Saturday, May 17, 2008

Green Chile Kitchen

One day, while I was expounding upon the brilliant deliciousness of Papalote, my favorite burrito spot, a friend of mine said, "Why on earth would you go there when Green Chile Kitchen is only 2 blocks away?" Intrigued, I asked for information and was lured in by the promise of organic ingredients and amazing guacamole. This was a few months ago, and so today, when the craving for Mexican got too strong to ignore, it was off to Pap.... I mean Green Chile.

I must admit, it was hard to walk past my old favorite, but I was determined to try something new. Once inside, there was no turning back, so I began to peruse the menu. While standing in line, 2 things caught my attention. First was the selection of organic wine, with some even being marked as specifically vegan, for those of us who would prefer our grape juice not be filtered with gross animal parts. Second was the wall of rotisserie chickens behind the counter. NOT appetizing. I pressed on, however, and ordered my vegetarian burrito. You can make things "super" at this joint, which means they add cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. I, as you can imagine, went only semi-super, and just added the gauc to my black bean, rice, pico de gallo, lettuce, and chile sauce - stuffed burrito. Alongside came some blue corn chips and salsa. Rounded out by a Corona, it was the perfect Saturday afternoon meal. (*Warning: You can add calabacitas - a zuchinni, squash, corn, and chile mixture, to your burrito - but it has butter in it!)

As picture perfect as this meal was, unfortunately, it just wasn't as good as Papalote. Some will say I'm crazy, but the flavors just weren't as "on" as they are 2 blocks away. The salsa, in particular, was lacking. It was still a yummy meal, don't get me wrong, and the guacamole was as amazing as promised. But vegans, if you're in the 'hood, and craving Mexican, my vote still goes to Papalote. Sorry, Green Chile Kitchen. I'll definitely be back to buy some wine, promise!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Not too many things in life are as lovely as a leisurely brunch with friends, so when we headed out to meet some folks at Triptych on Saturday morfternoon, (get it? like brunch but with morning and afternoon?? yeah, I'm gifted) I was psyched. I'd wanted to try this place since I pass it a fair amount on my travels about San Francisco and, when I looked it up online, the menu had well-marked vegan items that sounded pretty dang tasty.

After circling the block numerous times looking for a place I could park legally for more than an hour, I finally gave up and just parked as close as I could. The waitress informed me that she's never seen anyone enforce the one hour rule on the weekends, so I settled in to enjoy the company and the food. Everyone was in good spirits, the sun was shining, and when my raspberry mimosa showed up, it brightened my mood ever further. And that was before I'd even had a sip!

The vibrant color and, yes, the alcohol, were enough to keep me satisfied for a while, which was a good thing because we ordered the food, settled into some good conversation... and then we waited. And waited. And, by the time the waitress had refilled everyone's coffees the fourth time, we all agreed the food coming out of that kitchen had be really amazing to warrant such a wait. I should say that about 15 minutes in, the salad that came with my entree did arrive, and it was pretty yummy. A dicing of tomatoes and mangoes and onion, along with a vibrant, though slightly oily dressing, it was a good start. A half an hour later though, when the rest of the food arrived, I was very hungry.

In total it took right around 45 minutes from ordering until we were finally eating - and even then my husband had to wait longer than the rest of us for his pancakes. I have no idea what was going on back there, especially since we were one of only 3 tables with people at them. If the waitress had offered some apologies or understanding, that would have been one thing, but nothing was explained. As I said, I like leisurely brunches, but this was ridiculous.

When the food did come, I must say that we all agreed it was really good. My vegan spring vegetable tagine lacked any real "spring vegetables" and was mostly tomatoes, spinach, chick-peas and tofu, but it was smothered in yummy Moroccan-inspired sauce and drizzled with a rich and creamy tahini. I'd eat it again... next time I have an hour to kill. :) At least I didn't get a ticket on my car!

So, vegans, I'd say skip this one. It's nothing too special. The brunch at Herbivore is off the hook, and it's back to the drawing board for me in my search of a brunch spot for vegans and others alike. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Shout-Out to J.J.

Me and the Jamba go way back. Used to be, I would crawl from my hole of a dorm room in the hot Valencia, CA sun (Cali caliente!) and roll myself across the street for one of their smoothies. Vegan-friendly as long as I've known them, I still have mad love for this smoothie-whipper-upper. Now, with the addition of their all-fruit smoothies, I can rejoice further. (You can now also search through their online menu based on special diets. Click on "vegan" and plenty of things come up.) We so rarely get super-hot days here in San Francisco, but I live all of 2 blocks from a Jamba Juice, so I don't need much of an excuse to hit it up. Today was kind of cloudy and coldish, and I still headed down the hill for a fix. I had a Strawberry Whirl from the aforementioned "all-fruit" menu and it hit the spot, so I just thought I'd give a quick shout-out to an old friend. If they over go organic, I may have to move even closer.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I think it's fair to say that I have my vices. Long walks in San Francisco, the combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter, good books, organic produce, and time with my husband (a precious commodity these days!) are right up there with roses on raindrops and whiskers on kittens, if you know what I mean. Today, however, my list of favorites contains a few more, shall we say, time-frittering, items. For example, when I entered the blogosphere, I did not anticipate how much time I would eat up (pun intended) reading other peoples' blogs. There is just so much STUFF out there to read and analyze and learn, and so many intelligent and inspiring voices in the mix! But, me being me, it is the one blog with the least amount of pertinent information - the "dark chocolate and peanut butter" of my blog world - to which I am addicted.

Every day, almost without fail, I check in to see what the staffers at VegNews had for lunch. Why do I care you ask? Well, I'm not really sure. I suppose part of it is meal ideas, but more than that, I'm a sucker for finding out about the new vegan swag they get to ingest in the name of product testing. Now, anybody who actually saw me eat lunch every day would find this all very perplexing indeed. You see, for the last 2-3 years or so, I have had the same thing for lunch almost every day. It is my healthiest addiction and it keeps me going, keeps me full, and is the cornerstone of my nutrition program. I present to you...... drum roll please.......

The Green Smoothie

As you can see in the "before" pictures, a green smoothie is a simple concoction of greens and fruit blended together. On this particular day I was using bananas and red chard. 5 bananas and about 5 big leaves of chard to be exact. Add a little water, and you're good to go; assuming you have a Vita-Mix, that is. I wouldn't try this in a regular blender. On other days, I've been known to have pineapple/spinach smoothies, melon/romaine smoothies, mango/kale smoothies... you get the idea. It's a really easy way to gets tons of raw nutrition into your body in a short amount of time. I have 20 minutes for lunch M-F, so it works out well. I just pour it into my Kleen Kanteen in the morning, and pop it into the fridge when I get to work.

I know what you're thinking - "But, how does it taste?" It's a simple answer really. It tastes like whatever fruit you use. The fruit taste really does overpower the greens. I use less pungent greens like romaine with weaker tastes like melon, but when using ripe bananas or mangoes, just about anything goes, from collards to dandelions.

So, while I am reading about the lunch of other vegans in my town, I am mostly scanning for dinner ideas. Lunch is a no-brainer, and one which I just thought I'd share because I feel like it plays in integral role in supporting my health. Vegans AND others, please try one, or at least get the book and learn more. In this case, the grass truly is greener on my side of the fence.