vegansaurus!

02/04/2009

Millennium!  »

I have a rule for Millennium. You take me here, I will put out. Whether you like it or not. I’ve made a not-interested-in-ladies-in-that-way friend very uncomfortable after he so politely paid the tab. Basically, you pull out your charge card and I’m knocking shit down, crawling across the table and COMIN’ TO GETCHA! Hot, I know.

Speaking of hot, let’s talk Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day, what is that about exactly? I’ll tell you. It’s about love, showing affection through consumerism, and anal sex. Not necessarily in that order but everyone has to get something out of it. What I’m trying to get at here is that Millennium is the perfect Valentine’s day spot for the vegan vagina in your life. I don’t know why I just typed vegan vagina, it’s like I lost control of my fingers and it just came out. I apologize. This post is about to get a lot less vulgar and a lot more SEXY! Because sex sells and Vegansaurus needs some traffic! SEX!

First sexy thing about Millennium, it’s located in a nice hotel. Restaurants in hotels are always sexy unless it’s the Holiday Inn Kids Eat Free, but I already promised I’d stay away from vulgar. First non-sexy thing about Millennium, the hotel is in the Tenderloin, where crackheads go to die. I’m not just saying that, it’s on maps. It’s depressing in a way that can only be described as mass suffering multiplied by urine plus a meth-head jamboree. Can I get a what-what for city living!?

Second sexy thing about Millennium, they have TheMostAmazing drink menu, often including a vegan white russian! Excellent mixed drinks with vodka they infuse themselves and an extensive beer and wine menu…all vegan, all excellent!

Third sexy thing, Millennium’s staff is sexy and adorable. Second non-sexy thing, not all of the clientele is sexy and adorable. Fourth sexy thing, dim lighting makes everything better!

Fifth sexy thing, THE MENU! It’s mostly seasonal but there are a few standout items on the all-organic menu that you’ll see year-round. The Zaatar and Garlic Spiced Hand-Cut Frittes (that’s fries to the rest of us!) are fucking amazing. YOU MUST GET THEM. Even if you aren’t a fry person (GET AWAY FROM ME!), these things will blow your mind! Sesame Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Mushrooms are a classic on the menu and I love them. I normally am way averse to mushrooms but those little suckers fit the ticket! Right now they’re serving Rancho Gordo Cannelini Runner Beans, which is basically a bruschetta of beans and seitan that is A-MAZING. I could easily make a meal (and often do) of appetizers and drinks. I think those are the best things they offer and it’s a lot cheaper than ordering full meals! Don’t get me wrong, the entrees are often delicious (like the currently offered, Seared Emerald Rice Cake with Indonesian red coconut curry, winter root veggies, lemongrass tofu and all sorts of other yummy things!) but they are more costly, usually ranging from $20-$25 while the appetizers and starters are more like $4-$10 and can be equally filling and provide more flavor combos bang for your buck!

The desserts are always yummy, ranging from their chocolate midnight cake (excellent and always on the menu!) to tiramisu to shortcakes to poached fruits to my favorite (and the cheapest!), The Sweet Ending, which is just some truffles and cookies and is always extra delicious. I’ve spent a couple weeknights as follows: walked into Millennium, sat at the bar, had a beer, the fries and a sweet ending and some excellent conversation with the bartenders and gotten out for $15. High class.

Right now, they are offering a Frugal Foodie deal, because sometimes it’s hard to be extra frivolous and gluttonous when everyone around you is losing their jobs and applying for government cheese and being all poor and depressed and shit. So I thought this was a very classy thing for them to do. Sunday through Wednesday they offer a three-course prix fixe option for $38/person with an optional wine pairing for $12. V. nice!

And in conclusion, please see the first “paragraph” of this review: I’m not wearing any underwear. THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!

12/16/2008

Review: The Front Porch!  »

The Front Porch has got to be the cutest restaurant I’ve ever been in. It’s like a puppy wrapped in a kitten and then sauteed in baby koala oil and served on a blanket of rainbows to a family of Care Bears. In addition to being the cutest, It has a down-home sorta sexy feel to it and you always leave kinda wanting to do it with whoever you came with. So don’t bring an ex-boyfriend you really want to have sex with again to this place because you will end up making a huge mistake. Or having a lot of fun. I guess that depends on your personal code of ethics and how much you hate yourself. Either way, mazel tov! What!

This place is always packed so be prepared to wait on their delightful front porch with one of their amazing, inventive cocktails or some delicious wine in a box (!!!). However, if you get there before 7 p.m., you might not have to wait. I’d say 6:45 is the perfect time to arrive because everyone else is coming at 7. If you do that, you won’t have to wait for a primo booth right in the front room. Sweet!

There are lots of vegetarian and vegan items on the menu and the wait staff is knowledgeable about what things are made with what. They always have a vegan special of the day, which might be a coconut okra stew or a sweet potato medley. Most of the time it is very delicious, except this one time when it was THE FUNK and we sent it back and the waitress took it off the bill and brought us about nine orders of their amazing thick-cut French fries with homemade ketchup as a replacement. Man, their fries are RIDICULOUS. A must-try. Must try nine orders. You also must get a side of the plantain fries if they’re on the menu along with the black bean soup with avocado. The sides are always changing but they make sure to have plenty of vegan-friendly options. If the coconut rice and beans are available, try them. If you’re not into the vegan special, you can easily make a dinner of the sides. A delicious dinner. That and their awesome cocktails and wine-in-a-box selection; this place is the shit.

One complaint: no vegan desserts. This has been known to SEND ME OVER THE EDGE in the past but this last time, the waitress did offer to bring me out the pickled pears sans ice cream. I was a little enticed but decided to head up the hill to Maggie Mudd instead. Hey! Million-dollar Idea: OFFER DELICIOUS MAGGIE MUDD VEGAN ICE CREAM AS AN OPTION! Because it’s not like they are making their own ice cream (it’s Mitchell’s!) and they are already serving lots of vegan options, so it would totally help draw in a larger vegan crowd. I mean, if they want our hot (read: fat) asses in there then they are going to have to put out (read: give me my soy cream, assholes!!!)

So, in conclusion, eat here on a date with someone you want to have sex with. Or just with a friend. Who you want to have sex with. Maybe not your brother or sister. Unless you are from Kentucky. Then whatever, that’s God’s Country, who am I to judge??

[photos via yelp]

11/13/2008

Review: Firefly!  »

My dad took me on a date to Firefly. It was a great date even though my mom came along. Honestly, that is how I feel when I eat out with my parents: it’s me and my dad and the precocious whiny 12-year-old who wants her steak cut into perfect squares or she’ll just DIE! I mean, I practically have to ask for a high chair because she is such a baby. Also, she’s about five feet tall and shrinking so the high chair comes in handy for that too. ANYWAY, despite the fact that we brought crazy town Momma B along for the ride, my dad and I had a lovely time. Sorry, did I say lovely? I meant bizarre.

Ordering with my mom and dad is like watching a figure skater fall. Humiliating. My mom recently announced to the family that she is going vegetarian. I’m kinda like, whatever, because my mom takes on new diets like Mary-Kate Olsen turns down life-sustaining food and beverage. Which is to say, every fucking day. So anyway, my mom is all, “Hmm…what should I GET? Maybe the fish?” and I’m like, “fish isn’t a vegetable,” and she’s all, “oh that’s right, I’m vegetarian now,” and my dad starts laughing hysterically and is all, “YEAH RIGHT! Did she tell you that, Laura? HAHAHA what a liar!” and my mom is all, “oh what are you going to order, JOHN? Bambi?” and my dad is all, “well maybe I will, JOYCE,”* and I’m all, “SHOOT ME IN THE MOTHERFUCKING FACE.”

Everything at Firefly is really, really delicious and there are always a couple of sides that are vegetarian or vegan (or can be made vegan) and at least one vegan entree. The vegan entree the night we went was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Basically, it was phyllo pastry stuffed with all sorts of perfectly cooked vegetables on a pile of perfect rice. My description is horrible but to sum it up, my knees buckled and angels sang; it was like being in heaven without the crappy death part. The vegan dish right now is roasted fall vegetables and sauteed greens with pomegranate salsa, quinoa and Luc’s Indiana green harissa. If brussels sprouts are on the menu, get them. Same with anything made with beets. I will be eating that on Saturday night when I go there on a for real date not with my parents. Moving up in the world!

Oh also, the waitresses are all sex pots and I wanted to mount the busboy at the table. LAURA GROSS WHAT THE STAFF’S ATTRACTIVE!!

So, more recap on actual establishment. Firefly: food is amazing, vegetarian and vegan options (although I wish there were more! C’mon! Give us more, Firefly, and you could be in Lauras for DAYS!) in a very romantical setting. It’s a date place if ever a date place existed. Plus, it’s nice to walk around Noe Valley hand in hand after dinner and count the number of screaming babies and then go home and make sweet love wearing 19 condoms and using a pound of spermicide. You might want to throw on a dental dam or five just in case. Alternately, you can just rip out your uterus and run it over with your car.

Oh and no vegan desserts at Firefly. Boo.

Finally, I must issue a demerit for the following reason:
I’m about to go on an Animal Rights Bender so please pass this enormously long run-on sentence if you can’t handle the HEAT! Firefly says something on the menu that’s like, “The animals that we serve are raised and slaughtered humanely and aren’t pumped full of chemicals and crack cocaine and shit like that,” and while that’s very cute and clever, the animals that they serve were not humanely slaughtered and just…the making light of something like that turns me off. It’s like, those animals gave their lives for you to fucking enjoy your pork tenderloin so don’t fucking make jokes about it. Almost all animals from every farm in the U.S. go to one of the few processing slaughterhouses that are HELLHOLES and they spend their final days scared shitless surrounded by death so really, don’t make a goddamn joke about it, goddammit.

*Ugh, fuck it! They’re both crazy!

[exterior photo via Firefly]

11/12/2008

Review: Universal Cafe!  »

The wait at Universal Cafe for brunch is retarded. I mean, it’s (almost) utterly and impossibly unbearable. I want to cry, I want to scream, I want to murder. On occasion, I may actually start to gnaw on my own hand to curb my painful hunger. Also, if it’s cold out, you better bundle up like the two SUPER-BEAUTIFUL and EXTREMELY HOT ladies in the above photo. The day this photo was taken, we waited for something like 19 hours. I still can’t feel my toes.

Once you get inside, this place is cool. It has a very New York City feel to it…could easily be in Chelsea or some such. They serve a very popular brunch, lunch, and dinner on most days. This is a good place to take your omni friends and family if you want to watch them eat meat in front of you as there are very few vegan options on the menu and honestly, that’s unacceptable. You’re hip, you’re in the Mission, you cater to assholes and guess what? A fair number of assholes in this neighborhood are vegan. I know, I am one. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TOFUTTI, SAN FRANCISCO! Vegans are HERE! We’re QUEER! We’re FABULOUS! DON’T FUCK WITH US! AND MAKE US SOME MOTHERFUCKING BRUNCH BEFORE I HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE BAMBI, KILL YOUR MOTHER AND LEAVE YOU ALONE IN THE WOODS WITH ONLY A DERANGED RABBIT AS YOUR GUIDE. I mean, SHIT. Do I need to take this to the streets? Hasn’t it already been taken to the streets? I will not fucking sit at the back of the fucking bus. I want some fucking tofu scrambles, I want some fucking soy milk and I want some motherfucking Earth Balance. I MEAN, FUCKING A. Why such a reluctance to accept us vegans into your world? Aren’t you after the green, green money, hundred-dollar bills, y’all? I mean, I’ve got money. Most of it’s green. The rest of it is yellow. It’s made by Milton Bradley who, by the by, are HUGE counterfeiters that the government is just sitting back and letting do whatever they want for some reason that is unbeknownst to me. They’re also committing massive amounts of real estate fraud by selling the same properties on Park Place AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. Obviously they are in bed with Cheney but I haven’t had the time to figure it out yet. It’s complicated. Moving on.

As I think I have just clearly demonstrated, most of the great thinkers of all time were at least vegetarian and that’s because they (mostly) weren’t around for the mayhem that is today’s dairy and egg industries. Einstein, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Shaw, Plato, Newton, Van Gogh, the Shelleys, Rilke, Byron. The list goes on and on. As far as vegan, that list is huge and growing. And vegans are fresh, check THIS out. Prince is vegan—and stands two feet tall, looks like a purple-clad alien and STILL sleeps with chicks hotter than you and I will ever land—Alice Walker is vegan, KEVIN NEALON (!!!!) is vegan, Coretta Scott King was vegan, Margaret Cho is vegan, Carl Lewis is vegan, Leonardo da Vinci was vegan!, Dave Davies is vegan, Keenan Ivory Wayans is vegan, MOTHERFLIPPING Weird Al Yankovic IS VEGAN. ARE YOU TOO COOL FOR WEIRD AL??!! This is the man who penned “I’m Fat” and “Amish Paradise.” HAVE SOME FUCKING RESPECT.  

All that (crazily) said…. The chef is lovely enough to always concoct something specially for me and it’s always ridiculous delicious. Often, it’s some sort of hash with potatoes and carrots and YUM. Served with fresh fruit and tasty bread, it’s a perfect meal. The only reason I’m reviewing this place is because their specially made-for-a-vegan item is better than most stuff you can get at other places. How hard would it be to throw that on the menu?? I mean, it’s called, PROGRESS. In San Francisco, in the year 2008, in a fucking too-cool-for-school time and locale, is that too much to ask? If it is, then I’m moving my ass to fucking Des Moines or Duluth or fucking Daly City because why the fuck else do I pay through the keister to live in an über- (faux?) liberal city where forward-thinking, intelligent folks are supposed to be de rigeur? WHY? Where the fucking fuck are my fucking options?!?!? Why am I being treated like a second-class citizen because I have some fucking morals and care about something that’s bigger than, “OMG! Baby! That bacon was SOOOOOO good! I could only eat one bite! I’m SO full!” Also, a special note to the Skinny White Bitch next to me the other day who ordered some huge-ass steak and was pretending to be all down with ordering tons of food because “I don’t know, I can eat whatever I want! My metabolism is through the roof!” Bitch, you piss me the fuck off. I waited on you for four years and you always order the same fucking thing to impress your man and then end up taking two goddamn bites, claim that you are stuffed and then watch as he eats both meals. It makes me SICK! I mean, fuck you. If I ate meat, I would at least have the decency to finish the fucking meal. An animal died for you. UGH!

I mean, FUCK.

Also, I say “fuck” aprox. 520 times in this review. Hi, mom!

Oh yeah, for dinner you’ll be stuck with your classic baby greens salad and fries. They can usually make you a vegan flat bread or pasta dish but it depends. Not reliable and really only a place to go when you’re eating with non-vegans. UNTIL THEY READ THIS REVIEW AND EVERYTHING CHANGES RIGHT UNIVERSAL CAFE?! Universal Cafe is all, “Fuck off!” and I’m all, “I think you’re really pretty.*” and they’re all, “OK, whatever you want, Laura.” and then we ride off into the sunset on a bed of organic, sustainable, vegan menu options! I love it!

*Everyone wants to feel pretty. Even restaurants. This review is out of control. I’m gonna stop typing now.

[top photo by Megan Allison; exterior photo via yelp]

10/30/2008

Review: Rick and Ann’s!  »

Rick and Ann’s is a good breakfast and brunch spot for vegetarians and vegans as the tofu scramble is delicious and they serve a yummy potato hash, made with sweet & white potatoes, sweet bell peppers, corn and apples! I like to get the tofu scramble and substitute the vegetarian hash for the home fries. HOWEVER, I also LOVE the french fries (of the shoestring variety, which you can get for breakfast!) but a word to the wise, the small fries would satisfy fat Oprah, you dig? You get the large and you’re wandering into Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man territory. And i don’t think any of us want that. Especially not these guys.

They also serve lunch and dinner but those are more meals that you would make do with if you had to go out with meat-eaters, not a place for a vegan to dine alone or in the company of other vegans. However, if you’re looking for a place to eat with omnis and you’re in the Claremont district at the Berkeley/Oakland border, it’s a decent choice. You can choose from their veggie chili, portobello mushroom sandwich (ugh, you again), veggie burger (it’s vegan…I believe it’s a boca burger) and a few fancified salads.

One warning. Rick and Ann’s can have some HORENDOUS wait times for tables, especially on the weekends. In fact, one particularly awful Saturday about a year ago, I had to wait 1½ hours for a table. ONE AND A HALF HOURS. It was especially terrible because it forced me to endure the following conversation with my mother:

Picture this: Me (Laura B) and my crazy mom (Crazy Momma B) sitting on a bench in-front of the nearby Peet’s, waiting for a table. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Crazy Momma B: I have to tell you something. It’s a secret, you can’t tell anyone. NOT EVEN YOUR FATHER.
Laura B: Uh, okay?
Crazy Momma B: I mean it, Laura. You can’t tell ANYBODY.
Laura B: You’re pregnant?
Crazy Momma B: Laura, I’m being serious.  

(Please keep in mind that this is how my mom talks when she is about to tell me shit like she and my father are breaking up, and it’s over and he’s keeping the house and she’s going to rent a cute little flat in Berkeley and then I’ll meet her to go look at cute little flat in Berkeley and she’ll be like, “Oh it’s all patched up, let’s go to brunch!” Or say, when she told me she had BOUGHT a HOUSE in PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY without telling my father. All true, I swear to god, as I live and breathe. Anyway, I’m so TIRED of the drama but you can’t very well get out of it when you want a free breakfast, can you?)

Laura B: Fine, Mom, what?
Crazy Momma B: I have $1 million in gold in the basement of the house.
Laura B: (spits out Peet’s coffee): WHAT?!
Cray Cray CRAY-ZAY Momma B: I have been collecting gold on and off for the past 20 years and now I have over $1 million worth of it. I keep it in the basement.
Laura B: WHAT?!
SHE IS FUCKING OUT OF HER GOURD Momma B: I just thought you should know…. You know, in case anything should happen to me.
Laura B: What the fuck is going to happen to you?
C-C-C Momma B: Cool it with the mouth! And you never know, you never know…
Laura B: Are you going to kill yourself? Are there loan sharks after you? Are the going to cut off your legs and feed them to me in a soup?!
C-C-C Momma B: Don’t tell your father.
Laura B: Oh yeah, this isn’t something you should share with YOUR HUSBAND OF 30-PLUS* YEARS.
C-C-C Momma B: Really, I don’t need the attitude, Laura.  

(Laura B practices her deep breathing exercises as advised by therapist)

C-C-C Momma B: Oh don’t pull that new age crap with me, Laura.  
Laura B: I’m gonna go check on our table.
Laura B (around the corner and out of earshot of C-C-C Momma B): And by check on our table I mean call Dad. HA!

So I whip out my phone to call my father and inform him of just how infuckingsane the woman he married is and he says, “Wow. A million? I mean, I knew she’d been collecting—she doesn’t know I know but I know—and I had NO clue it was this much. Time to get her a new life insurance policy. HAHAHA!”**

THIS IS MY LIFE!!! THESE ARE MY PARENTS!!! DO YOU ALL NOW UNDERSTAND HOW AMAZING IT IS THAT I AM A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF OUR SOCIETY OR FOR THAT MATTER, CAN SPEAK IN WHOLE SENTENCES AND DON’T CARRY A DROOL CUP?!

*I say 30-plus because I have no clue how long my parents have been married. Who’s the terrible mom now?!
**At least my dad had the good sense to get the gold moved to a lock box in a bank. Jesus Christ.

[photos via Rick & Ann’s]

10/28/2008

Unexpected vegan finds!  »

A few places in town that are surprisingly vegan-friendly.

1. Pork Store—two locations: one in the Haight; one in the Mission. This is how much San Francisco wants you to be happy: it gives you a diner called the Pork Store and throws a really nice, garlicky tofu scramble on the menu, the “Vegan Delight.” From my numerous times sitting at the counter at the Haight location, I can tell you they use different pans for the tofu.

2. Q—One of only a few places on Clement Street to get non-Asian food, Q is an adorable restaurant: good for brunch, good for dinner, good for dates, good for anything.  For brunch they have a tofu scramble, which they call “Hippy Heaven” and for dinner/lunch they have a grilled vegetable cornucopia called the “Ultimate Vegan Grill.” They also, quite notably, serve tater tots.They have an amazing wine list and serve sangria, so if you really don’t want to eat, you can always just get drunk. None of us will judge you (too much).


3. Casa Mexicana I (in the Castro) and II (in Noe Valley)—we love burritos at Vegansaurus! If you can’t take the greasiness of El Farolito or the long waits at Papalote, Casa Mexicana is a local taqueria chain (I’m certain they’re affiliated with some other taquerias in town, but have no evidence) with some tasty vegan options including lard-free beans, vegetarian rice and tofu ranchero; blocks of tofu covered in wonderful red sauce. Here’s what you do: you get a tofu ranchero burrito with refried beans, add avocado. You go to to the salsa bar, you add roasted tomato salsa and more cilantro. You love everything about life right at that moment.

[photo via yelp]

Review: Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe!  »

Fuck the waitress at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe here for the following conversation:

My mother: Oh this is fun music, is it a Halloween tape?
Hooker Whore Waitress (ROLLS HER M’EFFIN’ EYES AND SAYS): Um, NO, this is The Cramps.
My MOTHER (MOTHER, PEOPLE! AS IN, THIS WOMAN BIRTHED ME, HAVE SOME FUCKING R-E-S-P-E-C-T, RESPECT!): Oh, well, it’s very Halloweeny!
Hooker Whore Waitress: Yeah, well, it’s The Cramps, NOT Halloween music.
Laura: LADY, I WILL MURDER YOU!!!

It’s like, my mother is clearly in her 200s and doesn’t know The Cramps from The Shins from the Elvis, SO FUCKING BE A LITTLE NICE. These ladies need to be sent to charm school or clown college or somewhere where they are fucking taught some g-d manners. In fact, bring me in to school these bitches, they’ll be delivering waffles on a cloud of pirouettes and curtsying after giving you coffee made of dreams and shit like that. I’m all class, people.

Other than that, decent vegan breakfast selections and any of the egg dishes can me made with tofu. They also offer Soyrizo and Morningstar vegetarian (fuck you, Morningstar) sausages. For lunch, you’ll have your normal choices of a few salads and the unexceptional Portobello Mushroom burger. Oh yeah, Boca burgers too. Woo. One exciting thing about the dinner menu is Buffalo Tofu but there isn’t a vegan ranch or anything so you’ll probably be left to dip it in oil & vinegar. Woo.

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, for all of its hipness, still isn’t totally down with the vegans. I never really look forward to eating here; nothing on the menu seems especially made to lure in the veggies. I don’t like that. For its location, atmosphere and its supposed anti-establishment ways, there should be more of an effort made to hook a vegan girl up! One final note: there is one nice chef who will make substitutions in orders and one mean chef who will fucking make no exceptions even if you will die of an allergic reaction due to a certain ingredient in a menu item. He’s all, live with it. Even if you don’t. What an ass.

One extra point for when they let me put flyers of my foster dog named Rudy up all over the place. He’s this really cute blind pit bull and they wallpapered the restaurant with him. It was capital-A Awesome.

[photos via Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe]

10/24/2008

Road Trip: Mineral in Murphys!  »

Okay Bay Area fat-asses, time for a road trip!

Murphys, California is about a two-hour drive from SF, or maybe more if you obey the rules of the road. Not me! I drive like a bat out of hell because YOUR LAWS DO NOT APPLY TO ME, I MUST BE FREE! Also, I have no regard for human life, yours or my own. However, should an animal cross my path, I will cause a 10-car pileup to avoid hitting it. I am a total asshole. Murphys the quaintest, cutest, most adorable, pinch-its-cheeks-and-show-me-where-the-hookers-lived little Gold Rush town in all of creation. I seriously love anything and everything having to do with the Gold Rush. If I could be alive during any other time, I would choose to be Queen Victoria. After that, I would choose to live during the Time of the Unicorns. After that, I would choose to live in a gold-mining town in the Sierra foothills. I would most likely mine billions of dollars’ worth of gold and spend the rest of the day sunbathing and eating bonbons. In the evenings, I would do it with lots of hookers and have shootouts with my twin brother, who looks just like me but is EVIL. My name would be Wild Laura Quick Draw. Seriously, does anyone have a DeLorean?

Anyway, things you expect to find in Murphys are: antiques shops; things with “Frog” in the title (it’s Mark Twain country, baby!); Local Experts on the Gold Rush who might also be Skeevy Old Dudes Who Want to Do It with You; more antique shops; people who collect things like “Mountain Man Doll” (see photo—it’s great); wineries, a.k.a. FREE ALCOHOL; and more antiques shops. Oh, and a few cowboy/biker bars because rape was really big during the Gold Rush. Listen, I never said history was pretty.

One thing you might not expect to find is ONE OF THE BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS I’VE EVER EATEN AT. Jigga what? THAT IS CORRECT. Jigga who? YOU HEARD.

Mineral is an intimate (read: hella teeny tiny), super-cute vegetarian restaurant right on Murphys’ Main Street. Yes, it is called Main Street. I told you this town is fucking adorable. Inside, it gets even better. The lighting is amazing, even dogs* would look super-hot in this space. It has an exposed kitchen so you can watch the chef do his thing, and his thing is making the most goddamned delicious food you ever sunk your fat face into! Some of the food was so good, words failed me. It’s kinda like a fancified California Cuisine, I guess? My menu favorites were the Red Miso and Mexican Lime Bisque with House Made Smoked Tofu, Potato Coriander Seitan in a Hemp Fondue with Chive Oil, and Indian-Spiced FRIED CHOCOLATE. HELLO! Everything is vegetarian and most everything on the menu is vegan or can be made vegan. I went to dinner with some talkative bitches but I’m telling you, the entire meal was basically silent with the exception of a few “HOLY SHIT!”s.  I don’t know how to grammatically work “HOLY SHIT”s out so I’m moving on.

Afterward, the chef and waitress/hostess/co-owner sat with us and shared some wine and we talked about how amazing they are. They are both completely down to earth and sweet and welcoming and fantastic. It’s not the cheapest place I’ve ever eaten but it’s on point with the other nice restaurants in the area, and when you see the quality of the organic, local ingredients they use, it’s more than reasonable. Apparently the lunch is off the hook too with the best homemade veggie burgers on EARTH. I tried to get back but didn’t make it out of bed on time and they close at 3 p.m. for lunch. WHAT? I WAS ON VACATION.

If you are a veggie or vegan or AWESOME in the Bay Area or Sacramento (it’s only about an hour from Sacto and don’t you want to get the fuck out of Sacramento anyway?!), I definitely advise a road trip up to this area with a must stop at Mineral for both lunch and dinner. Also, if you bring a lady friend, you will totally get laid. Just saying.

*ugly people, not real dogs, that is a health code violation!

[photos by the author]

10/07/2008

Review: Weird Fish!  »

Weird Fish. OK. First, their mascot is a fat mermaid. DOPE. Second, they have lots of vegan options, including vegan fish and chips (made with either tofu or tempeh!) on a bed of regular and sweet potato fries, seitan buffalo wings (WHAT) and deep-fried green beans (WHAT) and pickles (WHAT) with vegan dipping sauce (WHAT) and c) THEIR MASCOT IS A FAT MERMAID. I love me a fat mermaid. I want this bitch to have a smackdown with Ariel in the 24th Little Mermaid and possibly eat her and then turn the prince not gay. Because the prince is about as butch as these fools having an orgy with these fools. Sorry, I know this is a blog about eating and now I’m about to make you lose your lunch.

Oh, they also serve a really great brunch on the weekends. They have a specific tofu scramble but you can substitute tofu in any of the egg dishes instead. Vegan bacon, vegan sausage and vegan CHEESE (I believe it’s Follow Your Heart) They even have vegan pancakes!!! SO EXCITING!!! It’s so great to go to brunch and be able to eat something more than dry oatmeal with a side of hunger pains and/or hep C. I’m looking at you, dirty-ass IHOP.

A few more things: This place is a good date restaurant but not great for groups, as it is very tiny. Be prepared for a wait most nights; you can sit at their TEENY TINY bar in the back of the restaurant or wait outside with your wine at the bus stop, like a hobo. Speaking of wonderful alcohol, they have a small but good wine and beer list, no hard liquor. Their desserts are weak and expensive, skip them and walk or hop on the bus up Mission Street to Maggie Mudd instead for a deeeeelicious sundae of deliciousness.

[photo via yelp]

10/03/2008

New restaurant alert: Loving Hut!  »

Via Eater SF, apparently a new vegan restaurant is opening up in Chinatown! It’s called Loving Hut. I took a look at the menu, and it appears to be a faux-meat bonanza, Chinese style, a favorite of the Vegansaurus gang! The dinner menu has a few nods to the “HK-style” Chinese cafe (a Chinese restaurant that also serves American dishes), so it has stuff like spagetti and a “tofu club sandwich” in addition to the standard variety of noodle and rice dishes.

Who are these people? They are the “fastest-growing International vegan fast food chain in the world.” This new Chinatown location appears to be their seventh. The copy on their website is already pretty great. They say: “At Loving Hut, all dishes are prepared free of animal ingredients (vegan) and served lovingly, in a graciously decorated, pure and peaceful environment, giving one a heavenly feeling.”

We will see how heavenly it makes us feel when they open up on Saturday, Oct. 11!

Update: True to form, an intrepid Yelper has already reviewed the place, even though they haven’t even opened! The reviews for their Milpitas location seem very promising, so I’m even more excited to have another venue for fake meat Chinese in the city!

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