Monday, May 28, 2012

Boon Boon Cafe

I had lunch at Boon Boon Cafe with my son Zack yesterday, and I can't stop thinking about how much I enjoyed the food. The cuisine is mostly Thai, but they offer some items from other cultures too, such as Indian samosas, Korean chicken wings, and spaghetti and meatballs (really!).

On the Boon Boon Cafe website, there is a vegetarian menu, although they don't have a separate vegetarian menu in the actual restaurant. What their restaurant menu says is that vegetarian substitutes are available. If you know in advance that you'll be going to Boon Boon Cafe, you may want to print out the vegetarian menu and take it with you.

I asked about fish sauce in their curries and was told that all of them contain fish sauce except the yellow curry. So instead of curry, I decided to order the Prik Khing Chicken, with tofu substituted for the chicken. In addition to the tofu, this dish consisted of green beans, onions, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli in a sauce of dry red chili paste, served with white rice. It was outstanding! The vegetables were fresh and the chili sauce was full of flavor and just spicy enough. The serving was huge, so I'm looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch soon. There are so many things I want to try on the Boon Boon Cafe menu that I'm sure it's destined to become one of my favorite restaurants.

Boon Boon Cafe is located at 3022 Stockton Boulevard, at the corner of Broadway and Stockton. Their phone number is 916-456-4647, and their website address is The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8:30 p.m. (Don't go today, though -- the restaurant is closed for Memorial Day.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meatless Mondays at Wicked 'Wich


Vegans in Sacramento will be happy to know that Wicked 'Wich has begun parking its mobile food truck near 19th and P streets at lunchtime on Mondays. And in observance of Meatless Monday, all of their menu items that day are vegan. I stopped by last Monday and found the 'Wich on Wheels parked in a lot next to the building where Never Felt Better Vegan Shop is located. A crowd gathered quickly while the truck set up and while the day's menu was written on the whiteboard. The menu for the day included:

• Wicked Vegan Burger, served on a rosemary focaccia roll
• No Egg Salad Sandwich, served on sliced Italian
• Spring Rolls
• Mac & Cheese, topped with gluten-free bacon bits
• BBQ Tofu Burger
• Fried Tofu, with housemade peanut sauce
• Portabella 'wich
• BBQ Tofu 'wich
• Vegan Burger 'wich

I ordered the BBQ Tofu 'wich, served on sliced Italian bread and piled high with vegan Provolone cheese, slaw, and seasoned fries. I think Wicked 'Wich is the only food vendor I know of that puts the fries on the actual sandwich, rather than on the side, and it makes for a very interesting lunch. The sandwich is huge, so unless you're a big eater, you may want to share with a friend.

The 'Wich on Wheels will be parked near the Never Felt Better Vegan Shop at 1910 P Street on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. for the foreseeable future. More information about Wicked 'Wich is available on their Facebook page at

Of course, visiting Wicked 'Wich on Mondays gives you the perfect opportunity to stop in at the Never Felt Better Vegan Shop too, where you can find a variety of food items, as well as eco-friendly crafts and accessories. I usually pick up a package of delicious tamales from Mother Earth's Baked Goods when I'm there. I currently have a package of black bean, salsa, and potato tamales with nutritional yeast that I'm looking forward to trying. More information about Never Felt Better Vegan Shop is available on their website at

Wicked 'Wich (Mobile) on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bows and Arrows Cafe


Last week, I attended a blogger meet-up organized by Sacramento Connect, a blogger network created by the Sacramento Bee. It was held at Bows and Arrows, a small women's clothing boutique that has a cafe in the back of the store. Naturally, I checked the menu to see if there were any vegan items. Happily, there were a few.

There are three vegan appetizers on the current menu: Spiced Popcorn, Olive on Olive, which consists of green olives dressed in black tapenade, and Seasonal Salsa and Chips. The seasonal salsa was made with strawberries and jicama.

Two of the sandwiches can easily be made vegan by leaving off the cheese. The one I tried was the Mushroom Reuben, which consisted of sliced sautéed mushrooms, kraut, and sauce, served on a grilled walnut bread. It was very tasty, and I especially liked the bread. It came with a side of soup or salad, so I ordered the vegan Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup, which was spicy and quite good.

The other sandwich that can be made vegan if ordered without cheese is the Chili Cheese Carrot Dog, which is described on the menu as including a marinated carrot, veggie chili, pickled onion, and sweet potato chip bits. Quite an unusual combination!

Dessert at the Bows and Arrows Cafe is a variety of popsicles in such interesting flavors as kaffir lime and avocado or hibiscus mint grape. Most of the popsicles listed on the menu when I was there were vegan, but not all, so you'll want to check with the server.

I was impressed with the creativity of the menu, and will definitely go back again. They have a very nice patio, if you're looking to dine al fresco.

Bows and Arrows is located at 1815 19th Street. Their phone number is 916-822-5668, and their website address is The cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Trouble with Foie Gras

At what point can the process used to produce or gather food be considered so cruel as to warrant a ban on that process? As a vegan, I've made the decision that I'm not comfortable with the use of any animal products in my diet. But many non-vegans have also drawn a line in the sand with respect to certain cruel and inhumane food production practices.

One that comes to mind is the uproar caused by the knowledge that veal calves spend their entire lives confined in tiny crates. In California, this led to the passage of Proposition 2 in 2008, which will prohibit, beginning January 1, 2015, the confinement of veal calves in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. Proposition 2 also includes provisions to require more humane confinement of egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs. This measure was approved by an astonishing 63.5 percent of California voters in the November 4, 2008, election. Clearly, the voters, the vast majority of whom are not vegan, were not comfortable with the idea that the animals that ended up on their dinner table did so after a life of misery and suffering.

Another example is the horrific practice of shark finning, in which sharks are caught and their fins are sliced off, then the sharks are thrown back into the ocean alive to either drown or be killed by predators. The purpose of this incredibly cruel act is to meet the demand for shark fin soup. But last year, the California Legislature decided to end this practice, not only for humane reasons, but because of declines in shark populations. By enacting Assembly Bill 376, the Legislature and the Governor banned the possession or sale of shark fins beginning January 1, 2013.

Several years ago, the Legislature addressed another cruel and inhumane practice -- shoving tubes down the throats of geese and ducks and force-feeding them enormous quantities of food in order to enlarge their livers. These enlarged livers are then used to make foie gras, which is a liver paste that is considered a delicacy among the elite who can afford the $50 per pound cost. Not surprisingly, "foie gras" means "fat liver" in French.

In 2004, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1520, which bans the practice of force-feeding geese and other birds for the purpose of enlarging their livers, and prohibits the sale of foie gras or any other product if it was made by force-feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging its liver. The author of the bill, former Senate President pro Tempore John Burton, delayed the effective date of the bill until July 1, 2012, in order to allow time for foie gras producers to find a more humane way to fatten the birds' livers.

However, now that the ban is less than two months away, and no one seems to have worked very diligently in the meantime to find a new way to produce foie gras, chefs throughout the state have apparently gone into meltdown and are begging the Legislature to repeal the ban. An organization calling itself the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS) collected signatures of one hundred chefs on a petition that was delivered to Speaker of the Assembly John Perez asking that the ban be overturned and standards for the production of foie gras be established instead. They seem to believe that it is possible to humanely shove a tube down the throat of a goose and force-feed it corn mash until its liver is ten times its normal size. Who knew? Sacramento area chefs who signed this petition are:

Pajo Bruich, Lounge ON20, Sacramento
Molly Hawks, Hawks Restaurant, Granite Bay
Patrick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's B&L, Sacramento
Randall Selland, Selland Family Restaurants, Sacramento
Michael Thiemann, Ella Dining Room and Bar, Sacramento
Noah Zonca, The Kitchen, Sacramento

Fortunately, former Senator John Burton, the Humane Society, and other animal welfare advocates immediately mobilized opposition to the petition, which culminated in an announcement by Speaker Perez and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg that the Legislature has more important issues to deal with than revisiting the ban on foie gras. Another victory for animals and the people who care about them!