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]

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