Monday, August 29, 2016

Nourish Health Bar and Cafe

One of the best things about having vegan Facebook friends is that when a new restaurant with vegan options opens anywhere in the area, I'm likely to start seeing posts about it in my news feed. That's how I found out about Nourish Health Bar and Café, which recently opened in Citrus Heights. I drove over there for lunch last week. It was a little hard to find, since there's no signage yet. If you find the tables and chairs on the sidewalk near Life Foods, though, you've come to the right place.


The menu at Nourish is very short -- they have a veggie burger, quinoa bowl, kombucha, herbal tea, and coffee. Everything on the menu is organic, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. Life Foods makes the burgers, buns, condiments, and dressings, which are available at Nourish as packaged products if you want to incorporate them into your meal preparation at home.


I was told that the bun used for the veggie burger is very nutrient-dense, and I wanted something lighter for lunch, so I opted for the quinoa bowl. It consisted of a scoop of quinoa topped with salad greens and a cut-up veggie burger. I requested that avocado and pineapple be added to the dish as well. Normally, this would involve an additional cost, but since the restaurant was still in its soft-opening phase, I wasn't charged for the additional ingredients. I guess the tomato slices must have been thrown in for good measure. It was a tasty and very hearty lunch.




The quinoa bowl also came with a side dish, so I chose the mixed vegetables. They were cooked just the way I like them -- still a little crunchy -- and the seasonings brought out their flavors nicely.




I'm a big kombucha fan, so I had to give their house-made kombucha a try. The masala chai ginger flavor was excellent.




Nourish Health Bar and Café is located at 7433 Greenback Lane, and their phone number is 916-740-6034. The Life Foods website can be found at http://www.lifefoodsinc.com/, and the Nourish Health Bar and Café Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Nourish-Health-Bar-and-Cafe-NorCal-172153096520567/. The café is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fish Face Poke Bar

Recently, I had lunch at Fish Face Poke Bar with Bethany Davis, the mastermind behind the annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. She introduced me to the poke bowls at Fish Face -- a fun create-your-own meal that includes vegan options.


Each poke bowl includes green and white onions, seaweed, sesame seeds, protein, and sauce. The only vegan protein available is the tofu and cucumber option. The only vegan sauce option isn't listed on their online menu, but it involves sea salt and oil. There are also several ingredients you can add for an extra cost. Make sure to let the cashier know you're vegan when you're ordering your bowl and they'll help you navigate the choices.


During this visit, the restaurant was out of cucumber, so they let us substitute mango along with our tofu. I got the Small Fish combo, which includes a side dish and a drink. I ordered sushi rice for my side dish, and had it split between my bowl and Bethany's. I had them leave out the onions and the seaweed, but I added rice crisps for a little extra crunch. I thought the mango gave a nice fresh flavor to the bowl, and I really enjoyed it. Bethany had pretty much the same thing, except that she kept the seaweed and onions in hers.






I went back to Fish Face for lunch last week. This time, cucumbers were available, so I had the Small Fish combo with tofu and cucumbers. I omitted the onions but left in the seaweed, and added rice crisps and avocado. For my side dish, I ordered brown rice. This turned out to be a very satisfying lunch.




Fish Face is located inside the WAL building at 1104 R Street, and their phone number is 916-706-0605. Their website address is http://www.fishfacepokebar.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Fish-Face-Poke-Bar-659933180803974/?fref=ts. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Adamo's Kitchen

I had lunch with my friend Cathy last week at Adamo's Kitchen in midtown. This lovely little restaurant has been open for about two years, but this was my first visit.


The lunch menu includes two vegan sandwiches. I opted for Destini's Sandwich, a roll filled with tomatoes, caramelized onions, piquillo peppers, roasted garlic, avocado, spinach, chili flakes, and olive oil. It was a very flavorful and satisfying lunch!




The other sandwich on the lunch menu sounds good too. It's a grilled balsamic-marinated Portobello with avocado, pickled red onion, and arugula.


These sandwiches aren't on Adamo's dinner menu. However, there is a mushroom risotto with seasonal vegetables that can be made vegan.


Adamo's Kitchen is located at 2107 P Street, and their phone number is 916-440-9611. Their website address is http://www.adamoskitchen.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/adamoskitchen/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Food Discoveries at the International Food Bloggers Conference

I spent the last few days at the International Food Bloggers Conference. It was held in Sacramento this year, and I guess the attendees must have loved it, because they've decided to hold it in Sacramento next year too. Who can blame them? With 1.5 million acres of farmland in the region producing an amazing variety of crops year-round, Sacramento is a food lover's paradise.


I enjoyed excursions to the Capay Valley Ranches to learn about how olive oil is produced, the California Endive Farms in Rio Vista, where thousands of endive plants grow out of chicory roots in darkened rooms, and Stillwater Orchards in Courtland, where pear season is in full swing. It was inspiring to see the beautiful produce that comes from this region and to hear the passion in the voices of the farmers as they talked about their work.








The conference also included a culinary marketplace, where grocery stores, food manufacturers, and restaurants gave out samples of their products. Here are a few items that caught my attention.


Lilly's Hummus from Portland, Oregon, is making its way into the California market. They already sell their products at Whole Foods, and they're hoping to begin selling at Nugget Markets soon. Lilly's Hummus is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO. It comes in ten different flavors, including chocolate. This red pepper hummus and cracker duo was a very tasty and satisfying snack!




Lots of almond products were offered throughout the conference -- almond bars, almond gazpacho, flavored almonds -- you name it. I'm fine with plain roasted almonds, but tried a few flavored varieties too. I opened a can of these toasted coconut almonds from Blue Diamond, and now I just can't stop eating them. I don't know if they're available in grocery stores or not, so I'm glad the Blue Diamond gift shop is conveniently located at 17th and C.




When I found a jar of Bloody Mary mix in my goody bag, I assumed I'd have to give it to a non-vegan friend. I haven't had a Bloody Mary in years, since they're always made with Worcestershire sauce, which almost always contains anchovies. Fortunately, I checked the ingredients before I did anything rash, and was thrilled to find no mention of anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce. This spicy mix, made by Sacramento's own Preservation and Co., makes a mean Bloody Mary!




The International Food Bloggers Conference was a great event, and I met so many interesting bloggers. I can't wait to see how the organizers are going to top this year's conference in 2017!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Osteria Fasulo

My husband Phil and I drove to Davis recently for dinner at Osteria Fasulo. We had a lovely table outdoors under the grape arbor, overlooking an extensive vegetable garden.


Two items on the Osteria Fasulo menu were listed as specifically vegan, so I ordered both. I started with this beautiful salad, the L'Insalata d'Avocado ed Arance, consisting of avocado, oranges, and heirloom tomatoes, served on a bed of Romaine and tossed with a mustard and extra virgin olive oil dressing. It was perfect.




For my entrée, I had the Risotto Primavera, a mixture of creamy Arborio rice and seasonal vegetables, including zucchini, red bell pepper, and carrots. It was very good too, considering that the salad was a very hard act for it to follow.




Both of these items are on the menu for both lunch and dinner.


Osteria Fasulo is located at 2657 Portage Bay East, #8, adjacent to Village Homes. Their phone number is 530-758-1324, and their website address is http://www.osteriafasulo.com/. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, July 18, 2016

International Food Bloggers Conference -- Food for Vegans

The International Food Bloggers Conference comes to the Sacramento Convention Center Hyatt Regency in Sacramento on July 28th through 31st, and I can’t wait! My name is Pam Giarrizzo, and I'm the author of Sacramento Vegan, a blog that provides information about vegan options available in local restaurants. I've been vegan for almost fourteen years, and blogging for about five. This will be my first IFBC event, and I’m excited about the opportunity to meet all of my fellow food bloggers, take excursions to local farms, learn from the workshop presenters, and sample products from participating vendors.


In case there are any vegan or vegan-curious IFBC attendees, there are plant-based options at a few of the restaurants you’re likely to come into contact with during the course of the conference.


Since many of you will be staying at the Hyatt Regency, that seems like a good place to start. Vines, the hotel’s café that’s open for breakfast and lunch, offers a couple of nice vegan options. For breakfast, you can order their vegan chorizo hash, a mix of chorizo spiced tofu, peppers, onions, potatoes, and black beans, served with corn tortillas. I haven’t tried this dish before, but it sounds wonderful. If you decide to order it, let me know how it is!


If you’re having lunch at Vines, turn straight to the “Healthy Balance” page of the menu, where you can create your own vegan meal. Choose tofu, either grilled, sautéed, or steamed, as your main course, then choose a sauce and two side dishes to go with it. The picture below shows grilled tofu with mushroom and EVOO sauce, accompanied by roasted potatoes and roasted vegetable hash. Yum!




A few of the restaurants sponsoring this year’s IFBC offer vegan options. Trendy Hot Italian makes a vegan pizza, the Muti, topped with tomato sauce, seasonal vegetables, and arugula. You can also add Daiya vegan cheese. One of my favorite things at Hot Italian, though, is to stop by for Bellinis and olives, with a side of their excellent pizza crust wedges.




Mother is a popular vegetarian restaurant that offers a couple of vegan options. Their delicious carrot nut burger with arugula, caramelized onions, mustard, and ketchup is a big hit with local vegans.




Thai Basil is an IFBC sponsor that serves wonderful Thai food, with vegan items clearly marked on their menu. But what I really want to tell you about is the restaurant upstairs, which was recently opened by the same owners. As the name suggests, VEG offers a vegetarian and vegan menu, and I've enjoyed some outstanding dishes there. My favorites are the ginger guacamole with sweet potato chips, roasted veggie crepe, and basmati rice pudding. Just typing this is making my mouth water!








Sacramento food blogger Catherine Enfield will be hosting an event for IFBC attendees after the day's activities on Thursday, July 28th, at Lucca, a local Italian restaurant. If you decide to stay for dinner there afterwards, be sure to ask for their vegan menu. I love their patchwork salad, consisting of Romaine, radicchio, asparagus, strawberries, currants, peppers, almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette, and their sweet peppers stuffed with brown rice, beans, roasted squash, spinach, and basil marinara sauce.






If you'd like to know more about restaurants offering plant-based options in Sacramento, be sure to look for me at IFBC or check out my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you on July 28th!