Who: VN Associate Editor Jennifer Chen
What: Berkeley Vegan Earth Day
Where: Berkeley, Calif.
When: April 22, 2011
Why: To celebrate Earth Day with fellow vegans.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Who: VN Associate Editor Jennifer Chen
Thursday, April 21, 2011
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.
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!
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!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
It was a lovely day, so I decided to ride my bike, and although I made a few wrong turns, I made it to Alexandra's humble abode in good time. We then set out to the book fair, which took place at the same location as the World Veg Day Festival, which usually takes place at the beginning of October. There were plenty of books for fair prices, which always makes me happy, and Alexandra and I took our time scoping out each booth. Our favorites were the booths of PM Press, AK Press, and Food Not Bombs, but all the booths were great, and offered good selections.
Hunger eventually got the best of us, and unfortunately there was not food at the book fair, so we decided to head out into the Inner Sunset for a late lunch. After much deliberation, we finally decided upon Loving Hut, because neither of us had been to the one in the Sunset before, and they were voted the 2010 VegNews Readers' Favorite Restaurant, so why not give it a try? Everything was good, but our favorite was our appetizer, which was the Ocean Basket. It was a fried basket of yam shrimp, mushrooms, seaweed fillet, green beans, served with a dill and Vegenaise sauce. It definitely hit the spot!
However, we were not yet satisfied, and longed for dessert. I have been dying to try Holy Gelato! for some time now, which serves up to 12 flavors of vegan gelato on a daily basis. There was no stopping me, so we were off to this sweet spot, and once we stepped through the doors, I was in heaven. How have I not been here before? There were so many flavors, and I wanted to try them all, but I finally chose the Mint Cookie and Charlie Brown's Nightmare served in a waffle cone. It was so good that I gobbled it up before taking a photo—so sorry! Alexandra opted for a warmer dessert, and grabbed a vegan cupcake and a tea from a nearby café.
After a day's worth of adventure, we walked back to Alexandra's house, and we said our goodbyes. Luckily, much of my bike ride home was downhill, and I arrived back in the Tenderloin in record time, feeling refreshed. I love my crazy neighborhood, but sometimes it feels great to get out—even for a little while.