Monday, October 10, 2016

Week One of the 2016 Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge -- Delicious!

I've been happily eating my way through this first week of the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.  After the meals at The Porch and Thai Basil that I wrote about last weekend, I hit four more great restaurants during the week.

I stopped in for lunch at Evan's Kitchen on Tuesday. As most local vegans know, vegan options are on the menu there all the time. But when the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge rolls around, Chef Evan pulls out all the stops.

The menu item that caught my eye was the eggplant lasagna, a thick slice of eggplant in marinara sauce, topped with vegan mozzarella.  It was served with mixed vegetables and garlic bread, and it was really good. I had hoped to try one of the fabulous desserts on the dinner menu, but the only vegan dessert they had was sorbet. I don't know whether the special desserts are available only at dinnertime, or whether they just weren't available the day I was there.

Thursday, I went to Old Ironsides at lunchtime.

I was eager to try their baked ziti, and I was so glad I did! It was a hearty blend of pasta and tomato sauce with vegan sausage, and I ate every bite.

I topped off my lunch with this amazing rich and chewy carob peanut butter cup. That's my favorite challenge dessert so far!

Friday, I had lunch with Mary Rodgers from the Sacramento Vegetarian Society at Capitol Garage, another restaurant that always offers vegan options. The challenge menu was proudly displayed in bright colors outside the restaurant door.

I ordered the fireman wings, breaded fried tofu dipped in hot sauce and served with an avocado cucumber sauce. Mary got the country dreamer hash, a mixture of sweet potatoes and other vegetables, scrambled tofu, and mushroom gravy, topped with avocado slices. Both dishes were good, but I'd have to give the edge to Mary's hash, which was excellent.

For dessert, I ordered the delicious, moist honey hush cake, an orange cake topped with a sweet syrup and served with pear slices and blueberries. Yum!

Finally, my husband Phil and I went to Localis for dinner Saturday night. For the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, they are serving a three-course, fixed-price dinner. The menu wasn't printed so you'll need to ask your server to explain the courses, but here's the short version of what I had.

For starters, there was this fresh and colorful beet salad, my favorite part of the meal.

The main course was a spicy and filling risotto served with roasted fall vegetables. 

Dessert was a cascara sorbet, served with dark chocolate bark and coconut. Maybe you know what cascara is, but I had to look it up.  According to, it's the dried skin of coffee cherries, which doesn't sound nearly as good as the sorbet turned out to be. It was a nice way to end the meal.

I'm looking forward to more vegan delights in the week ahead! Six restaurants down, nineteen to go!

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