• August 2nd, 2010quarrygirlother, products, vegan events

    UPDATE! WE HAVE A WINNER.

    hey everyone, last week we held a contest to come up with a new kale chip flavor for rawk-n-roll cuisine, and we need your help choosing the winner!

    the 3 finalists are:
    “buffalo” by the broke-ass bride
    “chipotle lime” by vegyogini
    “sour cream & onion” by anandajc

    rawk-n-roll is in the test kitchen right now, getting creative and trying to make these flavors work…but they want quarrygirl readers to influence the final decision! which flavor of kale chip do YOU think sounds best?! let us know!

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  • July 28th, 2010quarrygirlproducts

    UPDATE 08/09/10: WE HAVE A WINNER!

    UPDATE 08/02/10: we have finalists! help choose the winning kale chip!

    hey, everyone! time for another giveaway, and today’s comes to you from rawk-n-roll cuisine!

    i am happy to announce that we are giving away an ENTIRE CASE of their HIGHLY ADDICTIVE kale chips. i have been a fan of these things for a long time, they make the perfect snack, and are available at most whole foods in los angeles. rawk-n-roll makes nacho cheese flavored, pizza flavored, and bbq flavored kale chips, and all 3 are fantastic. these things are delicious, raw, and totally healthy, so you are gonna want to get on this. not only do you have the chance to win this prize, but also come up with your very own kale chip flavor that rawk-n-roll will add to their menu!

    here is what you need to do to win —->

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • May 5th, 2009quarrygirlcafe flourish (closed), LA restaurants

    i know that only yesterday we broke the news of a brand new vegan restaurant in los angeles. well, today we have one more recently-opened, cruelty-free eatery to report: cafe flourish located on wilshire at cloverdale. hell yeah, miracle mile finally has it’s own 100% vegan establishment, and it has officially come out of the gates swingin. i got a tip about cafe flourish from a reader called “mc”, and naturally i dragged one of my co-workers there to check it out immediately. although the cafe has just been in business a couple of weeks old and only offers a ‘limited opening menu,’ there was a buzzing lunch crowd when we visited, and the food was pretty impressive.

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    for just a soft opening menu, cafe flourish sure offers a ton of mouth-watering selections, and i had a tough time deciding what to order. from a rueben, to a quesadilla, to a french dip, to a burrito, to jackfruit tacos, and assorted pizzas, there was more than enough food to choose from. i settled on the “flourish plate” because it sound soul foodish, yet light at the same time. boy, was i spot on!—i’m very happy with my decision, because the flourish plate had that traditional home-cookin’ feel, yet without all the oil or heaviness. the only thing decadent about it was the creamy-cheese-style-sauce. the plate consisted of a huge guilt-free portion of greens, some light but well-seasoned rice, and whole beans covered in the most amazing white sauce mixture. the gluten-free cornbread was also quite tasty: light, moist, and squishy…and not nearly as greasy as the cornbread i am used to eating. this is definitely a way to get a southern fix without feeling like you are about to give birth to a food baby.

    my omnivorous friend ordered the BLT&A (which i took a large portion of), and both of us were quite pleased with it.

    cafe-flourish-blta-cu

    although it may look a bit simple, the sandwich was quite exceptional with delicately toasted bread, creamy vegenaise, fresh vegetables, soft avocado, and moist flavorful tempeh. the fact that both a meat eater and herbivore were in love with this sandwich speaks volumes. oh, and it came with a choice of side salad. she got the quinoa, which turned out to be the best thing at the table! she even went back in and got her own side order to take home. m cafe and its deli case have got nothin on this, baby.

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    of course, we couldn’t leave this new found vegan paradise without ordering dessert. although the glass case of cakes was pretty appetizing, we decided to splurge in a small way and split a minty-chocolate-chip cookie. damn, fucking incredible! fluffy and soft with huge, melty chunks of minty chocolate…i defy you to find me a vegetarian cookie as good (and healthy) as this.

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    even though the place has been around just a couple weeks, cafe flourish truly has its shit together. the tiny take-out stlye eatery was crowded when we were there, the service was friendly, the wait was minimal, and the food was excellent. what more do i require? plus, mid-wilshire has been begging for a vegan restaurant for quite a while. this would be the perfect place to grab dinner before a show at the el rey, or to pick up take-out to eat at the little bar.

    from cafe flourish’s menu: “we are committed to sustainable food practices; we use organic whenever possible, we don’t use animal products, we compost for low waste, and our food is lovingly prepared, embedded with positive intentions. your choice to eat here today is a contribution toward the planet, your community and your health. we thank you, and may your flourish!” …..in other words…..“nom!!!!!”

    hope you all enjoy this place as much as i did. thanks again to my reader mc for sending this in.

    cafe flourish
    5406 wilshire blvd.
    los angeles ca 90036
    323-939-3932
    monday-saturday 11am-10pm

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  • unfortunately, in the past, i have been guilty of giving the vegan restaurant native foods mixed reviews. the westwood outlet can be hit-or-miss, with it’s long wait times and inconsistent food. although i have had lots of great meals at the west side eatery in the past, after a couple bad experiences i found myself not returning for months. well, lemme say i am ready to give them another chance after some recent lunches that were nothing short of amazing at the palm desert location. over the weekend i ate there twice and had the opportunity to sample 4 different dishes, all of which blew my mind.

    as you probably know, from friday to monday i was trapped in palm desert attending coachella. the only eating options were pre-made grocery store meals, over-priced festival fare, and dining at native foods, palm desert’s most popular (and maybe only?) vegan restaurant. we found ourselves eating at native foods 2 of the 3 days it was open during our stay…and we couldn’t believe how refreshingly delicious everything was.

    mina's macro: brown rice, quinoa, tempeh, steamed veggies, sea greens, sauerkraut green onions & sesame salt. Served with lemon miso sauce. $13.95

    mina's macro: brown rice, quinoa, tempeh, steamed veggies, sea greens, sauerkraut green onions & sesame salt. Served with lemon miso sauce. $13.95

    on both visits to native foods, i ordered mina’s macro, a hot bowl filled right up with fresh warm vegetables, tangy sauerkraut, sesame salt and crispy tempeh. it also came with a side of lemony miso sauce that tasted just brilliant drizzled over the crisp broccoli and cauliflower. from the quality produce, to the perfectly-grilled tempeh, to the flavorful creamy sauce, everything about this bowl was perfect. i wanted to order something different on my second visit, but i just couldn’t bring myself to. mina’s macro FTW!

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  • April 13th, 2009quarrygirlgolden mean, LA restaurants

    last week the west side got a little more vegan-friendly when a brand new vegan cafe opened up on wilshire and 11th in santa monica. golden mean is a small restaurant offering a variety of organic teas and coffees, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas and vegan baked goods. the place has a total hippy vibe that is “sooooo santa monica” in my book, with stuff like bamboo plates and quartz-infused walls. even the name golden mean is either a reference to some philosophy or magical ratio….i dunno….i just want some vegan food.

    now, how do i put this nicely? i understand that as vegans, we have the tendency to get pretty excited when we find stuff we can eat. i get that the fact that a new 100% vegan restaurant on the west side is something to get worked up about. but don’t let a whole menu full of vegan options and a case full of vegan desserts distract you from the fact that in the end, the food at golden mean just isn’t that great. sorry, i wanted to like it…it’s just…so….blah.

    the works burger: bean and grain veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce on burger bun plus avocado, tempeh bacon, and vegan cheese. $12.75

    the works burger: bean and grain veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce on burger bun plus avocado, tempeh bacon, and vegan cheese. $12.75

    we hit up golden mean over the weekend, and trust me, we were so ready to rave about this place. the menu looked a little pricey, but hey it’s vegan stuff so that’s to be expected. they were still working out the kinks of the computer system when we went in, so it took a while to place our order. we got the works burger which comes with avocado, tempeh bacon and vegan cheese and clocks in at over 13 bucks once you’ve added tax. it comes with either some potato chips or a side salad, so we ordered it with kale.

    golden-mean-burger-cu

    overall the burger wasn’t disgusting or anything…it was just bland and definitely not worth 13 dollars. i mean, that’s even more expensive than m cafe’s big macro which is huge, also comes with a side, and is probably the best burger in town. the kale side salad was flavored with orange or something and tasted way too sweet, i definitely wasn’t a fan.

    we also ordered the portobello mushroom panini which i liked better than the burger, but it still wasn’t worth the price.

    portobello panini: roasted portobello, onions, baby arugula and vegan mozzarella on a ciabatta roll. with a mugwort soba side salad. $10.95

    portobello panini: roasted portobello, onions, baby arugula and vegan mozzarella on a ciabatta roll. with a mugwort soba side salad. $10.95

    i ordered my panini without bell peppers and the chick at the register said they get the paninis pre-made, but she would be able to remove the peppers before heating the sandwich. i was fine with that, but it’s always good to know when you are ordering food that’s been pre-made. the portobellos in the panini tasted great, and the arugula added a fresh and tasty touch. as a side i got the mugwort soba noodles with vegetables which tasted good but were a little on the bland side. overall, this was a pretty decent dish…i just know of much better sandwiches i can get for well under 10 dollars.

    golden-mean-panini-cu-2

    while i wasn’t that impressed with our lunch, i can tell you that golden mean definitely blew me away with the dessert. we tried two things, both of which were f-ing incredible.

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

    the vegan chocolate cake was absolutely massive and slathered in the richest and creamiest frosting. it also had little crushed up chunks of cookies and coffee beans all over it. so damn delicious. we also tried the strawberry short cake which was amazing as well. the cake was really spongy and moist, the fruit was fresh and the frosting was decadent. ***** out of 5.

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

    so there you have it: hippy vibes, bland expensive food, and really awesome desserts. that’s what i took away from golden mean. definitely check it out though. some vegans have been really positive about the place, while others have been sort of on the fence. i can tell you, with a great restaurant like interim cafe so close by, i don’t know when i will ever find the motivation to try out golden mean again. although i could be tempted by that cake. i guess we’ll see!

    here is the menu if you wanna check it out. special thanks to jennshaggy for scanning this and sending it to me.

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

    golden mean vegan cafe
    1028 Wilshire Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    (310) 393-6500

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  • March 10th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, seed

    vegan food is popping up all over the west side, some good and some bad…just last week i wrote about a newly opened vegan restaurant in venice that i wasn’t very impressed with. luckily for all you beach peeps, there is an excellent macrobiotic restaurant called seed on pacific avenue, serving up healthy all-vegan meals seven days a week.

    seed has been open for 4 months, and while i’ve only eaten there twice, everything i’ve tried has been awesome. my first visit was just days after they opened, and i went back for a second time last week. i was happy to discover the food was just as delicious and it was great to see a healthy crowd of beach-goers chowing down on vegan fare.

    saisai donburi macro bowl: kabocha, kale, shitake, arame, bean sprouts, daily bean, sauerkraut, balsalmic miso sauce all over organic brown rice. $11.95

    saisai donburi macro bowl: kabocha, kale, shitake, arame, bean sprouts, daily bean, sauerkraut, balsalmic miso sauce all over organic brown rice. $11.95

    the food at seed is masterfully crafted by celebrity chef eric lechasseur, who used to be the chef de patisserie at m cafe. seed’s macrobiotic menu is actually really similar to that of m cafe…tons of bowls, burgers, paninis and japanese vegetables…just without all the dead fish. a lot of my friends actually prefer the food at m cafe, arguing that seed’s food is a bit more bland. i don’t necessarily agree with that, and i’d rather eat at seed any day because it’s a 100% vegan restaurant.

    i recently hit up seed with my husband on a double lunch date with eric and diana from happycow.net. i ordered the saisai donburi macro bowl, which was overflowing with more delicious vegetables than i could handle. it came with the option to add tofu, tempeh or seitan at an additional charge, but all the plants in this bowl were enough for me. i gotta say this was the freshest, lightest, tastiest meal i’ve had in quite a while. everything was incredibly delicate and just oozing with healthy flavor. the organic brown rice was extremely soft and fluffy, i ate every bite of it even though i tend to leave my rice behind. the bowl came with a tangy miso sauce that i forgot to even pour on top! that’s right, it was so good i forgot to liven it up with the sauce. i think i will order this every time i go back to seed.

    my husband got the blackened tempeh burger which was huge and very hearty.

    blackened tempeh burger with sauerkraut: lettuce, tomato, onion, sauerkraut, house mango salsa and mustard-vegenaise spread serverd on a wheat bun with a side of viaigrette coleslaw. $9.95

    blackened tempeh burger with sauerkraut: lettuce, tomato, onion, sauerkraut, house mango salsa and mustard-vegenaise spread serverd on a wheat bun with a side of vinaigrette coleslaw. $9.95

    while the burger was excellent, the flavor combinations weren’t my favorite. i like sauerkraut and tempeh, but i didn’t really like the mango salsa and mustard vegenaise. i think overall this burger was just too sweet for me, and my husband agreed. although i know tons of people who claim this is the best thing on the menu. ah, to each his own.

    eric and diana ordered a side of sweet potato fries to share, which were so fucking awesome. i am just bummed i forgot to photograph them. seriously, they were the one thing at the table that didn’t taste insanely healthy and they were really good in a guilty pleasure sort of way. thin and incredibly crispy around the edges, but soft and fluffy on the inside. perfect fries indeed.

    for the four months that seed has been open, i’ve been dying to try their soft serve ice cream. it’s on the menu, and i’ve heard that it exists, but it hasn’t been available the two times i’ve dined at seed. happycow eric informed us that it’s usually only available when chef eric is present, because the recipe and machine are so complicated. what? seriously? vegan ice cream so special that it can only be made when a celebrity chef is on hand? this made me want it even more. now i have another reason to get back to seed asap, as if the saisai donburi macro bowl wasn’t enough. i will let you know if i ever get my hands on some of that elusive soft serve ice cream.

    so if you haven’t been to seed yet, got check them out. like i said before, they serve up high-quality m cafe style food, but without the disgusting dead fish. definitely worth a visit.

    oh, and check out their happycow.net rating while you are at it…they’ve got a really high score. and join happycow if you haven’t already; it’s like the non-shady and vegetarian version of yelp.

    seed
    1604 pacific avenue
    venice, ca 90291
    (310)396-1604

    open daily
    10 am to 9 pm

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  • February 27th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, locali

    UPDATE!!! PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT DEE’S DONUTS BEFORE EATING THEM.

    locali conscious convenience has been a favorite of ours over here at quarrygirl.com, ever since they opened in january. i’ve been hitting them up weekly for their soy feta, lunch specials, and vegan frozen goods for over a month. it wasn’t until tonight though, that they had their “grand opening” shindig, serving up tons of free vegan-friendly samples and welcoming the community to find out what a kick-ass place locali is.

    locali grand opening!

    locali grand opening!

    tons of our favorite local faces were there, handing out awesome food for the community to sample. the total rundown and more pictures after the jump….

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  • February 12th, 2009quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants

    almost any los angeles vegan knows that a taste of life is the best place to get vegan soul food. delicious, quick, rich junk food on the cheap has given the tiny 100% vegan restaurant an incredible reputation amongst herbivores and omnivores alike. it’s a place where we can get shit like macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas, greasy kale…all with that home cooked taste…all without animal products.

    a taste of life has a farmers market stand set up every sunday in hollywood, as well as a newish store front on fountain and vermont. i’ve eaten there several times and can say that the food is all fucking fabulous.

    the last few times i’ve gone, a taste of life has had this menu out on the counter, but after talking to the dude who works there, i found out they offer tons of stuff that wasn’t even printed on the menu. 4 different kinds of burgers, pot roast, breaded pot roast, gyro meat and so much more. since then, a taste of life has revamped its website and added some of the secret items, but they still aren’t all on there. i suggest you call and ask what about their options. there is so much stuff i am dying to try.

    a tasted of life lentil burger $5

    a tasted of life lentil burger $5

    we tried out the lentil burger and it was awesome. it stands right up there with all the best vegan burgers in town, and makes for a great option if you want some greasy tasting junk food.

    we also tried the pot roast, which isn’t on the menu, and it was some of the best wheat meat i’ve ever had.

    a taste of life pot roast. incredible!

    a taste of life pot roast. incredible!

    when i raved about the pot roast to the guy working there, he told me they also do a fried breaded version of it, and he gave me a free sample. this was so ridiculously good, although eating an entire portion of it would probably kill me.

    a taste of life fried pot roast. mmmm.

    a taste of life fried pot roast. mmmm.

    they can also make you a side of gyro meat, which is similar to the pot roast but not quite the same. i suggest you try both and decide what you like best…they are both tasty as can be.

    a taste of life gyro meat

    a taste of life gyro meat

    for those of you who don’t like fake meat, a taste of life has several options to please you. grab a dinner combination with mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu. the mac n cheese is known to be the best vegan mac in los angeles, i mean even whole foods stocks it…it’s that damn good.

    mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu

    mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu

    they’ve also got like a million soups, and even some of those aren’t on the menu! on my last visit i got some chicken noodle and loved it.

    a taste of life chicken noodle soup.

    a taste of life chicken noodle soup.

    there is seriously so much to choose from at a taste of life, and so many secret menu items, i doubt i could ever try all the food they have to offer. plus the dishes are all so decadent and ridiculously delicious…now when i go there i have a really hard time trying new stuff, because the old stuff is all so good! oh, why do you do this to me, a taste of life?! …and i haven’t even tried their shakes or raw items yet!

    if you haven’t been to a taste of life, you sure are missing out.

    a taste of life
    4718 fountain avenue #D (upstairs)
    los angeles ca 90029
    323-669-0784

    closed monday
    9am-10pm tues-thurs
    9am-2am fri-sun

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  • December 29th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, mani's bakery (closed)

    mani’s bakery on fairfax is a must-visit for all vegans, as far as i’m concerned. i ran across mani’s awhile back when the bakery made an insane vegan cake for my co-worker’s birthday. i went to mani’s later to check it out and realized that their vegan menu was huge compared to other restaurants in town. i mean, they even have a full-on legend at the top of the menu for vegan and vegan-optional items. on top of that, the food is pretty damn good and they have great hours, plus they serve breakfast all day long. yay mani’s bakery!

    bread basket: an assortment of our freshly baked breads with 3 of our homemade spreads. $6

    bread basket: an assortment of our freshly baked breads with 3 of our homemade spreads. $6

    my husband and i hit up mani’s recently and were pretty impressed with the food. one of the vegan-optional starters at mani’s is the bread basket. being a self-contained bakery and all, mani’s definitely has the bread thing down. our basket included an impressive selection of piping hot crunchy slices, soft and chewy rolls, and thin and crispy chips. the spreads were black bean, pesto, and hummus; and each one was rich, flavorful and creamy. between me and my husband, the bread basket was way too much food to finish, but that didn’t stop us from trying.

    arugula artichoke salad: marinated artichoke hearts and crisp green beans with baby arugula make this salad a green dream. served with lime-cilantro dressing and braised tempeh. $14

    arugula artichoke salad: marinated artichoke hearts and crisp green beans with baby arugula make this salad a green dream. served with lime-cilantro dressing and braised tempeh. $14

    as a main, my husband ordered the vegan-optional arugula artichoke salad. while 14 bucks is definitely a lot to pay for a salad, this thing was pretty huge and they didn’t skimp on the tempeh. the artichoke hearts were shredded into delicate slices and marinated perfectly. the braised tempeh was amazing; why anyone would get this salad with the grilled chicken option is beyond me!

    tofu scramble hash: we start with organic tofu and scramble it with asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, miso and nutritional yeast to end up with a nourishing and wholesome dish. comes with veggie bacon. $13

    tofu scramble hash: we start with organic tofu and scramble it with asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, miso and nutritional yeast to end up with a nourishing and wholesome dish. comes with veggie bacon. $13

    i took advantage of the fact all day breakfast and went for the tofu scramble hash. it was insanely delicious. the tofu was scrambled up in big thick chunks and was all mixed in in with the vegetables. the soft mushrooms, spinach and tofu went perfectly with the crispy, crunchy asparagus. i got the vegan option, which came with sliced tempeh rather than veggie bacon, and it was quite tasty. the breakfast potatoes were top notch as well. good stuff all the way around.

    while the food is awesome at mani’s, it’s often crowded and dining in can be unpleasant. you will probably have to wait for a table, the restaurant is loud and cramped, and the chairs aren’t that comfortable. for the high prices, i would expect more of a dining experience rather than the quickie cafe feel that mani’s offers. fortunately for me, the food is just as delicious to go. 

    breakfast wrap: the whole enchilada's wrapped up for your morning meal. black beans, guacamole, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, cilantro and vegan tofu scramble in a whole wheat or spinach tortilla. served with ranchero sauce and pico de gallo. $10

    breakfast wrap: the whole enchilada's wrapped up for your morning meal. black beans, guacamole, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, cilantro and vegan tofu scramble in a whole wheat or spinach tortilla. served with ranchero sauce and pico de gallo. $10

    on a subsequent visit, my husband and i grabbed take-out from mani’s for dinner, and mine was every bit as tasty. i ordered breakfast again, but this time i got the wrap. the breakfast wrap is super because it’s pretty much the exact same tofu scramble as above, but it’s thrown in a tortilla with beans and guacamole. plus, it’s 3 bucks cheaper. score!

    tasty scramble, all rolled up.

    tasty scramble, all rolled up.

    this time my husband ordered the classic sandwich, veganized with kale greens. it was good, but not as good as the salad he’d had in the restaurant.

    the classic: like a timeless old hollywood standard. lettuce, tomato and our special-recipe tangy sauce atop breaded seitan and tempeh bacon. $11

    the classic: like a timeless old hollywood standard. lettuce, tomato and our special-recipe tangy sauce atop breaded seitan and tempeh bacon. $11

    i took a bite of the sandwich and thought the seitan was delicious, but my husband described it as “too chewy” and “glue-y.” maybe next time i will order it for meself!

    so overall, mani’s bakery is definitely worth a visit. whether you dine in or take-out, the food will most likely be delicious. they have a massive menu with loads of vegan options, just remember to specify. plus, they have a whole freakin’ bakery with fresh bread and vegan desserts! cakes, cookies, even almond roca…they’ve got TONS of stuff to choose from. i’ve just always filled up on the tasty food, leaving no room for their tempting sweets. thankfully, there’s always next time!

    mani’s bakery
    519 S. fairfax avenue
    los angeles, ca 90036
    (323) 938-8800

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  • November 27th, 2008quarrygirlrecipes

    for thanksgiving this year, we here at quarrygirl.com threw a non-traditional dinner party and invited the parents. sure, my parents will still have their slaughtered carcass tomorrow…but today, their holiday feast was all vegan.

    everyone seems to be blogging about their thanksgiving menu, so i thought i may as well do the same. i’m no cook, and i didn’t spend tons of time in the kitchen. but we did manage to throw together a mix of store-bought and homemade dishes that pleased our omnivore guests. here is the rundown:

    suds: we celebrated nonturkey day this year by opening up our first bottle of homemade beer. it’s been brewing downstairs in our guest room for two weeks, and today it had finally reached a very drinkable and alcoholic point. full disclosure, we made our wort beer from a kit. we didn’t go all mad scientist, boiling hops or anything. that’s for next time. thankfully, the beer came out quite well. a strong, delicious, fruity dry-hopped lager.

    appetizers: we really, really know how to class it up for thanksgiving. that’s why for a pre-meal snack we served a bag of doritos spicy sweet chili nachos with terra potpourri potato chips, along with fritos hot bean dip and calavo guacamole. super fancy, eh? in our defense, this dish was super last minute. (duh.) we stupidly headed out to go grocery shopping on thanksgiving morning in search of horderves and ended up abandoning ralphs because the parking lot was too crowded and bristol farms because it was a fucking zoo in there. (i did see pauly shore though, and had to explain who he was to my husband, yay!) we ended up at the closest place to our house by far to purchase food, the canyon country store. i don’t know if you’ve ever been to this little hippie shack, but they don’t have much selection. hence the truck stop appetizers we ended up serving. it’s all good though. tasty as fuck, and no prep time.

    salad: mr. meaner took care of the salad this year, because he kicks ass at that. he made the previously blogged about “best salad in the world”, although this time he toasted the pine nuts and whipped up his own batch of zesty lemon balsamic vinaigrette. total hit.

    stuffing: this is actually the first year i’ve ever cooked homemade stuffing. usually i just grab a box from whole foods, add a few ingredients and call it a day. this year, i decided to try a really healthy and simple stuffing from happy herbivore’s cookbook, pudge-free holidays. she’s compiled a list of tasty-sounding holiday recipes without all the fat and calories that usually come along with this time of year. i made a batch of the traditional thanksgiving stuffing with mushrooms and vegan sausage. the only change i made was i added some garlic, because i can never have enough of that. i can tell you this is much tastier and much healthier than the store-bought box crap i’m used to making.

    sides: we outsourced the cooking of our side dishes to the awesome vegan soul food restaurant, a taste of life. i could never make food this good, so why even try? we ordered two sides of mac and cheese and two sides of kale. both were delicious and impressed the hell out of my omnivore parents. if i could cook this well, i’d never eat out. but i can’t…so i get take-out on thanksgiving day. yay.

    vegetables: mr. meaner took it upon himself to toss some thickly sliced potatoes and carrots in olive oil and oregano, then bake them to perfection. we also had some steamed broccoli and cauliflower to round it all off.

    roast: since our favorite thanksgiving centerpiece, the unturkey, is no longer available, we have been looking for a worthy replacement. we spent the last two years with the tofurky, which is good but not great. this year we opted for the very scrumptious celebration roast. field roast is a company up in seattle who makes tons of great faux meats, from sausages, to slices, to several different flavors of roasts. their products are kind of hard to find in los angeles, so if you ever see them, buy ‘em up. follow your heart consistently stocks the celebration roasts, and a handful of whole foods carry the sausages. while the celebration roast is no unturkey, it’s pretty damn incredible. the body, crust and middle stuffing are all magnificent. (please note, some folks have made a website and posted a recipe for the original unturky. i’m way to much of a cooking n00b to try it, but others have. and i am jealous). the celebration roast will totally do for now.

    dessert: i actually did some baking some baking this thanksgiving! when i bake, things usually go wrong…but luckily, this holiday my shit came out pretty nice. i went through several recipes online and adapted my own from many to make a chocolate-chip vegan cheesecake. a total crowd-pleaser, this cheesecake made me so proud. plus it satisfied my sweet tooth for the day.

    here’s the recipe i “came up with,” standing on the shoulders of giants:

    vegan chocolate-chip cheesecake

    ingredients:
    1-14 oz package firm silken tofu
    1-8 oz package tofutti better than cream cheese
    2/3 cup sugar
    splash of lemon juice
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    about 1/2 a 12oz bag of chocolate chips
    1-9 inch vegan pie crust

    method:
    preheat oven to 350F.
    put silken tofu and tofutti better than cream cheese in the blender and blend until smooth.
    add the sugar and blend until no granules remain.
    add a splash of lemon juice, the vanilla and the corn starch, then blend until smooth.
    add 1/2 a 12oz bag of vegan chocolate chips and stir it up with a spoon.
    pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 40 minutes.
    refrigerate before serving for at least 4 hours.

    result:
    yum.

    all around, we had an epically delicious thanksgiving. good to know we could gorge ourselves on all kinds of dishes—healthy stuff, junk food, salty appetizers, sweet deserts, salads, roasts and vegetables—all without killing any animals. what a fucking concept, right?

    here’s to hoping the rest of the world will catch on. hope you had a great thanksgiving!

    back to restaurant reviews now for quarrygirl…

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  • November 21st, 2008quarrygirlcru, LA restaurants

    UPDATE 6/15/10: since reading this post, i have found that many of cru’s menu items are not vegan because they contain honey (including the deep green salad). please check out cru’s menu online to see which items are safe to eat.

    cru is a vegan, mostly raw restaurant that i’ve been wanting to check out for quite some time. my little hipster omnivore friends go on and on about it at the office, and recently it got quite a glowing review on to live and eat in la. so last weekend, i finally decided to go check out cru for myself and see what everyone was raving about. oh, and i found out: simple, fresh, organic fare that’s bursting with tons of flavor.

    deep green salad: marinated kale with avocado, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds in a chili lime dressing. $10

    deep green salad: marinated kale with avocado, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds in a chili lime dressing. $10

    i went to cru, like everywhere else, with my husband…and he opted for the deep green salad. it was a mix of delicious kale, vegetables and seeds all tossed in a light and refreshing dressing. i would say this salad was pretty much perfect. not sure how they do it at cru, but they really concentrate on packing tons of flavor into each dish. most salads, even the tasty ones, are pretty boring and nondescript…the deep green salad at cru though, had a life of its own. when i tried it, i was tasting flavors i never knew existed.

    i decided to get something off the cooked menu. i know, i know…lame of me, but i wasn’t in the mood for raw! i can’t find exactly what i ordered on the online menu, but it was an amazing mix of sauteed spinach, onion, squash, sauerkraut and mixed greens atop a bed of steaming quinoa. it was INSANE.

    awesome cooked entree.

    awesome cooked entree.

    like the salad, the cooked bowl was just going crazy with deliciousness. i was bombarded with so many new and exciting tastes, i seriously can’t wait to go back to cru and see what else they have to offer. the quinoa wasn’t the least bit boring either, they cooked it with something that gave it an incredible silky texture that soaked up all the vegetables’ flavors.

    we also split a glass of freshly made juice that was pretty invigorating.

    spinach cucumber apple ginger juice. $6

    spinach cucumber apple ginger juice. $6

    it was a rather strange flavor combo, but it ended up being divine. light and made with fresh ingredients, the juice had a distinct ginger flavor that was tasty, but didn’t overpower the fruits and vegetables.

    after two scrumptious and ostensibly healthy meals, we decided to splurge and split a piece of cru’s famous raw chocolate truffle cake.

    chocolate truffle cake. $8

    chocolate truffle cake. $8

    dude, this truffle cake was crazy. it didn’t taste or feel like you’d expect from looking at it. when it arrived at our table, i shoved my fork in it to grab a bite, and the fork just got stuck. breaking off each piece was kind of a chore. this isn’t your normal cake, think of it like a huge, thick, firm piece of pure chocolate. that being said, it soooo good. even my husband held his own and ate up half of the cake, and he usually can’t compete with my sweet tooth.

    man, oh man, that cake was so rich! i loved it, but i highly doubt i will be able to justify ordering it again any time soon. i can only take that decadence once every so often.

    on top of having insanely yummy food, cru was also quite pleasant and comfortable. i’d read on yelp that the place was absolutely tiny, so we decided to go for lunch (which they only offer on friday and saturday), in order to miss the dinner crowd. when we were there, the place was nearly empty. i would definitely recommend hitting them up during their lunch hours if you wanna bypass the craziness. plus, i’m pretty sure they give you a discount at lunch time. our meal seemed really cheap compared to the prices on the menu. maybe they just thought we were awesome, though…that wouldn’t surprise me.

    so go get some cru. raw, cooked, drinks, desserts, it’s all off the chain.

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  • October 14th, 2008quarrygirla taste of life, farmers market, LA restaurants

    after having a somewhat sketchy experience recently at the taste of life divine vegan foods storefront, i decided to give their farmers market stand in hollywood a try. after all, even though my prior experience was rough around the edges, the food was absolutely incredible. plus, fellow bloggers and local vegans have been known to rave about the soul food served up sunday mornings at selma & vine. boy oh boy, lemme just say what i found was a tray full of delicious.

    soul food dinner combo with kale, black-eyed peas, bbq tofu and lasagna. comes with cornbread. $12

    soul food dinner combo with kale, black-eyed peas, bbq tofu and lasagna. comes with cornbread. $12

    granted, there’s absolutely nowhere to to have a comfortable, seated meal at the hollywood farmers market…so we had to enjoy our vegan soul food atop the nearest electrical transformer. what we herbivores do for a good safe lunch! …am i right?

    sharing with the husband (as usual) we opted on the “dinner combo” which included our choice of 4 dishes and a slice of corn bread for $12. please note that it was only like 10am, so don’t let the name “dinner combo” fool you. it’s basically a taste of life’s way of saying, “instead of 1 awesome dish, get 4 awesome little dishes for the same price.” also, fellow stingy vegans please note that the price charged at the farmers market is less than that which is on the menu of a taste of life’s storefront location. the fountain outlet advertises a dinner combo for $15, not $12.

    all bullshit and price fuckery aside, a taste of life at the hollywood farmers market is beyond wonderful. they’ve got everything ready to go in huge catering-style heated containers and serve that shit up quickly with a smile. the only thing that might hold the line up and keep you from your delicious comfort food is some know-it-all vegan who wants to hob nob with the chef or a tourist who can’t interpret the confusing menu…both violations understandable (i mysef am a smug vegan who is often on vacation).

    let’s get to the food, shall we? starting with a dish i have been looking forward to forever, but was sold out when i visited the taste of life storefront on fountain. THE KALE.
    people have raved about the kale from a taste of life, and every word is true. i can see why late on a sunday night (especially after a day at the grueling farmers market) a taste of life was out of the magic greens a few weeks ago. this shit is definitely something to write home about blog about. i love that the most memorable dish from the ridiculously tasty combo meal was a straight up vegetable. just plain kale rivals all the fake cheese, seitan, tofu and soy dishes in the world. obviously this stuff is in high demand, so be sure to order it. leafy greens have never been so yum.

    next up, the black-eyed peas are a definite must. i feel like the first time i visited a taste of life, i wussed out because i was intimidated by the menu. i got some sandwiches and stuff, not really splurging for the real soul food. hopefully, any one who reads this can have a look at the menu and gather their thoughts before being thrust into a customer service transaction. i will definitely be ordering these again…they were so succulent and juicy. not much oil at all, but a ton of flavor. 

    now, some really huge props go to the lasagna. i ordered it because i wanted to try all new things, and i’d already indulged in the delicious and unmatched mac and cheese prepared by a taste of life. lemme just say, the lasagna was nothing to be scoffed at: sheets of pasta, chopped up vegetables with clumpy and cheesy flavored tomato sauce. my only guff was that in contained bell peppers, WHICH I HATE. to it’s defense, though, this delicious lasagna was edible to me even though i abhor the bell pepper family. somehow i was, miraculously, able to pick around the peppers (which all came in big chunks) and genuinely enjoy my meal. personally, i will always prefer the mac and cheese, but this lasagna was excellent. 

    lastly, even though the kale was awesome, the best thing on my plate ended up being the bbq tofu. this dish was so tasty, i was licking my fork and sopping it up with every last crumb of sinful cornbread. and even as good as it tasted, it probably wasn’t that artery clogging at the end of the day. just perfectly cooked blocks of tofu coated with a tangy and amazing runny sauce. it was all so wonderful…i wish i could tell you more about it, but it was in my stomach before i bothered to create a memory. i just know enough to recommend you don’t pass it up.

    A TASTE OF LIFE DIVINE VEGAN FOODS rocked my world. you gotta check ‘em out as soon as you have the opportunity.

    hmmmm….not to sound like the cynical vegan that i am, but let’s weigh the pros and cons in my experience.

    store front: super sketchy at night, out of kale but tons of nice sandwiches and more expensive, possibly some tables to eat at if a someone isn’t passed out and sleeping in the seats.
    farmers market stand: safe and easy, tons of kale but no custom items (like sandwiches), less expensive, and nowhere to eat except on the curb or an electrical transformer.

    either way, the food is awesome. so go get it while you can. i am looking forward to my next visit. :)

    you can check out their menu here:

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  • September 2nd, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    as i’m sure you know, yesterday was a holiday. it was labor day here in the u.s., and even though it’s kind of a bullshit holiday when people like to actually go out (rather than sit home with their families worshipping god or whatever), most of my favorite vegan restaurants decided to close for the day. lame! so imagine how stoked i was when i phoned the veggie grill and found out they were open! we decided to grab a few beers in nearby redondo beach, and hit up the veggie grill for some take-out on the way back home. for a quick, vegan holiday meal when everywhere else was shut, this was a pretty tasty find.

    chop-chop chef: chopped romaine, tempeh, veggie-steak, chillin' chickin, green onion, roasted corn salsa with a chipotle ranch dressing. $9.95

    chop-chop chef: chopped romaine, tempeh, veggie-steak, chillin' chickin, green onion, roasted corn salsa with a chipotle ranch dressing. $9.95

    we also got the v-burger (which i didn’t bother snapping because you’ve already seen it here) and started off with an order of steamin’ kale.

    steamin' kale: organic kale with ginger-miso dressing and roasted sesame seeds. $3.95

    steamin' kale: organic kale with ginger-miso dressing and roasted sesame seeds. $3.95

    as i’ve said before, the veggie grill is full of hidden charges. adding mushroom or avocado to a burger is an extra $1.50. getting salad instead of slaw as a side is an extra $1.95. if you want FRIES with your burger, that’s an extra $2.25! it’s all pretty ridiculous. by the time we shelled out the extra 2 bucks to swap out the slaw for salad, our entire order cost $26.85 before tip.

    $26.85…that’s kind of a lot. it’s right up there with m café, yet the veggie grill doesn’t deliver anywhere near the same quality of food. don’t get me wrong, my lunch was absolutely delicious…but was it really worth almost $30? i mean, the salad was full of crunchy white lettuce bones, nothing like the soft and dark leafy greens that fill the bowls over at m café.

    that being said, the salad was packed full of tasty protein. the tempeh was definitely my favorite. the veggie-steak and chillin’ chickin were good too—they tasted almost exactly like morningstar farms starter strips, which i’m a fan of. i didn’t eat the side of chipotle ranch, instead i used some awesome and healthy dressing that my dad brought me when he visited over the weekend. it went perfectly with the salad, the green onions and sesame really complimented each other. the BEST thing about the salad, though, was it came (as all veggie grill salads do) infused with a hearty scoop of quinoa. i love quinoa, and i don’t think you can really go wrong adding it to anything. i don’t know why anyone eats rice anymore, when they could eat those little white blobs of protein instead.

    in the end, the veggie grill salad really hit the spot. not to mention the delicious kale and its amazing miso dressing. i am so glad they were open on labor day. if only they weren’t so damn expensive. oh well, being a vegan and saving the world isn’t cheap…but it sure is worth it.

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  • May 16th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    congrats veggie grill, you have yourself another return customer! i went once before, i was kinda impressed, and now i’m back! despite the rampant blog controversy, i trust you veggie grill, plus i don’t give a crap about the egg content of your wine, because i don’t drink it.


    bali bliss: indonesian styled tempeh, sauteed and grilled, lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle ranch…with a side of kale (an additional $1.95) $8.45 total


    the v-burger: marinated and grilled veggie-steak burger, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle ranch…plus a portobello mushroom (an additional $1.50) $9.75 total

    now before you start to think this is merely a fluff piece praising the VG, i want to make it very clear that i definitely have some complaints about the restaurant:

    1. it’s expen$ive!
    and mostly because of add-on costs, which i completely hate. most restaurants give you a sandwich and a reasonable side for no extra charge. well, not the veggie grill. they give you a sandwich and thimble of coleslaw. if you want fries, salad, or kale you are gonna pay an extra $1.95. that’s like an additional 1/3 of the price! ugh. similarly, if you wanna add some avocado or mushrooms to your stack, it’ll cost ya $1.50. i myself prefer the pure luck model: they give you avocado on almost everything, and then charge you a buck if you want more of it.

    2. bell peppers are inevitable.
    yep, on every dish they sprinkle an un-announced bell pepper/parsley combo, not to mention the unexpected vomitous “relish” that sporadically appears on a number of dishes—this pukey mixture contains not just bell peppers, but other unmentionables that taste like fruit? pickles? onions? snot? i dunno. it’s the hotdog of condiments, you aren’t quite sure what you are eating. suffice to say, i always specify that i want my meal without any bell peppers or relish, and since these items aren’t even mentioned on the menu, you are on your own to remember!

    3. i hate the word veggie.
    i always have. it’s way too cute, and i feel embarrassed even saying it. i think “veggie grill” is a stupid name…not just because of that word, but also because it’s too damn literal.

    phew. now that i can put all that petty animus behind me, i fully endorse the veggie grill. at the end of the day, the food is pretty damn good.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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