Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Mayahuel

My friend Bonnie and I got together for lunch today at Mayahuel, a downtown restaurant offering particularly creative vegan dishes for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. Before I even began deciding what to order, I had to laugh at these words of wisdom printed at the top of the menu:

                                  Vegans are like your parents,
                                  First you hate them
                                  Then you become them
                                  and realise they were
                                  right all along :)

Having had a good chuckle, I turned my attention to the food. I thought about ordering just the two appetizers – potato tacos and spicy lentil soup – but thought I should try something a little more unusual. They were out of the huitlacoche enchiladas, which sounded really good (mushrooms, black beans, and corn wrapped in blue corn tortillas and served in a huitlacoche sauce), so the server recommended the pistacio spicy mole sauce. I love pistachios, so I decided to give it a try. This dish consisted of sliced portobello mushrooms sautéed in a pistachio mole sauce, with just a touch of serrano pepper. It was served with a pyramid of white rice. I had never had anything like this before, and I really enjoyed this rich, creamy entrée.

Since we were celebrating a birthday, the server brought out a small piece of their vegan chocolate ganache cake, topped with a birthday sparkler. It was delectable – everything you could want in a chocolate cake!

Mayahuel is located at 1200 K Street, and their phone number is 916-441-7200. Their website address is http://experiencemayahuel.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MayahuelSacramento/. The restaurant is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Monday, October 15, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Golden Road Brewing

I met up with a vegan friend, Amanda, for lunch today. Many of the restaurants participating in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge are closed on Monday, so we were happy to discover that Golden Road Brewing was open.

Unfortunately, they were out of most of their vegetables, and the produce truck wasn’t due to arrive until mid-afternoon. This meant they were out of the ingredients they needed for all of their salads, the avocado fries, and the dish they had created specifically for the challenge – artichoke buffalo wings.

Not to worry, though – Golden Road Brewing has several vegan options on their regular menu, and Amanda and I had no trouble choosing a few dishes to share. The veganized asada fries were topped with soyrizo, Heidi Ho cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo. If you order this, bring a big appetite: it is a huge plate of fries, and even with two of us working on it, we couldn’t finish the whole thing. 

The drunken zucchini tacos may have been my favorite of the three dishes we ordered. Small corn tortillas were filled with beer-battered fried zucchini, grilled corn, roasted pimientos, cilantro, and salsa. Loved the fried zucchini!

The buffalo cauliflower was also fried in a beer batter and served with a dill ranch sauce. These spicy cauliflower bites were very tasty.

Golden Road Brewing is located at 1830 L Street, and their phone number is 916-382-9445. Their website address is http://goldenroad.la/sacramentopub, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/goldenroadsacramento/. They are open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to midnight.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co.

I wanted pizza for lunch today, so I headed over to Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co. to see what special pizzas they were offering for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.

They had one, which doesn’t appear on a menu, but the man at the counter described it for me. It’s the vegan version of their Cavaleros Creation – red sauce, garlic cheez, soyrizo, bell pepper, black olives, tomatoes, and red onions on Buffalo Pizza’s excellent thick crust. It really hit the spot!

While I was at it, I ordered the Buffalo Pizza from their regular menu. This pizza was topped with blue cheez, garlic cheese, buffalo cauliflower, celery, and carrot ribbons. Yum!

Buffalo Pizza offers vegan pizzas all throughout the year. They also offer a few vegan ice cream and sorbet flavors, made by Cornflower Creamery. Their food is available for takeout or delivery only.

Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream Co. is located at 2600 21st Street, and their phone number is 916-451-6555. Their website address is https://www.buffalobreakfastpizza.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/buffalobreakfastpizza/. They are open Monday through Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday, October 12, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Ike's Quarter Cafe

My husband Phil and I took a drive up to Nevada City today, where we had fun walking around the historic district and doing a little shopping. We also stopped in for lunch at Ike’s Quarter Café, which is participating in this year’s Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.

I had never been to Ike’s before, a restaurant serving New Orleans-style cuisine, and I was thrilled to see so many vegan options on the regular menu. But I was there for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, so I reluctantly closed the regular menu.

There were four items listed on the special vegan menu: tofu frittata, gasserhouser (toast with a hole cut in it, which is filled with an egg substitute and then fried), spicy sprouted bean burger, and Caesar salad. I opted for the frittata, a mixture of tofu, spinach, dill, and vegan feta, topped with caramelized onions. Apparently, the frittatas at Ike’s are first sautéed in a pan and then baked. It was served with fresh fruit – apple, pear, plum, and banana – and a choice of bread. The bread choices were toast, biscuit (their biscuits are always vegan), or cornbread (they have both vegan and non-vegan cornbread). I chose the biscuit, which was perfect. Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole meal!

I had been planning to just have iced tea to drink, but then I noticed that they had vegan shakes on their regular menu, in either chocolate or vanilla flavor. I ordered the chocolate shake, which was made with oat milk and chocolate coconut ice cream. It was wonderful! I foresee many return trips to Ike’s in my future!

Ike’s Quarter Café is located at 401 Commercial Street in Nevada City, and their phone number is 530-265-6138. Their website address is http://www.ikesquartercafe.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ikesquartercafe/. The restaurant is open Thursday through Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They are closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- de Vere's Irish Pub

My friend Cathy and I had lunch today at de Vere’s Irish Pub so I could check out their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu. They make such a great Beyond Burger there that it was difficult for me to pass it up, but for this month, I’m all about the special items restaurants are offering for the challenge.

de Vere’s has two items on their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, so I ordered both. The first was roasted cauliflower, tossed with harissa vinaigrette, curry oil, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and mint. I love cauliflower anyhow, but this dish was especially good, and I hope they keep it on the menu.

The other item was soy chorizo toast, de Vere’s version of avocado toast. The toast was served on a bed of arugula and piled high with avocado, soy scramble, and soyrizo. It was dressed with harissa vinaigrette and garnished with pickled onion, radish slices, and cilantro, which made it a very colorful and beautifully presented dish. I worried about whether it would be filling enough, but it was a generous serving.

de Vere’s Irish Pub is located at 1521 L Street, and their phone number is 916-231-9947. Their website address is https://www.deverespub.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/deverespub/. The restaurant is open Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to midnight.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Evan's Kitchen

Long-time Sacramento area vegans have been eating at Evan’s Kitchen for years. This restaurant has participated in at least the last six or seven Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenges. Not only that, but Evan’s Kitchen offers vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the year.

This morning, my husband Phil and I headed to Evan’s for breakfast. They make lots of good vegan food there, but I think the breakfast items are always my favorites. Last year, carrot cake pancakes were on the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, and I didn’t think they’d ever be able to top that. But this year, they’re offering pumpkin pie pancakes, and they’re the best pancakes ever. This dish consists of three or four pumpkin pancakes that are actually served in a small pie crust. They’re accompanied by vegan butter, maple syrup, and a small dish of spiced cocowhip (not pictured). Fantastic!

I don’t think the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu for Evan’s Kitchen has been widely circulated yet, so I’m posting it here. Our server this morning said that she is not a vegan, but in addition to the pumpkin pie pancakes, she gave rave reviews to the Lasagna Bolognese that’s on the dinner menu.

Evan’s Kitchen is located in the 57th Street Antique Mall at 855 57th Street, and their phone number is 916-452-3896. Their website address is https://www.chefevan.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/evanskitchen/. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

SVCC 2018 -- Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

Local vegans love dining out in October because the month-long Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge ensures that we’ll have lots of exciting new dishes to try. Today, I met up with Elle, a fellow vegan, for lunch at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., which always offers several plant-based options.

Hook & Ladder didn’t have a separate Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, but they change their vegan menu seasonally, so there were a couple of items listed that I hadn’t seen before. Elle and I decided to order three dishes to share.

The chickpea fritters have been on the menu for a while, but I’d never had them before. These little rectangular blocks made from a fried chickpea mixture were stacked on the plate surrounded by a garnish of salsa verde. They were quite good!

The Mediterranean flatbread was topped with an unusual set of ingredients, but it turned out to be my favorite of the three dishes. Somehow, the salsa verde, potato confit, chopped olives, and preserved lemon slivers combined for a really delicious flatbread topping.

The third item we ordered was a plate of roasted rainbow carrots, sprinkled with paprika. Since both Elle and I love carrots, this dish was a big hit.

We asked our server if they were offering any vegan desserts, and we were happy to hear that they were. Their chocolate and peanut butter fudge, made with coconut milk, was the perfect way to end our meal.

Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. is located at 1630 S Street, and their phone number is 916-442-4885. Their website address is https://hookandladder916.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/HookandLadderSacramento/?ref=br_rs. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.