vegan places, a sandwich this good with a side would be around $11-$12. what a score!


    we also ordered the vegan pizza which came piled with grilled vegetables and daiya cheese. even though the menu at green peas describes it as soy cheese, rest assured, this stuff was definitely daiya. again, we got this without bell peppers and opted for sundried tomatoes instead. now you can’t really tell by the picture, but this pizza was massvie…enough for 2 people and only $7.99. i love that so many places are serving daiya now, we are truly spoiled in los angeles when it comes to vegan pizza.

    vegetable pizza: grilled carrots, grilled zucchini, grilled eggplant, grilled red onions and daiya cheese. $7.99

    vegetable pizza: grilled carrots, grilled zucchini, grilled eggplant, grilled red onions and daiya cheese. $7.99

    the vibe at green peas is upscale casual. everything is super clean and well-presented, but you order at the counter and seat yourself. the food comes out rapidly, i’d we went from ordering to eating in less than ten minutes.



    so westside vegans, head over to green peas as soon as you can. fill up on gardein packed sandwiches, daiya covered pizzas, quesadillas, salads and tofu scrambles. everything on the menu is under ten bucks, the portions are huge, and the food is fucking delicious. definitely one of my new faves.


    green peas
    4437 Sepulveda Blvd
    Culver City, CA 90230
    (310) 397-9815

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  • July 29th, 2009quarrygirlfratelli cafe, LA restaurants

    if you read the LA vegan sites, you’ve probably heard of jennshaggy’s recipe blog. well recently, jenn has been doing more than blogging; she’s lent a hand to fratelli cafe on melrose and has helped them design an extensive vegan menu. now the small eatery has a variety of vegan sandwiches, wraps, and salads stuffed with high-quality meat substitutes, fresh vegetables and marinated tofu. i have dined at fratelli cafe twice, and both times the food was delicious.

    chinese tofu salad: marinated tofu, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, red onions, crushed peanuts and organic sesame soy dressing. $10.95

    chinese tofu salad: marinated tofu, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, red onions, crushed peanuts and organic sesame soy dressing. $10.95

    on my first visit to fratelli, they had just run out of their meat substitutes, so the only protein option they had was marinated tofu. my friend and i decided to get two entrees and split them: the chinese chicken salad (with tofu instead of chicken), and the mexican cilantro wrap. while i was a little skeptical of having tofu rather than chicken in the salad, it turned out to be wonderful. this was indeed some of the best marinated tofu i’ve ever had. it was slightly crisp and oily on the outside, then soft and juicy in the center. seriously tasty stuff. the rest of the salad was on point as well, all extremely fresh with an excellent vegan dressing.


    the mexican cilantro wrap did not disappoint, either. it was filled with the same amazing tofu plus vegetables, salsa and vegan cheese. since a jennshaggy designed the menu and told fratelli which brands to buy, you can trust that things like the fake cheese and meat are truly vegan. for a cheese substitute they use follow your heart, which isn’t my favorite, but it tasted pretty good in this wrap.

    mexican cilantro wrap: chicken or tofu, lettuce, tomato, salsa, red onions, avocado, cilantro dressing, vegenaise, and shredded mozzarella. $10.95

    mexican cilantro wrap: chicken or tofu, lettuce, tomato, salsa, red onions, avocado, cilantro dressing, vegenaise, and shredded mozzarella. $10.95

    i hit up fratelli cafe again a few days later, and luckily the fake meat products were back in stock…

    mediterranean salad: chicken or tofu, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, white balsamic vinaigrette, shredded mozzarella. $10.95

    mediterranean salad: chicken or tofu, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, white balsamic vinaigrette, shredded mozzarella. $10.95

    my friend ordered the mediterranean salad with chicken, and we were pleased to find it topped with huge thick slices of well-seasoned gardein. the only complaint i’d have about this salad, is it seemed to come with normal lettuce, not spinach like the menu indicated…and the follow your heart cheese was cut in cubes, not shredded. it impressed my omnivorous friend though, and she happily ate all of it.

    pesto chicken sandwich: chicken, lettuce, tomato, red onion, non dairy pesto, mozzarella and mayo. $10.95

    pesto chicken sandwich: chicken, lettuce, tomato, red onion, non dairy pesto, mozzarella and mayo. $10.95

    i ordered the pesto chicken sandwich was also stacked with gardein chicken and a garlicky vegan pesto sauce. this is my favorite thing so far i’ve ordered from fratelli. gardein is just so moist and flavorful, with stuff like this out there, i don’t understand why anyone eats meat. the pesto was also incredible, creamy and so full of flavor, the dairy was not missed one bit.


    so next time you find yourself on melrose, head over to fratelli cafe and check out their new vegan menu that our local jennshaggy designed. just grab the laminated menu and flip all the way to the back for the vegan selections. yum.


    fratelli cafe
    7200 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90046
    (323) 938-2233
    7 days 6:30am – 11pm

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  • May 18th, 2009quarrygirlchango, LA restaurants

    in the mood for a huge, hearty, warm, melty, fake-meaty vegan sandwich for under $10? look no further than chango coffee house in echo park. the hipster cofee shop/art gallery is located at echo park avenue and delta street, a spot that locals have dubbed “chicken corner,” and has recently added two unbelievably tasty vegan sandwiches to their menu. i had the chance to try both over the weekend, steak & cheese as well as chicken pesto, and each one brought a kind of sandwich satisfaction that isn’t available anywhere else in town.

    vegan steak and cheese sandwich. $7.50

    vegan steak and cheese sandwich. $7.50

    the vegan steak and cheese sandwich is basically a vegan version of your typical “philly cheesesteak,” with thick soy steak strips and dairy-free mozzarella, along with sauteed onions and mushrooms. chango toasted the sandwich when i ordered it, so the bread was warm and crispy and the soy cheese was perfectly melty. for the steak chango uses gardein, and for the cheese they use teese from chicago soy dairy…each being the best replacement out there for its animal-product counterpart. i can tell you, this steak and cheese sandwich was so amazing, even a meat-eater would fall in love with it. not since doomie’s or the vegan spot (both are closed down now) have i had such a great vegan sandwich.

    vegan chicken pesto salad panini. $7.50

    vegan chicken pesto salad panini. $7.50

    the vegan chicken pesto sandwich was equally impressive, with thick chunks of gardein protein, creamy cheese-less pesto sauce, fresh basil, crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes. the pesto was really garlicky, just the way i like it, and the bread heated up to be perfectly toasty and crunchy. where else can you buy a big chunky chicken pesto sandwich that’s vegan in los angeles?!? …that’s right. nowhere.

    the thing i love about chango’s new sandwiches, are they are unlike the normal “vegan” sandwich options you can get just about anywhere. rather than just some grilled vegetables and maybe tofu on a bread roll, chango take its vegan sandwiches to the next level with fake meats, soy cheeses, and incredible homemade pesto sauce. plus, they are really well prepared, perfectly assembled with just the right amount of ingredients, and toasted to absolute perfection. you aren’t gonna get any other sandwich this good for well under 10 dollars, i guarantee you.


    the atmosphere is also great at chango, it reminds me of a hip seattle coffee shop with its bohemian customers, shelves full of books to peruse, and bright art adorning the wall. seriously, it’s the perfect place to sit back and relax with a cup of caffeine and a huge vegan sandwich. get your ass over to chango asap and see what this food is all about. the vegan items are listed right now on the “specials” chalkboard to the left of the counter, not on the main board.


    chango coffee house
    1559 Echo Park Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90026

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  • March 20th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, purgatory pizza

    yeah, yeah, yeah…if you are a vegan in los angeles who loves pizza, you probably know all about purgatory pizza. the ny-style pizza joint gained vegan fame in february when they added teese cheese from chicago soy dairy to their lineup, making authentic delicious VEGAN PIZZA available to the masses. as if that wasn’t enough, about a week ago they stepped it up a notch and started offering field roast artisan vegan sausage as a topping.

    well just when i thought the best vegan pizza in la couldn’t get any better, they went ahead and upped the topping selection. the field roast was amazing enough, but now just one week later, they are offering a delicious option of vegan gardein chicken STARTING TODAY. i was fortunate enough to attend a sampling party and taste three different gardein chicken pizzas, all of which were unique and insanely tasty. purgatory pizza is really making a conscious effort to embrace the los angeles vegan community and accommodate us at every turn. they even veganized their pesto recipe for good. that’s right, purgatatory pizza has omitted the cheese from their pesto permanently…so you can safely order the basil/pine nut concoction from now on.

    now for the three pizzas. i must admit, i was a little skeptical at first…i am usually a mushroom and tomato toppings kind of girl and the thought of fake chicken on a pizza didn’t seem that great. but with a little magic in the kitchen, two talented chefs used the gardein chicken to make 3 of the best pizzas i’ve ever had. vegan cook extraordinaire jennshaggy was on hand to prepare and season the chicken, while purgatory’s own chef ricky made the sauces and crust. the first pizza, which was my favorite, was pesto pizza topped with mushrooms, olives and gardein chicken.

    vegan purgatory pizza with teese cheese, gardein chicken, pesto, mushrooms and (1/2) olives

    vegan purgatory pizza with teese cheese, gardein chicken, pesto, mushrooms and (1/2) olives

    the vegan pesto was absolutely perfect. why anyone would need cheese thrown into this delicious blend of basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil is completely beyond me. the pesto was spread lightly all over the pizza, so although it was a bit oily, the pie didn’t taste heavy. the gardein chicken was extremely well prepared, tender and flavorful and not one bit dry. i seriously loved it. not to mention the melty teese cheese. this pizza was so fucking good, really, i swear, it tasted like the real thing.


    the next pizza was a standard purgatory pizza with their normal tomato sauce topped with teese cheese, gardein chicken and fresh basil. simple and excellent. while my favorite pizza was the pesto one pictured above, a few of the pizza testers argued that this was the best one and i can totally see where they were coming from. again, the gardein came out very well and tasted great on the pizza…plump little chunks of italian-seasoned soy chicken that were crispy on top and moist in the center.

    vegan purgatory pizza with teese cheese, gardein chicken and fresh basil

    vegan purgatory pizza with teese cheese, gardein chicken and fresh basil

    the third pizza was an amazing concoction from chef ricky himself which came with no sauce…just olive oil and garlic covered with teese cheese, gardein chicken, tomatoes and oregano. this was my husband’s favorite of the three pizzas, and it was definitely unique and like nothing i’ve ever tasted before.

    vegan purgatory pizza with olive oil, garlic, teese cheese, gardein chicken, tomatoes and oregano

    vegan purgatory pizza with olive oil, garlic, teese cheese, gardein chicken, tomatoes and oregano

    the olive oil and garlic mixed with the teese and made for a creamy base, so the sauce wasn’t even missed. again, the gardein chicken was excellent was the perfect compliment to the italian-style sauces and toppings. in fact, with all the olive oil, garlic, oregano and tomatoes, this tasted like a pizza version of a pasta dish. everything went so well together, i really suggest you give this exceptional pizza a try…i’ve never had anything quite like it.


    so there you have it, get over to purgatory pizza and try the new gardein topping which will be available starting today. extra special thanks to jennshaggy and chef ricky for coming up with the way to make these extremely tasty vegan pizzas. the vegan pizza scene in la just keeps getting better and better.

    chef ricky, the master of the pizza

    chef ricky, the master of the pizza

    purgatory pizza
    1326 east 1st street
    los angeles, ca 90033
    323 262 5310
    open everyday 6pm – 11pm

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