Monday, July 30, 2012

24K Chocolat Cafe


I recently tried the Chocolat Breakfast at 24K Chocolat Cafe. That's right -- a chocolate breakfast! And for those who haven't discovered 24K Chocolat Cafe, it's located inside Ancient Future, described on its website as "an Urban Sanctuary for Body, Soul, and Spirit."

But getting back to the chocolate breakfast, two vegan entree choices were available: the Pain Au Chocolat with Himalayan Pink Salt or the Chocolat Bacon Pannini (minus the bacon, of course). The pain au chocolat is apparently a baguette spread with your choice of chocolate and then sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt. If you order this, you'll want to make sure that whichever chocolate you choose is vegan. I ordered the chocolat pannini without the bacon. It was very good and very rich, and I was very happy that it was served with fresh fruit, as I might have lapsed into a chocolate coma otherwise. I don't suppose it helped matters that I also ordered the delicious New Mexican Drinking Chocolat (made with almond milk) to go with it. Banana can be added to the chocolat pannini for an additional cost.

Currently, the Chocolat Breakfast is available only on Thursdays and Fridays. But 24K Chocolat Cafe also offers a weekend brunch that includes a couple of vegan items. In addition to the Pain au Chocolat that's available on the Chocolat Breakfast menu, the brunch menu includes a Tofu and Spinach Curry on Potato Cake that can be made vegan. I'm looking forward to trying it on my next trip to 24K Chocolat Cafe.

Ancient Future, the center where 24K Chocolat Cafe is housed, includes a sanctuary that will eventually host events such as drum circles, classes, and lectures. Several health and well-being practitioners offer their services at Ancient Future, and there's a gift shop featuring crafts made by both local and global artists. I enjoyed visiting the center, and found everyone who worked there to be friendly and helpful.

24K Chocolat Cafe is located inside Ancient Future at 2331 K Street, and the phone number is 916-476-3754. Ancient Future's website can be found at and their Facebook page is at!/ancientfutureurbansanctuary. Chocolat Breakfast is served on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and weekend brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dog with the Old Soul

We all have different reasons for going vegan. But since I know that many of you decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle because of your love of animals, I'm using today's blog post to indulge in a bit of shameless self-promotion. This is a plug for a new book that's due to be released tomorrow, July 24th, called The Dog with the Old Soul: True Stories of the Love, Hope and Joy Animals Bring to Our Lives. Why am I promoting this book, you ask? Because I'm the author of "Kissing the Whale," one of the true stories included in this collection.

"Kissing the Whale" describes a trip to Baja I took in 2009 to visit the gray whale nursing grounds at Laguna San Ignacio. This wasn't just any ordinary whale-watching trip, though. At Laguna San Ignacio, mother whales and their calves swim right up to the tiny fishing boats carrying the whale watchers, and they actually let themselves be stroked and patted and, as the title of my story says, kissed. It's an amazing experience!

If, after reading "Kissing the Whale," you decide you'd like to make a similar journey yourself, I highly recommend the tour company that put this trip together -- Baja Discovery. They set up a campground at the edge of the lagoon during whale-watching season featuring cabin tents with cots, a dining tent, solar showers, and clean and odor-free outhouses. At the end of whale-watching season, they take down the whole camp, leaving behind no trace of its existence. And yes, they can accommodate campers with vegan diets, as long as you let them know that you're a vegan when you sign up for the trip.

If you can't make this journey yourself, though, you can still read about it in The Dog with the Old Soul!

(End of shameless self-promotion.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tako Korean BBQ

I don't know how long it's been since the old gas station at the corner of Alhambra and T streets actually sold gas, but for as long as I can remember, it was nothing but an eyesore. The fencing that was put up around the building did nothing to keep out graffiti artists and other vandals. So I was very excited when I saw that the building had been freshly painted and the grounds had been cleaned up, and someone clearly had plans for this historic structure.

This past week, the old gas station re-opened as Tako Korean BBQ, serving Korean tacos, burritos, and rice bowls. I waited in line two days in a row as people poured into the tiny restaurant to try out their menu offerings, and it was well worth my wait when I had my first bite of their tofu tacos.

The tacos come three to an order, with each taco consisting of two small corn tortillas, fried tofu cubes, coleslaw with a vinaigrette dressing, and cilantro sauce. Normally, they are garnished with cheese, so be sure to ask them to omit the cheese. I thought they were delicious, and they may become my new fast food favorite.

The second day I visited the restaurant, I tried to order a burrito so I could report on something besides the tacos, but they had run out of rice and I didn't have time to wait while a new batch finished cooking. If you order the tofu burrito or tofu rice bowl, you'll need to ask that the cheese and sour cream be omitted, and you'll want to make sure to ask for the cilantro sauce, as their other sauces are not vegan.

Tako Korean BBQ is a welcome addition to the Sacramento dining scene. The restaurant, which has seating both indoors and outdoors, is located at 3030 T Street, and their phone number is 916-346-4933. They don't have a website, but they do have a Facebook page at!/takosac. The restaurant is open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thai Spice

My son and I visited Thai Spice on Broadway the other day, and we both really enjoyed our meals. The first thing I did, as always when I visit a Thai restaurant, was to ask if they use fish sauce in their curries. The server told me that they make their curry fresh for each dish, which means they can always leave the fish sauce out upon request. So I ordered the Gaeng Pak (mixed vegetable curry). And while I was at it, I decided to live dangerously and order medium spice, instead of my usual mild.

First of all, let me say that the medium spice had quite a kick to it, although not so much that it took away from my enjoyment of the food. The vegetables in the delicious coconut milk and red curry sauce were carrots, baby corn, broccoli, green beans, snow peas, bamboo shoots, red bell pepper, and cabbage. It was a very generous helping, so after I ate my fill, there was enough left over for another couple of meals at home.

Other vegan options listed in the vegetarian section of the menu include:

• Pad Pak (broccoli, carrots, green beans, cabbage, red bell pepper, baby corn, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and snow peas sautéed with garlic and light soy sauce)
• Tofu Eggplant (eggplant, tofu, bell peppers, and basil)
• String Beans with Ginger (green beans, ginger, lemon grass, and coconut milk over shredded cabbage)
• Green Delight (broccoli, green beans, snow peas, and Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce)
• Pad Pak Tofu (mixed vegetables with tofu in garlic and light soy sauce)

The menu includes a statement that vegetarian dishes are available upon request, so if you see something you think you'd like if only it were made with tofu or vegetables instead of some form of animal protein, you may want to ask your server if they can accommodate your request.

Thai Spice is located at 2721 Broadway, and their phone number is 916-455-9580. They don't appear to have a website. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.