• October 18th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), seattle

    hey guys! as you probably know, we’re following the band silver snakes around on tour, via vegan food text updates from band member alex. he’s taken us around—from other parts of california, to nevada, to idaho, and now they’re in seattle (still) for more tastiness. today was epic, just see alex’s updates below. oh, and don’t forget to check out silver snakes when they’re in a city near you. go to their show and talk them into eating with you…it may end up on this blog!

    Vegan Donuts from Mighy-O in Seattle

    Mighty-o donuts. Seattle, WA. Naked cake and pumpkin spice donuts and a hot cocoa. Naked cake donuts are my favorite! I wish I could find them back in LA.

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  • August 11th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, mohawk bend

    since mohawk bend opened up in echo park about a week and a half ago, we’ve spent several evenings there. whether it has been quick drinks and a snack at the bar, or a full on meal in the gorgeous ramona room, each visit to the restaurant has been very enjoyable.

    mohawk is still riding high on the hype surrounding its much anticipated opening, so by 7pm there can often be an hour and a half wait for a table! my advice is to arrive early at around 5pm, and they should have no problem seating you. here are some pictures of the food we’ve been digging at mohawk over the past week…

    herbed flatbread with spicy white beans. $6

    the herbed flatbread is remarkable. i tried this on my first visit to mohawk at their press event, and have ordered it a couple times since. the bread is made in house and served with your choice of spreads—most of which are vegan. you can get bread and 1 spread for 6 bucks, or 3 spreads for $12. my favorite is the spicy white bean spread, it’s chunky and packed with tangy lemon flavor.

    vegan fun guy: roast mushrooms, shallots, herbs, vegan cheese, truffle salt. $14

    mohawk also has a large selection of vegan-friendly thin crust pizzas made with californian 00 flour and organic tomato sauce…

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  • August 10th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    there’s an old 80’s pop song that says heaven is a place on earth—and if that’s the truth, then it must be referring to portland. the city is a sylvan paradise with more vegan restaurants than i could eat at in a lifetime, and a brewery on almost every corner.

    the food options are so plentiful, they can actually be a bit overwhelming…so trust me on this one: all vegans visiting portland must eat at homegrown smoker.

    the small vegan soul food cart in the university district keeps limited lunch hours, but it’s worth planning your trip around. the menu is massive (click here to peep it) with all kinds of crazy creations like a mac and cheese burrito, chili cheese fries, and smoked “loafaroni”.

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  • March 29th, 2011quarrygirlrecipes, vegan bakers, vegan cheese

    UPDATED: brittany shared the recipe! check it out after the jump.

    and now for today’s what you sick people come here for. vegan mac and cheese pancakes:

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  • March 22nd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, sage vegan bistro

    another day, another vegan restaurant opens in LA. that’s what it feels like sometimes, doesn’t it? we are spoiled for choice here in los angeles, and now we can add sage vegan bistro in echo park to our long list of local animal-free eateries.

    the newly opened cafe occupies the former mooi space (so sad they closed down!) on sunset, and serves a wide variety of vegan cuisine with a creative twist–stuff like samosa burgers, french grain bowls, plantain sandwiches, seitan salads, and jackfruit tacos. i checked out sage this weekend for brunch with fellow quarrygirl staffer brittany, and our meal was ace!

    the brunch menu is served on saturdays and sundays from 9am to 5pm, and it’s loaded with crazy-sounding menu items. in fact, we had a really hard time deciding what to order. after seriously considering the frittata, potato lattkes, and walnut sausage croissant (i need to go back and try that last one), i decided on the jackfruit chorizo burrito…

    jackfruit chorizon burrito: smoked spicy jackfruit, roasted potato, tofu egg, gazpacho and avocado wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla served with a side of rice and beans and adobo chili sauce. $8.25

    this thing was a monster and puts most vegan burritos i’ve eaten in my life to shame. it was giant and shoved full of all kinds of tasty ingredients. the menu description doesn’t do it justice—there was jackfruit, scrambled tofu, roasted potatoes, white sauce, black beans, salsa, guacamole, and fresh jalapenos all rolled up together. it came with a side of rice and beans, as well as some extra spicy hot sauce. i gotta admit, this thing was so full of food that i had to eat it with a knife and fork. it looks all neat and innocent in the photo, but believe me, i made a mess of it. this thing had everything i look for in a burrito—it was enormous, the ingredients were fresh, and there was a lot of variety. from the crisp vegetables, to the creamy sauces, to sausagy jackfruit and the chunky nutritional yeasty tofu, this burrito had me covered. i would definitely order it again.

    brittany’s meal was quite impressive as well…

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  • February 22nd, 2010chicago, more restaurants (not LA)

    if you read this blog a lot, you probably know that we have a bad-ass field operative who travels around and sends us pictures of his various vegan exploits. so far he has conquered seattle, vegas, san diego and huntington beach…but tonight’s episode comes to you all the way from the windy city. that’s right, we bring you an undercover report of karyn’s cooked, a gourmet vegan restaurant located in chicago. i will let our very terse and no bullshit informant take it away (his words are in quotes):

    sloppy jo: slow cooked soy protein on a toasted whole wheat bun with special sauce. includes potato wedges and coleslaw. $8.95

    “sloppy jos were off the charts. perfect potato wedges and slaw as your sides.” ’nuff said!

    green enchiladas: Corn tortillas stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes, smothered in a green tomatillo sauce and drizzled with soy cheese. Served with a side of spanish brown rice and refried black beans. $10.95

    “the enchiladas were something i would never have imagined….

    “garlic mashed potato as filling. epic.” —what?!?!? mashed potato filling? fuck yeah!

    southern greens as a side. $4

    “southern greens i could eat every day and not get sick of.” (i think we can all agree w/ that!)

    mac and cheese as a side. $4

    mac and cheese, well duh. its like cold pizza. even when its bad–it’s good. and this was delicious. the waitress said that she had ‘checked with the mac and cheese’ when she got in and it was ‘having a good day’ -she was right.”

    and of course, there were drinks with lunch…

    “champagne with our campaign, doin the damn thang.”

    dunno about you, but this sounds like a pretty stellar meal to me! i can personally vouch for this karyn’s cooked, as the one time i ate there many years ago it was tip top. so definitely check this place out when in chicago. i have a feeling our informant is onto something.

    he closes his document with even more praise:

    “always the best service, food and atmosphere…”

    “i’m more of a karyn’s snob vs. the chicago diner hipster… “


    “the perfect sunday lunch and my favorite place to eat when i visit back home to chicago. i think r. kelly was sitting next to us…”

    karyn’s cooked
    738 N. Wells St.
    Chicago, IL 312-587-1050
    (312) 587-1050

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  • February 11th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, locali

    i have never tasted a frozen dinner that brought me back to my pre-vegan days as much as today when i tried amy’s vegan rice macaroni and cheeze. this stuff is brand new, it’s made with daiya cheese, and it tastes so much like the stouffer’s i remember eating as a kid.

    right now, the only place i’ve been able to find amy’s new vegan mac and cheeze is at locali. i’ve checked several different whole foods locations including weho, 3rd/fairfax, and beverly hills…all no dice. so head on over to locali ASAP and buy some of this before it’s all gone. if you miss the taste of quick & easy childhood mac and cheese, this will really hit the spot. just be sure to read the labels on the back and look for the phrase “(VEGAN)” located right next to the printed word “INGREDIENTS.” they also namedrop “DAIYA” in the ingredients section, if that’s helpful. i’m not trying to talk to you like you are a 5 year old, but seriously, amy’s stuff can be confusing. they sneak honey and casein into products like none other.

    oh, and one more little coup to add: this new amy’s mac and cheese is also gluten free and soy free….so pretty much anyone on earth can eat it! go get some and lemme know what you think. ALSO, please lemme know if you see this at any other stores other stores; let’s get the word out!

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  • December 16th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    vegan daiya cheeseburger at veggie grill

    listen up!! the veggie grill has invented some amazing new daiya cheese-filled recipes, and they are testing them out starting today at the el segundo location to see how they are received. i couldn’t resist heading over there this afternoon and ordering all 3 new menu items. every single one was absolutely awesome, and i implore you to go taste for yourself.

    first i tried the vg cheeseburger (pictured above), which is basically the standard v burger slathered with gooey cheese. this meal contains two of my favorite vegan products ever, daiya and gardein, and it sure is a winning combo. if you like cheeseburgers (even if you aren’t vegan!), you will love this thing…it’s thick, juicy, and cheesy as can be.

    vegan mac and cheese at veggie grill

    since the vg cheeseburger comes with a side, i ordered it with the new vegan mac and cheese. again, this stuff was made with daiya and it was really fucking good! i don’t know what veggie grill did to it, but this daiya was creamier than any i’ve ever tasted. i’m so used to having it chopped up and melted in little shreds, but in this it was completely smooth. plus, i think it had some jalapenos mixed in to give it a little kick. yum!

    vegan nachos at veggie grill

    lastly, i got an order of the nachos…and before you ask, no i did NOT eat all this at once!! i took most of it home and it’s in the fridge. the nachos were excellent, and are definitely my favorite of the new menu items. crisp tortilla chips covered in melty daiya and fully loaded with beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cilantro….all for under 5 bucks!

    please take my advice and get out to the veggie grill el segundo location NOW. and if you can’t go now, be sure to go ASAP. the chick working the counter told me they are only trying out these menu items, and won’t keep them around if they don’t do well. i can tell you, they are amazing….so let’s make them do well.

    veggie grill
    plaza el segundo
    720 Allied Way
    El Segundo, CA 90245
    11am to 10pm

    oh and be sure to follow veggie grill on twitter to hear about stuff like this, that’s where they made an announcement about all the new menu items.

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  • September 2nd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café


    i can’t remember the last time i was so damn excited about a dinner special. through friday, m cafe de chaya is offering vegan macaroni and cheese at both the melrose and culver city locations after 5pm. i have been wanting to try m cafe’s mac and cheese forever and when i finally got a chance to last night, it did not disappoint.

    for those of you who have never been to m cafe before, it’s a macrobiotic restaurant that’s almost entirely vegan, other than some dishes that clearly contain fish. they serve mostly organic whole foods and seasonal vegetables, and their meals tend to be on the healthier side. i was excited to see what they would do with a home-style dish like mac & cheese that’s usually packed with oil, grease and dairy products. i was delighted to find my take-out container filled with light but creamy noodles, crunchy bread crumbs, and loads of vegetables.

    dinner special macaroni and cheese: organic fusilli, sundried tomato, asparagus and arugula. soy cheese sauce and bread crumbs. $10.75

    dinner special macaroni and cheese: organic fusilli, sundried tomato, asparagus and arugula. soy cheese sauce and bread crumbs. $10.75

    the macaroni and cheese came with twisted noodles, a light soy cheese sauce, bread crumbs, sundried tomato, asparagus and arugula. i can’t even begin to tell you how delicious the cheesy pasta was mixed up with the sweet tomatoes. i have never had sundried tomatoes in mac & cheese before, but DUDE, it was so good. the asparagus added a nice crunch to the whole dish and provided a slightly sour offset to the tomatoes. a perfect combination for sure. i also liked that there were tons of vegetables in the dish, so i didn’t feel like i was eating a bowl of just carbs and fat. for under 11 bucks, the portion was large as well, and it had a really fine-dining taste. you pay a little more at m cafe, but they use such high-quality ingredients that it’s well worth the extra few dollars.


    i got my macaroni and cheese to go, and enjoyed it at home with a nice glass of organic wine and a side of m cafe’s broccolini pepperocini. it really hit the spot! right now the melrose location doesn’t serve booze, but the culver city one does. so if you are dining in on the west side, grab some alcohol to go with your dinner special. 🙂

    if you like mac and cheese, i highly suggest you get to m cafe this week and try out their rendition of it. it’s healthier than all the other vegan mac and cheese in town, and it’s really delicious. they are only offering it as a dinner special through friday, but maybe if a lot of people order it (and bug them about it) they will add it to the menu. if any of y’all try it, let me know what you think.


    i would be so happy if they decided to stock this regularly in the deli case…they wouldn’t even have to add it as a meal, but just a side salad. come on, m cafe. please?

    m cafe de chaya
    7119 Melrose Avenue
    Hollywood, CA 90046

    9343 Culver Boulevard
    Culver City, CA 90232

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  • June 10th, 2009quarrygirlcafe flourish (closed), LA restaurants

    one of los angeles’ newest vegan restaurants, cafe flourish, is quickly becoming one of my favorites. i have had the chance to try numerous different dishes at the small mid-wilshire eatery, and never once have i been disappointed. since my first review, i have been back to cafe flourish and i think it’s safe to say the food keeps getting better and better.

    french dip, merci: porcini & shitake mushrooms with caramelized onions on french bread with a rich mushroom au jus. $10.25

    french dip, merci: porcini & shitake mushrooms with caramelized onions on french bread with a rich mushroom au jus. $10.25

    on a recent visit to cafe flourish, i tried out their french dip which comes with caramelized onions and two types of mushrooms on a thick roll. at first i thought it was bit expensive at $10.25, considering their was no meat substitute in the sandwich, but the price tag was quickly justified when i tasted the delicate and exquisite mushrooms. the caramelized onions were tender and slightly sweet, cooked up just perfectly, and much better than i could make at home. with all the awesome flavors that were goin’ on in this sandwich, it didn’t even need to substitute the beef that you would normally find in a ‘real’ french dip. the hearty sandwich also came with a side salad (not pictured). i went with the quinoa; it’s the only side i’ve ever ordered at cafe flourish, and it’s so damn good i can’t bring myself to try anything else.

    smac-n-cheese: gluten-free rice elbow pasta with a creamy cheesy sauce. served with a house salad. $9.95

    smac-n-cheese: gluten-free rice elbow pasta with a creamy cheesy sauce. served with a house salad. $9.95

    in addition to all the normal menu items, cafe flourish also has a white board full of specials you can order. so far my favorite dish ever at flourish has been the smac ‘n cheese special, gluten free pasta in a really rich, creamy and spicy melted cheese sauce. this vegan version of macaroni and cheese is so incredible, it gives all the other mac in this town a run for its money. maybe it’s the zesty hot cheese they mix it with, or the fact it gets so perfectly melty with chewy edges. rumor is, cafe flourish will be adding it to the regular menu soon. i’m so relieved, because i never wanna see this special go away.


    another special worth trying, and one that would be especially good for the kids, is ‘sausage fest’, flourish’s take on the classic pigs in a blanket. the dish comes with 2 standard yves or smart dog type links wrapped in a thick doughy bread with sauces and condiments. while the hot dogs themselves aren’t anything amazing, the puffy soft blanket is really damn tasty. the soy meat gains a whole new life when slathered in vegan mayo and mustard, all enveloped in the fluffy roll. i loved it. if i had a child, i would order them this. it totally reminded me of being 10 years old.

    sausage fest: 2 soy hotdogs wrapped in a blanket with dijon, ketchup, mayo and relish. served with a caesar salad. $6.50

    sausage fest: 2 soy hotdogs wrapped in a blanket with dijon, ketchup, mayo and relish. served with a caesar salad. $6.50

    so if you haven’t been to cafe flourish yet, what are you waitin’ for? they haven’t let me down once. i am so glad we have yet another vegan restaurant right in the middle of town. los angeles is gettin’ better all the time.

    cafe flourish
    5406 Wilshire Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    (323) 939-3932
    Mon-Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

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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

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

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  • February 7th, 2009quarrygirldoomie's, LA restaurants

    if you are a vegan in los angeles, you may already be aware of the depressing fact that doomie’s home cookin’ (one of our favorite restaurants ever) has closed its doors. they are currently looking for a new place to set up shop, but for now doomie’s is no more. you still have one last chance to eat doomie’s food though, you can head over to silver lake tomorrow and pay ten bucks for an epic all-you-can-eat vegan feast.

    2 flavors of doomie's vegan mac n cheese!

    2 flavors of doomie's vegan mac n cheese!

    doomie’s is throwing two parties this weekend, both all-you-can-eat buffets to get rid of their perishable food, and to remind the vegan community what a kick ass restaurant they were. i attended the shindig today in south gate, and it was fucking amazing. i implore you to go check them out on the eastside tomorrow, this could be your last chance to eat the genius vegan food that is doomie’s.

    doomie's home cookin', squatting in the m-vision graphics warehouse in south gate.

    doomie's home cookin', squatting in the m-vision graphics warehouse in south gate.

    we drove all the way from hollywood to get our doomie’s fix and arrived in south gate at around 3:30pm. by the time we got there, the place was already buzzin’ with vegan hipsters carrying patch-covered backpacks and strange old hippie types with animal rights slogans printed on their t-shirts. there was a box for payment, ten bucks a head, sitting on the table and everyone was on the honor system to kick down some cash and hopefully a donation towards the reopening fund. doomie was standing behind a long table, cooking dish after dish, adding more and more food to the buffet table as people lined up pile their plates high with vegan goodness.

    the doomie crew serving it up!

    the doomie crew serving it up!

    hungry vegans!

    hungry vegans!

    everything on the table was flat-out delicious, and even as we were leaving, doomie was cooking up more recipes. i looked around the warehouse and almost everyone was holding an empty plate, patting their stuffed bellies, and still eyeing up the trays of food. people who had never tried doomie’s found a reason to be depressed like the rest of us; the food is just so fucking good, and it’s a shame it won’t be available anymore.

    spicy gumbo, herbed macaroni and cheese, delicious pot roast

    spicy gumbo, herbed macaroni and cheese, delicious pot roast

    the husband and i tried to sample a bit of everything, and i think we left about ten pounds heavier. pictured above are the spicy seafood gumbo, a new type of herbed mac n cheese, as well as a hearty pot roast. all of it was very tasty, but the pot roast was out of this world. seriously, the fake meat was all thick and succulent, the gravy was rich and salty, and the vegetables were chunky and and soft. pot roast may sound kind of standard or boring, but this was some of the best food i’ve ever eaten. and i’ve eaten a lot of food, man!

    i also finally got to try doomie’s standard mac n cheese, and OMFG i LOVED it!

    mac n cheese with salad.

    mac n cheese with salad.

    this was some of the best vegan mac i’ve ever had. this could take the pepsi challenge with any other vegan mac n cheese shit, any day of the fuckin’ week. what the hell does doomie put in his cheese sauce? it was so thick and creamy, and tasted like REAL cheese in a really creepy and exciting way. i could have eaten like 5 helpings…but with all that food there, i had pace myself. the salad was also damn good.

    doomie's burger, piled high with bacon and slathered with cheese.

    doomie's burger, piled high with bacon and slathered with cheese.

    in between cooking amazing mac n cheese and quite possibly the best pot roast ever, doomie was taking special burger orders as well. the husband and i split a cheesy bacon burger and it was INSANE. they had chili burgers as well, but we skipped those because of the mess factor. regardless, our burger was awesome—from the perfectly grilled patty, to the crispy rashers of bacon, to the runny cheese sauce. i am so glad we got to try it. the crowd was super pleased as well, everyone i saw with burgers shoved in their mouths were chewing and smiling at the same time.

    frito pie! fritos smothered with chili and cheese.

    frito pie! fritos smothered with chili and cheese.

    lastly, we helped ourselves to a serving of frito pie. it was basically chili cheese nachos with fritos instead of tortilla chips. talk about guilty pleasure. i don’t even want to think of what went into this dish…all i know is that it didn’t contain any dead animal body parts, and it tasted incredible. again, the cheese sauce was killer…it tasted just like that sketchy but tasty runny stuff that comes out of a pump and covers nachos at the movie theater or the baseball stadium. sinfully authentic vegan food. i love it.

    that’s it. i tried, but i couldn’t eat anymore. as we were leaving, doomie was well into cooking some mashed potatoes and asked someone, “hey, where are the pie crusts?” we took that as our cue to run for the door. dude, too much good food! and whatever the heck involved mashed potatoes and pie crusts, well, i’m sure that was great too.

    so go, go, go, GO to silver lake tomorrow and eat what doomie has to offer. who knows, this may be your last chance. i can tell you, you will definitely get your ten bucks worth and probably eat some of the best vegan food you’ve ever tried. go there, eat lots, and tip well. you and doomie both deserve it.


    R.I.P. DOOMIE’S HOME COOKIN’ (at least for now). let’s hope doomie’s reopens again very soon. here’s to arguably the best restaurant ever to serve up affordable and tasty vegan food in los angeles. it’s an outright crime that they were only open for 3 short months.

    for all of you who want to reminisce, click here. and here.

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  • December 22nd, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan village cafe

    you know how there are like 8 million vegan thai places in los angeles? well, i seriously wish i could swap them all out for vegan soul food joints. i seriously can’t get enough. i hit up one of la’s few vegan soul food restaurants over the weekend, vegan village cafe, and it was tasty as fuck. this place boasted totally authentic home-style cooking: juicy fake meats, creamy mac and cheese along with tender leafy greens and all the fixins’. yumMMMm.

    soul plate: your choice of fried fish or chicken with candied yams, greens and buttered corn.  $13.95

    soul plate: your choice of fried fish or chicken with candied yams, greens and buttered corn. $13.95

    lemme start off by telling you all about the food. when ordering, i was debating between the soul plate and the village sample plate, but decided to go with the soul because the village option came with fake shrimp. i dunno why, i just haven’t been able to bring myself to eat a fake shrimp…yet. i am freaked out by the fake little shrimp bodies, but for some reason don’t mind chowing down on faux chicken. sigh.

    anyways, everything on the soul plate ended up being delicious. the buttered corn was tasty and surprisingly light, and the greens were insanely yum. the candied yams were thick and really saucy. i’d never had candied yams, and these things were sweet and very cinnamony. i liked them, but they were a little too much like a dessert for me—they tasted exactly like pumpkin pie.

    the stand out thing on the plate though, had to be the soy chicken. this is the most meat-like vegan thing i’ve ever tasted, and it was really good. it had a weird crispy shell/skin wrapped around it, and the inside was extremely moist and tender. it didn’t taste like flesh, of course, but it really got dangerously close to the texture and experience of animal protein. whatever it was fried in was incredibly wonderful as well. salty and crunchy followed my chewy and soft. i don’t know how they do it. if only someone could come up with a fake cheese that was this convincing…

    my husband veered from the traditional soul food and ordered something from the mexican portion of the menu, a burrito.

    burrito: seasoned ground round, soy cheese, salsa, lettuce.  $8.95

    burrito: seasoned ground round, soy cheese, salsa, lettuce. $8.95

    the burrito turned out to be splendid, and totally held it’s own with all the other amazing shit on the table. filled up with well-seasoned soy ground meat and lots of vegetables, this plump little entree went down really well with half a bottle of hot sauce. score!

    of course, we couldn’t drive all the way to mid-city to check out a new soul food place without getting an order of mac and cheese. to me, mac and cheese is the bench mark by which all vegan soul food establishments should be judged. if done right, it’s always hands-down the best thing on the menu, and no two places cook it up quite the same. vegan village scored pretty high in the mac and cheese category. i gotta say, it’s some of the best i’ve ever tried.

    macaroni and cheese. $5.95

    macaroni and cheese. $5.95

    this mac reminded me a little of the mac over at a taste of life, but with more seasonings. it was rich and creamy just like the mac i’m used to, and had a slight krafty cheesey kind of taste. don’t leave without trying it.

    so it’s safe to say the food at vegan village totally rocks. go prepared though, it isn’t your normal restaurant. vegan village is located on the somewhat sketchy corner of pico and crenshaw, and fills a large windy space that’s a vegan restaurant by day and dance club by night. tables and chairs are scattered across a wooden dance floor, lit just barely by sunlight from one window as a disco ball hangs from the ceiling. the place is massive with a full bar, several rooms, and computer stations lined along the wall. it has its own large parking lot, so you needn’t worry about parking on the street.

    once you adjust to the somewhat odd interior and the fact you are dining in a nightclub, it’s actually quite lovely. the staff is beyond friendly—our waitress introduced herself and made pleasant conversation, as well as provided great service. when she wasn’t waiting on us, we could hear her chatting to regulars at the bar about veganism and the importance of not eating animals. it was all very reassuring.

    this place definitely has a bit of a doomie’s vibe: delicious vegan and unhealthy-tasting food with the kindest service imaginable…all in a disused nightclub.

    inside vegan village

    inside vegan village

    now, while the food was great and we had an amazing experience at vegan village, i must warn you…the prices are shockingly high. the online menu isn’t representative, because many of the prices have been raised. for instance, the soul plate was raised from $12.95 to $13.95. while i loved the soul plate, it just wasn’t a lot of food for $14. it was mostly corn and greens, with a pile of yams and 2 small skewers of soy chicken. i can’t help but think of places like pure luck (and even they have raised their prices!) where i can get a sandwich with a side and an appetizer for less money. i’d say the soul plate should have cost $9, max.

    the cost of the burrito was excessive at $8.95, considering it didn’t come with a side or anything, just a lonely wrap on a big plate.


    and lastly, the mac and cheese was well pricey too. their online menu advertises a side of mac for $3.95, but that price has been raised to a whopping $5.95. damn! 6 bucks for a side of mac, when it was originally $4?!?! that’s a big increase. it was fucking good though, so i’m not saying i wouldn’t order it again.

    overall, even with the high prices, vegan village cafe was a great find. i know i will be back. let’s see…incredible authentic-tasting soul food, delicious and creamy macaroni and cheese, friendly service, a full bar with tap beer, and a parking lot. definitely my kind of place.

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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

    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

    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.


    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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  • September 24th, 2008quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants

    UPDATED. scroll to the bottom of this post for new hours.

    recently i was surfing the forums over at vegan-la, and ran across something that sounded REALLY interesting: vegan soul food right here in hollywood. a taste of life divine vegan foods restaurant is an entirely vegan eatery at fountain and vermont that serves up steamin’ hot soul food and is open late. of course i had to check it out.

    after reading the review in the forum, i had my heart set on ordering the kale, but unfortunately they were all out when we went. so instead, we had to settle on an epic feast consisting of a tofu filet sandwich, a falafel sandwich, and a huge side of mac & cheese. we ordered food to-go, and we had to wait ages for it in a pretty sketchy area, but at the end of the day it was totally worth it. all sinfully delicious.

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    the tofu filet sandwich was split in half and polished off immediately. both the husband and i really loved it. deep fried and slathered in the most amazing vegan cheese, there was nothing healthy about this baby. a few fresh vegetables were sprinkled on to add some flavor, but this sandwich was really all about the tasty tofu soul food. with each crunchy bite, the breaded tofu leaked more & more delicious vegan grease. to be honest with you, i kind of ordered this sandwich hastily because i was confused by the menu when i stepped up to the counter. when i was waiting for my food, i started to think of all the things i maybe should have chosen instead. well, while i will definitely try something new next time, i in no way regret giving this a whirl. the filet was fried up in a perfect blend of spices and the creamy slightly melted vegan cheese made every bite so much better. definitely not your average tofu burger.

    the falafel sandwich was equally impressive. i’m a HUGE fan of falafel, so at first i regretted ordering this as well. i thought, why the hell did i order falafel HERE, at a soul food restaurant that can’t possibly compete with my favorite places in the valley?! again, a taste of life proved me wrong. this falafel was up there with the best of them. it didn’t even encroach on the valley’s territory—instead a taste of life totally reinvented the falafel. these balls were huge, twice the size of the falafel i’m used to, and seasoned much more mildly. they were deep fried for longer, it seems like, and had a thicker & juicier skin. inside they were a lot less cooked, but still just as delicious. this sandwich didn’t come on a bun, but in a whole wheat pita pocket, making it slightly harder to share. we managed though and were both blown away by the quality. like the filet sandwich, the falafel pocket came filled with melty-licious cheese that made a beautiful gooey mess. i highly recommend this sandwich, it’s scrumptious and a total steal for just $5. plus, it’s great to experience a new take on the classic falafel.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    saving the best for last, my favorite dish at a taste of life was of course the vegan mac & cheese. the noodles tasted fried and were coated with big clumps of sharp flavorful fake cheese. i don’t know what they use to make this vegan version, but i can tell ya, the real mac ‘n cheese has got NOTHING on this stuff. it was rich and oily to the very last bite, and the fake cheese had an authentic & delicious slightly sour taste to it. my all time favorite vegan mac & cheese, without a doubt.

    so the food at a taste of life is definitely nothing to be scoffed at. everything was great, and i didn’t even TRY all the stuff that sounded the best on the menu.

    you see, i get menu anxiety, and like to plan my order in advance, but unfortunately when i went to a taste of life, there was no menu available online. i guess they started out as a stand at the hollywood farmers market and haven’t updated their site yet with their new location and menu. so i will go ahead and take care of it for you.

    here you go, scanned from the card i picked up from the coutner. the menu from a taste of life divine vegan foods. oh, and also, here is a snazzy little card with their phone number, hours, and address.


    [googleMap name=”a taste of life divine vegan foods” description=”excellent vegan soul food” width=”570″ height=”320″ directions_from=”true”]4718 fountain avenue los angeles ca 90029[/googleMap]


    now before you get all caught up drooling and rushing over to try this amazing food, i must caution you, the restaurant has its downsides. because i am nice, and i want you all to know how much i loved the food, i will save my bitch session for after the jump. only click on the more button if you wanna hear some good, old fashioned complaining. if you don’t, then go grab some incredible soul food. whatever shit you encounter will be worth it.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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