As previously reported, a Loving Hut is coming to Union Square. Lo and behold, that fucker is in Westfield Mall. One shopping spree at H&M followed by vegan feast at delicious cult restaurant, coming up!
[Thanks for the pic, Tessa!]
Hong’s Kitchen: Outer Sunset doesn’t completely suck! »
Ahh, ze French fry! Hoh hoh hoh! Zis ees mah french ax-awnt!
Sorry. I wish I were Parisian most days, and it is painfully obvious that I’m not. Regardless, I have more experience with the tried-and-true fry than the French have with annoying Americans (might be a lie). Once you’ve eaten fries at pretty much every food-slinging establishment in the Midwest due to lack of options, you start to either 1) develop a refined palette for deep-fried potato sticks, or 2) never want to eat a goddamn fry again. Now that I’m in a veg-friendly city, I haven’t had many fries due to the presence of more complex vegan food (read: big-ass burritos), but I never shun them. NEVER. And I know a good fry when I eat one.
Jesus, get on with it. The POINT is that I came across some fries lately, and not just any, but perhaps the best French fries I’ve had to date (of the classic variety—sweet potato and waffle fries are a different story altogether), and they’re right by my house. The craftsmen/women/people slice the potatoes up right when you order, deep-fry them on the spot, and coat them in so much beautiful salt, just for you. The fry-filled oasis is Hong’s Kitchen (or Dong’s, as the locals/I lovingly call it), and it’s the shit. Well, the Chinese food is kinda subpar and not worth your time, but shoooot, the fries are good! You get a takeout container overflowing with them—the lid won’t even close—and they’re so hot and delicious that when you greedily try to eat one (and you will), you’ll probably burn your mouth and/or esophagus. But it’s worth it. Enjoy anytime you need a sturdy $2 meal (around drinking times is good), and top with Tapatio, mustard, ketchup, Vegenaise, or whatever else you like. I’m a condiment whore, so I’ll take it all. You can also grab a 40 at the nearby convenience store (they are very nice people!) and have the best dinner that $4 can buy.
Oh, also, Dong’s is way the hell out by the beach so good luck dragging your ass out there. I’m really just throwing it in your face that I’m sitting on a French fry goldmine. *cue maniacal laughter* OUTER SUNSET FOR LIFE (or until my lease is up).
They’re also closed on Wednesdays, so don’t get stoned and try to call in an order. You’re going to be disappointed. Believe me.
Enjoy Vegetarian! »
Enjoy Vegetarian used to have a dish on its menu named “vag ham.” It has since been corrected to read “veg ham,” but for one glorious year, it was known to me and my friends simply as ham of the vag. And it was simply delicious. OKAY SORRY I HAD TO GET THAT OUT THE WAY IT WAS KILLING ME. Oh adorable Chinese-menu-Engrish, I love you. You bring me happiness in a way that few other things do.
Enjoy Vegetarian is a delightful little nook of a Chinese restaurant in the highly public transport accesible Inner Sunset. Almost everything on the enormous menu is vegan (some exceptions are clearly marked) and most all of it is delicious. Try the curry triangles, which are basically mashed potatoes wrapped in phylo and then deep fried. Listen. Potato + dough + deep fryer = MAGIC. Get at least three orders. Everything on the menu is a pretty solid bet but I’m particularly fond of their salty fish fried rice (it’s salty! and fishy! but not gross and actually delicious! crazy!) and various claypots. The menu is heavy on fake meats of all kinds but they actually have quite a few healthier vegetable options if you roll like that. But then I guess you don’t really roll, you more move your splintery body through space.
Word to the wise: They close between lunch and dinner (from 2:30 to 5 p.m.) so don’t drag your ass all the way out there at 3 jonesing for a curry triangle or seven. Ugh that was an awful day. Also on that day, my car broke down because of lack of gas (WAY TO GO, CAR! WHAT A LOSER!) and I had to hitchhike up Van Ness to get to a fucking gas station and then the foster dog that was in my car locked me out while I was gone and took a dump on a stack of important papers. Shoot me in the face.
Every once in a while someone asks me if I’m really planning on killing myself and how would I do it because that’s what you’re supposed to ask a potentially suicideal person and to them I say, “I’d SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE, dumbass. And listen, if I was gonna kill myself, don’t you think I would have done it by now?? I mean, look at the above scenario and realize this is almost a daily occurance in my life and then you ask me if I’m suicidal again! DO IT!!!” Ugh, actually, I must be the most optomistic fuck on Earth because if that shit combined with the depressing reality of living in this messed-up world doesn’t cause me to put a bullet in my brain, I don’t know what will. Suggestions?
Finally, BEWARE THE FREE DESSERT. It tastes how it looks, and I’m not going to get descriptive on its ass because it’ll get ugly. And it’s not just because I’m Whitey McBoringPalate but also because it’s the funk nasty. Get the oranges instead. Besides, better luck! Chinese people, am I right??
Review: P.F. Changs! »
Fuck it. I almost didn’t post about how much I love P.F. Changs because I know it might/should rape away any faith people had in my reviews of Chinese restaurants. And you should have faith in my reviews of Chinese restaurants because even though I am a Whitey McVegan, I slept with a Korean dude once, OK? What i’m trying to say is that I have an old Chinese soul. My taste is autentico. Moving on. I know the food here is about as authentic Chinese as Michael Jackson is authentic black but like, the shit is tasty! They have lots of vegan options and the tofu lettuce wraps—chopped up bits of flavorful tofu and veggies that you wrap up in lettuce leaves and eat, I think originally conceived of for Skinny White Bitches on Atkins but it’s all good—and coconut curry tofu make me happy to be alive. They also have an excellent eggplant dish and a few other tofu/veggie options. They know what vegan means and don’t make their vegetarian dishes with any kind of fish sauce. I know that is a result of this place being half-owned by a white guy but guess what, I LOVE IT. Oh and a full bar. Hooray! Also, the waitresses are mad hot, makes me want to get all drunken frat boy on them and be all, “Take it off! Take it ALLLLL off!” but that’s wildly inappropriate as I am a straight girl and also because it’s just wildly inappropriate.
Just a side note: I was in Santa Monica once visiting a friend and I told him to take me out for some authentico Chinese food, SoCal-style and he fucking brought me here. I mean, I should have known better; this is the same fool who pointed me towards La motherfucking Salsa when I requested good Mexican food. Never take dining advice from any WASP. Any WASP but me.
One more note: there are no P.F. Changses in SF proper because the inhabitants of our fine elitist Chinese city might burn it to the ground but there are a few in the East Bay, Marin and the South Bay. P.F. Changs thrives in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek because those cities are made of white people and malls, P.F. Changs’ natural breeding grounds.
Finally, the art on the website amazes. The link to that horse
is [Ed.: used to be]: pfchangs.com/images/heroes/horse.gif. HEROES? WHAT? I GUESS I’d want that crazy ghost horse to save me but I think it’s more likely he’d take me back to his dark lord after he had had his way with me. That horse = total potential rapist.
[horse photo by Josh Puetz]
Yum Yum what? Yum Yum HOUSE! A review »
Once upon a time, there was a little restaurant with a bright neon sign called Yum Yum House. It was the best Chinese food for blocks—the meatless/mock/vegan chicken dishes were bountiful, the tofu was plentiful, the vegetables were varied and delightful. Yum Yum House’s deliveries were prompt and exact; they did not skimp on sauce; they never gave you a hard time over the phone. Nine months ago, had you asked me, I would’ve told you something like this:
The wonderful thing about Yum Yum HOUSE is that they will substitute almost any of their murdered-chicken dishes with tofu or “mock chicken,” so vegans & vegetarians have a larger selection than usual. Yum Yum HOUSE loves to make customers happy!
My ideal order from Yum Yum HOUSE: Chef’s Special Mandarin Chicken, and Szechuan broccoli. Those of us with larger appetites can also choose between a free (with orders of $10 and up) order of fried rice (no egg? no problem!) or chow mein. I always entertain the thought of putting on some rice after calling for delivery, figuring the delivery-person should arrive around the same time the rice is finished, and my rice is different colored and fragrant and fun; clearly superior to restaurant white.
If you can’t say no to free food, the fried rice no egg is better than the chow mein, which is too greasy for me. I spent a couple of my teenage years eating the cheapest, worst, most delicious chow mein ever: $2 for a box stuffed full of noodles, cabbage, and “chicken” if you wanted it, fifty cents more for a soda. O sodium. Two school years of that killed my taste for chow mein, so thought my gentleman-friend devours it, I can’t speak directly to its quality.
Yum Yum HOUSE! so nice, so timely, such reasonable prices. don’t ever change; unless you want to increase your vegan menu, in which case, send me a flyer post-haste.
However, sometime between then and now, YYHOUSE! lost its lease on the building on Valencia, and calling its phone number sent you to Jasmine Tea House (fine and all, but in my opinion inferior to YYH!’s menu). Depressed, we recycled the menu, and speculated about the fate of the amazing neon sign.
But suddenly, thanks to the magic of twitter and the size of our social circles (San Francisco: city and county: we run small), we have learned that Yum Yum House! has not vanished from our peninsula but moved to Pacific Heights, becoming the similarly yet-not-quite-as-appealingly named Yum Yum Hunan. Check the menu here; delicious and well priced Chinese food is one teeny phone call away. Oh! And if you are at all a fan of the purple giant, order the Yum Yum eggplant. It is somehow even better refried to crispiness the next day.
[photo by frankfarm]
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: Loving Hut! »
Loving Hut. Yes, it has the grossest name around. Loving Hut. It reminds me of somewhere a girl would go to lose her virginity to an elder. And I mean ELDERLY elder. I’m Gonna Puke Hut.
Other than that, this place is delightful. I am reviewing the SF location today but there are two others that just opened in Palo Alto and Milpitas. It’s apparently part of a huge chain that’s all over Taiwan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. It’s a Ching Hai Enterprise and so is filled with cult-like awesomeness, including a large television that plays Supreme Master TV on loop. I don’t get to watch much TV and I love it/hate it/want to marry it so when I’m in a room with one, my eyes immediately wander towards it. However, since SMTV is basically unwatchable insanity, it was both a blessing (to my friends who enjoy my company SO MUCH) and a curse (to ME, can we get some Gossip Girl up in here?!).
The menu is available to view and download on their website, but don’t expect to find the exact same menu at the restaurant you go to. The prices are also totally different. But the weird thing is, they’re cheaper at the restaurant than on the site. I don’t know what that’s about, some sort of reverse bait and switch?! Mama like! Most of the food is Chinese with some Vietnamese influences and a slight touch of crazy town. They also have a section of the menu titled “Western Food,” which is basically burgers, club sandwiches and spaghetti. See above about crazy town. So far, the standouts have been the Triple Happiness, pictured below—it’s like these deep-fried layers of gluten, taro and bread. Kinda like a savory gluten baklava. I think. Just try it. I think. Basically, you’ll either love it or think it’s kinda funky. Russian Roulette!; the Ocean Platter, above—basically a big platter of delicious fried foods and yummy dipping sauces, a huge hit with everyone; Spicy Cha Cha—yam crescents that are deep-fried to look and taste like shrimp HOW DO THEY DO IT; and the Won Ton Noodle Soup with fake pork! SO GOOD! The Guru’s Curry and the Veggie Stew are also delicious, basically just big pots filled with potatoes, carrots, and soy protein chunks—beef-esque. also, that’s a great fake word—in a yellow curry/gravy mixture. They have white and brown rice available and lots of drinks—NO ALCOHOL! Ching Hai does NOT imbibe!—ranging from the tasty vegan Thai iced tea to the insanely foul to adults/insanely delicious to kids, e.g. some sort of tropical drink mixture with vegan gelatin in it. I don’t know, I think I’m 10 sometimes and so I ordered it and then it came out and it was like drinking warm liquefied jello. Raunchy.
They have desserts too. Stay away from the cakes (sub-par Black China) and go for the fried bananas and ice cream! Soon they’re supposed to have fried ice cream (!!!) but they haven’t perfected it at the SF location and so we wait. Eagerly. I want that g-d fried ice cream. It’s available in Palo Alto currently so strongly considering making the drive in five minutes, JOB BE DAMNED! WHAT HAVE YOU EVER DONE FOR ME! BESIDES GIVE ME MONEY AND A SENSE OF PURPOSE! I say, nuts to THAT! I need fried ice cream like I’ve never needed anything! Actually, to be real, I need fried ice cream like I need a hole in the head. I just really want it. Really, really, very badly. I mean doesn’t that sound amazing? Also, I almost accidentally typed “friend” instead of “fried” 90 times in the above paragraph. What that says about me, I do not want to know. Probably that I’m really cute and fun.
Okay, also, two more quick awesome things. According to Loving Hut, SF is located in Canada. I feel like if this election doesn’t go well, this map will be called foreshadowing as half of SF is likely to move there. SNAP! Kind of! Also, the interior of the SF Loving Hut is like eating in the Taiwanese future. It’s all super-bright and clean with floating hearts and shit. You sort of expect your waitress to be one of the Jetsons. Love it. This place is good for dinner with a few friends but not going to be great for large groups and not at all romantical. Unless you think Clockwork Orange is sexy and then, eat here and after that, check yourself into the psych ward, you sick fuck! Alternately, CALL ME!
Review: Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant »
Golden Era is the original Supreme Master Ching Hai enterprise restaurant in San Francisco. Nearly every item on the menu is vegan; the mock meats are the delicious, mysterious kinds made of fungus and gluten and some such; and the menu is longer than a tabloid. That said, I will try to be brief.
Lettuce wraps = ¡muy delicioso!
House rice clay pot = ¡muy delicioso!
Wonton soup = ¡muy delicioso!
Red bean vegan milkshake = ¡muy, muy delicioso!
Flan = eh.
Mocha cake = ¡muy delicioso!
If eating here required membership in the cult of Supreme Master, I would not have much trouble renouncing whatever vestiges of Christianity* I yet vaguely retain.
I love this place. I love the waitstaff, how they leave you alone for a very long time and never insist you have rice when you don’t want it. I love the patrons for eating here instead of a terrible meaty restaurant of death. I love Supreme Master’s plan to save the world from global warming through veganism. If only they delivered.
Tip: If you have leftovers from different dishes, cook them up together in a pan the next day and make your own Golden Era at home!
*except for Christmas. Who doesn’t love a virgin birth? Also presents, and drinking whisky all day.
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!
Review: Central Vegetarian! »
Central Vegetarian is a new vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Park Street, the main drag in Alameda, a tropical isle of dreams located on the idyllic SF Bay, a.k.a. The Biggest Little City on Earth. I grew up on The Island, and finding ONE restaurant with even ONE vegan item on its menu is like trying to figure out how Star Jones gets out of bed in the morning instead of just killing herself. It’s like Labyrinth, bitches. Next to impossible. However, with the opening of Central Vegetarian, we have a player in the game, folks! With a menu that is nearly identical to Golden Era in San Francisco and Golden Lotus in Oakland, you can’t help but believe this is a Supreme Master Ching Hai Enterprise.* And it is: the chef/owner used to work in the kitchen at Golden Lotus but then realized she was hell of in a cult and jumped ship, taking the recipes with her! You go, girl!
The menu is mainly Vietnamese but there are some Chinese and Thai dishes. If you’re not a moron, you will order any of the clay pots, CARAMELIZED CHICKEN (!!!), spicy gourmet chicken (!!!) and the veggie chow fun. It’s cheap, filling and delicious. A VERY VERY VERY welcome addition to the prestigious Alameda eating scene. It takes its place alongside Subway and Applebee’s to complete the trifecta of Alameda Power Eating (APE). Watch your back, Gary Danko; APE is coming to get you and what we lack in deliciousness, we make up for in knife fights.
*God, I love that crazy bitch. She doesn’t believe in alcohol, drugs, sex, meat or happiness. Obviously, I’m down. With most of it. I mean one thing of it.
[photo via yelp]