Where were we... besides in a food coma? I believe we were on the Tuesday before Christmas. In which case, it's East Bay Day! Me and the folks headed over the bridge to partake in some of Berkeley and Oakland's fine fare. It's no secret that most of the good vegan food 'round these parts is over in that neck of the woods, so every now and then it's worth the trek to the hinterlands to scoop some up. First stop? Saturn Cafe.
As you know, I've been to the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz, and I've been meaning to get over the the new(ish) Berkeley location for a while. What finally got me going was that they recently revamped their menu to make it oh-so-much more vegan friendly. Hooray! My chipotle corn chowder (above) was a perfect start, bringing just enough heat to warm me from the inside out.
Then, in need of greens as I always am, I had the Crispy Tofu Sesame Salad. I never have high hopes when ordering salads, but this was really good. It had nice sesame flavor and the tofu wasn't over-fried - just slightly crisp on the outside, making it the perfect partner to som
e smooth avocado and crunchy greens. Yay salads!
After taking in a play at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (just a few blocks from Saturn), we walked on over to Cinnaholic and got some ridiculously amazing cinnamon rolls (above). Like really really amazing. As in warm and gooey and sweet and over-the-top. In case you don't know how it works, Cinnaholic is an all-vegan cinnamon roll bakery in which they take a plain cinnamon roll and top it with any combination of frostings and toppings. So, yeah, it's basically heaven. We got 2 Old Skool rolls which were crazy good and then a Rocky Road (for my Dad) and a Chocolate-chip cookie dough (all mine!). And a worthwhile sugar coma it was....
After much needed walking around, we got in the car and made our way to one of my faves: encuentro. This cafe and wine bar serves some top-notch tastes, like the Little Gem Salad (above). I LOVE the salad by the same name at Millennium, but this is somehow better even though it comes from the same chef. The tempeh? Magic.
We also had the vegan cheese plate, of course. This might be my favorite thing on the menu, and it consists of 3 different nut cheeses (smoked pecan was my fave this time around), some fruit, crostini, candied walnuts, whole grain mustard, and fig paste. This is a plate of flavor you won't soon forget!
We ate lots of other things (it's a small plate-focussed place after all) but I always like to finish with their macadamia nut cheese-stuffed prunes (sometimes it's dates). Topped with candied walnuts and a balsamic reduction, it is beautifully sweet and savory and a wonderful end to the meal.
As you can see our East Bay Day was fantastic, but the trip was far from over. Up next, we're back in the city for even more yum!