Monday, July 28, 2014

Lotus Thai Cuisine

Since it's listed as vegan-friendly on Urbanspoon, I've wanted to try Lotus Thai Cuisine for some time now. The problem was that I could never find it. Driving down J Street near the Downtown Plaza, I couldn't see it, so I just kept on driving. I must not have been the only person having trouble finding the restaurant, though, as there was a sign on the sidewalk the last time I drove by, pointing the way to the restaurant down the stairs in the Chinatown Mall.

The menu contains all the dishes one would expect to find in a Thai restaurant. As always, I asked whether they put fish sauce in their curries, and I was told that they do not. I love Thai curries, but I wanted to try something different this time, so I ordered the Spicy Fried Rice, consisting of wok-fried rice, choice of protein (I asked for tofu), onions, green beans, bell pepper, and sweet basil in a garlic chili sauce. I haven't eaten fried rice in a long time, since it almost always includes egg, so this was quite a treat!

I liked my lunch well enough to go back the next day, but this time, I wanted noodles. I ordered the Pad Kee Mao, or Drunken Noodles, which had pretty much the same ingredients as the Spicy Fried Rice, except that pan-fried flat rice noodles were substituted for the rice, and bean sprouts were added. It was such a deliciously satisfying meal!

It was a treat to visit this quiet little oasis in the middle of downtown. Afterwards, I stopped in at the gift shop across from the restaurant, Feng Shui, and browsed the nice selection of books, Asian gifts, and art. I'm already planning future visits to both the restaurant and the gift shop!

Lotus Thai Cuisine is located at 425 J Street, and their phone number is 916-448-5568. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at this link. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lou's Sushi


I have to admit, I'm not much of a sushi eater. In the first place, it usually contains fish, which I don't eat, or seaweed, which I don't like. But a friend told me recently that Lou's Sushi had vegetarian options on the menu, and since I thought some of you might be interested, and since I'm running out of restaurants to blog about, I decided to try it out.

The menu on the Lou's Sushi website (not the menu in the restaurant) indicates which items are vegetarian, but if you're vegan, questions still need to be asked. For example, there are a couple of tofu dishes on the menu, but they're not necessarily vegan, or even vegetarian. The fried tofu in the Secret Tofu and the Agedashi Tofu is cooked in the same oil as all the non-vegan items. In addition, the Agedashi Tofu is served in a fish broth.

Even so, there are several options for vegans at Lou's Sushi. The picture above shows what I ate during my first visit. On the right is the delicious Avocado Roll, with the rice on the outside. On the left is the Kappa Maki, a cucumber roll which I ordered with a soy wrap instead of seaweed.

On my next visit, I had the Sunomono, sliced cucumbers served in a vinegar dressing and topped with sesame seeds. It was light and refreshing, and it was a nice accompaniment to the roll I ordered.

The Veggie #1 is an inside out roll filled with asparagus, cucumber, and avocado, then topped with spinach and sesame seeds. It was very good, and I enjoyed alternating the taste of the roll with the pungent bits of ginger that garnished the plate.

I'm glad to know that if friends want to go out for sushi, I'll now have a restaurant to suggest where there's actually something I can eat!

Lou's Sushi is located at 2801 P Street, and their phone number is 916-451-4700. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Road Trip! LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto

Phil and I were in the Bay Area this weekend and stopped in for lunch at LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto. If you haven't heard about the LYFE Kitchen restaurant chain before, it was started about three years ago by a couple of former McDonald's executives, of all things. Unlike McDonald's, however, LYFE Kitchen promotes healthy eating. Their menu lists the number of calories (less than 600) and the sodium content for each dish. LYFE, by the way, stands for "Love Your Food Everyday." I know, I know, "Everyday" should be two words, but LYFED just doesn't have the same ring to it.

When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a line out the door. Inside, the first thing I noticed was the herb garden in the middle of the restaurant. The second thing I saw was a rack that held a variety of different menus: V for vegan and vegetarian, E for everything, GF for gluten free, and W/B for wine and beer. Obviously, I grabbed the one with the V on it.

Then came the hard part, deciding what to eat among so many great choices! Since it was cooler in the Bay Area than in Sacramento, soup sounded good. I ordered the delicious Sweet Corn Chowder, made with corn, potatoes, peppers, and cashew cream. I was glad I did!

All of the vegan entrées seemed interesting, but I decided to go with Art's Unfried Chick'n, a breaded Gardein chick'n patty served with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries, and a sauce made from cashew cream and Dijon vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this dish, and the sauce was perfect with the Gardein patty.

I also want to mention the drink that accompanied my lunch. I ordered the Ginger Pomegranate Lemonade, which was sweet and tangy and had a nice little zing to it from the ginger. Loved it!

People were still pouring into the restaurant as we were leaving, and I found myself wishing there were a LYFE Kitchen location in Sacramento. Unfortunately, the Palo Alto location is the nearest one. More information about LYFE Kitchen can be found on their website or their Facebook page. It's definitely worth a visit if you have the opportunity!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Trademark Pizza Co.

My husband Phil and I had dinner at Trademark Pizza Co. last night. I'd heard they had a unique create your own pizza option and I wanted to see how it worked.

When you walk into Trademark Pizza, you line up at the counter and watch the eleven-inch pizza assembled to your specifications. You start with either a regular or gluten-free crust (two dollars extra for gluten-free) and then choose your sauce. I ordered the red sauce, which was good, but when I go back again, I'll probably try just the olive oil option. Next comes the cheese, and they do have a dairy-free option for an additional one dollar charge. After that you choose the toppings you want, and you can add as many as you'd like at no extra cost. I asked for olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and pepperoncini.

As soon as you're satisfied with the composition of your pizza, they put it in the oven while you pay the cashier. We sat down at our table and our pizzas appeared at the table just moments later. I enjoyed it very much, and the assembly line approach to preparing the pizza didn't take anything away from the taste. They also have a create your own salad option.

Trademark Pizza Co. is located at 1485 Eureka Road at Stone Point Plaza in Roseville, and their phone number is 916-774-9922. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.