Monday, December 11, 2017

Seasons

My husband Phil and I met up with family from the Bay Area for dinner at Seasons in Davis over the weekend. I checked the online menu ahead of time to see if there were any vegan or veganizable options, and was happy to see "Summer Vegan Spaghetti" listed.


Of course, it hasn't been summer for a few months now, so I was not surprised to get to the restaurant and see that the vegan listing had been changed to "Vegan Pesto Spaghetti." That was fine with me, as it sounded delicious.


I started with the warm California olive and Marcona almond appetizer, which I somehow forgot to photograph. It was a great way to start the meal, though.


Then I had the spaghetti, which included potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and pesto. I thought it was unusual to find potatoes in a pasta dish, but I really enjoyed it. All in all, this was a very satisfying meal.




Seasons is located at 102 F Street in Davis, and their phone number is 530-750-1801. Their website address is http://www.seasonsdavis.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SeasonsinDavis/. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Seasons also serves lunch Wednesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and brunch on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.



Monday, December 4, 2017

Three Ladies Cafe

I had a little holiday shopping to do in Davis a few days ago, which gave me the perfect opportunity to check out Three Ladies Café. This mostly vegetarian café, which just opened in October, serves smoothies, coffee drinks, baked goods, and a few breakfast and lunch items.


I ordered the Ploughman's Lunch, consisting of bread and three side dishes. The vegan bread option was a hearty soda bread scone. There were four vegan side dish options, so for my three, I chose the white bean hummus, the organic roasted pepper and winter squash salad, and the organic egg-less salad. The fourth vegan side dish, which I'll order the next time I have this dish, was house marinated chickpeas. It was the perfect lunch to carry me through the rest of my shopping!




Other menu items I'll want to try during future visits are the tofu scramble plate, which is served for breakfast only, and the roasted tomato sammie, a sandwich consisting of roasted tomatoes, garlic hummus, and slaw on a vegan scone.


Three Ladies Café is located at 130 G Street, Suite A, in Davis, and their phone number is 530-302-3434. Their website address is https://www.threeladiescafe.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/threeladiescafe/. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (with breakfast served until 11:00 a.m.), and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (with brunch served until 1:00 p.m.).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Road Trip! Oracle Arena in Oakland

Personally, I'm a Sacramento Kings fan. But when your parents, who are Golden State Warriors fans, are celebrating their 65th anniversary, you just have to drive down to Oracle Arena in Oakland and cheer for the Warriors!


I don't know what your experience has been, but I always find it difficult to locate vegan options among all the food concessions at ball parks and arenas. So I decided to do a little online research before heading to Oracle Arena over the weekend. I found a 2013 blog post from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which listed Oracle as one of the top ten vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas.


Well, maybe, but that doesn't mean it's easy to find the food items they listed in the blog post, since they don't say which concessions actually offer these vegan dishes. After comparing the items mentioned in the blog with the food maps on the arena's website, I decided that I had a reasonably good chance of finding the "Vietnamese ginger-garlic tofu sandwich" at the banh mi sandwich cart near Section 122. And that's exactly where it was!




It was a good, hearty sandwich, and they certainly didn't skimp on the tofu. I can't swear to it, but I think they used Hodo Soy Five-Spice Tofu Nuggets, which I keep in my refrigerator for snacking purposes.




The PETA blog post said tofu lettuce wraps and a Vietnamese noodle salad were also available at Oracle, but I couldn't begin to guess which concession stands would have those items. There's a Kaiser Permanente Healthy Picks stand too, which carries pre-packaged salads, but I didn't think anything there would be as interesting as the tofu banh mi, so I didn't check it out. If you're interested, though, the map says it's near Section 127.


Maybe we can help each other out here. If you're aware of other vegan options at Oracle Arena, please list them in the comments section so that other vegans will be able to find something to eat while they cheer on their favorite team or watch their favorite performance artists. They'll be glad you did!


Monday, November 20, 2017

33rd Street Bistro

Sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth for the past month or so. I've been having some issues with vertigo that made a low-sodium diet necessary and I'm still trying to adjust to that. In addition, I was traveling for a couple of weeks. At any rate, I'll do my best to get back to a weekly blog schedule, vertigo permitting.


This week, I visited a restaurant that I stopped going to when I went vegan more than fifteen years ago -- 33rd Street Bistro in East Sacramento. I used to love having lunch there, but after I went vegan, I discovered they had nothing on their menu that I could eat. That changed recently when they began offering the Impossible Burger, one of the new generation of veggie burgers that's supposed to  look and taste like the real thing.


My friends Cathy and Genevieve went with me to 33rd Street Bistro a few days ago so I could check it out. I'm a huge fan of the Beyond Burger that's available at Broderick Roadhouse these days, and I couldn't imagine that the Impossible Burger would be able to compare with that. I was wrong. I loved the Impossible Burger, at least as much as the Beyond Burger. For starters, it doesn't have that pink center that kind of creeps me out when I eat a Beyond Burger. And it looks and tastes exactly like the burgers I remember from my pre-vegan days. Really, the only complaint I had about this burger was that 33rd Street Bistro hasn't taken the extra step yet to provide a vegan cheese option. If they ever do that, I'll be heading back over there for lunch regularly again, just like in the old days.



33rd Street Bistro is located at 3301 Folsom Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-455-2233. Their website address is http://www.33rdstreetbistro.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/33rdStreetBistro/. The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SVCC Day Seventeen -- Cielito Lindo Mexican Gastronomy

I've missed a few days of Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge meals, but today my friend Jane and I went to lunch at Cielito Lindo Mexican Gastronomy in East Sacramento. They haven't printed up a special challenge menu, but they are offering a few vegan specials this month.

I ordered the penca de nopal, a cactus pad stuffed with pumpkin, chayote, and green squash, served in a tomato sauce with broccolini, a couple of tofu triangles, and white rice (not shown). It was a very tasty and creative dish.


Other vegan specials this month include a trio of tostadas topped with refried black beans, mushrooms, and red onion; a tomato and bell pepper soup; and a vegetable stack. If the first person you ask doesn't know about the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, be persistent and ask someone else. The hostess didn't seem to know what I was talking about, but the server did. Cielito Lindo also has a few vegan options on their regular menu.


Friday, October 13, 2017

SVCC Day Thirteen -- Metro Kitchen + Drinkery

I was out running errands today, and stopped in for a late Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge lunch at Metro Kitchen + Drinkery. They are offering two different vegan options for the challenge: Saffron Spanish Stew and Coconut Ginger Soup.

It was tough to decide between the two, but I finally opted for the hearty Saffron Spanish Stew, made with local heirloom beans, Yukon gold potatoes, fennel, roasted garlic, Spanish saffron, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, and I don't know what all. It was topped with a dollop of vegan aioli and served with a slice of toasted Pugliese bread.


I asked if they had any house-made vegan desserts, and the cashier pointed out their mousse in a canning jar. There were two kinds: one was just chocolate and the other was chocolate with peanut butter. I had the plain chocolate, which was very rich and creamy.


Metro Kitchen + Drinkery is located in the WAL Public Market on R Street.




Thursday, October 12, 2017

SVCC Day Twelve -- Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

I had such a great Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge dinner tonight! My husband Phil and I went to Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., where they've created an entire vegan menu.

I knew going in what I was going to order, and first on the list was the fried cauliflower appetizer, since cauliflower is probably one of my top three favorite vegetables. The cauliflower was served on romesco sauce, with a squeeze of lemon juice and and a little parsley. I ate every bite!


For my main course, I ordered the vegan mac and cheese, orecchiette pasta with a sauce made from Miyoko's cheese and topped with bread crumbs. Fabulous!


If neither of those dishes are what you are looking for, the following menu lists several other vegan options that are available at Hook & Ladder. You should definitely check it out!






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SVCC Day Eleven -- VEG

I met my friend Deborah for lunch today at VEG, always one of my favorite places for a vegan meal. I asked about their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu, but the server said it wasn't available yet, and didn't say when it would be available.

Still, with VEG's almost completely vegan menu, there are always options. Deborah ordered the savory summer crepe, which is what I get almost every time I'm there. The crepe is made with chickpea flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, and it's filled with kale, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and bean sprouts. It's so good!


I decided to try something new for a change, so I ordered the curry bowl. The vegetables in the bowl change daily, but today they were potatoes, carrots, kale, summer squash, corn, and sweet potatoes in a cashew korma sauce. Rice and lentils were served along with the curry. I really enjoyed it.


Looking forward to checking out another Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge restaurant tomorrow!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SVCC Day Ten -- The Rind

On this tenth day of the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, I met my friend Kathy for lunch at The Rind. Kathy writes a blog called Sacramento Revealed, sharing information about events, restaurants, and other interesting aspects of Sacramento life. She's not a vegan, but was happy to see what wonderful vegan options are being offered in local restaurants this month.

The Rind has created a special vegan sandwich for the challenge, the Veggie, so I decided to give that a try. It consisted of their house-made cashew cheese, bell peppers, cucumbers, and greens, grilled between two slices of sourdough. I loved the flavor of the cashew cheese -- it really made the sandwich.


Kathy ordered the vegan Masquerader Mac, macaroni baked in a "creamy puree of sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, and sunflower seeds with our herbed tomato sauce, herbed bread crumbs and basil." The Masquerader Mac is a regular menu item at the Rind


We're about a third of the way through the month, and I've visited nine of the participating restaurants so far. How many have you tried?

Monday, October 9, 2017

SVCC Day Nine -- Capitol Garage

I love pancakes, but it seems like the only time I ever eat them is when all the vegan pancakes hit the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menus every October. This morning, I stopped in at Capitol Garage for breakfast, knowing exactly what I was going to order when I got there. These three enormous pancakes, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup and vegan butter, got my day off to a good start.


Capitol Garage are offering lots of other vegan dishes all throughout the day. Check out their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu:


This is why I look forward to October every year!



Sunday, October 8, 2017

SVCC Day Eight -- The Porch

I was out of town yesterday, so wasn't able to try any of the participating Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge restaurants then. Today, though, my husband and I had brunch at the always vegan-friendly Porch Restaurant and Bar.

Turns out they only offer their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu for dinner. Not to worry, though -- the Porch has vegan items on their regular menus too. I almost ordered the vegan French toast, but at the last minute, decided to have the Frito pie instead -- vegan chili on a bed of Fritos, with avocado on top and vegan sriracha-sour cream on the side. It was delicious!


In case you're interested, here's their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu for dinner tonight. Be advised, though, that the Porch changes their menu daily, so the vegan options may be different if you go some other night.




Friday, October 6, 2017

SVCC Days Four and Six -- Evan's Kitchen (Lunch) and EASTsmf (Lunch)

After having such a fabulous breakfast at Evan's Kitchen on Tuesday, I went back there with my friend Marilyn for lunch on Wednesday. I ordered the yummy Not So Tuna Melt, made with garbanzo beans, with a cup of New England Clamless Chowder for my side dish. Chopped shiitake mushrooms replicated the chewy texture of clams in the chowder, and it was really good.


If you missed Evan's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu in my previous post, here it is again.



I wasn't able to visit any of the participating restaurants yesterday, but I had lunch today at EASTsmf, and a wonderful autumn lunch it was! The main course was a plate of fall vegetables -- butternut squash, delicata squash, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and red onions -- in mushroom gravy, served over quinoa. Perfection!


Dessert was fabulous as well -- a baked Gala apple, with cinnamon, walnuts, and caramel sauce.


EASTsmf has gone all out, with Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner. You should definitely check them out!













Tuesday, October 3, 2017

SVCC Day Three -- Evan's Kitchen (breakfast) and Mayahuel

I doubled up today on my quest to eat at as many participating restaurants as possible during the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. First, my husband Phil and I had breakfast at the always vegan-friendly Evan's Kitchen at the 57th Street Antique Mall. There were five (!) vegan breakfast options, but what caught my eye were the carrot cake pancakes. Served with vegan butter and maple syrup, they were outstanding.


Here are the other vegan items Evan's Kitchen is offering this month (with someone's hand-written notes scribbled on the menus).



For lunch, my friend Cathy and I went downtown to Mayahuel, where they are going all out with a five-course vegan meal, which looks amazing. Unfortunately, it's only available for dinner.


No worries, though, because Mayahuel offers several vegan options on their regular vegetarian/vegan menu. I ordered the Tres Tostadas Aztecas, three small tostadas, each with a different topping. The first one (my favorite!) was topped with guacamole, bell peppers, and nopales; the second had smoked poblano rajas, corn, pickled red onions, cilantro, and lime; and the third was topped with corn, black beans, lettuce, and pineapple salsa.


Cathy ordered the Enchiladas Zapotecas, black corn tortillas filled with guacamole and topped with sautéed mushrooms in adobo sauce. She enjoyed this dish very much.


I hope I can make it back there sometime before the end of the month, though, to try that five-course meal!






Monday, October 2, 2017

SVCC Day Two -- Broderick Roadhouse

My friend Kathy and I had lunch today at Broderick Roadhouse in midtown, where they're offering one special vegan menu item for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. It's a vegan Reuben sandwich, consisting of a marinated Portobello mushroom, vegan cheese, sauerkraut, and vegan witch sauce, served on a multi-grain bun. Tasty, but messy!


Kathy opted for one of the items that's always on the menu at Broderick in midtown -- vegan mac & cheese, made with gluten-free pasta, vegan cheese, and vegan bacon bits. I had a bite, and it was really good. I'll have to order that the next time I'm at Broderick!



Sunday, October 1, 2017

SVCC Day One -- Buffalo Pizza and Revolution Wines

Today is the first day of the annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, a month-long event in which local chefs prepare special vegan dishes. This year, a record thirty-four restaurants are participating from Sacramento and surrounding areas. I'm going to get to as many as I can, and I'll blog more frequently than usual to let readers know what fabulous vegan dishes I've tried. Today, I actually made it to two of the restaurants on the list.

I started the day with a vegan breakfast pizza from Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream, located on 21st Street near Broadway, a first-time Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge participant. This delicious pizza was topped with house-made bac'un sauce, garlic cheez, tofu scramble, spinach, and mushrooms. I may be the only vegan in town who hadn't already tried this pizza, since the restaurant has had pop-up events the past two weekends to introduce their new line of vegan pizzas. And the best thing about it is that these pizzas are on the menu to stay, even after the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge ends.



For dinner, my husband and I went to Revolution Wines, another first-time participant. They put together a very impressive menu for the challenge, but I zeroed in on the lasagna right away. Made with tomato sauce, pesto ricotta, romesco, rosemary oil, and Miyoko's mozzarella, it was excellent! I made sure to save room, however, for the wonderful apple crisp, topped with vegan ice cream.




Stay tuned as I continue to eat my way through the month of October!



Monday, September 25, 2017

Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge Starts Sunday!

It's almost that time again. The annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge starts this Sunday, October 1st, and runs through the end of the month. During this time, restaurants throughout the Sacramento area offer special vegan dishes created especially for the occasion. This year is shaping up to be the best one yet, with twenty-eight restaurants already signed up and more expected to join before the challenge begins. Here are the restaurants that we know are participating so far:

Federalist Public House & Beer Garden
The Rind :: Cheese. Wine. Beer.
Pushkin's Restaurant
33rd Street Bistro
Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.
EASTsmf
Kasbah
Buffalo Pizza and Ice Cream Co.
La Cosecha Sacramento
MAYAHUEL Sacramento
Mesa Mercado (Carmichael)
Pho VEGAN-Asian Cuisine (Rocklin)
JD's Bakery & Cafe (Rocklin)
Pho Fresh (Rancho Cordova)
The Cellar Wine Bar (Folsom)
Mylapore (Folsom)
Lou's Sushi
Zest Kitchen (formerly Baagan -- Rocklin)
Thai Basil Restaurant Mid-Town
VEG
Capitol Garage
The Porch Restaurant and Bar
Evan's Kitchen And Catering
Nectar Cafe (Auburn)
Nourish Health Bar and Cafe NorCal (Citrus Heights)
El Papagayo Restaurant (Carmichael)
Metro Kitchen + Drinkery
Gabriel Levan Aiello -Burly Beverages/
Meatless Mondays at Old Ironsides

I'm planning to post pictures on my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page and Instagram whenever I eat at one of these restaurants, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Be sure to follow the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge Facebook page for updates.

Looking forward to seeing lots of my fellow vegans at these outstanding restaurants in October!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Five Vegan Dishes That Even Non-vegan Food Bloggers Will Love

Last year's International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Sacramento was such a big success that they've decided to meet in Sacramento again this year. Most of the bloggers I met weren't vegan, or even vegetarian, but they seemed adventurous and willing to try new culinary experiences. With that in mind, I thought I'd offer a list of a few vegan dishes available in downtown or midtown that even a non-vegan food blogger will enjoy.

The Beyond Burger at Broderick Roadhouse


I'll be honest with you -- I don't like most veggie burgers. Even if they look crispy and burger-like on the outside, they're often soggy and kind of disgusting on the inside. Not so with the Beyond Burger, which looks and tastes so much like ground beef that it kind of creeped me out when I first tried it. Now, though, I'm hooked. It's soy-free, GMO-free, and gluten-free, and made with plant-based protein. The pink color that makes it look like actual beef comes from beets. You can try one at Broderick Roadhouse, located at 1820 L Street. It's not listed on their menu -- you just have to tell your server that you want the Beyond Burger, which is served with vegan cheese and vegan sauce on a vegan bun.

Conscious Creamery's Vegan Gelato Bars


Conscious Creamery doesn't have a brick-and-mortar shop from which to sell their fabulous vegan gelato, but that shouldn't present a problem for IFBC attendees. That's because you'll be just blocks away from the Saturday Midtown Farmers Market, where the Conscious Creamery gelato cart will be serving up their yummy gelato bars, made without dairy, eggs, or any other animal product. I love the roasted strawberry bar with chocolate drizzle! The Midtown Farmers Market, which is held on 20th Street between J and K, runs from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 30th, the weekend of the conference.

Sweet Potato Chips and Ginger Guacamole at VEG


VEG is a little bit of a walk from the IFBC conference venue, but totally worth it to try the sweet potato chips and ginger guacamole. Most of the menu items in this second-story café, which looks out onto J Street, are vegan, although some of the brunch items contain eggs. VEG is located at 2431 J Street, upstairs from Thai Basil.

Savory Summer Crepe at VEG


This is another must-try dish VEG offers that's popular with both vegans and non-vegans. They have a few different vegan entrées on their menu, but somehow, I can never make it past the savory crepe. The vegetables used in the filling change depending on the season, but the delicious turmeric-coconut crepe stays the same. I try to make sure I'm really hungry when I go to VEG because I always seem to want both the sweet potato chips and ginger guacamole and the savory crepe.

Shaved Snow at Vampire Penguin



Vampire Penguin is in downtown Sacramento, and it's a great place to go if you suddenly find yourself in need of a frozen treat. Not all of the shaved snow flavors and toppings at Vampire Penguin are vegan, but the ones in these pictures are. The top picture shows PMS (peach, mango, strawberry) shaved snow, with strawberry syrup and strawberries. The bottom photo is of their piña colada creation. So good! Vampire Penguin is located at 907 K Street.

To my fellow Sacramento vegans, what other midtown or downtown menu offerings would you recommend to  IFBC attendees? Please add your suggestions either in the comments on this post, or in the comments on my Sacramento Vegan Facebook page.
















Monday, September 11, 2017

Rossi Catering & Deli

A friend on Twitter told me recently about a new place, Rossi Catering & Deli,  that opened in Tahoe Park last month. He said they had some vegan options on the menu, so I went to try it out last week.

The menu offers two salads that are vegan without requiring any changes -- a fruit salad and a local bean salad. I passed on the fruit salad, but I purchased a container of the very tasty bean salad.

In addition, they offered two items that could be made vegan -- a Caesar salad that could be ordered without cheese and with a vegan dressing, and a summer vegetable sandwich that could be ordered without cheese. I purchased both items and they were quite good. The person working the counter didn't know whether the pesto that normally comes on the veggie sandwich was vegan or not, so I opted to leave it off. The sandwich, which was served on focaccia, included dried tomato tapenade, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and mizuna.


Rossi Catering & Deli is located at 5774 Broadway, and their phone number is 916-400-3286. Their website address is http://rossicatering.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/rossicatering916/. I found out their hours the hard way when I tried to go there for lunch on a Saturday -- they are open only on weekdays. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Cantina Alley


Cantina Alley opened earlier this year and quickly became one of the most popular casual eateries in midtown. Situated in an alley courtyard and serving tacos and specialty cocktails, Cantina Alley has attracted a large and enthusiastic following.

But do they have anything vegans can eat? As it turns out, yes they do! After hearing from Aaron, one of their servers, about the various menu items that were either vegan or veganizable, I stopped in at Cantina Alley twice last week.

During my first visit, I tried a couple of tacos. The crispy papa taco sounded good, made with potatoes, cabbage, radishes, and salsa verde. The only thing I needed to do to veganize it was to ask them to leave off the cheese. It was delicious! I also ordered their vegan taco, which is not listed on the menu. Consisting of mushrooms, peppers, onions, cabbage, avocado, and salsa, it was excellent too.


The next time I visited, I received a few orange wedges with Tajin seasoning to enjoy while I looked at the menu. I got another crispy papa taco and ordered the elote, an ear of corn, without the crema and cheese. Instead, it was served with lime wedges and Tajin. For dessert, I could have had one of the many fruit-based paletas they offer, but I couldn't resist the churros, which I ordered without the dipping sauce.






Thanks for the recommendation, Aaron! I'll definitely be back again, not only for the food, but to have another look at the work of artist Ruben Reveles. The piece installed over the bar, pictured at the top of this post, was particularly eye-catching.

Cantina Alley is located at 2320 Jazz Alley, which is between J and K streets and between 23rd and 24th streets. The phone number is 916-970-5588. Their website address is https://cantinaalley.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/midtownscantinaalley/. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from noon to 2:00 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 10:00 p.m.