Sunday, April 15, 2007

A City of Neighbourhoods - Restaurants

I'm back from San Francisco and i'm not sure where to begin: with only being there a week, there's so much to share. The restaurants, the greenery, the stores, the neighbouroods - wow, what a wonderful city!

Something worth mentioning here are the great restaurants, and vegan ones at that. Before going to SF, i knew a little bit about its culture and way of life, but i didn't realize just how laid back and liveable this city is. And restaurants that aren't officialy vegan/vegetarian are very vegan-friendly. I loved going to a brunch spot that serves meat and egg entrees alongside with a scrambled tofu dish, or grilled seitan sandwich. Can i say 'only in SF?'

Anyway, here are some food highlights for me:

1) Medicine Eat Station - a fantastic lunch spot in the downtown core. It is a vegan shojin resto with the most creative dishes - very healthy but also very artful. I just loved it and i could have eaten there daily. I went in one afternoon just to haved their matcha green tea soy ice cream. Heaven on earth!
2) Poleng Lounge - not just a vegan spot but the menu had a good selection of dishes for me. Again, artistically prepared and so delicious. The atmosphere is even better - they host poetry nights, and the decor is dark, funky, and intimate. Very cool. The Buddha's Treasures dumplings were great and i had a fantastic drink called the Monkey Love Juice made with raspberrries, black tea and rum to go with it all.
3) Golden Era - i love Chinese vegetarian restaurants, when they're good, like this one was. The dishes all had their own distinct flavour and the portions weren't too big (like some other places i've been too like this). We had a yummy lemon 'chicken' dish that was fantastic. It's worth the walk to the Tenderloin for this great spot.
4) Herbivore - we went here a few times. There are 3 locations in the Bay area and we were lucky to have one just down the road from our hotel. I had a great veggie burger that had a neat taste of mint in it, an amazing ravioli dish that was soaked in a cream marinara sauce, and the best chocolate cake ever - not entirely mousse, but there was enough icing to make me happy, and a lovely coconut filling to balance the flavour of the chocolate. Oh, and i have to mention they know how to make a great soy mocha latte! I even got myself one of their grilled tempeh sandwiches for my long day of plane riding home. I just wish that airports were more vegan-friendly. When i was going to SF i had to declare my sandwich at customs and the dude there was like 'what's tempeh?' I think only my customs form will say 'soybean sandwich' on it!
5) Waziema - a tasty Ethopian restaurant, again near our Hotel nears Hayes Valley/Lower Haight. The decor seems to have been left over from another lifetime as a pub, but the deep burgundy velour wallpaper added a nice bordella vibe to our food.
6) Cha-Ya - a great vegetarian Japanese resto in the Mission. The sushi entrees were creative, like this one where the avocado was on the outside of the roll, and we also liked the signature sushi roll that is lightly deep-fried.
7) Love and Haight Deli - i had a 'chicken steak' sandwich to go and i just loved it. I got to put what i wanted in it and while it was a bit messy, this sandwich took no time at all to be eaten, even while walking along Haight Ave to catch a bus!
8) Dolores Park Cafe - looking over the park and a gorgeous old monestary (i think) that was turned into a high school sits this quaint cafe. We were there on Easter Sunday and it was filled with people out to join in the Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. J had a great grilled seitan sandwich and we had some great smoothies to go with our brunch.
9) Boogaloos - my first introduction to SF was Saturday brunch here - i had a huge tofu scramble at this busy joint. We waited in line and in the rain to get a seat outside in the rain. But it was worth it! Not officially a vegan spot but we can eat there without a problem!
10) Indian Oven - voted the best Indian resto in SF for over 10 years. It's in Lower Haight and we especially enjoyed the dal sag dish (lentil stew with spinach). Not my favourite Indian food ever but a good spot nonetheless.

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Blogger mishka said...

It sounds as though you're setting this up to cover your trip in several posts. I loved reading about the restaurants you tried and look forward to the inevitable shopping post!

Glad to have you back in rainy, chilly Toronto.

10:27 PM  
Blogger asheville said...

Hmm...(scratches head) where I live in the southern US, we have lots of meat restaurants that serve scrambled tofu, etc! What I'd see as special about SF is the wonderful veggie-only establishments.

Thanks for blogging! Inspired by Crafty Vegan, I recently bought a beautiful vintage sewing machine...and am determined to USE it soon!!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Kats! said...

yumm!! I'm glad you had a better eating experience than you did here in Beantown... I bet it inspired you to visit me in my new home-town-to-be (Vancouver that is!) Good eating always gauges how good your vacation will be. I can't wait to hear about your shopping!!

1:27 PM  
Blogger krissy said...

your trip sounds fun! we might be making our way to san francisco in the summer so i'll definitely be bookmarking your suggested places to eat.
yeah, welcome back to the grey weather in the t-dot...

5:01 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

What a week! Good for you!

6:20 PM  
Blogger shaun.marie said...

hey - i love reading your blog, it's great to have another creative, vegan inspiration. i hope you don't mind if i link to your blog on my (newish) blog.
san francisco is beautiful. if i could afford to live there, i would. i've been dying to try out millennium!

9:03 PM  

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