Monday, July 21, 2014

Lou's Sushi

I have to admit, I'm not much of a sushi eater. In the first place, it usually contains fish, which I don't eat, or seaweed, which I don't like. But a friend told me recently that Lou's Sushi had vegetarian options on the menu, and since I thought some of you might be interested, and since I'm running out of restaurants to blog about, I decided to try it out.

The menu on the Lou's Sushi website (not the menu in the restaurant) indicates which items are vegetarian, but if you're vegan, questions still need to be asked. For example, there are a couple of tofu dishes on the menu, but they're not necessarily vegan, or even vegetarian. The fried tofu in the Secret Tofu and the Agedashi Tofu is cooked in the same oil as all the non-vegan items. In addition, the Agedashi Tofu is served in a fish broth.

Even so, there are several options for vegans at Lou's Sushi. The picture above shows what I ate during my first visit. On the right is the delicious Avocado Roll, with the rice on the outside. On the left is the Kappa Maki, a cucumber roll which I ordered with a soy wrap instead of seaweed.

On my next visit, I had the Sunomono, sliced cucumbers served in a vinegar dressing and topped with sesame seeds. It was light and refreshing, and it was a nice accompaniment to the roll I ordered.

The Veggie #1 is an inside out roll filled with asparagus, cucumber, and avocado, then topped with spinach and sesame seeds. It was very good, and I enjoyed alternating the taste of the roll with the pungent bits of ginger that garnished the plate.

I'm glad to know that if friends want to go out for sushi, I'll now have a restaurant to suggest where there's actually something I can eat!

Lou's Sushi is located at 2801 P Street, and their phone number is 916-451-4700. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Lou's Sushi on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 14, 2014

Road Trip! LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto

Phil and I were in the Bay Area this weekend and stopped in for lunch at LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto. If you haven't heard about the LYFE Kitchen restaurant chain before, it was started about three years ago by a couple of former McDonald's executives, of all things. Unlike McDonald's, however, LYFE Kitchen promotes healthy eating. Their menu lists the number of calories (less than 600) and the sodium content for each dish. LYFE, by the way, stands for "Love Your Food Everyday." I know, I know, "Everyday" should be two words, but LYFED just doesn't have the same ring to it.

When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a line out the door. Inside, the first thing I noticed was the herb garden in the middle of the restaurant. The second thing I saw was a rack that held a variety of different menus: V for vegan and vegetarian, E for everything, GF for gluten free, and W/B for wine and beer. Obviously, I grabbed the one with the V on it.

Then came the hard part, deciding what to eat among so many great choices! Since it was cooler in the Bay Area than in Sacramento, soup sounded good. I ordered the delicious Sweet Corn Chowder, made with corn, potatoes, peppers, and cashew cream. I was glad I did!

All of the vegan entrées seemed interesting, but I decided to go with Art's Unfried Chick'n, a breaded Gardein chick'n patty served with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries, and a sauce made from cashew cream and Dijon vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this dish, and the sauce was perfect with the Gardein patty.

I also want to mention the drink that accompanied my lunch. I ordered the Ginger Pomegranate Lemonade, which was sweet and tangy and had a nice little zing to it from the ginger. Loved it!

People were still pouring into the restaurant as we were leaving, and I found myself wishing there were a LYFE Kitchen location in Sacramento. Unfortunately, the Palo Alto location is the nearest one. More information about LYFE Kitchen can be found on their website or their Facebook page. It's definitely worth a visit if you have the opportunity!

LYFE Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 7, 2014

Trademark Pizza Co.

My husband Phil and I had dinner at Trademark Pizza Co. last night. I'd heard they had a unique create your own pizza option and I wanted to see how it worked.

When you walk into Trademark Pizza, you line up at the counter and watch the eleven-inch pizza assembled to your specifications. You start with either a regular or gluten-free crust (two dollars extra for gluten-free) and then choose your sauce. I ordered the red sauce, which was good, but when I go back again, I'll probably try just the olive oil option. Next comes the cheese, and they do have a dairy-free option for an additional one dollar charge. After that you choose the toppings you want, and you can add as many as you'd like at no extra cost. I asked for olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and pepperoncini.

As soon as you're satisfied with the composition of your pizza, they put it in the oven while you pay the cashier. We sat down at our table and our pizzas appeared at the table just moments later. I enjoyed it very much, and the assembly line approach to preparing the pizza didn't take anything away from the taste. They also have a create your own salad option.

Trademark Pizza Co. is located at 1485 Eureka Road at Stone Point Plaza in Roseville, and their phone number is 916-774-9922. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Trademark Pizza Company on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 30, 2014

Capital Dime

Capital Dime opened in Midtown about a year ago, but since their menu didn't appear to have any options for vegans, I didn't pay much attention to it. A week ago, however, the Sacramento Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson reported that Chris Jarosz was going to take over the management of the restaurant.

I'm a fan of Jarosz, who has made a point of having vegan options available on the menus at all of his establishments, such as Broderick Roadhouse in West Sacramento and his Sacatomatoes food truck. Now that he's in charge of Capital Dime, their menu has something for vegans too.

Capital Dime reopened with the new menu on Saturday, and my husband Phil and I had lunch there yesterday. For starters, I ordered the Pickle Plate, which consisted of a variety of pickled vegetables served with bread and Dijon mustard. The pickled green beans were my favorite, but it was all good. The asparagus was particularly spicy, so consider yourself warned!

Next, I had the Street Style Tacos with marinated tofu, which were topped with citrus cabbage slaw and cilantro. The menu doesn't say anything about cheese, but you should probably let your server know you don't want cheese on your tacos, just in case. I really liked them and know I'll be back for more.

Phil ordered a side of House Slaw, which he said was very good. It's made with shredded cabbage and poppy vinaigrette.

The other vegan option on the new Capital Dime menu is the house-made Veggie Burger, which is served on an onion roll with a vegan dressing, house pickles, gem lettuce, and tomatoes.

Capital Dime is located at 1801 L Street, Suite 50, and their phone number is 916-443-1010. Their website, which hasn't been updated to show the new menu, can be found at You can find the new menu on their Facebook page, but neither the website nor the Facebook page list the restaurant's new hours of operation. For now, it's probably best to look for Facebook or Twitter posts each day to find out when they're open.

Capital Dime on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sun & Soil Juice Company

I've seen a lot of buzz on Twitter and Facebook recently about Sun & Soil Juice Company, so I stopped by this weekend to check it out for myself.

The menu here is strictly liquid -- no muffins, cookies, sandwiches, or any other type of solid food. Fortunately, there are lots of interesting liquid options.

I ordered the Downtown Molly Brown smoothie, sixteen ounces of coconut milk, coconut water, banana, pecans, dates, chia seeds, vanilla, garam masala, and Himalayan salt. It was very tasty, and I felt like I was drinking a dessert. At least two of the smoothies contain honey, so you may want to ask that it be omitted if you order the Iron Giant or the Stress Free Strawberry.

Sun & Soil Juice Company also sells bottled cold pressed raw juices in a variety of flavors. I ordered one that isn't listed on the menu, Pineapple Dream, a delicious mixture of pineapple, coconut milk, and cinnamon. It was like a healthy piña colada. There's a $2.00 deposit fee, which is refunded when you rinse and return the bottle.

A one-day juice cleanse option is available, consisting of six different bottles of juice. The first juice on the list, Lemon Snap, contains honey, but if you call ahead, the staff can help you figure out an alternative.

Sun & Soil Juice Company is located at 1912 P Street in Midtown, and their phone number is 916-341-0327. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at!/sunandsoiljuice/info. The restaurant is open Sunday and Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Be sure to ask for a rewards card so you can receive one free juice after you've purchased twelve.

Sun & Soil Juice Company on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ciao Chow Food Truck

I've been wanting to check out the vegan items at Ciao Chow for awhile, so I was glad to finally catch up with this food truck last week outside the CalPERS building.

I had a hard time deciding which of two items I wanted to try the most, so I ended up ordering both. The Tofu Marinated with Curry and 5 Spice Rice Plate was excellent, served with salad and sautéed mushrooms. Make sure to order it vegan-style, without the Ciao Chow sauce.

The other item I ordered was the Chow Mein with tofu. This tasty dish, which consists of tofu, flour-based noodles, green beans, onions, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, tomatoes, and hoisin sauce, is vegan without the need for any modifications.

The Ciao Chow Food Truck is a regular at many local food truck meetups. Their schedule is updated weekly on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, June 9, 2014

California Pizza Kitchen

I usually prefer to blog about independent, locally-owned restaurants. But there are times when I find myself dining at a chain restaurant, especially when I'm traveling, and I think it's useful to know ahead of time whether the menu will be vegan-friendly or not.

California Pizza Kitchen recently renovated their Market Square at Arden Fair location and invited food bloggers to sample items from their new menu. I wasn't able to attend, but I checked their website to see if they had any vegan options. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have created a whole page devoted to accommodating the needs of vegetarians and vegans.

I stopped by last week to check it out. To facilitate the ordering process, I printed out the vegan information to take with me to the restaurant. The first item I ordered was the Shaved Mushroom + Spinach Flatbread without the cheese, which was very good. You'll want to ask your server to remind the chef that no cheese means no Parmesan garnish either.

I also ordered a Roasted Veggie Salad. The only modification that was needed was to request a different dressing, since the Dijon balsamic vinaigrette normally served with it is not vegan. I chose the fat-free balsamic, which was perfect. This was a wonderful salad, consisting of Romaine, artichoke hearts, avocado, corn, eggplant, asparagus, peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Since I was having the flatbread too, I ordered the half-sized salad, which turned out to be a fairly large portion. I would never have been able to finish a full salad.

Here are a few basics you may want to remember if you decide to give California Pizza Kitchen a try.

* All of their pizza crusts are vegan, but the only vegan sauces are the pizza marinara, vegetarian black bean, and spicy marinara.

* The pasta noodles are vegan except for the multigrain penne, which contains egg. None of the pasta sauces listed on the menu are vegan, but you can order the off-menu tomato basil sauce.

* Many of the salads can be made vegan by omitting the meats and cheeses, but only three of the dressings are vegan: fat-free balsamic, lemon herb vinaigrette, and hoisin ginger vinaigrette.

* The only vegan soup is the Dakota Smashed Pea + Barley Soup. There are no vegan sandwiches or desserts.

* Some items, such as the White Corn Guacamole + Chips or the Tuscan Hummus are vegan without needing any modifications. Other items, such as the Lettuce Wraps, can easily be made vegan by leaving out non-vegan ingredients.

I appreciate the steps that California Pizza Kitchen has taken to make it so easy for vegans to order from their menu. It seems like it would be easy enough for other restaurants to do the same thing, and I hope that this is the start of a trend.

California Pizza Kitchen has both national and international locations. More information is available on their website at

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon