vegansaurus!

10/17/2008

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]

Friday vegan blog link-o-rama!  »

1. A whole blog dedicated to vegan cookies. Cookies are delicious and so this blog is BRILLIANT!

2. Vegan Soapbox asks an always interesting question for the omnivores in the house (i.e., me!). “If I care about animals, but still eat animal products, isn’t it better to buy “humane” animal products?”

3. Ezra Klein talks about tofu. We love Ezra Klein.

4. Farmer in Chief, by Michael Pollan. As usual, Pollan merely flirts with the idea of vegetarianism, even though—frustratingly—all of his arguments seem to point to it as an obvious solution. He does advocate for the idea of the White House observing “one meatless day a week,” which has been customary for many administrations now. How about a meat-free weekend?? Or meat just on the weekends? Or how about…a VEGAN WHITE HOUSE? What’s up, Dennis Kucinich!

5. And a response to Pollan’s piece from Erik Marcus of Vegan.Com

6. Frank Bruni of the New York Times visits New York vegan restaurant Candle 79. It’s impressive that he ate there multiple times, but come on: vegan cooks have to choose from a “small larder,” and the cuisine wouldn’t be so attractive to “more hedonistic cooks.” Tut, tut. Candle 79 isn’t the best vegan resto in the world, but veganism is the diet of plenty!

7. Kerry Trueman’s excellent recap of Oprah’s Tuesday episode all about Prop. 2! If you didn’t see it, try and find someone who recorded it because it’s well worth it. Factory farms (even massively cleaned up for TV ones) on MOTHERTRUCKING Oprah?! It’s a damn good day. However, quick note to the fabulous Wayne Pacelle of HSUS: lay off the self-tanner, dude! Er, also lay off taking pictures like this. But other than that, you are kinda the best.

8. We’re not total downers this week, here are some vegan Halloween candy links and resources! Hello, Halloween deliciousness! Also, what’s your costume idea? And please don’t say anything involving the words, “sexy” or “Sarah Palin,” ESPECIALLY not combined. Dry-heaving over here.

And…a very cute animal picture! More here.

10/16/2008

Review: Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant  »

Golden Era is the original Supreme Master Ching Hai enterprise restaurant in San Francisco. Nearly every item on the menu is vegan; the mock meats are the delicious, mysterious kinds made of fungus and gluten and some such; and the menu is longer than a tabloid. That said, I will try to be brief.

Lettuce wraps = ¡muy delicioso!
House rice clay pot = ¡muy delicioso!
Wonton soup = ¡muy delicioso!
Red bean vegan milkshake = ¡muy, muy delicioso!
Flan = eh.
Mocha cake = ¡muy delicioso!

If eating here required membership in the cult of Supreme Master, I would not have much trouble renouncing whatever vestiges of Christianity* I yet vaguely retain.

I love this place. I love the waitstaff, how they leave you alone for a very long time and never insist you have rice when you don’t want it. I love the patrons for eating here instead of a terrible meaty restaurant of death. I love Supreme Master’s plan to save the world from global warming through veganism. If only they delivered.

Tip: If you have leftovers from different dishes, cook them up together in a pan the next day and make your own Golden Era at home!

*except for Christmas. Who doesn’t love a virgin birth? Also presents, and drinking whisky all day.

Review: Mission Street Food cart!  »

Mission Street Food is a most delicious little cart that sets up once a week (details below) to serve you some of the most delicious flat bread sandwiches ever known to man (me + you) or beast (i’ll get to this later). There are three sandwich selections—I expect they’ll expand the menu and maybe even how many nights a week they are out there based on the popularity of their first two weeks—two of which can be made vegan with small adjustments. The $5 King Trumpet is wild mushrooms, triple-fried potatoes (YES PLEASE!), roasted garlic, and scallion sour cream (gross, omit!) on fresh made flat bread. Now, I’m not even a mushroom fan and this sandwich made me sofuckinghappy. It is a must-try. The other is the $4 Mission Melt which is roasted peppers, melted cheese (omit!%

10/15/2008

Review: El Farolito!  »

I believe this is the best burrito in San Francisco. This is, of course, a hotly debated topic and honestly, I don’t care what anyone else has to say, they’re all a bunch of fucking morons. El Farolito is the best, even if it comes with a side of hep C. And it does. Seriously, this place is not the cleanest. AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT USE THE BATHROOM. I can’t say anything more but I’ve seen things. Things no man should have to see. I was in the shit, if you will. And I mean that. Also, watch them when they make your burrito to make sure everything is prepared away from and free of meat and cheese products—these fools already think you’re insane for not ordering a taco with a TONGUE in it so you know, do not trust them. In fact, that is a good lesson in life. Trust no one. Except me. Trust me. I would never steal your identity and sleep with your man. By the way, this is you writing from in bed with my man. Hi!!!!

Anyway, El Farolito is the rare place where the food is just as good when you’re sober as it is when you’re drunk. That being said, I would never dine in. I’m a lady and this is no place for a lady. That being said, I’m the drunk redhead in the back most Thursday nights.

DIETER WARNING: one $4.95 super vegetarian burrito (the rice, the black beans, and the whole pinto beans are vegan!) sans cheese and sour cream add extra avocado is your entire day’s caloric intake. This means for the rest of the day, you will be forced to eat celery (THIS IS THE RARE FOOD THAT BURNS CALORIES WHEN YOU ARE EATING IT OR SO I’VE BEEN TOLD I HAVE NEVER REALLY DONE ANY RESEARCH I JUST BLINDLY CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT!) and your own fingernails. Delicious. Please note, it is entirely worth it.

Three taqueria locations in the Mission: one on Mission Street at 24th Street; one on 24th Street between Alabama and Harrison Streets; and one further out on Mission Street at France Street, in an area called “Mission Terrace.” There is also one in South San Francisco and one in Oakland! Most locations are open crazy-good hours too, from like 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. everyday. Actually, some locations might be until 2 a.m. but I think that’s right. In a city where late-night dining options are harder to find than Bruce Vilanch in a woman’s vagina, that’s pretty awesome. Actually, I guess it’s hard to find Bruce Vilanch doing it with a dude either. I mean, fool be lookin’ like 15 Fraggles stapled together! I love this guy but I worry about his love life.

Oh fuck it, one more for old times’ sake:
Talk about a face only a mother could love! Only a mother and ME! Please, someone date this guy, he is so wonderful.

[el farolito photo via yelp; bruce vilanch image via the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara]

Review: Crocker Galleria farmers market!  »

Farmers Market Thursdays can make a work-week. The Crocker is attached to the Hunter Dulin building, a.k.a 111 Sutter (one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, incidentally), which makes it ridiculously convenient for the suits on the West Coast Wall Street, and because it’s so small, the nice vendors don’t have to make much of an effort to get to know you. The people I used to buy my bread from whose name I cannot remember—they do French-style breads and pastries (god how I lust for those little croissants) (damn you real butter)—they would remember what I want, and we had silly running jokes, and it made me happier to buy from them.


I think that the produce selection is very good. Yes, it is smaller than other markets, which to me is a selling point. You can see everything and make good choices without feeling overwhelmed or rushed. Everyone I’ve spoken with has answered my questions, and helped explain plant items with which I was not at all familiar. For example: yam greens. I neither knew that yams had greens, nor that they were edible. According to the vendor, they are a little bit sweet, and indeed they were.

The blueberry sellers have excellent blueberries. The summer fruits look delectable, and I never had a bad one. Prices are cheaper than supermarkets, although how they compare to the bigger, more popular markets I cannot say, being a lazy person who preferred the convenience of taking an elevator and walking 50 steps to the market each week. This was before the days of my CSA, of course. Now I shop farmers markets to supplement what the farm doesn’t bring me.

The size of the produce isn’t frightening, either, which I think is a big selling point. When melons made their first appearance, the cantaloupes were exactly what I expected cantaloupes to look, feel, and smell like. The Crocker farmers market is smaller than Heart of the City, and it’s only once a week, but I think the quality of the the produce is higher, and nearly everything is organically grown as well. If you are anywhere near the Crocker Galleria on Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., you must check it out. At least get an apple or a peach (depending on the season, of course).

Ultimately this place is great. I would like it better without the salmon guy always hassling you to eat his fish carcass, and some of those office ladies can be extremely pushy around a table of vegetables; those are personal irritations though, and don’t reflect at all on the high quality of produce and friendliness you get at this market. Buy a bunch of greens you’ve never tried before, and spend a little too much money on the homemade applesauce, because it is delicious and you won’t find it anywhere else.

[photo by Joel]

10/14/2008

Product review: Purely Decadent Coconut Ice Cream!  »


Look at that picture! There was delicious vegan ice cream inside the coconuts all along, and it took the geniuses who work at Purely Decadent on faraway Turtle Mountain to discover it!

These guys are so smart! They cornered the market on vegan cookie dough ice cream before anybody else. Seriously, this is probably my most wished-for ice cream flavor ever, and it is such a no-brainer! Why did it take this long?

Regardless, I’m glad they waited, because coconuts make the best ice cream and I can’t imagine cookie dough would go as well with soy. This stuff is soft, rich, creamy, delicious, all those things.

I think maybe it tastes like dairy but I don’t really remember what dairy tastes like. It might even be good for you, but I only read the ingredients, not the “Nutrition” “Facts.” It’s gluten-free, too, which made me slightly wary at first, but it’s not gross at all in that gluten-free way. It’s gross in the way you stuff your face with it.

Their competitors at Coconut Bliss (also very very delicious) had better look out, because this stuff is comparably good, and cheaper, too.

I can’t get over it—all this time! Ice cream! INSIDE the coconuts! Where do these grow? On which island paradise? Once I find it, that’s where I’ll be, cavorting with the natives and lazily plucking ice cream coconuts from the trees whenever the mood strikes. Look for me there, I’ll be the one cavorting!

[photo illo by the author

Review: Baladie Gourmet Cafe  »

The lentil soup at Baladie is one of the best deals in the Financial District. A mere $3.25 for 16 ounces of delicious, hearty, spicy-if-you-want-it vegan lentil soup, plus toasted pitas, should you care for them. You know what you get for $3.25 at the wretched San Francisco Soup Company? NOTHING.

I had falafel in a pita once and it was all right; the hummus was good but the actual falafels were giant and dry. The dolmas are tasty. There’s a guy in the kitchen who wears two thin braids at the top of his forehead stuck straight up like antennae. Service is fast, even when they’re crowded. There is a big mural of Petra, the ancient rose city of Jordan, on the righthand wall; it is a little bit garish and absolutely beautiful. What I mean is, do not pass by Baladie on your way to Boxt Foods Co. or some other place to eat an overpriced salad on restaurant row (Kearny Street. You know). You will regret it in an hour when you are starving again.

What you should’ve ordered, especially on cold, bright, windy days, or foggy days, or rainy days, is LENTIL SOUP. It is so, so good. Everything you could want in a yellow lentil soup: carrots and potatoes and crispy little pita chips, and enough spice to break a little sweat along your hairline. I’d compare it to the first lentil soup I ever loved, namely my mother’s, but they are so different you couldn’t really compare them. And you can’t buy my mother’s soup from friendly people in an adorable little nook of a restaurant for $3.25, so Baladie it is.

I mean, I really love that soup.

[lentil soup photo via yelp; Petra photo by Shelby PDX]

Review: Bi-Rite Creamery!  »

Bi-Rite Creamery is so fucking good that I ate here twice the other day. I got one scoop of delicious raspberry soy cream—they always have one and sometimes two flavors of soy cream, in addition to a few sorbets and AMAZING popsicles in flavors such as pineapple mint and satsuma tangerine—and ate it on my walk home, got home, took off my pants (don’t ask), was like, “Fuck it. I’ve had a long, hard week of overindulging in food and drink to the point of adult-onset diabetes so clearly I deserve a TREAT!” and then got right back on the road again. I wanted this shit so badly that I walked all the way down the hill on Church Street (OK??) in the rain without an umbrella. It’s not that I don’t have an umbrella. I have many, in fact. It’s just that I am hardcore, you see. UMBRELLAS ARE FOR THE WEAK AND THE SMART!

Anyway, I get there and the Bi-Rite dude is all, “What’s up, vegan girl!” and I’m like, “You know how we do! Holla!” and then he’s basically like, “For real?” and I’m like, “FOR REAL,” all dead serious with the look of the kill in my eyes. I get my second scoop of the day. And also a soda pop. And perhaps also a third scoop whatever fuck you for judging me like you haven’t slept with someone you aren’t proud of!!

Anyway, after three scoops of pluot sorbet and chocolate soy cream, I head back up the hill on Church street. Now, for folks who aren’t familiar with this peak, let me paint you a picture. It’s called Everest. Look it up and then imagine a beast 10 times worse and covered in the stench of dog and human piss and also, men to your left having sex in the bushes off of Dolores Park (hot!). Do you know what it’s like to hike back up that cliff with nothing to shield you from the harsh winter elements? I was like the motherfucking kids in Alive, setting up base camp and then threatening to cut and/or eat fellow pedestrians. I am lucky to be here today. I was smart to carbo-load at Bi-Rite before scaling that thing. Can you imagine the internet without me? You’re like, “Yes bitch, leave.” and I’m all, “I’m not going anywhere, sucka!”

[photos 1, 2, 3 via yelp]

10/13/2008

Review: Club Waziema!  »


Club Waziema
is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in San Francisco. Not so much because it’s autentico (I stole that from Jonas, I believe it’s Mexican for “authentic”) but because it’s delicious food in a fun space (dive bar meets whorehouse. See: the ridiculously wonderful and sexy wallpaper) and it’s super-cheap and there is an excellent jukebox. Oh and IT’S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT. AMAZING.

I strongly suggest ordering the Vegetarian Combo, a combination of all their vegan dishes. They don’t use the proper Ethiopian names on the menu because their customers are almost 100 percent Hipster McWhitey but basically you get two different lentil dishes (one spicy, one milder), a mushroom stew, collard greens and a potato/carrot/cabbage combo for $9, ALL YOU CAN EAT. When the food runs out, you just ask for more and they bring it out because as mentioned above it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT. Has there ever been four more beautiful words strung together in the English language? I’m being serious, can you think of any? Because I’m actually trying and I can’t.

Everything is served on injera, which is traditional Ethiopian flat bread made with teff flour. The injera at Waziema is fluffier and less tangy than I like it but it’s still delicious and I think easier on a palate that isn’t used to eating this type of food. Please see above about Hipster McWhitey. You use the injera to eat all of the food so please don’t humiliate yourself by asking for a fork or some shit. HOW EMBARRASSING.

Some things to keep in mind when dining in here. The service can be inattentive and slow (this is how they do in Ethiopia. I’m assuming.) so either be relaxed, baby, or prepare to go to bat for what you believe in. I’ve also had really excellent service so it’s a bit of a crap shoot. It’s good for groups (I had a big birthday dinner here a few years ago and it was the perfect location for a laid-back celebration—just make sure to call ahead and reserve some space. You can apparently even make reservations on their site. I would say not great for a romantical date because it can get really loud and there aren’t basic restaurant things like tablecloths and shit because you’re in a bar but on the other hand, I had the first date with my current boyfriend here and he’s ALL RIGHT. And oh yeah, they are closed Sundays and not open for lunch. The kitchen is open from 5 to 10 p.m. every night but the bar stays open later, until midnight on school nights and 2 a.m. on the weekend SO YOU CAN PARTY! ETHIOPIAN STYLE! WHAT?!

That is all.

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