Get up on this: Soul Cocina in San Francisco for one night only mega-feast! »
That crazy bro who’s coming to get you is not your regular psycho, that’s Roger Feely, the madman genius behind Soul Cocina! His meals were the best but then he moved to Chicago and we were all sad BUT NOW he’s back for a one night only( Thursday, October 6th) delicious feast of magic! And you’re invited! I mean, for money, but still.
The entire mega-meal is vegan, or you can add stupid meat for extra money. It makes me happy that the vegan selection is cheaper than the meat meaty death one. That’s how that shit should be, and so often isn’t. So kudos to Soul Cocina and for doing it up right. And kudos to Roger for posing for and publishing that crazy-ass picture.
Get your tickets now because this is (again) one night only and that means SOLD THE FUCK OUT.
Guest review: Soul Cocina! »
I have a love-hate affair with vegan restaurants that fill their menu with faux-meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a delicious kung pao un-chicken dish, but I believe that one can eat vegan without using meat-substitutes or compromising flavor. Enter Roger of Soul Cocina pop-up fame to present a six-course vegan feast without soy or processed ingredients, instead taking cues from world cuisines and seasonal produce.
When you first walk in to La Victoria (2937 24th St. at Alabama Street in San Francisco) on a night Roger has taken over the kitchen, head straight past the well stocked pastry to the back of the bakery. There, the cafe tables have been transformed with fresh flower bouquets, bright tablecloths, and a comfortable, homey ambiance that makes you want to cozy up for a few hours. While diners can order separate dishes from Soul Cocina’s rotating menu, my dining companion and I went the full monty and each ordered the fixe prix dinner ($30).
Our first taste of Roger’s world-influenced cuisine was the bhel puri, a light Indian snack of puffed rice, peanuts, onions, tomatoes, and mangoes, drizzled with a tamarind sauce. Wrapped in paper cones, this dish showcased street food at it’s finest. A second appetizer quickly followed: a basket of homemade blue corn tortilla strips with a bowl of heavenly guacamole that can best be described as avocado-overload (and I mean that in the best way).
Next was a surprise last-minute addition, a roasted pan of cauliflower with a smokey, soft, buttery texture perfectly contrasted against the crunch of pine nuts and sweet currants. A healthy does of spicy garlic, olive oil, and a kick of citrus reminded me of the Middle East, where such bright flavor profiles are usually found in the restaurants lining the streets of Istanbul.
Our chef was kind enough to come out and present dishes, including a well composed plate of platano maduro, pickled vegetables, and slow-cooked black beans on a banana leaf. Unfortunately the sharp kick of acid from the pickles overpowered the subtler flavor of the soft beans. That’s not to say that I didn’t finish almost everything, despite my belly telling me to call it quits. But we still had one more dish and dessert to go, and I was determined to try everything.
Our last main was a stuffed thick tortilla (called a “huaraches de buddha”) topped with a medley of exotic sauteed vegetables. I’ve been wanting to try fiddleheads for awhile now, and the best way I could describe the taste was if broccoli and asparagus had a punk rock baby. The two accompanying pureed salsas had a definite kick, but their smoky heat went perfectly with the lightly seasoned vegetables and stuffed tortilla.
My eating prowess was rewarded with possibly the best vegan desert I have ever been served: a coconut creme bruleee with a side of tropical fruit. Sounds simple, but this was off the hook. The brulee’s sweet hard shell broke perfectly to reveal the velvety, rich, fragrant custard beneath. The consistency and sweetness were spot-on. Seriously, it was out of this world paired with thinly sliced starfruit and kiwi.
Unfortunately, Roger might be moving to Chicago this year. So next time he presents a vegan Soul Cocina night, go! A few more tips: the biggest bang for your buck is the prix fixe, but first run a marathon (or around the block) a few times as you’ll need your game face in order finish everything. While you’re out, skip around the corner to grab a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner sans—corking fee. To find out when Roger will be presenting another vegan night (usually the first Wednesday and Thursday of the month), visit Soul Cocina’s website.
Justine Quart has a penchant for urban exploration and meditation, yoga and boxing, vegan food and a properly aged whiskey. When she’s not dreaming up the next big adventure, she is offering kick-ass vegan wellness services at local businesses, freelancing at the SF Appeal and The Bold Italic, or roaming the neighborhood with her partner in crime, el Jefe. Check her out at Dojo Wellness.
The lovely Mandy of Wholesome Bakery is hosting a fundraiser bakesale and street food party on Saturday, Oct. 16 at La Victoria Bakery to help her brother Nick pay for medical costs related to his brain cancer recovery. Seriously, these two are amazing and making it happen and Oh! they’re both VEGAN! We need to show up and support them and eat tasty-ass food and yeah, let’s do this!
We have confirmation from Mandy that vegan goodies will be represented with treats from Wholesome Bakery, Fat Bottom Bakery, Mission Mini’s, Bike Basket Pies, and Sour Flour! And that’s just the start of it; there will be lots of tasty vegan street cart eats in the evening as well! Let us party and get fed and fat for a good cause and feel great about ourselves and the world and maybe even all get naked and make out after! Yes?
The bakesale is Saturday, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the street food party goes from 6 to 10 p.m. La Victoria is at 2937 24th St. at Alabama Street.
Local Flavor at Fabric8: Food and art as more than chocolate syrup in your spin-n-swirl »
untitled, by Nome Edonna
Vegansaurus love food, obviously! We also love art, which maybe doesn’t come across so clearly, but we appreciate culture across the spectrum, as we’re sure you must, too. Human beings are sort of obligated to evolve, emotionally and culturally and philosophically and all that, what with our great big capacious brains ready for us to fill them.
You’ll have an opportunity to consider food and art tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 8 at “Local Flavor,” a group show of Bay Area artists’ work “focusing on the centuries-old relationship between the visual and culinary arts” at Fabric8 gallery. The exhibition is curated by Tamara Palmer (of, among other publications, SFoodie blog) and Fabric8, and will feature works by artists like Brandon Dicks, Nome Edonna, Rachel Major, Jason Mecier, Phokos, Reuben Rude, and Andy Stattmiller. Great? Great!
Divine, by Jason Mecier
Greater: Olivia Ongpin of Fabric8 says that every Friday for the duration of the exhibition—through Nov. 1—the gallery will host food vendors, both their regular rotation of food carts and “street food served up by local restaurants.” She also says that even though they haven’t set the menus for each Friday yet, Fabric8 “always try to have a vegan option.”
Greatest: The opening reception for “Local Flavor” is at Fabric8 gallery at 3318 22nd St. (at San Jose Avenue) from 7 to 10 p.m. Ms. Ongpin tells us that Soul Cocina will be there, and she “will make sure he brings something vegan.” Isn’t she lovely? Now you have NO EXCUSE not to go and look at the art, which you should do anyway because remember, we’re humans and we should always be learning, or at least trying new things. Also your Vegansaurus may have implicitly obligated you to eat the vegan artistic food. Regardless: Culture: get some.