Fellini!  »

Yes, Fellini is the kind of place that feels the need to append “Ristorante” to their name. You know, so you can tell they’re Italian. They also describe themselves as “fun and funky” and a “bistro.” Wait, come back.

They have a really wonderful brunch menu, which is, ahem, not Italian in any way I can discern. Is this an Italian restaurant or not? I can’t tell. Maybe if the waiters wore overalls and broke bricks with their heads, then we could know for sure. Nevertheless, it does have a pretty large selection of vegan stuff. My recommendations are either the vegan benedict, or the breakfast sausage scramble. Also, it says right on the menu, “All vegan dishes are prepared in VEGAN-ONLY pans,” which is too cool because it means no cross contamination with funk nasty meat, eggs or dairy. I guess you could have gotten that from the VEGAN-ONLY sentence but I felt the need to type it again because it’s cool and I might be autistic? Who knows! Only a doctor, probably.

Fellini has a pizza called “smiling cow” (cute, right?) which is like the vegan version of a Meat Lover’s Supreme. Made with vegan bacon, sausage, and pepperoni, it’s truly, ridiculously delicious, and that’s all you need to know about that. I like this pizza, I give it four Marios!

Thank you, Mr. Fellini! Whoever you are! For bringing fantastic vegan food to the masses at brunch, lunch and dinner. Please open up a second location in my mouth and then we can be BFF. UNTIL THEN WE ARE ONLY JUST REGULAR FRIENDS BUT NOT BFF.

With Hospitaliano,


[photo by Sharon. Ciao!]


Review: Rick and Ann’s!  »

Rick and Ann’s is a good breakfast and brunch spot for vegetarians and vegans as the tofu scramble is delicious and they serve a yummy potato hash, made with sweet & white potatoes, sweet bell peppers, corn and apples! I like to get the tofu scramble and substitute the vegetarian hash for the home fries. HOWEVER, I also LOVE the french fries (of the shoestring variety, which you can get for breakfast!) but a word to the wise, the small fries would satisfy fat Oprah, you dig? You get the large and you’re wandering into Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man territory. And i don’t think any of us want that. Especially not these guys.

They also serve lunch and dinner but those are more meals that you would make do with if you had to go out with meat-eaters, not a place for a vegan to dine alone or in the company of other vegans. However, if you’re looking for a place to eat with omnis and you’re in the Claremont district at the Berkeley/Oakland border, it’s a decent choice. You can choose from their veggie chili, portobello mushroom sandwich (ugh, you again), veggie burger (it’s vegan…I believe it’s a boca burger) and a few fancified salads.

One warning. Rick and Ann’s can have some HORENDOUS wait times for tables, especially on the weekends. In fact, one particularly awful Saturday about a year ago, I had to wait 1½ hours for a table. ONE AND A HALF HOURS. It was especially terrible because it forced me to endure the following conversation with my mother:

Picture this: Me (Laura B) and my crazy mom (Crazy Momma B) sitting on a bench in-front of the nearby Peet’s, waiting for a table. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Crazy Momma B: I have to tell you something. It’s a secret, you can’t tell anyone. NOT EVEN YOUR FATHER.
Laura B: Uh, okay?
Crazy Momma B: I mean it, Laura. You can’t tell ANYBODY.
Laura B: You’re pregnant?
Crazy Momma B: Laura, I’m being serious.  

(Please keep in mind that this is how my mom talks when she is about to tell me shit like she and my father are breaking up, and it’s over and he’s keeping the house and she’s going to rent a cute little flat in Berkeley and then I’ll meet her to go look at cute little flat in Berkeley and she’ll be like, “Oh it’s all patched up, let’s go to brunch!” Or say, when she told me she had BOUGHT a HOUSE in PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY without telling my father. All true, I swear to god, as I live and breathe. Anyway, I’m so TIRED of the drama but you can’t very well get out of it when you want a free breakfast, can you?)

Laura B: Fine, Mom, what?
Crazy Momma B: I have $1 million in gold in the basement of the house.
Laura B: (spits out Peet’s coffee): WHAT?!
Cray Cray CRAY-ZAY Momma B: I have been collecting gold on and off for the past 20 years and now I have over $1 million worth of it. I keep it in the basement.
Laura B: WHAT?!
SHE IS FUCKING OUT OF HER GOURD Momma B: I just thought you should know…. You know, in case anything should happen to me.
Laura B: What the fuck is going to happen to you?
C-C-C Momma B: Cool it with the mouth! And you never know, you never know…
Laura B: Are you going to kill yourself? Are there loan sharks after you? Are the going to cut off your legs and feed them to me in a soup?!
C-C-C Momma B: Don’t tell your father.
Laura B: Oh yeah, this isn’t something you should share with YOUR HUSBAND OF 30-PLUS* YEARS.
C-C-C Momma B: Really, I don’t need the attitude, Laura.  

(Laura B practices her deep breathing exercises as advised by therapist)

C-C-C Momma B: Oh don’t pull that new age crap with me, Laura.  
Laura B: I’m gonna go check on our table.
Laura B (around the corner and out of earshot of C-C-C Momma B): And by check on our table I mean call Dad. HA!

So I whip out my phone to call my father and inform him of just how infuckingsane the woman he married is and he says, “Wow. A million? I mean, I knew she’d been collecting—she doesn’t know I know but I know—and I had NO clue it was this much. Time to get her a new life insurance policy. HAHAHA!”**


*I say 30-plus because I have no clue how long my parents have been married. Who’s the terrible mom now?!
**At least my dad had the good sense to get the gold moved to a lock box in a bank. Jesus Christ.

[photos via Rick & Ann’s]


Review: Boogaloo’s!  »

Laura is out of town for the weekend and I am taking over her review duties for the day. As the token omnivore of the VeganSaurus gang, my view is mostly as someone who really likes food and as someone who is always looking for places where my vegan BFFs can feast along with me. Here is my first installment!

Suggest brunch to a vegan friend and their eyes get a little shifty. Oh no, they think, I will be dragged to yet another restaurant where they will feast on decadent eggs benedict and a menu full of dead animal everywhere and I will have to yet again make a meal of french fries and a fruit plate. And I know that my co-blogger gave Herbivore somewhat high marks for their vegan brunch, but this equal-opportunity lover of foods just can’t take their dry tofu scramble. So, where are we to go where we can all leave fat and sleepy and happy on a Sunday afternoon?

My answer: Boogaloo’s!
Boogaloo’s has quite a few things going for it in the vegan department: you can make any number of interesting and wonderful tofu scrambles—I like the tofu scramble with a side of avocado and their tasty ranchero sauce, which is not too spicy even for a wuss like me. Instead of regular toast, you can make this a little mini breakfast burrito and do it up with a side of corn tortillas. And for the ultimate brunch, you slap on a side of the “fake stake,” a big ass-piece of seitan. I’ve ordered this many times at Boogaloo’s and never ever, ever feel like I’m missing anything,and I’m an omnivore so my diet consists mostly of cheeseburgers and Doritos. (I kid! I also eat french fries and drink coffee).

What about the potatoes, you ask? What about them, indeed. Apparently, the home fries are not vegan, the cooks inexplicably throw butter in towards the end. Urban legend has it that if you go on certain days, they may be able to make you a vegan batch, but don’t take our word for it. Most of the staff here is endlessly inked and in skinny jeans, and as you would expect are well versed in what is vegan and isn’t, so ask away, vegan bruncher!

Finally, we have mimosas! If you crave excitement (and lord knows we do) try out their mimosas with grapefruit juice—they have a cute name for this, a “cyprus”—or if you want to be boring, just have with orange juice.

A warning: Boogaloo’s is one of those places in town that always, always has a line. They give away free coffee while you wait (or if you’re fancy and like to waste money, go across the street to Ritual Roasters and get yourself something with some latte art) and you can also watch the parade of intense fashion don’ts. Who knew that skirts were now optional when wearing tights? I didn’t. If food can’t bring you and your friends together, surely making fun of people can. And so, we love Boogaloo’s!

[photo by Allen Ferguson]

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