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.
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.
Rosamunde in the Mission: it’s a vegan sausage fest! »
Some of you may be familiar with the venerable Rosamunde Sausage Grill in the Lower Haight. It’s only about 20 square feet, but between it and its next-door neighbor, Toronado, I have spent many a perfect Saturday afternoon eating vegan sausage and drinking beer (don’t judge!). Now, Rosamunde has opened a brand-spanking-new Mission location (at 24th and Mission Streets), complete with their very own beer list AND seating for, well, more than the four people the Haight Street location can accommodate.
First things first: Rosamunde is not a primarily vegan location. They serve meat sausages of ALL KINDS, and many people may choose to pass based on that, which is cool, because it just leaves more vegan sausages for me!
Rosamunde has a very simple concept: grilled sausages of various kinds on fresh french rolls with a choice of select toppings for around $6 and a close proximity to beer. The rolls are always super-fresh and delicious, and the toppings pretty much rule: grilled onion, sweet peppers, hot peppers (or a mixture of both), sauerkraut, and a range of mustards and ketchup. The Haight Street Rosamunde offers one vegan sausage: it’s a Tofurky variety (though I can never tell which kind—I think maybe the beer brat), and it’s good, but there’s only the one kind. The new Mission spot offers a selection (!!!) of vegan sausages, which is fancy and makes having only a single option look like communist Berlin. When we ate there last night, the ol’ ball and chain had an apple sage dealy, and I had the kielbasa. The menu lists the vegan sausage as a “daily offering,” so I am going to optimistically interpret that to mean that they will offer a range of vegan sausages and be receptive to trying out new ones. YOU HEAR THAT, ROSAMUNDE?
In addition to sausages, the Mission location also offers vegan baked beans, fries, the biggest, most obscene-looking pickles that you’ve ever seen, and vegan split-pea soup. They also have a sausage platter that includes a sausage (or two), baked beans, and salad. Oh, and beer. They focus on quality, craft beers, and lots of their stuff on tap is of the strong persuasion. Handily, they list the alcohol content right next to the names and prices. OH! And (I almost forgot these) they also have Helwa vegan wafers in three or four different varieties. It’s a nice touch, especially if you get the kind of PMS I get where you need to have sugar, salty and booze in your mouth all at once. Handy!
The atmosphere of the place is something like “German Hunting Lodge with DJ playing an odd mix of Dead Kennedys and Hot Water Music with friendly tattooed hipster counter person.” Sounds odd, yes, but it works. There are lots of long tables with benches for cramming many people in, and boy were there lots of people crammed in when we hit it up last night. Hopefully it’ll calm down a bit once it’s not so new, but for now at least, be prepared to wait 15 minutes or so for your sausage, which is okay, since they have all that beer.
The only complaint I have about this place (besides all the meat, which, let me clarify, sucks, but I’d rather have meaty places acknowledge, accommodate, and respect vegans than not) is that while they are open for breakfast (and even offer free coffee with breakfast! AMAZING), they don’t have a vegan breakfast sausage. Their current breakfast offering is a breakfast sausage with egg and cheddar. I know I’d be pretty happy to have a breakfast sausage with Cheesly and tomato and onion or something. JUST SAYING, ROSAMUNDE!
Anyway, she said lots of nice stuff about the future of food heading in the vegan direction and it was lovely and inspiring. The had a limited menu at the grand opening but it’s all up now so check it out and then go support the vegans who are doing it to it!
Oh dude, they’re having a contest right now, win $1,000 worth of vegan food. Do it. To it.
Nature’s Express, a vegan fast food joint, comes to Berkeley! THANK YOU, HIPPIES! »
So how’s this for some bullshit? Solano Avenue in Berkeley/Albany, home to dozens of dining spots, HAS NO vegan establishments. What the hell is wrong with those supposedly granola-and-animal-loving Solano Ave. hippies? Well, the correct answer is A LOT. But lucky for us, things are about to change (at least in the realm of veg food…we don’t have a hopeful outlook on the crystal deodorant and wearing Birkenstocks-with-socks front).
Starting in early January 2010, the small vegan chain Nature’s Express is opening a branch at 1823 Solano Ave. in Berkeley. (Most people think of Solano as being in Albany, but the eastern part of the street is technically still Berkeley. The geography lessons are free, bitches!)
That’s right, soon you’ll be able to dine cheaply and cruelty-free among the hordes of aging hippie foodies. Great! But you ask: How cheap? How vegan? And is the food any good?
Well smarty pants, here’s the menu* from the Rancho Mirage location. Look, it’s cheap! And according to Molly Patrick, Nature’s Express General Manager for Northern Cali, everything is 100 percent vegan!
Yes, but is it nasty? Yelpers overwhelmingly like it. What? Those fools hate everything because they think that’s comedy?! Maybe that’s the case but they’re loving on Nature’s Express. And the ones who don’t probably shop directly from puppy mills. SO EVIL!
Anyway, Nature’s Express plans to open up shop in Berkeley around Jan. 6th or 7th. They will be celebrating their grand opening on Jan. 15, 2010. We will keep you posted about this event (free food!?) and the exact date they will open because that’s how we do!
*Of definite interest is the biblical burrito…wtf is that!? I’ll take it! Also, is this a cult? Not sure, don’t care. Oooh also, tempeh ruebens and chicken roll tacos and garden lasagna!? YES and YES and YES!
Thanks to Claude for this awesome insider info & fabulous post!!
Review: Phat Philly! »
At the end of the week I’m flying into Philadelphia to make my way to the Inauguration (AND I’M NOT COMING BACK UNTIL OBAMA IS VEGAN OR UNTIL MY RETURN FLIGHT ON THURSDAY) and I’ve been gearing up for eating many vegan Philly cheesesteaks at Govinda’s in Philadelphia by eating many vegan Philly cheesesteaks in California. If you access the Fat Logic part of your brain, that makes perfect sense.
Lucky for me, Phat Philly* opened up about a block from my place last month. They offer a few vegetarian sandwiches that can be made vegan by taking away all the flavor. All of their delicious-sounding sauces have mayo in them and of course, no vegan cheese. We got the tofu sandwich and it was basically tofu stir-fried with some onions and peppers and put on a roll. Not horrible but certainly no Jay’s. Other options include grilled veggies and portobello mushroom, and if you’re looking for a grilled veggie sandwich (BLAH), this would be a good place. Just remember to bring your own condiments. One thing I will say, the waffle fries are the JAM. It’s been a while since I indulged in some waffle fry deliciousness and those suckers tasted GOOD. I recommend taking them home and making your own special sauce of ketchup mixed with Wildwood vegan aioli (or Vegenaise) and then dunking each fry completely in that magic and going straight to heart attack heaven. If you’re feeling extra-awesome, you could make that sauce at home and bring it with you to Phat Philly and make your sandwich taste better.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked that they are thinking about vegetarians (and vegans, to some extent) but I’d love some more options. From eating at Govinda’s and at Jay’s, I know a really tasty vegan Philly cheesesteak is possible and will bring in a shit-ton of customers. Never underestimate a vegan’s ability to travel to great lengths to get something awesome. I mean, I’m basically going to the Inauguration so that I can eat cinnamon rolls from Sticky Fingers, YOU FEEL ME?
*I woulda gone with Fat Filly because that’s hella clever, right? And then your logo could be a fat horse eating a sandwich. GENIUS, NO?
[photos via yelp]
Review: Jay’s Cheesesteak! »
Now, down to business.
Back in the day when food was not repulsive to me—it feels like I can’t remember such a time*—I used to love the seitan cheesesteak sandwich, minus the cheese and mayo, with extra extra onions, from Jay’s Cheesesteak. It is the perfect sandwich and vegan! Yay! If you are feeling extravagant, you can have them make any of their cheesesteaks vegan. You can choose from tomato and pepper, mushroom, pizza, teriyaki, and more. The pizza cheesesteak is especially super-fantastic, all marinara-sauced deliciousness and shit. Go on with your bad self, pizza cheesesteak.
One gripe: These fools recently started charging 50 cents extra for the seitan cheesesteaks. WRONG! And before anyone is like, “Well, Laura, seitan is probably more expensive than government-subsidized ground chuck,” I will tell you this: JAY’S CHEESESTEAK USES NIMAN RANCH DEAD COW. Niman Ranch is the poster boy for “humanely” raised, grass-fed, sustainably farmed, Michael Pollan Richy-Rich-style beef. You ain’t at Food 4 Less anymore, Dorothy. This shiz is $$$$$. And I, for one, am so sick of paying extra for food that COSTS LESS. I’m looking at you, soy milk at Starbucks. Oh also, no vegan cheese. Boo.
A few logisticalities: There are two Jay’s Cheesesteak locations, one in the Mission on 21st Street near Valencia, and one in the Western Addition on Divisadero. Both locations are open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are both in good bar neighborhoods, which is excellent because they are ideal drinking food. Very limited seating, so see previous sentence about going to a bar.
*About 10 hours ago. I have mild congestion/am dying.
[photos via yelp]
Review: Rosamunde Sausage Grill! »
Rosamunde is a shitbox hole-in-the-wall where you can order all kinds of gross-ass dead animal sausages and a couple vegan sausages. I believe they use Tofurky brand. The sauerkraut is first-rate and the grilled onions are delicious too. Basically everything you ever wanted to put on a sausage and the buns are terrific! And I’m not talking about the crazy German lady who works there! Or if I am, I’m also talking about the actual sausage buns too! The pickles are NYC Jewish deli-style too, definitely worth the buck. Other than that, you can’t really eat in but you can take your sausage to one of the 54 bars nearby and enjoy it with some beer. Sausage and beer, people love that, right? I think that’s how it goes, fuck if I know, I’ve checked out of relating to the human race like three years ago.
A final note: Whenever I come in here, I feel like recreating the breakdown scene from Half Baked* but with sausage. First I would point to the dead chicken sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the dead lamb sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the vegan sausage and say, “You’re cool!” and then, “I’m out!” Actually, I would prolly say, “I’m out, bitches!” but that wouldn’t be staying true to the film. And if I’m anything, it’s accurate. And very good-looking.
*This is a really great movie, by the way. It was written by Dave Chappelle, directed by Tamra Davis (WHO ALSO DIRECTED THE PEERLESS BILLY MADISON and is married to Beastie Boy Mike D!) and has a cameo by Tommy Chong as the Squirrel Master. Have I piqued your interest?
[photo via yelp]
Review: Mission Street Food cart! »
Mission Street Food is a most delicious little cart that sets up once a week (details below) to serve you some of the most delicious flat bread sandwiches ever known to man (me + you) or beast (i’ll get to this later). There are three sandwich selections—I expect they’ll expand the menu and maybe even how many nights a week they are out there based on the popularity of their first two weeks—two of which can be made vegan with small adjustments. The $5 King Trumpet is wild mushrooms, triple-fried potatoes (YES PLEASE!), roasted garlic, and scallion sour cream (gross, omit!) on fresh made flat bread. Now, I’m not even a mushroom fan and this sandwich made me sofuckinghappy. It is a must-try. The other is the $4 Mission Melt which is roasted peppers, melted cheese (omit!%
Review: Ali Baba’s Cave! »
OK, what genius/saint thought it smart to grind, spice and fry chickpeas into little fried balls of perfection? I’d like to shake that man’s hand and then possibly simulate oral sex on his fingers. Was this man Jesus himself? I’m not one to speculate on whether or not Jesus invented falafel balls but whoever did most likely can do other crazy shit like turn water into wine and start enormous holy wars based strictly on the debate of his existence. To you, sir, I say, BRAVO. I also say, PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!!
The falafel at Ali Baba’s Cave is really very yummy and you can add fried eggplant and fried potatoes and fuck if that isn’t the trifecta of fried deliciousness. However, I’m gonna be forced to take one demerit point because these fools NEVER listen to you and I think it’s worse if you’re a woman. Listen, I understand that I’m the weaker and stupider sex,* but if I say no fucking hot sauce, I mean no fucking hot sauce this whitey will DIE. And I know you don’t value my life because I am a woman but um…I don’t know what to say. I really have no ground to stand on when who I fundamentally am is a second-class citizen at best and a wretched, whiny, bleeding, nagging, hooker beast at worst. What can you do? The falafel is REALLY good.
It’s so good, in fact, that the other night, I exited Ali Baba’s Cave on a complete falafel cloud of happiness. I was so excited and happy about everything that I yelled, “Cute dog!” to a guy and his super-cute dog as they drove by. The guy gave me a puzzled look and as he rounded the corner, I noticed that what I saw in the back seat was not in fact a dog but rather, a very old and very short lady with curly white hair. Presumably his grandmother. I am an asshole. Also, this falafel? Possibly magical as it creates illusions of the eye. Also, I am an asshole.
*This is a proven fact. Please don’t argue with me about “Right to Vote” and “Able to Show Face Flesh in Public,” Lucy Liberal and Esther Equality. Just get back in the kitchen and finish my pot pie, bitches! And if you forget the carrots like last time, there will be hell to pay. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I will murder your whole family.
[photo via yelp]