Surprise: Bender’s in San Francisco serves top-notch vegan bar food! »
How could you guys not tell me how delicious the vegan food is at Bender’s? Or maybe you did and I wasn’t listening? No matter, I’m disappointed in everyone all the same.
It was Allan of Mission Mission’s urging that I go and try the vegan menu there, and he’s not even a vegan! Though I was not expecting too much, I ended up so stoked with my seitan taco I went again the next week! Melissa of Food and Loathing was in town, and I was like “GIRL, after you eat at Source, we have to go to Bender’s!” So I rallied the vegan troops, including the platonic love of my life, Sarah M. Smart.
Let’s feast our eyes, shall we? I’m sorry about the flash—taking pictures in dark bars never goes very well.
Yes, those are tater tots and vegan ranch in the background!
The seitan Philly cheesesteak might be my new favorite sandwich in the city! I was never a Philly cheesesteak fan when I ate meat, so I usually shy away from these bad boys. Bender’s, you’ve stolen my heart and tested everything I thought I knew.
Sarah got the fried pickles and OMG that ranch is blinding!
Let’s not forget the seitan taco; this baby started it all! It is HUGE in real life, and scrumptious.
I totally forgive you for not letting me in on Bender’s vegan menu. I see how you would want to keep it to yourself, but now the world shall know it’s greatness! I think it’s really actually my fault because I just could not keep up with what was going on in that kitchen. Sorry about the misplaced blame there, friends.
[Bender’s signage photo via Facebook; taco photo by Britney Roque.]
S.F. Vegan Drinks is back on Thursday! New venue, new drinks! »
C’mon, I know you missed all the awkward mingling and the chance to catch of glimpse of the hot ladies of VegNews and Vegansaurus! So hot. I’m stoked it’s in a new venue this time around (though I do love Martuni’s, change is good!) and the cocktail special will be vegan white Russians! I’m so there.
When: Thursday, Jan. 26, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, 2323 Mission St. at 19th
Drinks: $3 bottled beer, $4 well drinks, and $5 vegan white Russians!
Food: Sweet potato tater tots, beer-battered onion rings, veggie burgers, and vegan sliders!
I just read on Yelp that they have tater tots cooked in truffle oil! For real?! Five baskets, please! It’s cool, I’ll share — that way I can talk your ear off about my upcoming trip to Chicago!*
*Hear that, Chicago vegans? I’ll be in your neck of the woods on Sunday, hopping all over Wicker Park (for the Handlebar and Sultan’s Market, obvi!) What
an exhausting a fun week this is going to be!
EVERYBODY’S WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND! EVERYBODY WANTS A FEW TATER TOTS!!!
Now, I’ll be singing this all day until I get some of these delicious fuckers.
Sunset Two-fer: Underdog and Trouble Coffee! »
Sometimes a girl just has to take a break. Sure, it would be great to head to Costa Rica or Tokyo, but sometimes all you have are $15 and an afternoon, in which case I recommend the beach, with a couple of important stops:
Underdog is just as cute as can be! This tiny little space seats maybe eight people, including the little bench outside. What it lacks in seating, however, it makes up in vegan sausage options! On the day of my visit, they had no fewer than seven vegan sausages (including such stars as Field Roast Apple Sage and Tofurky Italian, and also what appeared to be a homemade variety). You get your choice of white or whole wheat bun, and then you load it up with classic, all-organic toppings. Oh, and did I forget to mention sides? Underdog has both Tater Tots and vegan potato salad. Also, everything is cheap! Like, $3.69! Or less! And there is a great selection of organic sodas and juices, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and vegan ice cream. The icing on the cake is the super-cute and nice person who works at the counter and calls you nice names, like honey, which is just what I needed. Thanks, Underdog! [Ed.: Underdog was originally reviewed on Vegansaurus last year but this adds to the convo so we put it up because we like to add to shit.]
2. Trouble Coffee
Now, I’m normally a bit hesitant to recommend a coffee place that doesn’t offer any vegan food options, but in this case, I feel an exception is warranted. So, while Trouble Coffee doesn’t offer any vegan pastries, it does offer a cooler full of whole coconuts, which they will expertly whack the tops off of and give to you with a straw and a spoon. They also have great coffee (De La Paz) expertly made, and they use Wildwood soy milk, which I think is nice, and they know how to make it foam up real nice. No overly-milky soy cappuccinos here! This tiny little place is four blocks from Ocean Beach on Judah Street and is, like Underdog, super-duper cute. There’s only seating for about six or seven people inside, with a bench outside.
The girl working the counter was a bit, um, aloof, and when I asked her about vegan food options, she picked up her cell phone and started texting before answering me with a vague, distracted, “Not right now, but we’re thinking [mumble] we have grapefruit juice, though….” She sort of indicated that they were maybe thinking about getting a vegan item or two, though Trouble is one of those places that only really has two or three food items, so who the hell knows. Maybe if someone can get hold of the barista’s cell phone number, we could all text her about it.
Anyway, it’s a nice place close to the beach with good coffee and WHOLE COCONUTS, so I recommend it. It’s also right by Other Avenues, so you can pick up something to soak up that caffeine on your way home.
Rico’s Diner! »
Go here. Get the VEGAN PULLED PORK SANDWICH and a side of TATER TOTS. Kill yourself as life will never, ever be this amazing ever again even if you were having sex with Gael Garcia Bernal on a bed of $100 bills while walking on the moon with Michael Jackson whilst doing the moonwalk YOU FEEL ME?
Rico’s Diner has a small but potent vegan menu (including tofu scrambles and whatnot but EFF THAT YOU CAME TO PARTY*) that totally makes it worth a trip to Oakland. It’s super close the the 12th st. Bart and you can stop by The Breakroom Cafe after for a Pumpkin Roll or seven. Every time I type anything with the word “roll” in it, I immediately break into, “Let me see your tootsie roll” in my head. I’m not even sure that’s how the song goes…is it? Is it, “Let me see that tootsie roll”? Who cares, hilarious either way and screw you(x)1 million if you tell me to google it YOU ARE MY GOOGLE.
Closed on Sunday and only open until 3 p.m. on weekdays so keep that in mind and don’t go over specifically with the idea of having dinner and then get all super sad and shit.
*PARTY = eat a vegan pulled pork sandwich.
Unexpected vegan finds! »
A few places in town that are surprisingly vegan-friendly.
1. Pork Store—two locations: one in the Haight; one in the Mission. This is how much San Francisco wants you to be happy: it gives you a diner called the Pork Store and throws a really nice, garlicky tofu scramble on the menu, the “Vegan Delight.” From my numerous times sitting at the counter at the Haight location, I can tell you they use different pans for the tofu.
2. Q—One of only a few places on Clement Street to get non-Asian food, Q is an adorable restaurant: good for brunch, good for dinner, good for dates, good for anything. For brunch they have a tofu scramble, which they call “Hippy Heaven” and for dinner/lunch they have a grilled vegetable cornucopia called the “Ultimate Vegan Grill.” They also, quite notably, serve tater tots.They have an amazing wine list and serve sangria, so if you really don’t want to eat, you can always just get drunk. None of us will judge you (too much).
3. Casa Mexicana I (in the Castro) and II (in Noe Valley)—we love burritos at Vegansaurus! If you can’t take the greasiness of El Farolito or the long waits at Papalote, Casa Mexicana is a local taqueria chain (I’m certain they’re affiliated with some other taquerias in town, but have no evidence) with some tasty vegan options including lard-free beans, vegetarian rice and tofu ranchero; blocks of tofu covered in wonderful red sauce. Here’s what you do: you get a tofu ranchero burrito with refried beans, add avocado. You go to to the salsa bar, you add roasted tomato salsa and more cilantro. You love everything about life right at that moment.
[photo via yelp]