Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Interruption

I know I'm supposed to be blogging about my east coast food experiences, but I had to take a minute and tell you about the meal I had last night at DOSA. The new location on Fillmore is within walking distance, and is absolutely gorgeous. Built green, and more committed to environmentalism than ever, this second incarnation of an already favorite restaurant is just sublime. It's huge, but inviting, and serves up the same delicious menu as its Valencia sister. My meal last night goes in the books as one of the best vegan meals you can eat in this city, hands down. I recommend all people (vegans and others alike) do exactly this:

*Start with the mango and greens salad without the goat cheese. Best salad ever. No exaggeration.
*Move onto the Masala Dosa, done vegan style (without ghee). The spicy rasam and cool coconut chutney are the perfect compliment to the savory and creamy dosa.
*Finish with the deep chocolate sorbet. Nobody would ever think this show-stopper was vegan.
*All of this should be accompanied by a glass or two of the Sula Chenin Blanc.

You will thank me later.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day One, Part Two

After a bit of a breather, we trekked back out into the night for what proved to be the best meal of the trip. The Blue Note was our final destination and we wanted to eat somewhere in close proximity. Luckily, only 3 blocks (and a culinary world) away was Gobo. After hearing rave reviews from every person I know who's eaten there, I finally caved. It's so easy for me to go back to favorites like Caravan of Dreams or Counter when I'm in New York, but I couldn't be happier to have ventured outside my eating bubble. Gobo was outstanding.

It was a chilly night, but the atmosphere inside was warm and inviting. Servers were friendly and attentive, and the smells coming out of the open kitchen were making me salivate before I even sat down. Once I did, I was faced with the daunting task of choosing my meal from a very extensive menu. The husband and I wanted to try one of everything, but we didn't even come close. He started with the Won Ton soup which arrived piping hot and yummy as all get out. I, on the other hand, had a cool and refreshing salad of romaine, slivered almonds, and a slammin' dressing I can't remember too well. After that my Butternut Squash Risotto was warm and soul-satisfying. My husband, upon tasting it, seriously questioned its veganism, but everything in the whole place is animal-free - amazing, mind-blowing risotto included. Seriously, best risotto ever. And, as if that weren't enough, the hubby also ordered the yam and yucca fries. Oh yeah, we were in heaven.

With time to kill before the show, and a litle room still left in our esophagi, we ordered the gingerbread cookie with vanilla ice cream, spiced berry sauce, and candied ginger. I had been craving gingerbread for about a week (how else would I know it was Christmastime?) and this hit the spot and then some. I can still remember the warm berries, spicy ginger, and cool vanilla coming together in perfect harmony in my mouth. A wonderful end to a holiday meal. I highly recommend Gobo. With all these favorite restaurants of mine in NY, I'm going to have to start extending all my trips there just to eat! Ah, we should all be so blessed.

Day Two coming soon....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Eating Part One

It's been a while! The last week I was in SF I ended up getting a nasty cold which left me unable to go out to eat, let alone blog. So sad. On the other hand, it meant that when I arrived in NYC, I was healthy as all get out and ready for some chowing down. Today, I'm back in SF, a bit (okay, a LOT) jet-lagged, and ready to tell of my dining adventures. In keeping with my energy level, I'll do this in installments. Here's Day One:

First of all, Day One was supposed to be Day Two but since there was a huge snowstorm on the east coast, our flight got in hella late, and we missed out on dining at Pala with some friends. I love that the menu there has lots of vegan options, and I'll definitely make my way there on my next trip. With the real Day One being completely consumed by travel, Day One will now refer to our first whole day in New York. After a brief walk through the closest Whole Foods (my favorite go-to spot for quick yummy vegan food wherever you are), making sure to note that this particular location had an entirely vegan salad bar, we made our way to Teany.

Owned by Moby, this little gem is a beautiful play-on-words. Tea and NY come together to describe a very tiny restaurant that serves a ton of tea. Cute, eh? I had only ever popped in a to get one of their yummy vegan cupcakes, so I was really looking forward to going back for more substantial fare. Everything on the food menu sounded so good, and it was difficult to choose, but it had nothing on the tea menu. Pages upon pages of teas became too daunting for me to handle. I also have to really be in the mood for tea, and I wasn't.

That aside, I finally settled on the Chicken Salad Salad. This was the yummiest fake chicken salad I've ever had, and served atop a bed of greens with tomatoes and a rocking balsamic, it really hit the spot. I wish I had some more right now in fact. I also wish there was a Teany right next to my home in SF. It's such a cute little place and the food and people are both so good. I already know that next time I'm there, I'm having the English classic Beans on Toast, done vegan style of course. The girl next to me ordered it and it was all I could do not to ask for a bite.

Afterwards, we walked the 3 blocks to MooShoes and did some shopping. Highly recommended. There was a brief pause before dinner.... and that, my friends, is another entry altogether. Coming soon. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Il Fornaio

I enjoyed a lovely lunch yesterday with some friends from around the Bay Area. We decided on Il Fornaio in the Corte Madera Town Center because of its central location to all of us, and it was a good choice. Not only was it equidistant from our homes, it also had a warm, festive, and inviting atmosphere. It didn't hurt that they sat us by the fireplace where it was much quieter than the main dining room. It was the perfect setting to chat and linger over dishes that everyone could enjoy.

While others dined on chicken salads and the like, I dug into my Insalata Balsamico. That's greens with balsamic dressing for the non-Italians. It was nothing special, but tasty all the same. The star of the meal, however, was the soup. Clearly marked as vegan on the the menu, the minestrone is a hearty blend of veggies and beans. It took the chill out of my bones and filled me up. Next time I'm trying to find a place in Marin to take some others, Il Fornaio will be high up on the list. Put it on yours as well!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Because a Lady is Allowed to Change Her Mind

It was only recently that I spoke of my love of Yusef, but sometimes things change quite unexpectedly in life, and I now find myself completely smitten with a new suitor. He's smooth, rich.... and full of beneficial bacteria. That right folks, I'm talking probiotics. Those little bugs in your gut that help you digest food and keep you regular and all that. I'm a big fan. Personally, I pop a few of these bad boys daily, but finding more and more products with the added buggers warms my heart, not to mention my intestines. :) Enter Wildwood Probiotic Low Fat Classic Hummus.* I adore it. It is just as good as Yusef's, only all organic, and with the added cultures. You can't go wrong. I am especially pleased because I was never too fond of Wildwood's regular low fat hummus. Perhaps the probiotics make it creamier? Who cares! All I know is that it's good and good for you. Warm up a pita, open it up, insert globs of hummus, lettuce, tomato, salt and pepper. Ingest and digest. Vegans and others are sure to be pleased.
*Sorry for the Mollie Stone's link, but the Wildwood site isn't up and running yet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just checking in

Man, is the holiday season in full swing or what? I've been feeling like there's no time to get everything done, let alone eat. I did manage to have a nice dinner out with friends this past weekend, but since we went to our old favorite, Roti, I deemed it unworthy for blogging. Normally I would be putting up some new favorites to pass the time, but even those are eluding me lately. There is one item I saw at Rainbow last week I want to try though: Teese nacho cheese. It comes in a scary red tube (see pic) but is supposedly yummy and has the consistency of Velveeta. As a big fan of nachos, I could see this coming in very handy. Has anyone out there tried it? I'm hesitant to be making nachos and other unhealthy items as the holidays approach and the eat-fest gets into full swing, but I may not be able to resist.

Anyway, I'm counting down the days until me and the hubster leave for New Jersey for some family time, but I've got a couple of new-to-me restaurant reservations in the meanwhile, so stay tuned.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grand Pu Bah

Tucked away where SOMA meets Potrero Hill is this weird little enclave of design stores, and amidst them lies Grand Pu Bah. It would be easy to write this place off, with it's super hip ambiance (techno during dinner anyone?) and post-work clientelle, but honestly the food is really good, and that's all I need to bring me back. GPB seems to do a swift business with the yuppies in the surrounding offices, which makes sense considering they're one of the few restaurants in the area catering to such a crowd. They've got a nice big bar, as well as a pretty large number of tables, and the atmosphere is always laid back and fun.

Let's get onto the menu though, shall we? Fresh spring rolls are one of my most favorite things in the whole world, and they do right by theirs. However, as one looks beyond appetizers, things get a little daunting. The entrees are all pretty expensive (high teens, low twenties) and in today's economy, I, for one, ain't havin' it. The secret? Look to the "street food" section of the offerings. These puppies are secretly the size of entrees and half the price. Each item is a vegetable dish, most for $10, and then you add your meat (or not!) for varying prices. I got my sweet basil tofu for $10, but if you had wanted sweet basil chicken, let's say, it would have been $11. Sweet basil shrimp? $12. You get the idea. An economical way to eat really, really well. Extra point for being to make most anything sans fish sauce.

Only downside for me is that it can get pretty noisy when the place is packed. On the bright side, it tends to clear out around 8 on weeknights once the happy hour folks have headed home. The food makes up for the noise, though, and even if I have to talk a bit louder to be heard, I'll be back... and bringing plenty of "others" with me.