Saturday, July 23, 2011


Last night, me and the fam tried out Piacere, which has long been on my to-try list. I'm not sure how I heard about this San Carlos restaurant, but once I saw the well-marked menu (*denotes vegetarian, **is vegan) online, I knew I had to go.

I started with the Market Cucumber Salad. The description said "barely dressed" and they weren't kidding. This tasted like nothing but cucumber and a bit of mint. I like cucumber, but would have appreciated some more effort flavor-wise.

We also ordered the roasted garbanzo beans. I have wanted to try fresh, in the pod, garbanzo beans since learning about them on Chopped, so I was happy to see this on the menu. Not so happy-making was the fact that they were challenging to get out of their papery and inedible skins and, once you did remove them, they tasted like starchy nothingness. Again, some seasoning maybe? Bleh.

My entree was this roasted squash, black rice, and pesto dish. I don't know how else to put it - it sucked. The rice tasted weird, the pesto was flat, and the squash were mushy and bland. So disappointing, especially as my vegan hubby ordered the most delicious portobello burger and I had serious food envy.

On the plus side, it was a lovely evening, they had the front of the restaurant open to the fresh air, and they had a great low-key band playing near the bar. If I had had some drinks, the whole experience might have been a lot better. As it was, however, I'm in no rush to head back. I love places that accommodate all types of diners, but the food has to be good too! All I know is that if I do go back, I'll get the portobello burger.

Heading to some old faves over the weekend. Hope you're eating well too....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Dish at DOSA

The husband and I have developed a delicious habit of eating at DOSA once a week, so our visit there this past Sunday was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, we sat down and ordered without even opening up the menu. Much to my surprise, our familiar waitress then informed me that my favorite salad (mango and goat cheese, sans goat cheese) was no longer on the menu! I was shocked and saddened, until she told me about its inherently vegan replacement.

Meet the "Mixed Greens, Avocado, and Peach" salad. Served up on an architectural bed of crisp gem lettuces, the buttery avocado and peaches are kissed with a citrus chile dressing that is a beautiful blend of flavors. It's the perfect bright and fresh contrast to the savory and dense dosa that is always my main dish. I think I like it even better than my original fave!

I can't imagine this salad sticks around much past summer, as peach season is short and (literally) sweet, so get in and try it soon.

Meanwhile, I'm dining at a new-to-me place, as well as an old fave, this weekend. Stay tuned and eat well!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Mediterranean Feast at Dunya

The husband and I tried out new-to-us DUNYA this past weekend, and it was great. VERY vegan-friendly too! For one thing, they have a deliciously savory entree aptly named the "Vegan Pyramid":

This architectural wonder consists of layers of grilled vegetables and pita triangles in an herbaceous tomato sauce that would please even the most carnivorous of palettes. We were certainly happy. But, before all that, we had a quartet of appetizers not unlike that which you would find at a typical Mediterranean restaurant, only taken up a notch.

First up was the hummus. Tasty in its own right, but that sprinkling of sumac really made it sing. I want to put sumac on everything. So good.

The ezme (a walnut and red pepper spread) was outstanding as well. It has a nice warm spice to it. Not so much as to overwhelm, but just the perfect little kick.

The greek salad, sans feta, was pretty standard. But, again, the addition of fresh herbs (there's that sumac again!) really took it to the next level.

Our hands down favorite of the meal, however, was the falafel. It was some of the best I've had - and I've had A LOT of falafel in my day. This was crisp on the outside, soft and warm in the middle, and full of flavor. The tahini sauce was also quite nice. Not bitter at all like some can be.

We will definitely go back to Dunya, and you should try it out too! Stay tuned for an update on an old fave and some more new-to-me places as well. Also, there's a CONTEST going on over at my other blog, so go enter! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Something New at The Plant

Happy weekend, everyone! I just wanted to give a quick update on The Plant Cafe's Pier 3 location. Of all the cafes they have around the city, this is the only one that's a full-service sit down restaurant to boot, and I love it. I have been many times since they've opened, and I was there again on Wednesday. Just when I was sure what I was going to order, they revamped the menu! This is a positive, however, because one of the new additions is "The Plant Palette" - 4 tastes, all vegan and wheat free. Check out how pretty:

The tofu skin rolls with carrot tarragon puree were definitely my faves, but everything here was super tasty. This appetizer definitely made up for the fact that my beloved MNM salad is gone from the menu. Still there, however, is the infamous Plant Burger, and that was my delicious entree. Maybe next time I'll try something new. The Pistachio and Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh sounds good....

This weekend I'll be trying some new-to-me places, and you can be sure I'll be back to let you know my thoughts. Meanwhile, don't forget to enter the Lightlife contest over on Vegan Favorites, my other blog. Enjoy the weekend and eat well!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Flour+Water: Take Two

The last time I checked out the yummy pizzas at Flour+Water, the chef happily made me a special vegan pie, but this time was even better because I got two vegan pies! That's because I dined with another vegan and he made one for each of us so we could mix and match. As I mentioned before, the service with a smile at F+W is worth a visit alone, but the food.... oh, the food!

This gorgeous melon salad with mint, lemon verbena, and sea salt is a regular on the menu right now (thank you, summer) and it is remarkable. The play on savory and sweet is refined and mouth-watering. I loved it. You can also see the simple arugula salad the chef made us because we were craving greens and there was no green salad on the menu. Like I said, happy to accomodate = happy vegan diners.

Sadly, I only snapped a shot of the pizza they put in front of me - this gorgeous tomato, caper, and pepper pie with parsley sauce drizzle. It was divine. The crust at F+W is always amazing, but I think it was even better on this visit. Perfectly chewy, charred, and crisp.... quite the feat! Combine that with the fresh tastes on top (I mean parsley drizzle, y'all!) and I was in heaven. The other pizza was equally unique in that it was sauce-less and was simply topped with thinly sliced summer squashes and really good olive oil. SO tasty.

On this trip, I also learned that if you get there at 6 on Tuesday, you may actually be seated pretty quickly. They keep half the restaurant open for walk-ins, so if you don't feel like waiting two months for a reservation, getting there early is the way to go. I predict I visit again soon...

Meanwhile, the husband and I will be trying out some new-to-us and very vegan-friendly spots this weekend, so stay tuned. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


We've got some friends in town from D.C. and they're staying in the East Bay. This means the husband and I had no choice but to make the trip over the bridge to eat, drink, and be merry with our pals. Since our most beloved restaurant over that way, Gather, was booked up, our omni friends suggested Camino. It's one of their favorite spots, and they have enjoyed the vegetarian dishes they've ordered in the past. So, off we went...

First up was my arugula and parsley salad with hazelnuts (and without pecorino). It was beautifully dressed in a light olive oil vinaigrette and was really refreshing. Again, I was reminded that I really need to put fresh herbs in my salads more often. The bite of the parsley was so nice!

Sadly, the vegan entree option for the evening was the dreaded vegetable plate. Omni restaurants do this so often when all their proteins are from animals and their grains are full of butter and cream. Luckily, it's summer, so we at least got some uber-scrumptious corn on the cob. Don't get me wrong, the mushrooms and squash were tasty and the artichokes were actually REALLY good (and covered with garlicy fried breadcrumbs! Yum!) but as a vegan who dines with omnivores a lot, I'm just over the vegetable plate. I mean Camino obviously knows what they're doing with food, so I'd love to see some more creativity. That being said....

...let's not forget what meals together are for. More important than the food was the time I got to spend with far-flung friends, like Jaynie - an omnivore who loves her corn! :) All meals, even the worst tasting, are made better by the moments we have with our friends and loved ones. Speaking of which, I'm off to L.A. this week for a good friend's wedding, so stay tuned for some Los Angeles updates in the near future. I hope that no matter what you're eating this week, you're in delicious company.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Real Food in L.A.

I was in L.A. last weekend for an uber-fun bachelorette party, but I managed to meet up with a guy friend of mine for dinner at one of my favorite places before the girl-fest began. It's a restaurant with a huge menu that has never disappointed me no matter what I've chosen, and I look forward to dining there again and trying even more dishes when I go back down for the wedding in a few weeks. Real Food Daily has got me hooked!

The nachos are one of my favorite things to order, and I hadn't had them in so long. I had forgotten just how creamy and delicious the combination of RFD's cashew cheese and sour cream is, and the guacamole and salsa are the perfect toppers to this mound of chips and black beans. I seriously heart these nachos, right down to the last bite of (inevitably) soggy chip at the bottom.

For my main, I had the "Basic 4" in which I chose 2 sides of kale, a side of mashed potatoes and a side of blackened tempeh. This comes with 2 sauces, and I chose the perfectly sweet BBQ sauce and the rich gravy. The Basic can be done as a 3 or a 5 also. I would have gone 5, but I had spotted my dessert in the bakery case on the way to my seat and knew I needed to save room.

It's a "fauxstess" cupcake! I used to LOVE the original as a kid, and I loved this one too. It's definitely more dense and rich than the non-vegan version, but that's how I prefer my sweets these days. The chocolate ice cream on the side is hemp-based and was the perfect partner to my cupcake. What a way to end the meal!

When I'm in L.A. for the wedding I'm hoping to make it back to RFD for their Sunday brunch since I've never tried it. If I do, I'll be sure to document. :) Meanwhile, stay tuned for more SF eats. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone. Eat well!