• October 19th, 2009quarrygirlbella cucina italiana, LA restaurants

    you’ve probably heard that dineLA restaurant week has been extended in los angeles through october 23rd…so you have 5 more days to eat prix fixe at gourmet restaurants for a fraction of the price! many of the participating establishments have vegan-friendly discount options available, so i highly suggest you take advantage.

    last week for lunch, i hit up bella cucina italiana for dineLA with a few co-workers, and we were all thoroughly impressed. the upscale italian eatery is located on hollywood blvd at las palmas, but the sleek design and moody lighting will make you forget that you are dining in tourist central. the food was all top notch, some of the best italian fare i’ve had in los angeles, and they were super eager to accommodate my vegan diet.

    bruschetta classica: toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

    bruschetta classica: toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

    as an appetizer, i went with the dineLA option of bruschetta classica (with no mozzarella), which was toasted bread topped with tomatoes, basil and olive oil. the slices of toast were small and slightly crispy, while the topping was extremely fresh and juicy. i realized while eating this that there really isn’t enough bruschetta in my life. something about the simplicity of the ingredients and the extreme flavors in this dish really get me going.


    although none of the dineLA entree items at bella cucina were vegan-friendly, the server immediately pointed out several options on the menu that i could veganize and still eat at the discounted price. the policy at bella was super flexible, unlike at susan feniger’s street where they would only modify existing dineLA items. i am a HUGE fan of egg plant…so when i saw that bella had an egg plant appetizer, i asked if i could i could get that as my entree. the waiter assured me that it would be no problem at all, and even said he would ask the kitchen to double the portion so i would get my money’s worth. SCORE.

    melanzane al forna: baked eggplant layered with basil and tomato sauce.

    melanzane al forna: baked eggplant layered with basil and tomato sauce.

    when the melanzane al forna arrived, it was absolutely massive. the dish looked like a huge breakfast entree, except with eggplant rather than pancakes and rich tomato sauce rather than maple syrup. the eggplant was deliciously crispy around the edges, yet warm and fluffy inside….while the sauce was perfectly oily and filled with italian flavor. one look at this entree, and i thought it was way to much to eat in one sitting. however, the thing was so damn good that i had no problem putting it all away!


    when our server brought the dessert menus to our table, he profusely apologized and told me there wasn’t anything that could be made vegan. without me even asking, he offered to give me an coffee instead. i know that a coffee isn’t as rad as a vegan dessert, but at least it’s something. and hey, it’s more than street offered (which is nothing, until we asked for a discount….and then they offered berries). i took bella up on their coffee offer, and it wound up being quite delicious indeed. to be honest, i was way too stuffed to eat dessert anyways.


    overall i had a great dining experience at bella cucina. the service was friendly, the atmosphere was chill, the food was delicious, and they were super helpful when it came to veganizing meals for dineLA. the best thing about restaurant week is that we have the chance to eat at so many different establishments that we wouldn’t normally try. bella cucina wasn’t even on my radar before dineLA, and now i can’t wait to return for some damn fine vegan italian food.


    bella cucina italiana
    1708 n. las palmas avenue
    hollywood, ca 90028

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  • October 13th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, street

    as you may know, on this blog we’ve been compiling a list of restaurants that can accommodate vegans during dineLA restaurant week. recently, i decided to put this info to use and hit up susan feniger’s street with my former dineLA partner in crime, jennshaggy.


    when we arrived, the restaurant wasn’t very crowded and we leisurely sunk a few cocktails before placing our order. the pink drink above was mine…and it was so damn good, i can’t even remember its name. if you like fancy drinks though, street is your place. their cocktails and sangria are absolutely amazing, and they even have a drink made with absinthe on the menu!

    our waitress presented us with the special dineLA menus, and when we told her we were vegans, she rushed to the kitchen to speak with the chef. she returned quickly with a list of modifications we could make to each item in order to veganize it, and our restaurant week experience was underway!

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