YOU GUYS. This is so awesome, it’s a peek inside the new Cinnaholic location in Berkeley, right next to where the new Saturn Cafe will be. I am seriously creaming my shorts. LAURA GROSS SHORTS ARE SO UNFLATTERING. I know.
Liguria Bakery! »
Liguria bakery in North Beach is one of those places in San Francisco that not a whole lot of San Franciscans seem to know about. Maybe it’s that so many San Franciscans sort of shun North Beach, leaving it to the tourists and the peep-show perverts; maybe it’s that it’s just out of the way. Whatever the reason, vegans in San Francisco would do well to remember its name, because Liguria makes the BEST focaccia bread ever, and it is awesome.
Before you hit up this mythical North Beach bread paradise, however, you should be aware of a couple things: 1) Liguria does pretty much ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY (though it does it in about nine flavors), and that thing is big-ass pieces of focaccia bread. You can get a slice that’s about the size of a piece of standard copier paper for between four and five bucks depending on the kind you want. It will feed you for a day if all you want to eat is bread (and believe me, you DO). 2) They open early (8 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends), and they close when they sell out. This also tends to be early, so get there before 11 a.m. if you don’t want your trip to be for nothing! 3) The ladies who work here are mean as fuck. I’m sure they’re really nice in real life when they’re not serving the hordes of North Beach frat boy tourists or tourists looking for “The Real San Francisco,” but even if you’re really nice and say “could I please have a piece of the olive focaccia please” with about 80 extra “pleases” thrown in, they will look you up and down with a look of pure hatred and only reluctantly get you your order (which is totally fine with me—I like when service people are able to express their hatred of customers—but if you’re easily offended, you’d best steel yourself). 4) They only take cash, so don’t be that jerk who can’t read the sign and then creates a bunch of hassle for everyone!
When I was there, I had a piece of the olive focaccia and the garlic focaccia, and both were completely insane. I’d been told to try the pizza variety, but I panicked and couldn’t remember if it had cheese on it or not (and didn’t want to ask), so I missed out, but for future reference, I can assure you that the pizza focaccia IS VEGAN—it’s basically tomato sauce on bread. Anyway, the bread is fluffy and soft, but not so soft it falls apart. The edges are a little crunchy in the best possible way, and the toppings are flavorful and generously applied.
There’s not a whole lot else I can say except that it’s definitely worth the trip up to North Beach (grab some xox truffles while you’re at it) and the fat ass. Go get it, vegans!
Road trip: Babycakes in LA! »
Babycakes has always been a staple of my New York living experience. Whenever I buy a new pair of shoes at Mooshoes, I always pop over to Babycakes to see what’s cookin’ (or bakin’, to be precise). I’m kind of miffed that the mostly gluten-free, vegan bakery offers dairy creamer for their coffee (I mean, soy creamer, coconut milk creamer, rice milk, almond milk— there are thousands of alternative milks out there that don’t involve the exploitation of animals!!!!), but they sure as shit know how to pound out some delicious goods. My hips, thighs, and butt are even more miffed that I have such an affinity for Babycakes’ delicious, decadent cupcakes—red velvet, anyone?!
Upon hearing that a new Babycakes was slated to open in LA today, I knew KNEW I had to haul ass (21 miles to be exact) to make it to the opening. And boy, am I glad I did. Erin McKenna was there (pictured in super-stalker fashion), in the flesh not two feet away from me icing some beautiful cupcakes. “Hi, I’m Brianna and I live in New York and I love Babycakes and I love you,” I gushed to her. She’s super-sweet and amazing and I was so happy to be in her presence. So, how does the LA location stack up to the NYC one?
LA is super-spread out, and although downtown is being gentrified, it’s still pretty inconvenient for most people in the Valley, in the beach communities (Santa Monica, Venice), in the UCLA area, etc. Babycakes LA is in an unassuming space in downtown, in the Historic Core district, where parking is scarce (and expensive!). The space itself is fairly large and much more open than the Lower East Side location in New York—but I think it loses some of its charm in that respect. The old-fashioned feel you get from Babycakes NYC just didn’t translate to its new West Coast locale. No more wooden barstools or cutesy decor; on the flip side there’s more room to breathe and sit and enjoy the goods: there are about three tables inside, and some sitting space outside.
As for the food, I’m fairly sure the baked goods in LA are more delicious than the original. I went with my mom and we practically cleaned out the place: four mini brownie bites (two filled, two unfilled), a cinnamon sugar donut, two cupcake tops, corn bread, a cinnamon toastie with cranberries, and some coffee. Out of all of the food sampled (read: devoured), my mom and I agreed that the cinnamon sugar donut was the most delicious. Almost churro-y in flavor and texture, the old-fashioned shape gave this donut some scrumptious charm. In the 20 minutes we were there, an entire tray of three dozen donuts completely sold out—they’re quite the popular menu item, apparently! The NYC donuts I tried about a month ago have NOTHING on the LA versions. The rest of the baked goods were, of course, delicious. The cornbread was moist and flavorful, the oozing chocolate brownie bites were decadent (but appropriately sized), the cupcake tops cut down on calories and gave you the good stuff (it was basically a sliver of cake with a huge dollop of yummy YUMMY icing) and even though the coffee was mediocre, I still enjoyed it—mostly because the whole place put me in a great mood. Pictured is someone else’s order: a chocolate chip cookie sandwich, a brownie bit (yum), and two donuts, the cinnamon sugar (!!!!!!!!) and chocolate.
Overall, Babycakes LA was worth the trek. I exited the shop feeling like a lardass, and it was then that I knew the bakery had done its job. Hopefully, its semi-obscure location, at 130 East 6th St., won’t deter people from frequenting the adorable shop, but only time will tell. I believe the shop is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
[All photos by Brianna]
Sugar Plum Vegan is selling some bomb-ass vegan cinnamon rolls at Rainbow! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Or not like 10 days old. What is up with Rainbow and leaving baked goods out forever?! Ah well, the fact that they provide for the vegans, and my ever expanding ass-ular region, is reason enough for me to not talk shit. AND STILL I RISE.
Update on SF Vegan Bakery! Verrrrry Mysterious… »
YOU GUYS. This email just came in from SF Vegan Bakery TO OUR VERY OFFICIAL VEGANSAURUS EMAIL ACCOUNT WE ARE LIKE A REAL BUSINESS:
As you have mentioned on the blog (thank you!), San Francisco’s 1st Vegan Bakery is coming soon! We’re just about to start the building process, but what we need are a few handy veg-friendly folks to get things going, so we can get our doors open ASAP & stay within our budget. If you know of any plumbers, contractors, construction specialists, architects, or others who may be able to help us out, please get them in touch with us. People who will do partial trade for sweets are great, but we’re open to all qualified folks who want to help a group of vegans out who are looking to show the city how delicious cruelty-free sweets can be!
Thanks so much, SF Vegan Bakery
Who can step up and help these mysterious fools!? WE NEED OUR VEGAN BAKED GOODS AND WE NEED THEM YESTERDAY.
Also, I’m still reallllllly hoping this is in the Mission. PLEASE GOD. Anyway, email them immediately, I’ve been waiting long enough and am VERY HUNGRY.
San Francisco’s FIRST (storefront!!) VEGAN BAKERY! »
Okay, we’re only in rumor stages here, folks, but word on the street is that these people are in the process of signing a lease and making all of our FIRST STOREFRONT VEGAN BAKERY IN SAN FRANCISCO piggy dreams come true. They have a website, a twitter account and my undying affection if they can get that bitch open in time for my birthday. WHICH WILL BE EVERYDAY WHEN THERE’S A VEGAN BAKERY I CAN WALK INTO AND BUY A BIRTHDAY CAKE ALL WILLY NILLY SPUR OF THE MOMENT AND SHIT. Oh joy, thy name is easily attained vegan baked goods!
The thought. It’s almost too much.
Oh well, we can pass the time waiting for them to PLEASE GOD OPEN by guessing what neighhorhood the bakery will call home. It looks like they’ll be blacking the losers out until there’s only one left standing, survivor style. I like. Also, pleassssssssse let it be The Mission. Please, please, please…
Breakroom Cafe! »
Somewhere in my brain there exists a template for the ideal vegan restaurant. I can’t tell you exactly what it is because I don’t totally know myself. Somewhere in the intersection between Candle 79 in New York, and Paradox Cafe in Portland, perhaps? Does that even make sense?
The Breakroom Cafe, I’m sorry to say, is not that perfect restaurant. I kinda psyched you out with that first paragraph though, right? Well, it’s not and here’s why. First, it isn’t completely vegan. On the bright(er?) side, it’s entirely vegetarian and just about everything on the menu is vegan or easily veganizable, although they do charge extra for a switch to vegan cheese or soy milk (boo!) This by no means detracts from its awesomeness—this is not a negative review!—as they still manage to hit several of my vague notions squarely on the head.
Point One: Delicious sandwiches, large variety of. Like Ike’s in San Francisco, Breakroom offers up some fantastic vegan sandwiches that go above and beyond a PB&BO-RING. Unlike Ike’s, they’re not looking to reinvent the wheel here with crazy new flavor combinations. Instead, they feature old standards like a two-layer club sandwich or turkey and bacon on truly excellent breads. The meatball sub features really good homemade meatballs, too! For an extra $2.25, you can get the sandwiches with a side of excellent vegan potato salad that they make there. The potato salad is pretty crazy, it’s like the insides of a spring vegetable masala dosa from Udupi Palace did it with your typical mayo-full picnic potato salad and produced the most marvelous baby. A whiz kid, if you will.
Point Two: Delicious pastries, homemade. Everything in the pastry case is vegan, which includes—along with your standard Black China cupcakes—homemade cheesecake, cookies, and an amazing pumpkin roll deal that is just pudding/sponge cake delectability.
Point Three: Soup! I have not tried this yet, but another patron was having a bowl, and it looked right up my alley.
Point Four: It’s within walking distance of public transportation, only a few blocks from the 12th St. Bart station in Oakland. It’s also between the Oakland FiDi and Chinatown so it’s great, convenient eating for business people and Chinese folks alike!
Also working in their favor are the facts that they are cute and small and have a rooster on their sign, which I’m guessing is a leftover from whatever restaurant was previously in the building. Genius move to keep that!
Points Five through Ten are on the wishlist, and all involve a deep fryer.