Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stuck at the Airport

Well, folks, my time in Florida has been elongated, but not in a way I can actually enjoy. The Orlando Airport is no place to spend hours upon hours. I have an electrical outlet though, so I thought I'd give a brief update. Miami was fantastic. So much good food, wine, sun, and sand. It was truly a wonderful vacation. And, boy were we happy that we decided to fly into Ft. Lauderdale so that we could have dinner at Sublime. I was truly blown away by this place. The size alone is breath-taking. I've never dined in a larger vegan-only restaurant... and it was packed! That made me happy, but even better was the food. I would swear on The Joy of Vegan Baking (my bible) that the Sublime Picatta was the best entree I've ever had. Salty, lemony, goodness. The chocolate cake I followed it with paled in comparison. I almost wish I had just ordered more picatta for dessert... :)

As for Miami recommendations, there are a few places that really hit the spot. The first is The Cafe at Books and Books on the Lincoln Road promenade. A very distinct VEGAN section on their menu eliminates all guessing games or substitutions. Good food plus a great selection of books? I was sold. Lido at the Standard Hotel is also good. They are on an island in the bay with great ambiance, and they even have vegan desserts (something I didn't see at any other restaurant in Miami). Unfortunately, I was too full from my grilled tofu with spinach and vegan aioli to try any.

Okay, I'm going to try to use the rest of my airport time to get some walking in, so I leave you with two fond memories of my trip so far: The Sublime Picatta and my toes from my chair at the Ritz, Miami Beach. How I miss them both....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Taking off....

I can't believe I am lucky enough to be headed somewhere so warm and beautiful and FUN tomorrow morning. I'm definitely counting my blessings as I pack for Miami, and don't worry, I won't forget the camera. After Florida, I'm headed all the way up the East Coast, with stops in New Jersey, New York City, and Boston, and I won't be back in San Francisco until August 12th. I love a good adventure, so wish me well. I'll do my best to post updates while I'm away, but if it's been a while, just know that I'm sitting on the beach, sipping something with an umbrella in it, and feelin' fine.... Happy Summer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Art of Almond Butter

Back when I was a raw foodist (approx. 2002-2005) I tried plenty of raw almond butters. I loved the sweet nutty stuff on celery sticks, and still do, but my preferred method today is almond butter and strawberry jam sandwiches. A more sophisticated take on ye olde PB&J. Or even better - dip some dried figs into it. Tastes like PB&J without the bread.

As kind of an almond aficionado, my vote for best raw organic almond butter goes to Artisana. It's creamy, almondy, and with just the right balance of sweetness. Unfortunately, due the the stupidity of the California Almond Board, it is now impossible to get raw almonds in CA as they must all be pasteurized. Ugh. This means Artisana has been sourcing truly raw almonds from Europe and importing. I don't know if what's in my fridge right now is from CA or Europe, but I know it's really good and you should try some.

By the way, Artisana also has a product called Cacao Bliss, which I am afraid to try because I fear I could eat my weight in it on a daily basis. It sounds that good. Follow the link for more details.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Hair's Favorite

It is with much joy that I proclaim Knotty Boy's "Locksteady" Dreadlock Tropical Tightening Gel as my favorite vegan thing for today. I love that my dreads are so completely low-maintenance, but every now and then they need some sprucing up. That's where this little wonder steps in. All natural ingredients, and a lovely (read: subtle) fragrance make this product a real winner. All those who rock of crown of dreads like I do should try it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

And a Great Time Was Had By All...

Joselle and Brian left this morning (sniff sniff) and things are quiet around here. We had a great time, and I hope to see them both when I'm on the east coast later this month. Meanwhile, let's talk about food....

Both J and B were set on going to Herbivore, and you never have to twist my arm, so off we went, meeting up with another NJ transplant and old friend along the way. We shared the vegetable platter to start, and I always recommend this to people. It's a pile of grilled veggies, 3 yummy dipping sauces, and some bread. It was a great appetizer for the four of us. Good value, great taste, can't beat it. Moving along, here are our 4 entrees:

I had what I like to call the big-ass salad. Not quite as big as the ones I make at home, but close. The dijon dressing and the avocados make every bit delicious. I know what you're thinking - "Just a salad?" - but I was saving room for dessert. :) Meanwhile, Joselle had the veggie and tofu skewers, Brian had the potato pie, and our other pal had the curry noodles. All my friends managed to get things off the menu that I've never tried. They all looked and smelled really good though, and judging by the happy "mmmm....." sounds I heard, it's safe to say they were.

Our friend had to take off, and rather than doing dessert at Herbivore, we opted to head up to Bernal Heights for the best vegan ice cream in San Francisco: Maggie Mudd. Joselle restrained herself and had a simple small sugar cone of Mudslide. That particular flavor is one of MM's coconut-based ice creams, all of which are a bit too, well, coconuty, for me. I went for the mini-sundae you see below with Peanut Butter Palooka. Heaven. I can close my eyes and still taste it. So good. Falling into the category of "no-holds-barred," was Brian's banana split. I'm pretty sure that every time someone finishes one of these bad boys, a vegan angle gets her wings. Brian navigated his way gracefully through this massive task, and while he experienced slight discomfort afterwards, he enjoyed every sugary, creamy minute of it.

The next day was typical San Francisco summer, which is to say cold and foggy. In my humble opinion, nothing is more warming and satisfying that Ethiopian/Eritrean food on such a day. There are a few decent places in the city, but I really love Assab on Geary. They are always happy to remove any dairy, and the flavors are so dang fresh and spicy. I had the veggie combo and it was scrumptious. After dinner, we headed out to Ocean Beach just for giggles. It was a true SF in July experience, complete with coats and scarves. Just for contrast, here's the beach and the necessary fuel for dealing with it:

So that was about it. J and B did a bunch of stuff on their own after that, which I'm sure they'll post about on their blog. Oh, I will mention that while those guys were off on their own, me and the husband were down in Palo Alto and had dinner at Bella Luna. Vegans, this place should come with a warning. ALL the pasta has egg in it, which means nothing but salads for us. PLUS, none of the dressings are vegan, so we're stuck with oil and vinegar. Not pleasant. My husband had the fettucine and was not impressed either. Stay away. Glad I got that out of my system...
Now it's time for me and the hubby to prepare for our Florida trip. Hard to believe, but Saturday night I'll be dining at Sublime. I've wanted to do so ever since reading about it years and years ago, so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A New Favorite

Me and the "Mutuals" have been having good times the past few days, and I'll be writing about it soon, but I wanted to post a quick new favorite: SFVegan. This group was mentioned in the Cafe VegNews blog recently, and it's great. The Animal Kill Counter on the left is something I got from their site. Staggering numbers, eh? Anyway, I just thought I'd pop in and give them props for doing what they're doing. More eating adventures soon.
Speaking of eating, here's Barna of SFVegan delivering what appears to be a very yummy vegan pizza to the staff of VegNews. Those guys have all the fun. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Mutual" Friends

I might not post for a few days you guys, as I have guests in town: Joselle and Brian of Mutual Menu! I'm psyched to have them in San Francisco, especially because it means I get to visit all my favorite vegan places. We're off to Herbivore and Maggie Mudd of course, but I'm also looking forward to trying the new Usual Suspects Cafe. The verdict on the food will be in soon, but I will say their website needs some serious work. You're better off to go here for menu info. So, I'll be back when I'm flying solo again. Until then, happy eating!