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:
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 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 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 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’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!
San Francisco eats: Holy Gelato in the Inner Sunset! »
Until about two weeks ago, I had been a four-year resident of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco and I have to say, one of my fave features of that district is its proximity to the Inner Sunset! 9th and Irving has a plethora of vegan-friendly haunts, without the intense hustle and bustle of, let’s say, anywhere else in the city. Quite frankly, I’m shocked we here at Vegansaurus have never covered the corner of 9th and Judah’s delicious little treasure, Holy Gelato! They have so many soy and coconut milk-based gelatos. Plus, every time I’ve been there (twice), all in a tizzy because I couldn’t figure out which flavor to get, I was given free samples without even having to ask! I hate asking! Every single flavor I tried was scrumptious, but me being me, I had to go with the flavor laced with whiskey. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, THEY OFFER GELATO WITH WHISKEY!
The array of vegan flavors! Can you even believe your eyes?
As if you needed anymore convincing to get yourself out to the Inner Sunset for a vegan ice cream party, let me just throw out a few ideas. We’ll plan a night of it! The Inner Sunset boasts such restaurants as Social Kitchen and Brewery (Brussels sprouts chips! Chili! Beer!), Loving Hut (Everything on the menu!) and Patxi’s pizza (Vegan Chicago-style deep-dish pizza!). Feeling a little bit more romantic? Inner Fog is a cute little wine bar with dim lighting and a couple of vegan small bites available (think fancy hummus and fancy salad). There are also plenty of Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean and Indian joints about; seriously the Inner Sunset is a vegan dream!
Irish Morning gelato, with a coconut-milk base, fudge, coffee, cookies and whiskey! Shout-out to Caroline for asking me out for ice cream in the first place, and therefore introducing me to Holy Gelato!
Exterior photo of Holy Gelato via notjustgranola.ca
Product review: Magic curry paste! »
Magic Curry Pastes, by Magic Curry Kart, are vegan and naturally gluten-free Thai pastes available in the San Francisco Bay Area. They recently asked me if I wanted to review their pastes, which I very much did, and I was impressed! The pastes, when mixed with coconut milk, are comparable to a curry sauce from your favorite Thai restaurant! This is fantastic news; now we can get delicious restaurant-style food for a fraction of the cost and no delivery fees! You, know the important things in life.
I made three different entrees, each featuring a different paste, which I will now show off to you.
First I made a vegetable stir-fry with fried tofu, using the Mellow Yellow curry paste. It was delicious! I followed the instructions on the jar for making the sauce, and used a 14 ounce can of coconut milk mixed with two tablespoons of paste. I did find myself adding a little salt and pepper, though it’s nice that the pre-made sauce does not come too salty for those sensitive to sodium. The description does not lie, the yellow paste was definitely the mellowest of the three! My favorite aspect of this paste was the fresh ginger taste. If stir-fry isn’t your thing, the Magic Pumpkin Curry soup recipe on their website looks phenom!
Next up I used the spicy red curry paste and tried to get all Zante’s by making a pizza with it! I was pleased with the results, but in the future, if i’m going to try and make a gluten-free pizza, I’m nixing the idea of making a crust from scratch and going with my tried-and-true Vicolo’s pre-made crust. (Gluten-free or regular, it’s the best pre-made pizza crust around!) I liked the spiciness of this particular paste; it had a bit of a kick, so if spicy curry is your thing I definitely recommend the Fresh Red Thai paste. Again, to make the sauce I mixed a 14 ounce can of coconut milk with two tablespoons of paste.
The third dish I made, using the Fresh Green Thai paste, was a stir-fry featuring vegan “shrimp”. This was my favorite paste for a variety of reasons! First, I nixed the instructions and made the curry sauce with 3/4 of a can of coconut milk and 3/4 of a jar of paste. (You can use the remainder of the coconut milk to make ganache. No waste around here!) Vegan shrimp is also one of the loves of my life, so I’m sure that had something to do with this particular paste being my favorite. I am a fan of spicy and tangy foods, and so the green curry had it all for me.
My verdict is that these pastes are awesome! They are so easy to use, and you can experiment with the flavor of the sauces to your unique palate by adjusting the coconut to paste ratio. As of right now they are only available in the Bay Area (I always see them at Whole Foods, four ounces for about $6.00, or you can get them wholesale through BFF) and must be refrigerated. May I suggest you pick some up today so you can continue to quantity-watch your favorite Netflix series, with restaurant-style curry sans delivery fee at home? I am a fan of that luxurious life! Don’t forget to check out the Magic Curry Kart website for creative recipes, updates, and backstory!
SAN FRANCISCO! It’s our first ever Vegan Pop-Up Shop and Brunch on Saturday Dec 7 and Sunday Dec 8! You have to go!!!
Here’s all the info and we’ll see you there! LET’S GET FAT AND AWESOME TOGETHER.
Here’s the Facebook event if you want to spread the word! And you do!
Food Empowerment Project’s first public event this Saturday in S.F.! »
Food Empowerment Project, the awesome vegan food justice organization that makes frequent appearances here on Vegansaurus, is holding its first “official” event this Saturday, and you should be there!
The event, which runs from 6 – 9 on Saturday evening at 518 Valencia in the Mission, will feature screenings of two short films about the chocolate industry, a short video about dairy cows, and a Q&A with F.E.P. founder lauren Ornelas. There will be treats and such (though you should bring your own water), and a whole bunch of goodies raffled off, ranging from sweet donations from Food Fight!, Herbivore Clothing, The Vegan Zombie, and others to (drum roll) a $100 gift certificate to Millenium. F.E.P. will also be gathering food donations for the Mary Ann Wright Foundation, a local food bank – and your donation gets you a raffle ticket, too, so bring something!
Check out the full list of sponsors and additional details on the Facebook event page.
It’s $10 suggested donation, $5 for students, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds (or for giving more). Hope to see you there!
Post by Rick Kelley!!
Beezie’s Kitchen at El Rio, Fridays in the Mission! »
Hey SF Bay Area, you got plans Friday night? Well, go ahead and break them cause you have to check out Beezie’s Kitchen at El Rio in the Mission! Jessica Escobedo, the culinary mastermind behind Beezie’s Kitchen, serves up her scrumptious vegan eats from 9pm to midnight, and even if dive bars aren’t your thing, stop by for the food. I had the fortune of checking her out a couple weeks ago and let me tell you, I was impressed! I love when you can taste someone’s love of what they are doing in the food they are serving and that is definitely the case when it comes to Beezie’s Kitchen.
My pals Lindsey, Brent and I tried everything on the menu that night, and we were so pleased with all of it! We had a potato taquito plate, which was smothered in homemade sour cream and salsa as well as a veggie dog (Field Roast apple sage sausage) covered with onions and red peppers. Lindsey showed up to El Rio having already eaten dinner, but once she had a taste she was like “Yeah, I will finish that taquito and 1/3 of that sausage, thanks!” Next up was a cupcake, which only lasted about five seconds between the three of us. The frosting was light and fluffy with the vanilla cake so tasty! (I find vanilla cake is one of the most difficult vegan desserts to make, but Jessica definitely knows what she’s doing.)
I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as excited about vegan taquitos as I was about these. The potato filling and the massive toppings were heaven! (They were gluten-free as well.)
I was never really a sausage person, so when it comes to Field Roast, I’m kind of like “eh” (I prefer Tofu Pups, I know, I know — I’m gross). However Jessica cooked these up though, I’m 100% into it — I’ve never enjoyed the apple sage sausages so much. I did pour like, most of a container of ketchup and mustard on it, but still, delicious!
I always find myself incredibly inspired by vegan entrepreneurs, especially those dealing with food as it’s super close to my own heart, so I asked Jessica to give me a little back story about Beezie’s Kitchen, and how she got started. She explains “ I always knew I wanted to do something with my food so after years of talking about it without any proper culinary training I left my professional life and hit the streets (literally) cooking and selling my delicious vegan treats. I started working a corner in the Mission and a corner in Palo Alto and Oakland’s first Friday until I got my regular gig at El Rio every Friday which has been an amazing experience. I graduated the Women’s Initiative just a couple weeks ago and have a business plan geared towards a vegan brunch stand at farmers markets. I am not totally sure what is next for me but I love what I have been doing and know I will keep going and growing bringing more and more heart filled vegan treats to more and more vegans.” Jessica also says her style is influenced by her mother who would cook home-style American comfort food and her Mexican grandmother. “They both valued doing everything from scratch and having a connection to where your food/veggies come from. I mix all the this beautiful history together with my cooking and veganize it!”
I love it! I can’t wait to see where Jessica takes Beezie’s Kitchen in the future, and am excited to be able to catch her for now, on Fridays at El Rio from 9pm — midnight!
Hella Vegan Eats this Sunday at Dear Mom in San Francisco. Make it happen, vegan captains!
Friday: Vegan Happy Hour S.F.! Potluck, drinks, and vegan pals! »
Vegan Happy Hour is back at the Hemlock Tavern! How awesome is it going to be?
All one has to do is bring something—anything!—vegan to share. There will be drink specials and a DJ, too. In the past few months, we’ve had build-your-own sliders, fajitas, awesome grain salads, tamales, insanely good cookies, and tons of other tasty treats.
So awesome! So get to the Hemlock, 1131 Polk St. in S.F., from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 10. Bring a dish, bring some crafts, bring your beautiful self and all your gorgeous friends. Make vegan pals! Drink! Dance! Share! Community and fellowship, you guys; it’s like vegan church but way more debauched. Details on Facebook.
Got a tip about an awesome vegan-friendly event? Let us know! We love fun!
Hey St. Patrick’s Day heads! Get your butts over to Dear Mom on Sunday, March 17, for an extra-special pop-up dinner by Hella Vegan Eats, featuring Fat Bottom Bakery! Two Vegansaurus favorites serving amazing food in a bar on a Sunday? It can’t be beat!
Is there a menu yet?
No, but maybe HVE’s Facebook will reveal the secrets of the pop-up beforehand. It’s now posted above! Regardless, you know it’ll be nothing but deliciousness, so be at Dear Mom (on the corner of 16th and Folsom streets in the Mission) between 6 and 11 p.m. on Sunday for eats and treats!
Need last minute gifts? Check out Buyer’s Best Friend in the Upper Haight! »
Though in the past San Franciso’s Upper Haight may not have been a mecca for vegans, I can assure you that it is most definitely becoming one! Thanks to Whole Foods, I can get my fix of Food For Lovers vegan queso anytime I fancy; Sunrise Deli just opened up and man, they KILL IT with their avocado falafel sandwich; Escape From New York offers Daiya cheese; Picnic Bakery is coming soon; and we also boast one of the cutest specialty boutiques in the city—Buyer’s Best Friend!
Buyer’s Best Friend has been open for a little while now. I think they may have had their grand opening party over the summer. Every time I go in they have new and interesting products, and because they buy straight from the companies, they are able to sample out all their artisan food products! This is incredible news because most of their specialty food items are vegan, even raw! Buyer’s Best Friend also carries housewares, bath and beauty supplies, and cold-pressed Stumptown coffee!
Of course I took some pictures — let’s check it out!
All kinds of interesting, locally made, and beautifully crafted soaps, with creative names to boot!
The sales representatives were most excited to have me try this VEGAN bacon-flavored hot sauce. It was delicious, and completely cruelty-free!
Their shelves are stocked with all kinds of artisan oils, sauces, mustards, and glazes!
VEGAN CARAMEL SAUCE!
Pickled vegetables galore via Emmy’s!
Get yo’ hipster cold-pressed coffee ON.
Or you can get some beans to brew at home.
Raw vegan delights by Just Pure Foods!
Truffle oils and flour!
Before Buyer’s Best Friend opened, I had never had Cocomel’s coconut-milk based caramels. These caramels are definitely one of my most favorite things, ever!
Most of these chocolate delectables are vegan! Some are even raw!
Buyer’s Best Friend is located at 1740 Haight St. in San Francisco, between Cole and Shrader in the Upper Haight!