Eating Vegan in San Francisco – Part 3 – VeganMoFo 16

Today wrapped up my vegan eating in San Francisco, because tomorrow I’ll be on the plan at the butt crack of dawn.  So, this is my final report on the trip.

I started the day off by taking a pass on breakfast.  I still felt a little full from last night when I got up at 5:00, so coffee was fine.  Around 7:15, I headed off for an Anusara yoga class (after a nice walk to get there).  The class was interesting, though I think I still need to process it somewhat.  It did make me feel like this back curve issue has got to be addressed if I’m going to be a good example for my yoga students.

When class was over, I walked a little more and headed to Herbivore restaurant.  Oh dear!  What another HUGE win (in fact, it might have been the vegan food win for the trip).  The menu was amazing and vegan and amazing, with breakfast/brunch/lunch choices and deserts.  After a long period of waffling, I settled on the vegan Thai iced tea and the bbq faux chicken sandwich with fingerling potatoes and a salad.  Wow!  Delicious and perfectly dressed with a creamy faux mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, a little onion, on a kickin’ sour dough roll.  Awesome.  And then desert accidentally happened, to the tune of vegan carrot cake.  Mmmmmmm!  I couldn’t finish, but I gave it what I had, you betcha!  My dining partner also loved the food and finished her meal with a vegan oatmeal cookie.

After lunch, she headed back to the conference and I went for another walk to Haight Ashbury.  Interesting.  It reminded me a lot of South Street in Philly, but with a few more head shops and a few more thrift stores.  I pawed my way through the items at several thrift stores, even though I’m not a shopping fan, just to see if some amazing find jumped out.  I did see a few things that I liked, but the prices were more “vintage” prices than “thrift” prices, so I passed on the purchases.

I started to walk back to the hotel, but realizing that it was 1,000,000 degrees out, I caught a bus half way there (and missed my stop, but hey, stuff happens).  After a shower (wow, did I need that), and a few minutes of air conditioning, we set off for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where we saw a special exhibit on voyeurism and desire in photographic media.  It was startling and intriguing and appalling and wonderful and awful and I may have more to say about it in a non-food post later.

When dinner time arrived, I wasn’t sure I had really recovered from lunch, but was game to try out The Golden Era, an all vegan Asian restaurant in a “gritty” part of SF (it wasn’t really that gritty – people just kept describing it that way).  The choices were fairly standard for vegan Asian, but solidly prepared and the atmosphere was quite interesting.

So, that wrapped up my food adventure in San Francisco.  It was a slow start, but more than made up for with the later meals.  In conclusion, if you ever are in SF looking for a vegan meal, I highly recommend The Plant Cafe and Herbivore.  The Golden Era is also a fine choice if you are in the mood for that cuisine.

Thanks for reading!


Eating Vegan in San Francisco Part 2 – VeganMoFo 15

As you may have read yesterday, I didn’t get off to a good vegan start in San Francisco, but then on Sunday night we walked to a restaurant on the pier called The Plant Cafe.  Oh. My. Heck!  Talk about amazing and delicious choices.  I was almost overwhelmed.

The menu at The Plant Cafe is not all vegetarian/vegan, but it is super vegan friendly (AND gluten free friendly) with all items clearly marked.  It’s also almost 100% organic and primarily local.  Sweet!  The ambiance is quite lovely, and you can elect to dine inside or on the deck.  I had booked an inside table when I made the reservation, not realizing how warm it would be, so we did stay inside.

The drinks menu has some crazy interesting options (scotch and cranberry… hmm…) as well as quite a selection of organic wines and beers.  I stuck with a draft local beer, because drinking local beer is what I do when I travel 🙂

Then it was on to the menu choices, where I, and my dining partner Maria, waffled for an extended period about what to get.  I was interested in several of the salads, the spring rolls, the flatbread plate, the pasta, the plant burger – yeah, pretty much most of the vegan items on the menu looked good to me.

Ultimately, I settled on the avacado salad and the plant burger.  The salad was superb, with avocado, arugula, grapefruit, fennel, and a creamy peppercorn dressing.  How have I not thought to put avocado and grapefruit together on a salad before?  This will be rectified.  Mmmmmmmm!!!!  The signature plant burger, made on site, is a combination of lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews, and bulgur.  They top it with a little onion, lettuce, tomato, and aioli.  It’s a rather pink looking burger from the beets, and let me tell you, it is exceptionally good.  The combination of the sweetness of the beets against the richness of the lentils – cut it out!  I was full by the time I finished half of it, but I bravely continued on and ate it all.  Sometimes a vegan has to do what a vegan has to do.  Maria had the clams (which were apparently delicious enough to make her consider using the sauce as a conditioner) and the plant sandwich as well.

We didn’t make it to the desert menu, which was sad because I know there were probably some kickass things on there, but I was way too full.  As we walked out, the owner stopped us and inquired as to how things were and generally chatted in a super friendly and enthusiastic way.  I wanted to go back in and have another meal just because I liked him that much.

So, yeah, if you can’t tell, I would recommend this restaurant to vegans and vegetarians traveling or living in San Francisco.  They have three locations, so there are some options that way.  They also serve lunch and weekend brunch at some of the locations.

Check it out!

**I received no special whatevers for this review – just really dug the place


Eating Vegan in San Francisco – Vegan Mofo 13 & 14

San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau Photo

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.  ~ Isaac Newton

I’m currently in San Francisco for a conference, so I missed posting yesterday (woohoo for a long time on a plane).  So, today will be a combined post of my experiences thus far for the trip.  Traveling vegan can be a little tricky at times, but I had high hopes for this one.

The trip began with the flight (duh).  If you don’t already know this, do not be a vegan on US Airways.  You may starve to death.  Even if you are willing to spend the ridiculous amount they charge to get a snack, you cannot, as there are no vegan items.  There is also no form of non-dairy creamer, so you should also not want coffee.

I arrived in San Francisco tired and hungry, and very unprepared (had not researched how to travel from the airport at 9:00 at night to Union Square area).  So, I decided to just suck it up and grab a cab.  Have money if you want to travel by cab in San Francisco.  The cab ride was short (10 minutes or so) but was $42.  Ouch.  Thank goddess that cabbies can now take credit cards!

My roomie was already asleep and I was still sort of jacked up from the trip and hungry, so I made my first foray into eating vegan in SF.  I happened upon a restaurant called Ponzu, where I ordered the spicy roasted garbanzos and root chips.  Not only were these snacks vegan, but they were also delicious and inexpensive ($9 total, I think).  Sweet!  And then, off to bed!

Morning arrived early (like 4:30 a.m. early) so after coffee and getting ready, I ventured out to find a bagel place.  The hotel concierge waved vaguely at the street and said “lots of places have bagels; walk that way.”  I’m not sure that “concierge” means what he thinks it means. I did have an 8:00 presentation to do, so I couldn’t go too far afield. After walking in about a 6 block radius and finding not one bagel shop, I ended up back at the conference hotel with a plain white bagel from a Starbucks satellite.  Hmmm…

By the time lunch rolled around, I was famished, because simple carbs for breakfast do that to me.  So, again back to the desk to inquire as to a close place with vegan friendly lunches.  I was sent to David’s Deli.  Do not be a vegan at David’s Deli.  Do not be in a hurry at David’s Deli.  Nothing on the menu was vegan really, so I opted for a side salad and a side of fries, with an iced tea.  The tea arrived, but sadly was not vegan due to the small critter floating in it.  I switched to bottled water.  1 hour later (no, seriously, I’m not exaggerating at all), my lunch arrived.  It was iceburg lettuce with 4 slices of cucumbers and 3 tomato wedges, along with a small plate of underdone fries.  This, my friends, will set you back $20 with the tip.  Sweet.  Do not attempt to travel in San Francisco without plenty of cash.  I need an ATM, stat!

Tonight, I have more time and am more prepared, so it’s off to a highly reviewed vegan friendly restaurant called The Plant. It is local and organic, so I have a good feeling that this is going to be good!  But, now I must hit another meeting and then the yoga mat, so that’s a post for another day.  I hope you enjoyed my boring travelogue of 16 vegan hours in San Francisco.