Category: Vegan


Dining well in San Diego’s Little Italy

By Midge Raymond,

I was delighted to learn that San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood has among its many Italian restaurants and cafes one known for its vegan menu: Civico 1845.

One of the great things about this restaurant is that it brings the vegan menu to your table along with its regular menu and wine list, unlike some restaurants in which you need to ask for the vegan menu (or those in which the vegan menu is such a secret you don’t even know to ask).

Even the wine list noted the vegan options with a (V), which was wonderfully helpful. We began with pinot noir and the oyster mushroom “calamari.”

This appetizer was very good, and would probably be a hit with omnivores as well due to the texture: these mushrooms are lightly fried and chewy, with thin tendrils that melt in your mouth. The arrabbiata sauce was a bit watery and quite bland, unfortunately, but it was otherwise a lovely dish.

For our main courses we sampled the Ravioli Boscailoa, house-made mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce, and the Fettuccine alla Bolognese, house-made fettuccine with slow-cooked seitan ragout.

The Ravioli Boscailoa was our favorite…beautifully cooked ravioli with a wonderful mushroom filling, accompanied by a sauce that managed to be light and rich at the same time. The wild mushrooms gave the whole dish a big burst of flavor.

The fettuccine dish was also good — the seitan and the bolognese sauce had a robust “sausage” flavor (and was topped with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan), but the fettuccine was a bit overcooked and overall this dish wasn’t nearly as inspired.

Overall, this wasn’t the best vegan Italian (sadly, our very favorite, Portobello in Portland, Oregon, is closed), but it would be a wonderful choice for those visiting San Diego with omnivores, as it’s so easy to order off the vegan menu without having to ask a lot of questions or make special requests.

And if you are in San Diego’s Little Italy and looking for a completely plant-based dining experience, try Cafe Gratitude, which has an abundance of options, including wine, beer, and cocktails and a great happy hour.

Dining well in Melbourne & Sydney: Lord of the Fries

By Midge Raymond,

One of the best vegan discoveries during our trip to Australia was Lord of the Fries. (I should add that this was good for our taste buds, but perhaps not ideal for our health: Lord of the Fries is vegan fast-food takeaway: not the healthiest but definitely delicious.)

We first discovered Lord of the Fries in downtown Melbourne, which has two locations, one on Swanston Street and another at the Flinders Street train station.

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The menu is entirely vegetarian, but most of the items, including milkshakes, can easily be made vegan.

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As you can see from the menu, it’s definitely fast food — but it’s incredibly delicious.

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Among the very best sandwiches is the “chick’n” sandwich, which comes with vegan cheese and your choice of vegan sauces.

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We also tried the burger, which was great and nicely loaded up with veggies (adding the illusion of a healthy meal….).

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The breakfast sandwich were my very favorites, as these are nearly impossible to find in the States. They are made with a tofu “egg” and come with vegan cheese as well as a “meat” option if you’d like.

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The fries are delicious and come in many forms, from shoestring to sweet potato. Tip: get your sauce on the side, unless you like smothered, soggy fries. The onion rings are divine: very crispy on the outside and perfect and flavorful on the inside.

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The only thing we didn’t like was the hot dog, which arrived with not-quite-melted cheese and a too-large doughy bun. Perhaps this was an anomaly, but it was not at all appealing.

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Most of the locations are takeaway, but there are a few with seats, including the one in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne.

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We were thrilled to see this Australian chain always busy. Lord of the Fries not only helps the planet by being plant-based, but in addition its food is locally sourced and the chain recycles its cooking oil to fuel its delivery trucks. We hope that, as the sign reads, ethical fast food becomes a thing not just down south but around the world as well.

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Dining well in Adelaide, South Australia, part two

By Midge Raymond,

Continuing our vegan tour of Adelaide, we discovered several places that were not all vegetarian but had good vegan options and were also delicious.

Chopstix on Rundle is a fantastic Asian restaurant with a few gorgeous vegan dishes, like this salt-and-pepper tofu appetizer.

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The tofu and vegetables in curry sauce is also divine.

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If you’re in the mood for drinks and noshes, Rundle is a good street to explore. In Australia, the pubs are often called hotels, and one particularly cool historic pub is The Stag Hotel, which opened in 1849.

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They have South Australian wines on tap, and while very little of the menu is veg friendly (unless you are really in the mood for salad), we did enjoy a plate of chips.

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Dining well in Adelaide, South Australia

By Midge Raymond,

Adelaide is a beautiful South Australia city with a delightful walking downtown area that has fantastic vegan options. Among the lovely veg restaurants we discovered in Adelaide are Two-Bit Villains, Zenhouse, and Ayla’s Cafe.

Located in downtown Adelaide, Two-Bit Villians is a fun, quirky shop in the Rundle Mall.

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It’s an open, light-filled space that was quiet when we arrived for an early lunch.

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If you arrive during a busy time, though, you’ll find plenty of seating, whether at the picnic tables or at the high-tops along the wall.

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The burger is a soy patty which comes with pickles and slathered with ketchup and mustard; it’s very much like a fast-food burger, only vegan of course.

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The veggie burger was more delicious, made with lentils and covered with vegan cheese, tomato, lettuce, and avocado.

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The shoestring fries are a must!

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Also near downtown, Zenhouse is an incredible place for vegan yum cha. We enjoyed dim sum and cold salad noodles (too delicious to be photographed in time), and you can eat in or get takeaway.

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Breakfast at Ayla’s Cafe is delicious, with vegetarian and vegan offerings.

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The avocado toast is sublime, with a nice kick from the peppers sprinkled on top.

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If you’re on the move, there are vegan pastries to go, and the coffee is wonderful.

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Dining well in Las Vegas, part 3

By Midge Raymond,

It was by accident that we discovered Nacho Daddy, located a block off the strip (at S. Las Vegas Boulevard and E. Harmon Avenue), and we’re thrilled that we did.

First, for those looking to escape the chaos of the Strip, Nacho Daddy is festive but a bit lower-key than anyplace on the strip. It was busy but not overly crowded; it was nice to have a bit of elbow room and to be able to hold a conversation, which we did over the restaurant’s blood-orange and signature margaritas.

Nacho Daddy has a long and wonderful vegan menu, and the only challenge was trying to decide what to eat. We opted for the chick’n tacos and the vegan loaded nachos.

I can’t say enough about the chick’n tacos: two crispy, lightly fried flour tortillas stuffed with marinated chick’n, caramelized onions and a spicy tomato salsa. Absolutely beyond delicious, the tacos were served with black beans and wild rice.

We also loved the loaded nachos, a gigantic pile of tortilla chips covered with black beans, salsa, guacamole, and vegan cheese and sour cream. Adding spice is avocado lime salsa and pickled jalapeños.

The vegan menu at Nacho Daddy also includes fajitas, quesadillas, fajita bowls, chick’n nachos, and salads. If we’d had the time, we’d have tried every one of them. For a wonderful vegan meal (and tasty margaritas), this is a must-visit for plant-based Vegas travelers.

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