Monday, June 30, 2008

The Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Look what I found in the bushes by my apartment yesterday! These famous San Francisco parrots were enjoying the fruits of my local foliage and I couldn't have been happier. Better yet, according to my neighbor, they come here every year around July 1st like clockwork, and will be around for the whole month. I love catching a glimpse of these beauties flying around while I'm out walking, but I've never seen them so up close and personal. Bird-lover that I am, you can imagine my delight. It is with great affection that I name these wild parrots as my favorite vegan thing of the day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Fruits of Summer

It was a weekend without any restaurant experiences, but we had plenty of good meals all the same. We had friends in town, and even though they went to a wedding with great food, they decalred that this fruit salad I made for brunch on Saturday was the best meal of the weekend. I generally make "mono-meals" of fruits, meaning I'll eat one kind at a time, so a fruit salad was not something that came too naturally for me. However, it being summer in the Bay Area and all, I knew I couldn't miss if I just went to Rainbow and picked what looked best. In this case, that meant the following: Ripe golden pineapple, juicy strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, the most seductive yellow peaches, plump red grapes, fresh figs that would blow your mind, and 3 giant mangoes. The latter turned out to be be not so ripe, so only a bit of the flesh ended up in the salad, BUT I squeezed the juice of all the mangoes onto the fruit salad, and it had the effect of sweetening the whole bowl as though I had added sugar syrup. This was so intensely yummy, and I feel very proud of how it turned out. Therefore, my vegan favorite for today is fruit salad. Vegans and others alike, go enjoy the fruits of summer while they last!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to the Favorites

In keeping with the Oregon theme, my favorite for the day is something I wore quite a bit up there. Of course, I wear it quite a bit in San Francisco too, but whatever. I'm talking about my awesome VEGAN sweatshirt. I got mine at PETA and it's become a staple in my wardrobe. I don't really recommend it for "others" (because that would just be weird) but all vegans should display their belief proudly! Here I am keeping warm and stylish in Cannon Beach, OR.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oregon Part Two: Friends, Food, and Footwear

On Sunday morning we packed up, said good-bye to Cannon Beach, and headed back to Portland. After a lengthy check-in process at the Hotel Vintage Plaza (great location and nice rooms but I wouldn't stay there again) we were off to meet up with some friends who live in town. However, there was one stop I needed to make along the way.

You see, I have been in love with Form and Fauna shoes ever since being introduced to them by Swanky Veg. Lucky me, my husband gave me a hand-made gift certificate for a pair on my birthday. He had tried to locate some in San Francisco to no avail, but found two stores in Portland that carried them. I heard that one of these stores, Olio, was having a local designer rummage sale while I was in town, so I knew I was in for a good shopping experience. When we arrived at the store, I was so distracted by all the pretty clothes that I almost forgot my objective. That is, until I spotted out of the corner of my eye the cutest shoes on earth. And right next to them? The hottest shoes on earth. Since I am both cute and hot (and both were majorly on sale!) I decided I needed two pairs that day. Ladies, these shoes - aside from being adorable - are so well-made, so recycled, so cruelty-free, so dang terrific, that I get happy just looking at them in my closet. I hope that F&F keep on expanding and that everyone can have some on their tootsies soon.

With shoes in hand, we finally met up with our friends and had a lovely time catching up before heading to dinner at Nutshell. I had been thoroughly looking forward to eating here ever since I heard about their bread/olive oil/salt bar. Turns out it's not so much a bar as a service. When you sit down at your table, there is a checklist and a pencil. You can pick from foccacia or naan, 5 or 6 different olive oils, and about a million (ok, maybe 20) different salts. We went for both types of bread, 2 different oils, and three salts. People, I would have been content just eating this all night. The breads were fresh and delicious, the olive oils smooth and buttery, and the salts were outrageous. My favorite was a really smokey gray salt, but the Hawaiian black salt was a close second. Eventually we ran out of this holy trinity of food and had to move on, but I recommend Nutshell based on this part of the meal alone.

Next up, I had the Mizuna Greens salad - a heaping pile of greens for only $5. Not too shabby, and quite delicious. Not to mention I just feel better with lots of greens in me. My entree was the pizza. I had to take the close-up shot because it was the freshness of the ingredients that really came through. I loved it.... but I must say that one of my friends had the Jamaican platter and it looked really fun. She let me try the "Marley Family Drink" that it comes with and it was fantastic, unlike anything I've ever had before. Next time I'm there, it'll be my choice.

Quite full and happy, we all took a stroll around the block to walk it off. As were were talking, my friend informed me of a new all-vegan bar in Portland. It didn't take long before we were belly-up at the Bye and Bye. I really like this place, you guys. From the deep red walls, to the long beer list and unpretentious attitude, it's a winner. Top it all off with an all-vegan menu (see photo), and well, I'm smitten. Unfortunately, we were all too full to eat anything, but my organic IPA was delicious, and both of my friends swear that the "meatball" sandwich is the best vegan thing in Portland. Time to start planning my next trip!

We finally called it a night, with plans to meet up for lunch the next day at Blossoming Lotus Cafe. After some sleep and a quick session in the hotel gym, hubby and I (after another lengthy wait at check-out) hit the town. We stopped at Whole Foods for some Synergy, and before we knew it, it was lunch time. Blossoming Lotus is both a vegan restaurant and yoga studio which gives it a very serene atmosphere. I was pretty hungry, and totally forgot to take pictures while we were there though, so you'll have to use your imagination to picture my "Lebanese Salad" with kalamata olives and tofu feta, and my husband's big giant burrito with cashew cheese. Talk about hitting the spot. I knew I wouldn't be eating again until we were home in San Francisco, so I also had a cup of the sweet and refreshing strawberry soft serve. Everyday BL has a special flavor of vegan soft serve ice cream, and man is it good.

After lunch, I was debating whether or not to go back to Whole Foods to get some Mighty-O Donuts. I've always wanted to try these Seattle-based treats since you can't get them in San Francisco, but my stomach won out and I passed. However, all the talk of donuts caused my friend to insist that we at least stop by Voo-Doo Doughnut to see the place. It's not an all-vegan donut shop, but they do have some creative vegan (and even more creative non-vegan) donuts going on. Seeing the shop itself is worth the visit as it's not lacking for character, but even if I had wanted a donut, the line was out the door, and we had a plane to catch.

So, while there were no donuts for me this trip, it was still a sweet trip to Oregon, and it left me relaxed and ready for summer. Our next trip is to Florida, but I have vegan foodie friends coming to stay soon, so stay tuned for plenty more San Francisco dining experiences (supplemented by my faves of course) in the near future. For now, it's just good to be home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oregon Part One: PDX to Cannon Beach

At long last, our trip to Great Northwest finally came to fruition this past weekend. It was a time of too much food, drink, and fun, and it was all fantastic. Well, mostly....
We started our time in Portland in the long and slow line at Hertz. Who knew renting a car could be so painful. This was all quickly forgotten, however, as we made our way out of the airport and into Portland itself. Our destination was Cannon Beach, a small town on the Oregon coast where we would spend Friday and Saturday nights, but like the good vegan couple* we are, we decided to stop off in Portland for lunch and provisions. That, of course, meant Food Fight Grocery, Sweet Pea Bakery, and Veganopolis.

Food Fight is basically a vegan 7-11, which means lots of snacks and junk food. These were exactly the edibles we wanted for our drive west. We stocked up on chips and cookies, and my hubby discovered a new-found love for soy jerky. For the record, I also got some bananas, trying to remain at least slightly health-conscious. As we were checking out, I asked the kind fellow behind the counter what his favorite thing to get at Sweet Pea Bakery might be. He surprised me by saying that he LOVES (his emphasis, not mine) the bacon and scallion cream cheese. Yeah, you read that right. Unfortunately, I did not get to try it. We had no way to keep things cool, and we were stopping for lunch soon anyway, but I know that that cream cheese will be in my belly next time I head north. What we ended up getting instead proved to be one of the highlights of the whole trip... but I'll save it for later. On a side note, the vegan mini-mall that hosts FFG and SPB is also home to Herbivore and I got myself the cutest little mug emblazoned with the word "vegan." You know, in case I ever forget. :)

Okay, after being surrounded by food, and with the stale plane air finally out of our system, it was time for lunch. Veganopolis came highly recommended, and it did not disappoint. This order-at-the-counter cafeteria style joint has an amazing menu of salads and sandwiches, all of which sounded delicious. My "Black-Eyed Betty" salad had the smokiest tempeh bacon and the basil and rice wine vinaigrette was out of this world. It was just what the doctor ordered. My husband went a tad heavier and had the "Portland Cheesesteak." He claims that while it was nothing like a real (dead) cheese steak, the soy slices on ciabatta were delicious and satisfying. Veganopolis gets my vote for Restaurant I'd Most Like to See Franchised. My fingers are crossed...

Satisfied, and getting giddier as it sank it that we were really on vacation, we put our grinning selves back in the renter, and headed out to the coast. This drive is so pretty and so damn green, that any visitor to Portland should put it on their list of things to do. After only about an hour and a half on the road, we checked into our room at the Hallmark Resort and plopped ourselves down on the balcony to enjoy the amazing view of the ocean and Haystack Rock. Relaxed, we decided it was time for our first real treat - the one we saved from Sweet Pea Bakery: chocolate mint cupcakes. Oh yeah. These little devils had made the trip with only the slightest bit of smooshed icing, and this did not effect the taste - dark, rich chocolate paired with refreshingly minty icing - at all. After debating about what to get from Sweet Pea (everything looked amazing) I was quite content with our choice. They were wonderful bites of sugary yum. That's the Sweet Pea delirium talking. :)

Now, as a vegan, it can be hard to get good food along the coast, especially where we were in Cannon Beach. It's mostly got seafood restaurants and mom & pop stores without any fresh produce. However there is a shining light in the fog: The glorious bastion of hope that is Sweet Basil's. Our reservation was for Saturday night, and after spending Friday night consuming some of the yuckiest Thai food ever (the place only had two items they could make without fish sauce!), supplemented with our Food Fight snacks, we were very ready to get some nutrition in our systems.

A lovely coastal rain was falling as we settled into our booth, and we immediately got to the task of scanning the menu for vegan items. Luckily, there were quite a few AND one of the specials that night was vegan. I opted for the latter - a stuffed zucchini with eggplant and Italian rice, and the husband ordered the vegan sausage and pepper hero. Mine was warming and scrumptious, with true eggplant and basil flavors bursting out of the fresh zucchini. I was really enjoying it when I decided to try a bit of the hero. It may not have been pretty, but man, this thing was scarily good. Let's just say it was all I could do to not finish the rest of it. My husband loved it too, and I hereby declare everyone in Portland should go get some coastal fresh air, enjoy the beach, and have one of these sandwiches. Sweet Basil's is by far the best place for vegans and others alike in Cannon Beach.

After returning to the resort, we polished off a bottle of local unfiltered/unfined (read: vegan) wine, sat by the fire, and played Scrabulous. The perfect evening. Next up: We hit the not-so-dusty trail back to Portland for more eats, more drinks, and the most fabulous shoes I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Stay tuned.

*Hubby went vegan for the trip. Hooray!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tickets, Please

In a few short hours, the hubby and I will be off to Portland for a long weekend of vegan R and R, and one of my most favorite vacationy things to do is read magazines on the plane. I rarely have time in real life for such frivolity, so I really like to make it count by indulging in only the best - and that of course means VegNews! To that end, you can only imagine how happy I was to receive the latest issue in the mail yesterday, just in time for my trip. If you haven't read this well-written, funny-yet-informative, chock-full-of-info magazine yet, you had best go get yourself a copy today. VegNews rocks, and never as much as in their latest music issue, complete with the gorgeous Erykah Badu on the cover. They're even having a launch party to celebrate this issue. A party that I REALLY want to go to. REALLY. However, yours truly was a little late in purchasing tickets to said party, and now it's sold out. So, here I am on my virtual knees begging my readers - if anyone happens to have an extra ticket (or better yet, two!) PLEASE let me know. I'll be forever in your debt, plus I promise to mention you on the blog, and give you a goodie bag complete with all the edibles I've named as "faves of the day" so far. You know you want to help me out.... right?

In other news, I'll be in Portland soon, and depending on connectivity and inclination, I may or may not be posting for a while. You can look forward to tales from Food Fight Grocery, Nutshell and Veganopolis, as well as the hunt for Form and Fauna shoes. See you soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Say Chreese!

I don't know why it took me so long to name Chreese as one of my favorite vegan things. I love the stuff! Personally, I make it exclusively for nachos, but word on the street is that it's highly versatile. Now, Road's End Organics has many Chreese products, but I really love the packets of dry mix. Just add water and a tablespoon of olive oil and you've got something scarily similar to Velveeta, only better. It also gets points for being a soy-free alternative to cheese. This little wonder even comes in a gluten-free version, but I haven't tried that. I have, however, tried the pre-made Nacho Chreese Dip, and well, I'm not a fan. It seemed kind of bland and watery, whereas if you make it yourself, you can add whatever you want so it tastes just how you like. I make a sauce of Chreese, black beans, and salsa, and pour it over some warmed-in-the-oven nacho chips. Top with some avocado slices, and you're good to go. It's the perfect companion to the big game or a good flick. Vegans, make extra, because your others won't be able to resist.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sweet and Sara Marshmallows

Once upon a time, I won a marshmallow recipe contest conducted by VegNews. It was quite a feat, especially considering I won with a recipe I'd never even tried before. (Shhh, dont' tell anyone.) The prize that arrived on my doorstep was more vegan marshmallows than I could ever eat from Sweet and Sara. Guys, these things are AMAZING. I got to sample all the flavors like Toasted Coconut, Mexican Chocolate, and the Smores - my GOD, the Smores. Mmmmm....
Well, needless to say, I finally did try that recipe I created in my head* and these delectable cubes were perfect. This was a while ago, and I had completely forgotten about all of this until I walked into my local Real Food Company yesterday and saw that they are now carrying the S&S line. Woo-hoo! Please everyone, vegans and others alike, try these marshmallows. They are a bit of heaven here on earth... and my favorite vegan thing of the day.

* Cut a marshmallow in half. Sandwich some strawberry slices between the halves. Stick the whole thing together with a toothpick and dip into some melted dark chocolate. Or, even easier, just dust with cocoa powder. Yum!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue

This North Beach institution with the funny name was our restaurant of choice this past Saturday night, and we definitely picked a winner. The newly opened Usual Suspects Cafe - with it's vegan menu - is in the same 'hood, so it was a tough choice, but we were both craving authentic Italian and had been told that this was the best bet for hitting the spot. (Don't worry, dear readers, I'll get to the USC sometime soon, promise.)
Before we get to the food though, let's just take a minute to ponder the name. I had no idea what "sciue sciue" meant so I looked it up and found that it means something along the lines of improvised or quick and simple. If the long list of specials on Saturday was any indication of how they normally do things, I can see how the name would apply. Everything on the list sounded so...well.... improvised, that I just had to try one.
I had the salad of escarole, fennel, and apple to start. It was light and refreshing, with the perfect combination of bitter and sweet, and got my stomach ready for the main dish. I chose something from the regular menu - the Spaghetti alla Pizzaiola - which is a simple dish of spaghetti (I made sure the pasta had no egg beforehand of course!) with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. As hard as it would be to make this dish really badly, I argue that it would be even harder to do it as well as Caffe Macaroni. It had the perfect saltiness from the tomatoes, and fruitiness of the olive oil, and just enough garlic. I was in heaven. Meanwhile, my hubby had one of the pasta specials, and even kept it veggie (thanks, babe). He claims his bucatini with peppers, garlic, and other veggies I can't remember, was the best pasta he's had in San Francisco. A successful meal all around. Of course, being an Italian joint on Columbus, there was the requisite loud Italian speaking and great people watching... but not nearly as in-your-face as some places a few blocks away.

Vegans, grab your others for some lip-smacking Italian that will have your whole party exclaiming, "Delizioso!"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You Probably Saw This Coming

Not even Father's Day could stop me from naming my favorite vegan thing of the day, and OF COURSE my favorite thing of today (and most other days as well!) is my Dad. An on-and-off vegan for years now, he has a new found commitment to it that is inspiring. He is also committed to creating vegan versions of all the totally bad for you Hungarian food he grew up with. Who knew vegan chicken paprikash could be so good?? (Albeit still not that good for you.) My Dad is ever-evolving, but always a wonderfully funny and caring father. I wish I could celebrate the day with him in person, but we'll have time together this summer, complete with dining experiences that I can't wait to write about. For now, Pops, Happy Father's Day! I love you. Oh, and my dad's "speech" at my wedding kicks your dad's speech at your wedding's ass. (Or something more grammatically correct.) Here he is serenading me... and the rest is just for those who were there to treasure forever. Thanks, Dad. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Foggy Day Favorite

It's a bit of a fogger outside today, which means I woke up immediately wanting soup. Amy's makes some great ones in a can, but on lazy Saturdays when there's time to get good ingredients and cook, that's what I like to do. Since I'll be eating my way through the vegan mecca of Portland next weekend, I'm going to keep it light and healthy today, which of course means turning to Dr. McDougall. This recipe from his website is the perfect compliment to a San Francisco "summer" day. Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup

This is one of our favorite vegetable soups. It makes a wonderful meal with a loaf of fresh bread. It also reheats well and we like to have it for several lunches during the week.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8

1 ¼ cup red kidney beans
8 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
6-8 fingerling potatoes, chunked
1 ½ cups fresh green beans, cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup parsley flakes
1 ½ teaspoon basil
1 ½ teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 ½ cups shredded cabbage
½ cup uncooked whole wheat elbows

Place the beans in a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes, turn off heat and let rest for 1 hour. (To eliminate this step, soak beans overnight.) Drain off water. Add onion, garlic and 8 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour. Add celery, carrot, potatoes, green beans, tomato sauce and all the seasonings. Return to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, canned tomatoes and zucchini. Cook for another 30 minutes. Then add the cabbage and pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I can't dine out every day....

... so it's back to naming my favorite vegan things. Today that means beets! I can't get enough of these reddish rotund roots. I put 'em in foil and bake 'em at 450 for 30 minutes to an hour and then stick 'em in the fridge. Later, I'll slice some up on a salad. Sweet and yummy. Who produces the best beets, you ask? Well, Schrute Farms of course. With Dwight Schrute running the show, it's no surprise that only the most delicious beets make it out of this place alive. I, for one, am grateful for his ground-breaking farming techniques which produce the greatest beets I've had the pleasure of eating. And, of course, they're vegan!

Happy weekend, everyone! ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


As you know, I'd been looking forward to this meal for a while. I adore Greens, but with all the other choices in San Francisco, I don't find myself there nearly often enough. Right on the bay, and with views of the bridge and sailboats through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the beauty of the space alone is enough to warrant a visit from you and your others. Speaking of which, it should be mentioned that Greens is only somewhat other-friendly, which is to say that it's a vegetarian restaurant. Last night, I dined with an omnivore, and I'm sure there were many more like her, all enjoying the scrumptious food with gusto. In fact, my dining companion is good friends with the head chef, Annie Somerville, so I had the great pleasure of meeting the woman in charge of this San Francisco institution. Upon discovering I was vegan, she told me that she was disappointed that Greens has a reputation for being not so vegan-friendly. This was after the waiter explained to me that all but one entree on the menu could be made vegan. Seems quite friendly to me and, indeed, after Annie headed back to the kitchen, I dug into some of the best vegan food SF has to offer.

For starters, we split the wilted spinach salad. This pile of spinach with warm olive oil, onions, olives, and crostini was the perfect start to our meal. So enamored with my surroundings, I totally forgot the name of my entree. It was essentially two skewers of veggies, tofu, and even corn, in a sweet and savory sauce that slightly resembled red curry. They were so delicious, but the side of rice with pistachios and cherries stole the show. My technique was to mix everything together, and I think it was a good call. Yum!
We were content and satisfied, but when the dessert menu came, I knew I must make room. The one vegan dessert was a banana chocolate layer cake.* Considering my recent cravings, I went for it, and was so happy I did. It was the perfect combination of the two flavors, neither one overpowering the other, and the dusting of cocoa powder, along with the two scoops of banana sorbet, made this vegan treat the perfect ending to our lovely meal. Greens, I will be back, and hopefully more often.
Vegans, bring your others, preferably around sunset, and watch them forget their meal is meatless.

*Technically, if you ordered the sorbets without the cookies, that dessert would be vegan too, which makes for another option.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I'm off to eat soon, and will blog about that tomorrow, but wanted to give a quick shout out to Novacas, maker of great vegan shoes, since I'll be wearing their Molly to dinner. Fashionable shoes are pretty late to arrive on the vegan scene if you ask me, but things are looking up these days, and this line is one of the reasons. Gone are the days of hunting for cheap uncomfortable pleather at Payless, thank god. And, now I'm off to dinner in my stylin' shoes!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Best Traveling Tool

Today I declare that summer has officially begun. I may have a few more days of work left, but the kids won't be around, and that means I can finally start to get excited about all the awesome trips I have planned!* As a vegan, I always try to scout online for the best places to find good grub before I head to a particular locale (of course, non-vegans who just like good food do this too) and the site I turn to time and time again is Happy Cow. This wonderous web find has never let me down, and I will use it to guide me toward good food this summer and beyond.

*In case you're wondering, I'm off to Portland, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, New Jersey, NYC, Boston, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, and Monterey this summer. I am one lucky gal!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dying to Dine Out

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's been a while since I've dined out, and I'm really looking forward to the next time someone delivers food directly to my table. Luckily, a friend and I are having dinner at Greens on Wednesday night and I think I'll make it until then. Hopefully you will too.

Meanwhile, my favorite vegan thing for today is being dictated by my PMS: Allison's Gourmet Chocolates. I got these for my parents as a Christmas present last year, mainly because I wanted to try them, and they are heavenly. Next time I order from AG, I think I'll be getting some peanut butter cups too. They look too good to pass up, and you can't go wrong combining chocolate and peanut butter, I say. Okay, I better get off the computer now before my uterus coerces me into spending my entire salary on chocolates. You, on the other hand, should do just that.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Perfect Follow-up

After my beer-blogging yesterday, I got all excited about alcohol and overdid it by a wee margin at the BBQ. It was a great time though, and because I have the sure-fire hangover cure, I'm now back to my old self. What is this magical potion you ask? Well, it's something I've become rather addicted to as of late: GT's Synergy Kombucha. Now, let me be clear here. I really only like the flavors that also have ginger in them (Trilogy and Gingerberry). Those are the ones that really seem to kick-start my system. I will also say that my husband insists this fermented beverage tastes far too much like vinegar to be palatable. It is an acquired taste, but it's one I love. I usually have one a day anyway, but I find that after some over-indulging, a couple of swigs in the morning set me straight again. Keep it in mind the next time your afternoon BBQ turns into an all-nighter.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Best with a BBQ

I'm off to suburbia for a BBQ today. It won't be vegan, but I've been promised veggie kabobs and plenty of sides, chips, and beer to keep me satisfied. It only seems fit, therefore, that I declare one of the latter a favorite for today: Anchor Steam beer.
Most folks don't know that a lot of beer, and wine for that matter, isn't vegan because it's filtered with isinglass, a gelatin-like substance made from fish bladders. Yeah, NOT delicious. That being said, it's pretty easy to obtain vegan beers. (Check here for a good list.) Anchor Steam is one such easily obtainable, and quite yummy, beer. Pairs well with a hot sunny day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Favorite

I did my Friday food shopping (I hate going on the weekends) so I have just been perusing the aisles of my favorite food-things and have quite a few nibbles I could name as faves for the day. That being said, I think I'm going to kick it old school and go with something I used to love in middle and high school:

Sweet Nothings Fudge Bars. These guys are only 100 calories a pop, are mostly just fruit juice and carob, and manage to taste like pure chocolate. It can only be food magic - enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Apple Don't Fall Far

It's been a long day with an even longer one looming tomorrow, so I'll keep this brief. My favorite vegan thing of the day is also one of my favorite things period: My Mom. Here we are enjoying a pint in SF. :)

I'm so thrilled that she's gone vegan (it's been over a year now and she ain't lookin' back) and am delighted with the effect it's had on her health and well-being. She was pretty great before, but now she just plain rocks. Go mom!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Another "Joy"

My vegan fave for today has to go to something I've been craving lately: The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Okay, so I haven't been craving the book itself, but rather the chocolate chip banana muffins that are featured therein. They are the most moist, wonderful creations your sweet tooth has ever come across. Those, and the amazing cakes, pastries, cookies, breads, and other baked goods that this beautiful book dishes up make it the greatest book on vegan baking ever. Hands down. Get yourself a copy and get baking today. Oh, and if you make any of those muffins, send 'em my way. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bagels are a girl's best friend...

... and I like mine whole grain, yeast-free, and full of protein. Not to mention with a slightly sweet and nutty taste that can't be beat. That's why my favorite vegan item of the day is French Meadow Bakery's Healthy Hemp Bagels. And, nothing's better to put on top of these delights than some Garlic and Herb Creamy Sheese from Bute Island Foods. It's a match made in Sunday morning heaven. (Yes, I know I gave you two items today, but I just couldn't mention one without the other in this case. Enjoy!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Feature

To keep my avid readers (Hi, Mom) content between meals, I've decided to add a new little feature to the blog. As often as I can - and I'm aiming for everyday here folks - I will be simply naming my favorite vegan item of the day. The only rule is that it's vegan, so while it could be food related, it need not be in order to get mentioned here. Got it? Good. It is not lost on me that this is way more vegan than other-friendly, but others need to know how to keep their vegans happy, right?

So, for today, my item is...drum roll please... Soy Feta by Sunergia. I'm trying to eat less soy these days, but this is a tough item to give up. A relatively new addition to my fridge, it has given me back my long-lost love of Greek Salads. Crumble it up on some greens with kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some oil and vinegar, and you're good to go. Plus it's all non-GMO, organic, low-fat, and the whole darn package only has 240 calories. Sunergia, I love you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Birthday Bliss

It's been a while since I've blogged - apologies. Such is the life of an elementary school teacher come May I suppose. Between the recitals, performances, science fairs, field trips, and other end-of-year activities, I've been otherwise occupied. The school where I teach is wonderful, but it sure keeps me busy! I also did a raw food cleanse over Memorial Day weekend, which kept me out of the restaurants for a bit. But, that all went by the wayside this weekend because it was MY BIRTHDAY. :) If ever there was a time to indulge in all your favorite eats, it's your birthday. So here's what I did...

My birthday was Sunday, but I started celebrating on Saturday, mainly because I had a school picnic to attend on my actual day. The plan was to go hang gliding to kick off the weekend, but the weather was not cooperative and it got canceled. Boo. I wasn't too sad though because it just meant a little more lounge time for me. I had to rest up, for mine was to be an evening of dining delights at none other than Fleur de Lys . This culinary extravaganza was something I'd been looking forward to for some time. They always have a vegetarian tasting menu and - with advance notice - are more than happy to alter it to be vegan. You may recall that I've called this romantic high-end spot the best place to get an uber-fancy meal in the city, and they did not disappoint. We also went with the wine pairing, so by the end we were practically glowing. I only felt brave enough to take two pictures, and neither with flash, so forgive the bad quality. What you have here is our appetizer (first of 4 courses) and our dessert (aka the 5th course). The app was 2 purple potato dots, a mushroom "cigar", and a shot of the yummiest butternut squash soup ever. I would have been content eating nothing but a pile of the cigars for the rest of the meal, but that's mainly because they involved crispy phyllo dough. So good.

In between these pictures, there was an beet salad with celery and green onions, a polenta cake, and a ragout of veggies with the most sublime truffle sauce and crispy "truffle chips" on top. Every bite was a little more amazing than the last, and that counts dessert too. The sorbets atop that popcorn cake were unreal. The coconut in particular tasted so much like eating fresh coconut that it had to have been magic. As for the wine, the only one I wasn't a huge fan of was the Pinot Noir. Our waiter described it as "young yet elegant" and I think it was just a little too young, and not enough elegant.

It should also be mentioned, as I've written before, that the bread service is unbelievable. As soon as you finish your piece, the bread guy is there with more. The olive loaf is my favorite, while my husband digs the baguette. The fig/pistachio bread is also fantastic. Their bread makes me swoon. Needless to say, I slept well Saturday night.

Sunday morning I awoke to a beautiful day so I got up and went for a long walk down to Crissy Field and back, stopping at Real Food Company and got some peaches and strawberries for a light breakfast. When I arrived home, my loving hubby gave me my present - a gift certificate for a pair of Form and Fauna shoes. I am so psyched and can't wait to get those beauties on my tootsies. After I composed myself, we were off to the picnic. Though there was food, we saved our appetites for another oft-mentioned eatery on this blog: Papalote. Ever since the "not quite" experience of Green Chile Kitchen, I've been craving my favorite burrito, complete with vegan black beans, rice, guacamole, and the world's best salsa. Paired with a Corona, it's the best a Sunday afternoon can offer.

Back at home, it was birthday cake time, which in my case meant a decadent vegan cupcake from Whole Foods, with some insanely good Purely Decadent "Chunky Mint Madness." Oh yeah, Happy Birthday to me. As I write this, I'm in food coma and have been lying on the couch for about 4 hours - something I NEVER do. Tomorrow, it's back to the gym and work, so I'm off to enjoy the rest while I can. After all, it's the last year of my twenties, and I plan on living it the the fullest!

Coming Attractions in June: A trip to Greens to celebrate the end of the school year, and a long weekend in the vegan haven of Portland. I am truly blessed.