Review: The Front Porch!  »

The Front Porch has got to be the cutest restaurant I’ve ever been in. It’s like a puppy wrapped in a kitten and then sauteed in baby koala oil and served on a blanket of rainbows to a family of Care Bears. In addition to being the cutest, It has a down-home sorta sexy feel to it and you always leave kinda wanting to do it with whoever you came with. So don’t bring an ex-boyfriend you really want to have sex with again to this place because you will end up making a huge mistake. Or having a lot of fun. I guess that depends on your personal code of ethics and how much you hate yourself. Either way, mazel tov! What!

This place is always packed so be prepared to wait on their delightful front porch with one of their amazing, inventive cocktails or some delicious wine in a box (!!!). However, if you get there before 7 p.m., you might not have to wait. I’d say 6:45 is the perfect time to arrive because everyone else is coming at 7. If you do that, you won’t have to wait for a primo booth right in the front room. Sweet!

There are lots of vegetarian and vegan items on the menu and the wait staff is knowledgeable about what things are made with what. They always have a vegan special of the day, which might be a coconut okra stew or a sweet potato medley. Most of the time it is very delicious, except this one time when it was THE FUNK and we sent it back and the waitress took it off the bill and brought us about nine orders of their amazing thick-cut French fries with homemade ketchup as a replacement. Man, their fries are RIDICULOUS. A must-try. Must try nine orders. You also must get a side of the plantain fries if they’re on the menu along with the black bean soup with avocado. The sides are always changing but they make sure to have plenty of vegan-friendly options. If the coconut rice and beans are available, try them. If you’re not into the vegan special, you can easily make a dinner of the sides. A delicious dinner. That and their awesome cocktails and wine-in-a-box selection; this place is the shit.

One complaint: no vegan desserts. This has been known to SEND ME OVER THE EDGE in the past but this last time, the waitress did offer to bring me out the pickled pears sans ice cream. I was a little enticed but decided to head up the hill to Maggie Mudd instead. Hey! Million-dollar Idea: OFFER DELICIOUS MAGGIE MUDD VEGAN ICE CREAM AS AN OPTION! Because it’s not like they are making their own ice cream (it’s Mitchell’s!) and they are already serving lots of vegan options, so it would totally help draw in a larger vegan crowd. I mean, if they want our hot (read: fat) asses in there then they are going to have to put out (read: give me my soy cream, assholes!!!)

So, in conclusion, eat here on a date with someone you want to have sex with. Or just with a friend. Who you want to have sex with. Maybe not your brother or sister. Unless you are from Kentucky. Then whatever, that’s God’s Country, who am I to judge??

[photos via yelp]


Review: Souley Vegan!  »

July 26 2009: BEST MOST HAPPY NEWS: SOULEY VEGAN HAS RE-OPENED: 301 Broadway at 3rd Street in Oakland. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.! YES!!!

BETTER HAPPIER NEWS: Souley Vegan is now on sale at Rainbow Grocery in SF! Ow! They’re selling red beans & rice, collard greens, mac ‘n cheese, BBQ tofu, and full meals, ranging in price from $4.29 to $9.99! Completely worth it!

BAD SAD NEWS: Souley Vegan has shut their doors permanently. I guess some shit went down with the stability of their building so unless some rich vegan (you?!) gives them tons of money, they will stay closed. Super sad. Bright side: they still sell at the farmers’ market in Oakland on the weekends so for sure stop in and buy their delicious food and let them know that we will raise funds and fists to get them back into a storefront!!

Souley Vegan is vegan soul food. I know, the name is kinda lame. What can you do? Not every place can be named “Magical Unicorn Palace” like it should be. I don’t know why exactly. Anyway, Souley Vegan is family-owned-and-operated with mom in back cooking, dad helping to run food and the adorable, almost-competent son as the cashier. He is very adorable and ALMOST good at working. Whatever, the kid is like 12 and has a more demanding job than I’ve ever had so I’ll cut him some slack. I just had a minor personality split right there. Pray for me.

The menu consists of BBQ tofu, crispy tofu, yams, collard greens, MAC ‘N CHEESE, POTATO SALAD and MASHED POTATOES (the holy trinity of hard-to-find vegan foods! I hear angels weeping! Or singing! Which is it, I don’t understand religion!) Homemade drinks like ginger-strawberry lemonade (SO GOOD) and usually a peach cobbler in the cold case (they will heat it up for if you eat there!). No alcohol but you can go next door to Radio if you need a drink to get through the day, I’m not judging you!*

The only thing I could see someone complaining about is the ambiance, which resembles the mess tent in M.A.S.H. I guess I wouldn’t recommend this place for a first date or to impress your parents. Unless your dad is a major cheapskate like mine and has an entire storage unit in his closet to store all the various shampoos and shower caps he takes from hotels (read: motels) so that he never has to buy toiletries and therefore, save a measly buck.**

Oh and one more bit of advice: I would call ahead to make sure they are open!  Although their hours are supposed to be Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., I’ve been by during those hours, only to be forced to “eat” a soy latte at the cafe next door for lunch! Not cool!

*You are pathetic!

UPDATE: Now open for brunch on Sundays! Pancakes, tofu scrambles, potatoes and sausage are all available… plus rumors of biscuits and gravy!?

[photo via yelp]

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