• April 5th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants

    update 2/11: we’ve heard that millions of milkshakes no longer offers vegan shakes. 🙁 they now have some kind of milk alternative shake, but it isn’t vegan. sad, sad, sad.

    mark your calenders! this friday april 9th at 3pm, pam anderson and PETA will be in weho at millions of milkshakes creating an all vegan milkshake using chicago soy dairy‘s temptation ice cream! this is great news, because millions of milkshakes already has a soy shake on their menu, which hasn’t been vegan for awhile due to supplier issues…but now that temptation is in the house, we know it will be legit and delicious.

    pam anderson explained to millions of milkshakes,

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • March 2nd, 2010quarrygirlproducts

    do homemade vegan ice pops made out of natural produce sound good to you? …then you are gonna love the popshop.

    the popshop specializes in delicious and guilt-free snacks that are available in select locations throughout los angeles. they recently sent me some of their goods to try, and i was straight up blown away by the intense and memorable flavors. the varieties i got to sample were chocolate peppermint, cranberry clove, avocado vanilla, and lime mint mojito. each pop was beyond tasty, but i must say my favorite was avocado vanilla. the creaminess of the two main ingredients mixed with the cold smooth ice was definitely a winning combo!

    from the popshop’s website:

    “Popshop pops are a 100% natural, guilt-free indulgence. They are handmade with organic sugar and seasonal farmers’ market produce. There are no preservatives or dyes, and absolutely no high-fructose corn syrup. All of our ice pops are vegan and non-dairy, and our wrappers are also compostable.”

    look for these beauties at little barn, figueroa produce, locali, and the coop. give them a try, i promise you won’t be sorry!

    oh, and don’t forget to follow the popshop on twitter!

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  • February 13th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, scoops

    salty chocolate from scoops. $2.75

    as you probably know, scoops is a small gelato shop in los angeles that always has 3 vegan offerings on deck. they are notorious for their wacky flavor combos like banana avocado, basil, and brown bread. but the thing is, you never know which flavors are going to be available. i have been hearing good things about their “salty chocolate” for ages, and never had a chance to try it until today. i can safely say the odd-sounding combo did not disappoint…it was the perfect amount of sweetness followed up with a nice salty finish. my only complaint is that it made me very thirsty.

    have you been to scoops? what is your favorite flavor? i wish they would join twitter and keep us updated with the gelato of the day….

    scoops
    712 N Heliotrope Dr
    Los Angeles, CA 90029
    (323) 906-2649

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    free vegan soft serve!

    yes, FREE VEGAN SOFT SERVE AND ICE CREAM CAKE!!

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

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

    free vegan ice cream cake sample!

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

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

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

    carvel 90210
    421 N. Rodeo Dr.
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210
    310-278-5411

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

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  • January 1st, 2010mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    You can tell a classy lady just by looking at her, and the same is true of Manhattan’s Candle 79. Ensconced on a wide, tree-lined street in the affluent Upper East Side and surrounded by some of the world’s finest restaurants (and most expensive real estate), Candle 79 has incredibly sexy curb appeal and, like that classy lady, proves that beauty is not only skin deep but the real treasure is what lies within.

    On our recent visit, we were treated to some of the finest cuisine we’d ever experienced, in an atmosphere that rivals only Sublime in Fort Lauderdale (the East Coast’s only other vegan fine dining establishment). Probably because we reserved for 6pm and arrived a little early, we lucked out with a great table (actually, a large booth beside the cocktail bar).

    Our very attentive server ran over over the menu with us, explaining that the restaurant is entirely vegan, and if the menu said “cheese” or “ice cream” the ingredients were, in fact, vegan. Clearly, this explanation was somewhat reassuring! He then took our drink order, which was a reasonably priced bottle of organic Côtes du Rhône that arrived with a couple of small and complimentary appetizers of sliced zucchini, with a spicy vegetable-infused cream cheese combination atop. They were each gone in one scrumptious bite, and set a realistic expectation for the meal that was to come.

    It took us forever to decide what to order as everything on the menu looked astounding. In the end, we mixed up the flavors by going for a Mexican-style appetizer followed by American and Italian-style entrees.

    The appetizer was “Angel’s Nachos”, an incredible creation that tasted better than I remember vegetarian nachos being. Here in LA, we have a similar dish from Real Food Daily, which not only costs a few bucks more, but uses chips FROM A BAG (yes, the kind you’d get in a grocery store). Not at Candle 79, as these were freshly fried (one could taste the warm oil), and crunchy. Combined with the the vegetables and seitan created an amazing mouth texture, especially when mixed up with the layers of Daiya cheese, fresh guacamole, salsa and tofu sour cream. These are far and away the best vegan nachos we’d ever eaten, and are worth a trip to Candle 79 alone. Even if you have to walk all the way there from Downtown.

    Angel's Nachos: corn chips, cheddar and mozzarella, tomatoes, refried pinto beans, chili-grilled seitan, guacamole, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce. $16

    Next up were the two entrees. We opted for the black-pepper grilled seitan, in honor of New York’s legendary prowess as the steak capital of the world. Oh, and this was amazing. I’d never had anything grilled with a balsamic base before, and this turned me on to a whole new avenue of taste. The texture of the seitan was very “grill-like”, with burned edges and a soft, succulent interior – rather like the descriptions I found online of high-end fillet steak.

    Black Pepper & Balsamic Grilled Seitan: sautéed haricots verts, leeks, almonds, cornmeal crusted onion rings, celeriac purée. $23

    This, combined with green beans, and a celery mashed potato-style base, all drizzled with a tasty and tangy sauce was an incredible mash-up (no pun intended!) of taste. I would be remiss not to mention the onion rings, which were perfectly crunchy and had a cornmeal batter, making them rather interesting, and a perfect compliment to the tasty seitan.

    So, after paying vegan homage to NYC’s steak-house history we decided to move things up a notch and go for something Italian-style, as Italian food is usually better here than in Italy itself (go ahead, argue in the comments). Our Italian-style entree was a mixture of succulent vegetables (mainly wild mushrooms) and porcini crusted tofu sauteed up a treat in a smooth and slightly sweet red wine sauce with a layered cheese and root vegetable gratin, all on a bed of spinach, soaked in the red wine sauce.

    Porcini Crusted Tofu: sauteed spinach, root vegetable gratin, wild mushrooms, red wine sauce. $22

    Again, an amazing intersection of taste and textures with perfectly cooked ingredients coming together in just the right way. The layered cheese thing was out of this world – I wish I knew exactly what it is as I’d be most interested in trying to create it myself. Not that I could, but it’s nice to pretend.

    Finally, for desert, we continued the Italian theme with a warm cannoli, filled with vanilla cream and topped with chocolate chip ice cream. The server also bought us some complimentary home-made ice cream (see later for why we got it for free), which went down extremely well with the cannoli. I think one of the successes of a vegan desert is that it should not taste “vegan”, and none of this stuff did. The vanilla filling was like a heavy-cream and powdered sugar filling in a non-vegan cannoli, and the ice cream tasted just like, well, very nice ice cream you’d buy in an up-market ice cream parlor. The desert was amazing, and we were very full upon leaving the restaurant.

    Cannoli: vanilla cream filling, vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate drizzle. $12

    On this visit, the service was excellent, but being early the place was only starting to fill up as we left. We tried to visit Candle 79 a year or so before, waited 30 minutes for our table (even after our allotted reservation time was up), got the shittiest table in the place and finally walked out after another 20 minutes as nobody came to serve us. Also, even on this trip, we did find the staff a little snooty – I don’t think they appreciated my bright yellow bobble-hat I wore upon arriving out of the 20 degree cold. When we ordered dessert, the server asked if it was our first trip to Candle 79, and we recounted (politely) our experience the first time around. He apologized, and kindly gave us some free ice cream “for your inconvenience last time”. See told you they were a little snooty, but this gesture was much appreciated.

    Homemade Ice Cream & Sorbet Sampler: chef's daily selection. $9

    Also, our server neglected to tell us they had any specials, and I listened to several other customers getting a run-down of some amazing-sounding specials. Not that I’m really upset as I liked what we ordered, but it would have been nice to have the same choices as the other guests. Maybe he was just too much in shock about my bobble hat…?

    So, to sum up, if you’re lucky and you get a nice table and a good server you will have one of the finest vegan dining experiences possible. Yeah it’s was pricey (our bill came to just shy of $150 with tip), but, like a classy lady, Candle 79 really is worth every penny.

    Candle 79
    154 East 79th Street
    New York, NY 10021
    (212) 537-7179

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  • October 22nd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mooi, naturewell

    who said ice cream couldn’t be raw, vegan, and delicious? the folks over at mooifood have created tons of amazing flavors using ingredients such as coconut meat, agave, and soaked cashews—who would have though such tasty ice cream could come from such simple foods? mooifood’s ice cream is all raw, vegan, organic, soy-free & gluten-free, and is available at naturewell in silverlake by the scoop or half pint.

    blueberry cheesecake

    blueberry cheesecake

    i was lucky enough to receive a sample of 6 of the 9 flavors, and each one was refreshingly tasty. this ice cream strikes the perfect balance between being decadent and healthy…tasting good and not making you feel like crap after eating it. the first flavor i tried was the blueberry cheesecake (pictured above). it was cool, creamy, and filled with tiny chunks of fresh blueberries. i ate it in one of mooifood’s homemade raw vegan cones, which was phenomenal—like a big, thick bendable cookie. i never realized raw food could be such a treat!

    pumpkin (seasonal)

    pumpkin (seasonal)

    the next type of ice cream i tried was the seasonal pumpkin, which was by far my favorite. this was the richest flavor of them all, and tasted like a frozen version of pumpkin pie. it even had a crunchy swirl in the middle, YUM. i don’t know how long the pumpkin ice cream will be around, so you must rush over and try it ASAP! it will totally get you in the mood for the holidays.

    chocolate peanut butter

    chocolate peanut butter

    the chocolate peanut butter swirl variety is pretty decadent as well, made with cacao and sunflower seeds. the creamy chocolate ice cream is filled with big chunks of salty, nutty patches. if you are a peanut butter fan, this really won’t disappoint. and i am definitely a peanut butter fan.

    gingersnap cinnamon cookie dough

    gingersnap cinnamon cookie dough

    again in a raw cone, i tried gingersnap cinnamon flavor, which was packed with big chunks of delicious cookie dough. epically scrumptious!

    maple cornbread

    maple cornbread

    the maple cornbread ice cream was a blend of unique tastes that worked really well together. the real maple syrup flavor was strong throughout and added a perfect sweetness to the cornbread.

    peppermint chocolate chip

    peppermint chocolate chip

    lastly, the peppermint chocolate chip was delicious—ice cream flavored with peppermint oil and littered with cacao nibs. extra minty with just enough chocolate flavor.

    you can find all these mooifood ice creams as well as strawberry banana, vanilla and chocolate at naturewell in silverake. right now they are priced out at $2.25 for one scoop, $3.75 for two scoops, or $4.99 for a half pint. i don’t know if you are used to raw ice cream prices or not, but that is CHEAP compared to other places. if you want even more, you can contact mooifood and get 16oz for $8.99 or 32oz for $14.99!

    if raw food is your thing, you will absolutely love this ice cream. and even if you aren’t much of a raw foodie, this stuff is really impressive…and fairly good for you. it sure won me over. definitely get to naturewell and try some—i suggest pumpkin flavor! 🙂

    naturewell
    3824 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 664-5894

    for more info on mooifood, check out thier website or follow them on twitter!

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  • kid size temptation soft serve from chicago soy dairy with vegan chocolate chips. $2.75

    kid size temptation soft serve from chicago soy dairy with vegan chocolate chips. $2.75

    summer time is officially here, and that means it’s ice cream season! as the weather in los angeles heats up to apocalyptic temperatures, don’t let the fact that you’re a vegan stop you from indulging in a cool, creamy treat. head on over to carvel ice cream in west LA and pick up some of their delicious temptation vegan soft serve from none other than the folks at chicago soy dairy. that’s right, carvel is the first place in los angeles to carry this tasty and realistic non-dairy soft serve from the company that brought us teese and dandies.

    i stopped by carvel recently, and when i told the girl behind the counter i was vegan, she was very friendly and accommodating. she pointed me to a selection of vegan sorbets, vegan toppings, and gave me a sample of vanilla non-dairy soft serve. that’s right, the elusive VEGAN SOFT SERVE. since it’s so hard to find in this city, of course i had to get some. i ordered a kid-size portion and topped it off with vegan chocolate chips. yum……it totally hit the spot! i wasn’t sure at the time, but later i found out that the soft serve i ate was indeed temptation, stuff i have been hearing about from vegans across the country for quite some time. i am so glad that this stuff has made it over to los angeles, because it’s so ridiculously creamy and “real” tasting.

    the girl also explained that they’d be getting even more vegan soft serve flavors in by the end of the month…so that pretty much seals it, i know i will be back at carvel very soon. i have heard the chocolate temptation soft serve is THE BEST.

    carvel-soft-serve-cu

    in addition to temptation vegan ice cream and friendly employees, carvel also has lovely balcony seating and 3 levels of free parking. it’s located on the top floor next to ralphs on pico in west LA, so don’t miss it. carvel is a great place to unwind with some old fashioned soft serve and take a break from the summer heat. i haven’t eaten ice cream like this since i was a kid…and it’s vegan!

    carvel-ext

    carvel ice cream
    9618 W Pico Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90035
    (310) 278-5411

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

    UPDATE 2011: this place has closed.

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

    chocolate and oreo soy ice cream. $4.95

    chocolate and oreo soy ice cream. $4.95

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

    ice-pan-making

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

    ice-pan-ext

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

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  • May 24th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, scoops

    Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to a special vegan dinner with a select group of friends to celebrate both Memorial Day, and (more importantly) that revered global festival, otherwise known as Morrissey’s Birthday. Immediately upon receiving the invite, I offered to bring a dessert for the gang to eat. It being a birthday celebration and all, I decided to get a vegan ice cream birthday cake with “Happy Birthday Moz” written upon it.

    I immediately thought of Scoops, a local favorite of vegans, as they offer not only a reasonable vegan ice cream selection, but also have a made-to-order vegan ice cream cake offering for only $25. Unfortunately, there’s a rather confusing set of steps to go through in order to place an order. First, you call the store, where they give you another number to call. You call that number, and are told to leave a message, with a promise of a call-back by the end of the next business day. Well, I called three times over as many days, and nobody bothered to call me back, leaving me somewhat caught short the day before the dinner, as none of the other restaurants in town would make me a vegan cake without 48 hours notice. Finally, I copped out and went to Wholefoods, to buy a lame combination of Soy Dream cookie dough ice cream and a fucking vegan brownie. How embarrassing!

    scoops

    Before we get to the dinner, though, Scoops has fallen foul of LA vegans (and even meat eaters, too) for serving Foie Gras ice cream. Not that I give a shit either way (I’d eat at XIV again in a force-fed fat-heartbeat), but (under pressure) they have assured people that they would not stock it any more, only to say – a few days later – that they have it “sometimes”.

    It might be time for a foie gras / customer service demonstration outside Scoops. Serving foie gras is one thing, but lying about it isn’t acceptable, any more than not calling back paying customers who leave multiple messages requesting products! On top of that, some of the staff have a really shitty “no eye contact” attitude (especially the old Asian gentleman who works in there) when asked basic questions about their menu and offerings.

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  • May 8th, 2009quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    up north in san francisco and berkely, there’s an entirely vegan restaurant with three locations called herbivore. one glance at their menu makes herbivore look like heaven—they’ve got tons of brunch selections, a 2 page lunch and dinner menu with several types of cuisine, loads of desserts, and even tap beer. it would seriously take me months of eating there regularly to try everything, and it all sounds delicious.

    i have been to herbivore and blogged about it a couple times in the past for both breakfast and lunch, and thoroughly enjoyed both of my meals. however, every single person i know who lives in SF thinks herbivore sucks balls. the word on the street, according to friends of mine who live up there, is that the only decent things at herbivore are the shwarma and the brunch items. the pad thai is supposedly noodles with a load of peanut butter dumped on them, and the fake meats are store-bought packages from white wave. so i took her advice on my recent visit and stuck to the brunch.

    sausage biscuit: with house potatoes, mushroom gravy and avocado-tomato salad. $8.25

    sausage biscuit: with house potatoes, mushroom gravy and avocado-tomato salad. $8.25

    i ordered the sausage biscuit, which tasted amazingly like the “sausage rolls” from london i fell in love with at beetroot. the flaky pastry was filled with chunky soy meat…i wish i could find more stuff like this at los angeles vegan restaurants. the breakfast potatoes were just superb as well—slightly burnt and a tad oily with tasty seasoning. my only complaint about this dish is that the sausage biscuit was a bit small (especially for 8 bucks), and it came with a salad which is a bit odd at breakfast-time. whateves, i was overall pretty happy with it.

    mudslide ice cream from maggie mudd. $4.75

    mudslide ice cream from maggie mudd. $4.75

    since i didn’t make it to maggie mudd on my trip, i decided to grab a scoop of their ice cream which is sold at herbivore. it was a bit of a ripoff at $4.75 (i come from the land of huge portions of scoops for 2 bucks), but i gotta say it was damn good. the mudslide flavor was super chunky and the ice cream was really thick and dense. i can’t wait until the day i can visit maggie mudd and go wild with a slap up sundae. this ice cream deserves to be done right! still, i’ll take what i can get, and herbivore’s serving hit the spot.

    so overall my experiences at herbivore have been pretty good, although i haven’t ordered any of the “sucky” menu items. i will continue to stick to the brunch offerings when i visit there, and of course the amazing shwarma, which rocks my world.

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  • April 17th, 2009quarrygirlfatty's & co, LA restaurants

    it’s no secret that i’ve been eating at vegan-friendly restaurants all over los angeles for quite some time. however, throughout the last several years of living here as a vegan, for some reason i never bothered to check out fatty’s in eagle rock. the all vegetarian restaurant on colorado boulevard has high prices, gourmet menu items that i can’t pronounce, strange opening hours, and a pretty dairy-heavy menu. for so long i just assumed the place wasn’t for me. BOY WAS I WRONG. i finally had the chance to check out fatty’s a few weeks ago and it rocked my my vegan socks off.

    my husband and i ended up at fatty’s on accident. we had an epic double-date dinner planned to attend shojin’s 1 year anniversary party with lex and kristin of vegan-la, which also coincided roughly with when they would be leaving los angeles to embark on backpacking trip around europe. turned out shojin was way too crowded to eat at (i’m talking line-out-the-door savage nightmare), so we headed out to fatty’s eagle rock for of the best vegan meals i’ve had in this town.

    fudgey: a two layer chocolate bundt cake with chocolate ganache, toasted coconut and pecan frosting with a creamy center. $8

    fudgey: a two layer chocolate bundt cake with chocolate ganache, toasted coconut and pecan frosting with a creamy center. $8

    just because it was so fucking scrumptious, lemme start by telling you about the fudgey. this was the dessert that lex and kristin ordered and were kind enough to share with us (had this been my cake, nobody else at the table woulda got even a bite of it!), and we all agreed it was delicious. the thing was big enough to feed a boatload of people and it came with layer after layer of sugary goodness. chocolate, coconut, and pecan creaminess made this one of the best sweet things i’ve ever encountered. dense and decadent, this cake could fool ANYONE who is addicted to eggs and milk. nothing about it tasted vegan. fudgey is the perfect name for this ridiculously fudgey dish.

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  • April 12th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    harrods is what has to be the dopest motherfucking department store ever. located on brompton road in london’s knightsbridge, it’s absolutely massive with over a million square feet of selling space and 330 departments. you can buy everything from groceries, to a flat screen tv, to a car, or even a house at harrods. you can probably adopt kids there as well…who knows. i’ve only been to harrods a few times, and while i love wandering through the enormous space and drooling over things i could never afford to buy, the one thing i have left with every single time is a cup of vegan gelato.

    vegan gelato at harrods in london

    vegan gelato at harrods in london

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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.

    akasha-punjabi-mung-beans-cu

    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. 

    akasha-ice-cream-cu

    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!

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

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

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  • December 8th, 2008quarrygirlinterim cafe, LA restaurants

    the interim cafe on wilshire in santa monica is a gem for the vegan community, and it doesn’t get nearly enough attention. we all know about the awesome and star-studded (recently shut down for a cockroach infestation) newsroom cafe, a trendy joint on robertson boasting a vegan-friendly menu and high-class clientele. well, the interim cafe has the same calibre food as the newsroom (by that i mean, the menu was created the same chef), and even more cruelty-free options than its vegan-friendly cousin.

    check out the menu here:

    the interim cafe offers a huge menu, and sooo much of it is vegan. they have plenty of meat, don’t get me wrong, but they also have huge sections dedicated to only animal-free items. they even offer a slew of vegan baked goods and even vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. if i lived in santa monica, i would be eating here constantly. there is so much to choose from, it’s kind of overwhelming.

    my husband and i ate at the interim cafe over the weekend and were both overall pleased with the selection, service, and quality food. out of the 5 vegan burgers to choose from, my husband went with the nyc veggie b.

    nyc veggie b: smothered in burgundian woodsy mushroom sauce. with a side organic salad. $9

    nyc veggie b: smothered in burgundian woodsy mushroom sauce. with a side organic salad. $9

    i had a bite, and the burger was pretty tasty. i wouldn’t say it’s one of the best vegan burgers in los angeles, or anything like that…but it was simple, pleasant, and healthy-tasting. the mushrooms definitely added some deliciousness, and it was a pretty good deal at nine bucks with a side salad.

    i decided on the tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage, and it was excellent.

    tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage: spicy salsa tofu, vegan cheese and vegan sausage. $8

    tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage: spicy salsa tofu, vegan cheese and vegan sausage. $8

    if you hit up the interim cafe, i highly suggest you do it before noon so you can order a dish with organic hemp tofu. the way they cook and season the tofu is absolutely incredible. their breakfast burrito is off the chain and the vegan sausage is some of the best i’ve ever had. my only qualm with this dish is that it’s pretty small for $8, and i think they forgot my side. i didn’t realize until long after i’d eaten that the menu says it comes with your choice of breakfast potatoes, sliced tomatoes or a fresh fruit cup. the breakfast potatoes would have gone down really well with this burrito. either way, i am looking forward to going back and eating up more stuff from the breakfast menu.

    lastly, i couldn’t leave the interim cafe without trying one of the many tempting vegan desserts. it was a tough choice between a chocolate chip cookie and some frozen yogurt, but i ended up going with the soft serve as its such a rarity. deeeeeeeelicious.

    chocolate vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. $2.50

    chocolate vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. $2.50

    the fro yo at the interim cafe was fucking great. it was so delicious and tasted really smooth and healthy at the same time. it didn’t taste like ice cream, it wasn’t creamy like the soft serve at hugo’s tacos. this stuff was more dense and flavorful, and the texture reminded me of the frozen yogurt i used to get as a kid at penguins. the serving was small, but fairly priced at just $2.50. it was the perfect size, considering i was stuffed with so many other things the vegan-friendly menu had to offer. even on a cold day, this soft serve was by far the highlight of my meal.

    so if you haven’t eaten at interim cafe already, get your ass over there as soon as possible. the food is great, the prices are reasonable and the selection is unreal. plus, they’ve had a make-over and now have tons of comfy seating. i really love this place and will be hitting it up again very soon. i can never ever ever get enough vegan soft serve.

    interim cafe
    530 Wilshire Blvd
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    (310) 319-9100

    hours:
    monday – friday 8am to 8pm
    saturday and sunday 9am to 3pm

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