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 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 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!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Wienery

Every so often, I get a craving for a hot dog. It used to be that whenever that occurred, I would head over to Capitol Dawg and order up one of their Veggie Dawgs. Alas, Capitol Dawg closed a few years ago. Since that option is no longer available to me, I'm always on the lookout to see who else is offering vegan hot dogs.

This past week, my search led me to the Wienery in East Sacramento to try The Vegetarian. This is a Tofurky Kielbasa that you can substitute for a regular hot dog in any of the Wienery's menu items. I decided to go with the Kraut Dog, which meant that my Tofurky Kielbasa was topped with mustard and sauerkraut. It was a pretty tasty lunch!

The chili the Wienery uses for its chili dogs is vegan, in case you'd like to give that a try sometime. Also, a sign hanging up behind the counter listed a spinach salad that sounded delicious. It's vegan if you leave off the walnuts, which are coated with something that involves egg.

The Wienery is located at 715 56th Street, and the phone number is 916-455-0497. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Espresso Metro

Recently, I read that Espresso Metro in Land Park was celebrating its 28th anniversary. That made me realize that I'd never checked to see if any vegan options were offered there. So I remedied that situation last week when I stopped in for lunch.

Espresso Metro actually has a few vegan options. They don't have a printed menu listing all the choices, so I checked out what was in the refrigerated case near the cash register and followed up with questions to the staff. I ended up getting the vegan panini, which consisted of sourdough bread spread with hummus and filled with zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots, sunflower seeds, and I don't remember what all, toasted panini-style. It was tasty, and the hummus had a nice flavor.

Other vegan options included a wrap and a quinoa Greek salad. There were two soups listed on the chalkboard that were probably vegan too: gazpacho and vegetable soup. For you coffee drinkers, soy, almond, or coconut milk are available.

Espresso Metro is located at 2104 11th Avenue, and their phone number is 916-444-6130. They don't seem to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Formoli's Bistro

Desperately looking for a place to blog about this past weekend, I clicked through the menus of dozens of restaurants to see if any of them had begun offering vegan options that I didn't know about. I was just about to give up when I found this welcome listing on the Formoli's Bistro menu: Seasonal Vegan Board. I promptly called the restaurant and made a dinner reservation.

This dish turned out to be a veritable farmer's market of perfectly sautéed vegetables. Potatoes, kale, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, and beans shared the board with chickpea puree, cilantro coulis, and a spicy red sauce that may have been harissa sauce. It was a beautifully-prepared and satisfying meal, and I would definitely order it again. Since it relies on seasonal produce, the vegetables will probably change from one visit to the next. Although it's listed only on the restaurant's dinner menu, the server thought they could probably serve it at lunchtime too, upon request.

What I love about this approach is that it doesn't require the kitchen to stock any special ingredients just for vegans. For all the chefs out there who think that in order to provide vegan menu options, you must have a separate supply of tofu, non-dairy cheese, or other items you don't use for anything else, please give some thought to creating a vegan entrée out of the same grains and produce you use for your side dishes.

Formoli's Bistro is located at 3839 J Street, and their phone number is 916-448-5699. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Coconut's Fish Cafe

Coconut's Fish Café, a popular Maui-based restaurant chain, opened recently in midtown. When I checked their menu, I saw that veggie patties were an option in several of their dishes, so I sent them a Facebook message asking whether their veggie patties are vegan. They are!

I had lunch there twice last week. The first time, I ordered the Taco Mountain rice bowl, a bed of brown rice topped with tomato salsa, diced tomatoes, mango salsa, and veggie patty pieces. It was tasty and filling, and I liked the flavor of the veggie patty. Be sure to order it without the cheese and coleslaw.

I ordered the Super Green Salad for my next lunch, consisting of kale, spinach, chard, Romaine, macadamia nuts, red bell pepper, and mango. I asked for a veggie patty to be added to the salad (for an extra cost), and that's when I discovered that the veggie patty also comes in a teriyaki flavor, so I gave that a try. At least two of the dressing choices were vegan -- pineapple vinaigrette and Dijon vinaigrette. I decided the pineapple vinaigrette would be the better choice with the teriyaki patty. It turned out to be a really good salad, and I loved the teriyaki patty.

Coconut's Fish Café is located at 1420 16th Street in the space formerly occupied by Noodles & Company, and their phone number is 916-440-0449. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.