Monday, July 27, 2015

Metro Kitchen + Drinkery



For a street that didn't used to have much going for it, R Street has certainly turned into a happening place. Several months ago, artists camped out overnight to apply for space in the new Warehouse Artists Lofts at 11th and R, and now a new public market has opened on the ground floor of that building.


I stopped in for lunch last week at Metro Kitchen + Drinkery, a new cafe inside the WAL Public Market. The cafe is run by the owners of the Metro Juice Company, who sell their juices at local farmers markets. The menu at the cafe is a work in progress and many of the items will change weekly, so what I had for lunch may not be on the menu when you visit Metro Kitchen + Drinkery. But if my experience was any indication, you ought to be able to find something vegan and delicious.


Since there were three salads on the menu that were vegan or looked as though they could easily be made vegan, I ordered the Three Salad Plate. The quinoa salad, with carrots, bell pepper, and other vegetables, is usually topped with feta crumbles, so I asked that those be omitted. I also asked that the cheese be left off the baby beet salad. The corn salad, with bell pepper and red onion, is vegan as it is, so no changes were necessary. This wonderful dish turned out to be the perfect combination of textures and flavors for a summer salad trio.




I should probably have ordered one of Metro's cold-pressed juices to drink with my salads, but I couldn't resist the lemon kombucha on tap. Next time, I'll try the juice.




For dessert, Metro Kitchen + Drinkery offers a selection of sweets from Sugar Plum Vegan. I topped off my lunch with one of Sugar Plum's excellent lemon lavender cupcakes.




Metro Kitchen + Drinkery is located in the WAL Public Market at 1104 R Street, and their phone number is 916-346-8319. Their website address is http://www.metrojuicecompany.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/metrojuice/timeline. The cafe is currently open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. They hope to begin serving breakfast and Sunday brunch soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Hideaway Bar & Grill



The Hideaway Bar & Grill on Franklin Boulevard near Broadway is listed on Yelp under the "Dive Bar" category. To be clear, I'm looking at my dive bar days in the rear view mirror, and at quite a distance, for that matter. But in the interest of seeking out vegan food wherever I can find it so I can recommend it to you, my fellow vegans, I visited the Hideaway this weekend with my husband Phil.


I had already checked out the menu online, so I knew they offered a vegan sandwich, and that's what I ordered. The Vegan Harbor Sando is full of grilled vegetables -- zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers. The sandwich, served on toasted sourdough bread, also includes avocado, sundried tomatoes, carmelized onions, and olives. It comes with either fries or a side salad. I forgot to specify which side dish I wanted, so my plate came out with fries. I'm guessing, though, that the fries are cooked in the same oil as non-vegan items, so you may want to ask for a side salad.




There are several other items on the menu that appear as though they could probably be made vegan -- the Beet Off Salad without the feta cheese, for example, or the Crude Stud Veggie Sando, also without the feta. I was impressed by the variety of vegan or vegetarian menu items offered by the Hideaway's kitchen.


The Hideaway Bar & Grill is located at 2565 Franklin Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-455-1331. They don't appear to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SactoHideaway?fref=ts. The kitchen is open Monday through Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Granola Girl Food Truck

Last Thursday, I decided to check out Gather, a neighborhood get-together in Oak Park. What a fun event! There were food trucks, a DJ, beer and wine, and lots of people out to enjoy the summer evening.


The main reason I went to Gather was because I wanted to try out the Granola Girl Food Truck, which people had mentioned on Facebook as having lots of vegan options. Sure enough, Granola Girl had all kinds of good food for vegans.




Everything on the menu was vegetarian, and most items were vegan or could be made vegan. Even better, the menu was clearly marked so I could tell exactly what my options were.

I ordered the Sweet Potato Wedges, with cowboy seasoning, a cashew cheese sauce, cilantro, and spiced pepitas. They were excellent, and I ate every bite. Other vegan options on the menu included a tomato-melon gazpacho, and nachos topped with, among other things, a housemade beet and carrot salsa. There is apparently a vegan option for their green grilled cheese sandwich too. The portobello banh mi sliders have an ingredient that contains honey, but are otherwise vegan.




Granola Girl also has vegan shakes, granola bowls, and desserts. I couldn't leave without ordering at least one more thing, so I got the Berry Crisp to go and ate it for breakfast the next morning. So good!




To find out where and when you can catch up with the Granola Girl Food Truck, check their website at http://www.granolagirlfoodtruck.com/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GranolaGirlSacramento/timeline.

And seriously, you should check out Gather one of these Thursday nights. In addition to the Granola Girl Food Truck, the Dave Pops cart was there with fabulous vegan frozen dessert pops, Fuzion Eatz had their delicious falafel wrap on the menu (hold the feta and the dairy-based sauce), and Raja's Tandoor was there from Davis with chana masala and samosas. I don't know if the food truck line-up is the same every month, but I felt like I had lots of choices this month. Gather is held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the second Thursday evening of every month from June to October at the corner of Broadway and 34th Street.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Burgers and Brew

The R Street corridor is the up and coming place in Sacramento these days, with new businesses opening almost daily, it seems. Over the weekend, my husband Phil and I drove over to R Street to have a look, and while we were there, we stopped in for lunch at a restaurant that's been there for awhile -- Burgers and Brew.




I'd actually never been there before, since, at least initially, it wasn't clear to me that they offered any vegan options. Looking at the menu, however, there were three vegetarian burgers, including two that looked as though they could easily be made vegan just by leaving off the roasted red pepper mayo. The third one was the original Gardenburger, which has cheese in the patty itself.


I ordered the Smoked Tofu Burger, without the mayo or onions. It came on a whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato. The thin slices of tofu had an excellent flavor, and I'll definitely go back for another one of those. The burgers come with either fries or the spring mix salad, but you can upgrade to one of their other sides for an additional cost. I got the tasty Fuji apple salad in place of the spring mix salad.




I hate to just write about one dish in these blog posts, so I went back the next day to try the Portobello Burger, also without onions or mayo, and served on a whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato. I'm not usually a huge fan of portobello mushroom sandwiches, but this one was good, and I'd probably order it again if I weren't already planning to order the Smoked Tofu Burger every time I go to Burgers and Brew from now on. I thought I was ordering the spring mix salad to go with it, but somehow managed to get the house salad instead, which was huge. Next time, I'll do a better job of understanding what I'm asking for so I don't end up with more food than I can eat.






Burgers and Brew is located at 1409 R Street, and their phone number is 916-442-0900. The website address is http://www.burgersbrew.com/, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/BURGERS-BREW/266562006696?fref=ts. The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Burgers and Brew also has locations in Davis, Chico, and in Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Road Trip! Taste of India in Buttonwillow

Like an oasis in the desert beckons the parched, the words painted on the roof of the Taste of India restaurant in Buttonwillow call out to the plant-based diner traveling on I-5 between here and Bakersfield: TRY OUR VEGAN FOOD.




How could I not? So my husband and I pulled off the freeway and found our way to the restaurant. Inside, the menu on the wall listed some vegetarian items, but nothing marked as vegan. I thought there must be more, considering the insistence of the words on the roof. I asked the man behind the counter which items were vegan, and he handed me an entire one-page vegan menu.




Now, that was more like it! My husband ordered the samosas, delicious turnovers stuffed with a seasoned potato and pea mixture, and promised to share them with me. They were wonderful!




Since I love Indian appetizers, I decided to get an order of vegetable pakora too. These fritters, made of chopped vegetables mixed with a chickpea batter and then fried, were quite tasty.




For my entrée, I had the yellow dal, described on the menu as a mixture of "fresh-cut cauliflower and potatoes cooked with blend of herbs and spices." It was good, although it would have been better if I'd ordered rice to go with it.




I noticed that vegan mango lassi made with soy milk was on the menu, and I just had to try it. Lassi is a drink that's usually made with yogurt, and I don't think I've ever seen a vegan version of it before. It was a delicious and refreshing drink, perfect for a hot Central Valley day.




Taste of India is located at 20687 Tracy Avenue, just off I-5, in Buttonwillow, and their phone number is 661-764-6464. They don't appear to have a website, but their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Taste-of-India/113844088647087?sk=timeline. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.



Monday, June 22, 2015

Pinkberry

When the weather heats up, I start looking for frozen vegan treats to cool things down. This weekend, my son Zack and I went to Pinkberry so I could check out their new dairy-free Tropical Mango sorbet. Not only is it dairy-free, but it has no added sugar.




I picked the size I wanted (small), and then chose from a variety of toppings. I decided on flaked coconut, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. There were other fruit toppings available as well, including pineapple, mango, and kiwi. It was a delicious and very refreshing dessert.




Other frozen yogurt shops offer sorbet as well, but they're not always vegan. I really like berry-flavored sorbets, for example, but in looking at the ingredient listings at some shops, I found that the beautiful red color in those flavors came from the addition of carmine to the sorbet. Carmine is a food dye made from cochineal insects. So not vegan!


I guess I'll just have to stick with non-red sorbets in the future unless I know for sure they don't include insect dye. The Tropical Mango at Pinkberry really hit the spot, so that may be my go-to frozen treat this summer.


Pinkberry is an international franchise, with several locations in the greater Sacramento area. For more information, check out their website at http://www.pinkberry.com/, or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pinkberry.