Monday, May 14, 2018

Shabu Pub

This week's dining adventure was a visit to Shabu Pub, a hot pot restaurant in the Land Park neighborhood. It opened in 2016 in the space previously occupied by Blockbuster Video, but this was the first time I'd tried it.

Shabu is a style of cooking that involves dipping a variety of ingredients in a boiling broth, similar to a fondue. If you go to dinner at Shabu Pub, you would order a large pot of broth, which would be placed on a burner in the middle of your table. The pot has two sections, so if you're dining with a friend, you can have two different broths. The vegan options are either the miso or the kimchi broth. The server also mentioned a third vegan broth that isn't on the menu, which consisted of water, salt, onions, seaweed, and I don't know what all.

Then you choose the assortment of ingredients you want to cook in the broth. For vegans, there is a vegetable assortment. The specific vegetables may vary, but the server can probably tell you what's available. There's also an add-on menu, where you can choose specific vegetables or tofu for an additional cost.

That's what happens if you go for dinner. I, however, was there for lunch, when Shabu Pub offers a mini pot, an individual pot of broth that comes to the table with its own little burner and with the vegetable assortment already in the pot. I ordered the miso broth, and the vegetable assortment included tofu, udon noodles, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, lotus root, green beans, cabbage, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting. It was quite a flavorful and satisfying lunch!

Shabu Pub is located at 4400 Freeport Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-736-1268. They don't seem to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and for dinner Sunday through Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Meet & Eat

I met my friend Deborah for lunch the other day at Meet & Eat in the Land Park neighborhood. I had eaten there before, and hadn't found it to be particularly vegan-friendly, but thought I'd give it another chance.

I asked about a few different dishes before deciding on the spicy veggie spaghetti, which is vegan if you order it without the Parmesan, and if you skip the garlic bread that would normally accompany it. The dish consisted of spaghetti tossed with a nice variety of vegetables and chili oil, then topped with avocado slices and raw pumpkin seeds. It was very good and I would order it again.

I went back for lunch a couple of days later with my husband Phil. This time, I ordered the Buddha Bar tacos, which are vegan if you get them without the feta cheese. They were also very good -- corn tortillas filled with roasted sweet potato, arugula, guacamole, pico de gallo, radishes, pumpkin seeds, and micro herbs.

I've found that Meet & Eat and its sister restaurant in Curtis Park, Café Dantorels, are very vegetarian-friendly, but it's not always easy to veganize their vegetarian dishes. One thing that sounded interesting on the Meet & Eat menu, for example, was a tofu burger. The menu didn't list any ingredients that sounded particularly problematic, but I thought I'd ask the server if it was vegan, just to be on the safe side. She checked with the kitchen and came back to tell me the onions, the barbecue sauce, and the bun weren't vegan. Similarly, I noticed one day recently that Café Dantorels was offering the Impossible Burger, but the mayo, cheese, and bun weren't vegan. I could live without the mayo and the cheese, but I sent a message asking why on earth they didn't have a vegan bun to go with their vegan burger. They responded that they didn't have the storage capacity to carry vegan bread, but I could always order the burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Umm, no.

The bottom line is that it's entirely possible to get a lovely vegan meal at both Meet & Eat and Café Dantorels, but you have to be very careful. Don't assume that a dish is vegan based on the menu description, and be prepared to ask questions.

Meet & Eat is located at 3445 Freeport Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-476-3082. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.