• January 13th, 2011quarrygirlhugo's restaurant, LA restaurants

    i am always a huge fan of the monthly specials at hugo’s restaurant, and this month is no different. you must (MUST!) get over there and try out the roasted vegetable enchilada burrito before january ends.

    Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Burrito (vegan): A blend of diced roasted vegetables (butternut squash, carrots, broccoli, potato, onion), chopped spinach, brown rice, a black bean cake and avocado. Rolled in an organic whole wheat tortilla and topped with enchilada sauce, Daiya vegan cheese and cilantro. Served with slow cooked organic black beans in a roasted tomato-chipotle sauce and garnished with a lime cabbage-vegetable slaw. $12.50

    first off, this thing is a beast. it’s huge and stuffed with so much good stuff, you won’t be able to eat it one sitting.

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  • December 1st, 2010quarrygirlbay area, more restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    i’ve only been there once, but i’m head over heels in love with gracias madre. the entirely vegan restaurant in san francisco’s mission district serves up huge portions of organic mexican food that’s just fantastic.

    we hit up gracias madre a couple months ago, and were shocked by how good it was. we were first taken aback by the amazing atmosphere. i’m used to vegan restaurants being small and often times dingy…but this was a huge wide open space with a clean and colorful decor.

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  • November 19th, 2010quarrygirlbaja fresh, LA restaurants

    UPDATE 11/22: people are pretty divided on this churro issue. i am gonna let y’all do your own research on this one!

    UPDATE 11/22: after some sleuthing, it would appear as though churros at baja fresh are NOT vegan. look for the **** at the very bottom of the post for more info.

    UPDATE 11/19: the churros at baja fresh are VEGAN as well! :)

    i don’t usually jump at the chance to eat out at chain fast food restaurants, but it’s always nice to know when they have vegan options.

    recently we were checking out a movie at the arclight, and had to find somewhere to grab a super quick lunch before the show. we haven’t been to baja fresh in years, so we decided to give their vegan options a whirl. i was pleasantly surprised by how decent it was, by how much food we got for $8, and by their epic all you can eat salsa bar. honestly, anywhere with a bottomless salsa bar is alright in my book.

    here’s a quick rundown of what’s vegan at baja fresh…

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  • October 3rd, 2010quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    heyo, time for another field report from dadatamonkey! though his recent posts have been from barcelona, this one is about benito’s hat, a mexican restaurant in london. for a little back story, you may wanna check out his quite negative review of london’s chipotle. let’s see how this place measures up!

    The branch in Covent Garden. Very, very cool!

    On a quick visit back to London, I went to my fave places.. And was either disappointed or they had closed. Didn’t realise I spent that much money on eating out in London! Which meant I had to find new places to munch! Well, through twitter I’d heard good things about Benito’s Hat, and despite my reservations (largely due to my experience with Chipotle) I decided to give it a go. Now I know my Chipotle review caused a little bit of consternation over the pond, so I also know this one may too. So the UK cannot do decent Mexican food yeah? Dream on. This place blows Chipotle out of the water! Read on and see why people…

    Simple menu system but much clearer than the others.

    The menu is the classic multi-choice/stage type, but is really clear as to what’s veggie (actually vegan unless its cheese or sour cream). Instead of being over the serving area it was MASSIVE on the wall upon entry, which helps if long queues build up I guess. I like this. Style. Not sure why but I got to add in as much as I wanted from all the selections vegans can eat, but more on that shortly.

    Wow. This is uber cool. Beetles heaven. As in VW, not music!

    So first things first. It was a dead night in London, and I needed cheering up coz it was raining cats and dogs (virtually the whole time I was there). Walking in I just went “OK, this is cool. I feel at home.” Perhaps it was the fact the ladies working there were all speaking Spanish (Barcelona ladies are the best), but mainly the massive mural at the end of the restaurant with my first love. The VDub Beetle!

    Watch you don’t prick yourself now! These little cacti are cute as and a great touch!

    Now I am a bit of an aesthetic (I blame it on Alexander Baumgarten), and they’ve got this joint spot on. The high seats have tables that fold out, so if you need to fit on more food you can. They also have these cute cacti dotted about all over the place. Sad, but true. I love Cacti! You can probs guess by now I was slightly taken with Benito’s. But the important thing is the food. And as a very long serving vegan (30yrs), how it was served. i.e. Was cross contamination an issue?

    The serving area is really well designed, and keeps things totally separate so no cross contamination at all. I like this.

    Well, compared to Chipotle, someone had obviously put some thought into how the serving area was arranged. The meat and veg are totally separated. New gloves were used without asking (doubt this would happen at peak times, but the ladies said they will always change gloves if asked, and said it very, very nicely too). I went for the classic burrito, with loads of fresh coriander (cilantro) and lime rice (yup, I’ve been turned, me like now), refried beans (the black beans are also vegan), Guac, and grilled veg. I kinda noticed that they were really packing in the choices here. This was gonna be one big boy of a burrito. The smile was widening as I smelt everything…

    Here’s the Big Boy of Burrito’s (my name for this beast). Truly MASSIVE ATTACK! £5 Negra Modello £3-50

    As they rolled my BBB I noticed it was never going to form the traditional shape and totally enclose. Gotta say, I didn’t care. The smell of the grilled peppers, courgette in parsley, olive oil and garlic was getting the juices flowing so sod the shape. The menu online says it contains Chayote, but I didn’t see hide nor hair. Not that I was worrying by this stage. Add in the Salsa Brava with fresh habanero and I was away with the pixies. I ordered a Negra to go with it and thought.. Yup, I am gonna be very happy. Then the young lady started filling up my tray with freshly fried tortilla chips.. OK, my mouth was as wide as the moon by this stage. Time to pig out!

    Now that’s what I call a Burrito. OK, I’m a rice man now too.

    Biting into this baby just confirmed everything I had suspected, The tastes were superb. The courgette was pretty chunky, but cooked to perfection. Still crunchy, but not to much bite. The peppers were juicy and slightly smoky. Rice? Oh yeah. Fresh, limey (no Brits were harmed in it’s cooking ok!) and just the right bite back. Now I love coriander, and wow did they stuff it full of really fresh coriander for me.

    This was by far the biggest burrito I’ve seen, and the best I’ve ever eaten in London. OK, maybe I was lucky that night (I was), but something tells me this place is about customers. While I was munching one of the owners came in, and was obviously interested to see how the place was going as it had only just opened recently. I was pleasantly surprised by his attitude. I was even happier about the burrito. I ate the whole thing in minutes, and most of the vast number of tortilla chips too. If an American ever says to me that the UK cannot “do,” Mexican food again, I’ll happily take them to both Chipotle, then here. I know who will win. Benito’s hands down. I take my hat off to these guys, well actually, gals! This is near on as good good as my version of Mexican food, and I am not being big headed there. Just honest.

    So. Do I really need to summarise? Oh yes. And this is where I guess I’ll get a mouthfull of not food. Please, America, keep Chipotle. We do not need ya. The combination of Spanish staff and really good, fresh ingredients cooked to almost perfection means I will never walk through Chipotle’s doors in London again. Sorry if I offend any Americans. But I say it as I see, well, eat, it! Marks out of 10? Err.. Love to give you a ten, but mine is a 10/10. So, 9.5/10. I’m mean like that. That’s chefs for you!! If you are in London pop in and enjoy. You will, I reckon. ☺

    Benito’s Hat
    19 New Row,
    London
    WC2N 4LA
    Tel:020 7240 5815
    Opening times: Sun – Wed 11:30-22:00, Thurs – Sat 11:30-23:00

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  • May 13th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), san diego

    it’s hard enough finding vegan mexican food at all, let alone stuff that actually tastes good—i’m happy just to get a burrito that’s free of chicken stock and lard in the first place!

    so imagine how shocked i was when i ate at pokez in san diego. they serve up authentic mex that is downright delicious and even have the vegan options clearly indicated on the menu.

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  • May 11th, 2010mr meanerlondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    Well, well, well… time for another field report from my home town. An excellent vegan-friendly chain restaurant, chipotle, debuted in London this week, and of course we had an operative there on opening day to cover it. One thing I’ve been accustomed to in years of SoCal Mexican food is that there are high standards here. If I put my Brit hat on for a second, I can understand why dadatamonkey would feel as he does. I would. It’s worse than that… he’s dead, Jim…

    It’s a burrito Jim, but not as we know it.

    Well I popped along to the opening day of the new Chipotle “mexican” restaurant in London on Monday, after hearing, and reading (especially here) how good their food was. So was it good, bad, or just damn ugly? Read on. It’s kinda all three….

    Lookin' good.

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  • May 5th, 2010quarrygirlvegan events

    hey everyone! not sure if you have lunch plans today, but mandoline grill is gonna be serving up food in the valley along with dainty cakes, who will have vegan cupcakes!

    you can find them on the corner of lankershim and magnolia from noon-2:30ish and you won’t wanna miss it…

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  • May 4th, 2010quarrygirlhugo's tacos, LA restaurants

    the daiya revolution is in full swing, and the latest restaurant to hop on board is hugo’s. both the upscale eatery and the taco stand of the same name have adopted the revolutionary vegan cheese, and the result is some damn delicious food.

    i hit up the taco stand yesterday and tried a whole slew of vegan offerings, all with daiya cheese, and they did not disappoint!

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  • May 1st, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), norfolk

    hey everyone, time for another vegan field report from norfolk, virginia! this one (just like the last one) was written by steve….so i’ll let him take it away:

    Okay, you REALLY have to bear with me on this one. In Norfolk, VA one of the most interesting vegan restaurants is actually a place called “San Antonio Sam’s“. It’s a no-apologies Texas Grill, with pictures of cowboys on horses rounding up cattle on its website, as well as all sorts of awfully un-vegan food offerings on its menu.

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  • April 11th, 2010quarrygirlkay 'n dave's, LA restaurants

    kay ‘n daves is a laid back mexican cantina with three locations in los angeles, and a large selection of vegetarian entrees. they take pride in their fresh ingredients, lard-free kitchen, and oaxacan-inspired healthy cuisine. oh, and they also happen to have tap beer…so of course, we had to check them out.

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  • January 19th, 2010quarrygirlhugo's restaurant, LA restaurants

    last week i raved about the corn cake napoleon special at hugo’s restaurant, and this week i’m back to rave about another one: the vegan tofu rancheros!

    Tofu Rancheros: Tofu atop corn tortillas, roasted tomato Chipotle sauce, sliced avocado, vegan mozzarella cheese and fresh cilantro. Served with smashed pinto beans and Spanish rice. $11.75

    hugo’s restaurant has two locations (one in weho and one in studio city), it is seriously one of the best vegan-friendly eateries in town. every month they have a whole menu full of amazing specials, most of which can be prepared animal-free. today i ordered one of the breakfast specials, the tofu rancheros, which came with thick slabs of tofu, savory chipotle sauce, sliced avocado, tortillas, rice and beans. i love mexican-inspired breakfasts, and seriously this is one of the best ones i’ve ever had. i am going to have to get over to hugo’s again and order this before the month is over. so damn good. if you like big messy plates of food full of delicious sauce and protein, you will love this thing. i mean, LOOK—they even got the follow your heart cheese to melt!

    Vegan Soy Chorizo and Vegetable Quesadilla: vegan mozzarella cheese with a blend of vegetables, soy chorizo, sauteed peppers, onions and potato grilled in a flour tortilla. Served with Pico de Gallo and guacamole. $6.75

    in other hugo’s restaurant/mexican food news, they also offer an amazing quesadilla on the starters menu that isn’t a special, so you can get it year round. my dad orders this every time he goes to hugo’s, without fail, so it has to be pretty good. at under 7 bucks, it’s a really great deal and definitely big enough to eat as a meal. as always, when ordering at hugo’s be sure to specify that you want your food made vegan, because a lot of these dishes are not by default.

    what’s better than warm mexican food on a cold rainy day? not much!

    hugo’s restaurant
    8401 Santa Monica Blvd.
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
    (323) 654-3993

    and

    12851 Riverside Drive
    Studio City, CA 91607
    (818) 761-8985

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  • December 20th, 2009quarrygirlcinnamon, LA restaurants

    if you haven’t been to cinnamon vegetarian in highland park yet, you are really dropping the vegan ball. not only do they now carry daiya cheese, but they make some of the best and cheapest meatless mexican food in LA.

    2 vegan chorizo sopes. $4.75

    take for example their sopes appetizer which comes with 2 circles of fried corn masa topped with homemade vegan chorizo, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, onion and guacamole…all for under 5 bucks. this thing eats like a meal and is absolutely delicious.

    just a gentle reminder that there is a place called highland park, and there is some really wonderful vegan mexican food there.

    cinnamon vegetarian
    5511 North Figueroa St.
    Highland Park, CA 90042
    please note this place is closed on tuesday, wtf!
    • Monday, Wednesday & Thursday | 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
    • Tuesday | Closed
    • Friday & Saturday | 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
    • Sunday | 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM

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  • November 2nd, 2009quarrygirlcinnamon, LA restaurants, vegan cheese

    daiya cheese now at cinnamon vegetarian!

    great news, los angeles vegans! cinnamon in highland park now has DAIYA CHEESE!!!! named one of the top 5 vegetarian restaurants in los angeles, cinnamon has been one of our favorites for a long time. they specialize in light but traditional meatless mexican cuisine, and they are becoming more and more vegan-friendly as the days go by. now that they have added daiya cheese to their arsenal, i know i will be visiting much more frequently.

    i know that there are tons of daiya pizza options in town…but cinnamon is one of only two mexican restaurants that offer the stretchy, gooey, realistic miracle product. i stopped by cinnamon this weekend to try out the new daiya, and it was awesome as always. they give you the choice of “cheddar” or “italian” flavor, my favorite being the cheddar.

    daiya cheese quesadilla at cinnamon

    i had my daiya in a plain quesadilla…which may sound a bit boring, but oh man was it delicious. the tortilla was soft and perfectly grilled, and the cheese was melted and sooooo real tasting. it went down great dunked in cinnamon’s amazing hot sauce and slathered with flesh guacamole. seriously, there is no vegan product on this earth i love more than cheddar daiya.

    i can’t wait to get back to cinnamon and try out daiya in even more exciting dishes….i am thinking vegan cheese enchiladas next time. who’s with me? and if you haven’t tried cinnamon yet, you really are missing out. we wouldn’t name it one of the best vegetarian restaurants in LA for no reason, now would we?!

    cinnamon vegetarian
    5511 N Figueroa St
    Los Angeles, CA 90042
    (323) 982-9480

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  • July 15th, 2009quarrygirlcinnamon, LA restaurants

    next time you are looking for a big hearty mexican meal that’s not laced with lard and filled with chicken stock, look no further than highland park. head over to cinnamon vegetarian, a completely meat-free mexican restaurant where nearly everything on the menu can be made vegan.

    mushroom cocktail: mushrooms, tomato, cilantro and cucumber. $6.25

    mushroom cocktail: mushrooms, tomato, cilantro and cucumber. $6.25

    we hadn’t been to cinnamon in nearly a year, but when we hit up the modest eatery over the weekend, we were blown away by how good everything was—i don’t know why it took me so long to go back! we started with the mushroom cocktail (pictured above), which was a glass filled with a thick tomato-y liquid, spices and chopped vegetables. everything was fresh, chunky, and all around delicious. i would recommend this as an appetizer if you are looking for something light. alternatively, if you wanna go all out, they also have a selection of vegan empanadas and flautas.

    2 tacos: 1 chorizo, 1 tofu. $4.75

    2 tacos: 1 chorizo, 1 tofu. $4.75

    for my entree, even though it’s on the appetizer menu, i ordered tacos…one vegan chorizo, and one tofu. these tacos were absolutely enormous and incredible. stuffed with soy meat and tofu, and completely overflowing with greens, cabbage, and creamy guacamole. the tofu taco was my favorite, because the tofu was lightly covered in a delicious pesto-y flavor sauce. it was green, spicy, and insanely delicious. don’t be fooled by the small price tag, these tacos were massive and definitely enough to make a meal for one.

    cinnamon-tacos-frontal

    my husband ordered the garden salad with tofu, which was a huge plate of dark mixed greens, fresh vegetables, and the same wonderfully marinated tofu that was in my taco. i was a little skeptical when he ordered a “garden” salad at a mexican restaurant…i was expecting it to be low-grade ice berg lettuce with a couple tomato chunks. instead he got a huge appetizing dish with fresh ingredients and mounds of protein. it actually made me kinda jealous.

    garden salad with tofu: lettuce, cucumber, carrot, red onions, beet and alfalfa. with tahini dressing. $8.20

    garden salad with tofu: lettuce, cucumber, carrot, red onions, beet and alfalfa. with tahini dressing. $8.20

    overall, everything we ordered at cinnamon was top notch and very tasty. i give this place an a+ and suggest you check it out asap. supposedly almost anything can be made vegan, but you may wanna ask to see ingredient labels for the vegan cheese and soy chicken. just sayin…i haven’t tried it.

    cinnamon-int

    cinnamon
    5511 North Figueroa St.
    Highland Park, CA 90042
    Monday, Wednesday & Thursday | 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
    Tuesday | Closed
    Friday & Saturday | 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
    Sunday | 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM

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  • May 11th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, real food daily

    Let me set the stage. One of my most critical and trusted vendors (whom my company spends a lot of dollarz with every month) invited us out for a “nice dinner in West Hollywood” with him and his wife. After I suggested a few low-end vegan-friendly places, it was clear that he wanted to take us somewhere “much nicer”. Randomly, I suggested Real Food Daily, and he said “My wife went to the one in Santa Monica and really enjoyed it. I’d love to go there!”. So, it was with much delight that we met up for dinner.

    From the minute we were seated, it was clear that we were unwelcome. Each time our server approached the table she just began to ask her questions with NO preamble, loudly interrupting our conversation in such a rude way. She clearly wanted to turn the table as fast as possible, and rushed us through the ordering (clearly, we were not all ready to order). Rather than go away and come back she stood by our table looking fed up while we all placed our orders. We started with some nachos – which were pretty tasty and arrived within about 2 minutes of us ordering them (probably because they were a pre-made popular item in the kitchen).

    About 5 minutes after the nachos arrived, two servers showed up with our food, and started shoving it down in front of us, moving our nacho plates out of the way or (in my case) removing it entirely, even though I was mid-bite. One guest at the table grabbed her nacho plate and was left holding it with nowhere to set it down after the entrée plates were delivered to the tiny four-top.

    TV Dinner: Tempeh vegetable loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables. $13.95

    TV Dinner: Tempeh vegetable loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables. $13.95

    While the food was “OK”, it was VERY bland. There’s not one distinctive taste in any of it, and my choice (the TV dinner) I could prepare at home for a lot less than $14. During the brief time we spent there, our server never had eye contact with us once, the environment was so unpleasant that we could not wait to leave and the food so overpriced (with necessary “extras” costing $3 or more ON TOP OF entrées that were pushing fifteen bucks. One exception was the “Taco the Town” tacos, which got rave reviews.

    Tac-o' the Town: Seasoned seitan with onions, peppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream, Spanish rice, black beans. $14.25

    Tac-o' the Town: Seasoned seitan with onions, peppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, tofu sour cream, Spanish rice, black beans. $14.25

    To my utter embarrassment, the person that invited us there, and paid for the meal had only a couple of bites of his food. I asked him if everything was OK, and he said “well, it seems to be all bell peppers and rice – not very good at all”.

    I’ve always disliked RFD, even after giving it many, many chances to succeed for me. There are no positives in my mind, but plenty of negatives: Rude staff, indifferent service, expensive and useless valet service, expensive and bland food, cramped tables crammed together, pre-made food that arrives WAY too quickly for it to be freshly prepared, an atmosphere of omnivores “trying” vegan food with vegan/trendy/vegetarian friends and a general shitty vibe about the entire place.

    I was terribly embarrassed that I suggested RFD as a dinner location for somebody generous enough to invite us out, and drive all the way from Santa Monica with his wife to spend time with us. I HATE RFD, and I will NEVER go back, EVER. Fuck their brunch, screw their servers that rudely interrupt conversation and damn to hell the fucking valet that left me standing there for 10 minutes in awkward conversation.

    Real Food Daily
    414 N La Cienega Blvd
    West Hollywood, CA 90048
    (310) 289-9910

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