Review: Serrano’s Pizza  »

Hello, let’s talk about California pizza. By which I do not mean, “let’s have an argument about East Coast vs. West Coast or thick vs. thin crust.” That won’t get anyone anywhere, least of all this review underway.

At Serrano’s you will find the only edible pizza outside the Eastern time zone—though according to the logo, at Serrano’s it’s always pizza o’clock!—with plentiful toppings and spicy fresh sauce that they will ladle on extra for no charge. You will not find any vegan cheese, or fancy vegan options, but you will find people who have never once messed up my order, because they listen to their customers when they say things like NO CHEESE. You will also find my favorite cheeseless toppings combination, the “Art & Tom Terrific,” comprising artichoke hearts, fresh garlic, and sliced fresh tomatoes. What? Yes, baked all deliciously on top of a big mound of spicy, fucking zesty marinara sauce and a perfect crust.

A word about “Chicago-style” pizza, or as some might call it, crust aberration. Chicago-style pizza is ridiculous: I don’t want to hear about the merits of Zachary’s or Little Star; they and their double-crust triple-cheese wonderlands are ridiculous. Thank goodness Serrano’s knows what to do with a crust (which is not “make a pizza sandwich out of it”).

Do not mess around with other, inferior pizza delivery places in the area. They will disappoint, and you will be sad, and then you will come back to Vegansauraus and read this review of Serrano’s and it will say “I told you, other places are a mistake!” Serrano’s or switch cuisines! Then you’ll feel even sorrier for yourself, as you chew on the enormous hunk of congealed dough some pizzerias around here try to pass off as “crust.” But truly, the best measure of Serrano’s (Serrano’s’s? Serranos’s’?) success is that their slices cold the next day are as good as they were when you got them hot and fresh. San Francisco, you cannot get better delivery than this pizza.

[photo of pizza that while vegan is not Serrano’s by shil]


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: Great India!  »

Great India is hot damn delicious! It’s currently my first choice for Northern Indian food in San Francisco. This is because not only is it hot damn delicious, there are many vegan selections (try the Vegetable Sabzi and the Aloo Gobi! Both are exceptional!) and they don’t use ghee (butter) in any of the food! SCORE! The Aloo Paratha (most delectable wheat potato-filled bread) was the best I’ve ever had, vegan or not. It’s pretty cheap too; $8.95 gets you one LARGE dish that includes rice or naan. Lots of places do not give you rice or nan with the dish, making you pay extra because they know us assholes will pay for it! But the glorious Great India does not play us like that! I love them! The delivery is slow as fuck so order about an hour and a half before you think you’re gonna be hungry. Bonus because they deliver to the entire city.

Eating in is an awesome experience. First, you gotta find the place. It’s in outer BFE on Geary Boulevard at 25th Avenue Make sure to eat a lot because you will need the fuel to get the fuck out of the Richmond. Second, the lunch buffet is ONLY $6.45! Super cheap and almost everything is vegan! Woo! Third, the waitstaff actually knows what the word vegan means and so there is never any worry about eating something that will make you and your stomach very sad. Fourth, if you eat here once, they will remember you forever. Especially if you’re a girl. Ladies, if you’re ever feeling unattractive, I suggest you get yourself to Great India where you will be treated as the twin sister of Catherine Deneuve! And I’m talking her Belle de Jour days! Although, current-day Catherine Deneuve is still about 100 times hotter than most of the uglies you see showing their ugly mugs in public. For shame, uglies. Anyway, they will lavish you with compliments, free drinks and free snacks and generally do everything short of going downtown. It’s delightful. Once, I ate here with my friend, Mark. When Mark went to go get fifths from the buffet, one of the guys asked me if he was my boyfriend and told me that if he ever mistreated me that they would take him out. Listen, Mark is The Super Gay. But he does mistreat me. Conflict. So I told the guy that I would let him know and then I WARNED MARK THAT HE BETTER TREAT ME RIGHT OR THE INDIAN MAFIA WOULD BE ON HIS ASS.

Man, that was a great day.

[Udaipur City Palace and Lake Pichola by pov_steve. Great India didn’t have many pictures on its website so that will have to do.]


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."


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: 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]


Review: Panhandle Pizza!  »

A while ago, inspired by some of the pro-anorexia sicko talk threads that I compulsively read, I decided that I’m too fat to live. When bitches who are one-tenth your size are exchanging crash diet tips, it can have that affect on you. Anyway, someone listed a recipe for cabbage soup diet that is supposed to “clean you out” and “make you feel great.” Because I want to be cleaned out and also to feel great and mainly because I have low self-esteem, I decide to try this cabbage soup diet for a couple days. The other reason is that I obviously hate myself. I can think of no other excuse as to why someone would do this to themselves. I am fat and unworthy. Right, ladies? I mean, a multi-billion-dollar business is made off our self-hatred so I’m game! Let’s DO THIS! Seventy-three pounds or BUST!

My eating day went like this:
5:45 a.m. - Wake up! Ready to be cleaned out and feel GREAT! am excited to take on the day!

6 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(6:15 a.m. - Stomach hurts and am actively upset at myself and those around me. Have murderous thoughts.)

7 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(7:15 a.m. - Am thinking about how I am a modern-day Oliver Twist. Please sir, may I have some more? Am sad that in this day and age of amazing food, i am choosing to eat like pathetic Dickensian tramp. Am shocked that other women who want to lose those “last 10 pounds” would subject themselves to something so psychotic. Guess what ladies, ain’t nobody notice those 10 pounds anyway! YOU LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME and don’t nobody care! Your man is probably boning your fat best friend anyway! Clearly, I am still murderous.)

10 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(10:15 a.m. - Conference call from hell that almost left me fired. Coincidence?)

12 p.m. - Cabbage soup.
(12:15 p.m. - Dry-heaving over a toilet because of disgusting cabbage soup. Cabbage soup is worse than water torture. Or being sodomized with a paddle made of hedgehogs.)

1 p.m. - Cabbage soup.
(1:15 p.m. - Have very bad farts from cabbage soup that clear out two desks around me and make me lose my appetite. I think this is a good thing. Hate my coworkers anyway.)

2 p.m.
- Cabbage soup.
(2:15 p.m. - All I can think about are suicide scenarios and not eating cabbage soup ever again. I still have about 10 gallons left. Want to die. I am fat.)
(2:30 p.m. - Crying in a corner.)
(2:33 p.m. - Make a death threat against a coworker for “breathing too loudly”)
(2:40 p.m. - Crying in a bathroom stall)
(2:45 p.m. - The shakes have set in. I’m so hungry. I’m so, so hungry. I’m sad.)

3 p.m. - Order entire extra-large soy cheese cornmeal crust everything veggie pizza from Panhandle Pizza.
(3:30 p.m. - Eat chocolate bar while waiting for pizza.)
(3:35 p.m. - Feel guilty about chocolate, eat more cabbage soup.)
(3:45 p.m. - Fuck this noise, where the fuck is my pizza, I will eat my own hand!!!! Eat another candy bar given to me earlier by scared coworker.)

4 p.m. - Pizza arrives. Eat entire pizza. I am in heaven. It’s the best pizza ever A+++++ BEST QUALITY WILL DO BUSINESS AGAIN.
(4:05 p.m. - Pour cabbage soup down drain.)
(4:15 p.m. - Fat and happy.)

Moral of the story: stay the fuck off of internet talk threads. And though it’s not the perfect vegan pizza, it is a vegan pizza. And it still felt relatively healthy because of all the veggies, soy cheese and delicious cornmeal crust. I’m a fat. I meant, fan. I’m a fan.

Some notes: They use Follow Your Heart mozzarella and they use it sparingly, which I like. Even if you are not a fan of the veggie pizza because you don’t like mushrooms, olives, peppers, insert objectionable vegetable here, I still strongly suggest getting it. It’s way better than any of the other pizzas and I normally can’t stand mushrooms; they are the devil that grows from the ground. As far as delivery boundaries go, it really depends on who you talk to and what kind of mood they’re in. Sometimes they will deliver to the entire city, sometimes not. You can also eat in (there are a few table and chairs) or get a pizza to go and sit in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. Itsanice (that’s Italian for, “it’s nice!”)!

[photo via yelp]

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