• July 29th, 2011quarrygirldelivery, hummus king, LA restaurants


    we named them one of the best vegetarian restaurants in los angeles in 2010, only to hear they were shutting down six months later. now it looks hummus king is on the prowl for a new location in silverlake, but until then they’ve launched an all vegan delivery/catering service!

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  • April 16th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, savyon cafe

    vegans, rejoice! savyon cafe on pico has officially decided to offer their all you can eat vegan buffet every sunday from 11:30am to 4pm!

    every sunday at lunchtime! all you an eat for $8.99!

    from what i hear, this buffet is killer…

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  • February 3rd, 2011quarrygirlhummus king, LA restaurants

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

    you people better get over there and eat at hummus king, because this is NEVER a good sign. the entirely vegetarian restaurant in valley village has slashed its hours, and is now only open sunday through friday until 4pm. they used to be open until 10…so that means they’ve chopped their hours IN HALF, and will no longer be serving dinner.

    Vegan Shwarama Sandwich at Hummus King

    hummus king is one of our favorite restaurants in los angeles, so this news is pretty worrying to us…

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  • October 26th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), virginia beach

    field report time, and this one comes to us from a new operative located way over on the other side of the country! check out christina’s review of baladi, a middle eastern restaurant in virginia beach. this post seriously had me drooling. it’s got vegan baklava, turkish delights, and the best looking plate of hummus i’ve ever seen. enjoy!

    Attention all military families, beach travelers, those visiting PETA in Norfolk, or anyone else mysteriously finding themselves in Hampton Roads, VA: I have found a gem in the seven-cities.

    By chance one morning, I bumped into Khaled, the owner of the Mediterranean restaurant Baladi in Virginia Beach as he was delivering food to my workplace for lunch. You don’t have to pull my arm to get me to try a new Mediterranean restaurant—by the end of the workday I was dying to take that thirty-minute drive to his restaurant to scope out the falafel.

    Needless to say, Baladi has become a restaurant that I frequent—due to the superb customer service, the vegan-friendly menu, and the drool-worthy dishes. Each vegan item on the menu has a “VV” next to it, which makes me want to high-five everyone around me.

    The word “baladi” in Arabic means “local,” and the restaurant most definitely has a local vibe. The owner is ALWAYS there—taking orders, preparing food, delivering food to tables, learning customer’s names and humoring you if you try to speak mediocre Arabic with him (so what? At least I try). Baladi’s ambiance also happens to be refreshingly unique. I feel like it would have been a nice place to study during college—if there were more seating.

    The pastry case at Baladi regularly contains vegan mamool, vegan baklava, and Turkish delights. I’m the sucker that ends up purchasing so many sweets that I have leftovers for days (if you’re wondering: yes, these treats still taste amazing three days later). There is even a deal for people like me: six sweets for $7.50.

    The Jalapeno Hummus with spicy garnish is hands-down the best hummus I have ever eaten. I have no idea what “spicy garnish” is—but it is bangin’.

    Both the tabbouleh (above) and the couscous (below) are part of the mezze menu, and are affordably priced ($4.95 each!). The tabbouleh is fresh, not too lemony. The couscous is joist moist enough and has some tiny bits of green onion and tomato mixed in. A little lady, such as myself, could purchase one of these and be perfectly satisfied.

    Seriously—Baladi consistently crafts the perfect falafel. Above is the Falafel Supreme wrap (crunchy lettuce, warm falafel, hummus, tahini, and Lebanese olives on the side. Mmmm). This baby is only $7.50, too.

    This dish is a dream … thick pita bread covered in lentil soup and topped with that wonderful spicy garnish. The lentil soup here is spectacular by itself, but there is something about eating thick, soup-soaked pita bread that makes me drool a little.

    These Turkish delights turn me in to an American delight—all I’m sayin’. They’re coated with just enough confectioners’ sugar and they’re not so chewy that they stick in your teeth (in case you want to talk later).

    I grew up on this stuff as a kid. Until I was 14, I thought baklava was a staple at everybody’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, thanks to my Arab-American family. After transitioning to veganism I really missed baklava, so this is a great find for baklava fiends—or anyone wanting to have their taste buds tantalized with phyllo dough, rosewater, and pistachios.

    No one should ever leave here without getting a Turkish coffee. It’s always made fresh, and it’s served in the most elegant of demitasse cups and saucers. They’re so fancy that I take them up to the counter after I bus my table so they don’t get broken. I know, I know. I’m a sweetheart.

    Cute, yeah?

    If you’re ever in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, Baladi is definitely worth a visit (or five). Say hi to me when you go, I’m sure I’ll be sitting in the corner scarfing down dish, after dish, after dish …

    Baladi Mediterranean Café
    640 Hilltop West Shopping Center
    Virginia Beach, VA 23451-6139
    (757) 425-8877
    Monday through Saturday, 11am-8pm

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  • October 14th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    oh god, i love NYC. it’s freaking vegan paradise, lemme tell you. i have that happycow app on my iphone…you know, vegout? it’s this cool little thing you fire up and no matter where you are, it uses GPS to tell you which vegan-friendly restaurants are nearby. in LA, it usually results in a few pages of restaurants, depending on where you are in the city. in manhattan though, the app almost crashes…there are SO MANY VEGAN OPTIONS. it’s crazy. there are more vegetarian places per square foot in nyc than anywhere i’ve ever visited. anyways, this post isn’t supposed to be a vegan love letter to NYC…i am here to talk about kate’s joint!

    kate’s is an all vegetarian spot that our friends have been recommending to us for quite awhile. i’d heard nothing but good things about the restaurant, so when they showed up on the vegout app as “less than a mile away” while we were drinking in the east village, i knew it was gonna happen.

    lemme preface: kate’s has an enormous menu, but it feels more like a bar than a restaurant. they’ve got tap beer, cocktails, and a huge bar lined with stools in the main area; dining tables are lined up along the windows. this actually got me pretty excited, because i love bars much more than real restaurants. so the fact that i can think of this place as a bar with an all vegetarian menu makes me love it even more.

    we hit up kate’s on a friday at around 5pm, and it was pretty slow. i had heard they made vegan white russians (my favorite drink ever), so i ordered one right away. the waitress had no idea what i was talking about, but she went to check with the bar and immediately came back with one. SCORE! it was so good.

    vegan disco fries: covered with mama's vegan gravy and daiya cheese. $6.25

    next up, we decided to order some appetizers. we started with the decadent “disco fries,” another legend i have been hearing about from several peeps. disco fries are ridiculous: french fries topped with GRAVY AND CHEESE. WTF, why didn’t i think of this?!?! these have been at kate’s forever, but are only recently vegan-friendly. not long ago, kate switched from a casein-containing soy cheese to daiya! thank goodness, because why would a VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT have a real cheese option, AS WELL AS a non-vegan cheese option?  that makes no sense. anyways, the disco fries are available vegan now and they are amazing. by far the best thing i tried at kate’s.

    hummus rolls filled with spinach, roasted garlic, tomatoes, tahini and lemon. $6.95

    after that deep-fried, cheesy, creamy starter, we were in the mood for something lighter and shared the hummus rolls. these babies were basically little tortilla pockets filled with hummus and vegetables including spinach, garlic, and tomato. nothing earth-shattering, but damn good.

    vegan un-turkey club: un-turkey, fakin bacon, lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo. $9.95

    we had such honorable intentions of ordering like 5 entrees from kate’s, but after the two appetizers, we could only manage to share one main course. we went with the un-turkey club, another popular item that we’d heard people rave about. the club was delicious, but IMO we have better clubs here in LA. what took this sandwich over the edge was the side of mashed potatoes, served with kate’s deadly homemade gravy (the same stuff that was on the fries). it was phenomenal.

    next time i go to kate’s, i am gonna starve myself in advance and arrive completely sober. the menu is way too drool-worthy, and the drink selection is too tempting. to say that we have unfinished business with kate’s would be an understatement.

    kate’s joint
    #58 Avenue B, New York NY 10009
    (At 4th St)
    (212) 777-7059

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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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  • August 25th, 2010quarrygirlhummus king, LA restaurants

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

    ever since we posted brittany’s glowing review of hummus king, an all vegetarian restaurant in valley village, we have been dying to go there. we finally made the trip this weekend, and i can safely say that it’s one of my new favorite spots.

    the menu at hummus king is large, inexpensive, and almost entirely vegan (i think the only animal products at the restaurant are eggs as a topping). they’ve got several platters, salads, and sandwiches filled with your choice of homemade falafel, spiced vegan shwarama, and SEVEN different kinds of hummus to choose from. the second we walked in, a friendly fellow behind the counter started whipping out spoons filled with hummus, offering us a chance to try each flavor. they were all super tasty; i knew immediately that we were in for an awesome meal.

    falafel platter: small hummus plate, eight falafel balls, two sides, two pitta breads, and a fountain drink. $9.95

    we decided to share the falafel platter, which isn’t a platter at all, but rather several small plates of food. this would probably be enough to feed 2 people, or one VERY hungry person. our platter came with 8 falafel balls (a mix of normal and fire flavor), a side of salad, a side of shwarama, a side jalapeno hummus, 2 pieces of pita bread, and fountain drink.

    lemme start by saying the falafel was FANTASTIC! some of the best i’ve ever had. super fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside, yet not burnt to a crisp. it wasn’t overly oily, and it was perfectly seasoned. i highly recommend doing what we did and asking them to throw some “fire balls” (spicy falafel) into the mix, because those were even better than the normal falafel.

    the side of shwarama that came with the falafel platter was huge, i couldn’t believe it was just a side when they brought it to our table. one bite of this stuff and i was in love—thinly sliced and super meaty, it was all mixed up with fantastic mediterranean spices and little bits of grilled onions. i’m definitely gonna work this shwarama into my order every time i go to hummus king.

    the salad was very nice as well, light and refreshing with crispy cubes of cucumber, plump tomatoes, and shredded cabbage. it went great stuffed on top of the falafel in the warm pita bread.

    the last component of the falafel platter, the small side of hummus, was probably my favorite thing on the table. there were so many flavors to choose from, but we went with jalapeno and were not disappointed. this was some of the creamiest, most flavorful hummus i’ve ever tasted and it was finished off with a chunky scoop of chickpeas and some spiced oil. TO DIE FOR. i honestly wanted to pick up the plate and face palm it.

    the falafel platter was so good, i would highly recommend it! i mean just look at the four pictures above—all that food for under 10 bucks! and you can’t even see the pita bread!

    vegetarian shwarama sandwich: pita bread with choice of hummus, filled with mediterranean spiced shwarama, chopped vegetable salad, green tahini and mango sauce. $6.95

    oh, but that’s not all my friends. not knowing how epic the falafel platter would be, we also got a shwarama sandwich to share. this was a very generous portion of the same tasty fake meat described above, shoved into a soft pita picket with salad, hummus, and green tahini. i would order this hefty hand held meal again any time, it was wonderful! it was all the deliciousness of the shwarama, salad, and hummus i described above neatly tucked together in an easy to eat sandwich. if i were at hummus king on my own for lunch, this would be my go to meal. it’s the right size for one person without having any leftovers.

    our first experience at hummus king was phenomenal, and just thinking about it makes me want to drive over there right now. the place is pretty basic on the inside (as you can see in the picture above), but the food is out of this world. plus, the service is friendly, the prices are low, and you can sample pretty much anything you want before you order. oh, and it’s kosher!

    get over to the valley and show this vegetarian business some support! you will thank me later.

    hummus king
    12422 burbank blvd
    valley village, ca 91607
    sunday – friday 10:30am-4:00pm

    click here and here for the menu.

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  • August 9th, 2010brittanyhummus king, LA restaurants

    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 walked in to work the other day and happened to swing by my fellow vegan coworker’s office (to talk about food, of course, not work) after making my usual morning stop in the company kitchen. much to my surprise, she holds up a menu for hummus king and tells me she’s going there for lunch because it says “vegetarian heaven” right on the menu. i was intrigued, especially after taking a gander at the menu and seeing vegetarian shawarma. i’d brought my lunch but i said i’d go along to try some things (and to take pictures for you lovely people).

    four of us ended up piling into a car and heading over to valley village. when we walked in we had a lot of questions re: dairy, eggs, etc., and the guy at the counter was more than happy to answer. when asked about the shawarma, he quickly produced a plate for us to sample.

    vegan shwarama!

    this stuff was fucking aweeeeeesssssssooooommmmmmmeeee! i’m pretty sure just it’s just seitan that’s been seasoned and cooked, but it is damn good. i immediately regretted eating before my field trip because i imagine this shawarma stuffed in a warm pita with some hummus is just glorious.

    while i was hogging the shawarma samples, snapping pix, and texting QG about how awesome the shawarma is, i look over to see my coworkers being given samples of all of the different types of hummus. i got in on the sample action a little late so i only got to try 3 of them, and all of them were really good and super creamy. my favorite of the ones i tried was the jalapeno.

    my coworkers ordered and all got their food in a snap, and let me try a few bites.

    okay. i. loved. this. falafel. SO good! not super greasy or over-fried. it was perfectly seasoned. once again i immediately regretted having already eaten lunch and started thinking about having a shawarma/falafel pita. IT WILL HAPPEN.

    i’m not a huge fan of eggplant but i also liked this as well. once again, not overly greasy or fried tasting, and well seasoned!

    so, in conclusion, hummus king is the king of kings. the food is great, the staff is super friendly, the prices are reasonable, there is ample parking… there’s no reason not to check it out!

    hummus king
    12422 burbank blvd
    valley village, ca 91607

    sunday – thursday 10am-10pm
    friday 10am – 7pm

    PS: here are some snaps of the menu, since i can’t find it anywhere else online.

    click to enlarge

    click to enlarge

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  • November 21st, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    hummus bros in soho is one of my favorite restaurants to hit up when in london. we’ve written about them before, and on a recent visit they were just as delicious.

    the way it works is: you get a hummus base with some pita, and then choose between their numerous vegan-friendly toppings. they’ve got vegetable salad, guacamole, and cumin chickpeas…just to name a few. last time we were there, we went with mushrooms and fava beans, both of which were awesome.

    hummus topped with fava beans

    hummus topped with fava beans

    the fava bean topped hummus was my favorite. the fava beans were prepared in a re-fried bean style (which i love), and were super creamy all mixed up with the hummus and oil. we got it with a side of vegan garlic dipping sauce, that was alright but a little too lemony for my taste.

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  • October 14th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)


    whenever i travel to london, i always look forward to eating at maoz vegetarian. the concept of the restaurant is simple: a small shop that serves open pita sandwiches with base ingredients such as falafel and hummus, with a heaping salad bar full where customers can fill up on any toppings they want. fast food without all the dead animals…what a great idea!


    my default meal is a pita with hummus and falafel, generously stuffed with the delicious salad bar options. their falafel is some of the best i’ve ever had, perfectly spiced and crispy, and they don’t skimp on it either! almost everything at maoz is vegan, and i always wind up a sandwich weighing about three pounds—overflowing with broccoli, cous cous, cauliflower and hot sauce. everything at the salad bar is crisp and freshly prepared…i really wish maoz would open up in los angeles, because i would be there everyday.


    the only down side of maoz in london is, it can get pretty packed and hard to find a seat—and you don’t wanna be huddled under a roof in the rain, juggling an overflowing sandwich. luckily though, the line moves fast and the tables turn over pretty quickly, so my advice if the place is crowded would be to wait until a seat frees up. we’ve posted on maoz in london before, and since then they’ve re-arranged the shop a bit to make it more classy and fit in more seating. the falafel is still exactly the same though, so tasty that it haunts my dreams when i’m back home in los angeles.

    luckily, london isn’t the only place you can enjoy maoz vegetarian. they have locations in paris, spain, amsterdam and nyc as well. and soon they will be opening a shop in san francisco! if you are reading this maoz, please open up in LA ASAP.

    43, Old Compton St
    London, UK, London W1D 6HG

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  • July 5th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, muma (NOT VEGETARIAN)

    “We don’t need to go looking for trouble, it comes looking for us…” – Oscar Wilde


    Don’t you just hate it when you see something you like ripped off, and hard working people’s livelihoods threatened?

    Back in 1991 two Israeli emgres, Nachman and Sima Milo, opened their very first Maoz restaurant in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With a menu designed to be healthy, vegetarian, environmentally friendly, inexpensive and very tasty, the Milos quickly had a hit on their hands.

    Now, Maoz has 22 restaurants globally. The outlets in London and Paris have a long line outside the door most days, and the Union Square outlet in Manhattan is often so crowded that it feels more like the subway station underneath than it does a modern eatery!

    As we reported on Wednesday, we were delighted with the apparent opening of a Maoz franchise location here in LA called Muma Vegetarian. The similarity of menu, corporate branding, restaurant ambience and artwork implied to us that this was a Maoz location, only named differently because of its close proximity to Mao’s Kitchen, a popular (vegan-friendly) Chinese restaurant half a block away. Have a look for yourself and compare Muma’s menu with the menu from Maoz. Nearly identical.

    Determined to see if there was a connection, we visited Muma again this weekend, posing as regular customers, and began to ask some questions. The conversation went something like this:

    QG: “This place is great! Are you part of Maoz?”

    Manager: “That’s the third time I’ve heard that today. Look, there are places like this on every corner in Israel, OK?”

    QG: “We were wondering because this place is identical to Maoz, except for the name. Who owns the restaurant?”

    Manager: “Err… it’s three people who own this restaurant.”

    QG: “Would you be kind enough to give us contact details, we’d like to know if you’re part of Maoz and have plans for more openings?”

    Manager: “I don’t know about Maoz, and what’s in it for me if I give you the ‘phone number of the owners?”

    QG: “Well, there’s nothing in it for you personally, but I’m sure they’d like to talk to us about their future plans.”

    Manager: “Why would I do that? Are you trying to sell me something?”

    At that point the manager was getting very defensive and a little loud (he even stepped out from behind the counter and led us to a table where he sat down so that the conversation could not be heard by others in the restaurant). Fearing that he might ask us to leave, we said “OK, no problem – was just wondering if you were part of Maoz. That’s all.”.

    Shortly after, we noticed the manager in the back room. He was glaring at us through a window in the door while engaged in an animated ‘phone call – we guessed it was with one of the three owners. Just as we were finishing up our meal he came from around the back of the counter and gave us a portion of pumpkin hummus and warm pita bread. He said: “Please accept this on the house. We make it here and call it Smashing Pumpkins.”. We wolfed down a few bites and left the restaurant right away.

    As soon as we got home, we posted THIS COMMENT on the original post, and sent an email to Maoz corporate in NYC to enquire about the legitimacy of this outlet. Our comment sparked a few more in the same vain, and then this morning, we received the following response from the COO of Maoz USA:

    “Thank you for your email. We have nothing to do with this restaurant. I was shocked to read your review and to find out that someone took advantage and copied the Maoz Vegetarian concept. By leveraging our brand values and look and feel they are creating confusion with our chain.”

    We were, frankly shocked as well. Muma appears to be shamelessly copying Maoz in great detail.

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    From the look and feel of the food down to near-pixel perfect copies of their menu items, artwork and corporate identity.

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    While we were originally impressed with the food, we wonder why anybody would want to eat at a restaurant owned by people with such a lack of integrity that they would brazenly steal another company’s entire identity. If they are that shameless, we’re sure the quality of the food is also suspect.

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    Until Maoz deal with Muma (and we’re sure that there are plenty of intellectual property issues here that I’m sure lawyers would love to get their hands on), we’d advise potential customers to stay away. After all, we can’t support such acts now, can we?

    muma vegetarian
    7275 melrose avenue
    los angeles, ca 90046

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  • April 20th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Not very far from where he met her in a club down in old Soho, I used to hang out at one of London’s most famous music venues – The Marquee Club on Wardour Street. Back in the 80s this part of London was teeming with the post-punk and new wave music scene and was rapidly becoming a center for obscure indie acts – many of whom, by the end of the decade, would be mainstream pop idols. I saw bands like Guns N Roses, Thomas Dolby, Thompson Twins, The Clash and Marillion, to name but the ones I recall.

    The Marquee Club is now long gone (replaced by a crappy Italian restaurant and block of apartments) but that area has a different draw for me these days, as it has become the epicenter of London’s vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant scene. All the best restaurants are within a very short walk of where the Marquee was – Maoz, Beetroot, Mildreds, Itsu (for example). Indeed, only four doors away from The Marquee’s old entrance is Hummus Bros restaurant. While not vegetarian, it is vegan friendly with all but two things on the menu being veganizable. So, it was with a certain sense of nostalgia that I walked into the restaurant that I used to line up outside, inebriated and smoking cigarettes, so long ago.

    Let’s get to the point (hooray!). Hummus Bros does an AMAZING job at making a boring, middle eastern garnish (hummus, of course) come alive with flavor and texture. It’s right up there with Maoz, serving top-notch and fresh hummus with delectable trimmings and the warmest, softest pita bread on the planet. While Maoz is almost entirely self-service, Hummus Bros take each order and individually prepare it to your liking, served right to your table in moments.

    hummus and warm pitta bread with stewed button mushrooms and caramelised onions. £6.90

    hummus and warm pitta bread with stewed button mushrooms and caramelised onions. £6.90

    We ordered hummus with mushrooms (sauteed with onions and herbs, sprinkled with paprika), and a side of falafel balls with pita. We could have gone nuts ordering tabouleh, aubergine, pine nuts and various salads and salsas, but we were a little full on arrival after a HUGE lunch of chips and mushy peas, so opted instead for some of the lighter menu choices.

    Those prophets of popular culture, Bananarama, said “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it…” and that applies so well to Hummus Bros. I mean, hummus, pita and sauteed mushrooms are pretty freakin’ easy to make at home, but you can never get the experience of such good food, a super atmosphere and great location, adding immensely to the experience. Inside the restaurant there are long tables, so dining is “family style” (meaning you could be sitting next to some asshole NOT in your family who is on a cell ‘phone talking loudly), although when we were there late at night, the place was pretty empty so we had a 16-top table to ourselves.

    hummus bros in london

    hummus bros in london

    The quality of the food, and its presentation, were absolutely lovely. The whole experience reminded me of fine dining – extremely attentive and competent servers (though you order at a counter), shiny silverware, impeccably clean tables with nice lighting, décor and ambience, only without the high prices. Hummus Bros should be a stop-over, or mainstay for every vegan visiting London. I know I’ll never be able to go home again without paying them a visit!

    Finally, I can confirm that the Champagne in Soho clubs DOES taste just like Cherry Cola. I’ve been there and I’ve drank it. But that’s a whole different story.


    hummus bros

    88 Wardour Street
    London W1F 0TJ
    tel 020 7734 1311
    opening times
    Sunday – Wednesday 12pm – 10pm
    Thursday – Saturday 12pm – 11pm

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  • March 15th, 2009mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Last autumn we spent a nice, long veganific weekend in Manhattan. Despite our penchant for fine dining on that trip, we saved the best for last and paid another visit to Maoz at its Union Square location. Located right in the heart of Sunday-farmers-market-urban-chic on the cusp of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, and a few blocks north of Soho, Maoz is very well located for a lot of foot traffic. And, with the Union Square Park literally over the street there’s somewhere pleasant to eat your food – weather permitting.

    Of course, on our recent London trip, we had to re-visit the Maoz location on Old Compton Street in Old Soho (where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola). This outlet is sandwiched (no pun intended) right in between an adult book store (of the most racy kind!) and an exotic lingerie shop – of equally (of not more) raciness, but to be expected in Soho. It’s just seconds away from Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street and the West End Theater District, but as there’s no picturesque park outside I’m glad it has some inside seating — unlike the Manhattan outlet.

    maoz in london

    maoz in london

    I can report that the food experience is almost entirely the same in London as it is in Manhattan. Omnivores tell me that they enjoy ordering a Big Mac in different cities around the world as they taste the same. With Maoz (already crowned as a potential MacDonald’s of vegetarian food) the same holds true.

    maoz falafel sandwich with hummus and unlimited salad bar. ...before going back for more toppings!

    maoz falafel sandwich with hummus and unlimited salad bar. ...before going back for more toppings!

    The premise is pretty straightforward: you get a warm, fresh pita pocket, and they put hummus, falafel or both into it. From there you can help yourself to an array of incredible vegetables – from the exotic (curried cauliflower) to the mundane (shredded carrots) as many times as you like (that’s another advantage of the London location – you can go back and grab more toppings without walking back into the store and feeling like a thief!). You can add on a range of condiments (mostly vegan) including spicy sauces, tahini, vinegars etc. for a truly healthy and personalized treat.

    maoz refillable salad bar

    maoz refillable salad bar

    Maoz is a great invention indeed, I’m glad they have outlets centrally located in two of my favorite cities, and it’s funny that I used to chill in London during the eary 80s, right in Soho, and then a few years later I spent a lot of time in Manhattan in the late 80s, right in the Gamercy Park/Union Square district. Of course, there were no Maoz there then. Bummer.

    If you plough your way through the world’s MOST FUCKING ANNOYING WEBSITE EVER to find the locations, you’ll see that more are planned to open in the near future. Sadly nothing obvious on the West Coast or in LA, but I live in hope as there’s a franchise application on the site! Hopefully somebody will drop a few bucks to open an outlet in LA. I was thinking Westwood, 3rd St. in Santa Monica or even The Grove would be great locations.

    maoz vegetarian
    43 Old Compton St
    London, W1D 6HG, United Kingdom
    +44 20 78511586

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  • February 16th, 2009quarrygirlliverpool, more restaurants (not LA)

    on our recent trip to england, we spent one day and one night in liverpool. being the birthplace of the beatles, we just had to pay the city a visit…and of course, we were on the lookout for good vegan food while we were there. you know veganism is spreading like wildfire when this even this grey, industrial, port city in england has its very own website dedicated to vegetarian and vegan life. scouseveg.co.uk was a valuable resource for us while staying in liverpool, and it lead us to a very lovely all vegetarian and very vegan-friendly restaurant called the egg cafe.

    the egg cafe in liverpool.

    the egg cafe in liverpool.

    the egg cafe is a sweet little vegetarian lunch spot with a rotating menu of daily specials, and several vegan offerings. there was so much to choose from when we were there, from sandwiches and curries to soups and desserts. we started the meal off with a bowl of vegan creamed cauliflower soup and a large slice of garlic bread.

    soup and garlic bread £3.25

    soup and garlic bread £3.25

    although everything we ended up ordering at the egg cafe was tasty, the soup and garlic bread combo was definitely the highlight of the meal. both were vegan, but both were incredibly rich and delicious. the soup was extremely creamy, and the bread was all thick and fluffy. plus, it was fresh and pipin’ hot, and the garlic and buttery spread on it was amazing. probably the best vegan garlic bread i’ve ever had.


    for a main meal, i ordered the hummus combination, which came with homemade hummus, pita bread, salad and pasta on the side.

    fresh hummus £3.95

    fresh hummus £3.95

    the fresh hummus plate really hit the spot, and i can’t fault it…however it did taste like something i could make at home. next time i visit the egg, i will go order something a little more special, like one of the vegan hot dishes. the hummus was creamy and covered in really great seasonings, definitely a great lunch if you are looking for something light. i didn’t touch the salad because it had bell peppers in it (which i HATE), but my husband tells me it was really good.

    my husband went for a curry-inspired dish: the vegan tandori mushrooms with creamy sauce.

    tandori mushrooms £4.95

    tandori mushrooms £4.95

    the white yogurty sauce was so convincing, we had to go double check it was vegan! all of it was quite excellent. the tandori mushrooms were plump and well seasoned. they were bright red and had the same flavor as tandori chicken of the same color. they also came with pita and side salads. it all wrapped up very nicely as a curry mushroom sandwich.

    overall, the egg cafe was a great find. all the food was good, and some of it was downright excellent. for vegans in liverpool, this place is a must visit. the atmosphere is pretty awesome too. you order at the counter and then sit at a long communal table. it isn’t crowded or uncomfortable though, and the decorations are fun and colorful. there’s no alcohol license, but feel free to byob!

    interior of the egg cafe in liverpool.

    interior of the egg cafe in liverpool.

    the egg is located up two flights of stairs, and the sign is on the ground. so be sure not to miss it! look out for the trippy purple building.


    the egg cafe
    2nd Floor, 16-18 Newington
    Liverpool L1 4ED
    Tel: 0151 707 2755

    oh, and by the way…any vegetarian restaurant with this on the wall is okay in my book. i love liverpool.

    beatles decorations at the egg cafe in liverpool. i particularly love the picture of paul.

    beatles decorations at the egg cafe in liverpool. i particularly love the picture of paul.

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  • February 2nd, 2009quarrygirlakasha, LA restaurants

    if you are a los angeles foodie or lover of fine dining, you are probably familiar with dineLA restaurant week. it’s a big event that everyone talks about, where upper-tier joints offer their food at discount prices to showcase their best dishes and get you hooked. the proper explanation from dineLA’s website goes like this:

    dineLA Restaurant Week is a two-week dining event established to introduce diners to the vast array of restaurants in neighborhoods throughout LA County. Local foodies and visitors to LA will have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of specially priced three-course meals from some of LA’s best restaurants during this dining event.

    a 3 course prix fixe menu from a snazzy restaurant? sign me up. for most los angelers, dineLA is a bloody great deal, because it makes pricey (and meat-heavy) restos like stk and katsuya available to the masses. but what about us vegans? luckily, this year there is a 5 star dining, and very vegan friendly option: akasha in culver city.

    akasha is a really swish new-american-style restaurant/bar/bakery with tons of vegan options that aren’t even advertised as vegan on the menu. however, all the servers are quite knowledgeable about veganism and very happy to accommodate and explain what contains no animal products. i’d say 80% of the vegetarian dishes are vegan, and the other 20% can be easily modified. imagine my excitement when i saw that akasha was taking part in the dineLA restaurant week, and that for just $22 i could experience their exquisite vegan 3 course lunch.

    i headed over with one of my vegan pals and we had a slap up, shameless meal. while the dineLA akasha menu wasn’t vegan in its entirety, every course had at least one vegan option, all of which were superb. to start with, we each ordered the grilled artichoke.

    grilled artichoke with smoked paprika aioli. (usually $9)

    grilled artichoke with smoked paprika aioli. (usually $9)

    considering my 3 course meal was capped out at $22, i was so stoked to be ordering a $9 appetizer as my first course. not just that, but the quality and awesomeness of the dish were overwhelming. two huge steaming artichokes boasting the most soft and edible stems, along with fleshy and succulent dripping leaves…not to mention the mildly spicy aioli (yep, that was vegan as well) that added a hot kick and creamy texture to every bite. plus, the fine, fine artichokes were served on a bed of delicate wild arugula. this appetizer was all around impressive. 

    for the second course, we both ordered the only vegan-friendly main…the punjabi mung beans and rice with no raita.

    punjabi mung beans and rice: local greens, tandoori flatbread, tomato chutney. (usually $14)

    punjabi mung beans and rice: local greens, tandoori flatbread, tomato chutney. (usually $14)

    the vegetables were really special, shriveled yet tender carrots and soft cauliflower. the mung bean dish itself was fluffy and delicate, bursting with the most delicious curry flavors. the flatbread was covered in chunky onion slices, and tasted like it came fresh out the oven. everything rocked. i don’t know why anyone would want to add icky raita to this already perfect dish.


    for a dessert, we decided to sample 3 scoops of akasha’s vegan ice cream. they had a soy-based vanilla ice cream and a chocolate flavored gelato. i went for 2 scoops gelato and one scoop of soy.

    choice of 2 housemade ice creams. (usually $8)

    choice of 2 housemade ice creams. (usually $8)

    while all the ice cream was exceptional, the chocolate gelato really stood out. the soy vanilla was frigid and hard, almost refusing to budge and melt in my mouth. the chocolate on the other hand, was melty and perfect, cold yet still extremely creamy. 


    while that pretty much does it for akasha’s super affordable dineLA lunch deal, i also had a chance to visit the restaurant for a normal dinner. while it wasn’t the same incredible bargain as the lunch special, the food was just as good, and i wasn’t limited by a fixed menu. i hit up the akasha dinner scene with the same vegan friend, and this time we shared everything. with one appetizer, two mains, and one dessert between us, we left the restaurant with our seams bursting.

    cannelinni bean hummus: truffle sea salt, onion pizza bread, marinated olives. $8

    cannelinni bean hummus: truffle sea salt, onion pizza bread, marinated olives. $8

    we started off with the hummus plate and were totally blown away. like the flat bread, the pizza bread was covered in crispy little onions, and baked to absolute perfection. the hummus was thick and just oily enough, and the little plump olives were fresh as can be. yum yum yummmmm.

    we also shared the shitake, roasted squash and basil pizza.

    shiitake, roasted squash and basil: caramelized onion, eggplant, tomato and truffle sea salt. $12

    shiitake, roasted squash and basil: caramelized onion, eggplant, tomato and truffle sea salt. $12

    in true akasha form, this pizza doesn’t advertise itself as being vegan, although it is. the plate comes completely without any form of cheese (imitation or genuine), yet the pie is so tasty in its own right, the dairy will never be missed. fresh tomatoes, squash and eggplant piled atop a chalky and chewy crust make for the ultimate pizza without even the thought of cheese.

    we also split the red quinoa, also inherently vegan, with smoked tofu…my favorite dish i’ve tried at akasha so far.

    red quinoa: market vegetables & smoked tofu $12

    red quinoa: market vegetables & smoked tofu $12

    this stuff came with the same delicate and shriveled carrots as the mung bean lunch special, plus some very flavorful quinoa and juicy tofu. it was seasoned so well in fact, that when biting into the tofu, i was hit by several different flavors—salty, gingery, and spicy—one right after the other. i highly recommend trying this out.

    for dessert, we splurged on the salty chocolate tart, and it was incredible.

    salty chocolate tart: big tree farms sea salt, caramel, pecans, soy vanilla creme. $9

    salty chocolate tart: big tree farms sea salt, caramel, pecans, soy vanilla creme. $9

    the sweet and savory combo paired perfectly, and the caramel sauce drizzled over the top and soy creme were both amazing. even though there are so many vegan desserts to choose from at akasha, i don’t think any of them could possibly top this salty chocolatey goodness.

    so los angeles vegans, if you want a fancy vegan meal and aren’t against paying a little extra, hit up akasha. the restaurant truly is stunning—beautifully decorated with plenty of delicious and organic vegan options.

    and frugal vegans, if you want the experience but don’t feel like paying a ton of money, get to akasha by friday february 6th for lunch…you can enjoy their 3 course dineLA menu for only $22! they also have a prix fixe dinner menu for $34, but it isn’t quite as vegan-friendly.

    either way, i hope you end up trying out akasha. it’s a great place to take carnivores and a great place to celebrate a special occasion–fancy, tasty and something for everyone!

    9543 culver blvd.
    culver city, CA 90232
    310 845 1700

    $22 dineLA vegan lunch menu available until friday, february 6!

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