Thursday, April 21, 2011

Date Night Dining

Who: VN Editorial Assistant Alexandra Chang
What: Happy Hour at Dash Café and Dinner at Asqew Grill
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When: April 19, 2011
Why: To go out and have a relaxing time with the boyfriend, while eating plenty of delicious vegan fare.

The Scoop: After moving in with my boyfriend we started spending the majority of our time at home, which is hardly a problem. But getting out is important too (at least this is what people tell me), so I decided to take advantage of our local café’s weekday happy hour. VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig also recently gave me two meal tickets to Asqew Grill, turning my evening into a complete date night extravaganza.

While parking myself on my couch in front of the TV is great respite from a day’s work, there is nothing quite as relaxing and refreshing as grabbing a drink and snacks for discounted dollars. We headed to Dash Café, which recently started carrying vegan cupcakes (pictured below), cookies, and coffee cake*. For happy hour, the appetizers go for $4 and the wine and beer is a dollar off. To top it all off, the staff is friendly, the décor is cute, and the vibe is just the right amount of casual. Granted there were UCSF medical students studying nearby as we chatted away, but they didn’t seem to mind. Or at least they didn’t glare. We ended up ordering a plate of deliciously seasoned fries, a beer, and a vegan chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting to share. Dessert before dinner is always OK in my book.

Vegan cupcakes and cookies at Dash Caf


Enjoying some fries and beer

After filling up on all the necessities (sugar, salt, booze), we took a pleasant 20-minute walk to Asqew Grill in the Haight. I had never noticed, let alone been to, the restaurant tucked away between clothing shops. As soon as we stepped inside, however, I felt immediately comfortable. The whole place has a Western feel with a touch of SF quirk. A giant wooden menu is complemented with lopsidedly hanged photos and awards, all lit under vintage lighting fixtures. For dinner I ordered one seasonal vegetable skewer, which included slices of squash, zuchinni, tomato wedges, broccoli, and button mushrooms, and one portabello mushroom skewer. Every order also comes with a side or salad. The restaurant has three vegan options: citrus cous cous, coconut cilantro jasmine rice, and organic baby green salad. I went with the cous cous and ended up enjoying a very delicious meal!

The skewers over cous cous!

With a satisfied appetite, we took the walk back home. Either the food had gotten to us or we were just plain tired, but it took us nearly twice as much time. We meandered through UCSF, went up and down stairs around deserted medical buildings, admired views of city lights, until finally we reached the comfort of yes, our couch and TV. All in all, the night was a success, and we’ll be trying to go out more often than not.

*Dash Café says that they will only continue carrying vegan pastries if they sell well. So if you live in the area, get over to the Inner Sunset and show them how much vegans love sweets!

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