• January 20th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, larkin's

    UPDATE: larkin’s has discontinued their vegan menu! sad, sad.

    los angeles vegans are in for a treat! as of last week larkin’s, a popular contemporary soul food restaurant in eagle rock, has introduced a brand new green menu which is almost entirely vegan. i first found out about this from our resident QG writer brittany, who was forwarded an email about the launch of the menu by a co-worker. britt and i decided we had to check larkin’s out for ourselves, to see how good the new vegan options at this meaty soul food restaurant could be. i’m happy to report that we were not disappointed!

    entering larkin’s is like stepping back in time; vintage posters adorn the walls and drinks are served in old school jelly jars. it really feels like you’re eating in someone’s living room—in fact larkin’s looks like one big house that’s been converted into a restaurant…complete with deck/patio dining!

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  • November 23rd, 2010brittanyLA restaurants, mac and cheeza

    over the summer i spent a fair share of my free time in downtown LA. there aren’t many vegan-friendly places in DTLA, let alone places you can go to late night on the weekends after a night of drinking. mac and cheeza became my go to because it’s affordable and open until 2am on fridays and saturdays. scooore!

    back when mac and cheeza opened last february, i tagged along with qg to the soft opening. while i liked it back then, i thought the “cheese” tasted more like an alfredo sauce than a cheese sauce. WELL the cheese sauce has definitely improved since then and i found my winning combo of fixins – soy cheese, jalapeno and mushroom with the walnut topping. it’s tha fuckin’ BOMB.

    baby mac with soy cheese, jalapenos, mushrooms and spicy toasted walnut topping. $7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • August 12th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    tube in portland will always have a special place in my heart. the grungy dive bar has so much personality, plus offers loads of vegan items from white russians to happy hour snacks. we hit up tube just about a year ago and instantly fell in love; so imagine how excited we were when we went back recently and found they had expanded their menu. we are talking 3 pages of vegan-friendly goodness; we knew we had to get comfy and stay for a while.

    professor nanotear muffin: a slice of grilled vegan ham and vegan cheese between an english muffin and our homemade spicy chipotle veganaise. $3 or 2 for $5

    we started out with some “professor nanotear muffins” from the bar snacks menu, which are basically little vegan mcmuffins topped with faux ham and vegan cheese. you can get one for 3 bucks, or two for 5…so we went ahead and splurged. these muffins are so simple and would be really easy to make at home, but i just love them. i don’t know of anywhere else you can get such cheap and tasty little vegan snacks at such a cool bar.

    hamm's. $2 each.

    it was happy hour, so we pounded a couple of hamm’s for 2 bucks a piece. not the best beer in the world, but definitely the best beer for this situation.

    as you can see, tube was pretty empty when we were there. we arrived at around 5pm and it was deserted, but i hear it gets PACKED by the nighttime. and there is dancing and stuff, if you are into that.

    vegan white russian!

    after munching on snacks and drinking weak beer, we decided to kick it up a notch with some real food and hard liquor. i REALLY wanted to try one of the new alcoholic milkshakes, but alas the bartender said they had run out of ice cream. so sad. instead i went a vegan white russian, probably my favorite mixed drink out there, and was cheered up immediately.

    vegan mac and chez: a creamy soy cheese/nutritional yeast blend and vegan hot dog bits. served with chips. $6

    foodwise, we split an entree and a sandwich off the new dinner menu, and were quite pleased with our order. first up, the vegan mac and chez—a bowl of spirally noodles all mixed up in creamy sauce with nutritional yeast and hot dog chunks. downright delicious comfort food. it was 8 bucks, but the bowl was big and it tasted damn good.

    vegan fried bologna sandwich: vegan grilled bologna and vegan cheese with ketchup on two pieces of white bread slathered in vegan butter and grilled again. served with chips. $5

    we also got the vegan fried bologna sandwich, which was double grilled and stuffed with fake meat and cheese. again, this meal was solid. the soy bologna was awesome, and the fluffy bread was moist and flavorful. the chips tasted like ruffles straight out the bag, and i would expect nothing less (or more) from a dive bar like tube.

    i honestly hope to visit tube every single time i go to portland. not because the food is so out of this world amazing, but because it’s damn good and the atmosphere is excellent. it’s so much fun to eat junk food in a trashy little bar, the kind of experience that omnivores get to enjoy all the time.

    18 NW 3rd Ave
    Portland, OR 97209
    (503) 241-8823
    open 7 days a week 5pm – 2am
    happy hour 5pm – 10pm
    brunch saturday and sunday 11am – 4pm

    here are some shots of the menu. i want to eat all the vegan stuff on it. please note TUBE ALSO DOES BRUNCH ON WEEKENDS, check out that menu here.

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  • July 23rd, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), seattle

    if you are looking for the ultimate meat-free dining experience in seattle, plum bistro is definitely your place. the gourmet restaurant is located on capitol hill and serves amazing all vegan cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. the food can be a bit pricey (think $14-$18 for an entree), but it’s fantastic and well worth it. one little secret that you can’t find on plum’s website though, is that they have a HAPPY HOUR sundays from 4-10pm and monday thru friday from 3-6pm, where food and drinks are super cheap. we hit up plum for the happy hour deals a couple weeks ago with a friend, and ate enough food to feed a small country for under 60 bucks. it was an excellent time.

    spicy mac n yease: our signature mac n cheese $5 happy hour special (normally $7)

    we started with a plate of the “mac n yease” which was down from $7 to five bucks for the happy hour special. i have been wanting to try this ever since this.charming.man raved about it back in january, and i must say it did not disappoint! it was spicy, creamy, flavorful, and honestly the best vegan mac and cheese i’ve ever eaten. there were mushy globs of cheese in between the noodles, just like the real thing, and little burned bits around the edges. i’d say plum is worth visiting for the mac n yease alone—it blows all other mac and cheeses out of the water.

    sweet tea white russian: firefly sweet tea, soy milk, orange spice and cane sugar. $5

    one catch about the happy hour menu is, you can’t order from it without buying a drink…but don’t worry, they have non-alcoholic stuff for all you xpeoplex. i went with the white russian because it’s my favorite mixed drink, and it’s impossible to find a vegan version at bars here in los angeles. the only other place i’ve had a vegan white russian outside of my house was at tube in portland, and plum’s was a million times better. the sweet tea vodka/soy milk mixture came in a sugar-rimmed glass, complete with a cherry on top. i absolutely loved it.

    mini burgers $2 each.

    we got a couple of mini burgers from the happy hour menu, because come on, who can resist vegan sliders?! plum has several to choose from including the crazy jamaican, tofu bbq seitan, quinoa, and el basito caliente. i am pretty sure the ones we ordered were the crazy jamaican and el basito caliente, and they were delicious. they were pretty big as well, you could fill up on a few of these and have dinner for 6 bucks.

    quinoa nachos. $4

    we also got a plate of quinoa nachos, which were a great deal for $4. this dish of blue chips came topped with an amazing creamy sauce, pico de gallo, guacamole and melted cheese. i am pretty sure the cheese on the nachos was follow your heart, which i am not a big fan of, but they were still pretty good.

    gourmet garlic fries with jalapeno sauce. $4

    next up was an order of gourmet garlic fries with jalapeno sauce, and they were super tasty. plum has a huge list of fries and sauces to choose from, and we originally ordered the “cheese w/ seitan bits” option. unfortunately/fortunately, they messed up our order and brought us the garlic fries, which wound up being great. the jalapeno sauce was to die for—rich gooey, and spicy—it went perfectly with the thick crispy fries.

    vegan hot dog. $4

    we also got a “vegan hot dog,” which to our surprise wound up being a high-quality field roast sausage! man i love field roast, so this was a nice treat. it came smothered in crazy good sauces and topped with sauerkraut. amazing!

    orange-balsamic glazed tempeh with thai-spiced mashed yams and bitter greens. $17

    we had our fill of cheap junk food snacks, but our friend wanted to be a little bit highbrow, and order something from the dinner menu as well. she got the orange-balsamic glazed tempeh with thai-spiced mashed yams and bitter greens. she let me try it and, WOWZA….it was awesome! the yams especially were not to be believed, such amazing flavor. i have a feeling that this is the kind of gourmet fine-dining food most people visit plum for, and plum knows how to do it well.

    completely gratuitous

    this was by far one of our best meals in seattle, and one of the best i’ve had in a long time. plum really has everything going for it: they are an all vegan restaurant with excellent food, they serve mixed drinks as well as beer and wine, and they have a nice fancyish yet comfy atmosphere where you can relax and hang for awhile. if you are in seattle, i would put this at the top of your “must visit” list, because plum is simply amazing. i can’t wait to return and try out their brunch!

    plum bistro
    1429 12th Ave E Ste B
    Seattle, WA 98122
    (206) 838-5333

    PS: the happy hour menu isn’t posted plum’s website, so i’ve uploaded it here for your enjoyment…

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  • February 28th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mac and cheeza

    as you may have heard, mac & cheeza is a brand new restaurant coming to downtown los angeles that focuses entirely on the popular side dish, macaroni and cheese. while they aren’t officially open just yet, the good news is they have been having soft launches sporadically where they serve their food to the public…and the even better news is they are very vegan-friendly.

    the husband and i hit up the small eatery last night during one of their soft openings, with our friend and fellow blogger brittany from sick of lettuce, to see just how good LA’s newest vegan mac and cheese offering is. the verdict? mac & cheeza is off to a great start and we couldn’t be more thankful for their vegan options…but there is definitely some room for improvement.

    the way mac & cheeza works is, you order at the counter and basically build your own mac and cheese. you get to choose your size, your noodle type (regular or gluten-free), then your cheese type (the soy cheese is vegan), and then whichever vegetables you want to add in. they even have a vegan sausage option as well. they mix and bake the whole thing right there in front of you, and call your name when your order is ready.

    even with all delicious-sounding toppings available, brittany went with plain in order to see just how good the mac and cheese tasted on its own.

    vegan baby mac. $5

    her initial reaction was that it was good, but not as cheesy-flavored as she’d hope. rather than a cheddar-style sauce, the mac was covered in a liquidy garlic sauce that tasted more like alfredo. i would have to agree that there are much better vegan cheese options out there, seriously some cheddar daiya would have done wonders on this thing.

    momma mac with vegan cheese, vegan sausage, mushrooms and peas. $12

    my husband and i split a momma mac sized mac and cheese with vegan sausage, mushrooms, and peas. i enjoyed it, but again the soy cheese left a little something to be desired. plus, they didn’t put enough peas or mushrooms in it, so the toppings were gone pretty quickly. that being said, the vegan sausage addition was absolutely delicious.

    the ambiance at mac & cheeza is nice and cozy—there aren’t any tables or chairs, but rather soft benches that line the walls where customers can eat. the whole place is decorated with art made from macaroni pieces, which i found quite adorable.

    overall, the food at mac & cheeza was really decent…and while i may not make a special trip downtown from hollywood, i would definitely stop by when in the area. i highly encourage you to get over to mac & cheeza as soon as they open though, and make your own mind up; let’s show these guys how grateful we are that offer vegan mac and cheese. plus, you gotta admit it was a pretty ballsy move for them to open a restaurant that only sells side dishes…

    mac & cheeza
    223 W. 8th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014

    to hear the latest news about when mac & cheeza is opening, and when they are having soft launches, subscribe to their mailing list!

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  • February 3rd, 2010quarrygirlhugo's restaurant, LA restaurants

    UPDATE! scroll to the bottom for more pix!

    this is some pretty exciting news that i have been dying to post for a while….and now it’s finally time! hugo’s restaurant will be running a vegan mac and cheese special this month that is absolutely amazing. the new specials menu rolls out today in studio city and tomorrow in west hollywood, so make sure you get over and eat it asap.

    vegan mac and cheese: fusilli pasta with diced onions, garlic, sliced mushrooms and sweet peas in a creamy cashew cheese. cooked crispy with a potato crumb crust. $7.50

    i tried an earlier version of this mac and cheese (mine didn’t have all the amazing sounding vegetables in it), and i was absolutely floored. hugo’s makes their very own cashew cheese sauce in house, and it’s unbelievably flavorful and creamy. the best part of this mac though, is the crispy potato crumb crust, that adds a bit of crunch to every bite. although it had a wet texture, this is nothing like the old school kraft mac and cheese you remember from when you were a kid. this was way better with deeper more full-bodied flavor and a much thicker and richer sauce. absolutely incredible.

    i’m actually really sad that hugo’s only decided to run this as a special, rather than put it on their regular menu. los angeles doesn’t have nearly enough vegan mac and cheese; and this is seriously some of the best around. you gotta get over there and order tons of this stuff; let’s make them re-think their decision.

    so remember, this mac and cheese is available today in studio city and tomorrow in west hollywood tomorrow. go eat it up, and lemme know what you think!

    hugo’s restaurant
    8401 Santa Monica Blvd.
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
    (323) 654-3993
    12851 Riverside Drive
    Studio City, CA 91607
    (818) 761-8985

    UPDATE: so my friend brittany went to hugo’s today and tried out the vegan mac and cheese as well! she was kind enough to snap some pix which i will attach below. she loved it just as much as i did, and confirmed that the vegetables mixed in are awesome. she also did a great post on another hugo’s special…the po boy! check it out!

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