Monday, March 25, 2013

Radishes and Donuts

Happy Monday, everyone!  Here's a quick post with two yummy items from my weekend.  First up, I took a trip to Radish, an omnivorous eatery in the Mission, and was quite happy with their veg options, including the all vegan tofu sandwich:

With seared and seasoned tofu, avocado, carrots, and vegan mayo, this sourdough sammy is hearty without weighing you down.  I love that it comes with a plethora of greens too (and, natch, radishes)... though I also ordered a side of their addictive root vegetable chips (not pictured because my companions and I devoured them so quickly) and highly recommend you do the same.

On the other side of town, in their Ferry Building kiosk, Pepples Donuts continue to be delicious.  That is all.  Except that I think I've decided 'vanilla glaze' is my favorite flavor... but I'm sure that'll change with whichever one I try next.

I'm off to Park City on Wednesday, so stay tuned for some Utah eats.  Meanwhile, have a great week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vegan Iron Chef!

I had the absolute pleasure of attending last night's Vegan Iron Chef competition and, because we were fortunate to snag tasting table tickets, I am still full!  I'm a bit short on time, but here's a run down of the evening in pictures.

For me, the highlight of the reception before the show was all the cheese from Miyoko Schinner.  She was a judge and not a contestant, but as far as I'm concerned her cheeses stole the show.  I have to get her book!

I also loved all the cookies, like these orange chocolate delights, from Picnic Bakery.

Ice cream sandwiches from Green Girl Bake Shop, especially this one in chocolate coffee, were amazing.  Gluten free, soy-free, dairy-free, and full of flavor, you guys.  I hope to see these puppies in stores soon but you can order them online now.

After the reception we got a little break from eating while the competition actually happened.  Here, the chefs are hard at work.   I loved watching them infuse the secret ingredient, tea, into all their dishes.  It was also sweet to see the camaraderie between them and their obvious love for food and cooking.  There was a lot of heart and soul in the food they created.  Speaking of which:

Chef Eric Tucker of Millennium Restaurant gave us this savory lentil burger with smoked mushrooms and green garlic green tea aioli as well as green tea gnocchi with yuba.  The aioli was one of the best things I tasted all evening.  Judge Colleen Holland of VegNews suggested he bottle it and I, for one, support that wholeheartedly.   I totally thought he has this contest in the bag until...

Chef Philip Gelb of In the Mood for Food presented a deeply flavored broth and homemade soba noodles.  He also made a green tea waffle that was my single favorite item of the evening, but I didn't get a good picture because I ate it too fast.  :)

Lastly, Chef Lisa Books-Williams of Thrive Holistic, was  the surprise winner of the evening with her all raw preparation. Hooray Lisa!  It was incredibly tasty to be sure, but I'm pretty sure she beat the boys with presentation points.  I'm also not sure how fair it was that so many of her items were made before the competition (those ice cream cones alone must have taken hours to dehydrate, but then again Eric Tucker baked his buns prior to competing as well, so...) but I enjoyed her plate - the umeboshi plum and green tea ice cream in particular.

All in all, my vote would have gone to Chef Phil, but this was basically a vegan love fest and I am so happy I attended.  With any luck, this will become an annual event and I can stuff myself silly again next year!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Chicago Diner aka Heaven

I have to admit; I am not that into Chicago.  As a town, it just doesn't do anything for me.  However, I am willing to look past all my MEH feelings toward the Windy City and give it mad love simply for having The Chicago Diner.  We feasted there a couple of times on our trip, but one meal in particular was so awesome that I am still craving every bite of it.  I want a do-over!

Oh boy, look at it, you guys!  It's the Radical Rueben and it is so delicious I can't even stand it.  With kraut and cheese (Daiya) and corned beef seitan, it is the tastiest sandwich ever in the whole world and I love it.  Plus the thousand island dressing and pickle and side of sweet potato fries.  Argh, I am now frustrated that I'm not currently eating this. Please go to Chicago and eat one and bring me back one thanks. Ok, now that that's settled, let's move onto dessert.  We split two items, and I can not even begin to pick a favorite.  First up, a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake:

Yeah, it's insane.  Chunks of cookie dough so big they don't fit up the straw but rather need to be scooped directly into your face with a spoon.  Sweet, awesome, yumness... and the perfect partner to the Peanut Butter Puck:

We all know there is no better dessert pairing than chocolate and peanut butter, but they take it to the next level at The Chicago Diner.  So rich and decadent, we savored every bit with audible moans and scraped the plate clean of peanut buttery chocolatey morsels.  They probably didn't even need to clean it after.

It would be weird to have something called The Chicago Diner in San Francisco, but I will naively hold out hope this could happen one day.  Meanwhile, I will settle for all the goods eats we have more... more of which are coming soon!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Karyn's on Green, Chicago

Karyn Calabrese has quite a healthy food empire in Chicago and we had brunch at Karyn's Cooked, shopped at Karyn's Fresh Corner, and had dinner at the upscale Karyn's on Green while in town.  The latter was one of the best meals of our trip, and here are some of the highlights:

This cheese plate was quite obviously comprised of Dr. Cow varieties, but that is some good stuff, so we were not complaining.  Plus, I learned I need not fear the algae variety.  Yum!  Complemented nicely by flax crackers, a carrot slaw, some apple slices, and an agave drizzle, this was a delightful way to start the meal.

This arugula flatbread was so flavorful!  With caramelized onions, thinly sliced potatoes, and herbs, it was perfectly crisp and absolutely scrumptious.  The arugula was such a nice bright and peppery addition to all the savory goodness underneath.  Will try to recreate this one at home...

The portobello mushrooms with root vegetable hash was my entree of choice, and it was wonderfully warming on a cold Chicago night.  Plus, it was topped with fried onions and the balsamic reduction - my fave - was a lovely sweet touch.  Loved this dish.  :)

Karyn's on Green has a casual upscale atmosphere and the food gracefully straddles the fine line between healthy and tasty.  It's an oasis in an otherwise junk-food-vegan landscape and I am so happy we made it there.  Highly suggest you do too should you find yourself in Chicago.

Up next, I've saved the best for last.  Find out what meal I'm still craving a week and two thousand miles later... and have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Joy of Vegan Baking on Pi(e) Day and Everyday

Taking a break from Chicago eats to wish you and yours and very Happy Pi Day!  Over here, we had pizza pies and this gem from our eternal favorite, The Joy of Vegan Baking.  It's one I've not made before, and it was so incredibly easy and so ridiculously rich and decadent, I just had to show you:

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (pg. 98) is pure pie perfection and you don't even need to turn on an oven, unless, of course, your crust needs baking.  Speaking of the crust, Colleen recommends a graham cracker or brownie crust, but I'm here to tell you that the crust is merely a vehicle for the chocolate and peanut butter goodness.  I used a Wholly Wholesome gluten-free crust and it was delicious.  Also, and obviously, topping the pie with some Rice Whip doesn't hurt.

Hope you all had some scrumptious pie today, and if not, I highly recommend making this one ASAP.  Back to Chicago eats soon, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chicago Teaser

Hi all!  I spent a lovely weekend in Chicago with my Vegan Favorite, Shelley, and we pretty much ate our way around town, carbo-loading to stay warm.   It was amazing.  I will put up in-depth posts about two of the best restaurants at which we had the pleasure of eating, but I wanted to get a quick teaser up with two of my fave dishes outside of those two spots.  First up, the "Chicken Run Ranch Burger" at Native Foods:

So delicious!  Crispy "chicken" and savory ranch served up with sweet potato fries and a chipotle mayo dipping sauce?  Yes, please.  I've eaten at Native Foods in LA before and this dish just sealed the deal on me being willing to sell my soul to the devil to get an outpost in SF.  Come on, Native Foods, the Bay Area is great and we are hungry for your grub!

Also very tasty was the "Everything Green" salad at Handlebar.  This omni kitchen is EXTREMELY vegan friendly, and this salad full of greens and blackened tofu was positively scrumptious.  It was brunch time when we dined and I also shared a side of vegan biscuits and gravy that were awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that they were gone before they were photographed.  Oh well, next time!

Ok, I hope that whet your appetite for more Chicago eats... coming soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


You know what's dumb?  Having a burger you advertise as vegan and gluten-free and then having neither vegan nor gluten-free buns.  Really, Grub?  Really???   Meet the burger I had last night:

This is such a shame because the burger itself wasn't half bad and the sweet potato fries were outrageously good!

So pretty, right?   Sadly, the whole burger-as-salad thing sullies it all and I won't be back.  Not with so many other places offering a truly vegan option.  Thanks, anyway, Grub.

In my last post, I promised a write up about a remodeled eatery in my 'hood, but we went and, while the new space of Pizza Orgasmica is nice and roomy, the beer and pizza is as mediocre as ever.  Stick with Amici's for delivery and Beretta for artisinal pies to die for.

Soon I'm off to Chicago to meet up with my BVFF and Vegan Favorites co-writer, Shelley, so stay tuned for some Chi-town eats, y'all!