vegansaurus!

08/01/2014

Sanctuary Bistro opens this weekend in Berkeley!  »

Gluten-free vegans rejoice! Sanctuary Bistro is officially opening this weekend, and it’s sure to be spectacular! (Anyone want to fly me up there from LA to be your date??) Using local, seasonal, organic, gluten-free, vegan ingredients, Barry Horton and Jennifer Jones Horton’s food is flavorFULL. 

I had the great pleasure of attending a wedding this past weekend that was catered by these talented folks, and let me tell you people, I WORKED that buffet (yay for loose fitting dresses!)! 

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From top left: salad made with local peaches, olive tapenade, mushroom-stuffed quiches (I thought they were tamales whilst dishing up) and ZOMG the lasagna!!!  

I found out the day before the wedding that Barry and Jennifer were catering the reception, and are former employees of Ravens’ Restaurant, at the Stanford Inn by the Sea, in Mendocino.

Having been to Ravens’ (which is amazing) I knew I was in for a treat. I thought I was making an exception from my usual gluten-free diet, but found out after I’d had two servings of lasagna that it was indeed GF. (Party on, Wayne!)

Soooooo, the moral of the story is BOOK YOUR RESERVATION ASAP and get your pretty selves to this fine, new establishment! 

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From top left: Chocolate covered strawberries & cherries, truffles, mini chocolate cupcakes and Russian tea cakes (I’ve also heard them called Mexican tea cookies). I will never admit how many I ate of each…

04/28/2014

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a special vegan brunch in Berkeley!  »

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I have to admit that lately, I’ve been slightly envious of those of you in the Bay Area. Since I left in January, there have been so many fantastic vegan happenings: Hella Vegan Eats is everywhereRepublic of V opened and the S + M chefs are popping up around town! And now, I am stoked to announce, From the Garden is hosting a Greenhouse brunch, just in time for Mother’s Day! Kyle and Ashley make sure to point out that, though it is a “Mother’s Day Brunch,” their elegant feast is for everyone and anyone who would like to attend. Go, go, go, because their food is absolutely fantastic! Bring your mom, your friend who’s a mom, friends who have no affiliation with motherhood except that they came out of one, or just yourself. You can meet new, fun people there! 

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Their presentation alone is gorgeous! 

This brunch takes place in Kyle and Ashley’s greenhouse in Berkeley, on May 11, at noon. There is a possibility if the noon brunch fills up quickly, they will add another seating later in the afternoon. The theme is “Flowers for the Ones You Love,” which could totally apply to yourself, no judgement here. They will be serving three courses, complete with drink pairings (you can request non-alcoholic), all made with edible flowers from their greenhouse! Kyle and Ashley are asking for $45 per person. For more details (like location), and to make a reservation, email Kyle at chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

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I attended a From the Garden brunch in early January, and it was phenomenal. One of the best meals of my life! I still think about that Greenhouse Mary and bacon-avocado-biscuit breakfast sandwich. 

You can follow From the Garden on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates and information on future events. Word has it there’s a Rhizocali tempeh dinner in the works!

03/04/2014

JB’s Top 5 Bay Area Vegan Eats!  »

Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:

Hella Vegan Eats 

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Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats). 

Flaco’s 

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Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad. 

Timeless Coffee Roasters 

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Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies! 

The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit! 

Donut Farm

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Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens! 

Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!) 

Thai Idea

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Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree! 

I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not. 

So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches

01/30/2014

Source Mini Is Open in Berkeley!  »

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Source, one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco, has opened up a mini version of their eatery in Berkeley! Obviously it’s incredibly delicious and you should eat there immediately.

It’s at 1511 Shattuck Ave (between Cedar St & Vine St) and according to Yelp, it has no hours. JK, it has hours, they’re just not up on Yelp and we have no clue what they are. Probably best to just assume it’s open normal-ish hours or call ahead at (510) 849-0000 to find out! Go go go! And report back!

p.s. HEAVEN DOGS YASSSSS:

Photos via Yelp

01/27/2014

From the Garden Greenhouse Brunches in Berkeley!  »

The first Sunday of January, I had the honor of being invited to and attending a Greenhouse Brunch in Berkeley, hosted by Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden. It was incredible! The food was divine, the atmosphere was lovely, the company was fun, and the presentation of everything, from the table settings to the food to the greenhouse itself was just spectacular. Believe me when I say I could go on and on and on, so let’s just cut to the chase and get to the visual part of the presentation. Thank goodness for the phenomenal natural lighting (photography is not my forte); everything tasted even more delectable than it looks! 

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The brunches take place in Ashley and Kyle’s beautiful greenhouse in Berkeley. Every detail is catered to—just look at this gorgeous table setting! Coffee and tea are available before the courses are served, as well as throughout the meal. 

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Greenhouse Mary with sake and a breakfast biscuit sandwich! Non-alcoholic cocktails are available upon pre-arranged request. 

The very first course was a Greenhouse Mary, made with sake, fresh celery juice, parsley, black pepper and sage. Ashley explained that the intent (besides being super tasty) of serving it first was to wake up our palates! I DO NOT LIKE Bloody Mary’s, and before you tell me I just haven’t had the right one, please rest assured that I’ve had them all. I’m team Mimosa over here and I couldn’t be happier about it. However, there’s a new brunch drink in town, so thank you Ashely and Kyle, my Sunday breakfast beverage preference isn’t quite so cut and dry anymore. 

The next course was a biscuit breakfast sandwich, featuring a flaky roasted garlic biscuit (best I’ve ever had), yuba “bacon”, grilled onions and fuerte avocado. Brunch was off to a fantastic start! 

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Grilled jerk tofu over a variety of greens, baby carrots and  beets and a blood orange mimosa. 

Next up we had a bergamot-lavender soda, which I unfortunately did not take a get a picture of. It was nice to have refreshment course between meal courses, to talk and digest a little bit. Truth be told, I did scurry off to Santa Cruz on a whim the night before, and then walked about a trillion steps before 11:30 am, so I mostly just listened and digested. We were then served a flavorful second course salad with radicchio baby roots, carrots, beets and spicy grilled jerk tofu. The spiciness of the tofu paired excellently with the bitterness radicchio and sweetness of the baby carrots and beets. Kyle and Ashley brought out an additional habanero sauce, but I did not find myself needing to take part in that kind of additional spice. The third refreshment course consisted of a blood orange and tangerine mimosa! I’ve already told you how I feel about mimosas, and this one was no exception (PHENOMENAL) so without further ado, let’s move on to the main course and dessert! 

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This is everything.  

The final savory course consisted of mac’n cheez, steamed purple kale and smokey, black-eyed peas topped with celery root. I love to scarf down my food as quickly as possible (a very attractive trait), but I ate painstakingly slow as to savor every single bite. Somehow I still managed to finished before everyone else. I overheard Ashely telling a brunch companion that the mac’n cheese recipe could be found on their blog, so I pulled that baby up as soon as I got home. After the brunch, Kyle told me that he made black-eyed peas for this occasion to bring good luck to the new year, which was another detail of the meal I very much admired!  

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The final frontier.

By the time dessert came out, I was stuffed. However, there’s always room for dessert, isn’t there? We were served a peanut butter pie with banana ice cream, peanut butter brittle and chocolate ganache. Kyle and Ashley are flavor and texture geniuses. There are no words, my mind was blown. 

Now that we’ve gone over the January 5th brunch, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get in on this action. Kyle and Ashley present their Greenhouse Brunch (I heard in summer they have dinners!) once a month, and you have to RSVP by email for a space and payment information (they ask for a $40 donation). You can follow their blog, Facebook, and Twitter for up-to-date information about these gatherings, and also know that they are available for catering and personal chef needs within the San Francisco Bay Area! Kyle and Ashley are so talented, and such incredible people, I just cannot wait to see where From the Garden takes them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keep your eye on this powerhouse couple!

12/10/2013

Meet Kyle and Ashley Knies of From the Garden!   »

I am so excited to present you with the Bay Area’s newest vegan food venture: From The Garden, brought to you by newlyweds and all-around-awesome couple, Kyle and Ashley Knies! Their meal delivery boxes were mentioned in our SF Bay Area Thanksgiving write-up, now let’s get to know them a little bit better. Kyle is a professionally trained and incredibly talented chef while Ashley is a holistic health counselor — talk about a power couple right there! Their Berkeley-based company, From the Garden, is available to the Bay Area for a variety of services including: personal chef needs, cooking classes, catering events, food delivery and beautiful, monthly, greenhouse brunches. Curious? Just take a look at these sample menus

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Be sure to keep an eye out for this up-and-coming vegan powerhouse duo — I know I will be! Follow them on Instagram at @itsfromthegarden, Twitter at @chefkyleknies, and Facebook here, for upcoming events and fabulous food photos. Their blog offers a plethora of delectable looking recipes, while their website is a wealth of information about what they can do for you! You can also email them at chefkyleknies@gmail.com with any questions, or to reserve their services.

{Wedding photo via Kyle Knies} 

10/28/2013

Vegan Mac Down in Berkeley November 2nd! Vegan mac and cheese and more!  »

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Check it out! A vegan mac and cheese bake off in Berkeley!* Here’s all the info:

The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition is hosting a VEGAN MAC DOWN mac & cheese bake-off on November 2nd from 11am-3pm at the Firehouse Art Collective on Adeline.

GET YOUR MAC ON at the first ever vegan mac & cheese bake-off! Sample all the entries & vote for your fave mac & cheese.

GET DOWN to DJ sets from DJ MIGGY STARDUST and TRAILS AND WAYS.

GET MORE EATS from local vegan food vendors:
Green Girl Bakeshop
Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates
Hampton Creek Foods
Two Mamas Vegan Kitchen

The winning mac & cheese baker will win everlasting fame & glory, plus a prize pack including chef Miyoko Schinner’s “Artisinal Vegan Cheese” cookbook & 8 ounces of her cheeses, and a gift basket from Hampton Creek Foods. All runners-up will receive prize packs.

I want the prizes! I want the mac and cheese! I want all the things! You know we love FFAC, the great people who brought us the veggie BART ads. AND we love mac and cheese. So this is basically the perfect event! Go! Eat all the M&C! And tell me how it is as I am on the lowly east coast!

*Sorry I said Oakland first, it’s apparently Berkeley. My bad! I’m dumb! But I’m pretty. 

02/19/2013

Guest post: Support Food Empowerment Project by eating vegan food at Saturn Cafe. It’s easy!  »

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Hey, Bay Area vegans! Come on out to Saturn Café in Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 20, and 10 percent of your (vegan) meal will go to help fund the all-volunteer Food Empowerment Project.

If you aren’t familiar with Vegansaurus favorite FEP, we’re a vegan food justice organization focused on issues like food access, environmental racism, and workers’ rights. Here are the event details:

Come any time between 11 a.m. and midnight with the printable flyer on the page and Saturn will donate 10 percent of the cost of your vegan meal to help fund our efforts to create a more just and equitable food systems.

Volunteers will be hanging out from 6 to 10 p.m. if you want to learn more about how to get involved. 

There will also be flyers up front assuring your 10 percent, so don’t worry about printing. Just come hang out! FEP’s Lauren Ornelas will be there, and we’ll have literature and what have you, but mostly you should just eat some food and say hi. Saturn Café is located at 2175 Allston Way in Berkeley.

12/20/2012

Party with Harvest Home in Berkeley on Saturday!  »

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Lydia is ready to party!

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary is having its annual year-end celebration fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 22, and you’re invited! Buy your $25 ticket now (or pay $30 at the door) and support a really wonderful rescue group at Saturn Cafe in Berkeley.

Here are the details:

Enjoy cruelty-free appetizers (Grilled veggies, sliders, sweet potato fries and taquitos) at the Bay Area’s popular Saturn Cafe in Berkeley.

The sanctuary’s event will feature a mini-silent auction to benefit the lifesaving work of the sanctuary. At Saturn’s Space Lounge, our no-host bar will include organic beer from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, organic wine from Orleans Hill, and delicious holiday cocktails.

With your ticket purchase, you will sponsor a rescued animal of Harvest Home Sanctuary for the month of December. At the event, you will receive a colorful card featuring a photograph your sponsoree.

The festivities start at 6 p.m. on Saturday and last till midnight at Saturn Cafe, 2175 Allston Way in Berkeley.

12/13/2012

Victory Burger opens in Oakland!  »

Victory Burger, the burger joint that Kickstarter built, is open! And it is damn good. DAMN GOOD. Since it’s steps from my front door, I’ve eaten there about 50 times and confirm that everything is extremely legit. Also, I CAN’T FIT INTO MY PANTS DONT LOOK AT ME. As soon as I’m done writing this, it’s off to the Y to exercise (for health! and also because I can’t afford to buy new clothes right now!) but first, let’s drool.

Here’s the menu; you can see the incredible amount of tasty vegan food up on it. Two different types of vegan sandwiches (a curried burger YUM or an arepa filled with marinated tofu, plantains, avocado, and an addictive slaw!), coconut ice cream milkshakes (with add-ins! I’ve had peanut butter-chocolate, chocolate-banana, and strawberry-balsamic!), and tasty-ass deep-fried pickled veggies and fries with AVOCADO MAYO. It’s seriously the best place for your vegan burger and fries fix in town. It’s a classy-ass diner and I’m in love.

Now, some pictures:

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Victory Burger is on Alcatraz at San Pablo, right next to Actual Cafe, and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hopefully their hours will expand but they’re a brand-new baby restaurant so give these fools some time, OK?

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