• January 8th, 2010quarrygirlflore, LA restaurants

    as you may know, we here at quarrygirl are determined to eat all the good vegan club sandwiches in los angeles and compare them for you readers. this week our club comes to us from flore vegan in silverlake, and i must say it is a damn fine contender for the #1 spot.

    club sandwich: battered baked tofu, tempeh bacon, tomato, avocado, lettuce, daikon sprout and eggless mayonaise on sourdough bread. served with choice of potato salad, side salad, or fruit. $9.95

    flore’s club sandwich is pretty hefty and comes stacked with baked tofu, tempeh bacon, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and daikon sprouts. it weighs in at $9.95, which is nearly a buck 50 more than the club at follow your heart, BUT this one comes with avocado (which is an extra charge at FYH) AND a hefty side salad.

    i would definitely say flore makes one of the best vegan clubs i’ve ever tasted. maybe it’s because the succulent tofu is battered and then baked, so it has all kinds of flavor goin on…or maybe it’s because the strips of tempeh bacon are extra thick and smoky. or maaaaybe it’s the way the slightly toasted bread mixes in with the creamy avocado and juicy tomato. i dunno, but everything about it is just so…perfect.

    when ordering any sandwich or burger at flore, i always opt for the potato salad as my side dish. it really can’t be beat, and a side of leaves or fruit just doesn’t come close. trust me, this stuff is awesome.

    so there you have it, flore’s delicious club sandwich may just be the best in all of LA. there are still so many to try though. be sure to comment with your favorite.

    flore vegan
    3818 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 953-0611

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  • January 4th, 2010quarrygirlflore, LA restaurants

    uneducated people think that vegans only eat salad, but we know better than that. one look around this blog shows that peeps adhering to an animal-free lifestyle can still enjoy ‘meat’, ‘cheese’, sandwiches, burgers, ice cream and cupcakes just like the rest of the world. sometimes, however, a good animal-free salad can be hearty enough to satisfy the omnivores and herbivores alike…and such is true of the avocado seitan salad at flore.

    avocado seitan salad: bed of mixed greens with sliced avocado, grilled seitan, daikon sprouts, tomato and red onion. served with your choice of tahini, 1000 island, vinaigrette or miso dressing. $9.95

    i’m not much of a salad person, but this may very well be one of the best menu items i’ve ever tasted. for under 10 bucks you get a large serving of soft leafy greens (more than i can eat), topped with sexy grilled chunks of homemade seitan and fresh vegetables in a dressing of your choosing, all garnished with generous slices of creamy avocado. i always go with the tahini dressing (it’s thick and rich, yet not over-powering)….but i hear that the 1000 dressing is killer as well.

    if you feel like eating a salad that will actually make you full, head over to flore in silverlake. this dish will satisfy the meatiest of cravings, and it’s still a mere healthy and organic salad! win/win!

    Flore
    3818 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 953-0611

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  • December 31st, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, meet market (closed)

    HOLY, SHIT VEGANS! if you are anywhere near silverlake, you will want to hit up the all-you-can-eat vegan menu from 11am to 3pm at the meet market tomorrow. considering it’s a holiday, finding vegan comfort food will be next to impossible on january 1st. luckily, the meet market will be open and serving a massive vegan brunch complete with tofu scramble, roasted potatoes, vegan sausage, fresh vegetables, fruit, coffee, toast and jam. oh, and don’t forget to BYOB!!!! champagne for mimosas. i will be there, say hello!

    Vegan Brunch

    if you don’t attend, you are crazy.

    the meet market
    3206 W Sunset Blvd (at Descanso)
    Los Angeles, CA 90026

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  • December 15th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, meet market (closed), vegan bakers

    so…i’m sure you’ve already heard that it’s national cupcake day. what better way to celebrate this special time of year then with some of THE BEST vegan cupcakes los angeles has to offer?

    vegan bake sale cupcakes at meet market

    that’s right, trusted quarrygirl friend and favorite vegan bake sale now has cupcakes available to the public in silverlake. all you gotta do is head over to the meet market on sunset at descanso, and these babies are for sale individually!

    the meet market is open on weekdays from 11am-4pm and weekends from 10am-8pm. i know, i know, that means it’s too late to grab a cupcake fix for tonight. but seriously, you should head over there tomorrow before they run out. a vegan cupcake this good that you don’t have to order by the dozen is very hard to come by.

    right now, the meet market is offering pumpkin spice (pictured above), as well as peanut butter and cookies & cream (pictured below). i have never tried the peanut butter flavor, but i can tell you that the pumpkin spice and cookies & cream are MADLY DELICIOUS.

    cookies and cream by vegan bake sale

    get to silverlake. get to the meet market. get some cupcakes. this is stuff that you usually have to order loads at a time. so take advantage.

    the meet market
    3206 W Sunset Blvd (at Descanso)
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    mon-fri 11am-4pm
    sat-sun 10am-8pm

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  • December 13th, 2009quarrygirlflore, LA restaurants

    on some days it’s so cold and rainy out, all you wanna do is huddle inside and mow down a hefty plate of vegan comfort food. yesterday was indeed one of those days. it was storming hard in los angeles, like it does so rarely, and by chance the daily special at flore vegan was a tummy-warming plate of shepard’s pie. when i saw the announcement on twitter, i knew i had to brave the weather and haul ass across town to try this meal. suffice to say, it was worth the trip.

    vegan root vegetable and beef shepard's pie with a sauteed broccoli and carrot side. $10.95

    vegan root vegetable and beef shepard's pie with a sauteed broccoli and carrot side. $10.95

    served in a casserole dish, the shepard’s pie at flore was a mix of milky sauce, thick chunks of soy beef, and hearty vegetables under a layer of creamy partially-mashed potatoes. each layer of this dish was top notch—the meat was salty and chewy, the vegan sauce had a dairy-like richness, and the unpeeled potatoes were soft with a touch of crispy. i have never tasted such a wonderful shepard’s pie.

    oh, and the sauteed vegetables were ridiculously good as well. they were simple—just carrots and broccoli—but were cooked to the point where they were crunchy and oily yet not overly wilted. i am not a huge carrot fan, but i munched these up immediately and was sad when they were gone.

    sauteed vegetables at flore

    while i love the regular menu at flore, this shepard’s pie is above and beyond anything i’ve eaten there before. moral of the story is, be adventurous and try the daily specials. this one was damn good.

    to find out what special flore is offering each day, follow them on twitter.

    flore vegan
    3818 w sunset blvd.
    silverlake ca 90026 (sunset @ hyperion)
    (323) 953-0611

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  • November 24th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, meet market (closed), stores

    vegan roast beef and cheddar sandwich at the meet market

    this week the meet market, a hybrid vegan sandwich and specialty grocery shop, has opened in silverlake in the spot that used to be flore cafe. they have a small but appetizing and reasonably priced hot menu, as well as some grocery shelving and a refrigeration unit full of goodies. i stopped by yesterday to have a look and a taste of what was going down, and i must say i was impressed!

    roast beef and cheddar: "beef" strips with grilled onion, bbq sauce and "cheese" sauce. $5.95

    roast beef and cheddar: "beef" strips with grilled onion, bbq sauce and "cheese" sauce. $5.95

    i ordered the roast beef and cheddar sandwich, which is quite sizable and a total steal at under $6. the thing comes piled with strips of faux meat, grilled onions, and an amazing runny “cheese” sauce. the dude who took my order was super nice, and gave me a cup of water to sip as i looked around the shop and waited for my sandwich.

    although the meet market doesn’t have a ton of groceries right now, they definitely have some good stuff. they have a shelf full of snacky things like tings, have’a corn chips, vegan gummy bears, and soy jerky. they also have a refrigeration case up front filled with staples like kombucha, silk nog, and the non-hydrogenated tofutti cream cheese.

    meet market in los angeles

    i got my food to-go, and when i unwrapped it at home i just couldn’t believe the big beefy and cheesy hot mess staring back at me. it was great. since the vegan spot shut down, there just really hasn’t been a place where you can get fast, hearty comfort food…so this was a real treat.

    vegan roast beef and cheddar

    over the next few weeks, the meet market will continue to grow and offer more and more products. for now though, just drop in and pick up a few of those vegan novelty items that are hard to find, and enjoy their sandwich and salad menu. for now, the meet market has pretty short opening hours (11am – 4pm on weekdays and 11am-8pm on weekends), but let’s hope those expand as well.

    here is a peek at the menu, so you can decide what to order when you visit:

    Meet Market Menu

    oh and BTW, the meet market will continue to do the all you can eat buffets on weekends that flore cafe was famous for. yay!

    the meet market
    3206 W Sunset Blvd (at Descanso)
    Los Angeles, CA 90026

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  • October 22nd, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mooi, naturewell

    who said ice cream couldn’t be raw, vegan, and delicious? the folks over at mooifood have created tons of amazing flavors using ingredients such as coconut meat, agave, and soaked cashews—who would have though such tasty ice cream could come from such simple foods? mooifood’s ice cream is all raw, vegan, organic, soy-free & gluten-free, and is available at naturewell in silverlake by the scoop or half pint.

    blueberry cheesecake

    blueberry cheesecake

    i was lucky enough to receive a sample of 6 of the 9 flavors, and each one was refreshingly tasty. this ice cream strikes the perfect balance between being decadent and healthy…tasting good and not making you feel like crap after eating it. the first flavor i tried was the blueberry cheesecake (pictured above). it was cool, creamy, and filled with tiny chunks of fresh blueberries. i ate it in one of mooifood’s homemade raw vegan cones, which was phenomenal—like a big, thick bendable cookie. i never realized raw food could be such a treat!

    pumpkin (seasonal)

    pumpkin (seasonal)

    the next type of ice cream i tried was the seasonal pumpkin, which was by far my favorite. this was the richest flavor of them all, and tasted like a frozen version of pumpkin pie. it even had a crunchy swirl in the middle, YUM. i don’t know how long the pumpkin ice cream will be around, so you must rush over and try it ASAP! it will totally get you in the mood for the holidays.

    chocolate peanut butter

    chocolate peanut butter

    the chocolate peanut butter swirl variety is pretty decadent as well, made with cacao and sunflower seeds. the creamy chocolate ice cream is filled with big chunks of salty, nutty patches. if you are a peanut butter fan, this really won’t disappoint. and i am definitely a peanut butter fan.

    gingersnap cinnamon cookie dough

    gingersnap cinnamon cookie dough

    again in a raw cone, i tried gingersnap cinnamon flavor, which was packed with big chunks of delicious cookie dough. epically scrumptious!

    maple cornbread

    maple cornbread

    the maple cornbread ice cream was a blend of unique tastes that worked really well together. the real maple syrup flavor was strong throughout and added a perfect sweetness to the cornbread.

    peppermint chocolate chip

    peppermint chocolate chip

    lastly, the peppermint chocolate chip was delicious—ice cream flavored with peppermint oil and littered with cacao nibs. extra minty with just enough chocolate flavor.

    you can find all these mooifood ice creams as well as strawberry banana, vanilla and chocolate at naturewell in silverake. right now they are priced out at $2.25 for one scoop, $3.75 for two scoops, or $4.99 for a half pint. i don’t know if you are used to raw ice cream prices or not, but that is CHEAP compared to other places. if you want even more, you can contact mooifood and get 16oz for $8.99 or 32oz for $14.99!

    if raw food is your thing, you will absolutely love this ice cream. and even if you aren’t much of a raw foodie, this stuff is really impressive…and fairly good for you. it sure won me over. definitely get to naturewell and try some—i suggest pumpkin flavor! 🙂

    naturewell
    3824 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 664-5894

    for more info on mooifood, check out thier website or follow them on twitter!

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  • October 9th, 2009quarrygirlflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants
    flore cafe vegan soul food buffet. all you can eat. $10. (photo courtesy of cuteanddelicious.com)

    flore cafe vegan soul food buffet. all you can eat. $10. (photo courtesy of cuteanddelicious.com)

    hey los angeles vegans, we’ve got some news about one of your local restaurants and some important info about what you should be eating this weekend. it turns out flore cafe has switched up their business model a bit. they are no longer open during normal hours, and are instead bringing us a few bottomless epic vegan feasts each week for just 10 bucks a pop. coming up saturday through monday, flore cafe is hosting three vegan buffets consisting of soul food on saturday, brunch on sunday, and curry on monday. this is gonna get awesome. (btw, do not confuse flore cafe with its sister restaurant flore down the street. flore cafe is at the corner of sunset and descanso!)

    if you are wondering why the picture above is so damn lovely…it’s because i borrowed it from last week’s review of the flore cafe soul food lunch buffet on the cute and delicious blog. the post praises the buffet and asks, “What could be better than all you can eat vegan macaroni and cheese?…The cole slaw was honestly the best slaw I’ve ever had in my life…It was fresh, crunchy and sweet. So good.”

    while flore cafe is still around (they not be for long), you should really take advantage of their ten buck all you can eat deals…starting with this weekend. saturday you have the amazing soul food deal as raved about above, sunday you have the incredible brunch that we have blogged about several times before, and monday you have an all new indian dinner that sounds pretty damn exciting to me.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Yesterday we brought you a list of the 5 best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. But if a 100% vegan eatery isn’t on the cards for whatever reason, LA has a superb selection of vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants, some of which rival or exceed the offerings available at vegan-only establishments. From a 60s-era hippie health-food store to a moderne hipster hangout, LA has it all. Check out our top five vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants and please let us know in the comments if you think any don’t deserve the list, or you have a favorite that should be on it.

    Follow Your Heart

    Psychedelia. Woodstock. Topanga Canyon. Flower Power. Tie Dye. We have many things to thank the late 60s for, and Follow Your Heart is one of them. This amazing vegetarian oasis, established in 1970 in Canoga Park, has LA’s premier (= only) vegetarian grocery store with a TON of vegan products (some of which can’t be purchased anywhere else). Not only that, it has a cosy restaurant and patio where some of LA’s finest vegan food is waiting for you.

    Vegan Reuben at Follow Your Heart

    Vegan Reuben at Follow Your Heart

    Don’t miss the Reuben Sandwich (make sure you ask for extra 1,000 island dressing), as a human being has to try this out at least once in their life! There are many, many dishes with home made fake meats, and vegan entrees such as breakfast burritos, benedicts etc. Follow Your Heart does a SUPER job with the restaurant food and you pretty much can’t go wrong. If you’re averse to honey (hopefully you are, bees are cool), the buns have honey in them, so be sure to order your delicious burger on VEGAN bread.

    Fatty’s & Co

    Fatty’s is an interesting place. So overtly pretentious, yet with honest down-to-earth food items you can’t get anywhere else it’s a somewhat strange place to dine. If you walk in when the place is empty, the greeter will give you a hard time because you didn’t make a reservation, but when you’re seated in this pristine restaurant with cavernous ceilings you will be served some truly special food.

    Vegan Chartreuse at Fatty's & Co

    Vegan Chartreuse at Fatty's & Co

    After wading through a pretty dairy-heavy menu, there are some vegan wonders which await. Half the appetizers are vegan and run the gamut from bread and oil (very special, bread and oil, I might add) through blackened tempeh to more obscure things like “far east rolls” including non-meat chicken. This is a place with powerful entrees as well — get the vegan paella, ravioli, sloppy joe or chartruese for a throughly different and high quality experience. There are also some rare deserts, including a cotton candy that’s only available if a certain person is in the restaurant (Mrs. Dingle, I kid you not). Eat here when you really want to impress a date or experience vegan fine dining to the fullest.

    Flore Cafe

    Like a phoenix from the ashes, Flore Cafe rose from the amazing Vegan Spot, my favorite ever vegan restaurant. Despite a rocky existence (after the abrupt closing of Vegan Spot I firmly expected this place to be shuttered when I next visit), Flore Cafe has some great vegan food that’s served fast and of very high quality. Almost totally vegan except for a few egg and dairy items, Flore Cafe is unlikely to disappoint. Plus, they really raise the bar with their excellent “all you can eat deals”—from their regular Sunday $10 brunch, to their special event buffets—they give us several reasons to watch them closely.

    Tofu Scramble at Flore Cafe

    Tofu Scramble at Flore Cafe

    The tofu scramble (if you’re really lucky you’ll be eating that at one of the botomless Sunday brunches) is some of the best in town, along with the breakfast burritos, burgers and salads with seitan. Also, their fake tuna a.k.a. “tu-no” is awesome — especially when served on the tu-no melt. Like its sister restaurant Flore (located just 1/2 mile away), Flore Cafe offers organic meat-free menu with fresh ingredients and attention to detail, yet the restaurant is rarely crowded. Not the best place to dine in, but great for a quick snack or take-out feast.

    Cinnamon

    Californian-style Mexican food can be well prepared with vegetarian or vegan ingredients, and Cinnamon has perfected the art. Situated in a nondescript single-frontage store in Highland Park, Cinnamon has a warm, family atmosphere in common with all the best Mexican restaurants. Most times, the owner will be there to personally advise on her menu creations as well as supervise the kitchen. With a huge menu of high quality food items, you basically can’t go wrong.

    Chorizo and Tofu Tacos at Cinnamon Vegetarian

    Chorizo and Tofu Tacos at Cinnamon Vegetarian

    Although a vegetarian restaurant, pretty much anything can be veganized or is already vegan. Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, all the regular Californian-style Mexican food is well represented as well more authentic stuff such as tamales, mole and empanadas. You got your mock meats, spicy black beans, fresh and crunchy vegetables and the typical sauces — all optionally vegan. Cinnamon proves that great Mexican food can be made vegan.You can eat here with a clear conscience because you KNOW the rice has no chicken broth and the refried beans no lard. Check it out…. you really won’t be sorry.

    Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

    While our friends at Cinnamon excel at vegetarian Mexican-style food, Paru’s knocks the ball out of the park with vegetarian Indian food. Since the 1970s, Parus has been quietly plugging away, serving some of the best Indian food this side of Brick Lane. With a strict policy on preparing vegan food separately in the kitchen, they are to be trusted with our veganocity. The place is a little foreboding upon arrival. It seems like you’re entering a bail bond office or brothel in a sketchy part of town (they buzz you in), but once past the reinforced door you’re in a private patio that leads to an intimate restaurant.

    Punjab Glory at Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

    Punjab Glory at Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

    All but a couple of the menu items are either vegan or can be prepared vegan, and the best bet is to get a few side orders with some rice and bread. It’ll cost you a lot less than the signature dishes, and is a great way to experience the variety of food Paru’s has to offer. Get the dosa (puffy bread that looks like a deflating balloon), bonda (fried potato balls) and one of the lentil dishes. Paru’s is a welcome break from our fake-meat-tofu world as they make everything by hand from vegetables and legumes. That’s a rare thing these days.

    Honorable mentions: Bulan Thai, The Spot, Nite Moon Cafe

    Tomorrow, we’ll be presenting the Top Five LA vegan-friendly omnivorous restaurants. Stay tuned!

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  • September 22nd, 2009quarrygirlflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants

    flore-cafe-ext-570x426

    hey los angeles vegans, this just in! saturday through monday, flore cafe (3206 w. sunset blvd) will be hosting 3 vegan all-you-can-eat events! they are each $10 per person, what a deal. i highly suggest you get over there and fill up your plate like 80,000 times. here are the menus:

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • September 17th, 2009quarrygirlflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants

    what: all you can eat vegan brunch for only $10
    when: every sunday from 10am-3pm (starting this sunday!)
    where: flore cafe in silverlake!

    the sunday vegan brunch is BACK

    the sunday vegan brunch is BACK

    hey y’all, i got some good news! cancel your plans this sunday and make a date with flore cafe’s all-you-can-eat $10 vegan brunch!

    that’s right, our favorite breakfast deal in town is back. ever since it first started, we have been massive fans of flore cafe’s vegan buffet brunch on sundays from 10am-3pm. we were super disappointed when they canned it due to lack of customers, and now we are super excited that they’ve decided to bring it back.

    as we mentioned last week, flore cafe has been struggling…and this is yet another reason to go support them. they have decided to start up the all-you-can eat vegan brunch again every sunday for just $10, for as long as they can.

    if you haven’t heard…the bottomless tofu scramble, unlimited french toast, endless vegan sausage and refillable coffee at this brunch are all top notch. the best breakfast in town, by far.

    SEE YOU SUNDAY. GET THERE, OR SUCK AT LIFE. and don’t wait around, they may run outta food!

    flore cafe
    3206 W Sunset Blvd (at Descanso…not to be confused with Flore at Sunset Junction)
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 667-0116
    open daily 10am-5pm

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  • September 9th, 2009mr meanerflore cafe (closed), LA restaurants

    Every so often in the LA vegan scene I run into somebody that says “You know, I wish I’d eaten at The Vegan Spot before it closed down”. Well, Los Angeles vegans, its successor restaurant Flore Cafe (sister restaurant to the amazing Flore) is in need of our attention once again.

    Most LA vegans would put the esteemed Silverlake restaurant Flore in their top five vegan dining options in the city. An innovative menu, all-organic ingredients and incredible attention to detail in both the preparation and presentation of the food really sets it apart from places like Cafe Flourish (fast dining, limited menu). If only parking was easier in Silverlake, we’d probably visit Flore a whole lot more than we do.

    Well, rising from the ashes of The Vegan Spot (my favorite ever LA vegan restaurant) just half a mile or so away from Flore is Flore Cafe. While owned by the same people as Flore, the Cafe is not entirely vegan (having eggs and milk products on the menu), but it serves many similar menu items as its sister restaurant a few blocks south – all organic, all very well thought out and all absolutely wonderfully prepared.

    On a recent visit to Flore Cafe, we decided to order the Avocado and Seitan Salad and Tempeh Tu-no Melt – boy, we were not disappointed.

    Avocado & Seitan Salad: Bed of mixed greens with sliced avocado, sprouts, grilled seitan, tomato and red onion. Served with choice of vinaigrette or tahini dressing. $9.95

    Avocado & Seitan Salad: Bed of mixed greens with sliced avocado, sprouts, grilled seitan, tomato and red onion. Served with choice of vinaigrette or tahini dressing. $9.95

    The salad was crispy and fresh, perfectly prepared and the seitan was some of the best I’ve ever had (I don’t know how Flore make their seitan, but I wish I could make it the way they do!). In addition to the amazing seitan, all the ingredients in the salad were top notch. At first, nearly $10 seemed like a lot to pay for a salad…but when this bowl arrived overflowing with wheat meat and fresh produce, $10 seemed like a bargain. The tahini dressing was deliciously creamy as well, I couldn’t fault anything about this dish.

    Tempeh Tu-no Melt: Tempeh salad, daikon sprouts and cashew cheese layered on organic seeded six grain bread grilled to warm, soulful perfection. Served with a mixed green salad. $8.95

    Tempeh Tu-no Melt: Tempeh salad, daikon sprouts and cashew cheese layered on organic seeded six grain bread grilled to warm, soulful perfection. Served with a mixed green salad. $8.95

    The Tempeh Tu-no Melt was also truly outstanding – a well filled toasted sandwich with a sizable side of equally crispy salad. The melt was stuffed with a creamy and chunky tempeh salad mixture, with just the right amount of crunch. It tasted amazing all mixed up with Flore’s flavorful cashew cheese and the slightly sour daikon sprouts. Like the seitan salad, this melt was enormous. Each half was packed with a ton of tempeh; we ended up taking half of it home for a later meal.

    flore-cafe-tuno-melt-wide

    Flore Cafe has a great menu, with tons of options, considering how small the place is. Whether you are in the mood for a full on breakfast, a hearty burger, a toasted sandwich or a burrito…Flore Cafe is your place. Here are just a few of the other things we’ve eaten there. If you are a reader of this blog, you’ve probably seen these pix before:

    Smokey Seitan & Portobello Burger: served with red onion, lettuce, tomato, vegenaise and a side salad. $9.95

    Smokey Seitan & Portobello Burger: served with red onion, lettuce, tomato, vegenaise and a side salad. $9.95

    Flore Cafe offers 4 types of veggie burgers. I highly recommend the seitan and portobello burger—a large patty made of wheat meat and mushrooms all topped off with loads of vegetables.

    Tofu Scramble: Tofu, tomato, basil, mushroom, red onion & spinach. $6.95

    Tofu Scramble: Tofu, tomato, basil, mushroom, red onion & spinach. $6.95

    The tofu scramble at Flore Cafe is one of the best breakfast dishes in Los Angeles, and just about the only vegan one I can think for under $7. It comes with mounds of chunky tofu mixed with spinach and mushrooms, as well as a generous helping of tomato and avocado. Goes great with hot sauce.

    Breakfast Burrito: Tofu scramble, cashew cheese, potatoes, avocado and pico de gallo ina whole wheat tortilla. Served with a side of fruit. $6.95

    Breakfast Burrito: Tofu scramble, cashew cheese, potatoes, avocado and pico de gallo ina whole wheat tortilla. Served with a side of fruit. $6.95

    The breakfast burrito is also a good deal at $6.95—lots of perfectly cooked tofu, potatoes and avocado rolled up tight in an oversized tortilla.

    I know we have given them flack before on this blog for serving eggs and dairy, but I’d strongly recommend visiting Flore Cafe both in the near future and on a regular basis. Like so many tiny businesses these days the economy isn’t on its side so all the help we can give Flore Cafe to remain on our list as a superb restaurant with a bunch of vegan options will, I’m sure, be much appreciated.

    Let’s not lose the entire menu from Flore Cafe due to closure or reassignment of the lease to an omnivorous establishment. We’ve already seen Vegan Spot go away, as well as Flore Cafe cease offering LA’s best ever vegan breakfast deal: the “all you can eat” sunday breakfast brunch. Go pay Flore Cafe a visit… today!

    Flore Cafe
    3206 W Sunset Blvd (at Descanso…not to be confused with Flore at Sunset Junction)
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 667-0116

    open daily 10am-5pm

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  • June 24th, 2009quarrygirlflore, LA restaurants

    there’s something weird going on with vegans and reuben sandwiches. i have never actually even had a ‘real’ reuben sandwich, but it seems that there’s obsession with them in the vegan community. vegan chefs i know are obsessed with making them, they are huge topics on most vegan blogs, and my vegan friends from other cities have the reuben itch as well. what is all the fuss about some mock meat, soy cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing?! i mean really!? i had to find out. after hearing all this reuben talk everywhere i went, i decided i better get with the program and order one of these suckers for myself from one of los angeles’ favorite vegan-reuben-serving joints, flore on sunset.

    tempeh reuben: grilled reuben sandwich served on organic corn rye with layers of tofu cheese, cashew cheese, tempeh, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. served with your choice of side. $9.95

    tempeh reuben: grilled reuben sandwich served on organic corn rye with layers of tofu cheese, cashew cheese, tempeh, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. served with your choice of side. $9.95

    holy crap. one bite of this thing, and i started to understand why everyone makes a big deal over these sandwiches. flore’s tempeh reuben was served up on flavorful rye bread, grilled on both sides, and stuffed with bits of tempeh & 2 kinds of ‘cheese’. the sauerkraut and thousand island dressing complimented each other perfectly, making for a winning sweet/sour combination. this sandwich was fucking bomb. much better than i expected it to be.

    flore-tempeh-reuben-cu

    while the sandwich was regular-sized, by no means large (especially for $9.95), it was packed with so much rich flavor that i was completely stuffed after eating just half of it. i threw the other half on the panini press for breakfast the next day, and it was even better than the night before. i can’t really speak on vegan reubens in general, but i can tell you flore’s tempeh rueben is an a+. i’m looking forward to ordering this warm, comforting sandwich again in the very near future.

    flore vegan cuisine
    3818 W. Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
    (323) 953-0611
    Tue-Fri. 11:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
    Sat-Sun. 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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  • April 29th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, lucifer's pizza

    UPDATE: since the time of this post, Lucifer’s has CHANGED THEIR WAYS. They now offer 100% VEGAN PIZZA made with Teese Cheese! YAY!

    Sigh. Our mission for quarrygirl.com was never to serially expose vegan establishments that are mistaken and neglectful, but we just can’t let it slip when somebody repeatedly tells us something is vegan, and it turns out not to be. The latest offender is Lucifer’s Pizza in Silver Lake. Sadly, they are a business that covers up the truth, and blatantly lies in the face of honest questions. Here’s the sad story.

    A few weeks ago, vegans on twitter were buzzing about Lucifer’s Pizza offering vegan cheese as an addition to their regular milk-based offerings. Apparently, they were dropping off flyers to homes and businesses proudly proclaiming “VEGAN CHEESE!” as an offering for only $2 more on a large pizza.

    As soon as we found out, I called to order a pizza for pick-up, and the person answering the ‘phone confirmed “Oh, yes, we’ve had vegan cheese for a while!”. I asked what brand it was, and for a list of ingredients. After some persuasion the lady (who didn’t know the answers off-hand) got a pack of the cheese and started to list the ingredients, one of the first of which was “casein – a milk protein”. I stopped her right there, and asked if she was sure that was the vegan cheese. She said “Yes, this is what we put on vegan pizzas”. After informing her that cheese was not vegan, she said “oh, I just work here”, and hung up.

    Next step was to give Lucifer’s the benefit of the doubt, and so we filled in the contact form on the website saying that the “vegan cheese” was not vegan, and that they should just advertise it as “soy cheese,” or offer a casein-free alternative. A representative from Lucifer’s named Adam replied, as follows:

    On Apr 26, 2009, at 4:41 PM, adam@luciferspizza.com wrote:

    Hi There,

    Thanks for your e-mail. It only came to my attention on thursday
    that there was casein in the cheese. We had been told infatically from our
    supplier that this was Vegan cheese. I have spoken to them and they realised
    they have made a mistake. We will have 100% vegan cheese delivered to our
    store tomorrow. Obviously we take this very seriously, My Partner is Vegan
    and I fully understand the importance of having a great Vegan option.

    Again thanks for the e-mail.
    Kind Regards
    Adam

    I mean, seriously, it appeared to be such a nice and honest response. We had not only an apology but also a resolution – vegan cheese would be arriving “tomorrow”, meaning Monday 27th April. With Adam’s partner being a vegan we had every reason to trust what he said. Although, the response seemed a little too self-effacing and insincere. If I was a vegan, with a partner who ran a pizza parlor with a vegan cheese option I’d probably want to know what brand of vegan cheese he was serving… wouldn’t you?

    We responded that it was GREAT news they were going to be offering “100% vegan cheese” and suggested they check out Teese as an option, considering how amazing it is on our favorite pizzas in town.

    We decided that Wednesday would be our big night out in Silverlake. We planned to go to a bar first, and then pay Lucifer’s a visit. Before we planned an evening around vegan pizza, we thought we’d call and check one last time. After our initial call was terminated by a frustrated worker: “They told me it’s VEGAN, OK?”, we called back a while later and had the following exchange:

    quarrygirl: hi, i’d like to find out what kind of vegan cheese you use.
    lucifers: it’s a soy based cheese from the roma supplier, i don’t know the brand, but it’s 100% vegan.
    quarrygirl: oh, are you sure? does it have casein in it, because casein is a milk—-
    lucifers: —-no, it doesn’t contain casein. we had a cheese that did, but this is a new casein-free cheese from our supplier. it came in today. i just don’t know the brand. but there is no casein.
    quarrygirl: thanks, we’ll be in tomorrow for a vegan pizza!
    lucifers: see you then

    Again, how much more reassuring could they be? Learning about what we vegans can eat is a rocky road, but we’re happy to work with food suppliers to help them get there. The fact he offered the information about casein really set our minds at ease. So, Wednesday night we had a beer at the Silverlake local Ye Rustic Inn before walking to Lucifer’s hungry as hell and looking forward to vegan pizza.

    We ordered a large pizza, with vegan cheese, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes. As the guy taking the order was ringing it up, we engaged in a dialog as follows:

    quarrygirl: hey – have a quick question before you make the pizza. Is your cheese completely vegan?
    lucifers: yes, it’s a soy-based vegan cheese
    quarrygirl: that’s great. Would you mind bringing out the package so we could check it’s vegan?
    lucifers: sure thing, hold on.
    [brings large box of “soy cheese” from cooler in the back of the kitchen]
    quarrygirl: that says “soy cheese” – could you read out the ingredients?
    [tips the box toward me, where the ingredients are clearly visible, and starts reading]
    lucifers: soy protein, water, casein (a milk protein)….
    quarrygirl: hold on a sec, that’s not vegan cheese. Are you sure this is what you put on vegan pizzas?
    lucifers: yeah, this is what we put on it
    quarrygirl: but that’s not vegan…
    [turns to cash register, clearly annoyed]
    lucifers: —sorry, guys, goodnight then!

    Sorry indeed. And we’re sorry to break it to so many vegans that have been eating milk at Lucifer’s…. they are LIARS, CHEATS and care not about their customers. I have no doubt that they treat all their customers with such disrespect, be they omnivores or vegans.

    I could understand how somebody on a cash register, or taking my order over the ‘phone might be confused about what’s vegan, but Adam, who answers the website queries and feigns such vegan understanding should know better. He lied to us twice, his staff lied to us three times more and they have lied to and misled many vegans since they have been serving “vegan” cheese.

    lucifers-pizza

    Note to Adam’s partner: leave a comment with your email address and we’ll hook you up with a real vegan, not one that lies and doesn’t train his staff properly. If, that is, vegan partner you actually exist and are not just another Lucifer’s lie.

    While Lucifer’s Pizza might be in hell, Purgatory Pizza is closer to heaven in every way (stick to them from now on!).

    UPDATE: THIS JUST IN:

    From: adam@luciferspizza.com
    Date: April 30, 2009 10:47:36 AM PDT
    Subject: RE: Vegan cheese
    Hi,

    The cheese arrived, however to my shock and disappointment with my supplier,
    it also contained Casein. We have pulled the cheese off the shelf and are
    only selling regular pizza until we can get our shipment of the Tease Cheese
    you recommended. I have ordered it yesterday so hopefully it will arrive in
    the next few days. It’s so frustrating that the suppliers are not on top of
    this, and that they are misleading the customers. I feel terrible about this
    especially as we have unknowingly served a product that is not 100% vegan.

    I will be in touch with you as soon as the cheese arrives. I will have you
    come in for a free meal to say thanks for all you help with this.

    Kind regards

    Adam

    Seems genuine enough, but a really genuine move would have been to remove the pizza from the shelf weeks ago when it was first reported, don’t you think Adam? Plus, we called Lucifer’s twice after receiving this email, and they were still selling casein cheese as vegan.

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  • When you eat food that was prepared by somebody else, you’re entering into an unwritten contract of trust that is centuries old. On a base level, you’re trusting that the food preparer took all the necessary steps to ensure that what you’re about to eat was made with ingredients that are wholesome (not contaminated, past a use-by date etc.) and prepared in an environment that’s clean and sanitary. For us vegans, especially when dining in an omnivorous establishment, we’re also trusting that our food is animal free – something we take very seriously.

    The ultimate slap in the face, though, is to be served food under the guise of it being vegan, only to find out that it not only contains animal products but was prepared on equipment so dirty that it’s a clear health hazard and contravenes a number of health codes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: the non-vegan donuts cooked in a filthy deep-fat fryer.

    Let’s first examine the non-vegan nature of the ingredients. We understand, from two eye-witnesses that the sprinkles for the donuts contain “Confectioner’s Glaze”, or Shellac, which is made from the secretion of the lac insect (the manufacturing process involves keeping thousands of insects under warm lamps so that they secrete like crazy until they die from heat exhaustion after only a few hours). The resulting secretion turns into a hard, shell-like compound when cooled (hence the name Shellac – Shell from the Lac insect) and is the coating on the sprinkles of Dee’s Donuts. Nice, huh?

    Now, there are plenty of non-shellac sprinkles available – however, they are more expensive than the regular kind and more difficult to obtain. Still, not impossible and by no means prohibitively expensive as a simple search on the Web will confirm.

    the donut machine that makes dee's donuts

    the donut machine that makes dee's donuts (also note the layer of dust next to the oil underneath. YUCK)

    Now, what about the dirty preparation conditions? You probably know that donuts have to be deep fried – this is what gives them an utterly decadent flavor, as the combination of sugar and oil wrapped up in a crispy surface tastes just great! You probably don’t want to know, though, the details of how to maintain and care for a professional deep fat frying machine, and apparently neither does the person who makes Dee’s Donuts.

    In a restaurant I frequent regularly, along the main corridor between the dining area and the restroom, is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen: the deep fat fryer used by Dee’s Donuts. To be honest, I thought that it was a piece of scrap kitchen equipment that was discarded and ready to be taken away as junk and even joked as much with the person who owns the kitchen. Apparently, Dee’s Donuts rent the restaurant kitchen early in the morning to make the donuts, and then leave the fryer for 20 hours, in a main corridor completely uncovered.

    Kitchen health rules (and common sense) state that fryers must be covered when not being used, as cold oil is very sticky and attracts flies, hair, insects, dander and fluff. Every fryer I’ve ever seen has a cover that’s put in place when the kitchen closes, and then removed when the oil is heated up for the next shift. Sadly, Dee’s Bakery and Donuts don’t think us vegans are worth protecting and leave a dirty fryer open for many, many hours so it can absorb god knows what crap before being used again for the next batch of donuts. I took a close look at the surface of the oil with a flashlight, and could see plenty of hair fibers and what appeared to be a small black fly that had obviously flown to the fryer, attracted by the smell only to meet a sticky death before being cooked into a donut that some unsuspecting person would eat the next day.

    donut-maker

    This harks back to a comment one LA vegan made some time ago that there was “a hair” stuck in the coating of his donut. No fucking wonder! And, I’m absolutely serious about all this — the photographic evidence proves it, as well as several eye witness accounts of the fryer’s neglect.

    These days, it’s cool to be a vegan baker — seems like everybody is doing it (Dee’s Donuts were even featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show). An avalanche of decadent vegan products is a welcome addition to our diets (in moderation, of course!) and really helps dispel the myth that we vegans live on cabbage and tofu. However, it’s one thing to be too cool for school and create something vegan, and another to be responsible enough to ensure that you keep your side of the unwritten contract of common decency.

    I’d urge Dee’s Bakery and Donuts customers (Intelligentsia, Locali, Café Muse, Café De Leche and others) to stop carrying the products immediately and pull anything unsold out of the desert case and put it into the trash where it belongs. If you’re in one of those establishments and you see Dee’s Donuts baked goods for sale tell them about the hair and fly-filled fryer and insect secretions.

    I’ve eaten several Dee’s Donuts over the past few months, and even given them to vegan friends. After seeing that fryer and reading about shellac I really feel like I want to puke. Dee’s Bakery and Donuts: you really let us all down. Thanks for sidling up to the vegan community of LA (this blog included) for a bunch of free publicity and a lot of love and hope from us, in return to feed us insect secretions, flies and hairs. Thank you very fucking much.

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