Saturday, June 27, 2009

Miami Eats: Pelican

Ahhhh... I'm lounging on the hotel room balcony here in Marathon, FL, where I'm attending Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway. After a week of eating, drinking, and partying in Miami (the view from our room is above) it's a nice detox, not to mention good quality time with The Mom. I figured since I'm playing hookie from the lecture right now anyway, I might as well begin the story of my Miami eats.

I love Miami and there are many, many, restaurants with vegan options, but one of my favorites is the Pelican. Located in the lobby and on the front porch of Pelican Hotel on Ocean Drive, it's a great place to people watch as well as get to enjoy uber-delicious Italian food. Seeing as how we only come once a year (well, okay, we went twice on this particular vacation), we always get our favorite things. For the husband, that means the gnochhi. I've never bothered to ask if it's vegan since the sauce looks a bit creamy, but he swears it's the best he's ever had and eats it very slowly to make it last. This is not his normal behavior so you know it must be good.

For us vegans (and others too!), I highly recommend getting the fennel salad and the foccacia classico.

Mmmmmm.... This beautiful disc of water and flour dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with the exact right amount of rosemary and sea salt before being topped with a handful of arugula. It's about the most simply delicious thing you ever ate, and even better when you take the salad and dump it on top. The two together are just so good - even the waiters commented on my brilliant plan of attack.

Ok, between the twice daily workouts and the swimming in between, this short blog was about all I have in me right now. I promise to write about more of the Miami eats soon. For now, it's all low fat, no salt, greens-centric fare. Just what the Dr. (Fuhrman) ordered!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacation Temptations

I'm leaving for vacation in a few hours, but I wanted to leave you with a must-eat while I'm gone. Hemp milk has finally joined the line-up of non-dairy ice cream alternatives and I, for one, couldn't be happier. Hemp milk has been my favorite choice for cereal for some time now because it's rich, creamy, and full of essential fatty acids - that Omega goodness you need! Living Harvest now brings all those characteristics to ice cream:

I've only tried the Vanilla, but it's oh-so-yummy, and flecked with real, organic, vanilla bean. Perfect for a hot, summer day. Speaking of which, we don't experience those here in San Francisco, so I'm off to tropical paradise for a bit. Looking forward to blogging all the out-of-SF foods when I'm back. For now, I'm strictly on vacation. Ahhh......

Oh, and just in case you didn't know, I'm now a dictator for City Search's VeggieThing. Just to make it official, that's my badge over there. :) If you ever want a shorter synopsis of my meals, along with the meals of the other dictators, that's the place to go. Check it out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Firefly Restaurant

I'm finally getting around to crossing restaurants off my "to try" list, and Firefly was right at the top. It's the perfect place to eat with "others" but if you've got a bunch of vegans just know that you'll all be ordering the same thing. That's because they only have one vegan entree on the menu - but hey, that's more than a lot of places, so good for them!

First of all, I love the decor in this restaurant. Whimsical without being weird, it is truly inviting, and I'd go back just to sit at the curved bar and have a glass of wine. We were hungry for way more than bar nibbles though and opted instead for the prix fixe menu. Offered Sun-Thurs nights, diners are invited to choose any appetizer, entree, and dessert for just $35. Considering the quality of the food and service, it's a great deal. But first...

Bread and spread! You know I'm a sucker for free bread, and when paired up with a super yummy chickpea, carrot, and curry spread, I'm all over it. Thank you, Firefly, for being generous in your bread and spread supply. Now, onto the things I actually ordered.

For my first course, I went with the Mixed Baby Lettuce Salad with Pickled Torpedo Onions, Peaches, and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette. I was a little worried about the onions overpowering things, but there weren't too many of them. Their main function, it seemed, was to enhance the sweetness of the peaches - and boy were they sweet. So so good. My only complaint was that the salad was a tad overdressed for my liking, but the flavor was so on-point that all is forgiven. Next up, my entree:The vegan entree of the day was Roasted Garlic and Wild Nettle 'Farrotto' with Roasted Crimini Mushrooms, Sauteed New Carrots, Dandelion Greens, and Chili Oil. Risotto made with Farro? YUM! I could have eaten this a few times over. The chili oil brought the perfect amount of spice to this dish - just enough to warm your lips by the end - and it paired so well with the savory mushrooms and perfectly cooked farro. My compliments to the chef.

To end the meal, the only dessert offering for vegans was sorbet, but the intense raspberry flavor and cool sweetness was exactly what I needed. All in all, a great meal.

On the other hand, the husband was not so thrilled. He of the potstickers, manicotti, and shortcake, gave a less than enthusiastic "eh" when asked for comment. Don't get me wrong, he had no complaints, it just wasn't his thing. So, if any other "others" are looking for someone to go with, I'm game! I'll even let you try my vegan food. You know you want some...... :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pizzeria Picco

One of my favorite things to do as a Bay Area resident is to take a warm, sunny afternoon and head up to Marin. Once there, I go straight to Larkspur where nothing beats a hike on the Dawn Falls Trail followed by dinner at Pizzeria Picco. I've been doing this for years now, and the fact that Sunset Magazine just listed the exact same itinerary as one of their faves as well just goes to show I sometimes know what I'm talking about. Sometimes.

Anyway, PP is often packed, but always worth the wait. Yesterday we enjoyed my favorite thing to get there: The Marinara Pizza topped with a Rocket Man salad. This thin crust is brushed with olive oil and tomato sauce and baked in the ovens quickly before being topped with a simple blend of arugula, olive oil, and salt. Perfection of simple ingredients and so, so tasty. Seriously, any Bay Area peeps who haven't been need to go. Check it out:


I'm totally in summer mode these days, but will try to keep up on the posting. Tonight I'm headed to a place I've wanted to try for a long while, so stay tuned for an update soon. Until then, enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


We just got back from a lovely weekend in Carmel where we had a blast at a friend's wedding. Carmel is such a beautiful place, from the rolling green hills and valleys to the sprawling coastline and sparkling ocean. Carmel-by-the-Sea is the small town closer to the water and it's fun to stroll around, looking in the galleries and window shopping the high-end stores. The wedding activities provided us with a fair amount of our eats, but we had plenty of time on our own to fend for ourselves and, sadly, this charming town isn't exactly vegan mecca. Of course, as vegans we won't always be surrounded by gourmet options all the time, and we learn to make the most of what's available. That's exactly what I did.

There was a welcome reception Friday evening, but we were on our own for dinner. I played it safe and went with Il Fornaio. This chain is only a small step above the Olive Garden in terms of food, but they dress it up like you're at a fancy Italian restaurant. Don't be fooled into thinking you're going to get great eats. On the other hand, you won't be too disappointed either, and the complimentary warm rosemary rolls and olive oil are a definite plus. For us vegans, there is one marked item on the menu - the Minestrone. It's not bad, either. I had a bowl as my entree after starting with one of their salads, sans the bleu cheese dressing. It had avocados, cannelini beans, and other standard salad ingredients. They brought me oil and vinegar to top it off. Not bad but, all in all, a pretty standard meal.

On Saturday we slept in and then headed out to grab a quick lunch before we had to get ready for the wedding. We ended up at the 5th Ave Deli where they make vegetarian sandwiches and salads (along with meatier versions). I didn't take pics, but I'd definitely hit it up if you're in the area. It kept me full until the wedding, where I was very well taken care of, though I still didn't eat enough to soak up all the alcohol. Ugh.

Needless to say I wasn't exactly up for breakfast, but by the time lunch came around I was ready to try some food. The husband's surefire hangover cure is to eat as many pancakes as he can, so we headed off to Katy's Place, a popular breakfast and lunch spot. They are not terribly vegan-friendly, but they do have a veggie sandwich which could have been done without the cheese. However, I was feeling like breakfast and was hoping for cereal. They didn't have soy milk though, so I got the fruit bowl and a bagel with peanut butter. That, along with my coffee, was exactly what I needed to get me going again and ready to drive the 2.5 hours back to SF.

The moral of the story here is that there is almost always something vegan to eat on any menu, so the "it's so hard to eat out" excuse a lot of people use to keep from going vegan just isn't true. I know I'm lucky to live in SF where there are lots of vegan options, but I travel all over. I've never starved and, more importantly, I've never compromised my beliefs.

After all the eating and drinking I've been up to lately, I'm ready for a little raw food cleanse this week, so stay tuned for a return trip to Cafe Gratitude coming up. Meanwhile, it's time to sleep!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yup, I'm Old

It's been a while since I've written, and I've missed you blogosphere. Alas, every now and then a girl needs to take a break and turn 30. Of course, it being my birthday, I celebrated the best way I know how - with food! There was wine tasting in Napa, the best meal I've ever had at Millennium, and even a few surprises.

Birthday Chocolate Cheesecake at Millennium

Besides my mom flying in from NJ to join in the festivities, my friends also hired a private chef to come in and do a cooking class/dinner party. Alyssa Cox was fantastic, especially for our slightly tipsy girl energy. :) She let us help out as much as we wanted (or didn't want), she shared great tips of the trade and, most importantly, she made amazing food! We had a 4 course meal consisting of homemade pita and baba ganoush (who knew it could be so easy?!), greek salad with almond cheese (so fresh, so delicious!), quinoa with herbs and pine nuts and raisins (even better the next day!), and some super yummy filo beggars purses filled with walnuts, currants, and chocolate (need I say more?). Happy Birthday to me, indeed. Here's the food:

As I write this, I've just returned from my final birthday meal - another stellar experience at DOSA. Boy do I just love it there. The gem of the celebrations, however, was definitely meeting Alyssa. If you ever need someone to make you - or help you make - some super great, accessible food, I highly recommend her. I also highly recommend having awesome friends like mine. Thanks to everyone who made my 30th so amazing!!! Now this old lady needs some rest...