Category Archives: Culver City

Samosa Houses’s Unique Veggie Burger

Every time I find myself even remotely near Culver City, I make sure to swing by the best Indian restaurant in town–Samosa House.  Recently I had a meeting on the west side so I stopped in to try their veggie burger which has been making the rounds on the blogosphere lately.  Like most Samosa House patrons, I always opt for the combo platter and pay little attention to the other menu items.  I am so happy that Quarrygirl ventured off the beaten path to bring this little gem to our attention, because it is insanely delicious.

The burger tastes like an Indian version of a Big Mac–and I mean that in the best possible way.  It’s not a giant gourmet veggie burger like you might get at Flore or M Cafe.  It’s similar to a more pedestrian burger in size and texture.  The patty is made of potatoes and whole cashews and is slathered with a crunchy peanut concoction as well as onions, tomatoes, and spices.  There are so many layers of flavor.  I simply cannot recommend this burger enough.  If you are driving down Washington Boulevard anytime soon, you must stop in and pick one up.  And at $3.99 a pop, it shant break the bank!

Samosa House
11510 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
310.398.6766

Casa de Tree brings tastiness to town

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The fact that I last ate at Casa de Tree back in July goes to show you how behind I am on posting!  Oops!  Anywho…

At my work it’s up to my boss Canada and I to choose where we go to eat for lunch every day, but we have to keep everyone’s restaurant preferences in mind so the masses don’t revolt.  Once in a blue moon, however, there are days when there are very few people in the office for lunch–just me, Canada, and one or two other stragglers.  On these days, I go crazy with power and insist that we eat at either M Cafe or Casa de Tree, my newest favorite restaurant on the west side.

Casa de Tree has a cute sunny storefront on Motor Avenue where they have a pretty expansive buffet.  Our office always orders to-go, but the array of dishes in the buffet is very enticing.  Unfortunately, over half of Casa de Tree’s menu is not offered at lunch.  Many restaurants offer a limited menu at lunch of course, but it always strikes me as odd that you can’t order the vegan tuna salad at lunch, even though it’s out on the lunch buffett.  Why can’t they just scoop it up and put it in a box?  For lunch to-go you are basically limited to the sandwiches and burgers portion of the menu (even though the menu indicates that the pastas are served all day, when I’ve tried to order them at lunch I was told they were dinner only.)

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After hearing so many positive reviews of the restaurant’s curry donut, I always make sure to include some in our order.  The outer crust really reminds me of the greasy dough on fried mozzarella sticks–you know the kind you get at sports bars.  This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how unhealthy you plan on being on any given day.  The curry filling inside is very good, my only gripe is that the ratio of dough to curry is quite off–they could use a lot more of the filling inside.

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The gyoza dumplings are straight forward but delicious.  They are simply tasty little pockets of steamed veggies with the usual dipping sauce.

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I usually end up ordering the club sandwich.  Again, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.  Its just plain good!  All the sandwiches come with a nice side salad with a really tangy miso dressing.  The dressing may be my one favorite thing from the Casa kitchen.

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Canada liked her “Casa de Tree Tacos.”  The description straight from the menu: 2 pieces of corn taco shell, brown rice, kidney beans, cabbage, avocado, tomato salsa, potato croquette, seitan katsu, tartar sauce, vegan sour cream on the side.  Hey, that’s a lot of good tasting food!  I had a couple bites of these and will probably order them the next time I get to Casa as they were super scrumptious.

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I had been eyeing the cream cheese cinnamon roll bread on the menu for some time, so I eventually caved and added it on to one of our orders.  That turned out to be an excellent decision.  The bread is neither overwhelmingly cinnamon-y or greasy from the cheese. I highly recommend spreading a little Earth Balance on lightly toasted slices from this little loaf for a perfect breakfast.

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Casa de Tree is a great little spot in a pocket of town where the vegan options are not so plentiful.  I’m gonna have to get back there for dinner one of these days to try out the full range of the menu!

Casa de Tree

3741 Motor Ave.

Culver City, CA  90034

310.559.8183

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Samosa House! I want to have like 10,000 of your babies!

If I dreamt up my idea of a perfect Indian restaurant it would be exactly like Samosa House. The prices are reasonable, the food is outstanding, the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, the atmosphere is warm and sunny, and there is not an ounce of meat in the whole damn place! The concept basically takes the idea behind India Sweets and Spices–a buffet-style spread with an accompanying grocery store–and makes it good. Whereas Sweets and Spices tend to be dingy and extremely unwelcoming, Samosa House is just the opposite. Let’s start off by talking about the signature dish, the samosa!

These samosas are completely vegan which is a rare find as most samosas use dairy in the dough. When you dip a corner of the perfectly flaky crust into one of the accompanying sauces (cilantro or tamarind) you get a one heavenly bite. At $1.50 a pop these are a great deal–I know because I recently tried to get a bunch of samosas in the valley for a Slumdog Millionaire themed Academy Award party and it was too pricey for this gal’s tight budget!

Onto the main shebang…Samosa House offers ten different entrees that rotate throughout the week. I think the best way to go is to order a combo plate. For $7.99 you get your choice of 3 sides with raita, rice, and two pieces of flat bread (which is really like an Indian tortilla). But wait, you are vegan and you don’t eat the yogurt-based raita! No problem, the kind people at Samosa House will let you have a fourth choice of entree instead!

In my experience, out of the ten entree choices usually six to eight of them are completely vegan. All the staff members know exactly what each dish contains so you don’t have to worry about accidentally chowing down a plate full of ghee. On a recent visit I got this small feast of (clockwise from upper right corner) cauliflower curry, jackfruit, grilled eggplant, and potato curry. All of it was ab-fab.

Samosa House’s jack fruit is the same delectable texture as the jack fruit at Pure Luck. It is delicately seasoned and has quickly become a major favorite at our office. So much so that when we order lunch from there we always get one box filled only with it.

If I’m not very specific about the details of each dish, it’s because I don’t really pay attention. When I go into Samosa House I just point at the four things that look the most scrumptious and I have yet to find a single dish that doesn’t completely hit the spot. On one occasion they had this crazy good soy crumble dish (seen below in the upper right corner.) I couldn’t really pin point any specific flavors but whatever was in it made one awesome little dish. Also seen below are a lentil dal and some chana masala. I just drooled on my petty cash envelope thinking about those crumbles.

In addition to all this good food, Samosa House also offers your usual array of lassis and a case full of Indian sweets. They also sell a pretty big variety of imported candy like Bounty bars and my favorite-pre-vegan-candy-in-the-whole world: Kinder Buenos. When you’re done stuffing your face you should do some shopping in the market for jars of lime pickle or extremely cheap spices. And look out for me because I can’t seem to stay away!

Samosa House
11510 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.398.6766

"Meh" Cafe: fool me once, shame on you…


I was never too successful trying to get our little art department to go to M Cafe for lunch–not only does the macrobiotic cafe offer very few meat options (and only seafood at that) but the place is a tad outside of our usual budget and the portions are smallish. During our last week, our crew members slowly started dropping off until the last two working members in the art department were me and my coordinator. We took the opportunity to eat at the places that everyone else always scoffed at. So we found ourselves ordering one last time from M Cafe.

I ordered the Gado Gado salad which is described as “organic mixed greens, napa cabbage, crisp vegetables, golden tempeh triangles marinated with ginger, lemongrass & lime, frizzled onions & spicy peanut dressing.” While that is basically an accurate description of the salad I got, I was still disappointed. The lamest thing about M Cafe is that over fifty percent of the items on the menu are prepackaged and sit in their display cases for who knows how long. This salad is no exception and it is just plain outrageous that M Cafe gets away with charging $12 for a teeny tiny salad that has been sitting out. If work hadn’t been picking up the tab, I would have felt like a total sucker. I just kinda overlooked this lameness before, but I can’t get over the fact that I would have been much better off grabbing a sesame tofu salad from Trader Joe’s for three bucks.

We also ordered a couple chocolate truffles which were good but, again, were they worth $1.50 a pop? Not really.


I think the idea of M Cafe has been fooling me into thinking it’s pretty good all this time. Maybe it’s because I’m on hiatus now and I have to –gasp!!!–pay for my own food, but I won’t be going back there anytime soon unless I have a hankering for being ripped off.

M Cafe de Chaya
9343 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
310.838.4300

La Vida Dolce

Tuesday was our last day of principle shooting! We had Chipotle for lunch, which everyone seemed to agree was bad. You can absolutely tell that the place is owned by McDonalds. Everyone’s food was tiny, gross, or both. I ordered a fajita salad which was slimy black beans with a truckload of guacamole and two slices of bell pepper. It was totally unappetizing and I am totally dumbfounded that when this Culver City location of the franchise opened recently people waited in line for over an hour to get lunch there.

After our disappointing lunch, Canada and George went to walk down the street to get some cupcakes from Bluebird. They took forever though and when they returned I found out why–they had actually gone to Dolce Isola and brought back sorbet!!! Literally every time we went to lunch at Dolce Isola over the season, I would ask for a taste of their peach sorbet and come back and tell everyone how mind blowing it is. So those two tricksters brought back peach and coconut. The coconut turned out to be even better than the peach! It wasn’t really sweetened which was awesome. You would never guess that either one didn’t have dairy. See George and Canada digging in above. What a sweet way to end season five!

Dolce Isola
2869 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
310.776.7070