Monday, April 25, 2016


Normally, I avoid blogging about restaurants that don't have actual vegan options listed on their menus. I hate going into a restaurant feeling like I'm an unwanted guest who has to be accommodated. I also prefer to know what my choices are ahead of time, rather than having to trust that the chef will make something I'll like.

I made an exception last week when my husband Phil and I went to Localis, mostly because the phrasing on their website didn't make me feel as though my need for vegan options was a nuisance. The Localis website says: "Vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores alike will find a welcoming seat at our table." I made a notation on the online reservation form to let the chef know I was vegan, and I received a call from the restaurant staff to tell me they can always provide a vegan option, although they appreciated the advance notice.

After Phil and I were seated Saturday night, I asked our server what the vegan options were. He said one of the "Small Fare" items on the menu, Fungi and Pots, could be made vegan by omitting the butter, so I ordered that for my first course. It was a mixture of cultured and foraged mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, and nasturtium petals, and it was excellent. If you're not very hungry, it might even be enough food for an entrée.

For my "Primary Fare," I had two choices: a spring vegetable stir-fry over either quinoa or farro, or a vegan version of the roasted asparagus risotto offered with their fish entrée. I chose the vegetable stir-fry. It was a wonderful dish, consisting of carrots, asparagus, broccoli, and mushrooms stir-fried in a flavorful sauce (a little on the salty side, but I was okay with that) and served over a bed of farro.

The five-course tasting menu at Localis can also be modified for vegans, with at least 24 hours advance notice. For a special occasion dinner, that could definitely be worth checking out!

Localis is located at 2031 S Street, and their phone number is 916-737-7599. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Monday, April 18, 2016


It occurred to me one day that every vegan in my Facebook news feed seemed to have eaten at Chickpeas in Davis except me. The only remedy for that situation was to get in my car and drive across the causeway for lunch.

Chickpeas serves Mediterranean cuisine in a casual setting. The young man working behind the counter was very knowledgeable about which of their items were vegan, which would have made it easy for me to order my lunch if there hadn't been so many choices, especially with regard to the various hummus plates. Hummus with tahini, hummus with chickpeas, hummus with falafel -- what to do, what to do? I asked if the falafel was fried in the same oil as any non-vegan items, and was told that it was not. Only the French fries are cooked in the same oil as the falafel. So I ordered the hummus falafel plate, a generous serving of hummus topped with five crispy house-made falafel pieces and served with fluffy pita wedges. Good choice! The falafel was the best I'd tasted in a long time.

Since I can never resist stuffed grape leaves, I ordered a dolma plate too. The seasoned rice mix wrapped inside the grape leaves was tasty, and the dolma plate was the perfect side dish to go with my hummus falafel. I can see why Chickpeas is such a hit with local vegans!

Chickpeas is located at 640 W. Covell Boulevard in Davis, and their phone number is 800-909-5353. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sweets and Sugars

We had a couple of hot days recently, which made me go out and look for something cold and vegan to enjoy. I decided to check out Sweets and Sugars across the street from McClatchy High School to see if they had anything interesting.

Oh, my goodness!

Between the fresh fruit, water-based fruit freezes, shaved ice, and aguas frescas, a vegan could be happy there for a long time. I ended up going to Sweets and Sugars three times last week, and here are the goodies I ordered.

First off, I had this beautiful mangonada, and what a flavor explosion it turned out to be! The mango freeze, mango chunks, chamoy (a sauce made from pickled fruit), and chili powder combined brilliantly in this refreshing treat, topped off with a tamarind straw.

When I went back a couple days later, I ordered pretty much the same thing, except with strawberry freeze and strawberries. If anything, this fresada with chamoy was even better than the mangonada.

The pictures on the wall behind the counter at Sweets and Sugars show all kinds of spectacular desserts, so for my third visit, I decided to get the most extravagant-looking one of all -- the piña loca, or crazy pineapple. This is basically a fruit salad served in a hollowed-out pineapple with a scoop of pineapple freeze. In addition to the pineapple, it included watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, jicama, kiwi, and I don't know what all. Chamoy and chili powder were liberally applied, and the whole thing was topped off with tamarind candy ropes. To be honest, it was probably more than one person (me!) should have eaten, but I just couldn't help myself. If you have more willpower than I do, you may want to share your piña loca with a friend.

Sweets and Sugars is located at 3051 Freeport Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-447-5050. They don't appear to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at They are open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar

Vegan friends of mine have eaten at the Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar over the past few years, but whenever I checked the menu, I didn't see anything specifically vegan. I prefer not to blog about restaurants that require vegans to make a lot of substitutions or special requests in order to come up with a suitable meal, so I had never visited Red Rabbit. Last week, though, I decided to take a look at their online menu to see if they had added any vegan options, and I was thrilled to see that they're offering a vegan mushroom potato curry on their lunch and dinner menus.

This delicious dish consists of mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, stewed tomatoes, peas, coconut milk, spicy peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, and curry over basmati rice. I loved it, but be forewarned that it was very spicy.

I asked the server if the restaurant would always have a vegan option on the menu. She said they try, but there isn't always going to be something that's specifically vegan. She said they have a few vegans on staff who can help customers figure out how to veganize various menu items. I noticed that a Portobello mushroom can be substituted for the beef patty in the Red Rabbit burger, for example. Also, the online lunch and dinner menus contain the following notice: "Many of our dishes can be prepared vegetarian, with or without tofu." It seems like the Red Rabbit's menu is flexible enough to accommodate vegans.

The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar is located at 2718 J Street, and their phone number is 916-706-2275. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to midnight.