vegansaurus!

06/08/2011

El Nuevo Mexicano has vegan food! Chicago, I’m coming back!   »

Not to live, just a visit. I simply refuse to attempt to survive another winter in the Midwest. I don’t care how delicious the vegan food is, I cannot take it!
On a side note, Virgin America has just announced flights to Chicago! I can fly on the cheap and cush to go visit my old stomping grounds! On my most recent trip outta town, I discovered Plant Cafe at Virgin America’s new Terminal 2 at SFO. Vegan cupcakes at an airport? Who says airports are no fun?

There are so many reasons to visit Chitown—Old Style, friends, amazing falafel sandwiches, and now,  El Nuevo Mexicano in Lakeview has announced new vegan options! I’ll take a pitcher of margaritas and the entire vegan menu, thanks!

Feast your eyes on a few of the selections, then buy your plane ticket. September is a really tolerable beautiful month for Chicago.image

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The peeps at El Nuevo Mexicano credit Mercy for Animals as the inspiration behind their new vegan options! Mad props, MFA!

El Nuevo Mexicano is located at 2914 N. Clark St. in Lakeview, Chicago.

[photos courtesy El Nuevo Mexicano’s Facebook page]

06/07/2011

Vegan road trip: San Diego!  »

When going down to San Diego, I had no intention of eating my way through the whole city. Lie: YES I DID! I also didn’t go on a “road” trip: I FLEW! I whisked myself away for the weekend via Virgin America, which means I got to check out the new Terminal 2 at SFO. Two words: PLANT CAFE. Yes, it’s there. Now, normally I would not pay $8.25 for spring rolls, but my vacation started the second I wasn’t late for my flight, so I indulged. Shiitake, tofu and veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce—my getaway was off to a delicious start!

After much consideration (waking up in our clothes from the night before and drinking a couple more PBRs) my San Diego tour guide friend Matt and I chose to eat at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza for lunch.
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The location in Mission Bay is located in a strip mall. Usually, I find this incredibly tacky, but I knew there would be beer once we were seated, so I decided to let it go.

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Stone IPA is a San Diego brew, vegan and incredibly strong. Naturally, I loved it.

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Sammy’s has vegan cheese (Daiya, of course, though the waiter was unsure) and a vegan gluten-free crust available. I got my pizza with spinach, mushrooms, and Daiya on the gluten-free crust. Very tasty. So much in fact, I packed this whole thing in my stomach. And two IPAs. I didn’t much feel like going to the beach afterward, but we did anyway. Another awesome thing about my Sammy’s experience is that the waiter was incredibly friendly about all my vegan questions—he checked with the back before he put my order in and wasn’t put off about anything. And he was hot.

Next meal on the agenda: Rancho’s. Matt and I went to the location in North Park, it’s super cute! It has the kind of atmosphere where you could bring a date, your family, or your friends. Plus, the prices are super reasonable with large portions — so, you know, 5 stars in my book. Two drinks and two entrees plus a side of guacamole came to about $35. I felt as though I had eaten like a KING.image
I consumed the Veggie Trios Enchiladas topped with Daiya! Oh, and the black beans—so good! I’d never had them spiced so well at a restaurant. My friend was so impressed by this place, he couldn’t wait to come back with his roommate. And I can’t wait to get back to San Diego for another round!

Pokez, in downtown SD, was brunch the next day. Not in the traditional sense of a Sunday morning champagne-filled brekkie, more like a let’s-drink-a-PBR-and-start-our-day-at-one-in-the-afternoon kind of deal. What? I was on vacation!image

I had heard rumors about hipsters bad service, and unfortunately, the rumors are true. I knew to expect it, so I found it funny, but forgot to mention this to Matt. Luckily for me, we are friends because we find the same things funny! Be prepared to wait/be ignored. We put money in the parking meter for 50 minutes thinking that surely that would be more than enough time. Wrong. And Pokez doesn’t serve alcoholic drinks so…that wasn’t the hold up. Food is definitely worth it though. Trust me.image

It didn’t matter I had enchiladas the night before—I needed more! Two tofu-and-mushroom-stuffed enchiladas with cabbage salad on the side. The menu doesn’t specify that the entrees come with cabbage salad, so being the glutton I am I ordered—image
—a tofu, potato and mushroom taco! Vegan Mexican food heaven. Except for the whole no-beer-on-the-menu thing. And slow service.

After my body had to go to the work of digesting everything I’d eaten in the last 48 hours, plus a little time frolicking in the Pacific, I was ready for more beer! Hamilton’s it was.
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Hamilton’s, located in South Park, offers tons of beer, and a vegan burger called the Cattle Decapitation, so bring your sense of humor. I was too full to eat it, but I’ve had it before and I remember it being really good. I thought I could will myself to work up the appetite to order it, but that just didn’t happen. Oh well!  All the more reason to go back to San Diego!

I’ve been home about a week and half now, and I’m still full/digesting. San Diego, how did you do it? I’m always hungry in San Francisco!

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