• February 1st, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    ‘snice is like the nyc equivalent of cafe muse…but even better. the small and comfy coffee shop in the west village boasts an impressive and entirely vegetarian menu, with plenty of vegan options to choose from. breakfast dishes, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and specials—‘snice has it all.

    vegan reuben: kraut, vegan thousand island dressing and daiya cheese. $8.75

    we tried ‘snice on our recent trip to new york, and after all the talk of vegan reubens in LA, of course i had to their take on the classic sandwich. unfortunately we arrived at ‘snice at around 10:45am, and although they open everyday early in the morning, they don’t serve lunch until 11. the breakfast options are kind of limited and full of bell peppers, so we decided to wait it out until the full menu was available. when my sandwich finally did arrive, it was well worth the wait! while i wouldn’t call it “the best reuben ever,” it was hearty and delicious….with a huge helping of soft tempeh and melty daiya cheese. i’d recommend it.

    vegan panini: smoked tofu, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. $8.75

    on top of the reuben, we also split a vegan panini…which was un-fuckin-believable! soft grilled bread, creamy dairy-free pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and huge slabs of firm tofu; could anything be more perfect. while i was a fan of the reuben, this thing was definitely more memorable. if you go to ‘snice, you GOTTA TRY the vegan panini.

    so visit ‘snice when in manhattan for cheapish, satisfying, casual vegan food. it really hits the spot. just be sure to show up AFTER 11am…when all the good stuff on the menu is available.

    ‘snice
    45 8th Ave
    (between Jane St & West 4th St)
    New York, NY 10014
    (212) 645-0310

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  • January 21st, 2010quarrygirlcoral tree cafe, LA restaurants

    UPDATE 5/21/10: sadly, coral tree cafe no longer offers the winning vegan panini. 🙁 chef chloe is still taking los angeles by storm though, so check out her website for updates!

    Chloe's Mango Masala Panini: spiced chickpea masala, roasted cauliflower curry, tamarind mango chutney.

    hey everyone, i’ve got some great news! recently coral tree cafe in brentwood held a contest amongst locals to see who could make the best panini…and while lots of meat-filled sandwiches were entered, it was a vegan panini that won first prize. not just that…but 22 year old chloe coscarelli, the winning chef, actually heard about the contest from my tweet! how awesome, right?!

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • July 10th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m cafĂ©

    for vegans in los angeles, m cafe is definitely one of the best places to grab a bite to eat. the macrobiotic eatery has 3 locations around town (melrose, beverly hills, and culver city), and is almost entirely vegan, other than menu items clearly containing fish. i’ve always loved m cafe’s meals, but recently the culver city restaurant gave me two more reasons to dine there—they added a beer and tapas menu.

    organic beer. $5

    organic beer. $5

    i hit up m cafe on the west side with fellow vegan blogger happy herbivore and her husband, and everyone was delighted with the alcohol and food options. there was organic beer and wine to choose from, and we settled on a few bottles from the north coast brewing company. i went with the cru d’or, a belgian style dubble, which was pretty strong with a good flavor.

    crispy asparagus: fresh asparagus spears lightly breaded and fried, served with homemade spicy yuzu vegenaise. $5.25

    crispy asparagus: fresh asparagus spears lightly breaded and fried, served with homemade spicy yuzu vegenaise. $5.25

    we also shared the crispy asparagus from the tapas menu, which was tasty albeit a little too fried for us. i mean, it tasted really good, but it probably wasn’t good for me. the vegenaise it came with was on point, super creamy with just enough spice to give it a kick, yet not be overwhelming. other vegan tapas options included hummus crudite as well as seitan bruschetta.

    m-cafe-tapas-cu

    for my main course, i ordered the panino margarita, a pressed sandwich filled with pesto, soy cheese and sliced tomatoes. this thing was definitely tasty, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the big macro or bi bim bop. the pesto was delicious, but vegan cheese wasn’t quite melted. for my side, i ordered the white bean salad which was excellent and i highly recommend. it was delicious and filling with loads of creamy beans, huge tomato chunks, and fresh basil leaves.

    panino margarita: fresh tomato, soy mozzarella & basil-almond pesto on our house-baked focaccia, grilled hot & crisp to order. $11.45 served with a white bean deli salad.

    panino margarita: fresh tomato, soy mozzarella & basil-almond pesto on our house-baked focaccia, grilled hot & crisp to order. $11.45 served with a white bean deli salad.

    so if you like beer, macrobiotic food and vegan tapas, give the m cafe in culver city a try. as of now, only the west side location is offering alcohol and appetizers, but hopefully the other locations will start serving this stuff as well.

    m cafe de chaya
    9343 Culver Boulevard
    Culver City, CA 90232

    Sunday thru Thursday
    9:00 am – 9:00 pm
    Friday & Saturday
    9:00 am – 10:00 pm
    (the tapas are served from 4pm until close.)

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  • April 13th, 2009quarrygirlgolden mean, LA restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

    golden-mean-burger-cu

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

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

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

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

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

    golden-mean-panini-cu-2

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

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

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

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

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

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

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

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

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  • February 14th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, m cafĂ©

    m cafe de chaya is probably one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants ever. they started out as a melrose location offering hip and trendy macrobiotic cuisine and soon the demand was so high that they opened up another location in culver city…and now even another in beverly hills. i’m still not exactly sure what macrobiotic means, but m cafe assures their customers that they serve no eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry. it’s basically an entire vegan paradise offset by a few gross-nasty fish items. all the breads, cheeses, faux meats and sauces are safe for us herbivores, and the pesce items are clearly marked.

    when i read on vegan-la that a new m cafe location had just opened, i had to book it there and get some food asap. the husband and i went by for our favorite m cafe meal…breakfast!! while the food that the beverly hills location served us was awesome, i could tell this restaurant was still definitely working out some kinks. they sure aren’t doing bad though, considering we hit them up just days after the grand opening.

    breakfast panini: scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, grilled country bread. $8.45

    breakfast panini: scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, grilled country bread. $8.45

    the one big thing we didn’t realise before bolting over to m cafe in bev hills at 8:30 am on a weekday is that they only serve a “continental breakfast” monday thru friday, meaning mostly cold pastries and coffee. that vegan benedict and breakfast enchilada that we were craving are only available at the weekend brunch. not just that, but if you arrive at the bh location early and decide to grab lunch, you are shit out of luck; they don’t start serving the normal menu until 10 am. that leaves you in limbo for two hours with very limited breakfast options. luckily, although m bev hills doesn’t offer all the awesome morning meal options on weekdays, they do offer one hot dish, a scaled-down version of the breakfast panini.

    i ordered the panini and was very impressed. the quality and freshness of the ingredients were top notch and it was an all-around tasty dish. fluffy tofu, chopped onions, a magniffy blend of spices along with tempeh bacon on freshly baked bread…absolutely flawless. it was simple and didn’t come with sweet potato hash like it does at the other locations, but without a side it was still more than enough food. they really should have knocked the price down though, for not including the hash. >:(

    m-cafe-brekfast-panini-cu

    my husband grabbed a tofu salad sandwich from the display case, and it was excellent as well.

    tofu salad sandwich. $6.95

    tofu salad sandwich. $6.95

    considering it was so early in the morning, we suspected the sandwiches on display may have been leftover from the previous day. this sure wasn’t the case! our sandwich wasn’t soggy or stale in the least. everything tasted freshly chopped and perfect. i’ve never had one of the ready-made sandwiches from m cafe before, so i was blown away by how good it was.

    m-cafe-tofu-cu

    the location of the new m cafe is quiet and pleasant at the moment. i’m used to the melrose storefront being packed; heaving with hollywood cunts and actor wannabes. the beverly hills location only opened a few days ago, so it isn’t crowded at all…i’m assuming that will change though. it’s located in the what used to be the backstage cafe, which was owned by police drummer stewart copeland’s brother. the place looks totally different. no rock paraphernalia adorning the walls, no whiskey bottles lined up on the counter…just spotless tables and huge barren display case showing off the few items that m cafe beverly hills has in stock.

    m cafe beverly hills. as you can see, there isn't much food on display! hopefully this will change.

    m cafe beverly hills. as you can see, there isn't much food on display! hopefully this will change.

    overall, we had a really lovely breakfast with some amazing food, and i am looking forward to going back. my only complaint is the lack of selection. i know, i know, they just opened, so i will let it slide. but had i just been walking by and wanting a proper breakfast, i wouldn’t have stayed at m cafe. they should make it a point to go overboard and offer everything they can, and at least carry the same menu as the other two successful locations. to be fair, i have a friend who hit up this m cafe the same day i did, but he went for lunch and the menu was in full swing. he loved it.

    so there you have it, finally some good vegan food in beverly hills! go get some before this m cafe gets all douchey like the melrose outlet. oh, and just a tip: parking is tough in this area. if you want to be stealth about it, grab a spot in the whole foods parking lot on crescent. they will never be the wiser. plus, they stock celebration roasts at that whole foods, so you can pick up a few on your way back to the car. 😉

    m-cafe-beverly-hills-ext

    m cafe de chaya
    9433 Brighton Way
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210
    310.858.8459

    Monday thru Sunday
    8:00 am – 7:00 pm

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  • November 10th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, seed

    a new vegan macrobiotic restaurant has just opened up in venice, and it’s incredible. my husband and i had the pleasure of checking out seed this weekend, and both dishes we tried were delicious.

    eric lachasseur, the original chef de patisserie at la’s famous m cafe, has now (along with his wife sanae) opened up his very own macrobiotic restaurant in venice. seed’s food is quite similar to that of m cafe, with one very important difference: while m cafe serves fish, seed is 100% vegan. not only that, but the food that i tried seemed lighter and healthier than what i’ve eaten at m cafe, and still just as delicious.

    the menu at seed isn’t huge, but every single item on it looks incredible. paninis, hot bowls, burgers and sweets…there is so much to choose from. i had quite a hard time deciding what to eat! finally, i chose the soyrella, tomato and basil panini, which was out of this world.

    soyrella, tomato and basil panini: tomato, fresh basil, vegan soy cheese and pesto sandwich. freshly grilled and served with coleslaw. $8.95

    soyrella, tomato and basil panini: tomato, fresh basil, vegan soy cheese and pesto sandwich. freshly grilled and served with coleslaw. $8.95

    i’ve had paninis at other restaurants that are dripping with oil and taste all around fattening, but not this sandwich! even though this was slathered in rich pesto, it still tasted incredibly light. stacked high with thick tomatoes and fresh basil, each bite of the sandwich was bursting with wonderful italian flavor. the soy cheese was thin and not greasy at all—it went perfectly with the creamy sauce and crunchy grilled bread. at $3 dollars less than a panini at m cafe, i gotta say this was a great deal!

    my husband was stoked to see that seed had FOUR burgers to choose from. it took him a few minutes, but he decided on the southwest burger. we both loved it.

    southwest burger: bean & grain burger with lettuce, vegan soy cheese, guacamole and ancho chili spread. $9.95

    southwest burger: bean & grain burger with lettuce, vegan soy cheese, guacamole and ancho chili spread. $9.95

    the burger arrived unassembled with a huge mound of guacamole and a large slice of vegan cheese. when i saw the thick and freshly-made patty, i knew it would be a winner. my husband also got a bun upgrade for $1.50 to an organic seven-grain sourdough bun. it was really tasty, although i have no idea how much better it was than just a “normal” bun…’cause we didn’t try that.

    i think it’s safe to say, this is one of the best vegan burgers in los angeles. the sauce is absolutely amazing, filled with unique flavor and southwest flare. this dish was filled with stuff us vegans LOVE: guacamole, fresh vegetables, a succulent patty, and of course…soy cheese that actually tastes good! and the best part is, seed has 3 other burgers that i haven’t even tried yet! most places just have one vegan burger…i cannot believe that seed actually has FOUR.

    dining in seed is quite pleasant and lovely as well. the food is served up in bio-degradable to go containers, and there’s one long wooden communal table, plus several small tables. the place has big windows, so during the day the interior is totally soaked in sunlight. it makes for a nice, comfy place to chill and enjoy lunch. when we visited seed, it was sunday morning at around 10:30 am and to my surprise, the place was already hoppin’ with customers! word of mouth on this restaurant must be pretty awesome.

    we sat next to a woman who was eating what appeared to be the saisai donburi macro bowl with kabocha, kale, shitake, arame, bean sprouts, sauerkraut and miso sauce. even though i had just eaten a whole sandwich, i was totally drooling over her meal. i can’t wait to go back to seed and check out all the other stuff on the menu.

    the service was also great at seed. you place your order at the counter, and they call you when your food is ready. the girl serving us was bubbly and friendly, and was happy to accommodate us with some extra hot sauce. our food came out quickly and was handed to us with a smile. plus, eric lechasseur himself was strolling around the small restaurant, introducing himself to customers and making sure they were satisfied. on their opening weekend, seed was putting forward great effort to make sure everyone was pleased and taken care of.

    on top of great meals, seed also offers some pretty tasty-looking desserts. they even have a SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM MACHINE! omg. you have no idea how excited that gets me! unfortunately, when i was there it was out of order. i CANNOT WAIT to return once they get it working—i haven’t had soft-serve ice cream in years!

    seed also carries a large selection of vegan cupcakes, which i’ve heard are amazing. they have green tea, chocolate, vanilla coconut, and sweet azuki bean…all of which look delicious. i was tempted to order one, but decided to save myself for a future visit. the display case is filled with these attractive cupcakes, each one topped with a huge swirly blob of creamy frosting. i wanted to take a picture of the dessert case, but just as i finished up my meal, none other than alicia silverstone walked in and started admiring the restaurant. i quickly put my camera away and decided not to photograph the cupcakes. i’d hate for alicia or anyone else to think i was some scum bag trying to get a shot of her.

    so, los angeles vegans, head over and check out seed as soon as you can! as far as i’m concerned, this place is way better than m cafe and definitely one of my new favorites. i left wanting more and feeling healthy. i urge you to do the same!

    word of warning: seed has no public restrooms! so plan accordingly. don’t drink 2 liters of water or anything before you show up.

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

    open daily
    10 am to 9 pm

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