Road Trip: Quiet Storm in Pittsburgh!  »

As much as it’s possible for a person to appreciate her circumstances, I appreciate how good a vegan has it in San Francisco. All we’re missing, aside from the utopia of course, is a place to get a good tofu scramble. This city is utterly devoid of good tofu scrambles.

Strangely enough, the best tofu scrambles I’ve ever had were cooked in Davis, Calif. and Pittsburgh, Penn. OK, not so strangely to find good vegan food in Davis, but what is delicious vegan breakfast doing in Pittsburgh? Well! It is waiting for you to order it at the Quiet Storm.

They serve a daily breakfast that Joel is partial to, the Nothin’ Fancy, a good amount of tofu, potatoes and toast that is very good. They say their secret is to bake the scramble, but I believe that is a lie; the secret is also in the seasonings, because you could bake a thousand tofu scrambles from a thousand Bay Area restaurants, and none would taste as good as the one from Quiet Storm.

Even better, on weekends you can have a “country” breakfast burrito featuring this amazing tofu, plus the potatoes, little mushrooms and vegan sausage. The tortilla all this goodness is wrapped up in is made warm and crispy, and then topped with onion “jam.” Whatever onion jam is, who cares, just eat it, it is delicious.

I tell you, I have never eaten a better tofu-based breakfast outside of my own kitchen. OK, I’ve never eaten a better tofu-based breakfast, period, as I do not generally go to such trouble for one little breakfast. Besides, like I said, there are secrets to making this scramble that I haven’t cracked; replicating it would be impossible.

Let’s go to the close-up:

As for matters non-scrambled, their vegan cheesecake is very good, texturally perfect if a bit lacking in tartness.  Do not, absolutely do not ask for “vegan cream cheese” to put on your toast, though; from what I could surmise, it’s cold whipped tofu, probably silken, and that’s it. Imagine taking a bite of that on your hot and toasty bagel. Are you shuddering? I shuddered. It was disgusting. This is entirely avoidable, of course, when you order your breakfast in a tortilla instead.

If you are ever in Pittsburgh, go eat at Quiet Storm. I have it on a native’s authority that they make good lunches and dinners, too, so there’s that. You should really go to breakfast, though, and Pittsburgh is supposed to be one of those big Sunday brunch cities, and Quiet Storm does that up right, too, so I’m told. Someday soon maybe one restaurant in our so-called vegan-friendly city will take a lesson from this little cafe across the country and make an edible tofu scramble, and I won’t have to keep pining for this one breakfast burrito I had this one time.

[all photos—and breakfasts!—courtesy Joel]


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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