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!


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

  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?

  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?

  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!

  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.

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

  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:-)

  8. Anonymous8:02 PM

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


I love comments, they really make my day! Thanks for reading my blog!