Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vegan Cheese at Delarosa

Last night I was out in my 'hood and we decided to brave the long wait at delarosa and get some cheese-less pizzas. I am a HUGE fan of their sister restaurant, Beretta, as you know, and while I was disappointed that delarosa didn't adopt Beretta's inclusion of vegan cheese, I was always still happy to eat there because the sauce and crust are so damn good, the veggies are always cooked to perfection, and the olive oil they use is high quality stuff. So imagine how happy I was when I got my menu last night and saw that delarosa now has vegan cheese! Hooray!

Even though it's the worst picture in the world from my terrible phone camera, my funghi pizza was delicious as all get out.... and I mean, artisan vegan pizza in my neighborhood, you guys. I'm happy.

Speaking of things that make me happy, my parents arrive for a visit tomorrow, and you know what that means. I'm breaking out the fat pants for a vegan tour of the Bay Area like no other. Old faves, new spots, they're all on the radar. Stay tuned for some local eats that'll blow your mind. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Luscious Lizard

While visiting the amazing Great Barrier Reef, we were lucky enough to stay at Lizard Island. It will always be a special place to us because it's where we discovered our love of SCUBA diving, where we spent languid hours on our private beach, and (you saw it coming) where we had some incredibly good food.

The chef and staff were well aware of our dietary "restriction" when we arrived and were happy to accomodate us at every meal. We were constantly asked if our standards were being met
(um, yes) and if we had any special requests. Even when we went out on the boat to go diving, the entire crew that came with us ate a vegan lunch:

Quite a spread it was too! We were also treated to amazing menus, like the one night we had a 5 course Thai degustation menu prepared. The papaya salad was especially yummy:

There was also a Mediterranean menu, the most beautiful dish being its tomato and tofu salad:

Chef was even whimsical at lunch time, with this heirloom carrot sculpture appetizer, among others:

All in all, the staff of Lizard Island went out of their way, and happily so, to make us feel as though we weren't different at all.... and the food was divine! Just writing about it, I wish I was back there. Maybe one day. Until then, stay tuned for some SF eats! It sure has been a while, no?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Delectable Daintree

In the Daintree Rainforest area, we has the absolute pleasure of staying at

photo from their website

We chose this gorgeous collection of treehouses along a river for its beauty, yes, but also because they offer a separate veg menu at lunch/dinner every day. There's also soymilk and cereals and tons of tropical fruit at breakfast, of course. We were just never awake in time to enjoy it. It was vacation after all! However, lunch and dinner were both amazing every day. The chef was happy to veganize for us, even going as far as to create special meals for us on a few occasions. Why I did not take more pictures is beyond me, but here was the incredible cassoulet he served me on our last night:

Super hearty and savory, but lightened up with fennel and herbs, it was definitely one of the highlights of our stay, and he even made homemade bread to serve alongside. If you should ever find yourself in this part of the world, I HIGHLY recommend a stay at Silky Oaks. There's not too many places like it on earth.

Next up, the last of our Australia eats take place on Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Outrageous Outback

While visiting Ayers Rock, we were lucky enough to stay at Longitude 131. Not only was this resort beautiful and peaceful beyond compare, but the chef at this all-inclusive was happy to prepare us meals to remember. What intrigued us most, right off the bat, was something that came at every meal, along with bread and olive oil - dukkah.

I am not sure how I'd gone my whole life without experiencing this peppery and delicious nut and spice mixture, but I'm so happy to have found it in the Outback. I liked it so much the chef even gave me his recipe. :) We proceeded to gobble up our portion at every meal. Speaking of meals, here are some examples of the creative dishes we were served.

First up, check out this fig carpaccio. I would have never thought to flatten out figs in this way, but it's so pretty, no? Personally, I wasn't a fan of the asparagus pairing, but the balsamic drizzle was nice and I would try this dish at home with some more complimentary veggie. Gotta think on think on that...

We really enjoyed this beauty the chef simply called "The Vegetable Garden". Aptly named, every gorgeous morsel was well-seasoned and the texture contrast between the raw and the roasted made it really fun to eat.

I always love a good risotto, and this one was chock full of mushrooms and veggies and full of flavor. I love when a chef realizes you don't need butter or cheese to make a perfect risotto!

Our favorite dish of our entire stay was definitely this mushroom tasting. On the plate you have a shot of the most intensely flavored mushroom broth ever (a good thing), mushroom puree, mushroom "dirt", sauteed mushrooms, fried mushrooms, and some fresh little enokis and greens on top. Oh, and don't forget the sprinkling of "mushroom ash" over the whole thing. Outstanding. I'm sure it helped that we really love mushrooms, but I think the different textures and intensities of flavor could make a believer out of anyone. This was some high end vegan restaurant food.... in the middle of nowhere Australia. Kudos to the chef!

Up next, some more chefs stretch their limits to please the picky vegans. Hooray!!! :)