stop what you’re doing, check your calender, and schedule some time quality to eat at seed bistro. the west LA restaurant is brought to us by the folks who opened seed kitchen in venice—vegan chef eric lechasseur and his wife, macrobiotic counselor sanae suzuki. unlike the casual beach cafe though, seed bistro is a classy joint; and at barely two months old, it’s already arguably the city’s best vegan restaurant.
seed bistro is the first restaurant in LA proper to serve a varied menu of exceptional vegan organic food along with alcohol in an elegant atmosphere. with its moody lights and sleek ambiance, it reminds me of my favorite fancy vegan restaurants in NYC (think candle 79, blossom, or franchia). food wise, there’s something for everyone on the dinner menu—from “meat” and potatoes, to salads and sushi, to raw items and a four or six course tasting menu prepared by chef eric for $45 and $60 respectively. the restaurant is also open for lunch during the week, and serves casual fare such as burgers, bento boxes, and salads.
we hit up seed bistro recently for the six course tasting menu, and it was a meal i’ll remember forever. we opted to sit in the bar area, which has limited seating, and watched eric prepare everything while he chatted with us the whole time. so what did we eat? tons! check it out:
course one was a trio of light dishes including a sushi roll, a coconut “shooter”, and a paella ball. i started with the roll and worked my way left across the plate. the raw sushi was outstanding—shreds of jicama acting as rice mixed with avocado and carrot, with paper-thin sheets of curled cucumber holding it all together. the shooter was equally as impressive: a raw blend of coconut turmeric soup, avocado, squash, and kelp noodles…a smaller version of a raw entree available on seed’s menu. i finished the plate off with two bites of paella ball, a delicious fried mound of rice with a mild and creamy romesco sauce.
course two was a small plate from seed bistro’s a la carte menu: roasted beets with avocado and grapefruit. this dish embodied seed’s style: “back to basics” cuisine made with top notch ingredients and prepared extremely well. the flavors really popped, and my husband and i both agreed that we hadn’t had a salad this good in ages.
course three was a contender for my favorite of the night (though i can say that about two other courses as well!). thick meaty trumpet mushrooms were perched atop fluffy fork mashed potatoes, topped with field greens and garnished with grain mustard. un-fuckin-believable. the mushrooms were fat and juicy, and the potatoes were rich and perfectly seasoned. this course was epic—i couldn’t believe i was only half way through…Tags: fancy, tasting menu, west side
heads up, everybody! susan feniger’s street, one of LA’s top restaurants, is offering an all vegetarian and vegan optional tasting menu this tuesday. we were wowed by street a couple years ago during dineLA week, so i highly suggest you check this out. the deal is: 7 courses for 45 bucks, plus an optional $15 wine pairing. here’s a look at the menu:
this place is pretty posh and popular, so be sure to book a table! and tell them you’re vegan!Tags: tasting menu
it looks like i’m a little bit late to the game on this one, but apparently there’s a weekend pop up event going down at the shuttered fatty’s in eagle rock for the rest of the month! “charlie puffer at fatty’s” takes place on friday, saturday, and sunday evenings through august and features fancy cuisine and wine pairings by chef jonathan harootunian.Tags: eagle rock, fancy, gourmet, tasting menu
good god, somebody pinch me because this cannot be real. stone, one one of our favorite breweries on earth, is hosting their first ENTIRELY VEGAN BEER PAIRING DINNER next month at their world class restaurant in escondido.
we’ve already raved about stone world bistro and gardens a couple times on this blog. in fact we love the restaurant at their brewery so much, it’s where we spent our five year wedding anniversary. when i heard stone would be holding an entirely vegan dinner with four courses and beer for just $49, i couldn’t believe it.
here’s how stone describes the evening…Tags: beer, beer pairing, fancy, stone, tasting menu
it’s no secret that i’ve eaten vegan food from all over the world. from paris to london, manhattan to fort lauderdale, san francisco to los angeles—i’ve sampled the fine restaurants that numerous different cities have to offer. and after stuffing my face full of just about every type of vegan cuisine, one establishment continues to stand out as my absolute favorite: madeleine bistro.
earlier this week while most people were celebrating romance and valentine’s day (pffffft), i was celebrating nothing more than the fact that madeleine bistro was offering a seven course chef’s tasting menu. ever since experiencing the insanity of chef dave’s multi-course new year’s eve dinner just over a year ago, i have been dreaming of returning to madeleine bistro for another special holiday meal. i went there this valentine’s day with the absolute highest expectations, yet they were still somehow exceeded. i’m not exaggerating when i say that in my 26 years on the planet, this was the best meal i’ve had yet. just have a look…Tags: fancy, holiday, tasting menu, the valley
This weekend at Madeleine Bistro, we are offering a Five Course Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring the organic fruit of Etheridge Farms. I’ve known Gene Etheridge for many years, and I can say from personal experience that his fruit is the best that I have ever tried. He is also very passionate about what he does and is always eager to discuss his fruit and how he is able to bring out the best in each piece of fruit. This week, his peak fruits include “tasty treat” plums, “Santa Rosa” plums, yellow and white peaches and heirloom tomatoes. Here is the menu I created:
Heirloom tomato “cannoli”, basil oil
“Tasty treat” plum carpaccio
Pickled plums, green papaya noodles, toasted walnuts
Grilled seitan with yellow peach barbecue sauce
Yukon gold potato puree, grilled asparagus, shallot rings
White peach-lemongrass dessert soup and sorbet
Fresh berries, strawberry en gelee, mint oil
S’mores flavors with plum ginger ale
Chocolate ganache, graham crackers, marshmallow fluff
sounds amazing, right?! the menu is going to be on saturday and sunday nights only, and is just $50 per person (dishes also available a la carte)! last time madeleine bistro had a tasting like this, it was $75 per person…so i highly suggest you take advantage of this low price! a quarrygirl reader went to the last etheridge farms meal and loved it so much that he wrote a wonderful review we ended up posting on the site.
reserve a table now—i have a feeling this is gonna be an epic dinner you won’t wanna miss.
madeleine bistroTags: tasting menu
18621 Ventura Blvd.
okay, so i know i already posted the menu for this week’s chef tasting menu at madeleine bistro…but i had a chance to actually try out a few of the 5 courses today, and WHOA, this stuff is not to be believed. i don’t know what you have planned tonight and tomorrow, but you should seriously work in a visit to madeleine. this stuff is mind-blowing, even by dave anderson standards. oh, and i just wanna mention that the 5 course tasting menu is ONLY $50 (a steal), but each dish is also available a la carte for a lower price!
the first thing i tried was the “egg” in the hole, a vegan take on the breakfast classic. nothing could prepare me for how good this thing was. it came with a soy-based egg stuffed in a piece of fried bread with portobella bacon and hash brown style rice balls, all of which were divine.Tags: tasting menu
as you probably know, madeleine bistro is the best vegan restaurant in town. recently, they’ve changed their hours and have decided to offer a different tasting menu every weekend, as well as a new delivery menu every monday. their website doesn’t reflect this change yet…so as a service to you, the readers, we are going to post the menus here each week for your enjoyment.
check out what madeleine has in store this weekend—it looks freaking fantastic. from a vegan “egg in the hole” with portabella bacon, to summer gnocchi, and wild mushroom wontons.Tags: tasting menu, the valley
LA’s finest vegan restaurant, madeleine bistro, is switching it up a bit this summer. they’ve changed their hours, their menu, and they are now BYOB (with NO CORKAGE FEE, woo!). the new menus are looking pretty insane, and we have all the details right here. so listen up!
over the summer, madeleine bistro will only be open friday through sunday, and will offer a new “guilty pleasures” menu and a chef’s tasting menu every night, as well as brunch during the day on the weekends. the guilty pleasures menu consists of decadent vegan comfort food like onion rings and shamrock shakes, and the tasting menu will change each week with 5 elaborate courses for just $50! this is a great deal, considering madeleine bistro holiday tasting menus can cost upwards of $100. i suggest you jump on this while it’s available. madeleine is also now doing weekly home delivery, find out more on that here.
here are the new menus and hours:Tags: brunch, comfort food, tasting menu, the valley
well ladies and gentlemen, this is a first! we just received a post in the quarrygirl forums (aka quarrums) that was so awesome, we decided to publish it on the main blog. check out tettes’ in depth review of tonight’s special madeleine bistro tasting menu. the food writing here is exquisite, and you are all in for a real treat. this review makes me so sad that i wasn’t there, and reminds me that i need to eat madeleine bistro tasting menus WHENEVER POSSIBLE. here you go:
I checked out the tasting menu at Madeleine Bistro on Saturday, June 26 and it was so mouth-wateringly amazing I wanted to share my experience with you guys. I wish the photos did the food justice!
How it tasted: The gazpacho was more like a thin pudding rather than a soup. Pretty spicy with a tangy finish and just a hint of cherry sweetness. The corn gave it a playful smokey flavor, but it didn’t overwhelm the dish as smokey flavors can often do. The corn and crostino gave the dish a much-needed textural contrast. And I’ve never had avocado foam before. It was light, fluffy and fun to eat! Chef Dave told me this puree-like gazpacho comes from Spain, and he adds toasted bread to the gazpacho and purees until it reaches perfection.
Next up:Tags: david anderson, field report, tasting menu, the valley
UPDATE 6/25/10: i just found out from madeleine bistro, that anyone who mentions that they heard about this tasting menu from quarrygirl will receive a $10 discount PER PERSON! you gotta take them up on it! also, please note that dinner is anytime between 5:30 and 7pm…and the discussion starts at 7, if you are interested in that.
hey everyone! just a quick heads up that our favorite restaurant in los angeles, madeleine bistro, is having a very special tasting menu this saturday june 26th at 5:30pm. not only will there be an extravagant 5 course meal using etheridge farms produce prepared by chef david anderson, but organic farmer gene etheridge himself will be on hand for a discussion.
it sounds AMAZING. and let me tell you, the best meal of my life was a madeleine bistro tasting menu…so i highly suggest you make a reservation!
check out the menu below:Tags: david anderson, tasting menu
Read the rest of this entry »
i fucking LOVE tasting menus! they are so awesome. unlike my partner in crime, who finds them a bit scary and unpredictable, i find tasting menus very exciting and adventurous. several courses, over which you have no control, all extremely well-prepared and presented to you over a long period of time. really, the ultimate dining experience if you ask me.
other than the special holiday menus that madeleine bistro offers, i’d say the best place to get a vegan tasting menu in los angeles is without a doubt at bottlerock downtown. the establishment focuses on fancy beer and wine, and at first glance their menu isn’t very vegan-friendly…but if you call ahead and request it, they will prepare you an animal-free feast of epic proportions. just be sure to notify them in advance, because they take extra care to clean down the kitchen and avoid cross-contamination.
i hit up bottlerock with some friends recently, and their vegan tasting menu was completely different, but just as good as it was on my first visit. take a look:
the first course was a hearty portion of tofu served over lentils and mirepoix in a dijon vinaigrette. the tofu, in my opinion was nothing short of incredible. apparently, bottlerock has some special smoking device (haha) which was used to prepare it, and produced very delicate and flavorful results. the lentils and mirepoix (a combo of onions, carrots, and celery) were slightly sweet and very delicious.
the next course was a vietnamese crepe, which everyone agreed was spectacular. a soft outer shell filled with salty vegetables, this is honestly one of the best things i’ve eaten in a long time. we learned from our server that this is actually a veganized recipe from the chef’s mother…so tasty and authentic.
next up was my absolute favorite dish of the night: vegan miso soup. this was not like any soup i’ve ever had, as it was basically a filling noodle dish with bok choy and mushrooms. it came in a bowl and our server brought out broth to pour on it, such a fun experience! the noodles were very thick and made in house. for a tasting menu, this was honestly a huge portion. bottlerock does not skimp.
our 4th course was a serving of oven roasted vegetables, which may sound boring but was anything but! this plate included artfully prepared brussels sprouts, carrots, and squash in a sauce that was nothing short of divine.
lastly, we were served a dessert of textured strawberries which was like nothing i’ve ever eaten. it wasn’t a favorite of everyone at the table, but i loved it. imagine a strawberry puree topped with creamy basil sauce and finished off with a thin jolly rancher candy. i usually don’t like fruit, but this was right up my street and very creative.
overall, the dine in vegan experience at bottlerock is truly amazing. i would encourage all vegans to call ahead and book a tasting menu, because it really is like eating art straight off a plate. xiv has nothing on this place! 😀
bottlerockTags: downtown la, tasting menu
1050 S Flower St. # 167
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Sometimes you just want to eat good food in a relaxing atmosphere. Sometimes you want that food to be extraordinary, hand-crafted and completely original menu items you won’t get anywhere else. Always, you want that food to be vegan. Am I striking a chord here? Good, then I’ll continue. What if that food comes to your table as a seven-course tasting menu prepared by one of America’s top vegan chefs? Oh, and finally, it happens to be some of the best food you’ve ever eaten?
Well that experience, we learned a few days ago, is very common for vegans “in the know” who book early and are lucky enough to get a table at Executive Chef Dave Anderson’s Madeleine Bistro for one of his special occasion tasting menu treats. We showed up for the New Year’s Eve event not really knowing quite what to expect and left blown away by his creativity and skills in the kitchen.
To be honest, I’m rarely a fan of tasting menus. It’s like being in a car at the top of a hill with no brakes, careering to the bottom and trusting the chef to take care of you through multiple courses, delivering you safe and satisfied to the bottom. Only the finest chefs can deliver a consistently strong tasting menu, especially when they set themselves ridiculous targets like seven courses. SEVEN COURSES? It’s about all most restaurants can do to prepare ONE half-decent course, with a limp salad appetizer let alone serving after serving of excellence.
For a tasting menu to be successful, each course has to have broad enough appeal that pretty much anybody will like it, yet be outstanding in taste, texture and (on occasion) sheer novelty and construction value that one will occasionally wonder “how did they do THAT?”. Only the best chefs can really pull this off, and they inevitably take a huge personal risk that a high stakes game will play out in such a way that everybody is happy. I’m pleased to report that chef Dave not only filled my belly with incredible food, but peaked my interest with every course due to its presentation and even, on occasion, whimsical novelty.
Let’s take the first course, dim sum, as an example. The description of this dish included “tempeh lollipop” as one of the items. I mean C’MON? a TEMPEH LOLLIPOP? Yeah, that’s just what it was. A ball of tempeh seasoned and lightly fried so that it is crispy yet breaks apart with ease in one’s mouth. I guess chef Dave’s challenge was how to make such a creation easily edible – I mean, you will want to dip it in the dim sum sauce, but poking it with a fork would break it up, and chopsticks wouldn’t really work with the other menu items, so he stuck a stiff leaf stem into the ball in order that you could pick it up, dip it in, and eat it right up. See what I mean about interesting presentation and construction? Genius.
Accompanying the lollipops was a crispy wonton that defies explanation (so I won’t bother) and a sticky, seitan-filled bun that just begged to be cut up, dipped in sauce and eaten straight down.
The three items resonated perfectly together and provided an intersection of taste and texture I’d never experienced before.
One down, six to go. Next up was simply “Clam chowder in a bread bowl”.
I have no idea what “real” clam chowder tastes like, but this thing was fucking amazing. So much so that I not only ate ALL the chowder, but the bread bowl as well. Only after I did was I told that usually one leaves some of the bread. I was brought up poor and forced to eat everything on the table, so I guess old habits die hard. The server told me that the bread was baked from scratch in-house, and the chowder was a special creation of chef Dave. No shit, “special” is an understatement. This stuff should be in a can and sold everywhere, it was SO AMAZING.
Next up was some respite in the form of a delicate salad of chestnuts and apples with a mulled cider vinaigrette and fennel puree.
It was, again, simply amazing. The fennel puree looked a little like guacamole, yet had that smooth, almost aniseed taste that bumped perfectly up against the salad dressing. What another amazing combination of tastes and flavors!
Course four was both simple and unique. On one side of the court was a tangine of artichokes and chickpeas (who would ever have thought they would go so well together?) and the other was a crusty slice of seitan on a bed of greens divided by something called a “harissa emulsion”.
I ate the dish like a game of tennis – grab some from one side, drag through the emulsion, grab some from the other side, back again then put it in my face. Rinse, and repeat. Again, another dish that’s really hard to describe, but there was a full and complete flavor, almost moorish yet not overpowering.
Coming right out of left field was the next dish: Arugula tagliatelle, portabella mushroom and a mushroom ragout.
Thankfully the portion was compact as I ate the entire thing and would have been way to full for the subsequent servings! I’m half Italian, and grew up eating my mother’s Italian cooking (she’s not the Italian half, but that’s a long story) so I’m a genetic expert in Italian cuisine and I can honestly say that this dish, served as a main entree, would be within the top two or three pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. It was simply that good. Yes, and they even MADE the pasta itself from scratch!
Into the home stretch came “popcorn and cheese”, a strange sounding combination of a herb-crusted cashew cheese and biscuits…
with a plate of popcorn ice cream surrounded with (you guessed it) freshly popped warm popcorn.
I was skeptical when the plates arrived – I mean, give me one or the other, but BOTH? How can popcorn ice cream possibly go with cheese and biscuits which are anyway usually reserved for the post-drink cognac or port phase of a meal? Well, I was wrong. Everything was amazing and all created from scratch in chef Dave’s kitchen. The cheese was smoother and creamier than any premium vegan cheese I’d ever eaten before, and it slipped so well onto the warm biscuits and down my throat. The popcorn ice cream was a party in my mouth of cold ice cream and warm popped corns.
Finally, as I was begging for mercy, our cheerful server brought out two large plates of something called “3X3”, chocolate, peanut butter and caramel.
This was actually three separate deserts, all cleverly uniting three scrumptious desert flavors. Dish one was a cheesecake sort of contraption with a layered approach to the three ingredients. Dish two was three individual chocolates in little paper cups, like something you’d get out of a very expensive box from Switzerland, and the third dish splayed out the ingredients in an almost mathematical shape so you could pick at them and mix to your heart’s content. The desert was actually shocking: that sweets of this quality could be made at all either vegan or not is astounding.
So to sum up, the journey down the hill with no brakes felt as if chef Dave and his team were actually carrying the vehicle. No bumps, smooth sailing and a safe return to the end, weighing a few ounces more than I did at the beginning but expanding my horizons of taste and appreciation for food and the fine art of fine cuisine. Indeed, my experience with the New Year’s eve tasting menu has set the standard by which all other food will be judged for 2010. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing depending how you look at it!
For sure I’ll be back to Madeline for the amazing brunch, or dinner before the next tasting menu extravaganza for Valentine’s day, 2010. Although the dishes we ate might not be available again on a predictable basis, you can count on a great dining experience you’ll never forget.
This menu was prix fix at $100 per person, which is unquestionably a lot of money for food, yet really good value when you think less about what you pay and more about what you get. It is, frankly, a privilege to eat food like this at any price especially bearing in mind the hours of design, testing preparation and final cooking that shine through in every bite.
Madeleine BistroTags: holiday, tasting menu, the valley
18621 Ventura Blvd.
xiv restaurant in west hollywood is probably the only place in los angeles where vegans can get a true high end dining experience. created in partnership with celebrity chef michael mina, and with a modern interior designed by philippe starck, the swanky sbe restaurant is the epitome of gourmet fanciness. unlike most high rollin’ eateries though, xiv offers an entirely separate vegan menu with many entree items and the option of an 8, 11, or 14 course tasting. naturally, dining at xiv is not cheap—even for vegans the average price of meal with alcohol is around 100 bucks per head. but hey, what the hell, sometimes you just gotta treat yourself. and that’s exactly what we did last week.
Tags: alcohol, cocktails, tasting menu, west hollywood
last week, i had the pleasure of enjoying what was quite honestly one of the best meals of my life. our friends—who are also beer lovers and the wonderful people behind the quarrygirl iPhone app—invited us to have dinner with them at bottlerock downtown, a combination wine & beer retailer, tasting room and cafe. although there are only a few vegan dishes on the normal menu, our friends know someone who works at bottlerock and said they’d have no problem preparing us a special vegan meal.
when we arrived at bottlerock, they were ready for us. they had scrubbed down a section of the kitchen where our food was to be prepared, and had beer pairings on hand for each of our courses. i went in expecting some great beer and decent vegan fare, but i left completely elated and high on delicious flavors. i’m writing this post because i think it’s something everyone should try. let’s just jump right in and i’ll tell you all about what they served us:
the first course was a bowl of house root vegetables with fried capers and carrot miso. perfectly sweet with hints of vinegar, this is one of the best beet dishes i’ve ever tried.
the second course was fresh fava and pistachio falafel, served with cherry tomatoes, hummus, watercress and black olive oil. to say this falafel was amazing would be a gross understatement. it was extra thick and dense, not spongy like a regular chickpea falafel. the leaves were delicate and fresh, the tomatoes were juicy, and the hummus was extra creamy. everybody at the table was thoroughly impressed with this dish.
our third course was a small bowl of king trumpet mushrooms covered in greens, with crunchy almonds in an artichoke puree. the rich and smooth artichoke puree was so delicious, i could drink it straight. it was super thick and coated the leaves and mushrooms perfectly, giving everything a quite decadent taste.
course four was a dish of fried sushi rice and vegetables. it came sprinkled with some black flecks that i think were called ukari. i don’t know exactly what was in this rice, but whatever it was, i loved it. each grain was slightly fried and packed just the right amount of flavor and crunch.
the fifth course was gorgeously presented—a fingerling potato with beluga lentils, shaved celery and carrot curry sauce. this dish was definitely a standout, and everyone at the table was basically licking their plate to get every last drop of the sauce.
course number six brought together some of the best tastes i’ve ever had in my life. the dish consisted of a seared tofu patty with smoked parsnip sauce, a maitake mushroom atop a cipollini onion, and a mound of cumin spaghetti squash. OMG. if i could prepare tofu this way, i would never leave the house. the parsnip sauce, the succulent mushroom and the barely sweet onion were all perfect as well. to me, this course was pure bliss.
so by this point, we were all getting a bit full and tipsy. we’d had 6 dishes and a beer pairing to go with each one, so when they asked us how many more courses we had left in us we told them we could probably only make it through just one more. (i’m so curious as to what they would have brought had we requested several more.)
so with that they brought out course seven, our final and dessert course, a scoop of melon sorbet with reduced apple cider, plum, sweet potato and grated cashew. there were so many flavors going on in this thing, it was unreal. sweet, fruity, salty, and nutty all at once. a total party in my mouth.
after seven courses of this amazing food, the four of us could barely move. and i didn’t even get into the excellent beer pairings that bottlerock brought with each one. we tried so much stuff from from a fresh hopped IPA, to hefferveisen, to thick rich dessert beers. the staff was also super friendly and excited about the food, willing to explain all the flavors to us in detail. the chef even came out to meet us and told us that he whipped up everything with ingredients he had on hand, no special planning or preparation. wow, now that’s what i call talent!
so i bet you are wondering how you can experience this delicious food, because after all, none of it is on the menu. well, the chef told us that bottlerock could accommodate all vegans…it’s just a matter of getting creative and clearing off a preparation space in the kitchen. my advice would be to call ahead, make reservations for a tasting menu, and alert them to your veganocity. you may not end up with the exact courses we had, but you will end up with something amazing nonetheless.
so seriously, call bottlerock and get some of the amazing vegan food, wine and beer they have to offer. maybe if enough of us go there, they will add a vegan tasting meal to the normal menu. wouldn’t that be awesome? yeah, it would…because this is the best vegan tasting meal i’ve had in los angeles by far. who’s in? i am going back as soon as i possibly can.
BottlerockTags: alcohol, beer, beer, downtown la, tasting menu
1050 Flower Street # 167
Los Angeles, CA 90015