• 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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  • September 17th, 2011quarrygirleureka, more restaurants (not LA)

    heyo! today we’re bringing you a field report on soul food in northern cali. who doesn’t LOVE soul food? nobody! now sit back and enjoy this post about bless my soul in eureka…courtesy of field reporter, “righteous fist”!

    Stopping off in Eureka on my way up the coast my Happy Cow app (which I’m grateful for) lead me to Bless My Soul Café, a small soul food spot on 5th street that serves both meat and veg options.

    I opted for the “Veggie Plate” with sweet potato and collard greens…

    veggie plate (vegan): red beans and rice and a choice of 2 veggie sides, salad and corn muffin. $12.95

    And my mom who went on this adventure with me ordered the same but with different sides (creole corn and sautéed cabbage)washed down with their very own secret recipe sweet tea…

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  • August 10th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    there’s an old 80’s pop song that says heaven is a place on earth—and if that’s the truth, then it must be referring to portland. the city is a sylvan paradise with more vegan restaurants than i could eat at in a lifetime, and a brewery on almost every corner.

    the food options are so plentiful, they can actually be a bit overwhelming…so trust me on this one: all vegans visiting portland must eat at homegrown smoker.

    the small vegan soul food cart in the university district keeps limited lunch hours, but it’s worth planning your trip around. the menu is massive (click here to peep it) with all kinds of crazy creations like a mac and cheese burrito, chili cheese fries, and smoked “loafaroni”.

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  • August 5th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, larkin's

    SO SAD! i loved their spicy walnut vegan mac n cheese, and i never had a chance to try their chix pot pie!

    turns out the vegan-friendly menu we raved about at larkin’s in eagle rock has been canceled due to lack of demand. a reader wrote into us and said that her server at larkin’s encouraged her to call the restaurant and ask for vegan options—maybe they’ll bring them back. i already put in my phone call!

    for now, the soul food joint still has at least one vegan-friendly option…

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  • January 20th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, larkin's

    UPDATE: larkin’s has discontinued their vegan menu! sad, sad.

    los angeles vegans are in for a treat! as of last week larkin’s, a popular contemporary soul food restaurant in eagle rock, has introduced a brand new green menu which is almost entirely vegan. i first found out about this from our resident QG writer brittany, who was forwarded an email about the launch of the menu by a co-worker. britt and i decided we had to check larkin’s out for ourselves, to see how good the new vegan options at this meaty soul food restaurant could be. i’m happy to report that we were not disappointed!

    entering larkin’s is like stepping back in time; vintage posters adorn the walls and drinks are served in old school jelly jars. it really feels like you’re eating in someone’s living room—in fact larkin’s looks like one big house that’s been converted into a restaurant…complete with deck/patio dining!

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  • October 29th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan village cafe

    another one bites the dust. we are sad to report that this weekend, LA’s last remaining vegan soul food joint, vegan village cafe will be closing its doors. we went there a couple times and thought it was awesome, so this is very bad news indeed.

    i called vegan village earlier today, and the person on the phone told me that they are slated to close this weekend, with their last opening hours to be sunday fron 11am to 6pm. she hinted that they may open again in the future, but no promises. she also said that the owner was sad to have to close the place down, so they were hoping for lots of folks to come out on sunday.

    soul plate: your choice of fried fish or chicken with candied yams, greens and buttered corn. $13.95

    my advice: CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN WITH SOME VEGAN SOUL FOOD! this may be your last chance to ever eat at vegan village cafe, and from what i hear, they are ready to PARTY this weekend. lemme suggest the mac and cheese OR anything containing soy fried chicken. lemme re-iterate, this is THE LAST VEGAN SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT IN LA. we have been sleeping on the job by letting places like this go under.

    don’t let this chance pass you by. it’s just so sad to see another vegan restaurant closing. 🙁

    vegan village cafe
    4061 w pico blvd
    los angeles ca 90019

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  • September 20th, 2010quarrygirlbay area, more restaurants (not LA)

    i’ve eaten at countless restaurants all over the country, and if you were to ask me to name my favorites, souley vegan would be near the top of that list.

    the modest oakland eatery is miles ahead of most of the places we have here in los angeles, what with its home cooked animal-free menu, fried food sensibilities, friendly service, and spacious interior. we hit up the northern california soul food joint recently with laura of vegansaurus fame, and it was a meal to remember.

    the menu at souley is on this huge chalkboard posted on the wall, and is a little intimidating at first glance. it’s hard to believe that so much vegan goodness exists under one roof.

    click to enlarge

    they’ve got everything from collard greens to southern fried tofu, and prices range from 6 bucks per dish to 8 bucks for 2 dishes, and increasingly better value right up to the “everything plate,” which includes almost every side dish available for $19. naturally, that’s what we ordered.

    the everything plate is one huge platter stacked up with collard greens, cornbread, black eye peas, southern fried tofu, lentils, potato salad, bbq tofu, mac n cheese, and yams. to call it epic would be an understatement. you can see it pictured at the top of the post from one angle…and below is a shot of it from behind.

    the everything plate: collard greens, cornbread, black eye peas, southern fried tofu, lentils, potato salad, bbq tofu, mac-n-cheese, and yams (YES, those are YAMS, you sicko!) $19

    make no mistake—those orange things are yams, okay?! anyways, this plate was amazing. where do i start? the bbq tofu was well-seasoned and sweet, while the mac and cheese was mild but extra gooey and velvety. the lentils were earthy and tasted great all mixed up with the collard greens (which you can’t even see, because there was so much food on the plate). the potato salad was so damn creamy, i had a hard time believing it was vegan…and the cornbread was like a delicious oily sponge. for an extra $6, you can add fried okra along with beans and rice to your order, but we simply didn’t have room for that. next time!

    southern fried tofu. $6

    not knowing how much food would arrive, we also got a side of the southern fried tofu on its own. this proved to be a good decision though, because the this tofu was definitely one of the most delicious things on the table. all coated in batter and fried up in a fantastic blend of spices, the skin on this stuff was probably half an inch thick. i’m so glad they served it on a piece of lettuce, because that totally makes this meal healthy, right?

    the crispy. $6. plus $2 per side.

    laura was all about ordering the “crispy,” a fried tofu sandwich that she said is one of the best things she’s ever eaten in her life. it came with the same beautiful hunk of tofu we ordered along with condiments and toppings on a bread roll for 6 bucks. you can add sides to your sandwich for just $2 each…so i think next time i am gonna go with this option rather than the everything plate.

    inside, souley vegan is nice and roomy with two separate seating areas to choose from. it was empty when we were there (at around 11am), but we were told to get there early because the place can get packed. with food this good, i don’t doubt it.

    if you are ever in the bay area, souley vegan is a MUST VISIT. it’s just a short train ride from san francisco, and the restaurant is walkable from the station. deep fried vegan has never tasted so good!

    souley vegan
    301 Broadway
    Oakland, CA 94607-3804
    (510) 922-1615

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  • October 30th, 2009quarrygirla taste of life, farmers market, LA restaurants

    a taste of life vegan breakfast sandwich

    if there’s one reason to drag your ass out of bed before noon on a sunday morning, it’s this breakfast sandwich from a taste of life. that’s right, the makers of the best vegan soul food in los angeles have also created LA’s best vegan mcmuffin—a soft gooey faux sausage and tofu biscuit complete with deliciously creamy cheese. although the restaurant recently closed its storefront, they are still serving food at the hollywood farmers market every sunday from 8:30am to 1:30pm…the only catch is, these hot little muffins tend to sell out. when i arrived last weekend at around 10:30am, there were still several left, but i heard that by 11:30 they were all gone.

    vegan breakfast sandwich: sausage, tofu, and cheese on a fluffy muffin. $5

    vegan breakfast sandwich: sausage, tofu, and cheese on a fluffy muffin. $5

    damn, i can’t even tell you guys how much i loved this thing. i unwrapped my sandwich and ate it right there in the street, and it was honestly one of the best breakfasts i’ve had in my life. the biscuit was incredibly soft and fluffy, the sausage was hearty and meaty, and the tofu was soft in the middle and nicely browned on the outside. oh, and the CHEESE….the cheese was just amazing. it’s the same stuff that a taste of life puts in their vegan macaroni and cheese, which is the best in LA.

    vegan mcmuffin from a taste of life

    there is absolutely nothing lacking or meh about this sandwich. it’s seriously decadent, perfectly greasy, and not “vegan-tasting” in any way. my only advice would be to order a drink as well, because this thing made me seriously thirsty. i know i will be returning to the farmers market and buying these on a regular basis…they are total vegan crack as far as i’m concerned.

    so who is getting up early on sunday morning to eat the best vegan breakfast sandwich in los angeles? trust me, it’s worth it.

    a taste of life
    at the hollywood farmer’s market
    northern side of selma between vine & ivar

    PS: special thanks to brittany from sick of lettuce for telling me about this breakfast sandwich. without her, i wouldn’t know it existed, and my life would suck slightly more.

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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.

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  • October 5th, 2009quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants


    it with much regret that i bring you the bad news that one of our favorite restaurants in los angeles , a taste of life, has closed down its storefront. the entirely vegan soul food restaurant has been a staple of LA meatless cuisine, serving up the best milk-free mac and cheese in town, southern black eyed peas, sweet bbq tofu, and amazingly flavorful greens. plus loads of other items such as burgers, sandwiches, lasagna and “secret” off-the-menu delights like fried pot roast and gyro meat. the portions were huge, the prices were decent, and the food was amazing. i know that hundreds of vegans agree with me when i say a taste of life will be sorely missed.

    the good news is…you can still get a taste of life’s amazing food in the pre-packaged section at several stores around town, and many of their hot menu items (see the combo pictured above) are available every sunday from their booth at the hollywood farmers market.

    before officially announcing all this on the blog, i did get a few emails, comments, and friends telling me that a taste of life had closed down its storefront. hoping it wasn’t true, i contacted a taste of life, and received this statement from the restaurant:

    Quarrygirl, what’s up? Long time. Well, I got bad news and good news…Bad news first–sadly the rumor is true. We have closed the restaurant. It just got really slow and of course the area it was in didn’t help. Good news–we are still providing our foods in several ways: Retail, catering, meal plans (coming in November), holiday catering (for the holiday season), personal chef services. Vegetarian/ Vegan consumer trends suggest that people are leaning more towards chilled and frozen prepared foods so we decided to move towards the trend. The economy is tricky. So yes, you can still have your beloved mac and cheese…We still cook out of the kitchen. Thanks for reaching out! Oh, we’re doing cooking classes too starting in November. I’m sure you’ll spread the word. Thanks dear!

    they also sent me this handy flyer, with a list of where you can still find a taste of life’s delicious food.


    so there you have it. it’s a sad day in the los angeles vegan world, and we are hoping a taste of life finds a way to re-open. until then, don’t miss your chance to get their soul food combo at the hollywood farmers market, and buy their prepared foods (mac and cheese!!!) at your local store. also, if any of you crazy kids plan on getting married, i hear they are great at catering weddings!

    a taste of life vegan soul food combo. with some of the best mac and cheese i've EVER tasted.

    a taste of life vegan soul food combo. with some of the best mac and cheese i've EVER tasted.

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  • May 5th, 2009quarrygirlcafe flourish (closed), LA restaurants

    i know that only yesterday we broke the news of a brand new vegan restaurant in los angeles. well, today we have one more recently-opened, cruelty-free eatery to report: cafe flourish located on wilshire at cloverdale. hell yeah, miracle mile finally has it’s own 100% vegan establishment, and it has officially come out of the gates swingin. i got a tip about cafe flourish from a reader called “mc”, and naturally i dragged one of my co-workers there to check it out immediately. although the cafe has just been in business a couple of weeks old and only offers a ‘limited opening menu,’ there was a buzzing lunch crowd when we visited, and the food was pretty impressive.

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    flourish plate: southern macro plate. pinto beans, long-grain brown rice & sauteed kale with a delicious creamy sauce & a gluten-free corn muffin. $9.95

    for just a soft opening menu, cafe flourish sure offers a ton of mouth-watering selections, and i had a tough time deciding what to order. from a rueben, to a quesadilla, to a french dip, to a burrito, to jackfruit tacos, and assorted pizzas, there was more than enough food to choose from. i settled on the “flourish plate” because it sound soul foodish, yet light at the same time. boy, was i spot on!—i’m very happy with my decision, because the flourish plate had that traditional home-cookin’ feel, yet without all the oil or heaviness. the only thing decadent about it was the creamy-cheese-style-sauce. the plate consisted of a huge guilt-free portion of greens, some light but well-seasoned rice, and whole beans covered in the most amazing white sauce mixture. the gluten-free cornbread was also quite tasty: light, moist, and squishy…and not nearly as greasy as the cornbread i am used to eating. this is definitely a way to get a southern fix without feeling like you are about to give birth to a food baby.

    my omnivorous friend ordered the BLT&A (which i took a large portion of), and both of us were quite pleased with it.


    although it may look a bit simple, the sandwich was quite exceptional with delicately toasted bread, creamy vegenaise, fresh vegetables, soft avocado, and moist flavorful tempeh. the fact that both a meat eater and herbivore were in love with this sandwich speaks volumes. oh, and it came with a choice of side salad. she got the quinoa, which turned out to be the best thing at the table! she even went back in and got her own side order to take home. m cafe and its deli case have got nothin on this, baby.

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    BLT&A: smoky tempeh bacon, red-leaf lettuce, ripe roma tomatoes, avocado & spicy mayo on half-toasted white bread. with a side of quinoa. $8.50

    of course, we couldn’t leave this new found vegan paradise without ordering dessert. although the glass case of cakes was pretty appetizing, we decided to splurge in a small way and split a minty-chocolate-chip cookie. damn, fucking incredible! fluffy and soft with huge, melty chunks of minty chocolate…i defy you to find me a vegetarian cookie as good (and healthy) as this.

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    vegan chocolate chip mint cookie. $2.25

    even though the place has been around just a couple weeks, cafe flourish truly has its shit together. the tiny take-out stlye eatery was crowded when we were there, the service was friendly, the wait was minimal, and the food was excellent. what more do i require? plus, mid-wilshire has been begging for a vegan restaurant for quite a while. this would be the perfect place to grab dinner before a show at the el rey, or to pick up take-out to eat at the little bar.

    from cafe flourish’s menu: “we are committed to sustainable food practices; we use organic whenever possible, we don’t use animal products, we compost for low waste, and our food is lovingly prepared, embedded with positive intentions. your choice to eat here today is a contribution toward the planet, your community and your health. we thank you, and may your flourish!” …..in other words…..“nom!!!!!”

    hope you all enjoy this place as much as i did. thanks again to my reader mc for sending this in.

    cafe flourish
    5406 wilshire blvd.
    los angeles ca 90036
    monday-saturday 11am-10pm

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  • February 12th, 2009quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants

    almost any los angeles vegan knows that a taste of life is the best place to get vegan soul food. delicious, quick, rich junk food on the cheap has given the tiny 100% vegan restaurant an incredible reputation amongst herbivores and omnivores alike. it’s a place where we can get shit like macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas, greasy kale…all with that home cooked taste…all without animal products.

    a taste of life has a farmers market stand set up every sunday in hollywood, as well as a newish store front on fountain and vermont. i’ve eaten there several times and can say that the food is all fucking fabulous.

    the last few times i’ve gone, a taste of life has had this menu out on the counter, but after talking to the dude who works there, i found out they offer tons of stuff that wasn’t even printed on the menu. 4 different kinds of burgers, pot roast, breaded pot roast, gyro meat and so much more. since then, a taste of life has revamped its website and added some of the secret items, but they still aren’t all on there. i suggest you call and ask what about their options. there is so much stuff i am dying to try.

    a tasted of life lentil burger $5

    a tasted of life lentil burger $5

    we tried out the lentil burger and it was awesome. it stands right up there with all the best vegan burgers in town, and makes for a great option if you want some greasy tasting junk food.

    we also tried the pot roast, which isn’t on the menu, and it was some of the best wheat meat i’ve ever had.

    a taste of life pot roast. incredible!

    a taste of life pot roast. incredible!

    when i raved about the pot roast to the guy working there, he told me they also do a fried breaded version of it, and he gave me a free sample. this was so ridiculously good, although eating an entire portion of it would probably kill me.

    a taste of life fried pot roast. mmmm.

    a taste of life fried pot roast. mmmm.

    they can also make you a side of gyro meat, which is similar to the pot roast but not quite the same. i suggest you try both and decide what you like best…they are both tasty as can be.

    a taste of life gyro meat

    a taste of life gyro meat

    for those of you who don’t like fake meat, a taste of life has several options to please you. grab a dinner combination with mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu. the mac n cheese is known to be the best vegan mac in los angeles, i mean even whole foods stocks it…it’s that damn good.

    mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu

    mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, kale and bbq tofu

    they’ve also got like a million soups, and even some of those aren’t on the menu! on my last visit i got some chicken noodle and loved it.

    a taste of life chicken noodle soup.

    a taste of life chicken noodle soup.

    there is seriously so much to choose from at a taste of life, and so many secret menu items, i doubt i could ever try all the food they have to offer. plus the dishes are all so decadent and ridiculously delicious…now when i go there i have a really hard time trying new stuff, because the old stuff is all so good! oh, why do you do this to me, a taste of life?! …and i haven’t even tried their shakes or raw items yet!

    if you haven’t been to a taste of life, you sure are missing out.

    a taste of life
    4718 fountain avenue #D (upstairs)
    los angeles ca 90029

    closed monday
    9am-10pm tues-thurs
    9am-2am fri-sun

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  • December 22nd, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan village cafe

    you know how there are like 8 million vegan thai places in los angeles? well, i seriously wish i could swap them all out for vegan soul food joints. i seriously can’t get enough. i hit up one of la’s few vegan soul food restaurants over the weekend, vegan village cafe, and it was tasty as fuck. this place boasted totally authentic home-style cooking: juicy fake meats, creamy mac and cheese along with tender leafy greens and all the fixins’. yumMMMm.

    soul plate: your choice of fried fish or chicken with candied yams, greens and buttered corn.  $13.95

    soul plate: your choice of fried fish or chicken with candied yams, greens and buttered corn. $13.95

    lemme start off by telling you all about the food. when ordering, i was debating between the soul plate and the village sample plate, but decided to go with the soul because the village option came with fake shrimp. i dunno why, i just haven’t been able to bring myself to eat a fake shrimp…yet. i am freaked out by the fake little shrimp bodies, but for some reason don’t mind chowing down on faux chicken. sigh.

    anyways, everything on the soul plate ended up being delicious. the buttered corn was tasty and surprisingly light, and the greens were insanely yum. the candied yams were thick and really saucy. i’d never had candied yams, and these things were sweet and very cinnamony. i liked them, but they were a little too much like a dessert for me—they tasted exactly like pumpkin pie.

    the stand out thing on the plate though, had to be the soy chicken. this is the most meat-like vegan thing i’ve ever tasted, and it was really good. it had a weird crispy shell/skin wrapped around it, and the inside was extremely moist and tender. it didn’t taste like flesh, of course, but it really got dangerously close to the texture and experience of animal protein. whatever it was fried in was incredibly wonderful as well. salty and crunchy followed my chewy and soft. i don’t know how they do it. if only someone could come up with a fake cheese that was this convincing…

    my husband veered from the traditional soul food and ordered something from the mexican portion of the menu, a burrito.

    burrito: seasoned ground round, soy cheese, salsa, lettuce.  $8.95

    burrito: seasoned ground round, soy cheese, salsa, lettuce. $8.95

    the burrito turned out to be splendid, and totally held it’s own with all the other amazing shit on the table. filled up with well-seasoned soy ground meat and lots of vegetables, this plump little entree went down really well with half a bottle of hot sauce. score!

    of course, we couldn’t drive all the way to mid-city to check out a new soul food place without getting an order of mac and cheese. to me, mac and cheese is the bench mark by which all vegan soul food establishments should be judged. if done right, it’s always hands-down the best thing on the menu, and no two places cook it up quite the same. vegan village scored pretty high in the mac and cheese category. i gotta say, it’s some of the best i’ve ever tried.

    macaroni and cheese. $5.95

    macaroni and cheese. $5.95

    this mac reminded me a little of the mac over at a taste of life, but with more seasonings. it was rich and creamy just like the mac i’m used to, and had a slight krafty cheesey kind of taste. don’t leave without trying it.

    so it’s safe to say the food at vegan village totally rocks. go prepared though, it isn’t your normal restaurant. vegan village is located on the somewhat sketchy corner of pico and crenshaw, and fills a large windy space that’s a vegan restaurant by day and dance club by night. tables and chairs are scattered across a wooden dance floor, lit just barely by sunlight from one window as a disco ball hangs from the ceiling. the place is massive with a full bar, several rooms, and computer stations lined along the wall. it has its own large parking lot, so you needn’t worry about parking on the street.

    once you adjust to the somewhat odd interior and the fact you are dining in a nightclub, it’s actually quite lovely. the staff is beyond friendly—our waitress introduced herself and made pleasant conversation, as well as provided great service. when she wasn’t waiting on us, we could hear her chatting to regulars at the bar about veganism and the importance of not eating animals. it was all very reassuring.

    this place definitely has a bit of a doomie’s vibe: delicious vegan and unhealthy-tasting food with the kindest service imaginable…all in a disused nightclub.

    inside vegan village

    inside vegan village

    now, while the food was great and we had an amazing experience at vegan village, i must warn you…the prices are shockingly high. the online menu isn’t representative, because many of the prices have been raised. for instance, the soul plate was raised from $12.95 to $13.95. while i loved the soul plate, it just wasn’t a lot of food for $14. it was mostly corn and greens, with a pile of yams and 2 small skewers of soy chicken. i can’t help but think of places like pure luck (and even they have raised their prices!) where i can get a sandwich with a side and an appetizer for less money. i’d say the soul plate should have cost $9, max.

    the cost of the burrito was excessive at $8.95, considering it didn’t come with a side or anything, just a lonely wrap on a big plate.


    and lastly, the mac and cheese was well pricey too. their online menu advertises a side of mac for $3.95, but that price has been raised to a whopping $5.95. damn! 6 bucks for a side of mac, when it was originally $4?!?! that’s a big increase. it was fucking good though, so i’m not saying i wouldn’t order it again.

    overall, even with the high prices, vegan village cafe was a great find. i know i will be back. let’s see…incredible authentic-tasting soul food, delicious and creamy macaroni and cheese, friendly service, a full bar with tap beer, and a parking lot. definitely my kind of place.

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  • October 14th, 2008quarrygirla taste of life, farmers market, LA restaurants

    after having a somewhat sketchy experience recently at the taste of life divine vegan foods storefront, i decided to give their farmers market stand in hollywood a try. after all, even though my prior experience was rough around the edges, the food was absolutely incredible. plus, fellow bloggers and local vegans have been known to rave about the soul food served up sunday mornings at selma & vine. boy oh boy, lemme just say what i found was a tray full of delicious.

    soul food dinner combo with kale, black-eyed peas, bbq tofu and lasagna. comes with cornbread. $12

    soul food dinner combo with kale, black-eyed peas, bbq tofu and lasagna. comes with cornbread. $12

    granted, there’s absolutely nowhere to to have a comfortable, seated meal at the hollywood farmers market…so we had to enjoy our vegan soul food atop the nearest electrical transformer. what we herbivores do for a good safe lunch! …am i right?

    sharing with the husband (as usual) we opted on the “dinner combo” which included our choice of 4 dishes and a slice of corn bread for $12. please note that it was only like 10am, so don’t let the name “dinner combo” fool you. it’s basically a taste of life’s way of saying, “instead of 1 awesome dish, get 4 awesome little dishes for the same price.” also, fellow stingy vegans please note that the price charged at the farmers market is less than that which is on the menu of a taste of life’s storefront location. the fountain outlet advertises a dinner combo for $15, not $12.

    all bullshit and price fuckery aside, a taste of life at the hollywood farmers market is beyond wonderful. they’ve got everything ready to go in huge catering-style heated containers and serve that shit up quickly with a smile. the only thing that might hold the line up and keep you from your delicious comfort food is some know-it-all vegan who wants to hob nob with the chef or a tourist who can’t interpret the confusing menu…both violations understandable (i mysef am a smug vegan who is often on vacation).

    let’s get to the food, shall we? starting with a dish i have been looking forward to forever, but was sold out when i visited the taste of life storefront on fountain. THE KALE.
    people have raved about the kale from a taste of life, and every word is true. i can see why late on a sunday night (especially after a day at the grueling farmers market) a taste of life was out of the magic greens a few weeks ago. this shit is definitely something to write home about blog about. i love that the most memorable dish from the ridiculously tasty combo meal was a straight up vegetable. just plain kale rivals all the fake cheese, seitan, tofu and soy dishes in the world. obviously this stuff is in high demand, so be sure to order it. leafy greens have never been so yum.

    next up, the black-eyed peas are a definite must. i feel like the first time i visited a taste of life, i wussed out because i was intimidated by the menu. i got some sandwiches and stuff, not really splurging for the real soul food. hopefully, any one who reads this can have a look at the menu and gather their thoughts before being thrust into a customer service transaction. i will definitely be ordering these again…they were so succulent and juicy. not much oil at all, but a ton of flavor. 

    now, some really huge props go to the lasagna. i ordered it because i wanted to try all new things, and i’d already indulged in the delicious and unmatched mac and cheese prepared by a taste of life. lemme just say, the lasagna was nothing to be scoffed at: sheets of pasta, chopped up vegetables with clumpy and cheesy flavored tomato sauce. my only guff was that in contained bell peppers, WHICH I HATE. to it’s defense, though, this delicious lasagna was edible to me even though i abhor the bell pepper family. somehow i was, miraculously, able to pick around the peppers (which all came in big chunks) and genuinely enjoy my meal. personally, i will always prefer the mac and cheese, but this lasagna was excellent. 

    lastly, even though the kale was awesome, the best thing on my plate ended up being the bbq tofu. this dish was so tasty, i was licking my fork and sopping it up with every last crumb of sinful cornbread. and even as good as it tasted, it probably wasn’t that artery clogging at the end of the day. just perfectly cooked blocks of tofu coated with a tangy and amazing runny sauce. it was all so wonderful…i wish i could tell you more about it, but it was in my stomach before i bothered to create a memory. i just know enough to recommend you don’t pass it up.

    A TASTE OF LIFE DIVINE VEGAN FOODS rocked my world. you gotta check ’em out as soon as you have the opportunity.

    hmmmm….not to sound like the cynical vegan that i am, but let’s weigh the pros and cons in my experience.

    store front: super sketchy at night, out of kale but tons of nice sandwiches and more expensive, possibly some tables to eat at if a someone isn’t passed out and sleeping in the seats.
    farmers market stand: safe and easy, tons of kale but no custom items (like sandwiches), less expensive, and nowhere to eat except on the curb or an electrical transformer.

    either way, the food is awesome. so go get it while you can. i am looking forward to my next visit. 🙂

    you can check out their menu here:

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  • September 24th, 2008quarrygirla taste of life, LA restaurants

    UPDATED. scroll to the bottom of this post for new hours.

    recently i was surfing the forums over at vegan-la, and ran across something that sounded REALLY interesting: vegan soul food right here in hollywood. a taste of life divine vegan foods restaurant is an entirely vegan eatery at fountain and vermont that serves up steamin’ hot soul food and is open late. of course i had to check it out.

    after reading the review in the forum, i had my heart set on ordering the kale, but unfortunately they were all out when we went. so instead, we had to settle on an epic feast consisting of a tofu filet sandwich, a falafel sandwich, and a huge side of mac & cheese. we ordered food to-go, and we had to wait ages for it in a pretty sketchy area, but at the end of the day it was totally worth it. all sinfully delicious.

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    vegan mac & cheese side order. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    falafel sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    tofu filet sandwich. $5

    the tofu filet sandwich was split in half and polished off immediately. both the husband and i really loved it. deep fried and slathered in the most amazing vegan cheese, there was nothing healthy about this baby. a few fresh vegetables were sprinkled on to add some flavor, but this sandwich was really all about the tasty tofu soul food. with each crunchy bite, the breaded tofu leaked more & more delicious vegan grease. to be honest with you, i kind of ordered this sandwich hastily because i was confused by the menu when i stepped up to the counter. when i was waiting for my food, i started to think of all the things i maybe should have chosen instead. well, while i will definitely try something new next time, i in no way regret giving this a whirl. the filet was fried up in a perfect blend of spices and the creamy slightly melted vegan cheese made every bite so much better. definitely not your average tofu burger.

    the falafel sandwich was equally impressive. i’m a HUGE fan of falafel, so at first i regretted ordering this as well. i thought, why the hell did i order falafel HERE, at a soul food restaurant that can’t possibly compete with my favorite places in the valley?! again, a taste of life proved me wrong. this falafel was up there with the best of them. it didn’t even encroach on the valley’s territory—instead a taste of life totally reinvented the falafel. these balls were huge, twice the size of the falafel i’m used to, and seasoned much more mildly. they were deep fried for longer, it seems like, and had a thicker & juicier skin. inside they were a lot less cooked, but still just as delicious. this sandwich didn’t come on a bun, but in a whole wheat pita pocket, making it slightly harder to share. we managed though and were both blown away by the quality. like the filet sandwich, the falafel pocket came filled with melty-licious cheese that made a beautiful gooey mess. i highly recommend this sandwich, it’s scrumptious and a total steal for just $5. plus, it’s great to experience a new take on the classic falafel.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    slightly crispy pocket, juicy falafel and luscious vegan cheese.

    saving the best for last, my favorite dish at a taste of life was of course the vegan mac & cheese. the noodles tasted fried and were coated with big clumps of sharp flavorful fake cheese. i don’t know what they use to make this vegan version, but i can tell ya, the real mac ‘n cheese has got NOTHING on this stuff. it was rich and oily to the very last bite, and the fake cheese had an authentic & delicious slightly sour taste to it. my all time favorite vegan mac & cheese, without a doubt.

    so the food at a taste of life is definitely nothing to be scoffed at. everything was great, and i didn’t even TRY all the stuff that sounded the best on the menu.

    you see, i get menu anxiety, and like to plan my order in advance, but unfortunately when i went to a taste of life, there was no menu available online. i guess they started out as a stand at the hollywood farmers market and haven’t updated their site yet with their new location and menu. so i will go ahead and take care of it for you.

    here you go, scanned from the card i picked up from the coutner. the menu from a taste of life divine vegan foods. oh, and also, here is a snazzy little card with their phone number, hours, and address.


    [googleMap name=”a taste of life divine vegan foods” description=”excellent vegan soul food” width=”570″ height=”320″ directions_from=”true”]4718 fountain avenue los angeles ca 90029[/googleMap]


    now before you get all caught up drooling and rushing over to try this amazing food, i must caution you, the restaurant has its downsides. because i am nice, and i want you all to know how much i loved the food, i will save my bitch session for after the jump. only click on the more button if you wanna hear some good, old fashioned complaining. if you don’t, then go grab some incredible soul food. whatever shit you encounter will be worth it.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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