• October 24th, 2010quarrygirlj's kitchen (closed), LA restaurants

    according to yo venice, j’s kitchen has shut down.

    can’t say i’m that sad about it.

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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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • March 10th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, seed

    vegan food is popping up all over the west side, some good and some bad…just last week i wrote about a newly opened vegan restaurant in venice that i wasn’t very impressed with. luckily for all you beach peeps, there is an excellent macrobiotic restaurant called seed on pacific avenue, serving up healthy all-vegan meals seven days a week.

    seed has been open for 4 months, and while i’ve only eaten there twice, everything i’ve tried has been awesome. my first visit was just days after they opened, and i went back for a second time last week. i was happy to discover the food was just as delicious and it was great to see a healthy crowd of beach-goers chowing down on vegan fare.

    saisai donburi macro bowl: kabocha, kale, shitake, arame, bean sprouts, daily bean, sauerkraut, balsalmic miso sauce all over organic brown rice. $11.95

    saisai donburi macro bowl: kabocha, kale, shitake, arame, bean sprouts, daily bean, sauerkraut, balsalmic miso sauce all over organic brown rice. $11.95

    the food at seed is masterfully crafted by celebrity chef eric lechasseur, who used to be the chef de patisserie at m cafe. seed’s macrobiotic menu is actually really similar to that of m cafe…tons of bowls, burgers, paninis and japanese vegetables…just without all the dead fish. a lot of my friends actually prefer the food at m cafe, arguing that seed’s food is a bit more bland. i don’t necessarily agree with that, and i’d rather eat at seed any day because it’s a 100% vegan restaurant.

    i recently hit up seed with my husband on a double lunch date with eric and diana from happycow.net. i ordered the saisai donburi macro bowl, which was overflowing with more delicious vegetables than i could handle. it came with the option to add tofu, tempeh or seitan at an additional charge, but all the plants in this bowl were enough for me. i gotta say this was the freshest, lightest, tastiest meal i’ve had in quite a while. everything was incredibly delicate and just oozing with healthy flavor. the organic brown rice was extremely soft and fluffy, i ate every bite of it even though i tend to leave my rice behind. the bowl came with a tangy miso sauce that i forgot to even pour on top! that’s right, it was so good i forgot to liven it up with the sauce. i think i will order this every time i go back to seed.

    my husband got the blackened tempeh burger which was huge and very hearty.

    blackened tempeh burger with sauerkraut: lettuce, tomato, onion, sauerkraut, house mango salsa and mustard-vegenaise spread serverd on a wheat bun with a side of viaigrette coleslaw. $9.95

    blackened tempeh burger with sauerkraut: lettuce, tomato, onion, sauerkraut, house mango salsa and mustard-vegenaise spread serverd on a wheat bun with a side of vinaigrette coleslaw. $9.95

    while the burger was excellent, the flavor combinations weren’t my favorite. i like sauerkraut and tempeh, but i didn’t really like the mango salsa and mustard vegenaise. i think overall this burger was just too sweet for me, and my husband agreed. although i know tons of people who claim this is the best thing on the menu. ah, to each his own.

    eric and diana ordered a side of sweet potato fries to share, which were so fucking awesome. i am just bummed i forgot to photograph them. seriously, they were the one thing at the table that didn’t taste insanely healthy and they were really good in a guilty pleasure sort of way. thin and incredibly crispy around the edges, but soft and fluffy on the inside. perfect fries indeed.

    for the four months that seed has been open, i’ve been dying to try their soft serve ice cream. it’s on the menu, and i’ve heard that it exists, but it hasn’t been available the two times i’ve dined at seed. happycow eric informed us that it’s usually only available when chef eric is present, because the recipe and machine are so complicated. what? seriously? vegan ice cream so special that it can only be made when a celebrity chef is on hand? this made me want it even more. now i have another reason to get back to seed asap, as if the saisai donburi macro bowl wasn’t enough. i will let you know if i ever get my hands on some of that elusive soft serve ice cream.

    so if you haven’t been to seed yet, got check them out. like i said before, they serve up high-quality m cafe style food, but without the disgusting dead fish. definitely worth a visit.

    oh, and check out their happycow.net rating while you are at it…they’ve got a really high score. and join happycow if you haven’t already; it’s like the non-shady and vegetarian version of yelp.

    1604 pacific avenue
    venice, ca 90291

    open daily
    10 am to 9 pm

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  • March 2nd, 2009quarrygirlj's kitchen (closed), LA restaurants

    as more and more vegan restaurants close these days (R.I.P. vegan spot and doomie’s), plenty seem to be opening…especially on the west side. we’ve been lucky enough to gain seed, casa de tree, and yet another m cafe in beverly hills. i guess with all this awesomeness happening, there was bound to be a fluke. enter j’s kitchen on abbot kinney in venice. the new vegan macrobiotic restaurant sitting on a prime piece of real estate should be something to get really excited about…instead, it wound up being a total letdown.

    i was really excited for j’s kitchen to open, don’t get me wrong. supposedly this place has a wicked storefront in japan, serving up high-quality vegan food that is known all around the world for being delicious. they were supposed to open in like september, but that got pushed out months, and finally they did a soft-opening in december. what looked like it would be an awesome duplicate of the famous tokyo location turned out to be just a salad bar with no seating and very limited hours.

    now over 2 months later, j’s kitchen still has no indoor seating, the menu is small and limited, and while they do have some food other than a salad bar…in my experience, it was really disappointing.

    veggie tofu scramble. $4.50 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    veggie tofu scramble. $4.50 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    i wanted to love j’s kitchen so much, i really did. i drove all the way from mother-fuckin’ hollywood and met my vegan-enthusiast friend there at 8am. we were so stoked to be trying out a new vegan breakfast joint on the westside….the 50 minute drive didn’t even phase me. when we arrived, however, we were told that the chef “decided not to come in until 8:30” that day. we had the choice of getting some cold breakfast, or waiting a bit longer for the stuff that was advertised on the menu. we decided to wait. and wait. and wait. at 8:30, the chef still wasn’t there. she arrived at more like 8:45 or 8:50, and the food we received definitely didn’t justify the amount of time we had to sit around.

    my friend ordered the veggie tofu scramble, pictured above, which was basically a mix of bland tofu and bell peppers. the tempeh bacon was an extra 3 bucks for just two slices, and they tasted like they came straight out of a box. even after adding a ton of salt, the scramble was still pretty tasteless. now i understand that macrobiotic food is a whole new game, but if seed and m cafe can make such awesome dishes, j’s kitcen really has no excuse.

    breakfast burrito. $7.95 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    breakfast burrito. $7.95 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    i ordered the breakfast burrito, which was small and not very flavorful. i can’t believe it cost nearly $8! $3 dollars more than the scramble, and about the same amount of food. while the burrito wasn’t horrible to start with, it went from “meh” to “fucking disgusting” instantly when i found a long, black, curly hair all wrapped around the tofu at the bottom of the burrito. that’s it. breakfast over.

    who knows, maybe my experience was a one off and usually j’s kitchen is great. some stuff on the menu did look pretty good, and i’ve heard great things about it on other sites. i just know that hair in my food was enough to gross me out for awhile, and the blandness of everything else makes me feel like i’m not missing much. sure, maybe i will return for lunch someday…but not any time soon.

    here’s a copy of the menu, since it isn’t available on their site.
    js-kitchen-menu-front-back js-kitchen-menu-inside

    here’s to hoping j’s kitchen gets their act together! they are in a great location, and another good vegan restaurant on the westside would be a wonderful thing.

    j's kitchen on abbot kinney in venice

    j's kitchen on abbot kinney in venice

    j’s kitchen
    1239 abbot kinney blvd.
    venice, ca 90291


    open 8am to 4pm
    monday thru saturday

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