Thursday, January 8, 2009

SF is vegan haven / heaven

Wow. All I can say is, wow.

San Francisco and the Bay area = nirvana for vegans.

I guess trying to be vegan in the Philippines makes trying to be vegan anywhere else a LOT easier. Seriously, it was too easy.

Most of the regular restaurants had veg options. For instance...

This is a VEGAN sandwich. And it was awesome. French baguette with tomato sauce, bell peppers, pepperoncini, mushrooms, olives, and SOY cheese. Check out Goat Hill Pizza at 715 Harrison at 3rd St, SF -- any dish with dairy cheese can be substituted with soy cheese.

This establishment is so-so when it comes to vegan-friendliness. 21st Amendment at 563 2nd St, SF has a veggie burger that contains egg so I opted for their garden salad with beans. One thing I've noticed in American restaurants is that garden salad does not necessarily = leaves + tomatoes. This one had shaved fennel, sliced radish and cherry tomatoes.

Spending time with my American cousins has made me more appreciative of non-Tequila-and-Kahlua-liquor. Here is 21st Amendment's Pomegranate Cider. It looks like liquid gold here, but it's actually a light pink. Nice.

I'm not much of a photographer 'cept when I'm in a kitchen hence the lack of restaurant food photos. I am a HUGE fan of Mexican food (cilantro / wansoy is my herb of choice and I can eat guacamole all day every day) and any Mexican restaurant has a veggie burrito with beans. I think I ate Mexican every 2 or 3 days.

There are 2 restaurant memories that I will treasure forever as a vegan.

I think I just about died and went to heaven when I visited Maggie Mudd at 903 Cortland Ave, SF. It isn't 100% vegan but it has a menu of vegan ice cream, soy- and coconut milk-based. SUNDAES CAN BE MADE VEGAN.

I got to go to this place thanks to Janine, a former high school classmate of mine who is now based in San Francisco. I think I bugged her to death to take me to Maggie Mudd (and bribed her with free ice cream too) and it did not disappoint.
The photos look like crap because it's all white, but let me explain. On the left is Janine's choice: 1 scoop of oatmeal cookie dough ice cream in a waffle bowl (which they make in the premises as you wait!) with marshmallow sauce and whipped cream. Take note that Janine couldn't finish her 1 scoop because it was about 3/4-1 cup worth of ice cream.

On the right is my choice which I consumed on my own with no traces left whatsoever. It was a fudge brownie with 2 huge scoops of ice cream (oatmeal cookie dough and The Dubliner -- coffee ice cream with Irish Whiskey), with marshmallow sauce, whipped cream, and almonds.

OMG is all I can say. Since I turned vegetarian I have only had 5 vegan ice cream experiences.
  1. Strawberry soy ice cream at Chimara, a "neo vegan" cafe in Greenbelt (neo vegan in quotations because they serve fish -- wtf indeed) which sucked. If you are a vegan based in Manila or are just plain curious about non-dairy ice cream, please do not try Chimara's because it will dash your hopes and dreams of what delicious soy ice cream is supposed to taste like. If you need an ice cream fix I suggest you puree a frozen banana or two -- this is a good sub.
  2. Coconut "tofu" ice cream at a vegan grocery store in Sydney, Australia. Really good.
  3. Vanilla soy ice cream at Janine's apartment -- sadly she's not vegan but she's lactose intolerant. Soo... sorry for her food insensitivities, but yey for saving cow's milk for the calves?
  4. Maggie Mudd -- to be treasured forever. and ever.
  5. Vanilla soy ice cream at my aunt's place, acquired from Trader Joe's.

I dragged my 3 brothers (well 1 was vegan, so I dragged 2) to Herbivore at 531 Divisadero, SF (between Fell and Hayes) and it was amazing. The restaurant had a FULLY VEGAN menu from appetizer to entree to dessert. I almost cried stepping into the place (I almost cried when my rental was in the process of being towed in front of the restaurant, but that's another story for another post).

Actually, I'll leave my Herbivore raves for another post. It deserves its own post. :D Let me just say that... I wish I could open a Manila version of Maggie Mudd and Herbivore. One day... some day... Hopefully in 5-10 years.

Michael, if you're reading this, you open a vegan ice cream parlor and I'll open a vegan restaurant. Together we can rule the world -- er, take over the Manila restaurant scene -- and convince omnivores to move over to the vegan dark side.

Hope everyone had a happy cruelty-free holiday!

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