• November 21st, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    have you been following our massive list of vegan thanksgiving options in los angeles? if not, you should check it out because we’ve posted several updates and the holiday is fast approaching. for instance, today is the last day to place your orders for an m cafe take out thanksgiving meal. and speaking of m cafe, they’ll be offering an in store thanksgiving roast meal for dinner at both locations now through wednesday. they invited me to try it over the weekend, check it out:

    thanksgiving dinner roast: savory sliced seitan, homemade pan gravy, signature stuffing, brocollini, mashed kabocha squash with cous cous, cranberry relish. $17.50

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  • September 27th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    remember that vegan philly cheesesteak special at m cafe that i blogged about recently? well, the restaurant has decided to make it a “fall special,” which means right now it’s available all the time! i took the sandwich for a spin on friday (minus the bell peppers, because i hate them), and it was all kinds of amazing.

    philly cheesesteak: thinly-sliced seitan, peppers, mushrooms, and onions then smothered melted “cheese sauce”. $9.95

    good god, this is the best philly cheesesteak i’ve ever eaten…

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  • September 10th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    oh hell yes! next week m cafe is rolling out two new vegan dinner specials: a chicken pot pie and a philly cheesesteak sandwich!

    seitan pot pie $12.95

    i’ll take one of each, please! the specials will run at both m cafe locations from 9/12 to 9/26 after 4pm. the dishes are actually the result of a facebook and twitter contest where m cafe fans were invited to submit ideas for “macrotized” (aka veganized!) comfort foods. i’d like to personally thank who ever came up with these two winning suggestions.

    we have the recipe for both dishes after the jump, in case you wanna make them at home. me? i’ll be at m cafe on monday for dinner. pot pie, here i come! (PS: i don’t have a picture of the sandwich, but it’s gonna be stacked with thinly-sliced seitan, peppers, mushrooms, and onions then smothered melted “cheese sauce” for $9.95.)

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  • June 9th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, pure luck (closed)

    as we blogged earlier, pure luck’s official last day in business was supposed to be last saturday. however, due to some escrow dramz the restaurant has decided to remain open for limited hours this week.

    here’s the official word i just got, straight from the owner:

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  • June 2nd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    shhhh! there’s a new secret item at m cafe. we already told ya all about the off-menu “loaded burger” which comes stacked with tempeh bacon and avocado, but now they’ve got even more stealthy eats up their sleeve…

    chili cheese fries with daiya cheese, chili beans, and fresh parsley. $7.95

    photo credit: m cafe


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  • January 7th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    buy 4 big macros and get one for free? yes, please! same goes for the chopped salad, detox juice, 3 item deli salad combo, and macro meal all month at m cafe.

    buy 4 and the 5th is FREE!

    just a heads up that to help you out with your new year’s resolution (if in fact your resolution is to spend more time eating out at m cafe), the restaurant has launched a new discount card just for the month of january. here’s how it works…

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  • September 18th, 2010brittanyLA restaurants, m café

    it’s no secret that m cafe has one of the best vegan burgers in town. but did you know that in addition to the delicious whole grain patty, tofu cheese, and awesome sauce, you can get your burger with avocado and tempeh bacon?! ’cause YOU CAN!

    vegan loaded burger at m cafe: big macro topped with tempeh bacon and fresh avocado. $12.95

    i recently stopped by m cafe and got one of their burger/fries/lemonade combos. i tried the avocado & bacon variation of the big macro and i can tell you it is super yum! m cafe really does have some of the best tempeh bacon, so adding it to the already delicious burger was a special treat. and i admittedly haven’t been to m cafe in a while, so i was especially surprised to see they have sweet potato fries! the fries are served with a tangy aioli – which was really good BUT they were so delicious and well-seasoned i ended up just shoving most of them into my mouth sans-dip.

    i definitely recommend the tempeh bacon burger – and with the combo it’s a pretty sweet deal!

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  • March 25th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, muma (NOT VEGETARIAN)

    bad news for the cows and chickens out there: muma vegetarian (aka the blatant maoz knockoff) has recently changed their name and their menu. now known as simply “muma restaurant,” the small eatery offers more than just innocent falafel balls…they also have a selection of dead animal dishes to choose from.

    muma is not vegetarian

    ….WHAT THE FUCK?!?! i guess we were right when we said we smelled trouble ahead for this shady establishment. it’s one thing for a vegetarian place to scale down hours or raise prices…but to actually start flesh peddling to stay in business?! not cool.

    oh, and to add insult to injury, muma seem to be pretty stoked about their choice.

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  • February 9th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café, Uncategorized

    as you probably already know, the club club is an ongoing series of blog posts where we ruthlessly attempt to seek out the best vegan club sandwich in los angeles. so far we’ve hit up follow your heart, flore, casa de tree, and mani’s bakery…all of which boasted quite impressive double-decker sandwich offerings. tonight’s sandwich comes to you from m cafe, and i am pretty sure if we had to declare a winner right now, this would be it.

    california club: a triple-decker of savory tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, carrots, sprouts, and soy mayo on your choice of bread. comes with one deli salad. $11.25

    granted the m cafe club is a bit on the expensive side, and clocks in at over 11 bucks…but the taste and quality of this thing can not be beat. it’s much lighter than the other clubs but comes packed with the finest and most memorable ingredients. the avocado is always soft and creamy, the carrots are paper thin, and the other vegetables are fresh beyond belief. add to that some completely spongy yet lightly toasted bread and the best tempeh bacon i’ve ever had….whoa!

    plus each sandwich comes with a side of your choice (not pictured), and the deli salads at m cafe are amazing. depending what’s in season, there are usually tons of good options, but i can never stray from the epic peanut kale (ask anybody who has tried it—-it is insane!).

    as you can tell, i’m a little blown away by the m cafe club sandwich…..and i have been since the day i’ve tried it. but this contest IS FAR FROM OVER! leave your favorite vegan club in the comments section and we will be sure to review it. it’s a tough job, but that’s why i’m here.

    m cafe de chaya
    check them out on melrose, in beverly hills, and in culver city!

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  • February 2nd, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mao's kitchen

    looking for a daily vegan lunch special that will fill your belly up with satisfaction and play nice with your wallet? well look no further than mao’s kitchen on melrose. the starkly designed communist china-themed restaurant (sounds weird, i know) offers an extremely delicious and vegan-friendly menu. and everyday from 11am to 5pm, you can have your pick of several different 3 course animal-free lunch specials for just $7.50.

    what you get when you order the lunch special, is a scaled down version of any entree from mao’s menu…plus your choice of 2 of the following: soup, salad, or bejing spring roll. we tried out this meal deal over the weekend, and left mao’s completely stuffed and less than 20 bucks poorer.

    vegan great harvest soup: pureed vegetables, brown rice, herbs.

    i started with a cup of vegan great harvest soup…a rich blend of vegetables, rice and herbs. this stuff has so many complex flavors going on; it would have to be one of my favorite soups in LA. i’m not sure exactly what they put in it, but it’s super warming and satisfying.

    salad: lettuce, cucumber & shredded carrots with our sweet & light vinegar-soy dressing.

    rather than soup, my husband went with the salad option. it came with cool crisp leaves, fresh cucumber and carrot shreds, all mixed up in a soy dressing. it was light, refreshing, and definitely tasty…but i don’t think it comes close to the awesomeness that is the great harvest soup.

    beijing spring roll

    we both chose the vegan beijing spring roll with our lunch special, so that’s a double order you see pictured above. each roll was cut in half, shoved full of grated vegetables, and deep fried to perfection. it was so rich, i couldn’t even finish mine.

    long march camp fry: chinese cabbage, snow pea, tomato, wood-ear mushroom, white mushroom, zucchini & bean sprouts.

    for my entree, i ordered the long march camp fry with smoked tofu. i tried this once and have ordered it every single time i have been to mao’s since then—i love it so much! it costs an extra dollar to add smoked tofu, but man it is so worth it. the best thing about this dish is they mix in a generous amount of delicate and flavorful wood-ear mushrooms. i could eat an entire plate of the mushrooms just on their own.

    black-bean: soft tofu with broccoli, zucchini, onion, mushroom & carrot in a hearty garlic black-bean sauce.

    my husband went with the black bean entree with soft tofu, a blend of garlicky black bean sauce and lots of vegetables. also a really excellent choice, this came with lots of crunchy broccoli and soft zucchini rounds. as with all the dishes at mao’s, be sure to specify that you want them prepared vegan. most of the vegetable ones are vegan by default….but you’d hate to get stuck with an animal-containing sauce by accident.

    after our meal our server brought us some fortune cookies, and while i don’t know if the cookies themselves were vegan or not, i ripped my fortune out just for fun…

    i’d say it was right on the money.

    so next time you want to fill up on lunch for under ten dollars, check out mao’s kitchen on melrose. tasty, clean, affordable chinese food in a place that has the word “vegan” all over the menu. gotta love that!

    mao's even has its own parking lot!

    mao’s kitchen
    7313 melrose avenue
    LA, CA 90046

    PS: this place also has free wifi!
    PPS: there is another mao’s kitchen in venice which has the same menu…but i’m not sure if they do discounted lunch specials.

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  • January 13th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    japanese obento breakfast with miso soup, steamed brown rice, boiled vegetables with sesame sauce, pickles, hijiki, and broiled tofu. $12

    i can’t believe i have been going to m cafe de chaya for ages, and only recently did i start ordering off the specials menu! seriously…the mac and cheese, pizza, and holiday feast have all been amazing, and today’s breakfast special was no different. unlike the heavier foods i just mentioned, today’s morning feast consisted of soup, vegetables, and tofu all beautifully presented bento-style.

    i seriously LOVE eating my food in compartments, i don’t know why, but it gives me such joy. the sauces and vegetables were all delicious, and the tofu was perfectly cooked. sigh…like most of the specials at m cafe, i really wish this was on the regular menu.

    oh, and the meal started off with a warm cup of vegan miso soup, which was perfect for this rainy morning. it’s hard to find fishless miso when dining out, so try this stuff if you get a chance. it was full of cubed tofu, soft seaweed, and huge succulent mushrooms. so lovely.

    i highly recommend you stray from the standard m cafe menu and try the special on your next visit. i am always pleasantly surprised. 🙂

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  • January 9th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    UPDATE 1/10/10: i just heard that the culver city m cafe is running this pizza special on wednesday nights after 5pm! yay!

    as if there aren’t enough places to get delicious vegan pizza in los angeles, you can now add m cafe de chaya on melrose to the list! on saturdays only, after 5pm (that means right now), the restaurant is offering a pizza night special for just $10.50.

    thin crust individually prepared pizza toped with a slow cooked rustic marinara, daiya cheese, and fresh basil. $10.50 (add a baby green salad for $1.50)

    i hit up m cafe on melrose this evening to try the special out on its very first night…and wow, i was very impressed. first off, the pizza is huge. m cafe is usually pretty expensive, but at under 11 bucks this pie is more than enough to feed 2 people. secondly, the crust is incredible. it’s ultra thin and crispy, and baked on the premises. it reminds me of gourmet pizza that one would find at a super classy joint. thirdly, all the ingredients are top notch and full of flavor. from the generous sprinklings of fresh basil to the hearty rustic marinara, the pizza is all so divine. oh, and lastly the whole thing is covered in daiya, the best vegan cheese around.

    i think it’s safe to say, m cafe really hit a home run with this vegan pizza. while our options are plentiful in LA, i can’t think of another restaurant where you can get such a high-quality artisan pie at such a low price. it truly is amazing.

    m cafe is open until 10pm tonight, so i suggest you get over there and eat some pizza like NOW. if you can’t make it this evening, be sure to hit them up next saturday. i really want to make sure this special stays around, because it’s so fucking good.

    m cafe melrose
    7119 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    (323) 525-0588

    BTW, as far as i know this pizza is only at the melrose location. only on saturdays. only after 5pm. correct me if you hear differently!

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  • December 23rd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café

    holiday cheer right on your plate or sent home with you in a box—that’s what you can expect from m cafe de chaya over the next couple days.

    before you ask: ….hell no, m cafe is not open on december 25th! but today and tomorrow they are running a holiday roast special that will help warm you through this dreadful 60 degree cold front, and get you ready for santa’s birthday. have i mentioned before how much i love holiday food? i ordered m cafe’s special last night to go, and while it was a bit overpriced, i loved every bite of it. you can see it pictured above in all its take-out box glory, and below i attempted to make it a little more picturesque.

    holiday roast dinner: sliced seitan roast served with herbed bread stuffing, covered in homemade gravy. with rutabega mashed potatoes, ginger cranberry sauce and broccolini. $16.50

    the price tag was pretty hefty on this entree, but i assure you, so was the portion size. a long sliced seitan loaf came resting on an large bed of fluffy mashed potatoes and chunky bread stuffing. the seitan itself was absolutely exquisite, just the right amount of chewiness with a slightly burnt skin. and i’m usually pretty grossed out by cranberry sauce, but i was a fan of m cafe’s. the ginger added a whole new biting dimension to offset the sweet flavor.

    overall, i really can’t fault the quality of this dish. for a quick holiday meal, it really delivered. the only complaint i have, is that it was pretty expensive. i chalk that up to, “oh well, what isn’t expensive at m cafe?!” right, right? we are talking about a place that charges over 10 bucks for vegan breakfast.

    anyways, i know this special is going on at the melrose storefront today and tomorrow, so check it out if you get a chance…if you like holiday food, i highly recommend this. m cafe has weird xmas eve hours, so call ahead. oh, and also call ahead if you are in bev hills or culver city…i’m not sure what the deal is w/ those locations.

    may you have a happy holiday, and eat all the roast-ish type foods as you possibly can. i know i will!

    m cafe de chaya
    7119 Melrose Avenue
    Hollywood, CA 90046

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  • Okay, so we’ve already posted about the best vegan and best vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles, but sometimes we vegans HAVE to eat in omnivorous restaurants. That’s a part of life. What’s interesting, though, is when we find meat-serving restaurants that we WANT to eat in. That’s a whole different story, and LA has a few outstanding omnivorous establishments that go out of their way to cater to vegans. Here are our favorites.

    M Cafe

    While the “M” in M Cafe probably stands for Macrobiotic, I believe it actually stands for Mmmmmmmm, which is pretty much what I murmur with every bite of this amazing food. With a totally vegan menu except for fish, M Cafe has a chic urban appeal, backed up with an A-list of ingredients (and clientele) all layered over an efficient kitchen and fair pricing, considering how great the food is. While the last year or two M Cafe’s items have been prepared by kitchen staff rather than chefs, their menu items are still some of the best in town.

    Vegan Benedict at M Cafe

    Vegan Benedict at M Cafe

    The Big Macro is arguably LA’s best vegan burger. The broccolini pepporochini is without a doubt LA’s premier broccolini, and the Vegan Benedict is constantly voted one of the “best” breakfast items on any local menu. There are plenty of vegan options at all times of the day, and the rotating menu constantly keeps one coming back for more. The deserts are out of this world, along with the very best vegan tiramisu known to humanity. Check it out!!

    Purgatory Pizza

    It’s probably inaccurate to credit Purgatory Pizza with single-handedly introducing incredible vegan pizza to LA, but we’re going to anyway. The insatiable team, formerly headed by Chef Ricky, that painstakingly worked to veganize an entire product line and food preparation process has gone from strength to strength. Purgatory was not only the first pizza place to embrace Teese (the ground-breaking alternative to Follow Your Heart Cheese), but is also the first to stock Gardein and Field Roast as toppings, and one of the first to serve Daiya (the best vegan cheese at time of posting) in SoCal.

    Vegan Chicken Pestop Pizza with Gardein and Daiya at Purgatory Pizza.

    Vegan Chicken Pestop Pizza with Gardein and Daiya at Purgatory Pizza.

    To get your Purgatory Pizza kicks (if you’re not in the delivery area), show up with a bottle of cheap wine and/or a six-pack of beer, then order your pizza to dine in. Feeling like a cross between an 80s suburban pizza joint and some kind of modern art experiment, Purgatory has a great, brightly-lit atmosphere and friendly staff to keep you entertained while you swallow slice after slice of LA’s best vegan pizza.

    Hugo’s Restaurant

    With two locations (one in West Hollywood, the other in Studio City), and a full-on meat-oriented menu, one might be surprised to find that the Hugo’s chefs have created some seriously innovative vegan cuisine. Not only do they have loads of options, but they have menu with several clearly marked animal-free alternatives, as well as dishes that can be optionally veganized. If you can get past the trendy atmosphere, long waits and constant celebrity sightings (I’ve watched the staff at the WeHo location fawn over Gabriel Byrne and Jeff Goldblum within the past few weeks) you’re in for a vegan treat.

    Tikka Masala Veggie Patties at Hugo's Restaurant

    Tikka Masala Veggie Patties at Hugo's Restaurant

    Although I’ve long been a fan of the tofu scramble, I also love the Very Green Casserole (one of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever tasted atop stewed vegetables and sauce in a pot) as well as the salads, tikka masala veggie patties, stir-frys and wraps. Make sure you specify “VEGAN” clearly when you order, while the restaurant is extremely vegan-friendly, there may be butter hiding in unsuspecting dishes.


    Sadly, the Toi chain has contracted from two locations to just one, on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Thankfully the sacrificial lamb of this two-outlet chain was the Santa Monica outlet on Wilshire and not the ultimate rock and roll dining location sandwiched between Guitar Center and clothing stores most mortals are too… well… mortal to shop in. Toi has a loud, brash atmosphere with a class-based seating system (some tables suck ass, others are amazing — you ride the wind and luck of the draw depending your arrival time).

    Vegan Pad Thai at Toi

    Vegan Pad Thai at Toi

    Get the vegan pad thai with grilled tofu for a real treat, or the Saigon spring rolls…and make sure you request the hot sauces to dollop liberally over your food. The portions are huge, the kitchen respects us vegans, and most things on the menu can be made vegan — substitute chicken for tofu, oyster sauce for vegan oyster sauce, and you’ll get a superb meal. Take your omni friends there, and chillax the fuck out listening to rock ‘n’ roll on the speakers. Step into the parking lot at the back and you can smell weed in the air. Need we say more.

    Mama’s Hot Tamales

    OK, I’ll admit, MacArthur Park (just West of Downtown LA) has a shady reputation. Lotsa crime, lotsa drugs, lotsa pigeons, lotsa bodegas and lotsa REAL, AUTHENTIC Mexican restaurants. How glad are we vegans, then, that one of the most popular, Mama’s Hot Tamales, has a full-on vegan menu, complete with Daiya cheese, vegan sauces and all the trimmings. Did you hear that? Authentic Mexican food AND Daiya Cheese!!!! That is reason enough to make any top 5 list, as far as we’re concerned.

    Vegan Daiya Cheese Enchiladas at Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe

    Vegan Daiya Cheese Enchiladas at Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe

    At Mama’s you can enjoy all the greasy, cheesy filling Mexican food that omnivores love to death, but prepared under the supervision of Mama herself: the real deal, a Mexican señora who could not be more understanding of what a vegan is, what we need and how to prepare the food for us.

    Honorable mentions: Green Peas, XIV, Zpizza, Cafe Muse, Interim Cafe, Mani’s Bakery

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  • September 20th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m café
    big macro: whole grain brown rice and veggie burger, special sauce, lettuce, tofu cheese, pickles, onion & sprouts on a house-baked whole wheat bun. comes with a deli side salad. $9.95

    big macro: whole grain brown rice and veggie burger, special sauce, lettuce, tofu cheese, pickles, onion & sprouts on a house-baked whole wheat bun. comes with a deli side salad. $9.95

    i think a lot of people would agree with me when i say that m cafe’s big macro is the best vegan burger in los angeles. it’s big, it’s hearty, it has a homemade patty made of rice and vegetables, and it’s covered in melted cheese and creamy sauce. the big macro comes with a side salad of your choice (i suggest the spicy kale) and usually sells for $11.45. well until november 9th, m cafe is offering a special deal on their popular burger, and selling it for just $9.95! the best vegan burger in LA and a hefty side salad for under ten bucks?! yes please!

    M Chopped: organic hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas herb-baked tofu, scallions, ume-pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh “bacon” , tofu-peppercorn ranch

    M Chopped: organic hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas herb-baked tofu, scallions, ume-pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh “bacon” , tofu-peppercorn ranch

    in addition to the discounted burger, m cafe is also offering their most popular salad for $9.95 until november 9th. the m chopped is massive and comes filled with fresh vegetables, tender leaves, tempeh bacon, and herb-baked tofu. damn, it’s so good.

    so, that’s all. i suggest you get over to m cafe and take advantage of these discounts. and if you haven’t tried the big macro yet, you know nothing about vegan burgers. nothing!

    m cafe de chaya
    7119 Melrose Avenue
    Hollywood, CA 90046

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