vegansaurus!

12/02/2008

Review: Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant!  »

Admittedly I love giving every restaurant high ratings because I want everyone to just be fucking happy (I am a classic middle child) but Minako really does deserves the heaps and heaps of praise I’m finna heap on its tiny ass. If you understood that last sentence, bravo!

1) In a city where Japanese cuisine = sushi = FISH TIME IN GROSS-ASS DEAD FISH TOWN, there aren’t tons of choices for us vegans. Sure, if you want another cucumber roll, you can go to Red Box or wherever the fuck the omnivore retards of this city are freaking out about, or you can head to Minako for some fucking SELECTION. An entire special vegan menu full of selection! Thas right! I love the fried veggie eel (the veggie eel = worth living for and you MUST try!) and avocado roll and the grilled eggplant with miso glaze appetizer. The tofu house dish is basically hollowed out (I believe it’s house-made) tofu stuffed with a million surprises. The miso soup is vegan as is the tempura (which is the best I’ve ever had). My parents lived in Japan for a few years and are crazy-picky about their sushi and they love it here. Even my dad eats vegan happily at Minako. This is saying a lot since my dad would happily dine on the tears of human babies if given the option. He’s delightful. Oh and they are constantly adding vegan dishes to the menu and there is always a delicious vegan special or two.

2) The cranky chef mother/super-fresh waitress daughter combo can’t be beat. Plus, mom makes her own ume. I’ll pass (gross!) but it’s cool that she does. Some people (read: assholes) complain about them being too up in your business or curt or cranky or whatever but fuck it, eating at Minako is an experience worth having. And if you’re good to them, they’ll be good to you. It’s like family. Or the mob. You choose. They don’t need more customers so why would they put up with a bunch of jerks? I really wish this was how it worked at my job. I’d be such a lunatic to people who gave me any attitude or tried to get me to work period. I’d get hooks for hands and force people to let me give them back massages. I’m off task here.

3) On my last visit the music included Barry Manilow, Air Supply, Pavement and Eazy-E.  YES, PLEASE!

4) It’s tiny, best for a date or a small group. There is always a wait for a table and your food. Just know and accept this.

Once when I was eating here, this guy—who, by the by, was a DEAD RINGER for a black Chuck Norris. You know when you see people but they are like the Chinese version of your white friend or the Mexican version of your Korean friend? It’s a trip. Well, this dude was Chuck Norris’ straight-up black twin—ordered and ate half the menu and when he was done, a Michael Jackson jam was turned way up and he and the waitress dirty-danced (!) for a couple of minutes. It was so great. This is the kind of magic that Minako holds. If you’re not into that, there is an Applebee’s in Stonestown you should hit up.

5) It’s on my top-five favorite restaurants in San Francisco list. I really love this place and would eat here at least once a week if my checkbook allowed. Currently my checkbook doesn’t allow for much more than a generic Vitamin Water at Walgreens but you know. I’ll get back on top sometime soon. I just gots to work hard and I will achieve my dreams! This is the land of plenty! USA! USA! USA!

[photos via yelp]

10/07/2008

Review: Medicine Eatstation  »

At first I thought that I could not find the words to describe how much I loathe stupid¬†Medicine stupid “Eatstation” (it’s not even a word and no I will NOT teach my browser to learn it, as I did my name and the various permutations of “vegan”), but then I discovered that yes, yes I could.

I used to work right next to the Crocker, and I didn’t have to technically leave the building to get to Medicine from my office. Now, if I hadn’t been stuck with shitty insurance* that charged me a zillion dollars for my various medications and therapy, and refused to cover my nutritionist costs even though I have a medical diagnosis that should allow me free nutritionist visits for the rest of my crazy life, I would buy lunch more often. Still, after a year of employment at my that job, I felt as though I’d plumbed the depths of the third-floor food court (OF HELL), including Medicine. In fact, I tried it three times. Why? Because I am incapable of learning my lesson the first time, is why.

Each time I’ve gone, the service has been slow, and the staff at the counter has always been rude. They ignore the customers, they keep one register closed despite an out-the-door line (people, NO, just, go get soup), and two out of three times I’ve seen them stop taking orders to chat with each other. Just flat-out stop working! Christ, it was just terrible.

The food is also BAD. I’ve had their signature Medicine roll, the miso-braised eggplant—which is no longer on the menu—and a cold soba salad, and they were equally yet singularly yucky, not to mention overpriced. The worst offense was the limp, squishy, tasteless soba. My mother, a white lady from south Jersey who now lives in a Bay Area suburb and teaches spinning classes to other suburban white ladies, can make better cold soba salads, and she hasn’t been to Japan since 1984. Truth. [NB: do not be fooled by the picture, that food is the opposite of delicious.]

Also, the prices are astronomical. Wonderful Japanese restaurants like all-vegan Cha-Ya and very-vegan-friendly Minako don’t charge so much for such simple dishes, and when their prices do match Medicine’s, the food is incomparably better.

FURTHERMORE, after a much-ballyhooed temporary closing, Medicine reopened and was no longer vegan, instead serving local, wild-caught, long-lived, guaranteed-happy, volunteered-to-be-murdered-so-honored-were-they-to-be-part-of-Medicine’s-cuisine fish as well. Maybe this isn’t so bad—now it’s not a shitty overpriced pretentious vegan place, it’s just a shitty overpriced pretentious place, so it isn’t contributing to our bad reputation. But no, think of the fish!

The last time I went in, the day of the terrible soba, I waited for 45 minutes for it. I know, right? After all that I still wasted three-quarters of my unpaid-yet-mandated lunch hour waiting to get food I couldn’t even manage to finish once I got it. About 30 minutes in, another front counter girl ended the personal phone call that she’d been engaged in when I arrived, and handed me a “Sorry About the Wait, Let Us Make It Up to You” card, good for a whole 15 percent off my next purchase at Medicine, expiring that Friday. Because of course I was going to come back, I am a stupid, stupid person.

Truth: I did not.

*Never complain about your insurance, because one day you may find yourself with two weeks’ of pills left and zero medical coverage, and then you will miss the days of paying a lot of money for those medications, because whatever “a lot” was, it wasn’t as much as the retail price.

[photo via yelp]

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