Monday, January 26, 2015

Farmer's Kitchen Cafe

I was shopping for gifts last week at The Artery, an artists' collaborative in Davis. It's full of lovely things, and I had fun looking around. Afterwards, I went searching for a place to eat with vegan options and came across the Farmer's Kitchen Cafe, a small restaurant and natural food store.


The menu changes daily, but I was told there's usually (but not always) something vegan available. The day I was there, both the soup and the salad were vegan, so that's what I ordered. The soup was Curried Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk. It was very spicy, but quite tasty.




The salad was the Bioregional Salad, which was chock full of seasonal, organic, and locally-grown produce. It was so much fun to eat, since there were so many different fruits and vegetables in it that I never knew what the next bite would bring. Beets, oranges, carrots, grapefruit, strawberries, lettuce mix, kiwi -- I can't even remember everything that was in this salad. It was wonderful, and I would definitely order it again.




Farmer's Kitchen Cafe is located at 624 Fourth Street in Davis, and their phone number is 530-756-1862. Their website address is http://www.farmerskitchencafe.com/#, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Farmers-Kitchen-Cafe/179033945469117. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 7:00 p.m.




Farmers Kitchen Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 19, 2015

Liquidology

I went to the grand opening of Liquidology over the weekend. Liquidology began selling their juices last year at the East Sacramento Farmers Market in McKinley Park. Now they've taken their business to the next level and moved into a permanent location at 46th and H streets.




My first experience with Liquidology was at the annual Christian Brothers High School Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza last September, where they were pouring samples of their delicious juices. Also on-hand at that event was Chef Brooke Preston of the Green Boheme, whose tasty raw vegan treats paired nicely with the juice. It was like a lovely little vegan oasis in the midst of all the restaurants offering meat and cheese dishes.


Chef Brooke is partnering with Liquidology in their new location as well, offering raw vegan salad, snacks, and desserts to go. Veggie burgers, pesto pizza, and brownies are just a few of the Green Boheme items you can buy to go with your juice.


The juice selection at Liquidology provides a nice variety of flavors, and you can sample them before you buy. The cold-pressed juices are made from raw, organic, and locally-grown produce. They're mostly vegan, although a couple of them contain honey. After sampling a few different juices, I bought bottles of The Alchemist (coconut water, coconut meat, turmeric, Madagascar vanilla, and nutmeg) and Main Squeeze (pomegranate, pear, and apple), one of their Seasonal Harvest juices, to take home with me. Fabulous!






Liquidology also sells kale chips and cashew cheese from The Cultured Kitchen, draft kombucha from Kombucha Kulture, and shots of blue-green algae. It's mostly a take-out restaurant, although one table is on-site for those who wish to enjoy their purchases there.


Liquidology is located at 4601 H Street, and their phone number is 916-970-5102. Their website address is http://liquidologybar.com/ and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/liquidologybar/timeline. They are open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.



Liquidology Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 12, 2015

The New Year Brings an Abundance of Dining Out Options for Vegans


Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.


There are several special dining out opportunities for vegans in Sacramento during January and early February. Here are the ones I know about. If you're aware of any others, please feel free to list them in the "Comments" section.


SHINE AND THE ROAMING SPOON


Tonight from 6:00 to 10:00, there will be a Monday Funday event at Shine, featuring vegan treats prepared by The Roaming Spoon. There will be beer, wine, and Temple Fine Coffee and Tea, an art exhibit by Ron Kenedi, and music by Classical Revolution Sacramento. Shine and The Roaming Spoon collaborate on brunch and happy hour fairly often, so if you're not following them on Facebook, you should be!


DINE DOWNTOWN


January 15th through January 24th is the annual Dine Downtown event, where participating restaurants offer a three-course fixed-price meal for only $31, with a dollar from each meal donated to the Food Literacy Center. Most of the restaurants taking part in Dine Downtown don't offer vegan options on their special menus, but a few of them do:


Blackbird Kitchen+Beer Gallery will be offering Vegan Truffle Mushroom Soup, Vegan Risotto Burger, and a vegan dessert. I've had the Vegan Risotto Burger there before, and it's excellent.


Capital Dime lists a Vegan Bolognaise tossed with egg-free pasta and pine nut "Parmesan" as one of their Dine Downtown entrees. They're offering an appetizer that appears to vegan -- House Pickled Vegetables with hot mustard and grilled baguette -- but I've sent them a message to double-check. I also asked them whether the salads on the menu can be "veganized" by leaving out the cheese. I'll update this post if I hear back from them.
UPDATE: Here's the response I received from Capital Dime.
"Absolutely! The pickled veg are vegan -- just let your server know and the kitchen will take care of you! The brussels salad can be done without cheese and is still incredible!"


Dawson's at the Hyatt has indicated on their Dine Downtown menu that vegan options are available. I've sent them a message to ask what their vegan options will be, but I haven't had a response yet. Check back for updates either here or on my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page.


Ella Dining Room & Bar has also indicated on their menu that vegan menu options will be available, but I haven't heard from the restaurant as to what those options will be. I'll post updates as they become available.


TOWER BRIDGE BISTRO


Chef Clay Purcell, who creates amazing vegan dishes each October during the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, is having Vegan Weekends at Tower Bridge Bistro at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Friday and Saturday nights through February 7th. Each weekend, he'll offer a different fixed-price, three-course meal during dinner hours only. If the pictures from this weekend's menu are any indication, these are going to be some not-to-be-missed dinners.


EL PAPAGAYO


The third annual Vegan Super Bowl Party will be held at El Papagayo in Carmichael on Sunday, February 1st, at 3:30 p.m. The cost is $15 for an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet. If you're planning to bring someone who's not interested in watching the game, a masa class will be offered for an additional $7 materials fee. Tickets are available at this link.


With so many restaurants catering to vegans this month, the year is off to a good start!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sacramento Vegan is taking a holiday break

I'll be taking a break from this blog until after the first of the year. If you'd like to follow Sacramento Vegan on Facebook, I'll post occasional updates and news items there. Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Garden to Grill

The Plum Cafe & Bakery, midtown's all-vegan restaurant, recently changed its name to Garden to Grill. I stopped by for lunch a couple of times recently to see if there have been any changes besides the name. Those of you who have enjoyed the plant-based cuisine at the Plum Cafe for years will be happy to know the menu is still the same; the purpose of the name change is simply to highlight the restaurant's farm-to-table philosophy.


I ordered the Tempeh Reuben, which has received rave reviews from local vegans. It consists of tempeh bacon, avocado, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and pickles, served on rye bread and with a side salad. The sandwich was very tasty, and I can see why it's a Garden to Grill favorite. I followed it up with a yummy carrot cupcake.






On my next visit, I ordered the Gardein Breaded "Chicken" Strip appetizer with ranch dressing. I'm not usually a big fan of faux meats, but I liked this well enough that I thought about ordering seconds. After much deliberation, I decided to have a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting instead.






Garden to Grill also serves breakfast, including a weekend brunch buffet. I've got to give that a try one of these days!


Garden to Grill is located at 2315 K Street, and their phone number is 916-706-3302. Their website address is http://www.plumcafebakery.com/ and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ThePlumCafeBakery. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.



Garden To Grill on Urbanspoon




Monday, December 8, 2014

Road Trip! Ike's Love & Sandwiches in Walnut Creek



I had lunch with my mom a few days ago at Ike's Love & Sandwiches in Walnut Creek. My son had been raving about the sandwiches, and since there are several vegan options on the menu, I'd been wanting to try it out.


As it turned out, there were so many vegan choices that it took awhile to decide what to eat. The veggie menu is full of tempting items like vegan meatballs, vegan turkey, and vegan chicken. This doesn't necessarily mean that the sandwich itself is vegan, though -- you'll need to veganize whatever you decide to order. All the breads are vegan, except the whole wheat, which contains honey. The veggie bacon is not vegan, since it contains eggs, and the pesto is not vegan, since it contains Parmesan cheese. All the sandwiches include Ike's Dirty Secret Sauce, which is a garlic aioli containing mayonnaise, but an egg-free version is available. The key is to make sure that the person taking your order knows you want a vegan sandwich so he or she can help you avoid any hidden non-vegan ingredients.


With all that in mind, I finally decided on the Sally Ride, made with vegan turkey, avocado, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and egg-free sauce, served on a sourdough roll. The only vegan cheese available was Daiya provolone, but that turned out to be perfect with this sandwich. The sandwiches at Ike's are served warm, so the cheese was melted and delicious. I'm not exaggerating when I say this was the best sandwich I've had since I went vegan!




Ike's has several California locations, but the closest one to Sacramento is in Walnut Creek. I just hope their expansion plan includes a Sacramento restaurant at some point down the road. More information is available on their website or Facebook page.




Ikes Love & Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Gifts for Vegans

If there's a vegan on your holiday shopping list, or if you're a vegan who wants to buy gifts that reflect your values and prove to your friends and family that being plant-based doesn't mean being deprived, here's a list of great gift ideas. These items are available online, but for those of you in Sacramento, I've also listed locally-owned businesses offering these or similar products.

Chocolates: I haven't tried Sjaak's chocolates before, but I saw them mentioned on Facebook this weekend and immediately ordered a pre-holiday gift for myself! All of their chocolates are organic and vegan. If you're looking for vegan chocolates in Sacramento, Le Grand Confectionary on Fair Oaks Boulevard sells delicious fruit glaces dipped in dark chocolate, as well as two kinds of dark chocolate bark.

Purses: Check out the gorgeous faux-leather bags at Alternative Outfitters and MooShoes. Clearly, being vegan doesn't mean giving up on style. Both websites also offer faux-leather shoes, wallets, and belts. In Sacramento, the Pink House usually has some vegan handbags in their inventory.

Cheese: If you haven't had the vegan cheese from Miyoko's Kitchen yet, you're missing a treat! My favorite is the Classic Double Cream Chive, but the other varieties I've tried are great too. You can order a collection online, or if you live in Northern California, you may be able to buy individual cheeses at your local Whole Foods Market.


Beauty Products: Say no to animal testing when you buy vegan cosmetics or bath and body products from 100% Pure or vegan shaving products from Vegan Essentials. Looking great while using cruelty-free products means everyone wins! The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op also carries a great assortment of cruelty-free beauty products.

Books: Some great new vegan cookbooks have come out in 2014: Lindsay Nixon's latest book, Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings; Mayim's Vegan Table, by Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler in television's The Big Bang Theory; Bryant Terry's Afro-Vegan; and The China Study All-Star Collection. If these books aren't available at the Avid Reader in Sacramento or Davis, or at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, they can probably order them for you.

Shoes: I love buying shoes from TOMS! They're stylish, comfortable, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that for every pair I purchase, a pair of shoes will be donated to a child in need. TOMS offers vegan shoes for men, women, and children. A portion of the proceeds from some of those shoes even go to help the mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo through TOMS Animal Initiative. If you're looking for TOMS in Sacramento, Krazy Mary's on Folsom Boulevard or Sugar Shack on J Street both carry a nice selection.

If you have other gift ideas for vegans, I'd love to hear about them. Here's to a kinder, gentler holiday season!