Saturday, October 18, 2008

VeganMoFo: Vegan in San Luis Obispo (Part 1)

This weekend we drove down to San Luis Obispo, all 3 dogs in tow, to meet up with some dear friends who drove north from San Diego. We found SLO to be a neat little town, in a gorgeous setting. It's a super dog-friendly city, which is awesome. But is it vegan friendly?? Not bad... read on!

Our first night we ate dinner at Big Sky Cafe, an interesting spot with nice indoor/outdoor seating right downtown. They've got a very big menu, with a few appealing vegan options. A few are definitely vegan (it even says "VEGAN" on the menu - I love that!), and a few more are easily veganizable. Musty and I shared two dishes: the Big Sky Noodle Bowl, a nice miso broth with a lovely assortment of veggies (brocolli! snap peas! carrots! greens! edamame!), rice noodles, and tofu; and the Tagine of Vegetables with preserved lemon couscous with flat bread, harissa. We both loved the Noodle Bowl, it was simple, clean, flavorful, and had a strong but delicate flavor. The Tagine wasn't Musty's favorite, he felt the veggie stew was a bit too mushy and that individual flavors didn't stand out. But, I think that's sort of the idea, and I really liked it. I liked the very spicy harissa, the yummy flatbread, and the veggies - but I LOVED the lemon couscous. Gotta figure that out. It was large pearl couscous, perfectly creamy/chewy, with a marvelous, exotic hint of lemon. Sorry no pictures, because I forgot my camera.

Next review, "The Natural Cafe." A very low key hippee zone, you order at the counter and they bring you the food. It's super "healthy," but I was a bit bummed at the amount of cheese, dairy, and meat on the menu. Vegan dishes weren't clearly marked, which also surprised me. After a substandard bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (boo!), I was really hungry. I ordered the Zen Burger, and got hummus instead of salsa to go with my chips. I'll tell you what, I gobbled it down and there was nothing left. So I guess that means it was pretty good. My friends ordered some pretty straightforward but basically good salads, and a piece of non-vegan chocolate cake that everyone agreed was quite bad.


We had dinner last night at Thai Palace. There was a nice ambiance inside, and a big menu. The waitstaff was really friendly and helped my friend and I pick out veggie dishes without fish sauce - which greatly restricted our choices. We ordered a neat appetizer that had fresh spinach leaves and then fresh ginger, fresh onion, fresh lime, toasted coconut, roasted peanuts, and a nice tamarind-sweet sauce. Mmm. Great array of many interesting and harmonious flavors. For dinner I had a veggie-tofu mix in ginger sauce. It was all nicely cooked, but not particularly unique in any way. Of course, I gobbled it up.


Right down the street from Thai Palace, we popped into Peets to get some warm beverages for a chilly night ... and look what we found! Not one, Not two, Not three... but FIVE different vegan cookies for sale!! How exciting. I got the last German Chocolate cookie (not pictured) - it had a nice delicate chocolate flavor with coconut, pecans, and gentle spicing. Mmm. I don't really drink coffee much, so I wouldn't know ... is this a regular thing at Peet's??

Coming tomorrow... one last amazing vegan find in SLO.

ps. I was bummed to miss a day of MoFo - I was going for a perfect 31 of 31... but my $3 wifi connection at motel 6 sucked my battery dry after failing to upload 3 pictures for 35 minutes. I tried, I swear, I tried!

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!!
    Those cookies are HUGE!!!
    HURRAH!

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  2. Lots of good finds! I didn't know they had vegan cookies at any Peet's, I wonder if it's just there or in more stores too?

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  3. the peets i go to in san francisco always has one to three kinds of vegan cookies--c. chip, oatmeal raisin and ginger. i absolutely love all 3. but i'm jealous you got to try german chocolate! what was the 5th variety?

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  4. You found some really good spots to eat. That's so great the vegan items were clearly marked on the menu. And those cookies!

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  5. Oh man, I used to live in SLO & could have given you the insider info! Next time skip the Natural Cafe, ick! At Big Sky I love the Sesame Ginger Noodles salad & the Veg Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich! Also, Linnea's cafe has vegan cake & such.

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  6. lucky! ahhh.... so jealous! :D

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  7. Anonymous3:50 PM

    Yes it is a regular thing to have the 3 vegan cookies at Peet's, but some stores order only once a week instead of twice so they are not always there. There's also a vegan scone in the morning and a muffin in some stores... Yumm! It's good to call and find out if they have them though. I work for them and I suggest that to all my fellow vegans that come in:-)

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  8. Anonymous8:02 PM

    you missed the actual vegan restaraunts and cafes which are local and not chains.. Vegan Spices, Vraja's, Linnea's...

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