Who: VN Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When: August 14, 2010
Why: Because Saturdays should always be spent shopping, wining, and dining.
The Scoop: Brand new to both San Francisco and to the concept that summers are not actually warm in this city, I braved the chilly morning fog on my second weekend here and set off downtown to be a shameless tourist. Tempted by promises of doughnuts and Vietnamese food, I decided to head down to the Ferry Building where an old friend—the sun—had showed up to greet me. San Francisco’s Ferry Building is more than just some random building you pass through to catch the ferry to the East Bay. It’s a veritable food-lovers paradise with a produce market, chocolate shop, restaurants, bookstores, a boutique wine store, and more.
Photo via ferrybuildingmarketplace.com
Prioritizing doughnuts like any other self-respecting Canadian, I quickly found the Pepples Organic Donuts display. Made in Oakland, these cake doughnuts are beautiful to look at and even better to devour. I grabbed both Lemon Poppy Seed and Salted Caramel flavors for later. The Lemon Poppy Seed was to die for!
After getting the requisite photo of the Bay Bridge and enjoying the sun, I headed back into the building to hunt down the Vietnamese fusion restaurant. Slickly designed, The Slanted Door drew me in with its promises of vegan options and requisite Vietnamese Spring Rolls. I tend to judge a Vietnamese restaurant by the quality of its rice paper rolls, and the Slanted Door’s refreshing rolls filled with tofu, shiitakes, cabbage, and mint, and served with a zesty peanut dipping sauce, exceeded my expectations. For my main, I wisely selected the lemongrass tofu. Made with local tofu from Oakland’s Hodo Soy Beanery (seriously, what’s up with Oakland and when can I move there?), this dish was expertly spiced with garlic and lemongrass, and complemented by onions, shiitakes, and roasted chilies. I should have trusted my gut and polished it up there, but in an effort to save room for wine tasting I got it packed to-go, later resulting in a lemongrass disaster at the bottom of my bag. When in doubt, kids, finish your plate.
Hailing from beautiful British Columbia with its abundant vineyards and charming wineries, you could say I’ve become a bit—enthusiastic, shall we say—about exciting wine varietals. In preparation for my trip out to Sonoma next weekend, I found a table at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants tasting bar and tried a trio of Northern California reds, which my knowledgeable server confirmed to be vegan.
Seriously now, I’m sitting in a wine bar with a full belly and excited palate…could this get any better? Yes, it could, as I also took that opportunity to break into the brand spanking new VegNews September+October issue, now on its way to eager subscribers. The issue includes an article about my homeland, the great white north (and birthplace of Daiya cheese), which may have made me homesick had I not been sipping reds and living the good life on a sunny Saturday in California.
Three beautiful reds and a peek at the new VegNews