Monday, March 25, 2013

Plates Cafe

Where can you dine on a delicious veggie sandwich and support a great cause, all at the same time? Plates Cafe, of course!

Plates Cafe, which is operated by St. John's Shelter for Women and Children, offers on-the-job training for formerly homeless women with children. Working as servers, dishwashers, hostesses, cashiers, or kitchen staff, participants in this program develop valuable job skills that help them find employment when they complete the program.

I stopped in for lunch last week to see if the Plates Cafe menu contained any vegan options, and here's what I found:

* The Vegetarian Sandwich is vegan if you omit the feta cheese and substitute sourdough bread for the nine grain bread, which contains honey. The sandwich ingredients are spicy hummus, roasted red peppers, English cucumbers, baby spinach, and balsamic vinaigrette. It comes with a choice of side dishes. I ordered fresh fruit with mine.

* The Organic Baby Greens salad is vegan without the goat cheese crumbles. This salad consists of baby greens, roasted red beets, orange supremes, toasted pecans, and citrus-sherry vinaigrette.

* "Your Choice" lets you have a salad created just for you with your selection of salad greens, dressing, and six ingredients. The salad dressings that are vegan are the ginger-sesame-soy vinaigrette, the citrus-sherry vinaigrette, and the whole-grain mustard balsamic vinaigrette.

Plates Cafe is located in South Sacramento's Depot Park at 14 Business Park Way, Building 149, and their telephone number is 916-381-2233. The restaurant's website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at Plates Cafe is open for lunch only Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

More information about St. John's Shelter for Women and Children can be found at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Anna's Vegan Cafe

I had lunch last week at Anna's Vegan Cafe, the newest iteration of a vegan restaurant that's been on Stockton Boulevard for several years. Previously, it was Loving Hut, and before that, it was Au Lac Veggie. Anna's Vegan Cafe offers most, if not all, of the same dishes that were on the Loving Hut menu, and it's a good, reliable place to go when you're tired of trying to find something to eat at the local non-vegan restaurants.

I ordered the Broccoli Tofu lunch special, which came with the soup of the day (veggie noodle), white rice, and a crispy roll. I also ordered the Fried Tofu appetizer, since I didn't have to worry about whether any non-vegan products had been cooked in the same oil. It was a delicious and satisfying meal, and I need to remember to stop by Anna's Vegan Cafe more often.

Anna's Vegan Cafe is located at 3500 Stockton Boulevard in the Oak Park neighborhood. Their phone number is 916-451-6842, and their website address is The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and then again from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. They are open Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Romano's Macaroni Grill

Romano's Macaroni Grill isn't necessarily the most vegan-friendly restaurant around, since most of their menu items contain some form of animal protein. But I always enjoy going there because of the one menu item I know I can eat -- the Create Your Own Pasta option.

The picture above shows the form you'll fill out if you decide to create your own pasta dish. First, you choose your pasta. According to the Macaroni Grill website, all of the pastas are both dairy-free and egg-free except the four cheese ravioli and the whole wheat fettuccine.

Next, you choose a sauce from the two vegan options: garlic olive oil or pomodoro. My favorite is the garlic olive oil, not to be confused with the garlic cream sauce, which includes dairy.

You can add your choice of three vegetable toppings for free. The options are roasted peppers, broccolini, fresh spinach, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, roasted garlic, snap peas, roasted mushrooms, cannellini beans, asparagus, carmelized onions, and sun-dried tomatoes. Premium toppings are available for an additional charge, but none of the premium toppings are vegan. The roasted eggplant apparently contains a dairy product.

If you'd like to have a salad with your pasta, the Fresh Greens are vegan if you choose the balsamic or Mediterranean vinaigrette for your dressing. The peasant bread that comes with the meal is also vegan.

I'm afraid my picture didn't turn out too well, but during my most recent visit to Romano's Macaroni Grill, I created a pasta with spaghetti, garlic olive oil, artichokes, snap peas, and roasted mushrooms. I ordered the Fresh Greens salad to go with it, as well as an appetizer of Mediterranean olives, and I washed it all down with the house Chianti. It was a wonderful meal, and it reminded me how much I miss having a Romano's Macaroni Grill in Sacramento.

Fortunately, Romano's Macaroni Grill is a national chain, with locations in Folsom, Elk Grove, and Roseville. More information about their locations and their menus, including nutritional information, is available at

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Golden Bear

I stopped in for lunch last week at the Golden Bear in midtown. I'd actually never been there before, but since I saw online that they had at least one vegan option on their menu, I decided to check it out.

The top choice for vegans at the Golden Bear is their Vegan Veggie Burger, a tasty housemade patty made from sweet potatoes and beans, among other things. It is served on an excellent ciabatta bun from Bella Bru, with tomato, avocado, roasted red onion, and cilantro pesto. It comes with a choice of side dishes, but the only one that's vegan is the mixed green salad.

I had actually hoped to have the Veggie Burrito without the cheese. Unfortunately, the cheese is already mixed into the burrito filling, so it's not possible to make this dish vegan. The only other choice for vegans at the Golden Bear would appear to be the Mushroom Pizza, without the cheese.

The Golden Bear is located at 2326 K Street, and their phone number is 916-441-2242. The restaurant's website address is and their Facebook page can be found at They are open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.