JB’s Top 5 Bay Area Vegan Eats! »
Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:
Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats).
Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad.
Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies!
The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit!
Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens!
Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!)
Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree!
I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not.
So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches!
Awesome vegan food trends: Vegan seafood! »
In news that is not actually new and still very depressing, seafood is terrible for human consumption and the environment. These studies serve as such crucial reminders for me, as seafood has been the hardest non-vegan food for me to stop dreaming about. I loved the stuff. I won’t bore you with the gory details of my obsession with raw oysters, but an obsession it was.
Lately, however, I’ve been noticing a plethora of vegan “seafood” around me. I couldn’t be more excited about this! (Maybe with more veggie seafood options, we can lobby for this whole “pescatarian” thing to go away. Every time I check, seafood is still considered meat.) Let’s go over some options, shall we? In pictures, because we all love looking at pictures of food! Isn’t this why we’re all on Pinterest, styling our future parties, houses, and weddings? Yes it is.
Ocean Basket from Loving Hut. Those seaweed patties are my favorite!
You can add soy shrimp to any entree at Thai Idea. Don’t forget about those scrumptious and completely necessary Firecracker balls—they are the best appetizer in San Francisco! Have you been to the new location in the Mission yet?
Fish and chips from Weird Fish in the Mission. Not actually fishy-tasting, yet the batter is perfect, and just what I remember being the best part of traditional fish and chips!
Sea Cake from Real Food Daily in L.A. I don’t know what it’s made out of, but I want it!
What is that, amid all the brunch food at Mohawk Bend in L.A.? HEARTS OF PALM CRAB CAKES. Get me on the next plane to SoCal, I’m sold.
Where else can I get my fix, beautiful readers? What else is out there? I must know! And when do we get a creamy soup in a bread bowl here in San Francisco? Preferably one that rivals clam chowder and is served at Pier 39.
[Photos from Real Food Daily and Mohawk Bend are by my girl Marie Ferrier. Follow her on Instagram @kweenmahreeh!
Vegan shrimp rules; real shrimp is terrible for the environment »
I know, you’re like, “Yeah, yeah—tell me something I don’t know,” right, smartypants? I’ll just reiterate a few points of interest, from a recent post of The Atlantic, then showcase pictures of vegan shrimp (the real reason we’re both here). Vegan shrimp is delicious! And since it’s somewhat hard to get a hold of, doesn’t that mean it’s a delicacy? Of course it does.
- Biologist J. Boone Kaufman of Oregon State University has calculated that “tiny little shrimp may be the most costly animal you can eat, when measured in terms of its negative impact on the environment.”
- "One pound of frozen shrimp adds one ton of carbon dioxide — more than 10 times that produced by the equivalent amount of beef raised on cleared rainforest land.” Yikes!
- "Most of the world’s farmed shrimp is produced on coastal farms, in Southeast Asia, that were created by destroying mangrove forests". The very same forests that would help eliminate much of the carbon dioxide in the air! Plus, the farms are usually abandoned after about 10 years, due to the awful effects upon the soil. The land is pretty much unusable for about 40 years. Awesome.
Everything on this table is vegan, including the shrimp cocktail in back! Faux shrimp + Trader Joe’s cocktail sauce = astonished party guests.
Veggie Praram with veggie shrimp at Thai Idea! You can add the ‘shrimp’ to any entree. Go ahead, treat yourself (it’s like an extra $1.50). Taken with Instagram, because I just got my first iPhone. I’m (jennybradleyyo) Instagramming my way through life!
Come pig out with Grubwithus and Vegansaurus during VegWeek! »
Dear Bay Area residents, do you want to chow down on fab veg Thai food in the best neighborhood in S.F. with the coolest person you can imagine? Then you will want to partake in Grubwithus’s VegWeek, particularly the meal on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Thai Idea. [Ed.: One of my favorite new restaurants! Maybe I’ll come too and be all, “BOO, MOTHERFUCKERS!” and then eat all your spring rolls. You like?? - Laura]
Grubwithus is basically a social network for oinkers like me to meet up with each other; one of their taglines is “Never eat alone.” Totally feeling like they’re not going to stalk me, hilarious!
Here’s how it works: You make a profile on the site and sign up to attend a meal. You pay money (I know, I know) based on how fast you sign up, so the first person to sign up gets the best price. Last time I checked, there were eight seats left on Tuesday, so do it to it!
Next week is the network’s national vegan/vegetarian week, so here’s the lineup for SF (check Grubwithus for your city!):
- Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at La Mediterranee for Veggie Grubbers
- Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at Thai Idea, hosted by Sarah M. Smart of Vegansaurus (THIS IS ME, YOU GUYS, SO SIGN UP)
- Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. at Source, hosted by Alex Eaves of Stay Vocal
- Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Greens, hosted by Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen
You’ll be able to find me at Thai Idea on Tuesday,
swigging from a 40 of Mickey’s delicately holding a glass of wine (Thai Idea is BYOB, people) and hoovering all of the Firecracker Balls within reach. If you’re lucky, I might even make forced, expletive-laden conversation with you! Or give you a big wet smooch! Depending on how drunk I get! Bet you can’t wait to find out!
[Image from Grubwithus]