Friday, December 14, 2012

Back to Samovar

I'm in NJ now for some early holiday revelry, but before I left SF, I made the rounds to some of my favorite places.  As you may already know, one of my go-to spots for a healthy and delicious meal is Samovar, and they delivered as usual.

There are many vegan options at Samovar, but that right there is the Moorish Service, which includes edamame hummus, eggplant dip, grilled veggies, and marinated tofu over greens.  The tofu is slightly sweet from the marinade and pairs well with the bitter greens and dips.  Plus there are mint-stuffed dates for a mini dessert, and it comes with scrumptious mint tea.  All in all, it's one of the best light meals in the city.  I love it.

Even better?  Our server told us Samovar will soon be replacing their tofu with local tempeh.  Apparently the tofu is the only item on the menu that isn't local, and so they're changing it out.  Sounds good to me, and gives me even more incentive to go back.  See you there!

Up next, a new-to-me and uber tasty spot in the East Bay.  Stay tuned....

Monday, December 10, 2012

An Impromptu Visit to Greens

Happy Monday, everyone!  We had a jam-packed weekend and decided to skip that brandy new place I mentioned in my last post and hit up an old fave in our neighborhood instead.  Hence, we ended up at Greens.  Their regular dinner menu is always vegan-friendly, but I was a little concerned that their Saturday night 4 course prix fixe, with its limited choices, would be more of a challenge.  Turns out I had nothing to fear!

HERE is the menu if you'd like to check it out (ignore the date - it hasn't changed much since then)

When our server came around and explained that everything on the menu with the exception of the griddle cakes appetizer could be veganized, I was ecstatic.  In the first course, delicious roasted almonds took the place of the cheese and butter was replaced with olive oil:

The fennel and radish salad, olives, and baguette rounded out this shared starter, and we were well on our way to food bliss.  In fact, so blissful was the meal that I forgot to take pictures of my pear and watercress salad, and my wild mushroom ravioli.  What can I say?  I was hungry and wrapped up in the lovely ambiance of the restaurant.  I relished every tasty bite while staring out at the Golden Gate Bridge and wondering, yet again, why we don't go to Greens more often.  I did capture dessert, however:

Their signature vegan dessert is a German chocolate cake which always manages to somehow be light yet decadent.  With coconut sorbet as its partner, it was the perfect ending to my meal.

Up next, a visit to another old SF favorite... and soon I'll be on the East Coast, so stay tuned for good eats from the Atlantic side of things, including what's good to chow on at Disney World!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Detox at Blue Barn

When I make a promise, I deliver (most of the time)...  So, as promised, here is my new favorite salad in San Francisco.   Meet the "Detox":

This healthy, yet supremely tasty, concoction is brought to you by the folks at Blue Barn Gourmet on Chestnut Street.  It contains a mix of greens, watermelon radishes, apples, dried cranberries, quinoa, cucumbers, flax seeds, and more!  Plus it gets dressed with their acai-lemon "master cleanse" dressing -the perfect combo of sweet and tart that really completes the salad.  I get it topped with their grilled organic tofu for some extra ooomph, and it is delish.  Seriously, I could eat this every day and be one happy camper.

Blue Barn is slated to open on Polk Street (even closer to me - yay!) in early 2013 and I seriously hope the Detox remains on the menu.  Meanwhile, I suggest y'all make your way to Chestnut Street and get your detox on,  It's the perfect dose of healthy during the madness of the holidays!

Next up, a visit to an old fave and a brand-spankin' new place getting some rave reviews....  Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Other restaurants could learn a thing or two at Skool!  This omni, fish-focused, eatery is not only adorable and welcoming and making some killer cocktails, but they also have separate veg and gluten-free menus.  Bless you, Skool, for welcoming everyone to the table and serving us all some tasty grub... like this Autumn Harvest Salad:

Perfectly dressed, these fresh organic greens are matched with sweet persimmon and raisins.  The addition of crunchy toasted almonds brings everything together to create a simply delicious start to the meal.  I wish I had another one right now, in fact.  It was so yummy!  As was my Vegan Flatbread:

Topped with a bounty of veggies (love those purple broccoli peeking through) and arugula, this flatbread keeps it simple with just some olive oil, salt, and pepper, proving yet again that you don't need to mess with good ingredients.  Oh, and my husband had the Hoisin Tofu and loved it.  No picture, and I didn't taste it, but just sayin'.

I will totally go back to Skool, and I'll bring my omni friends so we can all enjoy the lovely atmosphere and good food together.  Well done, Skool!   Up next, my new favorite salad in SF.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Awesome Burger

There are a ton of good vegan burgers in SF (lucky us), and perhaps this is why I'd never tried the one that Source serves up.  There are MANY more options outside of the burgers at Source, as I've mentioned, but I was in the mood for one when I was there the other day, so here's what I got:

That right there is the ginormous "Awesome" burger.  The "Awesome" is just their regular burger, simply dressed with lettuce and tomato.  It comes with the fries (I LOVE skin-on fries) and I made it "deluxe" by adding a side salad.  Can't live without my greens!

So, in general, I really liked this burger.  It had good texture and flavor and was certainly substantial BUT the pita sort of kills it for me.  I wish this bad boy was served up on a bun like a normal burger.  I know that the pita is homemade and fresh and really tasty, but this burger just screams for a big soft bun.  That being said, I think I'll save my burger cravings for The Plant or ROAM in the future and order any of the other hundred or so delicious items on the menu at Source in the future.

I know I promised you new places, and I'm headed to one tonight....stay tuned for the full report soon!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Enjoy Veggie

I know I am late to the game on this one, y'all.  I'm even late to the "new" location of this restaurant, but I finally get what all the hype is about.  Enjoy Veggie has ruined me for all other soy (or wheat or yam) meat Asian restaurants.  Here's why:

Two words.  Fried Pumpkin.  I mean, hell, fried anything is good, but the pumpkin lover in me was thrilled with this dish.  I suggest topping these golden nuggets with some of the addictive chili sauce on the table.  Yum!

My husband had the Mongolian Beef and devoured it.  He claims the texture was very realistic.  That always creeps me out, so I'm glad I didn't get it.  BUT, just look at all the veggies!  That, dear readers, is the reason I adore Enjoy Veggie.  No rice and "meat" here - every dish comes loaded with super fresh veggies.   Even my Kung Pao Tofu:

Tofu and broccoli and peanuts, oh my!   It was delish.   I will definitely be back to EV in the future, but meanwhile, I'm headed to some places I've wanted to try for a while....  up next:  An omni restaurant with a separate menu for veggies and gluten-free folk.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm BACK!!!!

Ok, so yeah, it's been like 4 months or so.  Lots happened, lots still happening, but I'm back.  I've been eating (duh) and I have a little more time for blogging now, but my real encouragement for getting back into it was a chance meeting at Anthropologie a few weeks ago.  A lovely lass named Rachel helped me into my dressing room and then politely told me that she recognized me from my blog and thanked me profusely for writing it, as it helped her find many vegan eats when she moved to SF.  It was a very cool moment (THANKS RACHEL!), and so here I am with more vegan eats for you, from SF and beyond.....

First meal up is definitely from the "beyond" category.  I was recently in Philly and finally got to try the renowned vegan restaurant, Vedge.  Check out my sweet potato pate:

This pureed sweet potato gets all sorts of seasoned (with magic methinks), formed into a perfect pate, and served up with crostini, a smattering of bright arugula, and some whole grain mustard.  Food genius, right off the bat.   But it gets better!

I saw pierogies on the menu and knew I had to try them, but these, filled with butternut squash and served with roasted veggies and a light garlic broth were perfection.  It's like Vedge consulted my exact palate before making these dishes, I swear... and this was certainly the case when it came to dessert.

This "chocolate uber chunk" combines a dark chocolate and peanut/pretzel crust with malt custard and stout ice cream.  Go ahead, read that again and make sure you got it all.  Right!?!  Right.  Amazeballs.  Sweet, salty, rich, and decadent - I could happily eat this dessert after every meal for all eternity.

So yeah, Vedge totally lived up to the hype.  I can't wait to go back when I'm in Philly next month and try even more yummies.   And, speaking of places exceeding expectations, next up is a restaurant in San Francisco that I've been meaning to try forever and finally hit up last weekend.  Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Vegan Bake Sale is Coming!!!!

ONE WEEK PEOPLE.   The  SF Vegan Bakesale is always awesome, but this time it is benefitting one of my favorite organizations, PAWS SF, to boot.  

I can not even tell you how sad I am that I can't be there.  Please, please, please make me happy and go in my honor.  Gorge yourself on delicious treats and support PAWS SF and feel sick and awesome all at the same time.  It will be glorious! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sonoma Eats

This post will be as brief as I can make it, since I'm leaving tomorrow for a week in Mexico!  Figured I'd let you know about some tasty grub we had THREE WEEKS ago (yeah, I'm behind) before we take off and dine south of the border.  Coincidentally enough, one of our favorite Sonoma places is a Mexican restaurant, Maya.  The guacamole is always sublime, and the salsas fresh and flavorful, but the main dishes don't disappoint either.

The house salad with baby greens, mango, and jicama gets some kick from spiced pumpkin seeds and is a refreshing way to wake up the palate.

The grilled vegetable plate is served up with beans, plantains and tortillas and is made from some fresh and tasty vegetables charred to perfection.  Seriously the perfect thing to stuff your face with after wine tasting.  Filling, healthy, and delicious.  The atmosphere at Maya is also great.  Dark wood, accented with festive color, and a very laid back and welcoming vibe.  Highly recommended.

We also hit up the Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grill on our trip, only because when I was scouring menus online, I saw that they did a 5 course vegan tasting menu.  Yes, at a place known for seafood and martinis.  Above you see our first course - white beans and fennel with a balsamic reduction.  It was really tasty and the contrast in textures was nice.  Good opener, so we were ready for more.

Second course was a lip-smackingly good portobello mushroom salad.  Just simply grilled with salt and pepper to bring out their inherent savoryness, I would say these were some of the best prepared 'bellos I've ever had.  Yum.

The eggplant wasn't my favorite course but it was still tasty.  Maybe too much char for my liking?  I don't know - something was just off about it.

Can't go wrong with risotto in my books, and this peppery concoction was no exception.  It was a hearty main course and filled with earthy veggie goodness.  Winner.

Aaaaannndd, then there was sorbet.  Welp, you can't win 'em all.  It's an oyster bar, after all... and they really gave it their all with what they had.  Go Meritage!

Ok, that's it for now.  I'll be back with more when we return from Mexico.  Adios!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Parents in Canada

As I've said, my parents are traveling fools lately.  On a recent road trip, they found a real gem.  So much did they love it, they went multiple times.  Here's their wrap up:

          Having just seen the sights at Niagara Falls, we fired up the trusty Happy Cow app and found our lunch destination. Rise Above began as a vegan bakery and has grown into the area's only totally vegan lunch and dinner spot.  Located in St. Catharines, Ontario, about 25 minutes northwest of the falls, Rise Above is a narrow storefront, exposed brick, high metal ceiling....very modern, clean look. There's a lunch menu and a dinner menu, one on either side of a single sheet of paper. It's not a vast menu but everything we tried was excellent. Fresh, hearty, simple and, most of all, delicious! St. Catharines itself is pretty cool with kind of a funky vibe of its own....not quite New Hope but totally Red Bank if you know what I mean (Sky says: And you probably do if you're from NJ or thereabouts).
           In the interest of full disclosure, Rise Above still does some amazing vegan baking and that's actually what first drew our attention. No cupcakes but great brownies, turnovers and filled doughnuts as well as peanut butter cups and chocolate coconut haystacks. We got two doughnuts and two candies to go and ate them later back at the hotel. Yes, they rocked!       

         Went back to Rise Above for dinner; all other options seemed pale by comparison. We shared a soup and a salad and then I had chipotle seitan with cornbread, savoy slaw and potato salad:

Mom had the pizza of the day: olives, red pepper and onion with Daiya cheese. 

Again, everything was wonderful! Fresh, flavorful...really perfect.

          Then came dessert. We ordered one dessert, their signature specialty....cheesecake for one served in a small Mason-type jar complete with screw-on lid! I've never seen anything like it! It's available in blueberry, strawberry and my personal choice (and recommendation) cookies and cream.  This thing is CRAZY GOOD!! It's like a giant, overstuffed Oreo exploded in a jar! I ordered it for myself but needed help from Joan to finish it; it was that rich. For me to share a dessert is unheard of but to need help to finish one...unprecedented!

          On yet another occasion we enjoyed even more flavorful menu items like this unique potato, broccoli, and Daiya burger with root veggie fries.

And this Greek salad with almond feta was yummy too!

There was also a delicious and hearty chickpea curry on the menu.

Speaking of hearty, how about some chili with sour "cream" and cilantro.  Amazing!

          If you haven't gotten the idea yet, we really love Rise Above and hope they continue to do well so we can visit next time we're in the Great White North.  Anyone who lives nearby is lucky and should check them out!

There you have it folks, another installment from my wacky vegan folks out and about in the big bad omnivorous world.  Makes you want to go to Canada, no?  Next time, a post I wrote myself!  About a place in SF!  Crazy, right?   :)


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guest Blog: Carisbrooke Inn

My wacky parents are on the road again (retirement sure is grand, eh?) and this time they were happily surprised at a B&B.  It's a short post, but they're on their way to Canada, so expect more dining from the road soon....

That's breakfast at the Carisbrooke Inn in Ventnor, NJ. It's a B&B that Mom got a Groupon for and they made us this really delicious meal. Vegan homefries and sausage with toast, sliced tomato and homemade avocado spread. All of which was preceded by abundant plates of fresh fruit. You never know what to expect at a B&B but place was a delight!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Take Me Out....

I love a good baseball game, but this year the always gorgeous and fun AT&T Park has really outdone themselves.  You see, their old veggie dogs, which were strictly vehicles for condiments, have been replaced with the delicious and hearty Field Roast Frankfurters.

Ok, so I know I covered up the actual dog with kraut and stuff, but trust me - it's under there and it's AWESOME.   Now I can root on the Giants with a happy belly.  Hooray!

Have a great long weekend, everyone.  I'll be back with more eats soon...

Friday, May 18, 2012


Bay Area Peeps, there's a new organization in town that is pairing local musicians with local food and, if their first event was any indication, they rock. Locaphonic put on an epic evening of loveliness at Greens Restaurant, with the gorgeous tunes of the Real Vocal String Quartet.  I could only assume it was fate that brought together one of my favorite local groups and one of my favorite local restaurants, so off we went last Tuesday.  Here's what transpired.

First, little spring roll bites came around.  Love that spiced peanut on top!

The asparagus salad was absolutely perfect.  Beets, local greens, and fabulous olive oil all complemented the beautifully cooked stalks, which were a delight to eat.  Acme bread was also in the house.  Love it.

Our entree was a cylinder of roasted veggies (the non-vegan ones were held together with icky cow secretions) served up with rosemary skewers of baby potatoes and onion.  Baby vegetables just taste better, in my opinion, and with the faint hint of rosemary, these were no exception.   The roasted veggies were also quite good.  My only complaint was that the cost of admission also included wine and I was in need of something a bit more substantial at this point.  At my age, you would think I'd have learned how to pace myself.  Nope.   At least there was dessert!  But first - music.

Love these ladies.  If you haven't checked out RVSQ, do it.

Ah, fruit crisp with soy vanilla ice cream, you were so heavenly.  A nice sweet ending to a very sweet night.  (Though, yes, I must admit I was jealous that the non vegans got chocolate tarts!)

I have no idea if Locaphonic's upcoming events will be as vegan-friendly as this one.  I, for one, prefer my music served up sans cruelty, and I would go to a hundred more events just like this one, so let's hope so.  Cheers to good food and music.... together!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Helmand Palace

I love a good deal, so when I saw a recent Groupon for a restaurant in my neighborhood that I'd been meaning to try anyway, I jumped on it.  And thus, we dined on flavorful Afghani foodstuffs at Helmand Palace last week.  With a separate vegetarian section of the menu, most of which can be made vegan, this is definitely a place worthy of a return visit to try more of their menu.  But let's see what we had this round, shall we?

We split two starters, the Shornakod Salad, above, and the Gulpea, below.  I highly recommend this combo because the former is light, bright, and refreshing, and the latter is spicy and savory.  The salad is an herbaceous combo of potatoes and chickpeas with lemon that would be perfect at a summertime picnic, and the gulpea is reminiscent of Indian Aloo Gobi, only without the potatoes.  Stewed cauliflower in a rich tomato-based sauce really wakes up the taste buds.  Great starters.

My entree, below, was the Korma Challow.  Challow is the baked rice with cumin seed that is uber tasty, and the mildly spiced veggies and spinach are the perfect accompaniment.  I added some of the table's hot sauce to the spinach for an extra kick and recommend you do the same.  My husband had the "Special" veg entree and I loved it for its inclusion of baked pumpkin, giving you a little dessert on the plate without having to order dessert.  :)

We will definitely go back to Helmand Palace soon.  Their unique flavors left me wanting to explore more of the menu.... and that Shornakod is crave-worthy!

Next up, an awesome new business opens up.  I've literally been there almost every day for a month so it's time to tell you about it.   Meanwhile, have a great Tuesday...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day at Millennium

My favorite restaurant, Millennium, only opens its doors for something besides dinner one day a year -for Mother's Day Brunch.  Mother or no mother (our group today was mom free), it is an experience not to be missed.  Today we started with treats "Baked by the Kids":

This picture happened after the cinnamon sugar beignets were already eaten, but the other stand out on this plate of sweet starters was the chocolate chip coffee cake.  Incredible.  I would have ordered a loaf to go had the option existed.  And that maple butter would be good on just about anything.

Next up was a salad that was good but not noteworthy.  But then,

The tempeh benedict was simply awesome.  Savory tempeh on toast with perfectly cooked asparagus and yummy sauce....mmmmm.....   potatoes were simply the icing on the cake.  And speaking of cake...

This brownie with sea salt caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream was outrageous.  A more decadent ending than is normally found at brunch, it was still a welcome treat, not to mention sinfully delicious.

You can be sure that we'll be at Millennium for Mother's Day brunch as long as they keep serving it up, as it's so fun to see what Chef Tucker can do outside of the dinner realm.  Turns out, he's pretty good at cooking at all times of the day.  :)

Here's hoping your Mother's Day was lovely as well.  Next up, some unique eats in my 'hood.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cindo de Mayo Eats

On May 5th, we celebrate... well, I'm not exactly sure, and my Mexican friends tell me it's not something they even celebrate in Mexico.  So, for all intents and purposes, on May 5th we celebrate Mexican food and culture!  For me and my group of friends, this meant taking a lovely ferry ride over to Tiburon for a fantastic lunch in the sunshine at Guaymas Restaurant.  I've been there before, as you know, and I'm happy to say they are still tasty, vegan-friendly, and great with large groups.  In addition to buckets of Corona and pitchers of margaritas, I also enjoyed...

The Fiesta Ensalada (sans cheese).  It comes in a fried tortilla.  I am not a hater.  Also...

Grilled plantains.  Sweet and delicious on their own, the bright cilantro lime sauce drizzled over the top makes them uber yummy and the perfect sweet ending to a meal there.

Next month, we are taking a trip to Mexico with friends of ours from there and this little taste has got me so psyched to get the authentic stuff soon.  Of course I'll be writing about it.... but meanwhile, stay tuned for some great new SF eats.  Coming at ya soon, promise.   Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Candy Caps Gone Wild


Have you ever smelled a candy cap mushroom?  They smell like maple syrup and not at all like mushrooms.  I'd never eaten one, and I still have no idea how I'd serve them up in a regular meal, but I did have the unusual pleasure of trying Far West Funghi's incredible candy cap marshmallow.

This cube of vegan goodness can be yours at the Far West Funghi kiosk in the Ferry Building and I highly suggest you try it.  It may be mostly corn syrup and magic, but there are mushrooms in there!  They are not disguised, but rather their sweetness is played up nicely and transformed into something fluffy and gooey and pretty darn cool.  I don't know if I'd be making s'mores with these bad boys, but I'm glad I had one and encourage you to do the same.  Go!

Next up, something far more healthy.  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

St. Francis Fountain

Since I was posting about breakfasty type things over at Vegan Favorites today, I figured it was time to tell you about a fantastic morning meal we had a week or two ago at St. Francis Fountain.  I have long known that this SF institution (open since 1918!) does right by vegans, but due to laziness (it's all the way across town) I'd never been.   What a dummy I was!  Turns out there's even more vegan options than I thought AND they are all stupid delicious.  For example...

Strawberry pancakes and vegan sausage!  Yes, that insanely good combo of sweet and savory can be yours, vegans, and at a very omnivorous restaurant to boot.  If there is anything better than dragging a forkful of smoky sausage through maple syrup, I've yet to try it.  But, wait!  Look at this mess of goodness:

That right there is the "Vegan Thing" y'all, and I hereby declare it my favorite hangover meal.  Consisting of a pile of potatoes, vegan pepper jack cheese, green onions, salsa, and a gob of guacamole, it just might be the world's best brunch plate ever.  I love you, St. Francis Fountain, and I WILL be back.  Reader, I suggest you gather all your omni friends and join me!

Next up:  A really whacky item you can get at the Ferry Building.  It's crazy.  Really.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chocolate for All

Attention Bay Area Vegans (and vegan-curious):  The incredibly amazing (and totally sweet and wonderful) Alyssa Cox is giving a chocolate class on May 19th from 1-3pm at Other Avenues.  You will make raw, vegan, chocolate yummies and have fun doing it, you lucky duck!

If you're smart, you'll go.  Maybe even have lunch beforehand at Judahlicious and make it the world's greatest afternoon ever.   I can't make it and am super jealous of anyone who can.  If you attend, enjoy... and tell Alyssa I said hello!