Vegan Collegiate Does San Francisco, Part 1

Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing holiday! Mine was a bit hectic only in the fact that I started in San Francisco and ended up in Sonoma. But I still enjoyed an incredible Thanksgiving meal, regardless that it was in a restaurant, with my family. But more on that feast later…

First I’ll go through my San Francisco vegan experience. I had gone on happycow.net before the trip to look for some options, but most of them had been ethnic restaurants and I had kind of wanted to try something more San Franciscan. Much to my luck, my parents and I stumbled upon The Plant, and organic cafe right on the Embarcadero. About 75% of the menu was vegan or had a vegan option so it was practically impossible to choose. I was originally leaning towards the Barbecue Tempeh dish, featuring Korean barbecue sauce. However, I decided to go with a lighter option for lunch. I settled upon the Wasabi Plant Burger, featuring the cafe’s famous beet Plant Burger. A bright red burger with onions and a wasabi-raspberry sauce, all on wheat bread. It was huge and it was delicious. In case the burger wasn’t enough it came with incredible roasted potatoes and salad. As a starter we got tofu spring rolls with a killer peanut sauce. I wish I had been able to get pictures of all this but I was too hungry to think of it. The following is a picture from Eat, Live, Run (thanks for letting me use your picture!). If you go through the link, you can actually find a recipe she created to match the burger.

The Plant Burger

Now on to Sonoma and my Thanksgiving meal. I was a little skeptical at first. We were planning on going to The Fig Cafe and I had checked the menu before hand to make sure there was a vegan option. There was a “Chickpea Panisse Cake,” which sounded like it could go either way. But when we got there our waitress quickly stymied my fear: it was vegan! Not only that, but the restaurant prided itself on being vegan friendly. I will attest to the fact that they were very accommodating.

I started with their Fig and Arugula salad, without the pancetta and cheese of course. It was very good, my only criticism was that there weren’t enough figs and they were chopped too small. But the pieces I had were sweet and flavorful.

On to the main course, the Chickpea Panisse Cake. There were too many levels of it to truly give it justice. I tend to eat my meals in pieces, for example I’ll eat the potatoes first, then the spinach, then the rice. Etc. For the this meal I started with the Delicata squash, roasted with lots and lots of flavor. I definitely tasted cinnamon. Next was the swiss chard. It could have been flavored a little more, but when I mixed it with the homemade cranberry sauce it was delicious. Next was the main event, the chickpea cake. Amazing. They seemed like they were fried, but I actually think they were baked. I haven’t eaten something that seemed so cheesy since being vegan, but this was amazing. The crust was perfectly crisp and the inside of creamy and flavorful. When I mixed it with the pesto-like sauce on the plate, WOW. But I think the best part of the meal were definitely the brussels sprouts. I love brussels sprouts. And these were above and beyond. I actually asked for a side of them and our waitress brought them out no question, even though it was a pre fixe meal. They were roasted with balsamic and sugar, and they were perfectly cooked. Crispy but also tender.

Finally, I ended with the chocolate orange sorbet. Again, this wasn’t actually on the pre fixe meal but when I asked if they had any vegan options she was quick to recommend this. And it was a great recommendation. Super chocolatey and smooth, with undertones of orange. Not overpowering, which is nice because I’m not a huge orange fan. I actually had to fight off my dad for this, even though he had ordered his own dinner.

All in all it was a fantastic meal. However, I still kind of wish I had gotten a homecooked meal. But there’s always next year! I really have to get better about taking pictures in restaurants, as I only remembered to snap a pic of the chickpea cake. I will get better I swear!

The Fig Cafe’s Chickpea Panisse Cake

I hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!

 

PS I was not asked to do a review of either of these restaurants, this is not sponsored by anything other than myself!

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