Monday, November 24, 2014
It's really not ice cream weather, but that didn't stop me from driving to Elk Grove Sunday to check out Cream, which opened last weekend. I wasn't the only one who was eager to try it, judging from the line of people out the door. I'd heard about Cream's vegan options from my mom, who lives near one of their Bay Area locations, and from a reader on my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page. It was definitely worth a visit!
The specialty at Cream is ice cream sandwiches made to order. For vegans, they have three different flavors of soy ice cream and four different kinds of vegan cookies. I ordered two different sandwiches: snickerdoodle cookies with soy blueberry ice cream, and tuxedo cookies (chocolate dough with white chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips) with soy vanilla ice cream. There's no place to sit at Cream, so I had the sandwiches boxed up and I rushed back to Sacramento to put them in my freezer. They were delicious, and I'll definitely go there again.
The other vegan ice cream choice is soy mint chocolate chip, and the other vegan cookie choices are banana walnut chocolate chip and lemon pecan. Make sure you specify that you want vegan ice cream and cookies so you don't inadvertently end up with a similarly-named non-vegan item. Also, be prepared to pay more for your vegan ice cream sandwich than your non-vegan friends pay for theirs -- the dreaded "vegan tax." Still, as far as I was concerned, it was totally worth it.
Cream is a Northern California chain, with Elk Grove and Davis being the two locations closest to Sacramento. The address of the Elk Grove Cream is 8469 Elk Grove Boulevard, their phone number is 916-896-5537, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CREAMofElkGrove. They are open Monday through Thursday from noon to midnight, Friday from noon to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The address of the Davis Cream is 110 F Street, their phone number is 530-750-1905, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/creamofdavis. They are open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 10:00 p.m., Thursday from noon to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 1:00 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 11:00 p.m.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Do you already miss the excitement and the variety of great vegan dishes you sampled during last month's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge? If so, you may want to attend the Vegan Fall Harvest Chef's Table at Tower Bridge Bistro this Thursday.
This five-course vegan meal will feature dishes prepared by five of the outstanding chefs who participated in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge:
• Chef Clay Purcell of Tower Bridge Bistro
• Chef Raphael Kendall of Capitol Garage
• Chef F. J. Villalobos of 58 Degrees & Holding Co.
• Chef Carina Lampkin of Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery
• Chef Joelle Dennis of Capital Dime
The only thing better than enjoying the food at this wonderful vegan meal would be if the money raised at the dinner were used to help low-income residents in our community. Guess what? It does! Two awesome nonprofit organizations will benefit from this fundraiser.
• Alchemist Community Development Corporation is one of my favorite local organizations, and I have done volunteer work for them in a variety of capacities. Their staff works with Sacramento area residents in an effort to create vibrant, equitable, healthy and diverse communities. Their main focus in recent years has been to increase access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods. Alchemist CDC has made it possible for low-income families to use food stamps at local farmers' markets, an option that was previously unavailable to them. They are also working to bring fresh produce into corner stores in low-income neighborhoods.
• Family Promise of Sacramento is a program that helps homeless families achieve self-sufficiency and regain a home for themselves and their children by utilizing an interfaith hospitality network of diverse faith communities throughout the Sacramento.
The Vegan Fall Harvest Chef's Table will be held this Thursday, November 20th, at Tower Bridge Bistro at the Embassy Suites Hotel beginning at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased online at http://sacveganchallenge.com/morevents/fall-harvest-chefs-table/. I hope to see you there!
Monday, November 10, 2014
About an hour's drive from Sacramento, in a town that has only a sprinkling of businesses on its Main Street, is an amazing restaurant that's been mentioned in the New York Times, has been named as one of the Top 100 Wine Restaurants in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and boasts a chef who's been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York. But the best thing about Taste Restaurant in Plymouth is that it's very vegan-friendly!
I had lunch there recently with my friends Cathy and Sandi. I had checked the restaurant's website beforehand and saw that they offer a vegan menu, and they were kind enough to email it to me before my visit. With six vegan "small tastes" listed and four vegan "large tastes," I knew my biggest problem would be to narrow down my selections.
For my first course, I ordered the Roasted Pear small taste. The pears were served with fig jam and pistachio dukkha, then garnished with sprigs of mache. The menu indicates that this wonderful dish is served with grilled naan, but the naan isn't actually vegan, since it contains yogurt. Instead, they substituted little seeded crackers, which went beautifully with the other ingredients.
Next, I had the Grilled Tofu, three little stacks of goodness with fried marble potatoes on the bottom, followed by a slice of grilled tofu, and then topped with eggplant and roasted red peppers in an agro dulce sauce. Fabulous!
One vegan dessert is prepared daily, so you'll just have to ask your server about it when you get there. The day I was at Taste, the vegan dessert was banana donuts with coffee gelato. It was the perfect way to end an incredible meal.
Taste Restaurant is located at 9402 Main Street in Plymouth, and their phone number is 209-245-3463. Their website address is http://restauranttaste.com/newtaste/pages/home.cgi, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/TastePlymouth. Lunch is served only on Saturday and Sunday between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Dinner is served Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
Monday, November 3, 2014
My parents and I took a drive up to Apple Hill this past week. It was fun to check out all the crafts for sale at High Hill Ranch and to stock up on my favorite apple variety -- Granny Smith. I was happy to find that the Dutch Apple Pie at High Hill Ranch had shortening and margarine listed in the ingredients, rather than butter, so I brought one home.
Afterwards, we drove into Placerville for lunch at Cozmic Café, a restaurant that has all kinds of vegan options. Going in, I already knew I was going to have the Vegan BLT, but I was keeping my fingers crossed that the "bacon" in the sandwich would bear some resemblance to the real thing. It did! Cozmic Café uses Fakin' Bacon, and its delicious smoky flavor was perfect in this sandwich, which also included tomato slices, organic greens, and vegenaise, served on a toasted organic sprouted grain bread. For an extra cost, I added avocado. It was a wonderful sandwich, with a helping of tasty blue corn chips served on the side.
Other vegan options at Cozmic Café include a tofu scramble, rice bowls, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and vegan tacos. Many of the menu items that aren't actually vegan look as though they could be easily made vegan by just leaving off the cheese.
The restaurant is also concerned about food ethics, an issue that matters a great deal to most of the vegans I know. According to their website: "At the Cozmic Cafe, we not only place great importance on the quality and taste of food, but the ethics of food, and the health of our community and earth. Which is why we proudly serve organic & G.M.O. free foods, as well as locally grown organic food when seasonally available! Cheers!"
Cozmic Café is located at 594 Main Street in Placerville, and their phone number is 530-642-8481. Their website address is http://ourcoz.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cozmic-Cafe/709086525810907. The restaurant is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.