• November 27th, 2009quarrygirlproducts, stores

    vegan thanksgiving feast from whole foods

    actually, make that: i am thankful for whole foods, gardein and field roast. although i’ve got holiday/family celebrations going on throughout the weekend, my meal on the actual evening of thanksgiving came from the prepared foods section of whole foods west hollywood. and boy, what a feast.

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  • November 24th, 2009quarrygirlstores

    hey los angeles vegans! just a quick post to let you know that whole foods has some special holiday offerings including seasonal products from gardein and field roast.

    gardein and field roast holiday products at whole foods

    in the prepared foods section, you can find a whole holiday spread which features stuffed turk’y roasts by gardein and stuffed hazelnut cranberry en croute by field roast. both products look absolutely delicious, although i haven’t had the chance to try them yet.

    gardein stuffed turkey at whole foods

    gardein stuffed turkey at whole foods

    they also are offering gardein rosemary grilled breast. seriously, there is no excuse not to have a vegan thanksgiving. everything you need is at whole foods!

    gardein breasts at whole foods

    also, at whole foods west hollywood (fairfax and sanmo) they will be offering 50% OFF all whole and 12 inch prepack pizzas! This includes the basu’s homestyle pizzas, the black garlic pizzas, or you can create your own! they also have a hummus pizza and a field roast pizza, which i haven’t tried yet. whole foods uses daiya cheese on their vegan pizza and they do a fucking amazing job, so i suggest you take this opportunity to check it out if you haven’t already.

    i know i will be hitting up whole foods for some vegan thanksgiving eats, as well as a post-holiday pizza.

    vegan basu's homestyle pizza at whole foods

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  • October 6th, 2009quarrygirlstores, whole foods

    whole foods has done it again. the prepared food section that was one of the first places in los angeles to get daiya covered pizza, hot gardein products, and basu’s homestlye masala is now wowing us again with another revolutionary product, black garlic.


    starting out as normal garlic, black garlic undergoes an intense and complicated fermentation process that makes it darker in color, sweeter to the taste, and stickier to the touch. it’s fruity and tangy, yet mild…filled with complex flavors, minus the annoying stuff that usually comes with garlic like pungent odor. that’s right, you can eat a mouth full of this delicious stuff and not walk away with bad breath. do i have your attention now?

    being a longtime garlic fan and huge pizza lover, imagine how excited i was when the folks at whole foods and black garlic invited me to the weho store to taste the new product that they are rolling out this week in their prepared food section on some daiya covered vegan pizzas! i went in with pretty high expectations, all of which were exceeded. the black garlic was incredible!


    the first type of pizza i sampled was whole foods’ special seasonal creation, the fall harvest or “deconstructed cabbage roll” pizza. this thing came covered in mozzarella and cheddar daiya, tomato sauce, shredded cabbage, green apple, black garlic and agave nectar. i’m usually not a fan of fruit on pizza at all, but this thing really blew me away. the sweetness was perfectly paired with black garlic’s subtle tangy-ness, and the 2 types of daiya added a load of rich flavor. speaking of daiya, whole foods weho really knows how to work with it on pizza…adding just the right amount for optimum melt without annoying clumpage that comes with too much cheese.


    the second pizza i tried was italian-inspired and covered in pesto sauce, mozzarella daiya, tomatoes and black garlic. this is typically the kind of pizza i would order with roasted garlic, but the black garlic gave it a much more complex and rich flavor, without overpowering the pesto.


    after trying these two pizzas and tasting some of the black garlic on its own, i’m thinking this stuff has endless possibilities. for garlic lovers, it introduces a whole new world of complex flavors….and for people who haven’t discovered the joys of garlic yet, this stuff isn’t all acrid and intimidating. on top of being delicious, black garlic is extremely healthy as well. it’s loaded up with twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic, and contains a cancer-preventing compound called S-Allycysteine!

    black garlic is available in the prepared foods section of whole foods west hollywood this week, and should be rolled out at other socal outlets over the next couple weeks. i highly suggest you get over there and try this stuff asap on a vegan pizza. it’s like nothing i’ve ever tasted. plus, whole foods pizzas are cheap as hell. for about 15 bucks, you get enough vegan pizza to feed about 5 people!

    for more info on black garlic, check out their website and follow them on twitter.

    whole foods weho
    7871 Santa Monica Blvd
    West Hollywood, CA 90046-5344
    (323) 848-4200

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  • August 4th, 2009mr meanerstores, whole foods
    basus homestyle masala at whole foods, available from TODAY at Santa Monica and Fairfax outlet

    basu’s homestyle masala at whole foods, available from TODAY at Santa Monica and Fairfax outlet

    One of my earliest memories was helping my grandmother prepare Indian food in her kitchen. I recall the brightly colored spices and the wonderful aroma while the pots bubbled away, and became hooked on the food of that nation at a very young age. Years later, I asked her for the recipe of her potato and pea vindaloo as she gave me a bewildered look and said “Well, there isn’t really a recipe. You take the ingredients, combine and cook them in the way you were shown, and hope for the best!”. You see, my grandmother lived the first 30 years of he life in India, and was taught to cook Indian food by many families in their kitchens and around their stoves.

    As an ex-pat Englishman living in Los Angeles, I’ve always missed the taste of real Indian food. West Coast Indian cuisine rarely has the depth of authenticity and complexity of flavors that Indian and British people love so much. I think it’s because there are fewer resident Indian families to share their techniques, and even fewer Indian restaurants of quality. I had even taken to creating my own curry recipe as a facsimile of what I was used to back home.

    Imagine, then, my interest when we received an invitation to a tasting at Whole Foods for a new range of vegan Indian home-style food. For sure, Whole Foods is creeping up on the vegan community in SoCal. From their early adoption of Daiya vegan cheese to an entirely new range of vegan Indian food, Whole Foods is rapidly becoming a one-stop-shop not only in the grocery department (like it always has been), but increasingly in the Prepared Foods section. Yeah, you can get a kick-ass vegan pizza and now some amazing vegan Indian food on your way home from work and at reasonable prices!

    Indian food is a combination of several things, the most important of which is the base “Masala” (meaning sauce and spices), in which one cooks the vegetables and proteins. Then there’s the carbohydrate portion, usually rice and/or bread. The key to tasty Indian food is in the Masala, which for Whole Foods is provided by Basu’s Home-style, a small family-run business headed by Basu Ghosh and his son Robin. Basu hails from Calcutta in Bengal, one of the regions of India that has the most incredible traditional food. Bengali cuisine is the intersection of aromatic spices and sweet flavors. It’s not uncommon to find raisins and even pineapples in a Bengali dish, all bathed in a glorious masala, served over rice.

    I’m delighted to let you know that Basu’s Homestyle has not only brought some amazing masalas to Southern California, but has delivered a kick-ass selection of them to Whole Foods, allowing the wizard chefs of Prepared Foods to create some amazing dishes.

    clockwise: basil vindaloo with peas and mushrooms, tofu apple masala, vegan curried beef with basil vindaloo, channa dal, peanut masala with roasted red potatoes.

    clockwise: basil vindaloo with peas and mushrooms, tofu apple masala, vegan curried beef with basil vindaloo, channa dal, peanut masala with roasted red potatoes.

    Our tasting was a smorgasbord of contrasting tastes that came together in a way rarely experienced this side of West Bengal (or East London, take your pick). From the Basil Vindaloo through the Peanut Masala with Roasted Red Potatoes, we were spell-bound with the flavors. Whole Foods even invented a “Vegan Curried Beef with Basil Vindaloo” – Indian flavors paired perfectly with Gardein, raisins and apples using Basu’s masalas.

    vegan curried beef with basil vindaloo using gardein beef strips and basu's masala

    vegan curried beef with basil vindaloo using gardein beef strips and basu's masala

    Also, I’m really impressed with the way Basu’s and the chefs at Whole Foods have taken traditional, family-style masalas and combined them with non-traditional ingredients like tofu, Gardein and apples. Truly an amazing and interesting way to create tasty vegan Indian food.


    We were pleased to meet with Basu and Robin during the tasting, and hear their stories about how Basu and his family members from India perfected the masalas in his kitchen at home! They made multiple batches, tested them and modified the formula so that the sauces could be made commercially in large orders yet still have a home-style taste. They then repeated the process to “veganize” the two masalas that had non-vegan ingredients.


    robin ghosh (left) and his father basu, owners of Basu's Homestyle

    About the best vegan pizza is now available in Whole Foods, and I can 100% assure you that the best Indian food in Los Angeles is now also available at your local Whole Foods for sale by the pound. Fill up that container, I promise you won’t be sorry! Whole Foods told us that the West Hollywood outlet (Santa Monica and Fairfax) is rolling out he program TODAY, and the other stores will get with the program at various stages throughout this week. If in doubt, call ahead.


    Oh, and talking of pizza, Basu’s masala and chutneys are available on some specialty vegan pizzas as well. Yeah, a “basil vindaloo sauce with daiya cheese, zucchini, carrot, and fresh basil” pizza is available (think that through — what an amazing and innovative idea!)…

    vegan indian pizza: vindaloo basil masala, daiya cheese, zucchini, basil and carrot.

    vegan indian pizza: vindaloo basil masala, daiya cheese, zucchini, basil and carrot.

    as well as a “channa dal with fresh cucumber, red onion, tamarind chutney” pizza. We’re talking perfect Indian flavors, mixed with stuff we vegans love on top of a delicious pizza.


    Basu’s mission statement says it all: “If you could visit our home in India, this is the food you would be served.”, and my grandmother was right: there is no recipe for Indian food. The only good Indian food is prepared by the family, and for the family.

    Let’s show Whole Foods and Basu’s how much we love vegan Indian food.

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  • June 17th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, whole foods


    Last night was NOT the best of nights. I had to work late and then run a bunch of errands before coming home to work some more, dreading the “cupboard is bare” syndrome as I’ve not been shopping in days. I pulled into the Whole Foods Market at Third and Fairfax on the way home, deciding to get some warm food to carry out so I could pretend like I had prepared it myself (denial is a wonderful thing). Upon passing the pizza bar, I saw a sign that said “vegan pizza” so I stopped and inquired. Well, after a lot of to and fro it appears that Whole Foods not only have a vegan cheese pizza offering at every location in Southern California but they started topping it with the amazing Daiya cheese (yes, I had to pinch myself on this one – I even asked to see the cheese packaging, and they pulled out a bag that had “Daiya Vegan Cheese” written all over it.

    In case you have been living under a rock or accidentally got to this page by Googling “asian pizza porn” (and, yes, that is an example of a real search than brought a visitor briefly to quarrygirl.com recently), you will be aware that Daiya cheese is the  most amazing vegan cheese substitute on the planet, and takes the whole experience of being a pizza-loving vegan up a notch or two.

    So, I wasted no time in ordering a pizza with my standard toppings: Mushrooms, Garlic and Tomatoes and while I was waiting for it to be prepared I scuttled around the store picking up a nice bottle of organic wine and some groceries I’d been needing for a while. As soon as I was done shopping, I picked up my piping hot pizza and was back in the car and home in no time.

    Massive Vegan Pizza from Whole Foods

    Massive Vegan Pizza from Whole Foods

    When I plopped the pizza down on my countertop I had to step back and take a reality check at what just happened. I’d gone into a Whole Foods Market, and brought home an absolutely enormous vegan pizza, covered in melty Daiya cheese and chunky vegetables all piled on a crispy Italian-style crust. And, all for just $17. I’m glad I accidentally left my iPhone on the pizza box when I snapped the picture, as it provides some scale of the enormity of that 16 slice pie which is easily 50% bigger than an Extra Large pizza anywhere else.

    Vegan Pizza with Daiya Cheese, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic. $17

    Vegan Pizza with Daiya Cheese, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic. $17

    So much for the size and Daiya cheese, but how did the pizza taste? The bottom line: If I’d been served this pizza in a pricey restaurant at twice the price, I’d have been impressed. The fact that I bought it in a GROCERY STORE, and it cost less than a three topping X-Large vegetarian pizza from most crappy delivery joints is seriously impressive. The crust was crispy and tasty, the vegetables were perfectly prepared and the vegan cheese needs no introduction.

    Daiya: The Best Vegan Cheese out there

    Daiya: The Best Vegan Cheese out there

    The pictures really don’t do this pizza any justice at all. The convenience of popping into any Wholefoods for one of the best vegan pizzas you’ll ever eat cannot be beaten. According to the duty manager, “all” Whole Foods Market outlets in SoCal will soon (or already do) have Daiya cheese, presumably replacing the chemical mass that is Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. (Of course, your results may vary, so call ahead if you have to go out of your way).

    I predict that within two years most mainstream pizza joints will have a vegan cheese offering, where the cruelty free nature of vegan cheeses cannot be beaten. Also, vegan cheese (especially Daiya, which has less fat and calories than most) is a healthier option than dairy-based cheeses.

    Rock On Whole Foods Market: you just made hundreds of thousands of vegans in Southern California very happy!


    whole foods
    6350 West 3rd St
    Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA

    Check with your local Whole Foods to see if they’ve started carrying Daiya!

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  • April 26th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    i know i have raved about los angeles’ latest whole foods in venice being the best whole foods EVER…but i was lying. there’s an even better one across the pond in london on kensington high street, and it’s just one more reason that i know i NEED to move to the uk. seriously, this 3 story whole foods makes all the ones in los angeles look like scrubs. they have an entire vegan section with more mock meats and cheeses than you could ever possibly try…i’m talking double or triple the size of the sections at our local markets.


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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.

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  • April 11th, 2008quarrygirlfield roast, products, stores, vp discount, whole foods

    i used to love the holiday season. i’d look forward to it all year long, not because of the silly holidays themselves, but because every november through january, i could go to my local health food store and stock up on the recently deceased unturkey.

    since the unturkey’s passing, i’ve unsuccessfully been searching for a substitute. now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with tofurky, and i do appreciate the fact that it’s everywhere. it’s just that unturkey set such a high standard, i can’t help but search for something better to replace it.

    luckily, this january i stumbled across the celebration roast at my favorite whole foods. i had a good feeling about it, and i was wise enough to buy 3 roasts, which were all gone within a month! while it’s still not quite as good as the unturkey, it comes pretty damn close!

    the catch is, celebration roast is made by a company called field roast, and in los angeles their products are very hard to come by. as of this posting, the whole foods in el segundo (the mother of all health food stores) is the only place i’ve been able to find them.

    i suggest you make a trip out there and grab anything field roast you can get your hands on. while they no longer have the celebration roast (DAMN!), they do have some really tasty vegan sausages. again, not to dog on tofurky, but these are just SO much better. if only they were more widely available. not even this massive whole foods heaven carries all the products on the field roast website, which i imagine are amazing as well.

    for now, i’ll just have to look forward to the holiday season and get by with my sausages. they make a great breakfast atop some potatoes and smothered in hot sauce.

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