Saturn Cafe! »
Berkeley is no longer just a blight on the urban map of the Bay Area. For so long it was just a place for terrible students and terrible rich hippies (the worst kind of hippie!) and was only to be suffered if you really had to have delicious vegan brunch at Fellini. Well, it’s still all those things! But now it has taquitos! And cinnamon rolls! And Saturn Cafe!
Saturn Cafe is an import from Santa Cruz and it’s an important one. First of all, in a city that goes to bed at 6 p.m., it stays open to the unbelievably late hour of midnight. Kudos to them for making that happen because I can’t imagine the amount of city bullshit that they’d have to deal with to make that happen. Bureaucracy win! Secondly, it’s all vegetarian and that’s fucking awesome. It’s always nice to know that your tofu scramble won’t get cross-contaminated with bacon surprise (surprise! your breakfast had a mother!). And then there’s the decor? Saturn bills itself as a “Space-Age Diner” to which I say, “Space-Age?! More like GAY-AGE!” This place makes Pink Saturday look like a klan rally. Seriously, I brushed against a glitter-covered column and I swear, I’m still finding silver sparkles in my crap. All in all, LOVE. More glitter! Glitter for ALL! Life is a rave, pass the glow-in-the-dark Mickey Mouse gloves and let’s do the damn thing!
So already, Saturn Cafe has my heart. BUT THEN, my mind kicks in! That pesky thing that keeps me from being happy. Seriously, stupid people have it the best. And my mind tells me WAIT A MINUTE WTF IS THIS??? For a vegetarian restaurant, it’s sure slim pickings for the vegans. There are several areas in which they fail. I will now detail them because that’s how I do CONTROVERSY WHAT!
- No vegan cheese options. If you order something that regularly has cheese on it, the vegan version comes with this insane tofu spread that’s basically mashed up tofu with some chives mixed in. This grainy mixture is their stand-in for both cheese and sour cream. It’s very odd…not altogether bad, just odd. And when you consider the leaps and bounds vegan cheese products have taken in even the past few years, maybe the folks at Saturn just need to get on testing vegan cheeses. Might we suggest Daiya, Teese and Cheezly? We might!
- The veg chicken patties they use aren’t vegan. Dude, there’s GARDEIN. No excuse!
- Stuff like pancakes aren’t vegan. I don’t get it; pancakes are like the easiest thing to veganize. Let’s do this! Also, while you’re at it, please veganize the biscuits and gravy! There isn’t ONE place in the entire San Francisco Bay Area that serves this and I’m telling you, that alone will make Saturn famous. With my pants. And what is underneath my pants. That’s right, my vagina. I could go further but children read this blog! Also, if you are a child PLEASE STOP READING AND CALL CPS, your parents should be held responsible!
- Two options for vegan ice cream! You’re in the land of Maggie Mudd now, broker a deal with those fools! Let’s see some PB&J! And Apple Pie! I will pay for it, in both money and hella points for gluttony! This is kind of a throw-on request because I like to shoot for the moon. It’s really nice that they offer vegan milkshakes and I don’t want to push my luck.
All in all, Saturn Cafe, I love you. But please come through for the vegans! We count on our brothers in arms (or, in arms-ish. oh and that’s you, vegetarians! hi!) to have our backs in this big bad world of restaurant dining. If you could pull through for us on the front of vegan options, we will repay you in a never ending supply of our cold, hard vegan cash. And we’re by and large very rich*—how else would we shop at Rainbow all the time!? Shit.
OH ALSO: Maybe if they receive lots of very polite email from vegans letting them know there’s a desire for more vegan options, we’ll see some action! Maybe not! But, as always, it’s worth a try! Go forth, mighty (and polite!) vegans! Go forth, and spread our mighty (and polite!) message!
Exciting news! Saturn Cafe, the world’s best vegetarian space-age diner (and uh, only space-age diner?) is coming to Berkeley so, so soon! If you’ve never been, Saturn is a fantastic vegetarian diner (vegan-friendly, obvs) located in Santa Cruz. No longer will you have to take a mini-break to get your veg diner fix! And, right around the corner is the future home of our friends Cinnaholic (OPENING THIS SATURDAY!!!). This block is an herbivore super block. I walked by today and noticed that the restaurant is almost completely finished on the inside and is looking sexy with pink and white booths. The restaurant is supposedly staying open till 12 a.m., which fills us with joy. Saturn has yet to announce their official opening day, but we’ll be on the look out and let you know. Also, if you’d like to open your own Saturn cafe, they are franchising! You need about $477,00 to $994,000. Who wants to be our restaurant sugar daddy!?
[photo by mariamargarita]
Vegansaurus NYC: Square Root Cafe! »
Hey people, the unthinkable has happened! I’m completely content! Or at least I was for a brief moment at the adorable Square Root Cafe in Brooklyn. This place is so cute. It’s a diner, but not a ridiculous Johnny Rockets kind of diner, more like a mismatched-wooden-chairs, nice jukebox, lollipops-at-the-counter kind of diner. They don’t have a ton of vegan options but there was definitely a presence. And it said great stuff on the menu like about how all the vegetables are vegan and cooked on-site. That’s really all I ask; I mean, it’d be great if every where had more vegan options but I just really love when the vegan items are clearly marked and you feel really confident about just how vegan they are.
That beautiful monstrosity above is the Bongo Breakfast! And it was AWESOME. For one thing, it turns out I really enjoy saying, “Bongo Breakfast!” For another—look at it! You get all that different food! You can see it’s not your typical tofu scramble—in fact I don’t think the menu called it that. It’s chopped up tofu with mushrooms and bell peppers and it was surprisingly good. It might be a little bland for many of you but I personally enjoy just straight up tofu, so I liked it. I also occasionally eat handfuls of raw oatmeal. Go figure. That crazy-looking sausage was A++ and the hash browns were extra-tasty. I even ate part of the little salad, which is amazing because salads are for nancies.
Guess what else! They offer vegan milkshakes! Pish, like I care. Jk, it’s cool but I just never liked milkshakes. Maybe I should try one though! I’ve definitely never had a vegan milkshake. In fact, one of my assignments for my silly school is to do something I’ve never done that takes me out of my comfort zone; I think it means confronting your inner demons, which in my case are clearly milkshakes. Milkshakes and RATS. Actually, if anyone knows of a place in New York where I can go meet some rats, let me know because I was thinking I could do that for the assignment. Hmm, what was I talking about? Why are you always distracting me!!!
Now, back to the Square Root (I believe that was a math joke. See, I told you I’m basically a mathematician). Not only was the food good, but the guy working there was super-nice and I’m totally not saying that just because he was attractive. Also, he was attractive. Also, this is my new favorite place!
Rico’s Diner! »
Go here. Get the VEGAN PULLED PORK SANDWICH and a side of TATER TOTS. Kill yourself as life will never, ever be this amazing ever again even if you were having sex with Gael Garcia Bernal on a bed of $100 bills while walking on the moon with Michael Jackson whilst doing the moonwalk YOU FEEL ME?
Rico’s Diner has a small but potent vegan menu (including tofu scrambles and whatnot but EFF THAT YOU CAME TO PARTY*) that totally makes it worth a trip to Oakland. It’s super close the the 12th st. Bart and you can stop by The Breakroom Cafe after for a Pumpkin Roll or seven. Every time I type anything with the word “roll” in it, I immediately break into, “Let me see your tootsie roll” in my head. I’m not even sure that’s how the song goes…is it? Is it, “Let me see that tootsie roll”? Who cares, hilarious either way and screw you(x)1 million if you tell me to google it YOU ARE MY GOOGLE.
Closed on Sunday and only open until 3 p.m. on weekdays so keep that in mind and don’t go over specifically with the idea of having dinner and then get all super sad and shit.
*PARTY = eat a vegan pulled pork sandwich.
All You Knead! »
I never would have thought to visit All You Knead, except for the chance that brought me to the Haight one weekend morning, when the line at the Pork Store (across the street) looked a little too daunting. I was initially skeptical that they would have any decent vegan options at all, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Not only does All You Knead provide a few vegan selections right on the menu, but with some clever ordering and substituting, you can make yourself a true feast. They have a pretty standard tofu scramble option, but they also allow you to substitute tofu in any of their scrambled egg dishes—at no charge! imagine that!—you’ll have to leave the cheese off, too, naturally. Somewhere in the ordering process, we noticed they offered tempeh bacon, so that went into the scramble too. Home fries, of course, sadly, are not vegan (the usual) but we substituted french fries, which in the end was probably more delicious anyway. The end result was a HUGE PILE of food, just as good, if not better, than what you can get at the Pork Store, and way less greasy, too. (I once found a piece of ham in my Pork Store scramble, by the way. Just saying.) An enormous plate of food that’s a meal for one hella hungry fat person* or two meals for a regular hungry person. The waitress was really nice and knew what was and wasn’t vegan. Actually, we think maybe she was vegan because instead of butter, she brought us out a side of avocado for our bread! So thoughtful and so delicious!
All You Knead serves up good quality diner food with a Haight Street twist (meaning vegans can have our tofu scrambles and boca burgers) in a large restaurant (meaning very rarely a wait, even on weekends!), and it’s definitely an option when you find yourself in the Haight and need a lot of food and RIGHT NOW I’M STARVING.
*or one Jonas
Review: Jim’s Coffee Shop! »
It’s not super easy to find truly old-school diners or coffee shops in the Bay Area. In New York City, you can find one on every corner. If you haven’t eaten coleslaw out of a vat infested with maggots, you aren’t really a New Yorker. I’m looking at you, Waverly Diner! Anyway, there is something comforting in sitting down in a place where the waiters speak Greek or Russian or Armenian and are slow AND rude and all there is for a vegan to order is a plate of hash browns the size of your face. If you’re feeling nostalgic for a true diner, then head to Jim’s Coffee Shop in Alameda. You will not regret it. Just don’t ask for soy milk. You will regret that.
Jim’s is also special to me because I saw the most awesome fight outside of this place. It started as a fender-bender and ended in…well, you’ll see. Here’s how it went down. This one car rear-ends this other car. Like a very light tap. I mean, if it had been my minivan, I would’ve waved the other dude good-bye, saying something like, “Have you SEEN my car? It might be a high-powered piece of automotive genius on the INSIDE but a ding on the outside? Keep moving, buddy!” because I mean, really. If I have one ding, I have a hundred. Literally. I have 100 dings on my Kia.
Anyway, the guy who is hit freaks out and motions for the other dude to pull over. Now, I’m watching this whole thing with some French fries in hand—I think this adds to the appeal of the whole thing, the entire time I am watching this, I am casually munching on french fries—the dude who was hit gets out of the car and he’s bright red. Like a scary, big, mean red man of anger and rage. I know some bad (if not interesting) shit is about to hit the fan. I inch closer. The other dude gets out, looking like your average middle-class white dude; he doesn’t seem particularly mad.
And so our story unfolds:
The Super-Agro Man of Rage (SAMOR) is all, “What the fuck, man? You put a dent in my Nissan, man! I just got this car fixed, man! That is fucked up, man!”
Middle-Class White Dude (MCWD) is all, “I’m sorry, let’s check out the dent and see if we can have our insurance talk it over.”
SAMOR is all, “Man, that shit ain’t right! Insurance talk it over man, nah. We’re going to deal with it right here.” (NO SHIT, THIS IS WHAT HE SAID)
MCWD and Laura B are all, “What?”
SAMOR is all, “You heard me, son! I’m about to fuck you up!”
MCWD looking around, obviously totally weirded out. “Uhh…”
SAMOR starts to move closer to MCWD. MCWD is backing away being all, “I think this is best solved through our insurance companies.”
SAMOR is all, “Didn’t you hear me, man? We’re gonna settle this now!”
MCWD is getting more annoyed and starts to roll up his sleeves and is all, “OK, dude,” and starts to move towards SAMOR, at which time SAMOR starts to yell, “HELP! POLICE! THIS MAN IS GOING TO ATTACK ME!!!!”
NO SHIT!!!! He starts waving his arms wildly and screaming for help. I could not make this shit up. Well, maybe I could but i’m not. I swear. There are witnesses. All of them dead or living in Canada.
MCWD is all, “Dang, you are crazy!” and starts to go back to his car, at which time SAMOR is all, “What? You scared of me, bro? You want a piece?” and proceeds to pick a bottle up off the ground and throw it in MCWD’s direction. MCWD whips around and starts heading back to SAMOR, and SAMOR once again starts screaming, “HELP! SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE! 911! HELP! POLICE!”
At this point, I literally drop my French fries and pull out my cell phone because I’m not quite sure some bad shit is about to go down, but I know some freaky shit is currently going down. I call the police.
MCWD is all, “Fuck this, you are crazy,” and starts to move back to his car, and SAMOR is all, “Oh that’s right, walk away you pussy bitch! I knew it, bitch!” and MCWD is just shaking his head, and SAMOR runs after him, passes him, hits MCWD’s car really hard with his fist and runs back around the other side of the car. At this point, MCWD just loses it and is chasing SAMOR around his car while SAMOR yells, “HELP! POLICE!”
The police finally arrive and I’m forced to give witness to what I just saw. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I’m not quite sure what just went down in front of me. I testify to the best of my ability and head back into Jim’s for another to-go order of french fries.
Moral of this story, kids? Stay the fuck away from meth.
[photo via yelp]