Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Like Ike('s Place)

Who: VN Editorial Director Aurelia d'Andrea and partners in crime Fanny + Jeff
What: A last-hurrah trip to the Sierra Nevada before summer's end
Where: SF + Nevada City
Why: A little R & R
When: August 30–31, 2008

The Scoop: Okay: so I was really really excited about getting out of town. First, I knew it was going to be hot—super duper hot—and that's the way I like it. And I knew I'd get to go for a swim in my favorite watering hole at the Yuba River. Heaven. And, possibly the most exciting part of the trip was going to happen before we ever really hit the road: a trip to Ike's Place.

Never heard of Ike's Place? Well, if you're a sandwich sort of person, and a vegan sort of person, this newish Castro District hole-in-the-wall is the place to be when hunger hits in San Francisco—or so I'd heard. So I had this great idea to go pick up two of these amazing meat-free meatball subs I'd heard so much about, pick my travel partner up from work, then head for the hills. When I arrived at Ike's Place, the door was open, there were people behind the counter milling about, but the "We're Closed" sign was up. Noooooo!!!!!!

"Are you guys really closed?" I inquired sheepishly to the guy behind the counter. "Yeah, we close at six," comes the reply. It was now 7:00. "Drats! I've heard so much about this place!" And next thing I know, the owner, Ike Shehadeh, is back there turning on the oven for little ol' me, and making me the best daggone meatball sub I'd ever had. (Though, truth be told, I'm not sure I've ever really had one before.) Ike is a really nice guy—aside from the whole I'll-make-you-a-sandwich-even-though-we've-been-closed-for-an-hour thing. And you've got to love a non-vegan guy with a menu that looks like this. And he even gave me a free Guayaki drink. Now you know why I like Ike!

There's no photo of that tasty treat, 'cause Jeff and I devoured it in 2.5 seconds (approximately). Believe me when I say it was hearty and delicious and covered in Teese, and that it held us over for the long drive north and east, up Interstate 80 and past all those Burning Man-mobiles loaded down with art and bikes and other detritus, all the way to Nevada City (home of Allison's Gourmet, who makes the best freaking butterscotch fudge ever).

Next day, we were hungry again, but eager to get to the river, so we decided to make a quick stop over to Café Mecca for, well, something. "Do you have anything vegan here?" I asked the tattooed young woman behind the counter. "Well, we've got these," she said, pointing to some very healthy looking cookies. "And we can make you a bagel with hummus and veggies if you want." Sold! Make it two. While I waited, I got to chatting with a hipster dude hanging out at the counter, and he told me about a new place in town called Fudenjuce, where I could get a whole vegan spread and wash it down with a shot of wheatgrass juice if I wanted. How wonderfully rejuvenating would that be after a long hot day in the sun? Couldn't wait.

The river was as beautiful as ever, the water as refreshing as always, and the air as hot as can be. After several hours spent swimming and sunning, we were hungry again, so off we went toward Fudenjuce. Guess what? They were closed, but there was no one to cajole into making us a smoothie to go. On to Plan B: the Briarpatch Co-op. This is the place to run into old friends from high school and pick up some Zen Party Mix and Kombucha while you're at it. And that's what we did.

Heading back toward San Francisco, we found ourselves hungry again right around the town of Auburn, and made an impulse stop at the dodgy-sounding Taco Tree. I ordered two tostadas, and while the price was right ($1.29 each), the quality and taste, well, not so much. It was an awful lot like Taco Bell, and that's about the best I can say about it. And, unlike Ike's meatball sub, there was plenty of time before digging in to take photos. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Sounds like a fun trip, despite a few food mishaps! Ike is the nicest! I'm not a sandwich gal, but the "Vegan Backstabber" is downright delicious! I believe you'll be seeing some vegan cupcakes there in the future as well! ;)