Two new vegan restaurants in Oakland! Woohoo! »
This is all basically second hand information and I’m no journalist (FOOLED YOU!) so I’m leave it up to you fine people to check it out and let us know what’s up! Deal? Deal!
Okay, lez go:
1) Nature Vegetarian Restaurant, 1116 Franklin (between 11th and 12th), (510) 238-9688. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It opened sometime in last few weeks and it’s possibly all vegan. Looks like some real competition for Golden Lotus! I wonder if it’s cult-owned? It looks like maybe not. It’s Chinese-gluten style. Tasty!
2) Banana Soy Vegan Restaurant, 416 15th (between Broadway and Franklin), (510) 272-4700. Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. It’s all vegan (!!!) Vietnamese food (YES!) and isn’t Ching Hai-related (YES!). The menu looks delicious and imma be all up in it later this week. And look, it says vegan on the banner! We have to support them!
Both restaurants are super close to the 12 Street BART station in Oakland, so no excuses! Let’s eat!
Man, this area of Oakland is just pregnant with vegan food, isn’t it? I’m so sorry for that sentence that’s half-disgusting and half-delicious. But really, PREGNANT WITH IT.
Jasmine Tea House has reopened! And they have Sesame Meatless Chicken! »
We love Jasmine Tea House very much, and when it closed, we were very sad. BUT NOW! We can be happy again because it’s reopened! Apparently it’s under new ownership and the mind-blowing Sesame Meatless Chicken isn’t on the actual menu, BUT the wonderful We Built This City let us know that you can order it off-menu! Do that because when you do shit like that, you look like a total boss. I DON’T NEED A FUCKING MENU, SON.
Also, if you are craving the original Jasmine Tea House tastiness, I BELIEVE the old owners currently operate Big Lantern on 16th Street in the Mission. They have some damn delicious vegan dim sum and all kinds of meatless chickens! Plus, they deliver all over San Francisco and honestly, that’s probably how you want to eat it because when you dine in, it’s just a sad flurry of to-go orders flying out around you.
However, if you want to have pretty much an entire restaurant to yourself when you eat, then head to Big Lantern! Actually, I’ve totally talked myself into going to lunch there, I love dining alone! You can gorge yourself AND you don’t have to look another person in the eye—my two favorite things!
Eating vegan in the South Caucasus: pastry from Luca Polare, and tofu from Picasso! »
I went to Tbilisi last weekend; it’s a pretty all-right city. Maybe if my semester of “volunteering” here in Georgia hadn’t totally burned me out, I’d appreciate it more, but never mind my bad attitude. If you’re ever in the area (ha), definitely spend a few days in Tbilisi. The people-watching is amazing, and if the weather’s nice I highly recommend drinking some cheap beer in a park. If you act extra-ridiculous, the police officers will applaud you.
This is vegan apple strudel from a gelato cafe called Luca Polare in old Tbilisi (34 Leselidze St.). It’s adorable. They had two vegan items in their case, and I bought them both and shared them with a bunch of my omnivore pals later; they loved them too. It’s good to get confirmation from disinterested parties, as being deprived of vegan cuisine for so long can make you believe everything you’re eating is the best thing ever.
This is (most of) a cherry tart. Isn’t it the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? The filling was quite delicious. I took these pictures with a Blackberry, because I left my actual camera’s USB cord at home! I’m forgetful! We’re lucky I remembered to photograph these little treats at all before they were devoured, frankly. Lots of drinking in Georgia! It’s the birthplace of wine!
And bonus! Two reviews in one. More vegan food in Georgia, freaks!
It’s “doufu” from a Chinese restaurant in Tbilisi! Nearly all of us from the February 15 volunteer group met up for one last time together in Georgia (awwwww) and on Friday night we ate at this Chinese place—I believe it’s Picasso—that had like four tofu dishes in its “vegetables” section. AMAZING. Two of my friends and I split three dishes, and one of them was this tofu and it was so good, oh man. Those green things are totally cucumbers! There were also peanuts! Everyone at the table who tried it was totally envious of us and our bean curd, which was the first I’ve had since February 12, oh I miss it so much you guys.
[Thanks to Gina Catallo for the photo!]
Road Trip: Ding How in Davis! »
Public service announcement: Davis, Calif.—Sacramento’s hippie cousin, home of Aggies and bike lanes—has some great vegan eats. We’ve yet to review any of it here on the ‘saurus, but that changes RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, bitches, with a visit to Ding How.
Don’t be fooled by the sign outside: Ding How is not a cleaners. Praise be, because if it were I would not have been able to fill my belly with vegan Chinese food.
The atmosphere of this spot is pretty standard strip-mall Chinese (guess what, I’m the year of the dog!). But things start to get crazy as soon as they bring you a menu.
Note the words “Vegetarian Cuisine” on the cover. That’s right folks, they have a whole separate vegetarian menu, a parallel universe to the meat they also serve. This means you get to pretend you’re eating at a vegetarian restaurant even though you’re not, and you don’t even have to LOOK at the meat options. If you’ve got cranky carnivore friends with you, maybe try to slip them the veggie menu—they might not even know the difference! We’re so sneaky, that’s totally the way to change the world, right? Lies lies lies!
Do be careful though: plenty on the menu isn’t vegan, and the Vegetarian Bowl soup has fish balls in it. The good news is that the chef and wait staff (woo, Kathleen!) are good at answering questions and know that “vegan” doesn’t mean you’re from some sci-fi planet or whatever.
We started off with a large order of the hot and sour soup (vegan if you ask). Not only was the soup thick, pungent, and ass-kicking, it also had little strips of chewy protein in it. The large was enough for probably five or six people as an appetizer. Win!
Then, being solid gluttons, we got three entrees for three people. I hear the Mandarian fried shrimp are like crack, but due to a supplier snafu they were not available during our visit. You should probably order them though.
Instead, we settled for General Tso’s Chicken, Ginger Beef, and one of the house specialities, Oyster Mushrooms with Soft Tofu.
Chicken = must-have winner. Not too saucy, the perfect amount of chewy in each bite.
Ginger beef was also good, with jerky-like little strips and strips of real ginger.
The only disappointment of the evening was the mushroom dish. Though it looked sexy, the soft tofu was flavorless and the fried coating slimed off the outside. Don’t order that one unless you’re obsessed with mushroom, ok?
All that awesome food and the total only came to $35. There’s a lunch menu with even more value-filled specials. Conclusion: If you be in Davis, eat these foods.
Loving Hut in Inner Sunset to open THIS SATURDAY! »
Hey guys! We reported on it going in and now we have word that it’s opening on Saturday, Dec. 18! As in, TOMORROW! Er, or it might be Sunday. EITHER WAY, it’s this weekend.
Who’s going?? Drumsticks for all!
That’s Ching Hai, calling in an order of drumsticks to go for me.
[thanks for the heads-up, Hugh!]
NEW SF VEGAN RESTAURANT ALERT! San Francisco’s third Loving Hut is going in on at 524 Irving St. (at 6th Avenue) in the Inner Sunset. The location used to house Minh Tri, a Vietnamese joint that we’re told was “grody.” Whether you love Ching Hai or hate that crazy, crazy biznatch, more vegan dining is pretty cool. Plus, awesome spring rolls.
We’ll update you as soon as we get word on actual opening date, which involves one of you emailing us that info. Real Journalism.
You know how, as a vegan, there are certain places you don’t even bother to check out because you already know there’s nothing for you? Like ‘The Meat Hut’ or ‘The Cheese Shack’ or whatever? You might think MilkShake Werks in Redwood Shores is kind of like that, but you’d be making a huge mistake! Because…VEGAN MILKSHAKES! Yay! SIDE NOTE: Actually, you might think all of Redwood Shores is kind of like that. It’s mostly a big tangle of housing developments that sprang up south of Redwood City after Marine World moved away; on first glance not a lot of exciting vegan potential. But again, huge mistake! More on that later.
First, MilkShake Werks and their delicious VEGAN MILKSHAKES! The shop has been there for a while, but we only found out about the vegan shakes recently—surprise! We zoomed over and ordered chocolate-chocolate chip, which was the vegan flavor the owner made that morning. All the ice cream is handmade from scratch (not delivered in bulk by some stinky truck) using plenty of local ingredients. There’s always at least one vegan option, but the available flavors are determined by what got made most recently, so call and check if there’s a flavor you MUST have. Anyway, back to the shakes: we were sooo happy. Haven’t had a “real” milkshake in years and years, and this more than lived up to the memory. It was thick but not TOO thick–-easily drinkable through a straw, no problem. Lots of yummy speckles of dark chocolate throughout. Special bonus: the shakes are served in Greenware cups that are actually made from plants, so no plastic or Styrofoam guilt there.
Once we figured out they had vegan ice cream, I starting nosing around and other possibilities opened up as well. They’ll make vegan ice cream cakes! You can have a regular sized one or a cute little one that serves 4 to 6. Also, the hot fudge isn’t vegan (boo) but the chocolate sauce is, so you can even pig out on vegan banana splits. Nice.
From 4 to 6 p.m. every day is Milkshake Happy Hour-–20 percent off — and they’re always hosting special events like the “Shake It” Milkshake Drinking Contest this Saturday (July 31). The owner says the vegan ice cream has been a hit so far, so keep sending them love!
Now, let’s say that for some reason you consider a milkshake or banana split to be merely dessert? There are tons of meal options in easy walking distance. You could try:
Yeah! Chinese: The menu has a vegan-meat section, subbing in faux pork, beef, fish or chicken in some classic dishes, but that’s just a starting point – they’ll veganize almost anything on the menu. Definitely try the (vegan) sweet-and-sour pork if you’re eating with die-hard meat-eaters and want to fool them. It’s so realistic we freaked out the first time and demanded proof that it was really fake (it is.) Or if faux meat isn’t your thing, they have a big selection of veggie-based main courses also.
Or how about Ike’s Place: Yes, I said Ike’s Place! Almost no one knows about their Redwood Shores location because it’s tucked in an office building and is phone-order only, but no problem–-just call from the parking lot then stroll in for the BEST VEGAN SANDWICHES EVER. (You may have to duck in to grab a copy of their huge menu first.) Just try not to hog all the soy cheese because they sometimes run out, OK? I want some too.
Or Amici’s: Yes, a Redwood Shores location! Their vegan pizza used to be kind of meh, and now is great because they switched to Daiya cheese. And their pizza sauce has no hidden meat–-only tomatoes, basil, garlic and salt–-so you can go ahead and order any pizza you want, just ask for the vegan cheese. Yum yum yum.
Thanks to writer/illustrator/vegan/feral cat feeder/Vegansaurus reader Rhonda for this fabulous write-up on what to do in Redwood Shores! If you want to highlight your town and let readers know about what the vegan options are, holler at your dino! Or your other dino! All of the dinos are here to serve you. I actually think this is kind of a rad idea because we can’t fully cover all the vegan options in the Bay Area, so if we’ve neglected your slice of the Bay, we want to know!
Vegansaurus NYC: Tiengarden! »
Another day in New York, another vegan restaurant! I ventured out of Brooklyn to meet my pal Brittany in her neighborhood, the Lower East Side. OMG my big day in the city! We were searching for a place by her apartment and with the help of Happy Cow and SuperVegan, we decided on Tiengarden. It’s completely vegan and the internets are calling it Chinese food but I felt like it was kind of Thai (the lovely Brittany agrees), but maybe I’m a racist.
We shared spring rolls and they were adequate. I’m like a spring roll ninja (why’s it got to be a ninja Megan? Racist!) so you can’t just come at me with any old thing, but they were enjoyable. Brit (an omni) got the stir-fried noodles and she liked it, but says it was a little oily. But dude, she was totally into it. She was even talking about becoming a vegan but she didn’t really have any other reason besides liking the stir-fried noodles. I was like, homegirl, it takes commitment! It’s like on America’s Next Top Model, you can’t roll in on day one thinking you’re Tyra! You can’t even smile with your eyes!
Whaaaaaat was I talking about? Ah yes, nuggets! Well, I was about to. I had T11, the special nuggets with peanut curry sauce. Boy were those nuggets special! I think they were deep-fried chunks of tofu—I can get down with that. There were also zucchini, broccoli and other veggies along with some sort of brown rice. I’m a peanut sauce enthusiast and the more it tastes like peanut butter, the better. This sauce was excellent, very peanut-buttery (not thick like it, just the taste). If you like that spicy non-peanut-buttery peanut sauce, you are out of luck.
Other things to note: they have lots of desserts available but I didn’t try any because I had places to be (I’m a big-city girl now!) but they looked good. I’ll definitely have to try the carrot cake next time—cake is my favorite vegetable! Oh and they didn’t have regular soda but Brittany got this Chinese cola thing and now she’s all about it. It’s like, there goes Brittany with that Chinese cola! Sheesh, if I had a nickle…etc.
Restaurant review: Spices 3 in Oakland! »
Have you been to Spices? You shouldn’t have to think. With dishes like “Numbing Spicy Salad Noodle”, this Chinese mouth-on-fire hole-in-the-wall is hard to forget. My location of choice, nestled in the depths of Oakland’s Chinatown seems like an unlikely contender for vegan options, but to the contrary… I think they love us.
The menu is chock-full of carefully marked vegetarian items, of such volume and variety that a decision was HELLA hard to come by. We got the vegetarian chow mein (by default made with eggless noodles!) and IT WAS SPICY! I’ve never had a chow mein so HAWT. Come to think about it, I’ve never had one that was so delicious.
We also ordered a tofu vegetable curry, which came out on fire (literally) and it was pretty tasty. It might make you sweat a little. It is worth noting that they know how to cook tofu much better than I do.
But it got really exciting when I caught a glimpse of “fried tofu snowed in garlic”. They really did snow it in garlic. The tofu was crispy and it was delicious. I just want to encourage you not to eat a chunk of the fried garlic when your friend dares you. You’ll be off aromatic root vegetables for a week.
Anyway, they give you complimentary tea, the prices are low, the food is plentiful. And they’ve got three locations—conveniently titled Spices!, Spices! 2, and Spices! 3—two in San Francisco at 294 8th Ave. and 291 6th Ave., and one in Oakland at 369 12th St. Go! Get sweaty!