Review: P.F. Changs!  »

Fuck it. I almost didn’t post about how much I love P.F. Changs because I know it might/should rape away any faith people had in my reviews of Chinese restaurants. And you should have faith in my reviews of Chinese restaurants because even though I am a Whitey McVegan, I slept with a Korean dude once, OK? What i’m trying to say is that I have an old Chinese soul. My taste is autentico. Moving on. I know the food here is about as authentic Chinese as Michael Jackson is authentic black but like, the shit is tasty! They have lots of vegan options and the tofu lettuce wraps—chopped up bits of flavorful tofu and veggies that you wrap up in lettuce leaves and eat, I think originally conceived of for Skinny White Bitches on Atkins but it’s all good—and coconut curry tofu make me happy to be alive. They also have an excellent eggplant dish and a few other tofu/veggie options. They know what vegan means and don’t make their vegetarian dishes with any kind of fish sauce. I know that is a result of this place being half-owned by a white guy but guess what, I LOVE IT. Oh and a full bar. Hooray! Also, the waitresses are mad hot, makes me want to get all drunken frat boy on them and be all, “Take it off! Take it ALLLLL off!” but that’s wildly inappropriate as I am a straight girl and also because it’s just wildly inappropriate.

Just a side note: I was in Santa Monica once visiting a friend and I told him to take me out for some authentico Chinese food, SoCal-style and he fucking brought me here. I mean, I should have known better; this is the same fool who pointed me towards La motherfucking Salsa when I requested good Mexican food. Never take dining advice from any WASP. Any WASP but me.

One more note: there are no P.F. Changses in SF proper because the inhabitants of our fine elitist Chinese city might burn it to the ground but there are a few in the East Bay, Marin and the South Bay. P.F. Changs thrives in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek because those cities are made of white people and malls, P.F. Changs’ natural breeding grounds.

Finally, the art on the website amazes. The link to that horse is [Ed.: used to be]: HEROES? WHAT? I GUESS I’d want that crazy ghost horse to save me but I think it’s more likely he’d take me back to his dark lord after he had had his way with me. That horse = total potential rapist.

[horse photo by Josh Puetz]


Review: Universal Cafe!  »

The wait at Universal Cafe for brunch is retarded. I mean, it’s (almost) utterly and impossibly unbearable. I want to cry, I want to scream, I want to murder. On occasion, I may actually start to gnaw on my own hand to curb my painful hunger. Also, if it’s cold out, you better bundle up like the two SUPER-BEAUTIFUL and EXTREMELY HOT ladies in the above photo. The day this photo was taken, we waited for something like 19 hours. I still can’t feel my toes.

Once you get inside, this place is cool. It has a very New York City feel to it…could easily be in Chelsea or some such. They serve a very popular brunch, lunch, and dinner on most days. This is a good place to take your omni friends and family if you want to watch them eat meat in front of you as there are very few vegan options on the menu and honestly, that’s unacceptable. You’re hip, you’re in the Mission, you cater to assholes and guess what? A fair number of assholes in this neighborhood are vegan. I know, I am one. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TOFUTTI, SAN FRANCISCO! Vegans are HERE! We’re QUEER! We’re FABULOUS! DON’T FUCK WITH US! AND MAKE US SOME MOTHERFUCKING BRUNCH BEFORE I HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE BAMBI, KILL YOUR MOTHER AND LEAVE YOU ALONE IN THE WOODS WITH ONLY A DERANGED RABBIT AS YOUR GUIDE. I mean, SHIT. Do I need to take this to the streets? Hasn’t it already been taken to the streets? I will not fucking sit at the back of the fucking bus. I want some fucking tofu scrambles, I want some fucking soy milk and I want some motherfucking Earth Balance. I MEAN, FUCKING A. Why such a reluctance to accept us vegans into your world? Aren’t you after the green, green money, hundred-dollar bills, y’all? I mean, I’ve got money. Most of it’s green. The rest of it is yellow. It’s made by Milton Bradley who, by the by, are HUGE counterfeiters that the government is just sitting back and letting do whatever they want for some reason that is unbeknownst to me. They’re also committing massive amounts of real estate fraud by selling the same properties on Park Place AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. Obviously they are in bed with Cheney but I haven’t had the time to figure it out yet. It’s complicated. Moving on.

As I think I have just clearly demonstrated, most of the great thinkers of all time were at least vegetarian and that’s because they (mostly) weren’t around for the mayhem that is today’s dairy and egg industries. Einstein, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Shaw, Plato, Newton, Van Gogh, the Shelleys, Rilke, Byron. The list goes on and on. As far as vegan, that list is huge and growing. And vegans are fresh, check THIS out. Prince is vegan—and stands two feet tall, looks like a purple-clad alien and STILL sleeps with chicks hotter than you and I will ever land—Alice Walker is vegan, KEVIN NEALON (!!!!) is vegan, Coretta Scott King was vegan, Margaret Cho is vegan, Carl Lewis is vegan, Leonardo da Vinci was vegan!, Dave Davies is vegan, Keenan Ivory Wayans is vegan, MOTHERFLIPPING Weird Al Yankovic IS VEGAN. ARE YOU TOO COOL FOR WEIRD AL??!! This is the man who penned “I’m Fat” and “Amish Paradise.” HAVE SOME FUCKING RESPECT.  

All that (crazily) said…. The chef is lovely enough to always concoct something specially for me and it’s always ridiculous delicious. Often, it’s some sort of hash with potatoes and carrots and YUM. Served with fresh fruit and tasty bread, it’s a perfect meal. The only reason I’m reviewing this place is because their specially made-for-a-vegan item is better than most stuff you can get at other places. How hard would it be to throw that on the menu?? I mean, it’s called, PROGRESS. In San Francisco, in the year 2008, in a fucking too-cool-for-school time and locale, is that too much to ask? If it is, then I’m moving my ass to fucking Des Moines or Duluth or fucking Daly City because why the fuck else do I pay through the keister to live in an über- (faux?) liberal city where forward-thinking, intelligent folks are supposed to be de rigeur? WHY? Where the fucking fuck are my fucking options?!?!? Why am I being treated like a second-class citizen because I have some fucking morals and care about something that’s bigger than, “OMG! Baby! That bacon was SOOOOOO good! I could only eat one bite! I’m SO full!” Also, a special note to the Skinny White Bitch next to me the other day who ordered some huge-ass steak and was pretending to be all down with ordering tons of food because “I don’t know, I can eat whatever I want! My metabolism is through the roof!” Bitch, you piss me the fuck off. I waited on you for four years and you always order the same fucking thing to impress your man and then end up taking two goddamn bites, claim that you are stuffed and then watch as he eats both meals. It makes me SICK! I mean, fuck you. If I ate meat, I would at least have the decency to finish the fucking meal. An animal died for you. UGH!

I mean, FUCK.

Also, I say “fuck” aprox. 520 times in this review. Hi, mom!

Oh yeah, for dinner you’ll be stuck with your classic baby greens salad and fries. They can usually make you a vegan flat bread or pasta dish but it depends. Not reliable and really only a place to go when you’re eating with non-vegans. UNTIL THEY READ THIS REVIEW AND EVERYTHING CHANGES RIGHT UNIVERSAL CAFE?! Universal Cafe is all, “Fuck off!” and I’m all, “I think you’re really pretty.*” and they’re all, “OK, whatever you want, Laura.” and then we ride off into the sunset on a bed of organic, sustainable, vegan menu options! I love it!

*Everyone wants to feel pretty. Even restaurants. This review is out of control. I’m gonna stop typing now.

[top photo by Megan Allison; exterior photo via yelp]


Review: the Parkway Speakeasy Theater!  »

For being delightfully in the heart of Oakland, the Parkway Speakeasy Theater place sure sees a lot of Skinny White Bitches.* In fact, I can count the number of black people I’ve seen here on one hand AND I ONLY HAVE TWO FINGERS. That’s a lie about the two fingers but wouldn’t that be cool? And by cool, I mean horrible. Other than the not-so-delightful gentrification (wait sorry, revitalization) of Oakland, I do enjoy sinking my fat white ass into one of the comfy (yet probably highly unsanitary) couches to enjoy a second generation first-run movie or art house feature. They also have special nights with horror films, kids’ films (you can bring your gross baby that night) and tons of other special events. But the coolest thing about the parkway is that you can GET ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING THE MOVIE. OK, not all alcohol, it’s only beer and wine but there are decent selections in both categories. The second most awesome thing about The Parkway is that you can enjoy your movie while snacking on VEGAN PIZZA (they make their own vegan cheese, kinda like a fake ricotta but it works, and tons of vegan toppings!) They also make a few vegan sandwiches and salads and various other vegan-friendly snacks (and often vegan cookies!!)! It is a very satisfying experience. The vegan stuff is clearly marked on their menu and they’re open to suggestions so you can email them or leave a comment card when you’re there and they’ll try to accommodate. It was loud-mouthed vegans who got the vegan stuff onto the menu to begin with it so it pays to speak up and FIGHT THE POWER! Or NICELY MAKE A SUGGESTION!

Two more things: It’s only $5 admission price and it’s two-for-one on Wednesdays! Love that as I’m hella cheap. Also, they have a second location in El Cerrito if you want to enjoy a movie out in the sticks. El Cerrito is totally far away.

*Oh and calm the fuck down, Skinny White Bitches of the world. I don’t need any hate mail because I used such an offensive slur against your people. If being called a Skinny White Bitch is the worst thing that has ever happened to you well then, LIFE IS GOOD.

[marquee photo by disrupsean; beer and popcorn photo by queenkv]


Road Trip: Ubuntu in Napa!  »

Sometimes you just want to get the fuck out of dodge. On occasion, we’ll feature different veg-friendly places to visit and dine that are within an hour or two from SF. Let’s start with Napa because I’m a classy drunk. LET’S GET WASTED! SHOW ME YOUR BRA! WOO!

I’ve been to Ubuntu three times and look forward to a fourth visit like it’s my job.  

First visit
A really wonderful, super-romantic dinner. The food was delicious and perfect, especially the coconut watermelon basil soup. That soup is ridiculous. It will change your life. It’s better than the sex (that you have, most likely. Not me, I am amazing at sex). It is like drinking the blood of virgins. Eating it is what winning gold at the Olympics must feel like. The wine list is filled with sustainable, organic and biodynamic (wtf does that mean?) wines. The prices were totally reasonable based on quality of service and food. I didn’t see one heifer doing yoga. Just the thought of a Skinny White Bitch running around with a yoga mat under one arm and a little crop-top (YARG) that says “namaste” on it is enough to make me lose my shit/lunch so plus-multiple-stars for that. I cannot hang.

Second visit
Holy shit, why am I impossible to take out in public?  I did quite a bit of wine-tasting with my friends Maria, Ed and Suzanne in downtown Napa before (including one place that I thought was a free tasting room but was actually a bar! Oops, we have to pay for that?! Thank God I have fabulous slut friends who are willing to exchange numbers for many bottles of free wine!) and so wasn’t entirely prepared to enter a classy establishment for dinner.

DO NOT INFORM THE HOSTESS THAT YOU ARE DRUNK WHEN YOU ARRIVE. You will be rightly cut the fuck off.  it went a little like this:
Hostess: Hello!
Laura: I’m DRUNK!
Hostess: OK, what’s the reservation under?
Laura: I’m DRUNK!
Maria: It’s under “Ed.”
…and so on and so forth. Don’t worry, I hate me too.

Once seated, we were politely and tactfully informed that we were being cut off because of my outburst and the, you know, being openly intoxicated in a nice restaurant thing. the wait staff and management at Ubuntu handled it VERY well. They never made us feel unwelcome or called out or anything like that.  and the food helped. I swear, everything tastes even more amazing when you’re drunk. That is, it tastes amazing until you want to die. I wanted to die right before dessert so I headed out to the car to take a power nap. It felt so good, I can’t even tell you. We then headed back to the city and don’t worry for my safety and for the safety of others, kind Vegansaurus readers, I didn’t drive! Ed was sober sister and is an excellent driver and made an amazing mix CD.  if you’ve never seen Maria and Ed perform Usher’s “Love in This Club,” you are missing the fuck out. You have not lived until Ed has looked you in the eye and told you he wants to set you free, sexually, emotionally, mentally, physically. Or however it goes [Ed.: “physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally”]. It’s hot, trust me. I think they’ll be doing it tomorrow at Temple bar, in fact. You should totally be there.

Third visit
To celebrate my friend Joel’s recent entrance into adulthood a good 10 years before his time (i.e., buying a house at 25. OVERACHIEVERS! UGH!). The food was equally as delicious this time and I remember it all very well. The soup remained the star of the menu—who knew that coconut and watermelon and basil and edible flower = magical magicallity. Well, I guess I do now and so do you. We had more of the delicious chickpea fries, the creamy polenta was delicious as was the farro (far less saltier this time, I wonder if they’d gotten complaints?) and finished it off with the super-tasty almond milkshake and yummy mini-vegan carrot cake cupcakes.

The cupcakes are not on the regular menu so make sure to ask for them—beg if you have to! Actually, they only have ONE vegan dessert on the regular menu and it’s some whack shaved ice shit. I mean, it’s good but COME ON. One vegan dessert at a vegetarian restaurant* isn’t enough. I guess that’s my only complaint. That and the soup isn’t endless, like at the Olive Garden (those people are geniuses!).

In conclusion: Ubuntu. Delicious when sober. Delicious when drunk. Delicious for dinner. Delicious for lunch.  Please someone send that into the New Yorker poetry editor, kthx!

*sorry, “vegetables” restaurant! they don’t like the term “vegetarian,” I guess it turns off the snob foodies and the snob foodies LOVE this place. It annoys me that they don’t embrace “vegetarian” but hey, the New York Times named it one of the 10 best new restaurants in the country. I’m sorry but that’s fucking awesome for a vegetables restaurant.

UPDATE 10/5/10: Not so much enamored with Ubuntu anymore. We sad.

[interior photo via yelp; food photos by Joel, of Joel and Nibbler]

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