Restaurant review: Fairfield’s Vegan Paradice is exactly what you want, suburban vegans! »
Solano County is a million times greater now, thanks to Kimberly and Gerald Brown’s delightful cafe, Vegan Paradice. It’s in downtown Fairfield, which I didn’t know was so adorable. Faithful reader Allison tipped us off to it a couple months ago, but it’s only open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and I have three jobs, so when am I free? But I made it this week for lunch, because I am dedicated to you, suburban vegans. Also it’s hot as all get-out and I wanted soft-serve.
My ma ordered the all veggie sandwich ($6.95), with lettuce, tomato, red onions, olives, sprouts, and tons of avocado, on sprouted whole wheat bread with mayo, ketchup, and housemade cucumber relish and must-have sauce. It was so full the avocado fell out in great green pieces, covered in that tangy sauce.
I got the terrific tofu burger ($7.75), with lettuce, tomato, grilled red onion, and sprouts, with the same ketchup, mayo, and housemade must-have sauce and cucumber relish on a sprouted whole wheat bun. It really was terrific! Gerald compared it to a Wildwood tofu patty; it’s housemade, with diced vegetables (including kale!) and cooked to a crispy outside and a sort of scrambley-textured inside. So good, dripping with sauces and that relish, just tremendous.
We were both pretty full, but because we were there for Vegansaurus, I insisted we order the soft-serve as well. It comes in vanilla, carob, and swirl; obviously we ordered swirl, though I was dubious about the carob.
But I was wrong! It was delicious! They make it with a combination of soy and coconut milks, and it’s sweet and creamy, just as soft-serve should be, with a slightly salty finish that makes the flavor more complex than your standard soft-serve. I think. I haven’t had soft-serve yogurt since 2008, and soft-serve ice cream since 2005. Bless you, vegan geniuses, for bringing us the technical and culinary triumph that is vegan soft-serve. This is a small cup ($3.75), by the way, and it’s huge and we couldn’t finish them.
You can read more about Vegan Paradice in this article in the Fairfield Daily Republic; it’s been open all summer, and they are working on expanding their menu and staff—right now it’s just the Browns. They make a lot of their stuff in-house, including almond roca and caramel for the soft-serve. ALMOND ROCA AND CARAMEL FOR THE SOFT-SERVE.
If you live anywhere near Fairfield, or drive past it on your commute, you have got to stop in at Vegan Paradice. It’s going to be hot through September; come for the soft-serve, stay for the burgers. They have vegan meat-and-cheese combinations we didn’t even try! I’ll definitely be back the next time their hours and my time off coincide. Suburban vegans in Northern California finally have a cafe! Let’s help it flourish.
Nature’s Express in Berkeley (we went to the opening, remember? And we’ve been back a couple times and it keeps getting better! Vegan Fast Food, marry us!) now has VEGAN SOFT SERVE. I wish I could make that an animated .gif with glitter around it and flashing lights pointing at it and have it light your screen on fire because this is some motherflipping N-E-W-S [Ed.: kind of like this?]. There are many places to get this in NYC, Chicago, and I’m sure in Portland because FUCKING PORTLAND WHY DO YOU RULE SO HARD I HATE YOU, but now we have it too HA HA. I haven’t tried it but apparently they serve it up on homemade waffle cones and its been on mega-sale the past two days and maybe this might continue? And by mega-sale we mean a huge waffle cone filled with it FOR ONE DOLLAR.
Our Berkeley hippie OTS (hehe) Katie says:
I’ve had two flavors now: apple cinnamon, which tasted just like my grandmother’s rice pudding, and Black Forest, which tasted like fresh cherries.
That sounds g-d tasty. Now, please excuse us while we go eat all of it. See you chumps there!
(Please note: that delicious photo isn’t from Nature’s Express, it’s from Sticky Fingers Bakery in DC—love them!—but it’s the best we got so heeeeey.)
Review: Fraîche frozen yogurt! »
As Maria has said, Fraîche’s storefront is cold and joyless. I would think that places serving frozen treats would want to make customers more comfortable, rather than forcing them to sit on freezing metal chairs at pointy-cornered tables. And yet, they do not, so when you leave you can see the bruises you got from bumping into those pointy table-corners already forming underneath the first few layers of your skin, which has become creepily translucent with the onslaught of cold it’s suffered. Such are the penalties one pays for delicious soft-serve vegan frozen yogurt, right?
I appreciate the idea of vegan frozen yogurt. I love vegan yogurt that tastes as close to my ma’s homemade cow’s milk yogurt that I ate throughout my childhood. The vegan fro-yo at Fraîche combines the texture of the most perfect frozen yogurt with the sour tang of plain yogurt, which confused me with every bite. Is it dessert? Mixed with jam, is it my ma’s version of dessert that never fooled anyone? It has been almost seven months since I went and I still cannot make up my mind about it.
I can’t accuse them of false advertising, as they don’t say anything about it being sweet; they also serve their non-frozen yogurt with oatmeal, but this in particular seemed a little schizophrenic to me. Further, the gentlemen at the counter who served my friends and I were not the most helpful people I have ever done business with. To wit:
Laura to yogurt-server: Are your toppings vegan?
Yogurt-server to Laura: I don’t know; ask him (gestures to his right at a barista, because of course Fraîche has an espresso bar in addition to offering vegan and dairy frozen yogurt, and oatmeal, and granola)
Yogurt server to barista: Are the toppings vegan?
Barista to yogurt-server (does not look up from the coffee he is artfully pouring): No.
Yogurt-server to Laura: No.
Laura to (frustratingly idiotic) yogurt-server: I assume the fruit is (gestures to various small bins of fruits, including strawberries, bananas, blueberries, &c.)
So. If you are jealous of the soft-serve frozen yogurt everyone else is eating, get down the Peninsula (public transportation options include Caltrain and SamTrans) to Palo Alto and order Fraîche’s oddly sour vegan version. I advise at least trying it; I also advise limiting your interaction with the employees to the barest minimum, and not eating inside.
(Fraîche is the feminine form of the French adjective for “fresh;” the French word for “yogurt,” yaourt, is masculine; so, if the name of the shop were in reference to its main product—frozen yogurt—it ought to be Frais, “fresh” in the masculine form. But it seems that noun-adjective agreement was not this establishment’s highest priority so much as “foreign word pleasing to the Anglophone ear,” and so instead we have a terrible parenthetical diatribe on French grammar.)
[photo via Fraîche]