after years of sticking it out in the valley, madeleine bistro (our favorite restaurant ever) is finally planning to expand over the hill and open a cafe in los angeles next month. according to them, it’s gonna be an all vegan ice cream, pastry, and sandwich shop in westside LA featuring many of the menu items from madeleine bistro as well as an array of handcrafted desserts and eventually booze! but before they open, they need to do a bit of fundraising, and they’re offering some pretty sweet prizes (pun intended!) to people who help them meet their goal.
they’re only accepting donations for ten days, so if you wanna get in on this, don’t stall. i’m usually pretty wary of online fundraising, but with this deal donors get something back in return—anything from free desserts to a party catered by chef dave. hmmmm…help a vegan restaurant open, and get a party catered by the country’s best vegan chef in the process? i may have to go out and make some actual friends so i can take advantage of this!
seriously though, read all about the project here and pitch in whatever you can. los angeles will be a much better place when this cafe is open.
Tags: ice cream, westside
oh man, i really wish i was eligible to win my own contests! LA’s newest upscale vegan restaurant, seed bistro, is giving away a dinner for 2 at chef eric’s tasting table to one lucky quarrygirl commenter.
the prize includes a six course dinner prepared by chef eric on seed bistro’s opening night—monday, august 29th at 8pm. the value of the dinner is $60 per person, but seed will comp the winners up to $75 per person to include alcohol. that’s a $150 value! epic! please note that gratuity is not included…so if you win, tip and tip well.
the chef’s tasting table is a “sushi bar-esque” raised counter that only has room for 6 guests at any given time, so to occupy 1/3 of it on opening night would be quite an honor!
here’s how to enter…Tags: contest, fancy, giveaway, westside, wilshire
recently i’ve been freelancing in downtown los angeles, and one of the best things about it is my office’s close proximity to mendocino farms.
the specialty sandwich shop has three locations around LA and has long been one of our favorite spots in town, as they always offer at least two stellar vegan sandwich options and a plethora of vegan sides ranging from potato salad, vegetables, and greens to hearty soups and chili. i hit up the flower location yesterday armed with just my cell phone camera (sorry!) and tried out one of their spring specials, “my vegan trip through india”…Tags: downtown la, sandwich, westside
mrs. winston’s green grocery is a herbivore’s paradise. the small market has a few locations on LA’s west side, and each one comes equipped with a vegan-friendly salad bar that puts all other los angeles pay-by-weight buffet options to shame. at $7.95 per pound, you have your pick of constantly rotating salads, pastas, vegetable, fake meats, soups, breads, desserts, and more.
we recently checked out the ocean park storefront, and were blown away (AGAIN!) by the vegan selections of the day. as you can see above, EVERYTHING pictured was vegan, and labeled as such. and there was even more…Tags: salad, salad bar, santa monica, westside
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Puccini, Truffles and Chianti: Buildings, music, food and wine respectively are all synonymous with Tuscany in Italy, probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Boasting a similar climate to Southern California with a natural beauty and centuries-old architecture and culture, Tuscany is a place that you know you’ll always go back to after you’ve been once.
I am, therefore, glad that I don’t have to travel for 18 hours to experience a little bit of Tuscany thanks to Rosti Tuscan Kitchen, a traditional Tuscan-style casual dining restaurant with two locations in Santa Monica and Encino. The owners have also taken great steps to accommodate their vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian guests, and we each have our own menu in addition to the main omnivorous menu.
Hungry for some vegan Tuscan cooking, we dropped by the Santa Monica location and were greeted by the owner, the super-nice restaurateur Kevin Goldfein who was kind enough to tell us about his restaurant concept and advise us on ordering a bunch of items from the vegan menu.Tags: encino, italian, pizza, santa monica, the valley, westside
hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know that mendocino farms is testing a new vegan sandwich tomorrow…a mushroom seitan sloppy joe…and you should go show it some support. if it does well, they may extend its run or even add it to the regular menu! i haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it was available today at all mendocino locations and is going to be around tomorrow as well…hopefully longer. i am already a huge fan of mendocino farms’ vegan sandwiches, so i’d love for them to add another one to the list.
a reader sent me this mendocino farms facebook update today about mendo’s new vegan mushroom seitan sloppy joe and i called the restaurant immediately. the dude on the phone was super helpful and told me this was just a result of chef judy getting “creative in the kitchen” and that they wanted to test the sandwich for a couple days on customers and see how it does. he told me it would definitely be around tomorrow (friday), and if response is good, possibly longer. LET’S MAKE SURE THE RESPONSE IS GOOD. i need more mushroom-flavored seitan and portobello confit sandwiches in my life! seriously, mendocino makes the kind of fresh fancy food that vegans should be eating. it’s all made from crazy top-notch ingredients and is super fresh…as they say on their website “we like to try to reconstruct “Fine Dining” entrees to the sandwich level and take classic regional sandwiches and give them a modern interpretation.” if you have ever tasted a mendocino farms sandwich, you’ll know that’s true.
so please, vegans, get to mendocino farms on friday! they’ve got 2 locations downtown and one in marina del rey. let’s flood them for orders with vegan sandwiches. and if mushroomy seitany sloppy joes aren’t your thing, they also have a vegan dosa wrap and a vegan soyrizo wrap. (just be sure to specify that you want a tortilla with no honey!) basically, all vegans should go and taste the amazing-ness that is mendocino farms!
PS:mendocino, if you are reading this…PLEASE specify in your email newsletter which daily dishes are vegan! i noticed you stopped doing that about a month ago. >:(Tags: downtown la, marina del rey, sandwich, secret menu item, westside
one plus side of our little “going raw for a week” experiment was, we got to try some restaurants that we normally wouldn’t. better life cuisine in santa monica came to us highly recommended by some close friends, as well as several commenters on the blog. the place is entirely raw and vegan, with an impressive menu full of salads, smoothies, wraps and entrees. even after hearing such high praise for better life, i must say it completely exceeded my expectations!
to start with we ordered the tuna sushi rolls, which were excellent…Tags: raw, santa monica, westside
looking for authentic and vegan indian street food? look no further than LA’s very own samosa house in culver city. in addition to their dinner combo menu (which is hard to veer away from but often worth it), they also offer a vegan version of the classic vegetarian street dish: bhelpuri.
bhelpuri is a popular indian dish which consists of hot puffed rice, chopped vegetables, boiled potatoes and tamarind sauce. does that sound weird?! well it should because it IS. it’s like a savory rice krispies treats vegetable dish for dinner, but it’s really fucking good. go try it out at the samosa house. and be sure to say that you want it made vegan (otherwise they may put yogurt on it, ew!) seriously, this stuff is worth writing home about.
the samosa houseTags: culver city, curry, indian food, westside
1510 W. Washington Blvd
Culver City CA, 90066
The plethora of vegetarian Indian kitchens in and around Culver City is a wonderful thing. I’m often known to leave work and head to Father’s Office for a Pliny The Elder or two before hitting up Samosa House (both locations) or Bawarchi for a box full of great value meatless Indian food to take home and eat in front of the TV.
Frankly, the original Samosa House (which has been in Culver City for over 30 years) is quite a trek for me, and has had an historically spotty reputation for the taste of its food and quantities served. But perhaps due to competition from the newer Indian kitchens, or even the shitty blog post I wrote back in October 2008, Samosa House has transformed itself into a paragon of scrumptious food, value and excellent service. The staff are friendly and helpful when asked about vegan items, and take pride in piling your food choices into the containers with a smile. They always have a vegan bread, tasty rice and have recently added things like veggie burgers, dosas and rotating specials just to spice things up a little.
Lately, though, I’ve found myself going to Bawarchi more than Samosa House purely because it’s a couple of miles closer and (crucially!) east of the 405, meaning that I can get there much faster from where I live and work. I’d been bitten by the Bawarchi spell: closer location, exact same food offerings, smiling staff and great service that I began to wonder why I’d ever have an excuse to visit Samosa House again. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago when I found myself running an errand closer to Samosa House so I popped in, just like the old days, and ordered a couple of combination meals to go.
When I got home and opened up the meals, I realized that I was getting far, far more for my money at Samosa House than I was at Barwarchi. More curry, more bread, less rice (making room for more curry!), less raita (non-vegan stuff Bawarchi always manages to sneak into the bag) and the food was, frankly, better. It wasn’t as dry, tasted much fresher and had a fuller flavor without being overly saturated with spice.
Just to be sure, I went back to Bawarchi a couple of days ago and ordered my usual – the exact same dishes at the same price as Samosa House. This time, though, I watched the friendly bearded gentleman behind the counter spoon my food in. He was unbelievably diligent in ensuring that he put the absolute minimum of food in each compartment (except for the rice, of course, which filled 80% of the large compartment). At one point, he actually TOOK OUT some jackfruit that he put in, while all the time talking to me so I’m distracted from his hand action like the victim of some Victorian illusionist.
The lentil dal was probably the worst example – he put so little in the box that it only filled one regular shot glass!
Of course, cramming a box with rice (factually, the world’s least expensive food crop) and 25-30% less food than one’s competitors goes straight to the bottom line – and in today’s economy, who doesn’t want to keep costs under control? Exactly.
I continued to watch him serve a couple of other customers, and I seriously think this guy has a Ph.D. in “food service cost control”: Measly portions, lots of rice and some clever slight of hand lead me to dismiss Bawarchi as a cost-driven business dealing in bait and switch techniques to the uninitiated.
I’m going to avoid Bawarchi for a while — until they improve the portions and put their customers first. and if, like me, you’ve dumped Samosa House for Bawarchi, try switching back for a while and see the difference. I promise you, it’s worth the extra 1.65 miles however you cut it.
11510 W Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
BawarchiTags: culver city, curry, indian food, westside
10408 Venice Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
yep, i shit you not. you gotta get to the samosa house and try this thing.
i didn’t even know the samosa house had burgers—i’m usually too caught up in the cheap and delicious dinner combos to notice anything else. but last time i was there, i saw a paper sign hanging up at the counter advertising a veggie burger for just $3.99. i asked them if it was vegan, and sure enough it was!
i ordered one to go, and to be honest i didn’t expect it to be very good. i mean, who orders a veggie burger at an indian restaurant?! i am pleased to report though, that this thing was better than good—amazing even! i’ve never had such a tasty and uniquely spiced burger. the patty was thick and meaty, not full of vegetables and grains like some vegan ones are, and it was topped with chopped up roasted peanuts. add that to an indian sauce, some fresh vegetables and coriander leaves and you have pure delicious.
i will definitely, definitely be back to order this again. and i encourage you to try it out as well. if you like burgers and indian food, this is the perfect intersection.
11510 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
oh and BTW, this burger is only available at the old school samosa house (the one with a market attached to it). they don’t have the veggie burger at the new samosa house east.Tags: burger, culver city, indian food, westside
yummy cupcakes is a bakery that certainly lives up to its name. with two locations (one in the valley and one on the west side), plenty of animal-free offerings, and absolutely delicious treats, it is probably my favorite place to get vegan desserts in los angeles.
on top of offering vegan cupcakes at their storefronts on fridays, sundays and mondays, yummy also has an extensive vegan menu for large orders which features basically any cupcake you could possibly dream up. they also have an absolutely brilliant product for special order called “cupcake-in-a-jar.” yep, it is exactly like you would imagine…fluffly frosting and moist cake all piled up in a mason jar, to be eaten with a spoon.
recently, yummy sent me some of their cupcakes in jars to try out—and boy oh boy, they made a believer out of me! chocolate with vanilla frosting, almond with almond butter cream, and peanut butter cup were all part of the deal…and they were all delicious. the best thing about the cupcake in a jar is, you don’t have to eat it all at once. you can just spoon out a bite of yummy frosting and cake, then store the rest in the fridge until later.
i gave one of the cupcake-filled jars to my omnivorous co-worker, and she was completely blown away. first off, it was so decadent that she couldn’t believe it was vegan. secondly, she noted that the idea of layering cake and frosting in a mason jar is “fucking brilliant.” and i agree with her. you think you like vegan cupcakes? well, try eating them with a spoon. you will never look back. YUMMY!
313 Wilshire Blvd 90401
2918 W. Magnolia Blvd 91505Tags: cupcakes, dessert, santa monica, the valley, westside
it’s no secret that we have a checkered past with the samosa house in culver city. we’ve written two posts about them, both complaining that the food was bland and uninspired. well, i’m here to set the record straight because over the weekend we gave the restaurant another try, and walked out with a feast that was plentiful, inexpensive, and absolutely awesome tasting.
as you can see from the picture above, samosa house serves one hell of a lot of food for under 8 bucks. they have a large selection of 100% vegetarian dishes, most of which are vegan…and a combo consists of 3 dishes of your choice, plus a portion of rice and 2 pieces of roti bread. on a previous visit, we complained that our meal consisted of mainly rice and not enough curry, but this time that was clearly not the case. pictured above is our first combo, overflowing with curry dishes including lotus root, soy tikka masala, and a potato & pea dish.
all of these selections were delicious, but the stand out for me was definitely the lotus root. this stuff was cool, crisp and crunchy and coated in a perfectly-oily sauce…i can’t even tell you how much i loved it. if i could, i would get a whole tray of this stuff and eat it all. the soy tikka masala was also damn good as well, even if the lotus root did upstage it a bit in my mind. the soy clumps were moist and slightly chewy, and the sauce was rich and flavorful.
in our second combo, we got a spinach dish, some lentils, and my personal favorite, the JACKFRUIT. i’m just gonna say it (and this may shock you), but i think samosa house’s jackfruit is even better than the stuff at pure luck. it’s hearty, yet soft…and sooooo delicious mixed with the indian seasoning. if you go to samosa house, this is the one dish you must get no matter what!
while i loved the food from the samosa house on this visit, there was a secret ingredient that was needed to make it 1,000x better. you see, the place isn’t just a restaurant, but an indian market as well…so we picked up some fresh hot chillies to add to our meal at home in order to combat thee inherent mildness of the dishes. these things added loads of spice, and improved our meal greatly. if you like any kind of heat in your indian food, adding chillies is a must.
after this great experience at samosa house, i know i will be back soon. we had more food than we could eat for just $16…and i don’t think i can go very long without some more curry-flavored jackfruit.
the samosa houseTags: culver city, curry, indian food, westside
11510 w. washington blvd.
culver city, ca 90066
while the westside has lots of perks like money, beaches and prius-driving environmentalists, one thing it has been lacking for quite some time is quality vegan-friendly restaurants….especially in culver city. sure, for a while they’ve had m cafe, tender greens and akasha…but there hasn’t been a place to get a huge, cheap, satisfying vegan meal…until now. green peas casual food is a new cafe that opened in late june and offers loads of vegan options including sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, and even pizzas.
we checked out green peas recently and were quite impressed with the quality of food, low prices, and friendly staff. the first thing we ordered was the gardein chicken sandwich, a thick ciabatta roll topped with gardein chicken breast, melty daiya cheese and fresh vegetables. the sandwich originally came with bell peppers, and when we asked for them to be left off, the dude at the counter suggested we replace them with any other vegetable. see that? nice, helpful service? most places will just omit ingredients without offering to replace them.
the sandwich itself was huge and awesome. it came with a large side salad of dark leafy greens, and was absolutely packed with vegetables, gardein and daiya. i couldn’t believe this thing was only $6.99. at most vegan places, a sandwich this good with a side would be around $11-$12. what a score!
we also ordered the vegan pizza which came piled with grilled vegetables and daiya cheese. even though the menu at green peas describes it as soy cheese, rest assured, this stuff was definitely daiya. again, we got this without bell peppers and opted for sundried tomatoes instead. now you can’t really tell by the picture, but this pizza was massvie…enough for 2 people and only $7.99. i love that so many places are serving daiya now, we are truly spoiled in los angeles when it comes to vegan pizza.
the vibe at green peas is upscale casual. everything is super clean and well-presented, but you order at the counter and seat yourself. the food comes out rapidly, i’d we went from ordering to eating in less than ten minutes.
so westside vegans, head over to green peas as soon as you can. fill up on gardein packed sandwiches, daiya covered pizzas, quesadillas, salads and tofu scrambles. everything on the menu is under ten bucks, the portions are huge, and the food is fucking delicious. definitely one of my new faves.
green peasTags: culver city, daiya, gardein, pizza, sandwich, westside
4437 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
if you follow this blog, you probably read about the vegan dramz that occurred a few weeks ago in regards to the kogi taco truck. the korean/mexican-style bbq is definitely the latest food fad to hit los angeles, and there can be up to two hour waits and a shortage of grub wherever the trucks decide to make an appearance. i queued up for like 45 minutes just to get a tofu taco which i assumed was vegan, only to find out that it almost was….other than “traces of lard” in the corn tortilla…after i’d already eaten it.
i wrote a post about my kogi experience, which kicked up a minor stir…but it didn’t stop the la vegan drinks crew from organizing a meetup at the alibi room in culver city, the new brick and mortar home to the kogi taco truck cuisine. vegan drinks were arranged for saturday, march 28, with the selling point being that the word “vegan” is in fact on the kogi menu at the alibi (they offer a vegan taco wrapped in a leaf), plus the chef promised to create a “vegan special” just to appease our crew. i gotta admit, it was a pretty ballsy move on the part of vegan drinks. afterall, “kogi” means “meat” in korean and this is a place that has been known to have conflicting stories about the contents of their food. on the other hand, kogi is the latest culinary craze sweeping the town…why shouldn’t we vegans get to enjoy it as well? plus the alibi room is a hip bar with tons of vegan beer and a parking lot. having the vegan drinks meetup revolve around this controversial cuisine was obviously a good idea, because like 80 fucking vegans showed up!
the place was jam packed, with vegans and meat-eaters alike…you could tell the alibi must fill to capacity even without a huge vegan party taking over the place. when we left, there was seriously a wait to get in. what is it with la and these bloody fads…once la foodies get wind of one, there really is no stopping them! anyways, on to the food!
we started with the one and only main dish on kogi’s alibi menu that comes vegan as is: the vegan sesame leaf tacos. these tacos aren’t listed on the mobile kogi taco truck menu…but who knows, maybe they could make them for you if you ask. either way, they are always available at the alibi. they tasted pretty similar to the normal tofu tacos wrapped in lard, except these were wrapped in a delicate shiso leaf instead. the insides were a little bit sweeter than the normal tacos, and there was just a hint of hot sauce. they were pretty tasty, i just gotta admit i’m not a huge fan of eating tacos or burritos wrapped in leaves. i would have much preferred these to come in vegan corn tortillas, but oh well.
vegan special of the night and tofu burrito after the jump.Tags: alcohol, bar, beer, burrito, culver city, kogi, korean, mexican, tacos, westside