Monday, April 27, 2015

Thai House

I've shopped at Loehmann's Plaza for years, but until this weekend, I'd never eaten at Thai House, which is located on the Munroe Street side of the shopping center. To remedy that situation, my husband Phil and I had dinner there Saturday night.

It was fairly busy, with people dining in the restaurant as well as waiting for food to go, which is usually a good sign. I asked whether the sauces used in the Gang-Pak (Vegetable Curry) contained fish sauce, and I was told they did not. In Thai restaurants, I've found that it's always best to specify that you don't want fish sauce, regardless of what dish you order.

The curry sounded good, but I decided to order the Pad-Ped-Maklu-Ah (Spicy Eggplant) with tofu instead. It consisted of Japanese purple eggplant, bell pepper, tofu, and Thai basil in a spicy red curry sauce, and it was excellent. I could see why the restaurant is so popular, and I'll definitely go back again.

Thai House is located at 527 Munroe Street, and their phone number is 916-485-3888. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. They are open for dinner every night from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Thai House on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 20, 2015


I love my occasional visits to IKEA, where they sell so much cool stuff. But I'm always sad when I stop in at the store's restaurant after all that shopping and find nothing vegan on the hot food menu. That all changed this month with IKEA's introduction of Grönsaksbullar vegetable balls, vegan "meatballs" made of chickpeas, green peas, carrots, corn, kale, and red bell peppers. IKEA had originally intended to offer "meatballs" that were only vegetarian, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was able to convince them to leave out all animal-based ingredients.

I stopped in at IKEA in West Sacramento over the weekend to see if they were available yet. Sure enough, a sign over the hot food section said "Vegetable Balls." I waited in line, noticing that there was also an asparagus salad that appeared to be vegan, but I held out for the vegetable balls. They were served ten to the plate in a sweet potato and cauliflower sauce, along with mixed vegetables consisting of squash, eggplant, and red bell pepper. A smaller serving is available on their kids' menu.

The veggie balls were actually pretty tasty, especially with the delicious sauce. They weren't a nondescript brown mass like most meatballs are (vegan or otherwise), but had whole peas, corn kernels, and other vegetable bits rolled into them. I ate every bite. Now if they'd only start serving a vegan dessert!

Eventually, IKEA will offer these Grönsaksbullar in their frozen food section, but they didn't have them yet when I was there. I don't know if they'll sell that wonderful sweet potato and cauliflower sauce to go with them or not.

More information about IKEA's restaurant is available at

Ikea Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vegan in Gualala

My husband Phil and I took a drive up the coast and spent the weekend in beautiful Gualala. I wasn't able to find out much before we left about whether I'd have any trouble finding vegan options there, so I took along some bananas and a couple of breakfast items and hoped for the best.

We arrived in Gualala at around 7:00 p.m., just in time for dinner. There was a restaurant called Trinks Cafe right by our hotel, so we decided to check it out. Apparently, their menu changes daily, but we were fortunate to be there on a night when they were offering a quinoa and black bean burger, which was vegan if the cheese and mayonnaise were omitted. With a generous portion of avocado and a spicy slaw on top, it was a pretty tasty burger!

We went back to Trinks Cafe for breakfast the next morning. I had this hearty bowl of steel-cut oats with walnuts and chopped apples, and the chef substituted soy milk for the cream that usually goes in this dish.

After breakfast, we drove farther up the coast, hoping to see some whales. We didn't, but it was a beautiful drive anyhow. For lunch, we stopped in at the very vegan-friendly Thai Kitchen in Anchor Bay Village. The menu includes a note indicating that many of their items can be made vegan, and the server was very knowledgeable about vegan concerns. I ordered this wonderful bowl of pad broccoli with tofu and added ginger and ate every bite.

For dinner, we went to St. Orres, a gorgeous hotel and Zagat-rated restaurant that has a Russian look to it. I had checked the menu ahead of time and it didn't have anything vegan or anything that looked capable of being made vegan, but there was a notation that they could accommodate any dietary restriction or requirement. When I called to make our reservation, I let the staff know I was vegan, and then waited to see what they'd have for me to eat.

All of the dinners at St. Orres come with soup and salad. The server brought me a bowl of butternut squash soup without the cream that was included in the soup for the other diners. It was delicious!

My salad was a simple but refreshing mixed green salad, with cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

For my entrée, the server brought me this beautifully-prepared mixture of vegetables: various types of squash, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach.

Since there was a vegan dessert on their regular menu, I couldn't pass it up. This fresh lemon sorbet with blackberries was the perfect way to top off this elegant meal.

I think it's safe to say my weekend in Gualala was a huge vegan success!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Let City Hall Know You Want a Vegan Restaurant in Cesar Chavez Plaza

This week, we celebrate the life of the late Cesar Chavez, founder of United Farm Workers, whose birthday is March 31st. While everyone knows about his tireless and passionate leadership of the farm worker movement, not everyone knows that Chavez was a vegetarian for the last twenty-five years of his life, and vegan for a large part of that time. He once said, "I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”

I saw in this week's Sacramento Business Journal that the City of Sacramento and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership are conducting a survey to find out what type of restaurant people would like to see at the Cesar Chavez Plaza across from City Hall. The restaurant that was there previously, Cafe Soleil, closed late last year.

Several of my vegan Facebook friends have been promoting the idea of putting a vegan restaurant into that space to honor Cesar Chavez's position on animal rights and his commitment to vegetarianism. While I think it highly unlikely that the city will choose to put a vegan restaurant in that space, I do think a restaurant offering vegan options should be encouraged. I know some of you have already completed the city's survey, but if you haven't done so yet, please take a moment to let the city know that you would like to see a vegan restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Soleil, or, at a minimum, a restaurant with an ownership group that's committed to offering several vegan menu options.

After all, it would be the worst kind of irony to have a restaurant serving food Cesar Chavez would not have eaten in the very park that bears his name.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Federalist Public House & Beer Garden

This weekend, I finally found the Federalist Public House & Beer Garden. I'd heard it was near 20th and N streets in Midtown, but driving down N, I never saw it. When I checked the restaurant's address, however, I discovered that it was on Matsui Alley, which is located between N Street and Capitol Avenue. So my husband Phil and I headed over for lunch.

The restaurant is a converted shipping container, with long tables and benches for drinkers and diners, and a bocce ball court for those who want a little fun with their food. The Sac Brew Bike was parked outside, waiting to pick up a party of pub hoppers.

We ordered at the counter. There is only one vegan item on the menu, but I always appreciate restaurants that actually create dishes for their vegan diners and identify them as such on their menus. The pizza I ordered was the Midtown, described as "for our neighborhood vegans, crushed san marzano tomatoes, peppers, onions, chili, lacinato kale, extra-virgin olive oil." Pretty healthy looking pizza, if you ask me, and tasty too!

Federalist Public House & Beer Garden is located at 2009 Matsui Alley, between N Street and Capitol Avenue, and between 20th and 21st, and their phone number is 916-661-6134. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.

Federalist Public House & Beer Garden on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co.

Each of the last three Fridays, I've managed to combine two of my favorite activities -- browsing in bookstores and finding vegan food to blog about. This past Friday, these activities took me to El Dorado Hills, where I spent some quality time in Face in a Book, then walked a few doors down to Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co.

Most menu items at Ruffhaus aren't vegan, of course, but the fact that they had one item specifically identified as vegan got my attention. The item, which I ordered, is called the Tofudabeast (cute name!), and it consists of a tasty veggie dog, avocado, cucumber, tomato, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette in a Romaine lettuce wrap. Basically, it's a fun way to add a little protein to your salad.

It's possible to build your own hot dog sandwich, starting with the veggie dog, but I haven't had any luck finding out whether the hot dog buns at Ruffhaus are vegan or not. I've sent the restaurant a message using the contact form on their website, but haven't received any response. I asked the person at the counter if any of the buns were vegan, and she asked someone in the kitchen, who said they were, but the woman at the counter was pretty convinced that the buns contained eggs or other non-vegan ingredients. If I ever get a definitive answer, I'll post an update here, but in the meantime, you should probably assume that the only vegan option at Ruffhaus is the Tofudabeast.

Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. is located at 4355 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 114, in El Dorado Hills, and their phone number is 916-941-3647. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. on Urbanspoon