This is the worst picture ever because of the romantic lighting but what you are looking at is a “cauliflower steak!” After a night of drinking, my friend wanted food and we went to the ever-popular Schiller’s in the lower east side. I thought I’d be stuck with the traditional “french fries at the omni restaurant” but guess what! They recently added this totally vegan item to their menu! I was so excited. I love cauliflower!
Warning: it’s not cheap. But it’s super good! It’s basically half a cauliflower head grilled with lots of flavorful stuff on it—lemon being the highlight. It was pretty awesome. I told our nice server that I write for a very very important vegan blog and I would have to report on this immediately! So, that’s what I’m doing.
How often do you get a decent vegan option at a meaty restaurant? And not just decent, this was yummy! But on top of everything else, it was like 11pm! Nice play, Schiller’s, nice play.
New Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe location in Oakland! »
Say it’s one of those days where not only is your stomach hungry, but so are your eyes. Maybe you are hanging out with omnis who don’t want vegan food, I mean, what are they supposed to eat at a VEGAN restaurant?! Enter Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe: options for everyone! Incredibly attractive punk rock clientele and employees (it’s co-owned by Green Day’s Mike Dirnt, after all)! BEER SPECIALS! As a car-less San Franciscan, I would probably eat more meals at Rudy’s, but getting to Emeryville is a pain, especially on public transit and an empty stomach?
Fortunately, Rudy’s just opened a new location in Uptown Oakland! At its new addy, 1805 Telegraph Ave., Rudy’s is next to the Fox Theatre and within walking distance from the 19th Street BART station. Perfect! Tofu Rancheros, I’m coming back for you!
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe is open at its new location from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., and boasts $1 Bud, Bud Light and Miller High Life beers from 9 p.m. to midnight. I’m so there!
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.
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!!!
Review: La Copa Loca! »
I am on some kind of cold dessert kick lately. Can I tell you when I last had a cold-n-creamy dessert? No, because it has been rather a long time. Still, I am reminded of the delicious gelato of La Copa Loca several times a week, as I find myself walking past the delivery truck parked on Capp and 26th Streets, or the storefront on Capp and 22nd. If we start reviewing by familiarity alone, my next write-up is going to be about the guy selling oranges on 23rd Street, I see that guy almost daily.
Right, but that’s not the point. We were discussing the beauty of La Copa Loca and its three vegan flavors of vegan gelato: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. I will grant you that Gelateria Naia’s vegan chocolate hazelnut tastes exactly like Europe (yes I mean the continent), and Copa Loca only ever makes the three flavors, none of which can really match Naia in depth or richness. Color me extremely biased; I did spend many months in Germany eating as much chocolate and ice cream as possible.
Of course not everyone feels this way. Copa Loca’s vegan coffee gelato is very good. Also, it is much more accessible than Naia—longer hours, around more restaurants, in a much more walkable neighborhood—what’s better than a nighttime stroll with a scoop of gelato in a colorful fluted cup? (because obviously it’s the cup that makes it.) You can say hello to all our friends in the Mission: the recovering mentally ill from the halfway houses; the cold, underdressed prostitutes; the rowdy guys spilling out of bars after international soccer games. Oh the friends you can meet while enjoying your tasty Copa Loca gelato! It’s inexpensive, too; you can get two cups of two scoops each for under $5, which in these economic times is so cheap it’s basically free. I mean, right?
La Copa Loca makes good vegan gelato. It’s open late, for San Francisco (ugh, city, we don’t all go to bed at midnight), it’s inexpensive, the vegan supply hasn’t run out on me yet, and the sign outside is so cheery and appetite-whetting, you have to be of great willpower to deny its siren song of vanilla-chocolate-coffee goodness. La Copa Loca’s storefront makes the neighborhood a little brighter, as it will your day when you give in to the gelato. Or do what I do, and don’t ever carry cash if you’re just out running errands. OR-or, succumb to the music and get a scoop every time; a little gelato now and then is good for you. It’s certainly good for your peace of mind. And happiness of tum.
Review: Love & Haight deli! »
San Francisco is a town that goes to bed early. Or rather, it stops eating at around 9 p.m. Then, it takes itself to the Power Exchange for a nightcap. We are a city in which you can come to be who you want to be and everyone will love you and ask you to get married illegally, unless the person you want to be is someone who wants to eat a meal that doen’t come from the liquor store after 10pm. That person is welcome to return to New York or LA or London or whatever place they came from.
Sure, there are a tiny number of all-night diners, but with the exception of Sparky’s—which I’m sure we’ll get to in a bit—none offer much in the way of vegan options. Unless of course you are looking to eat the universal vegan meal: french fries. But when looking for something with a bit more substance to pre-empt your nasty hangover or to just accompany your late-night dinner cravings (some of us just get hungry later, geez!) there is Love & Haight Deli in the Lower Haight.
It’s very easy to ignore this place; I know I did for the first 1,000 times I walked by. But, once I discovered the magic within, I haven’t been able to stop eating their sandwiches. I swear, I have been to Love & Haight probably 50 times in the past two years and I have only ever ordered one thing: the “veggie chicken steak” sandwich on sourdough roll with avocado. It is a sandwich that will take you out on a date, open doors for you, give you an amazing kiss goodnight and then text you before you even have a chance to take off your shoes when you get home. It’s that good, you guys.
And (to bring it back to my original point), they’re open until 1 a.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends. You heard me! Not only that, they have an awesome selection of beverages, chips to go with your sandwich, and for dessert, they sell Alternative Baking Company cookies! A full meal—and I don’t consider it to be a full meal until I’ve had a cookie—will set you back about $10, a reasonable amount considering the enormousness of the sandwiches.
More useful info if you don’t enjoy my life-changing prose: they very clearly mark what is and isn’t vegan on their menu, which is very helpful when choosing breads. Besides the veggie chicken steak, they have a few other fake meats on their menu, like veggie roast duck, veggie BBQ steak, and a few others, all from Layonna Vegetarian/heaven in Oakland. Unfortunately they do not offer vegan mayonnaise.
We all know Ike’s is the current king of vegan sandwiches in the Bay Area, but Love & Haight still deserves a shout-out; it will be there for you when you just want a nice warm piece of wheat gluten with half of an avocado on top of it at 1:30 in the morning.
[photo by grahamc99]
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: Club Waziema! »
Club Waziema is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in San Francisco. Not so much because it’s autentico (I stole that from Jonas, I believe it’s Mexican for “authentic”) but because it’s delicious food in a fun space (dive bar meets whorehouse. See: the ridiculously wonderful and sexy wallpaper) and it’s super-cheap and there is an excellent jukebox. Oh and IT’S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT. AMAZING.
I strongly suggest ordering the Vegetarian Combo, a combination of all their vegan dishes. They don’t use the proper Ethiopian names on the menu because their customers are almost 100 percent Hipster McWhitey but basically you get two different lentil dishes (one spicy, one milder), a mushroom stew, collard greens and a potato/carrot/cabbage combo for $9, ALL YOU CAN EAT. When the food runs out, you just ask for more and they bring it out because as mentioned above it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT. Has there ever been four more beautiful words strung together in the English language? I’m being serious, can you think of any? Because I’m actually trying and I can’t.
Everything is served on injera, which is traditional Ethiopian flat bread made with teff flour. The injera at Waziema is fluffier and less tangy than I like it but it’s still delicious and I think easier on a palate that isn’t used to eating this type of food. Please see above about Hipster McWhitey. You use the injera to eat all of the food so please don’t humiliate yourself by asking for a fork or some shit. HOW EMBARRASSING.
Some things to keep in mind when dining in here. The service can be inattentive and slow (this is how they do in Ethiopia. I’m assuming.) so either be relaxed, baby, or prepare to go to bat for what you believe in. I’ve also had really excellent service so it’s a bit of a crap shoot. It’s good for groups (I had a big birthday dinner here a few years ago and it was the perfect location for a laid-back celebration—just make sure to call ahead and reserve some space. You can apparently even make reservations on their site. I would say not great for a romantical date because it can get really loud and there aren’t basic restaurant things like tablecloths and shit because you’re in a bar but on the other hand, I had the first date with my current boyfriend here and he’s ALL RIGHT. And oh yeah, they are closed Sundays and not open for lunch. The kitchen is open from 5 to 10 p.m. every night but the bar stays open later, until midnight on school nights and 2 a.m. on the weekend SO YOU CAN PARTY! ETHIOPIAN STYLE! WHAT?!
That is all.
Review: Medjool! »
Medjool is located in the fake Mission District. It’s where people from the Marina* come when they want to slum it in the scary, scary Mission. It’s pretentious and ridiculous (look at all those a-holes out front in the picture. What a bunch of a-holes) but they have a fair amount of vegan items on the menu—which is advertised as “more than a menu. It’s a cultural event.” BLOW ME, MEDJOOL—so I was game to try it. I went two times and had decent experiences with the hummus and couscous, nothing extraordinary, but my third time visiting, HOLY SHIT. Beyond the terrible service, terrible food, and terrible music there was the FUCKING TERRIBLE SERVICE. Our waiter was so snooty, so slow and so thick in the head, it was truly mind-boggling. He wasn’t exactly mean, more operating in a fashion that defied all logic. It was like in his universe, two plus two equals cookie. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s as if he was thoroughly confused that he was our waiter and not some dude who showed up at Medjool to PARTY!!! He never said hello, never told us the specials and when we finally flagged him down to order he asked, “What you want?” With this kind of service, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?!
I wasn’t all that surprised that three out of four dishes were fucked up with nary an apology or speedy correction and the biggest of all horrors, he brought me a FUCKING WHOLE CHICKEN. I was like, oh bitches no. I am VEGAN. He was like, “Oops. My bad.” I remained cool. He took away the carcass. Five minutes later a runner comes with ANOTHER WHOLE CHICKEN. I ask my friends which one of them is fucking with me. Seriously, is this a joke? I call the waiter back over and explain problem with receiving wrong order twice and he offers no apology or explanation and returns with my correct order a full 20 minutes later. Everyone else is done eating. I am forced to eat alone and feel extra fat. Fucking horrendous. I will never return and encourage all other vegans and vegan sympathizers to do the same. Luckily, nobody is beating down my door to take me to Medjool. Nobody is beating down my door to take me anywhere. Tear.
Actually, I take it back. The waiter was not only an alien from planet Insane Incompetency but also pretty mean. I might even call him a douche. Actually, to call him a douche would be an insult to douches because they’ve at least been inside a woman. Oh, snap!
*For those of you unfamiliar with SF geographical stereotypes, I’m sorry. They’re pretty great. Living in the Marina basically means that, if you’re a woman, you’ll finish college, work for a couple of years, find some jr. banker d-bag to marry, quit working to plan your wedding and then get pregnant, never work again, raise ungrateful brats while your husband is off cheating with a dude named Chereyl. Also, you bronze your cleavage.