Who: VN staff+VIPsWhat: Dinner after drinks
When: Thursday, February 26, 2009
Where: Weird Fish, San Francisco, Calif.
Why: To celebrate the launch of SF Vegan Drinks and The Road to Vegetopia
The Scoop: After quenching our thirsts at the fabulous, first-ever SF Vegan Drinks, the VN staff and a few VIPs moseyed on down to the Mission to quell our hunger. With hearty appetites we were eager for something warm, wonderful, and maybe even a little ... weird. And weird is exactly what awaited us in the dainty dining room of the weirdest place in town: San Francisco's own Weird Fish.
The entire gang celebrating in a weird way.
We were welcomed by an enthusiastic waitstaff presenting an array of amazing, animal-free appetizers: coconut-milk-mashed yams, lemon-garlic sautéed green beans, barbecued seitan, heaping piles of yam and potato house fries, and Buffalo Girls (aka seitan with buffalo sauce and Vegenaise). The assortment of tastes, textures, and tones accented the eclectic decor and vivacious background beat, making for an unusual atmosphere that one might even venture to describe as, well, weird.
The scrumptious food made a perfect pair for the great company and conversation we enjoyed. We were fortunate to share dinner with a few members of the extended VN family and the night's two guests of honor: Mat Thomas and Mark Middleton—the masterminds behind VegNews' March+April feature, The Road to Vegetopia. After months of hard work, it was a proud moment and true pleasure to personally present fresh-off-the-press copies of the finished product to each. As we appropriately feasted on locally grown produce and sustainable food in a restaurant committed to green business practices, it seemed as though the future of food was right in front of our faces, and soon to be in our tummies—where it belonged.
As for the main course, the most popular orders were the Wako Taco, Hell Fish Taco, and mixed basket of tofu- and seitan-based Fish 'n' Chips, which were served with house fries, slaw, and fixin's. A few of the more courageous members of our party opted for the infamous Suspicious Vegetarian Dish, the ingredients of which were kept secret until the plate arrived from the kitchen. This time, the risk-takers were rightfully rewarded with a beautiful display of black rice and roasted butternut squash topped with tofu in an orange-vanilla sauce. A rarity when dining out, every member of our party of 11 seemed more than satisfied with their selection, as was evidenced by clean plates and wide smiles all around.
If, by this point, you are anxious to digest the details of dessert (come on, you knew it was coming!), you can imagine how we felt waiting for it. Despite the fact that we'd already eaten far beyond our fill, our patience was adequately answered with decadent slices of graham cracker-crusted cheesecake topped with a delicately carved strawberry flowers, all drizzled in strawberry syrup—yes, completely vegan and very, very tasty.
If by "weird," the founders of this culinary gem meant "appetizing," "satisfying," "fun," "unique," and "altogether delicious," I think it's safe to say they nailed their choice of adjective head on. I, for one, will definitely be returning to Weird Fish to satisfy all of my weird cravings—and, if I had it my way, all of my normal ones as well!