• May 24th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, madeleine bistro

    saturday was a big day. it was not only the mr.’s birthday, but it was supposed to be the day of the rapture (what a jip that turned out to be!), and most importantly it was the day before the closing of our favorite restaurant…madeleine bistro. of course we made it a point to eat there. after all, it may have been our last meal on the planet (what a way to go!), plus madeleine offered the kind of fancy food befitting of a birthday celebration, and we wanted to dine there one last time. now it’s all gone, and it pains me to write this post!

    naturally we went nuts with appetizers, sides, entrees, and a double serving of dessert. i couldn’t move after the meal, but man, the deliciousness was so worth the pain of over-eating. though the restaurant is now closed, i thought i’d torture you with photos of our incredible last supper. everything was beyond epic, so i’ll just let the pictures do the talking…

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  • January 1st, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, vegan factory

    hey everyone! time for a reader review from right here in los angeles. this one comes to us from VeganHeartDoc as she gives us the rundown on vegan factory in tarzana. while i’m not the biggest fan of LA vegan thai myself, it’s nice to know what our options are, and which places stand out above the rest. here ya go:

    While some may suggest that vegan Thai food is overdone in Los Angeles, Vegan Factory does it incredibly well.

    Located in a strip mall on Ventura Boulevard west of Vanalden in Tarzana, Vegan Factory features soups, salads, curries, and noodle dishes.

    The dishes range from relatively healthy to downright decadent. Since I’m a cardiologist, I usually roll with at least a few healthful offerings, but my family, who I was bringing takeout dinner to, like some of the more sinful options.

    Slim Gym (Salad Kak): Soy chicken, romaine lettuces, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and alfalfa sprouts. Served with peanut dressing. $7.50

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  • August 17th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, madeleine bistro

    in a constant attempt to keep you updated on the ever-changing situation of one of LA’s best vegan restaurants, madeleine bistro, i’m bringing you some news that they posted on facebook and twitter yesterday. apparently, they are closing for the fall. so act fast, and go eat there.

    from twitter.com/madeleinebistro

    last time we posted on the tarzana restaurant, we told you that they were temporarily closed for brunch, and only open friday – sunday night. well that’s changed as well. madeleine bistro is now open for brunch on sundays only (10am – 3pm) and for dinner on friday, saturday, and sunday (5pm – 9pm). i’m not sure how long this will last, as they say, they are closing for the fall….so if you have a hankering for chef dave’s food, you should get on it.

    madeleine bistro did post a more hopeful note on their facebook page, saying:

    make a reservation to visit us soon… we will be closing our tarzana location for renovations and expansion plan this fall.. stay tuned for exact date and details… thanks for your support!!

    expansion plan?!?! sounds good to me. not sure if this is the new rumored location in eagle rock, but i sure hope so.

    so that’s all i know at the moment. brunch is back, sunday only. they will be closing for fall, but hopefully not for long. i will keep you guys updated as i hear more info, but everyone should follow madeleine bistro on twitter and friend them on facebook for the latest news.

    oh, and by the way, i have been looking for an excuse to show you this new breakfast sandwich that just got added to madeleine’s brunch menu. it’s so good! a bagel mcmuffin thingy with vegan cheese, tofu, and tempeh bacon. nommers.

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  • June 16th, 2010mr meanerLA restaurants, madeleine bistro

    I wish I lived closer to Madeleine Bistro (or, rather, I wish it would move closer to me).

    I’ve been known to find any excuse to be in Tarzana around brunch time on the weekends, so I can pop in and grab a donut, benedict, phillet-no-phish and a sumptuous dessert before going about my day. In fact, many people I know usually frequent Madeleine Bistro for the extensive and good value brunch menu (only served at weekends, but the lunch menu served during the week has many of the same items on it).

    This last weekend, I had occasion to celebrate a palindromic birthday and could think of no place I’d rather be than Madeleine Bistro for dinner. I teamed up with three other ravenously hungry people and we set about eating our way through the menu. After all, and statistically, I’m over 50% through my palindromic birthdays, so this was a night to celebrate.

    Hurling caution to the wind, we started out with some assorted small plates, salads and appetizers while we waited for the alcohol buzz of the organic lager and wine to settle in.

    Classic French onion soup, crouton, farmer's cheese. $7

    First-up was the “Classic French onion soup”: I’ve only ever had this type of dish once before in my life – in Paris (of all places) where I managed to find one with no meat stock in it. Well, Madeleine’s take on veganizing this dish is incredible. The soup is a hearty gathering of tangy onions and garlic in a rich sauce that one practically chews rather than sips. Sprinkles of “farmer’s cheese” on top made my day. If you’ve never had French onion soup, this is a must-have experience I can tell you.

    Classic mac 'n cheese, bacon bits. $13

    Next came the “Classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese”, a dead ringer for the non-vegan dish, but with a twist I’d never seen before: “bacon bits” that were made out of thinly sliced, crispy mushrooms. They went perfectly with the gooey cheese and chewy macaroni, leading me to rate this as one of the best vegan mac n cheeses I’ve ever eaten. And I’m something of a connoisseur by now, for sure.

    French lentil salad, chardonnay cheese, spring mix, green goddess dressing. $10

    We got a “French Lentil Salad” to share, which came with spring leaves and something called “Chardonnay Cheese”. Despite the fact that this dish looked like a phallus it was gone within seconds. I took some leaves, spicy lentils and cheese and ate them all together in one mouthfull, and without a doubt this was one of the highlights of the evening, and I’m not sure I’ve ever said that about a salad before!

    Porcini-crusted tofu scallops, shiitake-green bean ragout, carrot syrup. $13

    Continuing in the vein of small plates, we ordered the “Porcini-crusted Tofu Scallops” which were undoubtedly the most surprising dish of the night. We were treated to round, crispy tofu “scallops” in a very, rich mushroom sauce along with perfectly cooked vegetables. There were four people at the table, and we had one scallop each: left to me I’d have eaten all four and ordered another plate as well! They really were that interesting. Crispy on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside. This is right up there with the best of Executive Chef Dave Andrerson’s “how the hell do they do that?” dishes, along with the donut and souffle (of which more later).

    Red beet tartare, warm tofu cheese crouton, cucumber, balsamic glace. $13

    We also grabbed a “Beet Tartare”, which has to be one of the most astounding vegan dishes available anywhere in the world. I’ve known people travel to LA from the Bay Area and beyond, purely for a fix of this menu item. And I can see why. Cool, thinly sliced cukes, a warm fried cheese crouton topped with finely chopped red beets not only looks like a work of art, but it tastes like one too. There are few adjectives to describe this creation so, in common with the rest of the menu, I usually just advise you to get one into your life (and, by eating, out of it again real fast) as soon as you can.

    Chicken-fried seitan, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable medley. $13

    Surprisingly, we had room for entrees, so we ordered the “Chicken-fried seitan” for one of our guests who happened to be an omnivorous girl from The South (a tough customer for any dish with “fried” and “chicken” in its name, for sure). After eating the whole thing, she proclaimed “That might be the best Fried Chicken I’ve eaten outside of Dixie, y’all” (actually, I’m doing a caricature of what she said, but you get the idea. She liked it for sure).

    The "Bigger Macque" (two no beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese...) $11

    Although I love fine dining with nice wines and great company, a superb addition to the entrees at Madeleine’s is the “Bigger Macque”, and no matter what the occasion I always find an excuse to order one. This sandwich is a loosely based facsimile of the well known fast-food item, which has been served to billions and billions of poor bastards, but just better. In every way. You have to get one of these at some point in your life, just as I have to get one of these at some point in every visit to Madeleine’s.

    Phillet no phish (panko-crusted seitan, cheese, tartar sauce, whole wheat bun) $10

    As if by magic, the corollary to the above dish also arrived at the table: “The Philet no phish”, another cheeky take on crappy fast food, incredibly elevated to fine dining status. Yeah, I had a nibble of that too: crispy seitan, cheese and tartar sauce. Another amazing dish.

    Rustic mashed potatoes. $5

    Other things on the table at that point included a healthy portion of “Rustic Mashed Potatoes”, a perfectly cooked heap of creamy mash covered in gravy as well as a side of “Pan-roasted cauliflower”.

    Pan-roasted cauliflower. $6

    It’s safe to say that if I could make mashed potatoes or cauliflower this good, I’d probably never leave my house and would OD on the deadly cocktail of cauliflower and mash, when eaten by the ton.

    Lemon-rosemary seitan, cauliflower crepe. $13

    Our last entree of the night (we were getting pretty full by this time) was the intriguingly-named “Lemon-rosemary seitan, grilled asparagus crepe” which was like nothing I’d ever eaten before. Tangy, perfectly chewy seitan, was laid to rest on a fluffy crepe filled with creamy cauliflower. Let me tell you, the combination worked perfectly. The lemon and rosemary fired up one’s mouth, and the cool, creamy crepe rode in to save the day with a creamy after-texture and after-taste to die for.

    Shockingly, we found room for desert (I’m still not sure how, but Madeleine’s is one of those places I can go to, eat myself silly and feel perfectly content — never over-stuffed and certainly never needing more).

    classic cheesecake, raspberry coulis, whipped creme. $11

    We enjoyed our deserts dim-sum style, so we all had a bit of each just to prove how cosmopolitan we are. First-off was the “Classic Cheesecake”, another perfectly made dish sitting proudly on a delicious raspberry coulis with a tuft of whipped creme topping. I was told that the birthday candle was inedible — the only thing in the place I would not therefore eat.

    strawberry shortcake, almond cake, rhubabrb ice cream. $12

    I was delighted to also try the “Strawberry Shortcake”. It has strawberries. It is a cake, but this was not a short order — a huge brick of fluffy and spongy cake arrived and was consumed before our attentive server got back to the kitchen to bring our next dessert item: “Bananas Foster Split”, a tremendous triumvirate of bananas, hot fudge and whipped cream, with an order of ice cream and chocolate sauce thrown in for good measure. Another amazing dessert, another plate emptied to shining within seconds.

    Banana foster split, hot fudge, whipped creme. $10

    Finally, my favorite desert – not only of the evening, but of all time – arrived from the kitchen like an angel from a heaven: “Chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream”. I tell you, this dish knows how to make an entrance! There are two ramekins, one containing stone cold ice cream, and the other containing a crispy-crusted chocolate souffle with gooey chocolate sauce inside. Just eat a bite of chocolate (which is oven-hot) with a bite of ice cream, and your mouth will thank you for an eternity.

    chocolate souffle, vanilla ice creme. $12

    I’m remembering my last birthday with such fondness: A three course meal, book-ended with the heretofore unattainable French Onion Soup, and rounded off with a another uniquely French creation: Chocolate Souffle is an experience to savor for a long time. As I know I and my guests also will.

    Executive Chef Dave Anderson’s creations are at the arc of vegan cuisine, second to none and lovingly prepared and served. Whatever your occasion to dine out — or even if you don’t have an occasion — you really must try Madeleine Bistro if you’ve not been yet. For a quick and informal time, show up for the weekend brunch and dine on scrambles, doughnuts or the Bigger Macque. For a family occasion or intimate dinner, make some reservations and dine away the evening with one of the best menus on this good earth, superb service and an atmosphere that only a family owned and run restaurant can deliver.

    See you there!

    Madeleine Bistro
    18621 Ventura Blvd
    Tarzana, CA 91356
    (818) 758-6971

    Hours of Operation

    Wednesday through Thursday
    Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
    Dinner: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm

    Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
    Dinner: 5:00pm – 10:00pm

    Brunch: 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Dinner: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

    Brunch: 10:00am – 3:00pm
    Dinner: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

    closed Monday & Tuesday

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  • June 9th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, stores, whole foods

    i shop at whole foods like it’s my job, and i officially have a new favorite location. first i thought it couldn’t get any better than venice, then el segundo took the crown, and now tarzana has got them both beat. it’s massive and it’s epic like no wfs i’ve ever been to before. it needs to be seen to be believed.

    i first got wind of the new whole foods when a helpful tipster wrote in to the blog. (if you know of cool vegan places, please do the same!) she wrote, “FYI… I’m sure you’ve heard by now but the new whole foods opened in tarzana and there’s a crap load of vegan stuff. Soups, hot food, frozen food, and a wine and tapas bar that has daiya sandwiches…” yes! later that day, i saw a post on LAist, with a slew of photos of the new location, and i knew i had to check it out. it took me a few weeks, but i finally hauled my ass out to the valley, and boy was it worth it! (the new store is located immediately across the street from LA’s best vegan restaurant, madeleine bistro…in case you need more inspiration!)

    naturally, i started my tour of the joint in my favorite section: prepared foods! it was amazing. the space was vast and there was way too much stuff to take pictures of. sensory overload to the max. i did catch the entirely vegan salad bar…

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