Earlier this month, several family members and I traveled to Oakland for the Savor Oakland Food Tour of Jack London Square and the Warehouse District. I let the Savor Oakland staff know when I signed up that I am a vegan so they could arrange to have food I could eat on the tour. I'm happy to report that Carlo, our knowledgeable and personable tour guide, made sure there was something vegan for me at every stop along the way.
The tour, which covered several blocks and lasted about three-and-a-half hours, began at Chop Bar near the corner of 4th and Alice, where most of the group had banh mi sandwiches. I had the pickled vegetables that were served as a side dish, which were tangy and very good.
Carlo discussed the local architecture, history, and food culture as we walked, stopping every so often to pull treats of some kind out of his backpack. Since the first snacks he offered everyone else contained cheese, he brought me a delicious vegan sweet potato cookie from the Cookie Department, which is based in Berkeley.
The blue bottle on the building in this picture is the logo for Blue Bottle Coffee, which was the next treat Carlo brought for us. We stopped on a street corner while he poured a little New Orleans-styled iced coffee with chicory for all of us. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, and I was afraid the chicory would be bitter, but it had a very subtle sweet taste, and I actually enjoyed it.
Next, we stopped at the House of Chicken and Waffles at 444 Embarcadero West, which I couldn't imagine would have anything that I could eat. But they prepared greens for me without any animal fat, and Carlo brought me a container of fabulous potato salad from a restaurant called Souley Vegan.
The tour also included a wine-tasting stop at Urban Legend Cellars at 621 4th Street, where we tried the Sauvignon Blanc and the Cuvee Lola. I definitely enjoyed that stop!
The next stop was the Bocanova, a Pan-American restaurant at the corner of Webster and Embarcadero, where I had a really lovely quinoa salad with arugula, grapes, persimmon, pomegranate seeds, and a vinaigrette dressing.
The final stop on the tour was a beautiful little French bakery, Miette, where there was absolutely nothing that I could eat. Fortunately, Carlo came through with a Meyer Lemon Tart from Hail Merry, which completely satisfied my sweet tooth!
I really appreciate the willingness of the Savor Oakland Food Tour staff to accommodate vegans so that I could enjoy this tour with my family. I wish the same could be said of the walking food tour of Sacramento offered by Local Roots Food Tours, which will accommodate vegetarians, but not vegans. Hmm, maybe I should work up a business plan!