Kasa!  »

I don’t understand why it is so fucking hard for a restaurant to stay open late in San Francisco. If you’re out past 10 p.m. and you want something other than a slice of pizza or a burrito, you’re screwed. I think our own Maria puts it best when she says:

In particular, the Castro can be a nightmare for late-night dining. There are a lot of bars and a lot of clubs and they desperately need a sit-down where the clubbing ‘mos (and the rest of us) can get our late-night sustenance on. Yes, that is correct. I just typed, “late-night sustenance on”, and please steel yourself for more bad writing and gross generalizations in this review, FOLKS. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I just paid the IRS a couple thousand in taxes because they caught me being a leeetle loosey-goosey with my reported income. Hey! I didn’t know! I got confused! I apparently tried to deduct the same pair of donated pants 12 times? Well what do you want me to do? The max they would let me take was $10 and they were from Anthropologie and cost $140! Eff you, feds! You can take my hard earned cash to fund this horrible war and our dying nation but you cannot stop me from trying to get over. THAT is the American Dream, capital-A, capital-D, capital-FUCKED. Back to the review.

Sunday through Monday the Castro workout routine is Gold’s Gym but on the weekend, it’s the DANCE! To fuel all of this exercise, you need something nearby, adequately tasty and most importantly, LOW-CALORIE. And so begins the age of Kasa.

Kasa is a new-ish Indian-ish restaurant in the Castro that is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. (!!!) on Friday and Saturday. At Kasa you can choose from a kati roll (made with their own roti bread, let them know before you order that you’re vegan so they don’t douse it in ghee) or a thali, a plate filled with all sorts of magical things like chutneys, dal, rice, and shiz like that. After you decide on the kati roll or the thali, you choose a dish or two to go on the plate or into the roll. There is always at least one vegan dish on the menu: Aloo Jeera, which is cumin-spiced potatoes. They have a rotating vegetable dish of the day which may or may not be vegan. Last time I went, it was a spicy eggplant dish that was vegan. The food is adequate, if not amazing. The real calling card here is that they’re open late in an area that’s desperate for late-night eateries.

And when you’re done, you can head back to bar-and-club-landia, filled up with pretty healthy food that you’ll burn off in the time it takes to spin a Lady Gaga remix (aprox 35 minutes). I love, love, love Lady Gaga. I also love, love, love the cheesy dance clubs in the Castro. They are bursting with the cutest boys ever who, like you, just want to move to the power of the latest Britney track. There is no ass-grabbing (unless it’s to forcibly move you from between them and some hella hot dude, don’t hate) and if there is any inappropriate grinding, it’s usually your fault. WHAT I’M A LIBERATED WOMAN IT GOES BOTH WAYS NOW.

And with that I present…

Reasons not to trust straight men:
1) John Grisham.
2) They will get you pregnant.
3) Hitler.
4) They lie.
5) They all have the ability to become horrible, hateful, power-hungry rapists in times of war/extreme duress/you didn’t cook their hamburger right I said medium rare, bitch!!!
6) Jim Carrey.

Reasons to trust (and love) gay men:
1) Oscar Wilde.
2) They will help raise your bastard child.
3) Hitler wasn’t gay.
4) They lie, but it’s funny and colorful and usually to make a story more interesting.
5) Rape is most likely consensual and a form of fantasy play!
6) Puppies = the gayest!!!


Review: Great India!  »

Great India is hot damn delicious! It’s currently my first choice for Northern Indian food in San Francisco. This is because not only is it hot damn delicious, there are many vegan selections (try the Vegetable Sabzi and the Aloo Gobi! Both are exceptional!) and they don’t use ghee (butter) in any of the food! SCORE! The Aloo Paratha (most delectable wheat potato-filled bread) was the best I’ve ever had, vegan or not. It’s pretty cheap too; $8.95 gets you one LARGE dish that includes rice or naan. Lots of places do not give you rice or nan with the dish, making you pay extra because they know us assholes will pay for it! But the glorious Great India does not play us like that! I love them! The delivery is slow as fuck so order about an hour and a half before you think you’re gonna be hungry. Bonus because they deliver to the entire city.

Eating in is an awesome experience. First, you gotta find the place. It’s in outer BFE on Geary Boulevard at 25th Avenue Make sure to eat a lot because you will need the fuel to get the fuck out of the Richmond. Second, the lunch buffet is ONLY $6.45! Super cheap and almost everything is vegan! Woo! Third, the waitstaff actually knows what the word vegan means and so there is never any worry about eating something that will make you and your stomach very sad. Fourth, if you eat here once, they will remember you forever. Especially if you’re a girl. Ladies, if you’re ever feeling unattractive, I suggest you get yourself to Great India where you will be treated as the twin sister of Catherine Deneuve! And I’m talking her Belle de Jour days! Although, current-day Catherine Deneuve is still about 100 times hotter than most of the uglies you see showing their ugly mugs in public. For shame, uglies. Anyway, they will lavish you with compliments, free drinks and free snacks and generally do everything short of going downtown. It’s delightful. Once, I ate here with my friend, Mark. When Mark went to go get fifths from the buffet, one of the guys asked me if he was my boyfriend and told me that if he ever mistreated me that they would take him out. Listen, Mark is The Super Gay. But he does mistreat me. Conflict. So I told the guy that I would let him know and then I WARNED MARK THAT HE BETTER TREAT ME RIGHT OR THE INDIAN MAFIA WOULD BE ON HIS ASS.

Man, that was a great day.

[Udaipur City Palace and Lake Pichola by pov_steve. Great India didn’t have many pictures on its website so that will have to do.]


Review: Udupi Palace!  »

The first time I went to Udupi Palace, we were a group of eight, and our bill for eight dosas, four (or five) appetizers, and six (or seven) beers was something like $120. That is (hang on, I have to work out the math) $15 per person, for that much food! Incredible. I guess their overhead is lower because they are a vegetarian establishment and do not have to pay for things like the bodies of murdered lambs, which tend to cost more than vegetables and grains. Their dosas are enormous, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the different fillings are delicious. They have a large selection of vegan tidbits, but look carefully for yogurt sauce, it is a wily foe. The plain coconut chutney is scrumptious, though not very adventurous for the spicy-minded among us. You get two other, spicier chutneys for dipping, so worry not.

That first excursion was on a Tuesday night during its first month of business, and by 8 p.m. the place was packed. At that point they had a few kinks to work out with service; that said, they certainly were generous with the water, which is very smart and considerate, especially of weaklings like me who can’t handle even moderately spicy food.

I had the Udupi special spring dosa, which came with the standard Mysore Masala filling plus spring vegetables ($7.95). It was delicious, and way too much for me to finish at one meal. One of my dining companions got the spinach masala dosa, which made me want to order next time, it was so good. The fried idli and sambar vada were really, really tasty as well.

My gentleman friend and I stopped in for an early dinner last Sunday, four months after my first trip (eating in is saving money!), and we split a Mysore Masala dosa and an idli, which was plenty of food to carry us through until bedtime. It’s still delicious, and your water glass never stays empty.

In sum, Udupi Palace’s menu is quite superior to its neighbor Dosa’s, and significantly less expensive as well. It is the best South Indian food I have had in the city, and I will definitely eat there again. And again and again. Nuts to you, Dosa the restaurant, with your overpriced menu and your pushy waitstaff and your pretensions. Udupi serves the dosa of the overprivileged middle-class, and we will have our meal for $3 cheaper, and we will use that $3 to buy an expensive gourmet coffee, which will make us feel guilty for wasting money we could have saved by drinking coffee at home, so when we arrive at our extremely overpriced apartments that we can afford because of our low-level white-collar jobs, we will use our computers to donate money to causes like the Yes on 2 campaign because by god we are overprivileged jerks who appreciate our ability to buy Indian street food at 500 times its price in India, and we show it by giving some of our wardrobe money to charity! DAMN IT!

[photos via yelp]


Review: Ananda Fuara!  »

Ananda Fuara is run by a cult! Who cares? They are not creepy. They are a peaceful cult comprising some sweet folks who love to weight-lift and eat healthy, delicious vegetarian food. Frankly, I know more than one fat-ass who might benefit from such a lifestyle. And yes, I’m talking about me. And also you, Sir Fatty Fatton of Fattinshire.

Pet peeve no. 52: When meat-eaters complain about vegetarians and vegans eating fake meat. It’s like, MORONS, we are not vegetarian or vegan because we don’t like the taste of meat, we are vegetarian or vegan because we don’t want to EAT DEAD ANIMALS. Fucking figure it out. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Or even a person of average intelligence. My friend’s autistic brother who only communicates through a keyboard gets it. I just don’t understand WHY YOU DON’T?!?!

That being said, I rarely eat fake meat products here. I just wanted to bitch because it’s what Lauras do best. Actually, that and sex. Ask your dad. LAURA!

The daily rotating curries, soups (always dal and one other, usually vegan) and salads (try the Infinite Blue, vegan; it’s hot rice stir-fry over a bed of greens and I know that sounds kinda like the funk but trust. There are some days when only hot rice salad will make you want to get out of bed. I call those days Tuesdays.) are what Ananda Fuara does best and I’ve never once been disappointed. The vegan baked goods are always amazing, some of the best I’ve ever had. Make sure to check the glass case and get several of each to go. The peanut butter krinkle is basically cornflakes dipped in choco-peanut butter mixture and then set out to dry. You can either eat it or use it to exfoliate. Either way, divine.

I would be a total jerky asshole not to mention the most magical thing that is sometimes on the menu, the VEGAN BEEF STROGANOFF special. OH HOLY HELL. This shit is off the HEEZY! I had the meat-eaters at my table begging for release from its jaws of deliciousness. If you are in San Francisco tomorrow, call ahead to see if it’s the special and if it is, don’t make the biggest mistake of your life and not go. I don’t care if you got pregnant at 13 and gave the baby to Appalachian mountain people to raise and now her name is Darlene and she has three teeth and uses them to skin raccoons for eatin’ (YOUR VERY OWN FLESH AND BLOOD SKINS RACCOONS WITH HER TEETH! SORRY, TEEF!). Missing out on this beef stroganoff is worse. It is THE WORST.

In closing, I would like to issue a public challenge to the peaceful, adorable and motivational cult leader, Sri Chinmoy. This man is a competitive heavy-lifter and has set many world records. This is a man who has lifted elephants, Great Pumpkins and platforms filled with fat people INTO THE AIR. I would like to challenge him to lift me above his head with one hand and then to throw me into the air so that I might complete the Triple Lindy (yes, the same one the late, great Rodney Dangerfield made famous in the classic Back to School) and land on a gigantic trampoline made specifically for this purpose. Once I land on the trampoline, I will swan-dive into a gigantic cake of the flavor and shape of my choosing. This will take place on top of the Eiffel Tower on May 25, 2009. I eagerly await the response from Chinmoy’s camp. This offer will self-destruct in 24 hours.

[ananda fuara photos via the restaurant]


Review: Zante Pizza!  »

So I talked about Panhandle Pizza yesterday which is more of a traditional itsanice pizzzapie (that’s Italian for “nice pizza pie”) and today we are going to cross the globe (actually, we’re going vertical across the globe, I think. I’m no linguist) to EXOTIC and MYSTERIOUS India, land of Bollywood and Mohinder. Zante Indian Restaurant and Pizzeria is fucking great. They incorporate two of my favorites, pizza and Indian food, into one mega-food: THE INDIAN PIZZA. It’s basically Indian food on a regular pizza crust. It’s not naan, as some people suggest, it’s actual thin-crust pizza. They also make isanice pizzzapie but why fuck with that nonsense when you can get delicious INDIAN PIZZA?! Save yourself the trouble of thinking and order The Best Indian Pizza, Vegan, which comes topped with spinach, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions and cilantro. It’s magical. Even if that doesn’t sound good to you, it will taste good to you. You can also order other kinds of indian food if you’re feeling unadventurous and lame. The samosas are pretty good.

You can eat in or call in an order for delivery OR you can order online at their site (they deliver ANYWHERE in the city!) but please note, the delivery will most likely take twice as long as they quote. It’s because they’re on Indian time. WHAT? AM I NOT RIGHT? IN ADDITION TO BEING A HUGE RACIST? Whatever, I can say that because I did it with an Indian dude once so I think that makes me an expert on all things Indian, OK? Also, one of my best friends is Indian. Or Mexican. Actually, I’m not sure. Her name is Anna but she’s an engineer—VERY CONFUSING. And she’s cheap and drives an El Camino. I mean, I honestly don’t know.

I could do this all night.

[photo via yelp]


Review: Samovar Tea Lounge!  »

First off, they have a vegan cupcake here. It’s chocolate. It’s the size of a walnut. It costs $6. Do with that information what you will, but listen now and hear me later: a cupcake that costs more than a call girl should fucking do something nice for you. Like tell you you’re pretty while doing your taxes and giving you magical powers. Oh, and taste MOTHERFUCKING DELICIOUS. This cupcake did none of those things. One demerit.

Other than that, the veggie and vegan options are clearly marked on the menu and they are plentiful. They even have a vegan Thai iced tea! Most of the meals are centered around a certain type of cuisine—Japanese, Indian, Russian (I KNOW, WTF?!), etc.—or you can order small plates and teas à la carte. It’s a bit pricey for the amount of food you get, but I’ve always been quantity over quality so there you go. I mean, I’d rather have a bucket of pasta—literally, an entire bucket. Like the kind you usually put a mop in. Filled with pasta—than one AMAZING ravioli. I guess you could tell that much by looking at me so A) fuck you for judging me and B) fuck that ravioli and fuck those bitches who take one bite of that ravioli and are like, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” Well, bitch, that is because you haven’t eaten since the Clinton Administration (those were the days!). I have no time for you or your skinny-ass antics. Seriously, I want to send you all to Jurassic Park to be eaten by dinosaurs like in the documentary.

Get more info on Samovar and its two locations here. Adding links is pretty fun.

[photo via yelp]


Review: Lahore Karahi!  »

Lahore Karahi. What to say. It’s not much to look at and it’s located where dreams go to die but this place is off the motherflipping CHAIN. Do yourself a favor and put something on you don’t mind smelling like Pakistani food for the rest of its life and get your ass over to this place. Forget about all the other Indian-Pakistani places you think are great because the food is cheap and the health code violations are plentiful, because this place is cheaper and the health code violations are probably more egregious (it’s more authentic that way! and honestly, if you ever eat out in a city, you just have to assume your meal is made up of 10 percent rat hair).

If you’re not a moron, you’ll order the vegetable sabzi. It. is. AMAZING. Not oily at all and full of delicious Pakistani flavor. The rice is something magical and the roti (with sesame seeds! delightful touch!) is INSANE. I mean, that bread will physically get up and knock you over being all, “Bitch, I am delicious!” Pretty much everything vegetarian on the menu can be made vegan, just ask! The guy who takes your order isn’t a jerk so much as he likes to GET THINGS DONE. ON HIS TERMS. Whatever, just roll with it, you ain’t got nowhere better to be. Because there is nowhere better to be.

IT IS IMPERATIVE that you come here with people you don’t mind spending time with; the wait for food can sometimes be intense. However, as soon as the food comes, you won’t have time to talk: you’ll be stuffing your face! Your internal monologue will be all, “FUCK WORDS! THIS MOUTH IS FOR EATING!”

Honestly, I wanted to bust into song after this meal. Unfortunately that song was Ludacris’ “Area Codes,” and that is not a song you want to sing in the Tenderloin, for fear of being confused with an actual pimp.

[photo via yelp]

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