Category: Vegan


Dining well in San Francisco: Enjoy Vegetarian Chinese

By Midge Raymond,

Enjoy is an amazing vegan Chinese restaurant in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The restaurant is spacious and welcoming, but due to time constraints we opted for takeout.

It was hard to choose what to order from this all-vegan menu, which includes mock meats and seafoods in every form imaginable, from “beef” and “chicken” to “sea slugs.” In the end, we chose an order of spinach dumplings, which were soft, fluffy, and absolutely divine. We also had the Ma Pa Tofu, which is good if you like your tofu soft.

The broccoli “beef” is great, with loads of fresh broccoli and thin slices of mock beef. The Kung Pao “chicken” is spicy and loaded with peanuts, with mock chicken that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The veggie chow mein is also delicious.

This is a lovely spot to visit while shopping in Chinatown, and Enjoy also delivers if you’re in the city.

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Dining well in New York

By Midge Raymond,

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since the hardcover book tour for My Last Continent. It was not only a fabulous tour but so much fun to eat well along the way. I discovered one fabulous vegan eatery when I stopped in with friends at La Botaniste after my reading at Shakespeare & Co.

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This entirely plant-based wine bar has a fabulous menu. You order at the counter, and the bowls are made to order.

I had the pasta, with vegan bolongnese sauce — it is a gigantic, flavorful, and wonderful meal.

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I didn’t take photos of everyone’s food (it all disappeared very quickly), but everything was wonderful, from appetizers like hummus and red-beet caviar to the soups and rice bowls.

There is also a wonderful selection of pastries, cookies, pies, and puddings. It’s a friendly place with good wines and great prices, especially for New York.

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Dining well in Berkeley: The Butcher’s Son

By Midge Raymond,

The Butcher’s Son on University Avenue is a vegan deli but also feels like a “classic” deli, with its huge portions, its “meats” and “cheeses” behind glass cases, and the preparation of all the foods just over the counter.

It’s a small space, with about a half-dozen tables inside and a few more on the sidewalk outside. Sandwiches and salads (including bacon macaroni, creamy coleslaw, potato salad) are served all day, and brunch on weekends includes pancakes and a “steak and egg hoagie.” Appetizers include fried mozzarella, and there’s a kids’ menu and a mouth-watering selection of desserts, from cupcakes to cannoli.

The menu changes regularly, which is a good reason to go back as many times as possible. (If you’re looking at the menu online, check out the little camera icon to see what certain dishes look like.)

On the day we were there we had three delicious (and gigantic) sandwiches. (Important tip: Consider sharing meals so you’ll have room for dessert.)

I had the tuna salad sandwich on rye (I’d ordered the tuna melt but got this instead, and was not even slightly disappointed; I think I liked it even more than I might’ve enjoyed the melt). The sandwich comprises perfectly prepared and spiced tempeh tuna salad on rye with vegan mayo, mustard, onion, lettuce, avocado, and tomato. The bacon macaroni salad was delicious, and I got a side of bleu cheese (which normally goes with the melted version), and it was absolutely delicious — tangy with a crumbly texture.

We also sampled the chick’n pesto…sliced chick’n with pesto mayonnaise, hot cracked pepper chick’n, grilled mozzarella, and tomato. The bread was lightly toasted, the mozzarella perfectly melted, and the creamy coleslaw on the side was delicious.

And finally, the turkey grinder, which was even more gigantic than the other two overwhelmingly large sandwiches. This one is a toasted French bun with “grinder meat” (thinly sliced vegan turkey, gorgeously spiced), cracked pepper turkey, bacon, melted nacho cheese, pickled jalapeño, and iceberg lettuce. Because it was impossible to finish in one sitting, we discovered that taking home the leftovers is well worth it; it was just as delicious the next day.

For such a busy and popular place, the service is quick and efficient. And if you don’t save room for dessert, be sure to get some to go, along with plenty of vegan “meats” and dairy-free cheeses.

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Dining well in San Francisco: Shizen

By Midge Raymond,

If you’re a vegan who used to love sushi, you will rejoice over San Francisco’s Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya. As a vegan who never liked sushi, I nevertheless rejoiced upon visiting this lovely place, which has vegan raw fish and so, so much more.

The restaurant is tiny, and there is always a long wait (for our party, which arrived after eight o’clock on a Wednesday night, the wait was more than an hour and a half). But it’s well worth it.

For sushi lovers, there is a seemingly endless menu of vegan options — the carnivore among us loved every bite and vows to return again. Even if you’re not a sushi fan, there are a great many dishes to enjoy. As an appetizer, the garlic edamame is to die for.

For those who like miso and ramen, there are several delicious choices; I loved the soy ramen, which came with perfectly prepared noodles, a savory broth, and bacony-flavored tofu (which, to our delight, very much impressed the carnivore).

The rolls include Philadelphia rolls, California rolls, “tofuna” rolls, and so much more.

There’s also a dish known as the “Surprise Ending,” in which one (and only one) of the bites is incredibly spicy.

And all this is just the beginning; there are myriad more dishes, including tempura, stuffed mushrooms, gyoza (glorious fried dumplings), and sweet potato croquettes…and on and on. You’ll need more than one visit to enjoy all there is to offer here; we are already looking forward to going back.

 

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Dining well in San Francisco: Samovar Tea Lounge

By Midge Raymond,

When I was in San Francisco for Litquake last fall, I enjoyed a lovely post-event lunch with friends at Samovar Tea Lounge. It was a perfect spot for a tea-infused mimosa and a bite to eat on an autumn weekend — and there are myriad vegetarian and vegan options.

I ordered from among the dishes that pair tea with food, and in this case my “Japanese Service” came with a Ryokucha Green Tea.

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The Japanese Service itself was delicious, with seaweed salad, brown rice, kale, butternut squash, nori, and handmade tempeh.

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One friend enjoyed toast with almond butter, banana, and sesame seeds…

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…and another had the veggie sandwich, which included avocado, roasted peppers, arugula, baked zucchini, red onion, olive oil and basil pesto.

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The location was lovely, with outdoor seating and open-air indoor seating, all overlooking Yerba Buena gardens and a short walk to the Museum of Modern Art and many other wonderful places to visit.

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