• May 3rd, 2011quarrygirlvegan events

    hey everyone, time for another festival field report. this one by jacquelyn drayton comes to us from stagecoach—you know, the big country music festival that happens every year in indio, CA. check it:

    I travel A LOT for work, so a country music festival in the middle of the desert was the last place I thought I would be able to find anything remotely vegan. But like an angel that fell from heaven, Texifornia Tamale Company appeared. Thrilled that I wouldn’t have to dine on a warm apple and smushed vegan protein bar at the bottom of my purse for dinner for a second night in a row I hopped in line!

    They had beef (blech) and two vegan options. The “Tamale dog” and vegan chili.

    I opted for the tamale dog which is a faux sausage wrapped in a tamale smothered in vegan chili which set me back about 9 dollars. Not to bad for a place where a simple slice of pizza will cost you about the same…

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  • July 27th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, mama's hot tamales, vegan cheese


    one of the things i miss most since becoming vegan is mexican food. even though it’s getting easier to find places that refrain from sneaking chicken stock and lard into just about everything, i’ve still been looking for somewhere to re-create that greasy, cheesy, mexican goodness that i miss from when i was a vegetarian. well guess, what….i found it! mama’s hot tamales cafe, located right at the southern border of macarthur park, is serving up the best vegan mexican food in los angeles, melty vegan cheese and all.

    for a while, vegans in the know have raved about mama’s hot tamales’ animal-free options. for ages, the restaurant has been serving up tofu alternatives to tortas and burritos, vegan tamales, tostadas, appetizers and salads. but recently, as i learned in the quarrygirl forums, mama’s started carrying daiya vegan cheese…so now practically any menu item containing dairy can be veganized. OH MY WURD, this is such a breakthrough. things like quesadillas and enchiladas, that have been off limits to vegans forever, are now available at mama’s. and really amazing versions of these foods as well. if you don’t already know how earth-shatteringly good daiya is, you should.

    mini vegan quesadilla with daiya cheese, spinach, mushroom and pico de gallo. $4

    mini vegan quesadilla with daiya cheese, spinach, mushroom and pico de gallo. $4

    we hit up mama’s hot tamales cafe over the weekend and went all out with our order. i wanted to try as much cheesy stuff as possible, plus get a tamale of course, because that’s mama’s most famous dish! we started with the mini quesadilla appetizer, and added mushrooms and spinach to it as well. the vegan version came with the choice of cheddar or white daiya cheese, and we went with cheddar.

    all i can say about this appetizer is, it’s one of the tastiest, most convincing cheese dishes i’ve had since becoming vegan. the daiya was gooey, melty, and perfectly oily with a real authentic cheddar flavor. it mixed up just great with the spinach leaves and tiny mushrooms, all pressed into a slightly crunchy cooked tortilla. mexican perfection, i’m telling you.


    for my main dish, i got something that haunts most vegans’ dreams: cheese enchiladas. i never thought i’d be able to eat a cheese enchilada again, that actually tasted decent, like it was filled with real cheese. well this did.

    vegan daiya cheese enchiladas. $7

    vegan daiya cheese enchiladas. $7

    three soft corn tortillas wrapped around huge clumps of daiya and topped off with even more melted cheese. again, i chose cheddar for this because it seemed more authentic, but if you like daiya white cheese you can get that in your enchiladas as well. these enchiladas were nothing short of wonderful. this may be the best use of daiya i’ve had yet, mama’s got it spot on, just melty enough with just the right amount of cheese. if you hit up mama’s hot tamales, be sure to order these enchiladas no matter what…words can’t describe how much they rocked my world.


    at a mere seven bucks, these enchiladas were a steal. not only was the portion size large, but they also came with a huge mound of rice and a spinach salad. not just a dinky side salad, but a full on plate of spinach leaves and vegetables with guacamole dressing. amazing.


    my husband ordered the vegan version of the tofu burrito, with a blend of cheddar and white melted daiya on top.

    vegan tofu burrito: a large flour  tortilla filled with pinto beans, mama’s rice, daiya cheese & tofu. covered in red or green sauce & melted daiya cheese. $8

    vegan tofu burrito: a large flour tortilla filled with pinto beans, mama’s rice, daiya cheese & tofu. covered in red or green sauce & melted daiya cheese. $8

    the thing was absolutely massive and stuffed with beans, rice, and huge chunks of tofu. unlike normal burritos with soft little squares of tofu, the tofu in this one was marinated nicely and cut into large strips. it had so much flavor and really worked as a filling. again, the daiya cheese in and on top of the burrito was absolutely incredible. no complaints about this dish at all.


    lastly we shared a black bean and herb tamale, which was a great deal at just $2.50.

    black bean and herb tamale, wrapped in a banana leaf. $2.50

    black bean and herb tamale, wrapped in a banana leaf. $2.50

    the fluffy corn mass came wrapped in a banana leaf and contained a thick mixture of black beans and leafy herbs. the masa dough was so insanely light and fluffy, if you like tamales, you will love the way mama makes them. there were plenty of other vegan options to choose from, and the menu rotates daily. i can’t wait to try some of her other flavors.


    in addition to having amazing vegan food and low prices, the staff at mama’s is extremely friendly as well. as we walked in, mama introduced herself and went over the menu with us in a way that showed she really cared. every server that brought something to our table was courteous and engaging. they all seemed like great, genuinely nice people.


    mama’s hot tamales cafe isn’t in a great part of town, but they are only open during the day and they have parking, so don’t let the shady factor stop you from going there. once you walk through mama’s doors, you are in a warm, clean, welcoming environment full of smiles and awesome vegan food.


    so make plans to go to mama’s hot tamales cafe ASAP. the fact that they have daiya isn’t printed yet on the physical menu, but be sure to ask for it and mama will take care of you. i can’t stress enough that this is the BEST MEXICAN FOOD i’ve had since becoming vegan. don’t miss out on it.


    and a special shout out to lucysnowe from the forums for reminding me to check this place out. 🙂

    mama’s hot tamales cafe
    2124 W 7th St
    Los Angeles, CA 90057-4001
    (213) 487-7474
    open 7 days 11:00am-3:30pm

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  • April 8th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, stores, whole foods

    i live in hollywood and my local whole foods is the tiny one located at santa monica and fairfax. because the parking lot is so small, the lines are so long, and the prices are so high, i normally only go to whole foods when i need something crazy for a recipe…or when i’m grabbing a quick bite from the salad bar. i would never consider whole foods a destination to go hang out, or a place to sit and eat lunch. this all changed, however when my friend dragged me all the way to the newish whole foods in venice a few weeks ago.

    holy crap! i realized then that not all whole foods are lame and tiny like my local…some are huge and awesome like this new venice store. there was parking, seating, and so much vegan food i couldn’t begin wrap my mind (or mouth) around. it was like a bloody vegan disneyland! pasta, sandwiches, ice cream, mexican food, chocolate and curry…it was all there ready to be eaten at the lovely outdoor tables. we ordered a ton of food for lunch and enjoyed it right there at the store. i can’t wait to go back.

    whole foods vegan chicken salad sandwich. $6.99

    whole foods vegan chicken salad sandwich. $6.99

    we started off with a vegan chicken salad sandwich from the sandwich counter which was made with gardein, vegetables, and vegenaise. it was absolutely delicious…the gardein chicken salad was super chunky, thick, and creamy…and the bread roll it came on was amazingly fresh. definitely a good, solid sandwich for 7 bucks. it made me wish gardein chicken was available everywhere, i absolutely love that stuff.

    vegan tamale, chocolate and more after the jump.

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