Monday, January 28, 2013

Road Trip! Patxi's Pizza in Lafayette

I went to the Bay Area a few days ago to visit my parents and my son, and we decided to have lunch at Patxi's (pronounced "pah-cheese") Pizza in Lafayette. I had heard they offered a vegan pizza, and I wanted to check it out.

Sure enough, the menu described Patxi's vegan pizza as a Chicago deep dish combo with whole wheat crust, fresh spinach, crushed garlic, red onion, and Daiya vegan cheese. But I decided to choose from among the available pizza toppings to create my own vegan pizza instead.

My first decision was which style of pizza to choose. While the thin crust and pan pizzas both sounded good, I couldn't resist the authentic Chicago "stuffed" pizza after reading this description:

"Our flagship pie. A deep dish pizza with a layer of crust on the bottom, followed by toppings and cheese, all covered by another thin layer of dough, and topped with our homemade sauce. Also available in whole wheat dough. Prepared and cooked in a deep dish pan."

I had my pizza made with regular dough, rather than whole wheat dough, and requested Daiya vegan cheese. For my toppings, I ordered mushrooms, black olives, and artichoke hearts, but there were plenty of other vegan toppings to choose from. I can certainly understand why they called this pizza "stuffed" -- it was so filling that I could only eat two slices of my ten-inch pizza.

Patxi's has restaurants in Northern California and Colorado. More information about their menu and their locations is available on their website at

Monday, January 21, 2013

California Fresh


I was sorry when the Fresh Choice restaurant chain went out of business a few months ago. Fresh Choice was always a reliable vegan stand-by, and I liked their salad bar. So when I saw in the Sacramento Bee that the Fresh Choice location at Howe and Fair Oaks was reopening as a restaurant called California Fresh, offering the same types of food and staffed by most of the same employees, I decided to check it out.

Sure enough, the lay-out was the same as it had been for Fresh Choice. I got my tray at the front of the restaurant and created a nice big salad from the great selection of salad bar items. It didn't seem as though there were as many pre-made salads as Fresh Choice used to carry, but I rarely ate those anyhow, so I was just happy to see so many individual salad ingredients.

After I paid the cashier, I checked out the remaining food stations. There is still a baked potato, pizza, and bread section, where I picked up a couple of slices of sourdough bread. The pasta and soup section offered two different vegan soups the day I was there -- a garden vegetable soup and a vegetarian chili. Since the soup selections change every few days, you'll want to ask which soups are vegan when you visit the restaurant. There are signs listing the main ingredients for each soup, but they do not indicate whether they are vegan or not.

I was too full for dessert after my salad, bread, and garden vegetable soup, but I checked to see what they had. As was the case with Fresh Choice, the only dessert option for vegans was fresh fruit.

California Fresh is located at 535 Howe Avenue, and their phone number is 916-649-8046. They don't appear to have a website yet. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ryu Jin Ramen House

One cold evening last month, I stopped in at Ryu Jin Ramen House, the new restaurant near Safeway at the corner of 19th and S streets. Mostly recently, there was a Mexican restaurant in this location, and before that, a Greek restaurant. All the tables were full at Ryu Jin, however, so maybe it's there to stay.

I ordered the Yasai Ramen, which is vegan. It's made with a very tasty vegetable-based miso-flavored broth, containing noodles made without egg, cabbage, carrot, bits of seaweed, onions, and lots of corn, which I really liked. The ramen was hot and filling and very good. I took half of it home with me and heated it up for my dinner on another cold December night.

Ryu Jin Ramen House is located at 1831 S Street, and their phone number is 916-341-0488. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at!/RamenHouseRyujin. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. They are open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until midnight.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Road Trip! KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar in Davis

I had a very nice post-holiday lunch with my friends Cathryne, Christina, and Crystal at KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar on a cold afternoon in Davis last month.

I decided to try something other than curry or stir-fry for a change, so I ordered the delicious 2K Thai Lettuce Wraps appetizer, which was a large enough serving that I didn't need to order anything else for lunch. The filling for the lettuce wraps can be made with sautéed tofu, which is combined with ginger, bell pepper, red and green onion, cilantro, and basil. Crispy noodles and cashews are served on the side. Be sure to let your server know you're vegan, as the filling for the lettuce wraps will be made with fish sauce unless you ask them to leave it out. Several sauces were brought to the table, but not all of them were vegan, so be sure to have your server tell you which sauces to avoid.

As always, I asked if the curries contain fish sauce. They don't, but they do contain cream, so if you're vegan, you won't be able to order the curries. The stir-fried entrees can be made with tofu, however, and there are some soups and salads that appear to be vegan.

KetMoRee is located at 238 G Street in Davis, and their phone number is 530-759-2255. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at!/pages/KetMoRee-Thai-Restaurant-Bar/113542118679456?fref=ts. Their dining room hours are from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.