Green Coriander! Guest Review from Natalie of Bike Basket Pies!  »

I am horrible at reviewing things. I deleted my Yelp account for a reason. I like food, in fact, I like most food I eat, and I am generally not a snob about the food I eat, except for some things (I’m not naming names so don’t ask. OKAY YOU TWISTED MY ARM American cheese, ketchup, and milk).

Plus I’m not an expert on Indian food (see likes and dislikes above). But I can tell you about what I ate and how much I liked it!

Green Coriander is a new-ish business set on getting you healthy Indian food that you can get via take-out in the Mission (15th and Guerrero Streets) or delivered via TCB bike courier Mondays through Thursdays. Her menu is updated on Sundays and every day has a veggie options and most of the vegetarian dishes are vegan (they even mark them with a lovely green “V”! Score!).

Last week, I shared the cabbage with shredded coconut and it was delicious. Rob [Ed.: Natalie’s friend, she ate lunch with him and maybe one day they’ll get married! I really want this girl to get married to a nice boy! If you’re interested, holler! At ME! Not at Natalie, she can’t be trusted to court her own beaux. You can read that as in you’ll most likely have to have sex with me to get to Natalie I AM KIDDING, GOD/DON’T BE SO UPTIGHT] and I got a serving, plus a huge thing of rice, lentils, and two rotis (thin flatbread, like an Indian tortilla). The cabbage was delicious—the shredded coconut imparted an almost chocolaty taste to it, earthy and fresh. There are whole dried chilies in it, which I would not recommend eating but hey, maybe you like a little extra heat (the dish wasn’t spicy itself, but it could be with a bite of one of those!). The lentils were floral and were broken down to a nice, almost creamy, consistency. The rice is f’ing tasty, I could eat that stuff without anything else, but Rob and I could not pinpoint what the spice was.

All of the food Green Coriander offers is healthy and they are working with Kristin Hoppe (of Food Therapy—best nutritionist in the Bay Area 2009!) to ensure the food they offer is good for you & well-balanced. I gotta say, I am sort of over really greasy Indian food. Sure it hits the spot sometimes, but it’s nice to be able to get those flavors without all the goddamn oil and stomachaches afterwards. So I’m totally recommending Green Coriander. Plus, DELIVERY which I haven’t actually used, but I have gotten stuff delivered, to me and for my own business, but those same bike couriers so I know they’re reliable and legit. Order by noon for delivery or pickup the same day from Monday through Thursday. And Paawan, who runs the business, is super sweet (Disclaimer: I met her prior to her starting Green Coriander).

Mad thanks to Natalie of Bike Basket Pies for this most delicious review! Can’t wait to eat Green Coriander out of house and home! Photos from Yelp!


Rhea’s Deli: Get a vegan chicken sandwich delivered to your face!  »

Word on the street is that Rhea’s Deli delivers. What the street is leaving out is that Rhea’s can deliver a vegan chicken sandwich with a spicy asian barbecue sauce and all sorts of pickled things on it. Friend of Vegansaurus Joel tried it and liked it very much, and that fucker hates everything so you should get on it. PLUS HELLO DELIVERY.

Of course there isn’t any mention of the vegan sandwich in the Yelp reviews so as soon as you eat one, write one and tell people what’s up! And let them know where you heard about it! Which was here! Even if it wasn’t, we need the hits! Unless you want us to go away! Oh my god, that’s what you want, isn’t it!? TOO BAD I’M NEVER LEAVING WE’LL DIE IN THIS SHITBOX TOGETHER.


UPDATE: Jonas tried the sandwich and confirmed that it’s the BOMB and to ask for it mild spicy unless you’re hardcore. Here is a picture of half of it because it was so tasty, he couldn’t stop to blog. Solid.


NYC: Viva Herbal Pizzeria!  »

The pizza at NYC’s Viva Herbal Pizzeria is so good, I would brave a blizzard for it, which is exactly what I did last Saturday. As 13 inches were falling from the sky, I managed to finish off two huge slices of vegan pie at this kosher, vegetarian-menu-only spot on the Lower East Side. And when I say HUGE, I mean the size-of-your-head big. With plenty of exotic, fresh, vegan options, this place is a dreamland for the indecisive–-especially when it comes to crust. You can choose from wheat-free, yeast-free, whole wheat, corn meal, spelt, green tea herbal, hemp herbed or traditional crust. And even if you’re consuming a few pizza slices as big as a spaceship, it still feels healthy.

I ordered my fave, the Zen, which is green tea herbed miso tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic, on a green tea herbed spelt crust, and a slice of the La Vita: roasted red peppers, soy sausage, mushrooms, broccoli, roasted garlic, tomato sauce, and corn kernels on a spelt crust. The Zen is majorly flavorful, not to mention colorful, and one of the most popular menu items. I guarantee it’s unlike any slice of pizza you’ve ever had. The La Vita, which I had never tried, blew my mind. (It was so yummy, I couldn’t bear waiting to take a picture before I tore into it.) Although it wasn’t as good as the Zen, the flavors were tangy, hearty and saucy. I haven’t tested it out on any carnivores, but I’m willing to bet this slice with soy sausage would fool them and the spelt crust is the icing on the vegan cake. I’m not sure how it’s possible to be both crunchy and chewy, but this crust does it.

As far as I know, the only downside is that their soy cheese is not vegan, but you won’t miss it. Slices run about $4 a pop; full pies are also available. They offer a selection of vegan desserts, including whoopee pies, in case you are craving sweets.


Banh Mi by Mai!  »

The Mission, already a magical neighborhood where vegans can eat like royalty, has become even better. How can this be so, in the land of soy milk and agave nectar? Fresh, delicious, vegan banh mi made to order and delivered to your door, is how.

Mai of just launched Banh Mai, a one-woman Vietnamese sandwich operation based in the Mission. She has a vegan, a vegetarian, and a meat version; of course, Vegansaurus sampled the cruelty-free sandwich, delivered to our hot little hands on a Friday evening by Mai on her bicycle. The vegan sandwich contains standard banh mi ingredients—pickled carrot and daikon radish, julienned; jalapenos; and cilantro—on a rice and wheat baguette, but the magic is in the vegan paté, a combination of shitake mushrooms, baked tofu, walnuts, garlic, and green bell pepper. The tofu is baked with sriracha, soy sauce, and garlic. I’ve never had a Vietnamese sandwich like it before, it’s incredible. Mai packed the pickled vegetables separately, to prevent mushiness, and I recommend cramming them all into your sandwich and letting it sit for a few minutes before eating, to allow the good, crusty roll to soak up some of the sweet and tangy pickling juices. You will die of happiness.

It may not be the spiciest, for spicy food connoisseurs; I found it a touch hotter than I would’ve asked for and I’m a huge wimp, so let’s call the heat level medium and exactly right. Everything was so fresh; the vegetables were crispy, the roll was chewy, the tofu paté added this great texture plus moisture so that, unlike your standard banh mi, it didn’t want for lack of mayonnaise. Finally, it sticks with you, but not in a stone-in-your-stomach kind of way; I ate an entire sandwich before going out for the night, spent four hours dancing, and didn’t get hungry at all. Everyone needs to eat a banh mi by Mai, like, yesterday, I haven’t had a better sandwich this year. Real Talk.

Special Interview Section!
Vegansaurus: Why did you start Banh Mai?

Mai: [To be] part of the San Francisco street food movement; [I] wanted to do Vietnamese sandwiches because I miss this aspect of life in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon—a place where I lived last year. also, I used my mom’s recipes for elements of the sandwiches, so these are the type of sandwiches I grew up eating: loads of meat filling/vegan filling, great daikon/carrot pickling, homemade mayo. “Banh Mai” is a a play on the name of the type of bread used/what we in the states call Vietnamese sandwiches, and my first name.

What are the service details?
I started delivering in the Mission last week. Wednesdays and Thursdays [are delivery days], 10-sandwich minimum, might be able to cluster orders for smaller offices. [I require a] two-day preorder (since I cook specifically for orders), or early morning pre-order if you want to pick-up with small orders (6 or less) or for vegan sandwiches.

Follow me on twitter and send me a message I’ll get in touch via direct message. Lunch deliveries will happen between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30p.m.; pick-ups can happen in the Mission, before 11:15 a.m. or after 1:30 p.m. My housemate might help me, so we could extend days/ times for pick-up delivery. We might add Mondays; follow @banhmai for changes.

Where are your ingredients from?
The bread is from Bui Phong, a Vietnamese bakery in San Jose that makes as close to the Vietnamese-style baguette of rice/wheat mixture that we have in the West. the wheat/rice baguettes in HCMC have a lot more rice and so it tastes slightly different, but it’s as close as we get in the U.S. Also, it’s the type I grew up eating (in Los Angeles) for Banh Mi sandwiches. I buy most ingredients from Duc Loi supermarket or other markets in the Mission. Whenever I can buy organic, I do, but I’m trying to keep costs relatively low while still making a quality product.

How did you invent the recipe for the vegetarian paté?
It’s a remodeled recipe from a restaurant I used to work for. I used shitake instead of those white mushrooms, put in more garlic, [and] left out the parmesan [cheese]. The baked tofu recipe is my mom’s.

I’d like people to know that the recipes for my sandwiches come from my Mom. I’m not sure how this will pan out for the long haul, but right now I’m happy sharing my Mom’s awesome cooking with San Francisco. (And as my friend Alicia has pointed out, I don’t skimp with amounts; moms never skimp with amounts to keep prices low.) Also, I’m biking as fast as I can, but that isn’t very fast right now.

Thanks, Mai! Go eat a sandwich, everyone.


Alameda Pie!  »

There is a lot of pie in our lives right now. But that doesn’t make any of the pie less special, and certainely doesn’t eliminate the need for more pie because you ALWAYS NEED MORE PIE. The newest contender in the pie olympics is Alameda Pie, and this one comes packing heat. I’ve mixed like five metaphors in this post already. I’ll keep going. Alameda Pie makes and delivers pies to your home. You order at the beginning of the week and that Friday (or Saturday!) delicious fresh pie is DELIVERED to your DOOR. We ordered the 10” apple pie and the 5” coconut curry pie. The apple pie was super-duper tasty (both playing solo and à la mode!) BUT THE COCONUT CURRY PIE. Giiiirrrrrl, it was off the hooooook! Potatoes, onion and carrots coated with perfect, rich yellow curry. It was seriously ridiculous. My only regret is that it was only 5”, we could have easily taken down a 10”. or a 60”. Whatevs. Bring it, Alameda Pie. IN FACT, I propose we have one of those contests where they make the biggest pie they can possibly make (100”?) and if I can eat it, it’s free. Who is in!? I AM! Alameda Pie, your turn. WILL YOU MAN UP TO THE CHALLENGE? You have two days to accept at which time, we will breathe collective sighs of relief that you are less batshit crazy than I am. Man, I’m so sleepy and so full of pie this review is done GOODNIGHT, SIR!


Amici’s!  »

Amici’s pizza has seriously stepped up the New York-style pizza game in San Francisco. As of this past weekend, they started serving vegan cheese. It’s melty, gooey, tasty Cheezly vegan cheese* and it is marvelous. A little vegan birdie told me that this would be happening months ago and I dared to dream but didn’t think too much about it because if it didn’t happen, I would’ve been all stabby. But then the day came and vegan cheese is on the menu and, my friends, it is a damn good day.

Amici’s is a local chain with two restaurants in San Francisco and the others spread out all over, from San Rafael to VACAVILLE. HOLD THE PHONE. YOU CAN GET VEGAN CHEESE PIZZA DELIVERED TO YOUR HOUSE IN VACAVILLE?! Yes, yes you can. And oh yeah, they have a pretty large delivery area so check their website to see if you can get it delivered right to your mouth. And the variety of toppings is outrageous. We got our pizza with fried eggplant, slow-roasted garlic, carmelized onions, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. It was about $30 for a large but you know what? It will make two meals for two people. Not bad. Also, I have salad makings from Farm Fresh to You so I GUESS I can/should/won’t eat the delicious yet fatty pizza with a disgusting yet nutritious salad. I GUESS. Ugh, why does FFtY not deliver vegan pizza and chocolate bonbon’s?! I’m turning into some unnatural combination of Peg and Al Bundy over here. Help.

So stop reading this and get on their site and ORDER ONLINE (no talking to another human! Can I get a what-what for the technology!?) and have vegan pizza at your doorstep in 45 minutes. Oh and let them know you’re thankful for the vegan cheese and maybe one day soon, they’ll start offering their four-cheese lasagna vegan-style. Hyperventilating at the thought. They could use Cheezly, Dr. Cow, Sheese and Teeze and make THE MOTHER OF ALL VEGAN LASAGNAS!!! Ugh, now I’m Garfield.

*Cheezly is a hard to find British vegan cheese that they’re now selling at Rainbow! I like the extra melty mozzarella and the bacon flavored best. The bacon-flavored cheese is especially good for mixing into creamy sauces, gives them a carbonara flavor! Ow!


Kasa!  »

I don’t understand why it is so fucking hard for a restaurant to stay open late in San Francisco. If you’re out past 10 p.m. and you want something other than a slice of pizza or a burrito, you’re screwed. I think our own Maria puts it best when she says:

In particular, the Castro can be a nightmare for late-night dining. There are a lot of bars and a lot of clubs and they desperately need a sit-down where the clubbing ‘mos (and the rest of us) can get our late-night sustenance on. Yes, that is correct. I just typed, “late-night sustenance on”, and please steel yourself for more bad writing and gross generalizations in this review, FOLKS. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I just paid the IRS a couple thousand in taxes because they caught me being a leeetle loosey-goosey with my reported income. Hey! I didn’t know! I got confused! I apparently tried to deduct the same pair of donated pants 12 times? Well what do you want me to do? The max they would let me take was $10 and they were from Anthropologie and cost $140! Eff you, feds! You can take my hard earned cash to fund this horrible war and our dying nation but you cannot stop me from trying to get over. THAT is the American Dream, capital-A, capital-D, capital-FUCKED. Back to the review.

Sunday through Monday the Castro workout routine is Gold’s Gym but on the weekend, it’s the DANCE! To fuel all of this exercise, you need something nearby, adequately tasty and most importantly, LOW-CALORIE. And so begins the age of Kasa.

Kasa is a new-ish Indian-ish restaurant in the Castro that is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. (!!!) on Friday and Saturday. At Kasa you can choose from a kati roll (made with their own roti bread, let them know before you order that you’re vegan so they don’t douse it in ghee) or a thali, a plate filled with all sorts of magical things like chutneys, dal, rice, and shiz like that. After you decide on the kati roll or the thali, you choose a dish or two to go on the plate or into the roll. There is always at least one vegan dish on the menu: Aloo Jeera, which is cumin-spiced potatoes. They have a rotating vegetable dish of the day which may or may not be vegan. Last time I went, it was a spicy eggplant dish that was vegan. The food is adequate, if not amazing. The real calling card here is that they’re open late in an area that’s desperate for late-night eateries.

And when you’re done, you can head back to bar-and-club-landia, filled up with pretty healthy food that you’ll burn off in the time it takes to spin a Lady Gaga remix (aprox 35 minutes). I love, love, love Lady Gaga. I also love, love, love the cheesy dance clubs in the Castro. They are bursting with the cutest boys ever who, like you, just want to move to the power of the latest Britney track. There is no ass-grabbing (unless it’s to forcibly move you from between them and some hella hot dude, don’t hate) and if there is any inappropriate grinding, it’s usually your fault. WHAT I’M A LIBERATED WOMAN IT GOES BOTH WAYS NOW.

And with that I present…

Reasons not to trust straight men:
1) John Grisham.
2) They will get you pregnant.
3) Hitler.
4) They lie.
5) They all have the ability to become horrible, hateful, power-hungry rapists in times of war/extreme duress/you didn’t cook their hamburger right I said medium rare, bitch!!!
6) Jim Carrey.

Reasons to trust (and love) gay men:
1) Oscar Wilde.
2) They will help raise your bastard child.
3) Hitler wasn’t gay.
4) They lie, but it’s funny and colorful and usually to make a story more interesting.
5) Rape is most likely consensual and a form of fantasy play!
6) Puppies = the gayest!!!


Farm Fresh to You  »

God in heaven, I’ve spent maybe 10 minutes looking at This Is Why You’re Fat, the most disgusting and shamefully salivary-gland-activating food porn site I’ve come across in a while, and now I’m starving for nourishment only fresh produce can provide.

When I was an office lady 40 hours a week, back in the golden days of 2007, Farm Fresh to You delivered a box of produce to my doorstep every other week (my day was Tuesday), full of wonderful seasonal items like potatoes and greens, nuts and berries, various members of the onion family, artichokes, leeks and fennel, always fennel. Lots of staples, and in every box some beautiful surprises you might never have chosen for yourself, but that you will be happy to have. YOU WILL, I PROMISE.

And if you’re not, say, you’re totally baffled by the presence of these leeks or pea greens or whatever the hell, enclosed in every box are recipes from other customers! Better, on the other side of the recipes page is a letter written by Thaddeus, the head brother of the four who own and operate FFtY. During the time I received FFtY service, I read stories of one the brothers losing his wedding ring in a river and diving in to find it; of Thaddeus and his wife and their wedding in France; of the seasonal harvests; of pests; of Thaddeus and his wife’s favorite tomato soup—perfect for 2008, year of a million tomatoes—and, I don’t know, a lot of other things. I don’t have a binder of his newsletters. Probably I should have one because those letters are precious gems, every one, but not to worry! FFtY has archived them for us all to enjoy and treasure at our leisure.

You can buy FFtY produce at farmers markets all over the Bay Area, as well as in Berkeley Bowl, the Nugget Markets in Solano, Yolo and Sacramento counties, and New Seasons markets in Portland, Ore. Those of us who prefer not to make huge produce buys via bus or enormous bicycle trailer have the blessed and wonderful delivery system, the praises of which I cannot stop extolling. Seriously—upon delivery, they take away your last delivery’s box; you can request never to receive items that you dislike or could kill you, they make it easy to complain about  damaged items and put deliveries on hold when you’re out of town (or moving!)—they aim to please.

Look, if by the end of this review you haven’t already started your home and/or office delivery, then how about this: Farm Fresh to You supplies produce for such illustrious San Francisco restaurants as Greens, Bix, and Slanted Door. Come on! If Charles Phan and Annie Somerville want organic produce homegrown in the Capay Valley, who are you to argue? Exactly.

Note: all photographs feature produce from Farm Fresh to You (obviously).


Review: Old Jerusalem!  »

While I’ve already declared the best falafel in the city to be found at Sabra Grill, there are certain obstacles to attaining  this heavenly food that prove sometimes insurmountable. To wit: mandatory closings on the Sabbath and all Jewish holidays, location, lack of delivery services. So what does a person do when she wants a tasty falafel on a Saturday afternoon, or a Tuesday night? Especially if she lives in the Mission, or Bernal Heights, or Noe Valley?

The answer is Old Jerusalem.  It offers hands-down the best falafel in the Mission, the moistest and tastiest, plus they make two varieties: regular, and stuffed, which has fried onions, roasted pine nuts and sumac in the middle. You can substitute the stuffed falafel for the standard in the falafel sandwich, which I recommend because the stuffed ones are much, much tastier than the regular, and better overall than any other falafel I’ve had in the city, Sabra’s aside, of course.

I suppose a drawback is that Old Jerusalem doesn’t offer the eggplant or french fries that come standard in other falafel sandwiches. Then again, when those extras are fancying up what are bland, dry, crumbly falafels, then I will take Old Jerusalem’s sandwich of less diverse but ultimately way higher quality ingredients. So there.

Old Jerusalem has really long hours, and delivers, so you can have your Middle Eastern food without having to leave the house. If you live too close to justify delivery, call your order in ahead. On weekend nights especially the place is really busy; it’s tiny, and doesn’t take many people to fill up.

If you are for whatever reasons interested in other things than falafel, they make good stuff like ful—hummus made with fava beans instead of chickpeas—and fatta—hummus plus bread and olives—and of course, the Arabic salad, which you assume no place could get wrong, but some restaurants buy crappy tomatoes and ruin everything. Not Old Jerusalem, though. You can also get a vegetarian combo plate, and a lentil soup. They do make a great deal of meat dishes, lots of lamb, and yes that is disgusting! Still, not a reason to skip the really good falafel, especially when your choices are so few and far between around here. Honestly, I have had better hummus, on its own, but Old Jerusalem’s falafel sandwiches are quite good, and so available! Go, eat one, it will make you full and happy.

[top photo via Old Jerusalem; food photos via yelp]


Review: Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub!  »

Lanesplitter is a local pizza-and-beer chain in the East Bay that serves up some fantastic thin-crust vegan pizza. It’s not made with a traditional fake cheese, instead it’s like a ricotta style tofu mixture…sounds fucked but is actually pretty damn good. They have lots of veggies to choose from and everything mixed up tastes amazing. They also have vegan calzones which make a good grab-and-go item if you call ahead. The vegan eggplant bake is heaven for everyone.

I rarely eat in because the staff consists of incompetents, assholes, and incompetent assholes. I am told that their house-made micro-brews are pretty good but they just taste like beer to me. I dunno. Are you so fancy that you can tell? I can’t. If you put me in a blind beer taste test, I’d be able to recognize two beers: Bud Light, and everything else. I’d be taking shot after shot of beer, yelling out, “nope!”, “nope!”, “Bud Light!”, “nope!” Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun. Is anyone in? You buy the beer! Email me! So anyway, all their microbrews are on tap but if you want to enjoy them, you have to drink there. Apparently Lanesplitter (and Johnny Law) don’t trust me to leave my pint of fancy brew untouched on the ride home. They are smart.

[photos via yelp]

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