Restaurant review: Nick’s Tacos at Underdog, plus your weekend plans! »
Underdog is a sports bar that serves Nick’s Tacos, located in an area of San Francisco I like to refer to as the Mid Sunset. Not quite Outer, not quite Inner. Technically, what is 19th and Irving? I have no clue.
Nick believes in slow food, fast, which I guess I love. I don’t respect the Slow Food movement so much, as it tends to be super meat-heavy/hypocritical. Unless we are talking about cooking dinner in my apartment! My old roommate Vanessa said I am a great cook, but she can’t wait two hours to eat. What?! I like the flavors to meld—and I cook on low so I can check Facebook every two seconds.
I went to Underdog’s on a whim last year with two friends, as one of them knew the bartender and we NEEDED to make it for beer-and-taco happy hour. Taco happy hour, by the way, is only for ‘street-style’ meat tacos, but Nick’s is so inexpensive, you won’t stay too mad about that. Perhaps they will make the street tacos sans meat, I’ve never asked.
Drinking and tacos are two of my FAVORITE THINGS! I could tell I was gonna like the food as soon as our chips and salsa came. SO COLORFUL AND FRESH! I mean, really? In a bar? I was not expecting this.
That first time, I ordered the vegetarian tacos, which come Nick’s Way in a crispy corn tortilla wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. YES AND YES.
The second time I visited UnderNick’s, I had the taco salad. SO AMAZING. The best part is that it is a vegan entree, so I didn’t have to waste time asking for no cheese or sour cream and then stress out it’s going to come with those condiments anyway. Cilantro-lime vinaigrette? Done. Fresh tomatoes and delicious guacamole? Done. The best part, other than how it tastes, is that it doesn’t come in a heavy, fried tortilla shell, the part of the salad I always try to abstain from and then demolish in 30 seconds flat. Instead they decoratively top the salad with tortilla curls!
The first time I went to Underdog’s, my friend informed me of second Underdog up the street (different place of business completely). So after gorging on chips, salsa and tacos, I found room in my stomach for a vegan sausage dog with sauerkraut. And then went home and made seitan (while checking Facebook constantly).
Here’s your itinerary for this weekend (whenever your weekend is. Mine is Mondays and Tuesdays, holla!). Go to Ocean Beach, try to stay warm and work up an nice appetite/beer buzz on the sand, and as you are heading back to the city stop at Nick’s. Scarf down your food so that before your stomach can register it’s full, you can demolish a vegan sausage dog down the street. Sounds like a perfect day to me!
Underdog Sports Bar and Grill is located at 1824 Irving between 19th and 20th Avenues in the Sunset. It can get pretty bro-y on game days, so I’d avoid it at all costs then. Here’s the menu [.pdf]. [Ed.: I’ve heard that on Fridays during happy hour, they have $1 margaritas. Girrrrrrrl…]
NEW VEGAN CARAMELS, Y’ALL! Over at SFoodie, the marvelous Ms. Tamara Palmer has the sweet scoop on Napa’s Obsessive Confection Disorder (OCD! ha!) that just started selling in San Francisco. She writes:
Its products are being exclusively (for the moment) carried at Other Avenues (3930 Judah at 44th Ave.), and the organic co-op’s produce has inspired several of the caramel flavors. Unusual varieties include butternut squash, candied yam, and salted agave-lime.
She goes on to describe tasting some of the flavors and HOO BOY. Our Mark lives in the Outer Sunset and so we’re on the case. That’s Vegansaurus for you, always looking out for you via binge/purge. JK, we binge/binge. Don’t thank us yet, you’re probably gonna have to finance our piano box funerals. YOU’RE WELCOME.
YOU GUYS! Our beloved VegNews is moving offices from the chilly willy Outer Sunset to the bright and sunny Mission District, and we couldn’t be more stoked! It’s now that much easier to visit and harass them! Woohoo! But before they move, they’re getting rid of tons of great vegan stuff. Cookbooks, vegan goodies, office furniture, kitchen appliances, shelving, lamps, and alllllll sorts of good stuff. It’s definitely worth a trip out there! Make a day of it and swim in the ocean (IF YOU WANT TO DIE). Details on the flyer above, see you tramps there!
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.
Sunrise Deli! »
I am declaring Sunrise Deli the best falafel in San Francisco proper. DEAL WITH IT. You all can argue with me but whatever, I don’t care what you have to say and won’t pretend to, either. As you can easily tell, I am a popular girl.
I was turned on to Sunrise by the good people at VegNews magazine and Brassica Supperclub and they collectively know their shit (read: food). The best suggestion I got was to buy some hot falafel balls (hehehe) to eat while they make your sandwich! OH MAN ALIVE! Hot, crispy, not too greasy but plenty greasy enough, they are truly something! So often falafels are too dry/hard/dense/stale but not here.
You can get your sandwich with or without the eggplant/potato combo; people seem to feel strongly about the authenticity/deliciousness of this (as they do about so many about so many seemingly ridiculous things) but I freaking love it. You can also get one with avocado I KNOW BUT SO GOOD or a plate with four falafel balls (hehehe), salad, hummus and tahini.
So again, it’s the best falafel in San Francisco and I don’t care if you say differently because guess what, I won’t be reading the comments or checking my email or having any communication with the outside world ever again so COMPLAIN AWAY, I KNOW I’M RIGHT KTHXBYE.
Other Avenues! Also, FAT PEOPLE RULE! »
Other Avenues co-op grocery is second only to Rainbow and that’s just because Rainbow is a lot bigger and a lot less in the middle of fucking nowhere. Other Avenues is an all-vegetarian (yay!), all-organic (yay!) grocery store in the Outer Sunset. It’s a pain the ass to get to but if you happen to be out near Ocean Beach soaking in the rays (read: getting high) then you should definitely stop in. Highlights include: Maggie Mudd soy & coconut ice creams by the pint, Black China Bakery brownies and cupcakes (and lots of other vegan baked goods) and an intense bulk foods section including lots of varieties of chocolate-covered nuts. Delicious.
Man, if left to my own devices, I would eat directly from a trough of dark-chocolate-covered almonds until I died. Which brings me to my next point. Here at Vegansaurus, we (read: Laura) are (read: is) proud to be fat and awesome. I’m tired of reading that an answer to a mean case of the fats is simply to go vegan. I’ve been vegan for years and years and didn’t lose any weight and I’m not a total junk food vegan either. I also have insanely good blood work and am in great health, you can ask my doctor who was on my case for being vegan until he saw my test results. We’re all born with a pretty much pre-determined weight (or range of weights, fluctuating between like 10-20 pounds) that we live comfortably at. For a few of us it’s 100 and for a few of us it’s 300 and for most of us, it’s somewhere in between. And THAT’S OKAY. As long as you’re eating in accordance with what feels right to your body (being vegan helps with that A LOT) then you’ll probably be pretty damn healthy. This book, Rethinking Thin, helped me come to terms with this fact. It’s written by a SCIENTIST with FACTS, not a skinny bitch with, ummm….
So for people who are looking at veganism as a get-thin-quick scheme, that might not be what happens. You’ll find your cholesterol will go down and your blood pressure will thank you and you’ll most likely be able to control your diabetes without medication and get serious relief from other health issues. Oh and you’re also doing the right thing for the planet and animals and other humans but no, you will not drop five dress sizes in two minutes. And you shouldn’t do that anyway. Because people who diet themselves super-skinny look FUH-REAKY (in other news, BOW DOWN to LFB. Love that crazy anorexic psychopath!) and you’re probably already super-hot and don’t need to lose those last 10 pounds. They’re on your ass for a reason, so that people will want to have sex with you, moron.
And let’s face it, fat people are simply the greatest. We RULE both in size and in general fabulousness. Move over skinnies, we’re comin to getcha! And by getcha, I mean eatcha.
I wrote this list, “Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know!” (along with two fabulous friends, Joy & Erica) years ago because we wanted to get out some facts about fat people. I now must post this list wherever I write because that’s how I do AND YOU CANNOT STOP ME, SKINNY.
And with that, I present:
Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know. A list.
- FAT PEOPLE CAN BREAKDANCE HELLA GOOD. You don’t know because we only do it around other fat people, but you have not lived ‘til you’ve been to a fat dance party!
- FAT PEOPLE ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE. The fat, in essence, acts as padding. We’re keeping it secret for right now, but someday we’re going to rise up, unite, and put you Skinny Bitches in your place in a conflict that we have titled Fat War One, or World War Fat (the exact name is yet to be determined).
- FAT PEOPLE CAN LEVITATE. Just cause we’re heavy doesn’t mean we can’t float. Ever notice how you never see fat people taking the elevator?
- FAT PEOPLE CAUSE HURRICANES. We all get together and run in a clockwise direction, then in a counter-clockwise direction.
- OUR NATIONAL FLOWER: The Cake.
- OUR NATIONAL BIRD: Fried Chicken. Vegan, of course.
- DO NOT CHALLENGE A FAT PERSON. Especially DO NOT CHALLENGE a fat person if there is a candy prize involved.
- FAT PEOPLE DON’T CRAP! All the materials you Skinnies waste as feces, we efficiently recycle as lard.
- FAT PEOPLE ARE FASTER THAN CHEETAHS.
- FAT PEOPLE DON’T WEAR SHOES. We just spray paint our feet so we can get into restaurants.
- ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE ALCOHOLICS. But not in a bad way.
- FAT PEOPLE DON’T SLEEP IN BEDS. We sleep on huge sticks of Earth Balance.
- FAT PEOPLE NEVER ACTUALLY EAT. It’s a common misconception.
- MAHATMA GHANDI WEIGHED 600 POUNDS. We know, we were there. Which brings us to our next point…
- FAT PEOPLE LIVE FOREVER.
- FAT WOMEN HATE THE UBIQUITOUS “CHUBBY CHASER.” He is a harasser, and always at least two feet shorter than she is.
- FAT PEOPLE LOVE BABIES. Especially deep fried.
- OUR FAVORITE SKINNY PERSON IS: Fuck you, we don’t like any skinny people.
- MAKE NO MISTAKE: Hitler was never fat.
- FAT PEOPLE OFTEN WONDER IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE THEM OR IF THEY ONLY LOVE THEM FOR THEIR FAT.
- FAT PEOPLE DON’T PROCREATE, THEY DIVIDE. We do however have a lot of sex…for pleasure and sport.
- THE INTERNATIONAL FAT CONFERENCE IS HELD ON JANUARY 26 OF EACH YEAR. It’s held in the sky…we all levitate up really high…I mean where else would we fit? We decide the events of the upcoming year, such as whether you Skinnies get Christmas (Don’t forget Santa is a very fat man).
- SOME OF THE ONLY THINGS FAT PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH:
- Fix the Oscars (Why do you think Gwyneth Paltrow won?)
- Telekinesis (So we don’t have to move. Ever.)
- Time travel.
- Infiltrate Hollywood…at all.
- FRANCE WAS ONCE A FATOPOLIS BUT IT WAS EXCOMMUNICATED IN THE MID-19TH CENTURY AND THUS THEY ARE ALLOWED NO FAT PEOPLE. (The Statue Of Liberty: way too skinny.)
- FAT PEOPLE TAKE BATHS IN WASHING MACHINES!
- A LIST OF THINGS INVENTED BY FAT PEOPLE:
- The 12-month calendar.
- The telegraph (Samuel P. Morse was freaking enormous)
- The Spanish language.
- Van Gogh.
- Hammer Pants (I know…even we make mistakes.)
- The popular situation comedy “Who’s the Boss?” (Tony Danza is a skinny android created by the Fat Nation.)
- We wrote the song “Respect” in 1692 but it didn’t get made for 350 years because of Skinny Politics (they are skinny, but they are strong).
- 27. ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE FUNNY. It’s simple genetics.
- LITTLE FAT KIDS LEARN TO READ EARLIER THAN LITTLE SKINNY KIDS. And it’s not just because they have no friends so they have to sit at home and read all the time.
- BARRY WHITE: fat.
- PUPPIES: fat by their very nature. And who doesn’t love puppies?
- WE OWN ALASKA, TEXAS, CALIFORNIA, AND THREE OF THE FOUR OCEANS.
- OUR CAPITAL IS FATOPOLIS AND IS LOCATED SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT. (We can’t give everything away.)
- FAT PEOPLE CAN RUN HELLA FAST. You just can’t see us because it is SO fast. And if you see a fat person walking really slow, it’s just because they are trying really hard to walk at a normal pace.
- JESUS: THE FATTEST MAN TO EVER WALK THE EARTH. The crucifixion story as you know it is not exactly what happened. It was actually attempted twice because the cross broke the first time.
- FAT PEOPLE LOVE TO FAN DANCE. It is unfortunately the only thing we do not do well.
So after a long, hard workout with an extremely motivating taskmaster (that sound like I had sex for hours and was paid for it but sadly, it was really just an intense workout. In a gym.), I had to gorge myself on something not totally terrible for me but still delicious that was less than 2 minutes from the gym because FUCKING A I WAS STARVING. So I decided to try Underdog, an all-organic hot-doggery with many vegan options in the Sunset District. I know, I have a lot to learn about weight loss.
The place is adorable and teeny-tiny with a couple of tables inside. There is a bench outside where you can sit with your dogs and they even have a doggy water bowl!* The woman working was super friendly and I have two words for you: TATER TOTS!! Goddamn. Those sneaky little fuckers are hard to find in restaurants so whenever they’re on a menu, I’m gonna immediately make a scene. And these weren’t just any tater tots, these were AMAZING TOTS. They were baked instead of fried (Holla back, diet!) and had this delicious smoky flavor and my GOD, I could have eaten 10 orders (Holla back, diet!). The vegan sausages are Tofurky brand and I’m a fan so I was delighted to see they are grilled perfectly. You have your choice of toppings, sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, 19 kinds of mustard, etc. and they’re all organic. They also offer mayo but anyone with a brain would agree that they should offer Wildwood Garlic Aioli instead. Anyone who has ever tried mayo and Wildwood Garlic Aioli in a back-to-back taste-test will tell you that mayo ain’t got nothing on the PERFECTION that is Wildwood Garlic Aioli. Having typed its name three times, I don’t think I can continue until I eat some.
On subsequent visits, I learned Underdog also has really fresh garden salads, fruit salads, a good pb&j, and lots of organic snacks to choose from.
They’re definitely big on the organic thing, which I think is cool and all but I wonder what that even means. “Organic” is one of those words that is tossed around so often and has become so mainstream that it’s losing whatever sloppy-ass USDA-governed meaning it had to begin with. The U.S. Organic standards are lenient at best and completely ignored at worst. Also, “organic” doesn’t mean the animals are treated any better…in fact, 99 percent of the time, they have the same crappy lives and ended up at same crappy slaughterhouses as the factory-farmed animals. It’s one thing if people go to Safeway and buy their fucking ground chuck on super-cheap-ass savings deal-o-rama and know that that animal had the worst life and death imaginable, but it’s quite another thing for people to think they are doing the right thing by buying organic, humanely raised, happy-life, painless-death animals when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyway, there’s more info on that here.
I love Underdog for caring about vegan business and making a real (and successful!) effort to accommodate us, but at the end of the day, their mission statement claim of wanting to conduct business in ways that make the least negative impact on our planet has an easy solution: stop serving meat! No manner of biodegradable utensils will come close to having such an impact.
*The owners of Underdog went on to adopt TWO Rocket Dogs! Yay!