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!