Monday, March 31, 2014

Fahrenheit 250 BBQ

I have to admit that I wasn't particularly interested when I heard that a new barbecue restaurant was opening on Folsom Boulevard. Two barbecue restaurants opened in Midtown recently, and like barbecue joints everywhere, there wasn't a thing for vegans on their menus. But then I read that Fahrenheit 250 BBQ actually had some vegan options, so I decided to check it out.

My husband Phil and I had dinner there Saturday night, and I found a whole vegetarian and vegan section on the restaurant's menu. The tricky part was figuring out which items were vegan, and which were just vegetarian.

I ordered the Grilled Tofu Kabobs, with grilled corn and bbq potato chips as my side dishes. After the server brought my meal to the table, she said that normally the grilled corn isn't vegan. The chef ended up grilling a fresh one for me, but the corn isn't usually an option for vegans. My dinner was very tasty, and I loved the barbecue sauce on the tofu. I was impressed by how smoothly things seemed to be running in the restaurant, which had opened for business just the night before.

I sent an email to the restaurant the next morning to clarify which menu items were definitely vegan, and here's the list:

* Grilled Tofu Kabobs

* Pulled Seitan Sandwich, if ordered without the coleslaw

* Black Bean Burger, if ordered without the house-made aioli

* Grilled Vegetable Kabob

* BBQ Potato Chips

The fries are cooked in the same oil as the crawfish, and the grits are cooked in chicken broth, so vegetarians may want to avoid those items too.

Phil and I went back for lunch Sunday, and I ordered the Pulled Seitan Sandwich without the coleslaw, with a grilled vegetable kabob for my side dish. Delicious!

Fahrenheit 250 BBQ is located at 7042 Folsom Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-476-4508. Their website is still under construction at, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8:00 p.m.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vampire Penguin

I clearly need to start spending more time on Stockton Boulevard. Places like Boon Boon Cafe, Anna's Vegan Cafe, and Huong Sen Tofu, an Asian vegetarian takeaway shop, make this section of South Sacramento a vegan paradise.

And now there's Vampire Penguin, a shaved snow restaurant that opened last fall. I stopped in Friday afternoon to give it a try.

The menu displayed behind the counter has four columns. The first column lists the shaved snow flavors, all of which are vegan. The next column lists the fruit topping options, which, of course, are vegan too. The third column lists other topping options, which may or may not be vegan -- you'll have to ask. And the last column lists the syrup options. Only one of these, strawberry, is vegan.

I asked the woman behind the counter which shaved snow flavor she liked the best, and she said her current favorite is PMS, a mixture of peach, mango, and strawberry. I ordered that, along with strawberry syrup and strawberries. I don't know about you, but the snow cones I had when I was a child were messy and crunchy, and they lost their appeal when I grew up. I was happy to discover that Vampire Penguin's shaved snow bore absolutely no resemblance to the snow cones of my childhood. This was a delicious dessert, with a consistency more like ice cream than snow cone. I loved the flavor of the peach, mango, and strawberry shaved snow, and the strawberry syrup and chopped strawberries gave it a little something extra.

I went back on Saturday with my husband, who tried the same shaved snow combination I had on Friday. He really liked it too. I decided to try one of the non-fruit flavors, green tea, and for my topping, I chose Oreo crumbles. They may not be particularly healthy, but at least they don't contain any animal products, and they were the perfect garnish for the green tea shaved snow. After two visits in two days, I can already tell that I'm going to be spending many happy afternoons at Vampire Penguin!

Vampire Penguin is located at 6821 Stockton Boulevard, #110. They don't appear to have a telephone number or a website, but their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 8:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery

I had such a nice dinner at Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery over the weekend. This restaurant closed suddenly last September, just before they were scheduled to participate in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. I thought I'd forever missed my chance to eat there, but then the restaurant reopened last month.

The menu at Blackbird is still a work in progress, but they seem committed to offering at least some vegan options. My dinner Saturday night was the Wild Mushrooms and Toasted Oats, a dish that included toasted oats, wild rice, quinoa, and other grains, and a selection of kings, trumpet, and beach mushrooms. I don't know what made this dish so good, but the flavor and texture combinations worked beautifully together, and I savored every bite.

A basket of white, honey wheat, and black rolls came with the dinner, but only the black roll is vegan. The only other vegan options on the menu, at this point, are the Pan Blistered Shishito Peppers and the Risotto Burger, which I may want to try on a future visit. On the other hand, I may not feel the need ever to order anything other than the Wild Mushrooms and Toasted Oats! The dish was just that good.

Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery is located at 1015 Ninth Street, and their phone number is 916-498-9224. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at Currently, the restaurant is open only for dinner Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 4:00 p.m. They hope to add lunch service in the near future.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Queen Sheba

Long-time vegans know how vegan-friendly Ethiopian cuisine can be. Here in Sacramento, we're fortunate to have Queen Sheba on Broadway providing delicious Ethiopian vegan options.

I stopped by for dinner over the weekend and ordered the Tofu Tibbs, a flavorful mixture of tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, and onions in a turmeric, garlic, and ginger sauce, served atop a large, spongy piece of sour flatbread called injera. Since no silverware is used, a basket of rolled injera pieces is served with the meal and used to pick up the food in place of eating utensils. The same tofu and vegetable combination is also available with traditional Berbere spices in a dish called Awazie Tofu Tibbs.

There are several other vegan dishes on the menu at Queen Sheba. If you have trouble deciding among all the choices, you may want to stop by Monday through Friday for the buffet lunch instead, which is all vegetarian and vegan.

Queen Sheba is located at 1704 Broadway, and the phone number is 916-446-1223. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9:00 p.m. The vegetarian/vegan lunch buffet is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Thai Chili

I received my March issue of Sacramento magazine the other day and started thumbing through the restaurant section. I found a listing for Thai Chili in Elk Grove that said this restaurant "offers an entire menu just for vegetarians." Clearly, this was a place I needed to blog about!

I drove through the pouring rain and found the restaurant in a strip mall on Elk Grove Boulevard. Looking through the three or four pages of vegetarian options in the menu, the first thing I knew I had to have was the Coconut Soup, made with lemongrass, mushroom, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes in a coconut milk broth. It was a little bit spicy, chock full of vegetables, and quite delicious. Since I was planning to have an entrée too, I ordered only a small portion of the soup. If I had it to do over again, I'd have ordered extra to bring home, since it was just that good.

With so many choices, I had a hard time deciding what to order for my entrée. I went back and forth in the menu between the curries and the noodles before finally ordering the very tasty Stir Fried Spicy Asparagus Noodles, an enormous serving of wide flat rice noodles tossed with tofu, asparagus, mushrooms, and carrots in a spicy red chili sauce. Most of the noodle dishes come with egg, but it can be omitted upon request. On my next visit, I'll have to try one of the curries, probably the Pineapple Red Curry.

Thai Chili is located at 8696 Elk Grove Boulevard #5. Their phone number is 916-714-3519, and their website address is The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.