• August 15th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, mrs. winston's

    as any curry-loving vegan will tell you, naan we can eat is very hard to come by. while many indian dishes are animal-free by default, the traditional flatbread is usually off limits due to its egg and butter content. well vegans in LA need look no further for the naan of their dreams—i found it yesterday at mrs. winston’s green grocery on ocean park, of all places!

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  • July 7th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, true food kitchen

    i am very much a hollywood creature, and it isn’t often that i venture to the west side. when i do make the trek to santa monica though, it usually isn’t for the cool breeze or sandy beach—instead, it’s almost always to either visit friends or nosh on vegan eats. last week’s visit was a combination of both, when chloe coscarelli invited me for lunch at the newly-opened true food kitchen.

    the restaurant occupies an absolutely massive and elegant space in the recently refurbbed santa monica place, and i was pretty wowed with the atmosphere. there’s a gigantic seating area indoors with comfy booths and an open kitchen, as well as a large patio area outside to take advantage of the never-ending LA sunshine. the service is at true food is excellent, from the complimentary valet on 2nd street to the overly attentive waitstaff.

    the menu is very “california” style—local and healthy for the most part, with a huge focus on “sustainable” meat (grrr!). if you can look past that, they have lots of great vegan items which are clearly marked on the menu. i absolutely love it when restaurants have a separate vegan symbol…it takes all the guess work out of ordering!

    to start, we split an order of the shiitake tofu lettuce cups from the appetizer menu, and they were absolutely wonderful.

    shiitake and tofu lettuce cups: ginger, cashew and toasted garlic. $9

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  • March 4th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, mrs. winston's

    mrs. winston’s green grocery is a herbivore’s paradise. the small market has a few locations on LA’s west side, and each one comes equipped with a vegan-friendly salad bar that puts all other los angeles pay-by-weight buffet options to shame. at $7.95 per pound, you have your pick of constantly rotating salads, pastas, vegetable, fake meats, soups, breads, desserts, and more.

    all vegan!

    we recently checked out the ocean park storefront, and were blown away (AGAIN!) by the vegan selections of the day. as you can see above, EVERYTHING pictured was vegan, and labeled as such. and there was even more…

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  • February 7th, 2011mr meanerLA restaurants, rosti tuscan kitchen

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Puccini, Truffles and Chianti: Buildings, music, food and wine respectively are all synonymous with Tuscany in Italy, probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Boasting a similar climate to Southern California with a natural beauty and centuries-old architecture and culture, Tuscany is a place that you know you’ll always go back to after you’ve been once.

    I am, therefore, glad that I don’t have to travel for 18 hours to experience a little bit of Tuscany thanks to Rosti Tuscan Kitchen, a traditional Tuscan-style casual dining restaurant with two locations in Santa Monica and Encino. The owners have also taken great steps to accommodate their vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian guests, and we each have our own menu in addition to the main omnivorous menu.

    Hungry for some vegan Tuscan cooking, we dropped by the Santa Monica location and were greeted by the owner, the super-nice restaurateur Kevin Goldfein who was kind enough to tell us about his restaurant concept and advise us on ordering a bunch of items from the vegan menu.

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  • January 24th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, pizza fusion

    heads up, angelenos! BOTH pizza fusion locations in town (hollywood and santa monica) will be offering a 10% discount on saturday 1/29/11 when you mention vegan pizza day. hell yes—time to get your vegan pizza on at a reduced price!

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  • December 20th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, veggie grill

    the moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here! as of today, the latest veggie grill location is now open in santa monica. this place is EXACTLY what the west side needs.

    as you probably know, veggie grill has already got a number of locations scattered around socal (the closest to me being the one in west hollywood), and they serve up healthy and delicious alternatives to fast food. their menu packs everything from soups and salads to nachos and burgers…even kids meals and desserts! we were invited over the weekend to check out the new restaurant during a special complimentary “sneak peek” lunch, and i’m happy to report that the food was fantastic and the space was beautiful.

    we started with a plate of “chill out wings,” which were to die for…

    chill out wings: bite sized chillin’ chickin’ served with dipping sauces.

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  • April 5th, 2010quarrygirlbetter life cuisine, LA restaurants

    one plus side of our little “going raw for a week” experiment was, we got to try some restaurants that we normally wouldn’t. better life cuisine in santa monica came to us highly recommended by some close friends, as well as several commenters on the blog. the place is entirely raw and vegan, with an impressive menu full of salads, smoothies, wraps and entrees. even after hearing such high praise for better life, i must say it completely exceeded my expectations!

    to start with we ordered the tuna sushi rolls, which were excellent…

    tuna nori rolls. $6.95

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  • November 23rd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, yummy cupcakes

    vegan peanut butter cupcake in a jar

    yummy cupcakes is a bakery that certainly lives up to its name. with two locations (one in the valley and one on the west side), plenty of animal-free offerings, and absolutely delicious treats, it is probably my favorite place to get vegan desserts in los angeles.

    on top of offering vegan cupcakes at their storefronts on fridays, sundays and mondays, yummy also has an extensive vegan menu for large orders which features basically any cupcake you could possibly dream up. they also have an absolutely brilliant product for special order called “cupcake-in-a-jar.” yep, it is exactly like you would imagine…fluffly frosting and moist cake all piled up in a mason jar, to be eaten with a spoon.

    recently, yummy sent me some of their cupcakes in jars to try out—and boy oh boy, they made a believer out of me! chocolate with vanilla frosting, almond with almond butter cream, and peanut butter cup were all part of the deal…and they were all delicious. the best thing about the cupcake in a jar is, you don’t have to eat it all at once. you can just spoon out a bite of yummy frosting and cake, then store the rest in the fridge until later.

    i gave one of the cupcake-filled jars to my omnivorous co-worker, and she was completely blown away. first off, it was so decadent that she couldn’t believe it was vegan. secondly, she noted that the idea of layering cake and frosting in a mason jar is “fucking brilliant.” and i agree with her. you think you like vegan cupcakes? well, try eating them with a spoon. you will never look back. YUMMY!

    yummy cupcakes in jars!

    yummy cupcakes
    313 Wilshire Blvd 90401

    2918 W. Magnolia Blvd 91505

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  • August 17th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mrs. winston's
    mrs. winston's salad bar. $7.95 per pound.

    mrs. winston's salad bar. $7.95 per pound.

    vegans, forget everything you know. you have not been to a salad bar until you’ve been to mrs. winston’s green grocery. the small deli has a build-your-own salad and sandwich section that puts even the venice whole foods to shame. we hit up mrs. winston’s in santa monica over the weekend and enjoyed some overflowing boxes of salad on their pleasant outdoor patio. i can’t believe have a been a vegan in los angeles for so many years and this was only my first time eating here. the food completely blew my mind.


    the long tables where you fill up your take-out container are just overflowing with fresh organic produce, vegan pastas, loads of specialty vegan items like “egg”, “turkey”, and “chicken” salad, plus about 20 different kinds of marinated tofu—all at just $7.95 per pound. vegan salad heaven, i am telling you!


    everything that’s vegan is clearly labeled as such, so there’s no guesswork involved in filling up your box with meatless goodness.


    there are about two walls full of just vegan offerings, and i think it would take several trips of gorging myself at mrs. winston’s before i could possibly try everything.


    we shoved as much delicious food as we could into our take-out boxes, and completely stuffed ourselves for just $17. i definitely will be back to mrs. winston’s, and i can’t wait.


    mrs. winstons actually has 3 locations on the westside—one on ocean park, one on colorado, and one on avenue of the stars. i went to the ocean park location, as i’m pretty sure it’s the only one open on weekends.

    so head over to mrs. winston’s green grocery as soon as you have a chance. and show up HUNGRY, because it’s the best vegan salad bar in town!


    mrs. winston’s green grocery
    3150 Ocean Park Blvd
    Ste A
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
    (310) 452-7770

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  • July 7th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, pizza fusion
    very vegan: crimini mushrooms, roasted garlic, tomato sauce and soy cheese. $16.99

    very vegan: crimini mushrooms, roasted garlic, tomato sauce and soy cheese. $16.99

    there’s been a lot of vegan-friendly places popping up around los angeles lately, and one of the most recent is the “organic” and self-proclaimed “eco-friendly” pizza fusion in santa monica. the green pizzeria offers both vegan and gluten-free crust options (although the two are mutually exclusive), along with vegan cheese supplied by follow your heart. while an environmentally-conscious pizza place with clearly marked vegan options is undeniably a major score, i can’t help but wonder what it would have felt like had pizza fusion arrived on the scene a year ago.

    lemme take you back. in july of 2008 we were just coming off the fact that zpizza’s soy cheese was not vegan. the only place to get a huge vegan take-out pie was at damiano mr. pizza pizza on fairfax. although it wasn’t ideal, we lived with damiano for 6 more months until something magical happened—purgatory pizza in boyle heights announced that they would be rolling out their popular nyc style pizzas with vegan cheese. but not just that follow your heart stuff, no, purgatory were first to offer the best vegan cheese available stateside at the time, teese cheese from chicago soy dairy. and it’s on that day—february 1, 2009—that vegan pizza in LA was forever changed. companies started to realize that vegans wanted pizza more than anything, and we didn’t just want this old, un-melted follow your heart crap. the next pizzeria to have satisfactory vegan offerings was lucifer’s pizza in los feliz. they first offered a falsely advertised non-vegan soy cheese, but after coming under some fire, they changed their tune and started serving up huge thin and crispy pies with teese as well.

    then along came daiya…i’m sure you have heard all about it by now. daiya is a stretchy, tasty, melty vegan product that behaves almost exactly like real cheese. i’d go as far as to call it game changing. it hit the blogosphere first, then showed up at the online vegan store pangea available for personal order. just when it was beginning to make a major splash nearing the end of may, one LA pizza place got their hands on daiya and completely raised the bar. cruzer pizza, with locations in los feliz and glendale, started using the new stretchy cheese, along with an arsenal of fake meats and pasta dishes.

    in less than 2 months, vegan pizza in LA went from hard to find to readily available. within a short period of time, purgatory also adopted daiya cheese and even several local whole foods began selling daiya covered pizzas at a very low price. wow. it used to be bloody impossible to get animal-free pizza in los angeles, and then all of a sudden amazing, stretchy, revolutionary vegan cheese was available as close as the nearest whole foods. epic.

    oh, and then came pizza fusion. a chain started in 2006, pizza fusion is an eatery dedicated to being fashionably green. they deliver pizzas in hybrid prius vehicles, boast that all their ingredients are organic, and have token vegan menu items including a pizza covered in follow your heart cheese, as well as a gluten-free brownie.


    let’s start with the vegan pizza. i can’t even tell you how stoked i would have been about this pie in july of 2008. a decent pizzeria with cruelty-free options was basically unheard of back then. i would have eaten at pizza fusion everyday! but one year later, what with the introduction of vegan new york pizza with teese, and now with this amazing daiya cheese product…i find it kinda difficult to get stoked on a thin crust organic pizza with follow your heart, aka vegan cheese 1.0.

    sorry dudes, pizza fusion is decent, don’t get me wrong. if i were in sanmo i would probably hit up this place frequently, i just feel that LA has much better options now. i’m so stoked that this is a chain serving vegan pizza, but until they step up the quality of the sauce, crust, and vegan cheese…why not just go to your local daiya-serving whole foods location, which is bound to be way cheaper than pizza fusion. oh and on a side note, the staff were also pretty unknowledgeable about the vegan-ness of the food. it took us about 10 minutes of back and forth with the waiter to determine whether or not the crust was vegan…and we found out the gluten-free crust is not, but the normal crust is. gah, it was too much confusion for me to handle!

    although it wasn’t as good as the stuff we get at purgatory, cruzer, or even whole foods, our pizza from pizza fusion was definitely edible…which is more than i can say for the brownie. with a hungry stomach, i ordered the vegan and gluten-free treat that the menu describes as “delicious”. i hate to say it, but i took one bite of pizza fusion’s brownie and didn’t even want to bring it home. marginally tasty, it reminded me of diet food. perhaps i am just too spoiled with so many talented vegan bakers living in los angeles, but this stuff just tasted like a gym snack.

    fresh homemade vegan brownie. $4.99

    fresh homemade vegan brownie. $4.99

    so pizza fusion, is it worth your time? maybe. however my opinion is that it’s too little too late. if they wanted to show up on the los angeles scene with an all vegan, organic, follow your heart cheese option, maybe they should have arrived before i was spoiled with cruzer, purgatory, teese, and daiya.

    to put it as nicely as possible: if i was a new vegan, pizza fusion might impress the fuck out of me. but now, i simply know better.

    you should still go and check pizza fusion out…because, they have vegan stuff, eco-friendly containers, and prius cars. they also have tons of literature boasing about free-range meat. i hate to see places preaching about the environment while at the same time bragging that they ‘humanely’ murder animals. this place could be serving everything in styrofoam containers, and it would be doing a better service to the planet than selling animal flesh. they just don’t get it. ah well.

    so santa monica residents, this is a great place to visit when you can’t make it further east to cruzer, purgatory, or….when whole foods is closed.


    pizza fusion
    2901 Ocean Park Blvd
    Santa Monica, CA 90405-2919
    (310) 581-2901

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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.


    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.


    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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  • December 8th, 2008quarrygirlinterim cafe, LA restaurants

    the interim cafe on wilshire in santa monica is a gem for the vegan community, and it doesn’t get nearly enough attention. we all know about the awesome and star-studded (recently shut down for a cockroach infestation) newsroom cafe, a trendy joint on robertson boasting a vegan-friendly menu and high-class clientele. well, the interim cafe has the same calibre food as the newsroom (by that i mean, the menu was created the same chef), and even more cruelty-free options than its vegan-friendly cousin.

    check out the menu here:

    the interim cafe offers a huge menu, and sooo much of it is vegan. they have plenty of meat, don’t get me wrong, but they also have huge sections dedicated to only animal-free items. they even offer a slew of vegan baked goods and even vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. if i lived in santa monica, i would be eating here constantly. there is so much to choose from, it’s kind of overwhelming.

    my husband and i ate at the interim cafe over the weekend and were both overall pleased with the selection, service, and quality food. out of the 5 vegan burgers to choose from, my husband went with the nyc veggie b.

    nyc veggie b: smothered in burgundian woodsy mushroom sauce. with a side organic salad. $9

    nyc veggie b: smothered in burgundian woodsy mushroom sauce. with a side organic salad. $9

    i had a bite, and the burger was pretty tasty. i wouldn’t say it’s one of the best vegan burgers in los angeles, or anything like that…but it was simple, pleasant, and healthy-tasting. the mushrooms definitely added some deliciousness, and it was a pretty good deal at nine bucks with a side salad.

    i decided on the tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage, and it was excellent.

    tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage: spicy salsa tofu, vegan cheese and vegan sausage. $8

    tofu breakfast burrito with vegan sausage: spicy salsa tofu, vegan cheese and vegan sausage. $8

    if you hit up the interim cafe, i highly suggest you do it before noon so you can order a dish with organic hemp tofu. the way they cook and season the tofu is absolutely incredible. their breakfast burrito is off the chain and the vegan sausage is some of the best i’ve ever had. my only qualm with this dish is that it’s pretty small for $8, and i think they forgot my side. i didn’t realize until long after i’d eaten that the menu says it comes with your choice of breakfast potatoes, sliced tomatoes or a fresh fruit cup. the breakfast potatoes would have gone down really well with this burrito. either way, i am looking forward to going back and eating up more stuff from the breakfast menu.

    lastly, i couldn’t leave the interim cafe without trying one of the many tempting vegan desserts. it was a tough choice between a chocolate chip cookie and some frozen yogurt, but i ended up going with the soft serve as its such a rarity. deeeeeeeelicious.

    chocolate vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. $2.50

    chocolate vegan soft serve frozen yogurt. $2.50

    the fro yo at the interim cafe was fucking great. it was so delicious and tasted really smooth and healthy at the same time. it didn’t taste like ice cream, it wasn’t creamy like the soft serve at hugo’s tacos. this stuff was more dense and flavorful, and the texture reminded me of the frozen yogurt i used to get as a kid at penguins. the serving was small, but fairly priced at just $2.50. it was the perfect size, considering i was stuffed with so many other things the vegan-friendly menu had to offer. even on a cold day, this soft serve was by far the highlight of my meal.

    so if you haven’t eaten at interim cafe already, get your ass over there as soon as possible. the food is great, the prices are reasonable and the selection is unreal. plus, they’ve had a make-over and now have tons of comfy seating. i really love this place and will be hitting it up again very soon. i can never ever ever get enough vegan soft serve.

    interim cafe
    530 Wilshire Blvd
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    (310) 319-9100

    monday – friday 8am to 8pm
    saturday and sunday 9am to 3pm

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