• November 2nd, 2011mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), portland

    Back in 2009, we raved like it was 1986 about Portobello restaurant in Portland. Back then, it was a sort-of popup affair, taking over the space of a small east-side coffee shop after hours, and opening its doors to hungry patrons who usually had to book way in advance. Although our experience was stellar, we’d heard that other visitors had suffered from long waits, and the restaurant had a propensity to run out of some food items early on in the evening.

    Clearly, there was a supply and demand mismatch so something had to happen. In mid-2010 we were delighted to hear that Portobello had graduated from the intimate coffee shop and had moved into a proper space of its own, with a high-budget build-out, new chefs and a much larger staff.

    It was, then, with some trepidation that we made reservations to visit the “new” Portobello on a recent trip to Portland. After all, would its newfound influx of cash and staff affect its food? Would its new location lack the atmosphere of the old one? Would the gnocchi be as chewy and the bread be as crispy as before?

    Well, to cut a long story slightly less long we were even more delighted with the new Portobello than we were with the old one. Yes, in many ways it’s like eating at a different restaurant, but the owners have clearly maintained what’s good about the original concept and expanded it into a broader, more capable offering that moves it several notches higher in the all-vegan fine dining league table.

    The new location is in a modern strip mall in a faintly industrial area much further south than before. Across the street is a machine tool shop, and in the same parking lot is a large beer store, as well as an acupuncture clinic. Even for typically diverse PDX, this is quite varietal.

    Of course, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but the inside is what counts. It seems that no expense has been spared to create a wonderful dining experience. Dark woods, steel and concrete and floral designs come together perfectly to create an ambience somewhere between a casual cafe and upscale restaurant…

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  • October 30th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), rhode island

    we love pizza! time for a pizza field report all the way from rhode island by tamar of the curveball. i have eaten a lot of vegan pizza in my time, and this stuff looks insane. check it:

    If you’re vegan and enjoy thin-crust pizza, and find yourself in Providence, RI, do yourself a favor and find your way to Nice Slice on Thayer Street.

    The photo does not do this pizza justice. First, let me start with the crust. It is a thin whole wheat crust, but not overpoweringly whole grainy tasting. The texture is top-notch. Biting into it, there’s that perfect combination of chewiness and crispiness. My omni boyfriend and I shared a margherita and a BBQ vegan chicken slice and we both agreed – the best vegan pizza we’ve ever tasted…

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  • October 26th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), new york

    remember that vegan pizza bus tour we were freaking out about, that took place earlier this month?! man, i wanted to go on that so bad. luckily one of our readers, nicole, did go on it…and she sent us a review of the tour. i can’t wait to visit NYC and hit up all these places…

    October is national pizza month, and to celebrate, Scott’s Pizza Tours arranged a special all-vegan tour inspired by Scott Wiener’s vegan brother (and co-guide) Jon. Scott’s Pizza Tours is one of the most unique and highly rated tours in New York City, and currently the number one NYC tour on Yelp! Scott himself is certainly a pizza celebrity in his own right– all the staff of the pizzerias we visited regarded Scott warmly, as if he were family. Scott is truly and his pizza knowledge and enthusiasm is unmatched. Scott’s just starting to dabble in speciality pizza tours, and this vegan tour was his 2nd all-vegan pizza tour ever, following a sold out walking tour this past December.

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  • October 19th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    yep! we’re still on tour with the band silver snakes, and today they’re hitting the vegan capital of america: portand, oregon. here’s what they’ve eaten so far, as texted to me by band member alex.

    Sizzle Pie in Portland

    Sizzle pie. Portland, OR. Special veggie slice of the day and “half” a slice of the “spinal tap” (no cheese, carmelized onion spread and nutritional yeast) the crust is amazing. Super glad we checked this place out!

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  • October 10th, 2011quarrygirlEVO kitchen, LA restaurants

    so exciting! los angeles has a new super vegan-friendly restaurant with a huge menu full of specialty pizzas, salads, wraps, inventive appetizers, wine and craft beer. EVO kitchen opened up its doors last week in the old hollywood/weho pizza fusion location, and we’re already huge fans. it focuses on organic, locally sourced ingredients, and is family owned by the same folks who ran the previous restaurant. with the re-branding, the menu still includes our favorite items (what up, beer floats and wraps!) plus it has grown to include even more vegan (and gluten-free if you care about that) options, and the food is even better than before.

    we hit up EVO for a slap up feast this weekend, and sampled as many vegan dishes as we could. we still didn’t get through half of them though—i guess that means another visit is in order! check out what we ate:

    vegan garlic cheese bread with marinara dip. $4.99

    we started off with a slew of appetizers, the first of which was the vegan garlic cheese bread. as with all vegan cheesy items at EVO kitchen, this came with a choice of soy cheese (follow your heart) or daiya. we opted for the soy cheese in this case, and the daiya cheese for other dishes (more on those later!). the cheese bread was phenomenal—crispy and pipin’ hot, dusted with herbs, and served with a pot of tangy marinara.

    mini vegan bbq burgers: portobello mushroom with vegan soy or daiya cheese, roasted red onion and bbq sauce. $6.99

    next up, one of my favorite dishes of the evening: the vegan mini bbq burgers. SLIDERS…

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  • October 8th, 2011quarrygirlvegan events

    i’m sure you’ve heard of urban food crawl by now. they host weekly gastronomic tours of downtown LA vegan hot spots, and in the coming weeks they have some pretty sweet events planned.

    check it out…

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  • October 6th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, papa john's

    the other evening, i was feeling a little timesick and craving papa john’s pizza. it used to be my absolute favorite as a kid—probably because every pie came with it’s own pot of ridiculously rich garlic sauce. it was only relatively recently that i discovered the original crust, tomato sauce, and even the garlic dipping sauce (how is that even possible?) are all vegan. even with so many other fake cheese pizza options available in LA, i had to succumb to a throw back papa john’s friday night in front of the television.

    papa john's cheeseless pizza with tomatoes and portobellos. around $10?

    choosing a pizza wasn’t hard, because the topping selection at pj’s is rather limited. i went with a couple old favorites: tomato and mushroom, minus the cheese, extra sauce. i had a coupon, so i think the pizza came to around ten dollars—not bad considering a vegan cheese pie in this town is usually in the thirty buck range…

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  • September 4th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    roll up, roll up! the magical mystery tour has nothing on this—it’s a VEGAN PIZZA BUS.

    on october 1st, scott’s pizza tours is giving a bus tour of the best vegan pizza in NYC, and it’s gonna be co-guided by our very own vegan pizza field reporter jon!

    check it out…

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  • September 1st, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA)

    we’ve already blogged about the pizza port location in solana beach, and i’m happy to report that their carlsbad restaurant is even bigger and better, but with the same excellent beer and food.

    that cheese in the background isn't mine

    pizza port brews their own beer on the premises, and the staff are very knowledgeable about which ones are vegan. in addition to their own beers, they always have tons of local vegan-friendly guest taps from the likes of stone and lost abbey. i don’t just go to pizza port for the grog though—the grub is also outstanding. while nothing jumps out immediately as particularly vegan-friendly, don’t be fooled. both the regular and whole wheat crusts are vegan, as well as the tomato sauce—so you can create a pretty mean cheese-less pizza.

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  • August 26th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    here at quarrygirl.com, we are always on the hunt for the latest and greatest vegan pizza. “normal” pizza is the very last thing we gave up as vegetarians, so finding a good substitute is a quest that’s very near to our hearts. our latest pizza breakthrough was a big one, and it took place at sizzle pie in portland.

    let us play your party: house red sauce, muchrooms, spinach, black olives, white onions and not-a-ricotta. $4

    although sizzle pie is an omnivorous establishment, their vegan options are plentiful, creative, and even sold by the slice! on top of that, it’s honestly some of the best pizza i’ve ever had. in a city with an overwhelming amount of vegan-friendly restaurants, we went to sizzle pie TWICE during our recent 4 day PDX trip. that should tell you how much we enjoyed the place.

    on our first visit, we just stopped by for a couple slices each at 4 bucks a pop. sizzle pie has something for all vegan pizza lovers: they’ve got daiya for fake cheese fans, creamy spreads made from cashews or caramelized onions, nutritional yeast covered pies, and a cilantro pepitas pesto topping. the menu items all have fun names as well—we went with a slice of “let us play your party” (pictured in the center above) which came with house red sauce, mushrooms, spinach, black olives, white onions and not-a-ricotta. plus 3 slices of “spiral tap”…

    spiral tap: creamy caramelized onion spread, house marinara red sauce and a light dusting of nutritional yeast. $4

    the vegan slices were incredible! the spiral tap especially with its rich spread, topped off with tangy tomato sauce and creamy nooch. another thing i loved about this pizza is that the slices were massive, thin, and proper. you know, you could fold them in half. respect…

    our next visit to sizzle pie was even better. this time we got a couple slices and a normal pie to share.

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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 1st, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, mohawk bend

    UPDATE 8/12: the s’mores mohawk are now vegan! they make the graham crackers in house w/o honey. eat it up.

    UPDATE 8/2: turns out the graham crackers that come with the s’mores contain honey, but mohawk is seeking a vegan alternative. GRRRRRR.

    today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: mohawk bend in echo park is opening this evening! since the restaurant/bar announced that they’d have over 70 craft beers on tap and a 60% vegan menu, we’ve been tracking their progress with eager anticipation.

    72 craft beers to choose from.

    a couple weeks ago, we attended a press event to scope out the mohawk’s epic restored restaurant space and to whet our appetite for their local and seasonal cuisine…and a few days after that, we got the chance to sample even more vegan items from the menu. we’ve been waiting to share our second meal with you until mohawk announced an opening date, and fortunately they’ve decided to open tonight! here’s a look at some of the great dishes you can expect to find at echo park’s new vegan hot spot:

    tony’s favorite casserole: polenta, leeks, broccoli, vegan cheese

    i can see why this casserole is tony’s favorite—filled up with creamy polenta, roasted vegetables, and two types of vegan cheese, it’s served piping hot and is absolutely delicious.

    the vegan burger at mohawk is one of the best in town…

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  • July 23rd, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    hey everyone, time for another quickbite from our resident pizza expert jon. you may remember him from the garage pizza review, or the post about john’s of 12th street. his brother is scott of scott’s pizza tours, so obviously a love of pizza runs in the family. anyways here’s his take on 900 degrees, a new pizzeria in manhattan’s west village…

    900 Degrees in NYC is amazing. It’s just over a month old and they have a few options on the menu for vegetarians and vegans. Some pizzas are not on the menu, but are totally vegan and totally amazing.

    Chef, Audrey Sherman, made me a pizza with a roasted garlic white bean spread, fried leeks, sicilian black olives, white asparagus and swiss chard sprinkled with olive oil.

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  • July 22nd, 2011quarrygirlcruzer pizza, LA restaurants

    just a few updates for you folks regarding cruzer pizza in los feliz, LA’s only vegan pizzeria!

    we’ve got their new whereabouts for this weekend, details on their frozen pizzas, and a reminder of what you already know…

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  • July 19th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, mohawk bend

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’re probably aware of the hoopla about the new Echo Park pub and restaurant: Mohawk Bend. Just like Sunset Boulevard, the street upon which it sits, Mohawk Bend has gone through many twists and turns as it wound its way through the acquisition, planning, construction and then opening processes – something that the City of LA makes as arduous as possible for small businesses.  The good news is: Mohawk is now scheduled to open next week, and as far as we’re concerned it will be the best place to eat and drink in Los Angeles.

    So, what IS Mohawk Bend, and why has it garnered such intense interest? For one, the back-story is intriguing. Owner Tony Yanow (yes, that Tony) took a century-old theater which has been derelict for almost 30 years, and transformed it into one of the most astounding eating and drinking spaces in all of LA, if not the West Coast. It’s got 72 taps of craft beer (including two cask systems), an incredible food menu of locally-sourced ingredients (yeah, 60% of the food menu, and almost all beers are vegan: how about that?), with several distinct dining/drinking areas each of which has subtly different vibes. As Tony put it: “We wanted to create not just a place in Echo Park, but THE place in Echo Park”. There’s not a soul who would argue that he didn’t do just exactly that.

    We were lucky to be invited to the pre-opening press/blogger event and from the moment we walked into the front patio area we felt comfortable, welcome and at ease. That’s the way Tony wants it to be, and he’s magically captured the neighborhood pub feel of Tony’s Darts Away while scaling it up massively and successfully into a veritable theme park of craft beer and gourmet food.

    From its inception, the menu at Mohawk was designed to be extremely vegan-friendly. It’s a collaboration between two chefs—one of whom is a vegan herself, so as you can imagine, we’re well looked after. They’ve taken care of every last detail, down to separate fryers, utensils, and cooking preparation areas. The restaurant has succeeded in creating classic pub fare that everyone loves, with a vegan twist that’s extremely impressive.

    Chickpea Beer Nuts

    Upon arrival, we immediately started munching on bar snacks—almonds, pistachios, and absolutely amazing chickpea “beer nuts”. Although Mohawk had several appetizing cocktails on offer, we stuck to beer. A couple of Bootleggers Old World Hefes and a sampling of the appetizer selections really hit the spot.

    Bootleggers Old World Hefe with a plate of housebaked bread and dipping sauces.

    The bread and dipping sauces were ridiculously good! I’m telling you, freshly baked bread really does make a huge difference.

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