Need last minute gifts? Check out Buyer’s Best Friend in the Upper Haight!  »

imageThough in the past San Franciso’s Upper Haight may not have been a mecca for vegans, I can assure you that it is most definitely becoming one! Thanks to Whole Foods, I can get my fix of Food For Lovers vegan queso anytime I fancy; Sunrise Deli just opened up and man, they KILL IT with their avocado falafel sandwich; Escape From New York offers Daiya cheese; Picnic Bakery is coming soon; and we also boast one of the cutest specialty boutiques in the city—Buyer’s Best Friend!

Buyer’s Best Friend has been open for a little while now. I think they may have had their grand opening party over the summer. Every time I go in they have new and interesting products, and because they buy straight from the companies, they are able to sample out all their artisan food products! This is incredible news because most of their specialty food items are vegan, even raw! Buyer’s Best Friend also carries housewares, bath and beauty supplies, and cold-pressed Stumptown coffee!

Of course I took some pictures — let’s check it out!

All kinds of interesting, locally made, and beautifully crafted soaps, with creative names to boot!

The sales representatives were most excited to have me try this VEGAN bacon-flavored hot sauce. It was delicious, and completely cruelty-free!

Their shelves are stocked with all kinds of artisan oils, sauces, mustards, and glazes!


Pickled vegetables galore via Emmy’s!

Get yo’ hipster cold-pressed coffee ON.

Or you can get some beans to brew at home.

Raw vegan delights by Just Pure Foods!

Truffle oils and flour!

Before Buyer’s Best Friend opened, I had never had Cocomel’s coconut-milk based caramels. These caramels are definitely one of my most favorite things, ever!

Most of these chocolate delectables are vegan! Some are even raw!

Buyer’s Best Friend is located at 1740 Haight St. in San Francisco, between Cole and Shrader in the Upper Haight!


Picnic Bakery! S.F. storefront coming, but you can try their tasty treats already!  »

A couple weeks ago we told you about new San Francisco vegan business Picnic Bakery, and we’re back with word on the deliciousness of their delicious treats! And they ARE delicious. Owner Emily was kind enough to drop off a variety for us to try and we were alllllll over it. And by we, I mean me and Meave because seriously, screw everyone else IT’S CAKE. JK jK, you’re all great, but really: CAKE. Also, cupcakes. And pies. And something called PEPPERMINT PANDAS, which are basically as cute and delicious as real-life pandas.

Since I took terrible pictures of everything, I just went ahead and stole some photos from Picnic Bakery’s blog. So, first things first, let’s run down the goodies that we tried, and I’ll go ahead and encourage you to order some stuff ASAP to try for yourself because there was a point at which I was singing “Satellite of Love” to the peanut butter pies. Shine your light on me, you gorgeous chocolate orbs.

First up, the aforementioned PEANUT BUTTER PIE!
What we tried is one of the smaller ones in the background. These things were OFF THE CHAIN. For those of you who are currently in a romantic relationship with the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate (those of you with beating hearts and taste buds), these things are ridic. Meave says, “Super creamy and fluffy, it was really rich, but also remarkably delicate. Like black tie peanut butter.” BLACK TIE PEANUT BUTTER Y’ALL.

Next! Peppermint Pandas!
They’re basically little chocolate cakes stuffed with peppermint cream and covered in chocolate ganache HOLY JESUS. Meave muses, “The peppermint cream was not too creamy, not too dry, not too minty, not too chocolaty, but clearly and satisfyingly minty-chocolaty.” I love these so much, so so much.

They were IT. If you love chocolate or coconut or happiness, these will rock your socks off. Or get your rocks off. Whichever one of those sayings is sexual, that’s what these will do. Meave liked them (specifically that the cupcake cake was chocolaty, moist, and tender) but she’s not one for coconut so they were not IT for her. More for Laura, come to mama!

Gingerbread tiny cakes!
I didn’t try these because I was on my way out the door to LONDON (that’s right, I was on vacation, sue me!) but Meave polished them off (FRESH!) [Meave note: On the advice of Mama Beck! Who loved them probably as much as she loves Laura!] and said, “a little bite of the best gingerbread you ever had, plus lemony cream cheese frosting HELLO YES. Ginger isn’t my No. 1 jam but these were really good. I think they work particularly well as minis, they’re so flavorful you don’t want to eat a million of them.” And I can say that they were really cute and pretty and the candied orange peel look divine!

Basically, everything was winner winner fuck dinner we’re eating CAKE. If you know anything about anything, you know that I all I want to do is pile into a big bubbly bathtub (a hot tub?) with all of you naked and eat these cakes until we have to get out and take showers and all of a sudden, 18 years later, I’m like, “Remember that night in the big bubbly bathtub with all that cake? Well, here’s your son!” I don’t know what I’m saying but basically, these cakes were so freaking good. They were totally pure junk food, but decadent and very well done. I’m super excited for the store to open in Upper Haight, and until then, I suggest we all hire Picnic Bakery to cater everything forever.


Beyond meat is beyond delicious!   »

Ahahahaha! You are gonna have to forgive me for that title, it’s late! I want to be watching 30 Rock on Netflix, but I can’t rest until I deliver the news about Beyond Meat!

I’m super into it. Here’s the deal: it’s very chicken-y, so if you aren’t into faux meats, you probably won’t be into it. I on the other hand, love faux meats, as I didn’t go vegan because I hated the taste or texture of meat, and sometimes I miss it. So there! [Ed.: And it freakily shreds like real dead animal! So amazing! And I think the texture is better than Gardein… less, rubbery? Or something. And almost like, grisly and fatty! YUM.] Anyway, Beyond Meat reminds me of Gardein, except it’s gluten and nearly grain-free.* This is good news for me, because grains tend to hurt my stomach. Also, it’s not pre-seasoned! I’m into this because I like cooking so much so, that I want to season everything myself! Those Gardein chicken strips are ever-so-slightly seasoned, but seasoned nonetheless.

However, Beyond Meat isn’t available to buy pre-packaged like Gardein yet; I’m keeping my fingers crossed though. Oh yeah, I met the creators and they are super cool! We took a picture together, maybe one day I will see it on the internet; man, I hope I was sitting up straight and not blinking.

All grilled up and ready to be consumed by the masses me!

In San Francisco, I’ve spotted Beyond Meat at the Haight Street Whole Foods and Source restaurant! You know, my place of work. We got a couple bags to try out and luckily the chef is into it! So we’ll get a large shipment on Monday, and we’ll have it in specials or you can request to replace it for ‘cluck’ in any regular menu item. Isn’t that exciting? Your very special day to try Beyond Meat is coming! Let us know what you think when you eat it, I can’t wait to discuss!

[Ed.: It should be at all S.F. Bay Area Whole Foods by the end of next week. I purchased it in Redwood City and in San Rafael in their curry chicken salad in prepared foods—this is the only way I’ve seen to purchase it retail—so I’m pretty sure it’s errywhere! Oh, and here’s there rapidly expanding list of places to buy it!]

*Beyond Meat contains the grain amaranth.


Hot tip: Escape From New York Pizza in the Mission has vegan slices!  »

Pizza party, all the time! Well, at least on Sundays in the Mission. We got a tip from an Escape From New York Pizza employee that their Mission location serves vegan slices from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Get on it, their pizza is yum!

I live next to the Escape From New York in the Upper Haight and I would love to see this happen there, because when I want their Daiya cheese pie, I have to order a WHOLE ONE. The vegan slices at Whole Foods across the street always look kind of nasty, so I end up making a vegan pizza myself, or breaking down and ordering one from EFNY. Then I eat the entire thing because will power is not something I apply to in my life!

When I say “I live next to,” I mean “when I open my bedroom window, the breeze is pizza-scented.” This must be what heaven smells like.

Jo from EFNY in the Mission tells us that she is vegan, so she makes sure the vegan slices are made separately! Thanks for looking out Jo! You just made my life a little brighter. Let’s go get some slices! And beer! See you in Dolores park, hipsters.

Remember, it’s only on Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Mission Escape From New York at 3242 22nd St. (between Mission and Valencia).


Upper Haight Farmers’ Market is BAAACK!  »

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Apr. 6, the Upper Haight Farmers’ Market is back in business! Time to get your seasonal produce on, my people! One of the lovely organizers, Meghan, says the following about available vegan selections:

We are going to have lots of vegan options again this year: Scream Sorbet, East and West Afghan Food (everything they have is vegan except their yogurt dip), Gorilla Pete’s Hot Dogs will have a vegan sausage,* Flour Chylde Bakery has vegan kalamata olive bread, Montclair Skincare—all their products are vegan! Sinbad Restaurant and Grill has wonderful vegan salads and meals, and finally all the wonderful produce

The market will run from Apr. 6 through Oct. 26 on Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m.

Sounds awesome! Shop there! And fan them on Facebook because it’s the future and that’s how we do! OH AND ALSO: they’re giving away bags to the first 50 customers who use the secret word of the day, which will be revealed Wednesday on their FB page! SO DO IT.

*the buns aren’t vegan. YET! so please ask nicely for vegan buns and until then, buy a sausage and eat it in the kalamata bread HELLO DELICIOUS. Speaking of DELICIOUS:
Find sexy bananas at the Upper Haight Farmers Hammock! I mean MARKET. And probably not bananas because that would be weird, right? Certainly not local!


Store Review: Loyal Army!  »

The stuff at Loyal Army is so fucking adorable it’ll make you barf kittens. The cuteness, it’s painful like a migraine. Like the kind of migraine you get when you look at me because I AM SO CUTE SOMETIMES IT CROSSES THE BORDER INTO REPULSIVE.

Loyal Army is a relatively young, SF-based company (the flagship store is in the Upper Haight!) that makes cute hoodies, cute shirts, cute bags and cute accessories in all sorts of different cute overload prints and designs. They have stuff for women, men, teens, tweens, kids, toddlers, babies and preemies (aww). Actually, their stuff is probably most suited for kids because some of this shirts makes grown people look straight up ridiculous. If you’re 30 and wearing a t-shirt with a talking stack of pancakes on it, I’m gonna automatically lose respect for you. Actually, I’ll probably try to be your best friend but really, you can do better.

MOST IMPORANTLY, Loyal Army launched a line of t-shirts and tote bags with an “Animals Have Rights Too" theme, including a dog and a cat hugging in a heart-shaped explosion of adorability! It will make you want to tear your eyes out because you JUST CAN’T TAKE IT and it’s on sale for $12! The coolest part is that 20 percent of the proceeds of the sales of these shirts and totes go to Rocket Dog Rescue, a local dog rescue group that saves dogs from the shelter and abuse and neglect situations and puts them into loving homes <3.

And, with that, I promise I will never use the word, “cute” again in any of my reviews. We can start a dollar jar for every time I fuck up. Then, at the end of the year, you can take the dollar jar and buy yourself a Delorean.


All You Knead!  »

I never would have thought to visit All You Knead, except for the chance that brought me to the Haight one weekend morning, when the line at the Pork Store (across the street) looked a little too daunting. I was initially skeptical that they would have any decent vegan options at all, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only does All You Knead provide a few vegan selections right on the menu, but with some clever ordering and substituting, you can make yourself a true feast. They have a pretty standard tofu scramble option, but they also allow you to substitute tofu in any of their scrambled egg dishes—at no charge! imagine that!—you’ll have to leave the cheese off, too, naturally. Somewhere in the ordering process, we noticed they offered tempeh bacon, so that went into the scramble too. Home fries, of course, sadly, are not vegan (the usual) but we substituted french fries, which in the end was probably more delicious anyway. The end result was a HUGE PILE of food, just as good, if not better, than what you can get at the Pork Store, and way less greasy, too. (I once found a piece of ham in my Pork Store scramble, by the way. Just saying.) An enormous plate of food that’s a meal for one hella hungry fat person* or two meals for a regular hungry person. The waitress was really nice and knew what was and wasn’t vegan. Actually, we think maybe she was vegan because instead of butter, she brought us out a side of avocado for our bread! So thoughtful and so delicious!

All You Knead serves up good quality diner food with a Haight Street twist (meaning vegans can have our tofu scrambles and boca burgers) in a large restaurant (meaning very rarely a wait, even on weekends!), and it’s definitely an option when you find yourself in the Haight and need a lot of food and RIGHT NOW I’M STARVING.

*or one Jonas


Review: Blue Front Cafe!  »

Blue Front isn’t just in the Haight, it’s on Haight Street, so all the food is a little pricier than you’d like. The wraps are chock-full of deliciousness, however, and the texture and tang of the hummus is incomparable. I mean, for serious. I hear the gyros are good, but not being a meat-eater, I can’t vouch for them.

The vegetarian selections are bountiful and tasty. The avocado has always been buttery and perfectly ripe—no one likes a hard avocado, after all—and that spicy orange-colored sauce is delightful. The garden salad is huge and a good price. Get falafel in a pita with some dolmas to go and stop off at the New Lite Market for a six-pack, and there’s your night.

When I lived in the Haight, a trip to Blue Front and back took me maybe 15 minutes round trip, and this was before I learned to call ahead to avoid waiting inside. I don’t know that I ever properly appreciated having such a quality “Mediterranean for the undiscerning Occidental” café so close to my front door, but, hindsight. The owners are Greek Orthodox dudes from Jerusalem, and you must love them for adapting their cuisine to your international palate. Or at least, the palate your parents created when they gave two-year-old you a bunch of food in a plastic plate with inch-high sides and let you mix it all up and eat it as a huge mush of flavors. You see? They know and love you; that’s why you can get a wrap with hummus, avocado, falafel, lettuce, tomato, and dolmas.

I advise getting any of their vegetarian wraps except the one with cheese, which I have never tried and do not advocate on account of its not being vegan. Make liberal use of the orange sauce; it will help you forget that you are paying $1 to $2 more for your food than you would were you not on Haight Street, but sometimes figurative costs do have literal translations, and this is one of them.

[photo via yelp]

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