• January 15th, 2010quarrygirlcasa de tree (closed), LA restaurants

    sorry to start this weekend on a bummer note, but i just learned that the all vegan restaurant casa de tree in west LA will close its doors with no plans to re-open.

    we have reviewed casa de tree a couple times, and my only regret is that i didn’t eat there way more often. they have a good mix of heavy and healthy food, an extensive menu, and even a pay by weight salad bar. all beautiful and animal-free.

    katsu sandwich: homemade organic seitan katsu, cabbage, mustard and italian miso sauce. served with salad and side dish. $8.95

    their website states that they will be closed as of tomorrow saturday january 16th…but i called the restaurant and they said they will be open tomorrow from 10am to 9pm. you should seriously get over there and try their food before it’s all gone. just be sure to call ahead and double check the hours, since there seems to be some conflicting info.

    SO SAD TO SEE YET ANOTHER VEGAN BUSINESS CLOSE! we will miss ya, casa de tree!

    casa de tree
    3741 motor ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90034

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  • December 12th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, samosa house

    samosa house east in culver city

    as of yesterday, there is yet another takeaway indian vegetarian restaurant on the scene in culver city (on washington at overland) and it’s called samosa house east. run by the same people who are behind the quarrygirl approved original samosa house just blocks away, the east location occupies a more simple and modern space with a menu that’s similar but with a larger focus on mock meats. with ample seating and no market attached to the restaurant, samosa house east is a great alternative for on-the-go diners who don’t want to muck about with people lining up to buy groceries, etc.

    vegan samosa chat $3.50

    vegan samosa chat $3.50

    i hit up samosa house east this morning, and on their first full day of being open they were still working out some kinks but served me some damn decent food. i ordered a vegan samosa chat which consisted of a crispy fried indian pastry pocket topped with chutney, coriander sauce and curry, all for just $3.50. it was absolutely delicious. plus, the dude behind the counter told me that as of tomorrow, samosa house east will be offering a vegan soy yogurt as an alternative to all dishes that come with real yogurt. so awesome.

    when i was there, samosa house east was still setting up and didn’t have all their dishes out yet. but according to their twitter account, by the afternoon they were serving veggie fish, jackfruit, and smoked cauliflower—just to name a few things! i am so stoked that this restaurant has opened, and once they hit their stride, i think they will absolutely amazing.

    cheap, fast, delicious, meatless, takeout. i fucking dare you to find something wrong with that.

    samosa house east

    right now, this restaurant does not have a phone number and they are still getting their hours sorted out. they should be open from 11am-11pm…but don’t quote me on that.

    here is the samosa house east address, along with the original samosa house website and phone number in case you have questions!

    samosa house east
    10700 Washington Boulevard
    Culver City, CA 90232-3314

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  • December 10th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    native foods in westwood has had a complete makeover, and i’m a fan of their new style. not only does the place have a fresh paint job with brighter colors, but they’ve implemented a new rewards program, added some pretty amazing dishes to their menu and are now offering daiya cheese.

    oklahoma bacon cheeseburger: thinly sliced seitan, melted daiya cheddar, caramelized onions, crispy tempeh bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomato and topped with crunchy battered dill pickles chips. $9.95

    oklahoma bacon cheeseburger: thinly sliced seitan, melted daiya cheddar, caramelized onions, crispy tempeh bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomato and topped with crunchy battered dill pickles chips. $9.95

    we checked out the new native foods the other day, and while loads of stuff on the menu looked delicious, i couldn’t resist the oklahoma bacon cheeseburger, a seasonal special (pictured above). we ended up eating our food out of takeaway boxes—more on that later—so the photo really doesn’t do the burger justice AT ALL. let me tell you, this baby was massive, juicy, and probably one of the best things i’ve ever eaten in a bun. the seitan inside wasn’t a patty, but more like thick juicy strips of wheat meat topped with the tastiest tempeh bacon ever. there was a generous helping of melty daiya cheddar in there as well, which mixed in with the two types of creamy sauces to make a hot delicious mess. it was drippy, huge, meaty, cheesy and wonderful. seriously, where else can you get a vegan bacon cheeseburger in los angeles? this is on the “specials” menu, and it’s seasonal, so everyone needs to try this thing before it goes away!

    twister wrap: organic greens, fresh avocado and cucumber salsa, creamy chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy or grilled chicken. $9.95

    twister wrap: organic greens, fresh avocado and cucumber salsa, creamy chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy or grilled chicken. $9.95

    for our other entree, my husband and i split the much lighter twister wrap. it came filled with leafy greens, avocado, creamy sauce and crispy soy chicken. the faux meat in this thing was excellent, slightly greasy and crunchy on the outside yet moist and soft in the middle. we got this with a side of nicely seasoned native fries which were spicy and garlicky. yumz.

    while we were there, we also learned that native foods has introduced a new frequent eater program where you sign up for a card and earn points that go towards free food every time you dine there. just by signing up we received a complimentary drink with our order, a refreshing cup of lavender lemonade. they also have this promotional gift thing going on through the holidays where if you buy someone (or yourself) a $100 gift card, you get extra $20 card for free. that’s a good investment, if you ask me.

    native foods in westwood

    now let’s talk about how the interior of native foods has changed. at the westwood location, you used to order at a counter in the front of the restaurant, then take a seat upstairs and wait for your food. now native foods has expanded and the counter where you place your order has moved next door. there’s also a new seating area there, but it’s not where you sit and eat your food…for some reason the new area is for take-out only. so you order at the new counter, then go outside and back into the original restaurant and sit upstairs, where they will bring your your meal. whew. sounds complicated, right? it is! when we were at native foods, there was no seating upstairs, so we had to eat in the take-out part of the restaurant. and unfortunately, if you dine in that area, you have to eat your food from a to-go container and not off real dishes. oh well, the food tasted great nonetheless!

    while the dine-in experience was a little awkward due to the logistics of the westwood location, i was completely blown away by my meal at native foods and i can’t wait to order even more stuff off the new menu. they’ve got daiya quesadillas, pizzas, chili cheese fries, and more. but seriously dudes, get to native foods NOW and eat the bacon cheeseburger. it’s fucking amazing.

    native foods in westwood

    native foods
    1110 1/2 Gayley Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90024
    (310) 209-1055
    11AM – 10PM

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  • November 9th, 2009mr meanerbawarchi, LA restaurants

    Some fads really bother me: Skinny jeans with Uggs, for example. Other fads have quite the opposite effect, one such being the plethora of vegetarian Indian fast food restaurants that are opening in West LA. The most recent addition to the scene is Bawarchi Indian Kitchen in Culver City, a deli-style shopfront serving up tasty Indian food mainly for the to go market.

    bawarchi vegetarian dude

    Just a few blocks from LA’s original Samosa House, Bawarchi (translation: “Chef”) offers a counter service choice of over 20 vegetarian Indian dishes, many of which are vegan. If you decide to sit in, there are a few small tables crammed together for limited seating.

    bawarchi vegetarian combination with matar koftka (vegetable balls and green peas), jeera aloo (cumin and potato), dal banjara (lentils) and pilau rice. $8

    bawarchi vegetarian combination with matar koftka (vegetable balls and green peas), jeera aloo (cumin and potato), dal banjara (lentils) and pilau rice. $8

    The best value option is the “Lunch and Dinner Special”, where you can choose a rice, 2 pieces of bread (make sure you get the roti, as the naan isn’t vegan!) and and three vegetable dishes from the buffet, a garden salad and pappadum for only $8.

    bawarchi vegetarian combination with bey koftka masala (lotus root), arbi (tarro root), oven roasted lahori jackfruit and pilau rice. $8

    bawarchi vegetarian combination with bey koftka masala (lotus root), arbi (tarro root), oven roasted lahori jackfruit and pilau rice. $8

    If you go with a friend, you can mix ‘n’ match, leaving with six different dishes, and enough salad, rice and bread to fill you up.

    channa patta (garbanzo) and makki da saag (corn and spinach) $4 each

    channa patta (garbanzo) and makki da saag (corn and spinach) $4 each

    If you’re super hungry, an extra $4 will get you a single 8oz size serving of any dish, and you can get two hot and fresh samosas for the ridiculously low price of only $3.

    vegetable samosas. 2 for $3

    vegetable samosas. 2 for $3

    On our recent visit, we got two Dinner Specials, a couple of entrees and two samosas for only $27. As you can see from the pictures, this was A LOT OF FOOD, and has lasted several days in the fridge.

    While the dishes varied in taste and flavor (some were certainly better than others), they were all consistently good, and the portions were a reasonable size for the price – though not generous by any means. What was generous, though, was the huge mound of rice and large Tawa Roti bread that we used to scoop up the food.

    Once you get your food home, you’re in culinary heaven: a place you deserve to be after the difficult process that is visiting the restaurant. From the minute you arrive in the crowded, often full, strip mall parking lot you’re in for a confusing and borderline uncomfortable experience as you negotiate barrier after barrier in your quest for food.

    First, there’s no clear indication on what you should do when you enter the restaurant. Some people were just standing by the door waiting to be shown in, while others sat down at empty tables, waiting to be served (there’s no greeter or table service that we could determine). When you get to the deli counter, a couple of servers are smiling and ready to accept your order, but there’s no clear place you’re supposed to stand for attention, so it’s a bit like ordering a pint at a pub in the UK: you hope to luck out and get noticed in the midsts of organized chaos.

    For vegans, it’s even more tricky, as the chef (who is buried away in the kitchen) is the only person who knows what’s vegan and what isn’t. He kindly wafted into the restaurant, and individually pointed out roughly 16 out of the 20 or so dishes one by one “this is vegan, this is vegan, this is vegan… SIXTEEN TIMES”. All they really needed is some labeling to make the whole process much easier, and we had to get several reminders of what was, and was not vegan, having somewhat limited short-term memory.

    bawarchi vegetarian food

    Anyways, we ordered the following food:

    Bey Kofta Masala (Lotus Root) – An east-Asian style curry that was very sweet, with crunchy Lotus Root.
    Arbi (Tarro Root) – Similar sauce to above, but with a texture similar to well cooked carrot
    Matar Kofta (Vegetable Balls) – Mushy, crispy falafel-esque balls of vegetables in a tomatoey sauce
    Lahori (Jackfruit) – Not my cup o’tea, but seemingly everybody else’s favorite

    bawarchi jackfruit

    Jeera Aloo (Potato and Cumin curry) – Pretty much as you’d expect: Slightly salty, but could have done with more taste
    Dal Banjara (Lentil Dal) – One of the best dishes: Spicy lentils in a perfectly creamy base. I could eat a ton of this stuff, and probably will over the next few months.
    Channa Patta (Garbanzo Beans) – Fresh tasting curry with tangy sauce and perfectly cooked Garbanzo beans
    Makki Da Saag (Corn and Spinach) – Looked, and tasted like the lovechild of a can of spinach and a can of corn. Nothing to write home about.

    vegan samosa

    Samosas – The signature dish of Samosa House, and seemingly Bawarchi too. Perfectly cooked, crispy, packed with vegetable stuff and totally awesome. Even the morning after.
    The rice, bread and salad were all very nicely presented and tasted fresh.

    Along with Samosa House, the flavorings were subtle, bordering on a little bland with not enough spice and heat to any of the dishes. Having said that, though, it’s a lot of food for the price, and really is quite decent as well as very filling.

    In fact, the food was SO SIMILAR to Samosa House that we asked the server if they were related — he told us that the chef had recently left Samosa House, and is now one of the partners in Bawarchi: perhaps he took the recipes with him? Who knows….

    After you’ve been to Bawarchi once, you know what to expect next time, and can, I’m sure, bustle through the place getting exactly what you want quickly and with little fuss.

    Also, we heard that yet another Indian deli-style kitchen will be opening close by over the next few weeks. Add to that a second Samosa House location within a 5 minute drive, and we’re looking at a very interesting place to visit for Indian food lovers such as myself.

    bawarchi interior

    Good luck to Bawarchi – I’m sure that as they perfect the processes in the restaurant and branch out with new dishes things will only get better. Oh, and competition doesn’t hurt either.

    Tip: Bawarchi is slightly better value than Samosa House. Although the prices and quantities are the same, you do get an extra side salad at Bawarchi, and the Pilau-style rice with spices and vegetables rice is much better than the boring steamed basmati at Samosa House.

    bawarchi indian kitchen
    10408 Venice Blvd
    Los Angeles, California 90232
    open daily 11am-10pm

    bawarchi exterior

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  • October 28th, 2009quarrygirla votre sante, LA restaurants

    are you looking for a place to recharge with some healthy food after dining out on all the rich and decadent vegan cuisine that los angeles has to offer? well then look no further than a votre sante in brentwood. the cozy eatery offers light and simple natural cuisine that’s healthy yet extremely delicious.

    we hit up a votre sante recently with none other than the healthy vegans, who turned us on to the place, and had a 3 course dinner that left us feeling energized and satisfied rather than stuffed and bloated.

    Dragontail: Fresh vegetables, hijiki, organic tofu, ginger tamari sauce, organic brown rice, organic black beans, and soy tahini.  $13.95

    Dragontail: Fresh vegetables, hijiki, organic tofu, ginger tamari sauce, organic brown rice, organic black beans, and soy tahini. $13.95

    for my main course i ordered the dragontail from a votre sante’s vegan menu. although the restaurant has a separate vegan menu, don’t be fooled—most of their other offerings are vegan as well. for instance, they have a health mex menu on which almost everything is vegan. anyways, the dragontail was a winner. the bowl of food was absolutely massive and filled with vegetables, tofu, rice and black beans…all covered in tamari, tahini and hijiki. man, this thing was incredible. so fresh and simple yet packed with flavor. i don’t know how i managed to eat it all, but i did! the rice was some of the fluffiest i’ve ever tried, and the tofu was soft and juicy. i couldn’t get enough of the sauce either—at the end of the meal, i was practically licking the bowl.

    Blackened Tofu Feast: Blackened organic tofu, steamed vegetables, organic brown rice, and soy tahini sauce.  $13.95

    Blackened Tofu Feast: Blackened organic tofu, steamed vegetables, organic brown rice, and soy tahini sauce. $13.95

    mr. meaner also dined off the vegan menu, and ordered the blackened tofu feast with steamed vegetables and brown rice. this perhaps wasn’t the best angle to take the picture from, because you can’t really see the huge mound of marinated and blackened tofu! oh well, at least you can see that a votre sante didn’t skimp on the vegetables. i tasted a bit of the tofu and it was awesome…however, i still preferred my dragontail. this is definitely a super healthy option though, as you can see the plate is 80% vegetables, paired with extremely high quality rice and tofu.

    our dining partners lex and kristin ordered some salad and pasta dishes, both of which looked delicious. they also ordered their entrees oil-free, and a votre sante was happy to accommodate…good to know, if you are in the mood to eat something uber-healthy.

    soup du jour: corn chowder. $3.95

    soup du jour: corn chowder. $3.95

    but lemme back up a bit, i forgot to tell you about the soup! everyday, a votre sante offers two vegan soup options, served with a vegan corn muffin. we got cups of soup around the table; mine being the corn chowder (pictured above) and mr. meaner’s the vegetable (below).

    soup du jour: vegetable. $3.95

    soup du jour: vegetable. $3.95

    both soups were extremely tasty and hit the spot—i really can’t fault them. the perect warm, comforting starter on a blustery autumn night.

    pumpkin pie

    pumpkin pie

    even after all that food, we still saved room for a bit of dessert. we got the pumpkin pie (we are less than a week away from halloween, after all!) and it was awesome. it was thick, moist and oozing with sweet pumpkin and cinnamon flavor. it definitely tasted “healthy,” but not in a bad way…just in a way that made me feel really good about eating it. the crust was thick and chewy, and it was even topped with a swirl of vegan whipped cream. total yumz!

    i can’t believe it has taken me so long to eat at a votre sante, and i would highly reccommend it for a refreshingly light and tasty meal. the vegan options are plentiful, they use high quality ingredients, the service is polite, and the atmosphere is relaxing. i am thinking i will be back very soon for a healthy lunch prior to a stroll on the beach. we definitely need more places like this in LA!

    a votre sante
    13016 San Vicente Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90049
    (310) 451-1813

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  • June 4th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, la vegan

    as you know, i’m not a big fan of the vegan thai restaurants that have been popping up all over los angeles, with the same menu and questionable ingredients. from the stretchy cheese at green leaves vegan that the staff can’t explain, to the whey-containing soy meats at vegan express, some of these thai places give us plenty of reason to suspect them.

    the latest shady vegan thai findings come to us in an email from a tipster called mr. wishbone. while i can’t confirm his findings, he did provide a photograph, and i thought his story was worth posting. mr. wishbone wrote in an email:

    “I now feel like the pancake police, because when I went to L.A. Vegan in Marina Del Rey/Culver City and had pancakes they seemed too fluffy to be Kamut and vegan. So I went to the restroom (conveniently in the back of the kitchen) and lo and behold found a big bag of Buttermilk Pancake Mix!

    I confronted the waiter/manager and he said it was only for the “cooks use, for their meals” and “we are not vegan”. Needless to say his holding up a tiny bag of Arrowhead Mills Kamut Pancake Mix (unopened) did not convince me that they hadn’t used something non-vegan. I have had many a gritty/yellowish Kamut pancake and these were NOT Kamut flour as described on the menu as “low gluten Kamut Pancake”.

    While in the kitchen I looked around a bit and also noticed the margarine they were serving was not Earth Balance, but a commercial tub of regular margarine.(Probably also from Smart & Final) I tried to read the whole label quickly, and did not see whey or milk solids listed but it did have mono and di-glycerides, which are often not vegan.

    I got really angry after I left and went into “Pancake Police mode” and returned after-hours for a little dumpster inspection that evening… I found the half-used bag of Smart and Final “Chefs Review Buttermilk Pancake Mix” in the trash, along with a bag of Bisquick Baking Mix. (I think Bisquick IS vegan, but definitely not made from Kamut, so they are liars already.)

    …To have a half-used buttermilk pancake mix in the kitchen, and to have thrown both away the night I discovered them and challenged the manager seems like a guilty child trying to throw away the evidence of his crime.

    If the word vegan is in the restaurant title, animal products shouldn’t be cooked in that kitchen. (Even of only for the staff. Just my opinion)”

    here is the photograph mr. wishbone took of the trash in la vegan’s dumpster. it all seems pretty dubious to me.

    buttermilk pancake mix in the dumpster of la vegan thai

    buttermilk pancake mix in the dumpster of la vegan thai

    some of you may think i shouldn’t have posted this, because i didn’t take this picture myself, etc. however, i think it’s important to bring up the point that just because these thai restaurants have the word “vegan” in their title, doesn’t mean you should trust them. if this were the first instance i’d heard of where a vegan thai place had non-vegan ingredients in their kitchen, i probably wouldn’t post it. however, i hear story after story from customers who feel they’ve been lied to…this one just happened to come with a photograph.

    and i have to agree with mr. wishbone that if this is a 100% vegan establishment, that pancake mix shouldn’t even be in the restaurant, let alone kitchen. and i don’t buy for a fucking second that it was to feed the employees. what, they are so pancake obsessed that they need to bring their own non-vegan mix to work just so they can get a fix? it really doesn’t add up.

    it’s unfortunate, because places like this really ruin it for the vegan thai joints that are upfront and honest. i for one, know i am pretty much done with vegan thai, and if i am ever forced to eat at any of these places again, it’s gonna be steamed vegetables and tofu, which is unlikely to be contaminated.

    i’m not telling you to boycott any of these places or give up vegan thai like i did. i’m just saying, think about it. we should start holding these restaurants accountable.

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  • March 24th, 2009quarrygirlcasa de tree (closed), LA restaurants

    so a few months ago, i wrote about this new little japanese/french vegan deli/bakery that opened up in west los angeles on motor avenue called casa de tree. at the time of posting, the restaurant was the sister to the recently-closed torrance location, and didn’t offer a full menu yet…just a pay-by-weight salad and hot food bar with a few blackboard specials to choose from each day.

    3 months later, i am happy to announce that the west la casa de tree has expanded their menu and lowered their prices. these changes aren’t even reflected on the casa de tree website yet (most of the online info is out of date), so pay close attention to the prices and the menu that i will post below. not just that, but they wave before us the promise of their torrance location re-opening soon, which would be great news for the vegan community.

    i had the awesome opportunity to catch up at casa de tree with like-minded herbivores last weekend for an oh-so-fun and sporadic happycow.net meeting. now for all you vegan angelenos who want to know about these meetings in the future…just join happycow, leave some reviews, and specify that you want in on all the vegan shindig info for your area. this site is a great place to meet other veg-heads and stay abreast of all vegan/vegetarian-goings ons in yer area.

    that being said, the husband and i decided to have a slap-up feast, starting with the curry donut to share. as of recently, casa de tree offers several pastries…some savory and some sweet. so whether you are in the mood for an appetizer or dessert, they will definitely find a way to loosen your waistline.

    curry donut: vegan curry paste inside crunchy bread crumbed dough. $2.50

    curry donut: vegan curry paste inside crunchy bread crumbed dough. $2.50

    the curry donut was nothing short of exceptional. seriously, even though it took a bit long for them to heat it up behind the counter, one bite of it immediately launched casa de tree into the category of “favorite vegan restaurants, ever”. and that’s a bold statement. it was fried with little crumby edges…all crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. not just that, but it was ooooooooOOOOOOooozing with salty and chunky curry goodness.


    for my entree, i decided to order off the newly-introduced fixed menu. as i said, last time i went to casa de tree i was limited to the pay-by-weight buffet option, so on my recent trip i couldn’t help but test out one of the MANY BURGERS AND SANDWICHES they are now offering daily. not just that, but the meals are cheaper than they were even at the original torrance location. damn, i was having a fantasy menu field day when deciding what to order, there was so much awesomeness. i eventually settled on the katsu sandwich, which was a great choice.

    katsu sandwich: homemade organic seitan katsu, cabbage, mustard and italian miso sauce. served with salad and side dish. $8.95

    katsu sandwich: homemade organic seitan katsu, cabbage, mustard and italian miso sauce. served with salad and side dish. $8.95

    although it took way too long to arrive (maybe it just felt that way because all my fellow diners went with the buffet option), the katsu sandwich was totally worth it, and was a bargain at $8.95 with a salad and a side dish. the bread was remarkably soft and porous, the cabbage was fresh and crispy, the mustard was hot and tangy, and above all the seitan was crispy and just fatty enough. it was a sinful yet healthy tasting food, if you can imagine that…truly the best of both worlds. it came with a light and well-prepared salad as well as a cold and a creamy noodle dish which was packed with flavor. i’d order this again in a jiffy…after exploring the other amazing sounding sandwich and burger options, of course…


    sticking to tradition, my husband went with with the pay-by-weight buffet option, which is probably the most obvious thing to do at casa de tree (it isn’t exactly clear when you walk in that they have a proper menu). since our last visit, the restaurant has lowered their price to $7.99 per pound, the exact same price as whole foods, but with much MUCH better shit. he filled up on loads of salad, sushi, tofu steak hamburgers, deep fried jalapenos, vegetable gyoza, and potato cakes. it really is a little self-serve vegan paradise. just be aware that it will cost you!

    vegan buffet: $7.99 per pound.

    vegan buffet: $7.99 per pound.

    the buffet is a great option if you are feeling up for eating samples of 15 different things, but i think in the future i will order off the newly-available set menu at casa de tree. they really give you a lot of food for the (now lower) price, and although it takes a while longer, it is so worth it.

    check out the menu i’ve posted below. as i said, the items AND prices are different than the ones listed on the casa de tree website, which is well old and useless. also please note that casa de tree is CASH ONLY. if you come prepared with enough cash to foot the bill, this could easily be the best restaurant in los angeles. if you fill up on heavy shit from the buffet and get overcharged, then have to run to the atm…this could leave you with a very bad taste in your mouth. i hope my little hints will help you make the best of your experience.

    casa-de-tree-menu-1 casa-de-tree-menu-2

    casa de tree
    3741 motor ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90034

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  • December 23rd, 2008quarrygirlcasa de tree (closed), LA restaurants

    casa de tree is a newish japanese/french organic bakery and vegan deli that’s sprouted up near the venice area of los angeles. they used to have a location in torrance with a full-on menu, but for now the los angeles storefront just offers a few specials and a long pay-by-weight vegan buffet. my husband and i checked them out a few weeks ago and filled up on loads scrumptious vegan goodness. buffet, entrees, sides, we got it all.

    casa de tree buffet with vegetables, tofu, crispy seitan, dumplings and other tasty things. $8.99 per pound.

    casa de tree buffet with vegetables, tofu, crispy seitan, dumplings and other tasty things. $8.99 per pound.

    my husband made his rounds through the deli, gathering tons of appetizing vegetables, savory tofu, crispy seitan and steamed dumplings. i helped myself to his plate and everything was amazing. strangely, the large trays of buffet food that lined the walls of casa de tree were completely unlabeled, however the woman behind the cash register was more than happy to explain each dish in detail. there was so much to choose from, and it was all delicious and completely vegan—the food was much higher quality than that in the standard whole foods pay-by-weight buffet of the same price.

    i decided to go with the special of the day from the blackboard above the buffet, two crunchy tacos. they were very tasty, and came with a bunch of stuff that looked familiar from my husband’s buffet selections.

    casa de tree tacos with seitan, vegetables, soy sour cream and side salads. $9.75

    casa de tree tacos with seitan, vegetables, soy sour cream and side salads. $9.75

    i thought the tacos were incredible. the breaded seitan katsu was perfectly cooked, the organic corn shells were light and crunchy, and both side salads were superb. the soy sour cream was sinfully good as well. my only complaint about my meal is that it took ages to arrive, and since my husband went with the deli option, he was done eating long before my food was served.

    casa de tree also offers a counter full of ready-made items and take-away bento boxes that looked very appetizing, and wide array of mouth-watering desserts. my husband and i split the tofu quiche, which turned out to be the highlight of the meal.

    vegan tofu quiche. $1.75

    vegan tofu quiche. $1.75

    i have had a few vegan quiches in my time, and this was the best one ever. it was warm with fluffy tofu and spinach on the inside, and slightly burned and crunchy on top. quiche perfection.

    so overall, i had a pretty good experience at casa de tree. the food was not only tasty, it was all organic, vegan and nutritious. the recipes were creative as well, i loved the blending of japanese and french styles—the dishes really reminded me of stuff you’d find at m cafe, minus the dead fish. i just hope casa de tree gets a proper menu at some point in the near future. while the deli/salad bar option would be great for grabbing stuff to go, i’d rather have more choices for a dine-in experience. plus, i prefer my food to be fresh and warm as can be.

    if you want a quick bite on the west side, check out casa de tree. and eat some dessert for me, because i didn’t get a chance to try any!


    casa de tree
    3741 motor ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90034

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