Review: Jay’s Cheesesteak!  »


Now, down to business.

Back in the day when food was not repulsive to me—it feels like I can’t remember such a time*—I used to love the seitan cheesesteak sandwich, minus the cheese and mayo, with extra extra onions, from Jay’s Cheesesteak. It is the perfect sandwich and vegan! Yay! If you are feeling extravagant, you can have them make any of their cheesesteaks vegan. You can choose from tomato and pepper, mushroom, pizza, teriyaki, and more. The pizza cheesesteak is especially super-fantastic, all marinara-sauced deliciousness and shit. Go on with your bad self, pizza cheesesteak.

I like their garlic fries too, they are big and fat and super greasy. Even if you are a fat pig and think you can eat more than anyone ever, still get the small. Trust.

One gripe: These fools recently started charging 50 cents extra for the seitan cheesesteaks. WRONG! And before anyone is like, “Well, Laura, seitan is probably more expensive than government-subsidized ground chuck,” I will tell you this: JAY’S CHEESESTEAK USES NIMAN RANCH DEAD COW. Niman Ranch is the poster boy for “humanely” raised, grass-fed, sustainably farmed, Michael Pollan Richy-Rich-style beef. You ain’t at Food 4 Less anymore, Dorothy. This shiz is $$$$$. And I, for one, am so sick of paying extra for food that COSTS LESS. I’m looking at you, soy milk at Starbucks. Oh also, no vegan cheese. Boo.

A few logisticalities: There are two Jay’s Cheesesteak locations, one in the Mission on 21st Street near Valencia, and one in the Western Addition on Divisadero. Both locations are open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are both in good bar neighborhoods, which is excellent because they are ideal drinking food. Very limited seating, so see previous sentence about going to a bar.

*About 10 hours ago. I have mild congestion/am dying.

[photos via yelp]


Review: Papalote!  »

Laura threw down the burrito gauntlet* the other day, making the claim that El Farolito makes the best burrito in the city. It may be less “autentico,” but I’ll stake my claim at Papalote.

Most burrito places have only one vegetarian option (helpfully labeled “vegetarian”). Papalote has a staggering six (count em! six!) veggie options, and all are also available as tacos (why would you order a taco? Why?): rice and beans; potato carrot mushroom; grilled eggplant and zucchini; grilled tofu; soyrizo; and molé tofu! The correct answer is molé! Order this, I will not steer you wrong! Seriously, where else can you get vegan molé anything? Somebody tell me. Refreshingly, all of these are vegan by default—you actually have to opt in for cheese and sour cream, and pay extra. This is called the “idiot tax.”

Also, they have the best, most unique and delicious-tasting salsa in the city. I have heard that the secret ingredient is pumpkin seeds, and I am willing to believe, because pumpkins make everything better. You can ask for extra salsa, but they will charge you, because they know how valuable it is. This is called the “precious commodities tax.”

Pro tip! Ask for a punch card when you get your burrito. They probably won’t offer you one! Buying ten burritos equals one free one, and you’ll probably blaze through that in a week, right?

There are two Papalote locations, one in the Mission and one in Western Addition. They also have vegan nachos, fajitas and a molé tofu entree on the menu. But again, why? None of these count towards your punch card! Prioritize!

Do yourself a favor and call ahead with your burrito order and then pick it up in 15 minutes. They have a second cashier line dedicated to pick up orders, and you will happily skip the always-out-the-door line, and jockeying with the crowd for free tables. This means, additionally, that Papalote is not a great date spot. You’ve been advised.

*A charming mental image!

[photo via yelp]


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.


Review: Panhandle Pizza!  »

A while ago, inspired by some of the pro-anorexia sicko talk threads that I compulsively read, I decided that I’m too fat to live. When bitches who are one-tenth your size are exchanging crash diet tips, it can have that affect on you. Anyway, someone listed a recipe for cabbage soup diet that is supposed to “clean you out” and “make you feel great.” Because I want to be cleaned out and also to feel great and mainly because I have low self-esteem, I decide to try this cabbage soup diet for a couple days. The other reason is that I obviously hate myself. I can think of no other excuse as to why someone would do this to themselves. I am fat and unworthy. Right, ladies? I mean, a multi-billion-dollar business is made off our self-hatred so I’m game! Let’s DO THIS! Seventy-three pounds or BUST!

My eating day went like this:
5:45 a.m. - Wake up! Ready to be cleaned out and feel GREAT! am excited to take on the day!

6 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(6:15 a.m. - Stomach hurts and am actively upset at myself and those around me. Have murderous thoughts.)

7 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(7:15 a.m. - Am thinking about how I am a modern-day Oliver Twist. Please sir, may I have some more? Am sad that in this day and age of amazing food, i am choosing to eat like pathetic Dickensian tramp. Am shocked that other women who want to lose those “last 10 pounds” would subject themselves to something so psychotic. Guess what ladies, ain’t nobody notice those 10 pounds anyway! YOU LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME and don’t nobody care! Your man is probably boning your fat best friend anyway! Clearly, I am still murderous.)

10 a.m. - Cabbage soup.
(10:15 a.m. - Conference call from hell that almost left me fired. Coincidence?)

12 p.m. - Cabbage soup.
(12:15 p.m. - Dry-heaving over a toilet because of disgusting cabbage soup. Cabbage soup is worse than water torture. Or being sodomized with a paddle made of hedgehogs.)

1 p.m. - Cabbage soup.
(1:15 p.m. - Have very bad farts from cabbage soup that clear out two desks around me and make me lose my appetite. I think this is a good thing. Hate my coworkers anyway.)

2 p.m.
- Cabbage soup.
(2:15 p.m. - All I can think about are suicide scenarios and not eating cabbage soup ever again. I still have about 10 gallons left. Want to die. I am fat.)
(2:30 p.m. - Crying in a corner.)
(2:33 p.m. - Make a death threat against a coworker for “breathing too loudly”)
(2:40 p.m. - Crying in a bathroom stall)
(2:45 p.m. - The shakes have set in. I’m so hungry. I’m so, so hungry. I’m sad.)

3 p.m. - Order entire extra-large soy cheese cornmeal crust everything veggie pizza from Panhandle Pizza.
(3:30 p.m. - Eat chocolate bar while waiting for pizza.)
(3:35 p.m. - Feel guilty about chocolate, eat more cabbage soup.)
(3:45 p.m. - Fuck this noise, where the fuck is my pizza, I will eat my own hand!!!! Eat another candy bar given to me earlier by scared coworker.)

4 p.m. - Pizza arrives. Eat entire pizza. I am in heaven. It’s the best pizza ever A+++++ BEST QUALITY WILL DO BUSINESS AGAIN.
(4:05 p.m. - Pour cabbage soup down drain.)
(4:15 p.m. - Fat and happy.)

Moral of the story: stay the fuck off of internet talk threads. And though it’s not the perfect vegan pizza, it is a vegan pizza. And it still felt relatively healthy because of all the veggies, soy cheese and delicious cornmeal crust. I’m a fat. I meant, fan. I’m a fan.

Some notes: They use Follow Your Heart mozzarella and they use it sparingly, which I like. Even if you are not a fan of the veggie pizza because you don’t like mushrooms, olives, peppers, insert objectionable vegetable here, I still strongly suggest getting it. It’s way better than any of the other pizzas and I normally can’t stand mushrooms; they are the devil that grows from the ground. As far as delivery boundaries go, it really depends on who you talk to and what kind of mood they’re in. Sometimes they will deliver to the entire city, sometimes not. You can also eat in (there are a few table and chairs) or get a pizza to go and sit in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. Itsanice (that’s Italian for, “it’s nice!”)!

[photo via yelp]


Review: Herbivore (the restaurant)!   »

This morning I was not working and instead G-Chatting (I call this, “doing how I do”) with my very handsome and extremely talented and sometimes grumpy boyfriend about what restaurant I should blog about next. He suggested I just get Herbivore out of the way. That feels like an appropriate way to put it. Blogging about this Bay Area vegan restaurant institution (three locations now!) is something that is necessary but not super-exciting. Kinda like eating there. GO FIGURE.

OK, here’s the deal with Herbivore. It’s all-vegan and they serve from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, so you can count on them for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. In a city where most restaurants are open for about two hours a day and closed for one of those hours, that’s a pretty novel thing. The food for the most part is serviceable and sometimes even good, just don’t order anything too complicated. Stick to the tofu and seitan sandwiches (even the shawarma wrap is good, especially the fairly new chicken shawarma wrap—probably the best thing on the menu) and you’ll be just fine. It’s the people who branch out, expecting more from the menu, who get screwed. Fools. IMHO (recently learned that this meant, “In My Humble Opinion, Asshole!”), if you order pad Thai at Herbivore, you’re stupid and deserve a subpar meal. You’re not in Duluth anymore! What? Is your name Billy Bob Ray Jack and do you and your girlfriend-sister and her three teeth work at The Feed Bag in Deer Gulch Junction? If you want Thai food, go to one of the 100 awesome Thai restaurants within a block of wherever you are in SF, you hillbilly dum dum!* My rule of thumb is if it sounds even SLIGHTLY “ethnic” (except for Mediterranean. Actually, scratch that, the falafel is crap), stay away from it. As for everything else, it’s not super-SUPER-great and there is WAY better vegan food out there,** but it sure is nice to have a place that’s all-vegan, and to know that none of your money is going to buy dead animals or tortured-animal by-products. Oh! If you go for breakfast, get the banana bread! It is toasted and served with Earth Balance! Deeeelicious! And for dessert, don’t miss Maggie Mudd ice cream and any of the shakes (which are TOTALLY different than their warm, gross-out smoothies, STAY AWAY FROM THOSE)!

*I don’t know, I just really hate hillbillies. It’s almost unnatural, I don’t even know why. It’s not like a hillbilly killed my mom or anything BUT MAN IF ONE DID I WOULD BE SO MAD!!!***
**Interestingly enough, it seems omnivores enjoy Herbivore better than we veggies do. I think it’s because they think vegan food is usually tree topped with dirt sauce so they’re pleasantly surprised when their meal doesn’t taste like patchouli-scented armpit hair.
***Clearly, no idea what I’m talking about at this point or if this even works, grammatically.

[photo via yelp]

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