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]
Review: Jasmine Tea House! »
Jasmine Tea House is where Bill Clinton gets his delivery from when he’s in town and if you couldn’t tell it by looking at him, the Big Dog knows from food. Also, if you couldn’t tell it by looking at him, you need some glasses. Anyway, Jasmine Tea House has the absolute best fake chicken in all of San Francisco. I make this statement and I’m prepared to back it up. Preferred method of backing it up = my fists. There are a limited number of preparations of the magical meatless chicken listed under the vegetable section of the menu but they can veganize any of the chicken dishes. You absolutely MUST get the sesame fake chicken. Trust me. My omni friends like it even better than real chicken because they say it doesn’t have all the funky gristly parts and is instead, perfect chicken-like cubes of deep fried and sauced perfection! Just typing this, my mouth is begins to water for it. That is not a lie. And all I have is this nasty Luna bar. God is not good.
In addition to the glorious meatless chicken, the Singapore noodles are delicious and I also recommend the garlic spinach and the pea shoots if you want a meal with something other than fry. Pussy. They deliver anywhere in San Francisco and you get a free (gross) chow mein or free (gross) fried rice with any order over $15. They can substitute the chow mein or fried rice with plain white or brown rice if you ask and I highly recommend that because the chow mein and fried rice are GROSS.
Now, onto the employees. They’re mainly awesome, occasionally grumpy and sometimes incompetent city. One particularly frustrating evening, I ordered delivery and found that my fake chicken was indeed real chicken. Freaked out, I called back and went through an entire 20 minutes of arguing over whether or not I ordered fake chicken and then whether or not what I had was real or fake chicken. Listen, bitch. I know what I ordered because this is how I order fake meat at a restaurant that also serves real meat:
"I’d like the fake vegetarian vegan fake meatless chicken dish made with fake vegan meatless fake chicken."
YOU FEEL ME???
Don’t argue with me about what I ordered, just send over the correct order right now because I’m FUCKING STARVING. And while this was a devastating, shitty event for me, it was a truly special night for my dog Hazel who eats and loves the vegan dog food I feed but was more than happy to tuck into a bowl of lemon chicken. MY OWN CHILD-DOG. Ugh, sometimes I’m so disappointed with her lack of will power. She’ll never get into Harvard at this rate!
[Jasmine Tea House photos via its website]
Review: Maggie Mudd! »
One time when I thought I was giving up sweets for Lent, before I realized that because no one holds me to particular religious beliefs anymore, I don’t have to go through the motions of abiding by the behavioral dictates of a particular time of year (sorry, Jesus; I’m done), my boyfriend took me to Maggie Mudd for one last stomach-filling sugar binge, ostensibly to tide me over until Palm Sunday.
During dinner, I had the aforementioned epiphany, leading my boyfriend to note that this was not getting me out of an enormous ice cream sundae. As if I needed to be talked into it. What’s up, gluttony. We ate at a mediocre Italian place up the street (review to come later, mediocre Italian place with a misleading menu), and then walked down the Cortland Street hill a bit to the teeny little nook that is Maggie Mudd’s storefront.
We walked in, and we stared. We stared and stared and stared. Look, I said, Look at all the sundaes they can make vegan! Look at all the varieties of soy- and coconut-milk ice cream! O the anticipation. Nationally available vegan ice cream is generally, well, off. If it doesn’t have a weird soy aftertaste, it’s grainy, or more icy than creamy, or any other of the myriad problems you can have with food imitation. The best soy-cream product I’d had before our venture to Bernal Heights was Tofutti Cuties, and those things are so full of weird chemicals and saturated fats you might as well be eating Kraft Dinner with a bacon spoon.
Right, so, the flavors, they seemed limitless. The sundaes, decadent. I had the Tarmack, a peanut-butter-chocolate-cookie bits concoction with peanut butter and chocolate syrups. I couldn’t finish it, though heaven knows I wanted to. I let my boyfriend slurp up the last melty bits of it and wished I were as bottomless a pit.
Their lemon-poppyseed coconut-milk-based ice cream is perfection in the realm of non-sorbet frozen citrus desserts. They make the (blessedly) vegan waffle cones in front of you so they are hot when you get them and cool and harden in your hand while the ice cream gently melts.
Minus points for the “non-dairy” whipped topping, which seemed suspect. Of course it could have been the gorging that gave me and my boyfriend both upset stomachs, but you never know with dairy. It’s sneaky and totally out to get you. Plus points for the pints being (nearly) as good as the ice cream in-house. Minus points to every grocery store that doesn’t carry it, though I don’t think that’s Maggie Mudd’s fault. Minus points to their in-store packed pints costing an exorbitant $7—is a pint of a commercially unavailable flavor like fresh blueberry worth that much? A million billion plus points for their cakes, which are endlessly customizable, reasonably priced, and quite lovely.
[photo by Friend of Vegansaurus Melisser, the Urban Housewife!]
Review: Zante Pizza! »
So I talked about Panhandle Pizza yesterday which is more of a traditional itsanice pizzzapie (that’s Italian for “nice pizza pie”) and today we are going to cross the globe (actually, we’re going vertical across the globe, I think. I’m no linguist) to EXOTIC and MYSTERIOUS India, land of Bollywood and Mohinder. Zante Indian Restaurant and Pizzeria is fucking great. They incorporate two of my favorites, pizza and Indian food, into one mega-food: THE INDIAN PIZZA. It’s basically Indian food on a regular pizza crust. It’s not naan, as some people suggest, it’s actual thin-crust pizza. They also make isanice pizzzapie but why fuck with that nonsense when you can get delicious INDIAN PIZZA?! Save yourself the trouble of thinking and order The Best Indian Pizza, Vegan, which comes topped with spinach, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions and cilantro. It’s magical. Even if that doesn’t sound good to you, it will taste good to you. You can also order other kinds of indian food if you’re feeling unadventurous and lame. The samosas are pretty good.
You can eat in or call in an order for delivery OR you can order online at their site (they deliver ANYWHERE in the city!) but please note, the delivery will most likely take twice as long as they quote. It’s because they’re on Indian time. WHAT? AM I NOT RIGHT? IN ADDITION TO BEING A HUGE RACIST? Whatever, I can say that because I did it with an Indian dude once so I think that makes me an expert on all things Indian, OK? Also, one of my best friends is Indian. Or Mexican. Actually, I’m not sure. Her name is Anna but she’s an engineer—VERY CONFUSING. And she’s cheap and drives an El Camino. I mean, I honestly don’t know.
I could do this all night.
[photo via yelp]