• November 21st, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    hummus bros in soho is one of my favorite restaurants to hit up when in london. we’ve written about them before, and on a recent visit they were just as delicious.

    the way it works is: you get a hummus base with some pita, and then choose between their numerous vegan-friendly toppings. they’ve got vegetable salad, guacamole, and cumin chickpeas…just to name a few. last time we were there, we went with mushrooms and fava beans, both of which were awesome.

    hummus topped with fava beans

    hummus topped with fava beans

    the fava bean topped hummus was my favorite. the fava beans were prepared in a re-fried bean style (which i love), and were super creamy all mixed up with the hummus and oil. we got it with a side of vegan garlic dipping sauce, that was alright but a little too lemony for my taste.

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  • November 12th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, pita pit

    imagine the fast food restaurant subway…but with better ingredients, pita pockets rather than bread, and more vegan options…then you have the pita pit.

    vegan hummus sandwich at pita pit

    the quick and casual eatery specializes in (you guessed it) pitas, and fucking awesome ones at that! they have a separate vegetarian menu, and four vegan options including the garden pita, the babaganouj pita, the hummus pita and the falafel pita.

    pita pit menu

    the way it works at the pita pit is, you order your sandwich from dude #1 at the cash register. he rings you up and waves you over to dude #2 who will be making your sandwich. then comes my favorite part…you get to stand and supervise dude #2 as he fills your pita up with awesomeness. they are super customer-friendly at pita pit, and obey with a smile when i stand there going, “extra hot sauce…even more than that….that’s good! no olives! a tiny bit of onions, lots of tomatoes please,” etc.

    pita pit salad bar

    if you ask to get your sandwich filled up the way i do, you end up leaving with a massive pita the size of a baseball bat. it’s almost too much to eat, but somehow i always manage it.

    vegan hummus pita filled with loads of vegetables and hot sauce. $6.25

    vegan hummus pita filled with loads of vegetables and hot sauce. $6.25

    all the ingredients inside are super fresh and crunchy, really high quality stuff. the picture doesn’t really illustrate it very well (it’s hard to bite into a rolled up pita and then take a good cross-section photo), but the thing was massive and tasty as hell.

    pita pit yummers

    pita pit is a huge chain, so you can find their storefronts all over the place. the closest one to LA is probably the one in hermosa beach (that’s the one in this post), or the location in valencia. there used to be a pita pit in weho on sunset, but sadly it is no more! so whenever you have a chance, head on over and get yourself a gigantic pita stuffed with hummus, falafel, vegatables, or babaganouj.

    just ask this guy, he i’m pretty sure he was diggin it…

    pita pit caption contest!

    in fact, let’s have the first ever QUARRYGIRL CAPTION CONTEST! just leave a caption for that pita eating dude in the comments section, and i will pick a winner and post it on the site. 1-2-3…GO!

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  • February 28th, 2009mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), oxford

    I discovered my love of vegetables as a toddler ‘helping’ my grandfather plant and dig potatoes, carrots and green beans in his small suburban garden. Although he passed away when I was only two years of age, his passion for growing things, and glee when he held vegetables he was responsible for producing was an early part of my subsequent vegetarian commitment, and reinforced my transition into the Vegan world some years later.

    For me, it’s therefore very fitting that the one of the UK’s few entirely vegetarian pubs should be called The Gardener’s Arms, and my love of the great institution that is the English Pub is no secret! So, imagine how pleased I was on a recent trip home to be able to visit The Gardener’s Arms, and I enjoyed absolutely wonderful vegan pub food like never before.

    the gardener's arms in oxford

    the gardener's arms in oxford

    Now, vegan dining in the UK is fairly ubiquitous — there are lots and lots of great vegan, or vegan-friendly restaurants to frequent (usually before or after a visit to a pub). With The Gardener’s Arms, though, you get the entire experience all rolled into one. On a basic level, The Gardener’s Arms is a traditional English Pub, complete with fireplaces, friendly bar staff, comfortable couches and even a house dog that had its very own chair to sit on!


    However, the menu is entirely vegetarian and most dishes either come vegan or can be prepared vegan upon request. The menu is an interesting intersection of traditional pub fayre – burgers, sausages, chips (fries for you Americans), pies and vegetables – and exotic stuff like Thai curry, Tapas and Flatbread Calzone.

    Well, after a long day of driving in the rain we were completely famished so were ready to pig out and drink up. The restaurant part of the pub is officially called “The Garden”, but it’s fully integrated into the pub so you can order everything from the bar.

    In the usual style, we started off with a couple of choice ales, before ordering a combination of traditional pub food and a couple of dishes from the more eclectic side of the menu. I almost had to pinch myself when I inquired if the food contained dairy or egg – I got a kinda snooty “of course, your food is entirely vegan”, which to me is always a good sign. Indignation over an accusation of dairy/egg content is one great litmus test of how serious a place about catering for vegans.

    Anyway, on to the food. We started with Garlic Flatbread and a Side Salad with Pita. Well, OMG! The Garlic Flatbread was crispy on the outside (clearly griddled with some form of vegan butter), but creamy on the inside, just like it is supposed to be. We ate it so quickly, but I can still remember the taste and texture: Perfectly garlicky, crunchy and gooey. I think it’s the best garlic bread I’ve eaten since becoming vegan.

    garlic flatbread. £2.90

    garlic flatbread. £2.90

    The Side Salad deserves little mention, because it was exactly what you’d expect: crunchy, fresh salad with olives and pita bread.

    side salad (with sliced wholemeal pitta) £3.95

    side salad (with sliced wholemeal pitta) £3.95

    Moving on to the main dishes, my burger and fries were awesome. Served in a floury bap with all the trimmings, it wasn’t fancy or anything — in fact, its simplicity and “back to basics” approach (as you can see in the picture) were its defining characteristics. Yeah, it had fries too, and they were surprisingly clean tasting — clearly because they were never fried in the same oil as chicken, fish and god knows what in that contamination tank called a “deep fat fryer”.

    burger: 2 vegan patties served in a flour bap with toppings and sauces of your choice on a basket of fries. £7.50

    burger: 2 vegan patties served in a flour bap with toppings and sauces of your choice on a basket of fries. £7.50

    Our other main dish was the Flat Bread Vegetable Calzone. The bad news is that is looked like a repeat of the Garlic Flatbread – I mean, it was a doppelganger for our appetizer visually, but tasted quite different. It had, like, a million vegetables in it with that similar creamy sauce as the Garlic Flatbread, but the end result was a completely different type of taste. Even though it didn’t claim to have any kind of vegan cheese inside, it had a most cheesy kind of texture, something that’s rare for us vegans.

    flat bread calzone. £7.95

    flat bread calzone. £7.95

    For most visitors to the UK, The Gardener’s Arms is off the beaten track on the outskirts of Oxford, some 60 miles outside London. If you find yourself with a spare day in London, Oxford makes a nice day trip (the train journey is about an hour), and it really is a beautiful town with lots to see and do. If you’re looking for a bit of Old England, with great vegan food you might not find better than The Gardener’s Arms.

    Map of the pub after the jump.

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  • June 5th, 2008quarrygirlfarmers market, LA restaurants

    the farmers market is a great place to hang during the weekend, drinking beer and eating vegan food. while there are many great places to eat, one spot that i frequent is a little middle eastern stand called moishe’s. the food is pretty expensive, but it’s really good. especially if you are looking for something light to help soak up several pints of beer.

    small side of taboule $3.25

    large side of hamous $5.25

    as you can see, these are just some of the vegan options that moishe’s has to offer:

    i love seeing so many things i can eat all lined up together on a sign! moishe’s also makes great falafel sandwiches, if you want a meal that’s a little more expensive hearty.

    i’ve definitely got a lot of problems with moishe’s…but it’s just so damn convenient and tasty, i keep on coming back.

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  • May 29th, 2008mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), seattle

    Since the early 70s, the Pike Brewery has been serving ales in Seattle, moving to its present location in Pike Place Market during the early 90s. If you can deal with the nightmare that is parking in downtown Seattle (or better still, get a taxi: you probably won’t want to drive after a visit to the Pike!), you are in for a beer TREAT with several vegan options on the menu, including my favorite, Hummus and Pita, which is lovingly prepared, saladated with cucumber, lettuce, and the all important kalamata olives:

    Having said all that, I forget my veganism when I show up at The Pike, because the thing that gets me every time is the cask ale, served at just the right temperature from traditional British-made hand pumps. If the stars are aligned, you can get a porter, stout or (if you’re really lucky) the perfectly hopped IPA, which I was lucky enough to find on cask suring my last visit.

    The vibe is similar to a large English pub, but with a very Pacific Northwest feel: comfortable pleather couches, large plastic covered menus and the stench of fried food everywhere.

    Visiting at peak times usually means a wait unless you’re lucky enough to get a seat at the bar, or you have to line up at the bar and order if you’re sitting in the “pub” — just like in England! If you visit off-peak, though, you can get a comfortable bar seat and chat away to one of the knowledgeable bartenders while enjoying one too many cask beers 🙂

    The Pike is one of Seattle’s best breweries, arguably the best location, probably the best vegan food offerings and, albeit at certain times, the best atmosphere. If you enjoy good vegan food and great beer in a hassle-free environment the Pike is certainly for you.

    Check it out on your next trip Up North.

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