Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Vegan Day in San Francisco!

Today I made a special trip to San Francisco, and had a great time! SF is only about 1.5 hours away, but I don't make it up there often. I had such a wonderful time today, that I think I'll make an effort get there again soon. My dear friend JJTWH had bought tickets for she and her husband to see "Prarie Home Companion" at the War Memorial Opera House, and had one extra ticket - so she invited me to tag along! It was such a wondefully fun show, and I had a great day in the city...

First off, I went shopping at the stunningly huge natural foods co-op Rainbow Grocery. I decided to spend some of my Christmas money from my grandparents splurging on fun foods I can't get in Santa Cruz. Here is what I got (and then packed up with a big bag of block ice to keep it cold):
dried lotus root slices
ayurvedic meal of veggies & kitchuri
himalayan goji berries
saffron threads
natural marzipan
natural pistachio & almond marzipan
mega-delicious chocolate mint drops
agar agar powder
bamboo rice (it's GREEN!! - how cool!)
2 kinds of cool dried beans from the bulk bins
bulk tempeh
bulk vegan butternut squash ravioli
wheat gluten tid-bits, italian flavor
judy's sunflower seed baguette
vegan "chicken" faux meat chunks
5 cara cara oranges & 5 tangelos (not in the picture)
.... FUN!

Then, after a wonderful yoga class, I was walking my way over to my favorite vegan falafel place in SF, when I noticed Cha-Ya. Cha-Ya is a hugely popular vegan japanese food spot in Berkeley, and I had heard that they opened a restaurant in SF. Every time I've tried to go to the one in Berkeley there's been about 15 people standing outside waiting for a spot. So, after a bit of deliberation, I decided to try something new instead of an old favorite. I was thinking about all our thoughts on eating out (from my last post), and this place is very wonderful for eating out . This sign is posted in their window... cool! Like Bazu said, it's so nice when you find a place that you can trust!

Also, it was so neat in the restaurant - there were people of all "types" - from kids to elderly people, all colors and ages, mega hipsters and normal people and even some unhip people (me! ha ha ). It was very heartwarming actually, even though I'm a vegan, I guessed that the restaurant would be full of "vegan-y" looking people - but it sure wasn't. Yay!

My lunch order came with this sweet little bowl of miso soup as an appetizer. It was very delicious, and especially welcome because today was really cold!
Here's my meal as it arrived... what's inside??

WOW! Inside was gyozo dumplings, tofu, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kabocha squash, mushrooms, napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, and silver noodles in a hot and tasty broth. Oh, I wish you all could have been there and eaten it with me. It was so delicious and perfect. The picture is blurry, because it was so hot and steamy that it kept steaming the lens. I took about 6 pictures and they were all steamy. Finally I decided to put the camera down and start eating!

All Gone!! YUM

This was my little dessert today, after lunch - chocolate covered bits of dried figs. Delicious! What a fun treat. I got these at Rainbow Grocery too.

Tonight, after the show, we went down to San Mateo (south of SF) and ate at an amazingly yummy South Indian restaurant called "Annapoorna." Wow, it was so good. Ever since Musty and I went to India a couple of years ago, south Indian food has a really special place in my heart. JJTWH & I both got the "special combo" - sambar, idli, mysore masala dosa, coconut chutney, and vada. YUM. JJTWH's hubby got a mysore masala dosa and some pakora (battered and fried veggies) - some of the pakora were whole jalepeno peppers - that's hardcore!

This was the vada with my Special Combo... a little fried "donut" - but it's savory, and vegan! You dip it in the sambar &/or the coconut chutney.

Here we are after dinner, with our happy bellies & our happy faces. The friendly waiter took this picture. What a wonderful day!

Okay, so this was from yesterday... we had crepes from breakfast. I pretty much use the VwaV recipe, but I reduce the salt down to 1/4 t , and use half soy milk and half water. I eat my crepes with homemade raspberry jam, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and some powdered sugar - so scrumptious and special! I just love crepes so much. They were one of my most special treats growing up, and I hadn't had them for 5 years of vegan-hood until VwaV came out. Honestly, I think Isa will go to heaven just for sharing this recipe with us.

Also from yesterday, last night I made Crimson Cabbage Borsht with Tofu-Dill Sour Cream from "Voluptuous Vegan." WOW! I hadn't ever even had borscht before, let alone made it. This is a delicious and amazing recipe - also quite easy. The soup has beets, beet greens, white beans, carrot, potatoes, onion, ... and maybe another thing or two that I'm forgetting. Oh wow, it's so great. We've got more left for tomorrow too, so I"m happy about that! Also, the tofu-dill sour cream turned out just fantastic!

Hope you all had a great Saturday!


  1. Anonymous9:01 AM

    What a lovely day. It is like birthday and christmas all rolled into one with all of those wonderful treats!!!

    I like the idea of crepes with raspberry jam. I'll try that next time.

    I've never eaten borsht before. I have never been a big fan of beets. But I keep telling myself I need to give them another try.

  2. Omigosh, what a great post! I love all the goodies you got at the co-op, so unique! And oh, how I love to go to all vegan restaurants, where you know you are safe and where everyone completely understands your food needs. Love it!

  3. Augh! So much to take in! Where do I start? I love Indian! I love Japanese! I love crepes! I love Borsht! And cool vegan restaurants and health food stores! And S.F!

    Thanks for sharing your day with us- it all looks lovely. I'm glad you had a good time with friends.

  4. What a load of goodies! Sounds like a neat store. The food looks great as usual. When I first read that you watched the Prairie Home Companion I had to laugh.... I have a gardening book sitting on my desk right now with the same name. Ha. :)

  5. Wow, such a great post! There's too much great food!

    Your shopping trip was quite successful! And you got goji berries - I just ran out and I miss them.

    I gave my parents a trip to SF for an anniversary present awhile back, but I've never been. I would LOVE to spend a week there.

  6. It all looks so delicious! Your crepes look great - I haven't quite mastered them yet.

  7. Wow, isn't Rainbow the greatest! I was going there once a month for awhile but haven't been for the past few months. I think I will be going this week after seeing your post! I always find new and exciting things when I go there, and the bulk bins are particularly amazing. I'm curious to see what you do with the lotus root slices.

    I must try those crepes -- yours look delicious!

  8. Wow, how wonderful everything looks and sounds! What a special day! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  9. What a great trip you had! I'd really like to get out to San Francisco one of these days...if for no other reason than to go to some great vegan restaurants. I love how they served your meal at Cha-Ya in that little crock - it's like opening a present...a yummy present!


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