I never really spent much time in San Francisco.
As a reporter of vegan food all about this great country, why wouldn’t I have spent more time in the very veg-friendly Bay Area? It just didn’t sit right with me. No need to fret. The Electrician and I have headed west to soak in the Northern CA rays. With a full day of exploration, we started at Golden Gate Park to track down the elusive roaming bison at Buffalo Paddock.
I really like bison, you see, lest you forget last spring break‘s trek to Montana. Sadly, this sign was the only sign of them.
Then we found them… and commenced an enthusiastic bison photo shoot through the chain link fence. They really are spectacular animals. Their skeletal frame seems so wild… from an archaic time period when their tremendousness made more sense. I think this is why I like them so much. They’re relics, walking wooly bullies. That and they are powerful herbivores, dispelling ridiculous myths of the need for animal protein. I like that, too.
California, in general, is dropdead gorgeous. But the Bay Area trumps southern California in beauty. Spending the morning in Golden Gate Park made for a wonderful day 1–seeing the herds of Tai Chi-ers who bring their boom boxes to play tranquil Guqin music that seems to come from the trees, hearing the birds chatter about with the percussion of foot stomps from early morning joggers, seeing trees like this: And what’s with this tree anyway? These spiraling roots bend and contort just to get what they need (water, der.) The simple reasonableness of living things. We all do what we have to get what we need.
And what does this thing want, with its flashy red tickley thingamajigs? This also does what it does to get what it needs (asexual reproduction, der.) All of nature, trying to get what she needs. That’s life, as David Lee Roth said surrounded by a bunch of ladies in bikinis, no matter how humans try to complicate things with their social constructs.
So, naturally, the Golden Gate Bridge was the next stop. In the early morning hour, we caught a calm, unobscured view before heading on the bridge to Sausalito and then onward to the Marin Headlands.
I can’t believe that I haven’t eaten anything yet! We stopped in at a sundrenched eatery in Sausalito across from the sun-sparkling bay to grab a bite. They were “out” of tofu for my tofu scramble (hmph), so I got avocado and toast to make my own avocado toast. The Electrician fared better with some non-vegan atrocity.
The Pacific Ocean. It’s the world’s largest geographic feature. I’m chock full of 5th grade facts.
Hanging out in San Francisco proper, there were some tourist stops on the agenda. The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in Inner Sunset was first. It was pretty and I took pictures of it. There were great views from the top, as well.
Next, I took our VW GTI, whose power and handling is far superior than the crummy midsize option, down the famous crooked street, Lombard Street. It was a hoot but it was way too swarmed with photo-taking gawkers.
It was finally lunch time. We headed to Oakland to try Souley Vegan, an all-vegan soul food spot with a jam-packed menu with starchy, salty comfort foods. The signage was made to be blogged, so here:
First, deep-fried tofu poppers with a medley of dipping sauces: hot sauce, vegan ranch, barbecue sauce, and ketchup. I enjoyed these, as I would enjoy anything plant-based breaded and deep-fried.
I got the housemade seitan and waffles. I though that the waffle was spectacular, probably the best waffle I ever had! Cakey, slight tang/buttermilk-y. Delicious! But the seitan was mostly breading and seasoning. It was a very thin strip of seitan underneath all that crunchy, salty stuff. I was hoping for tender, succulent seitan.
After some down time, a visit to Republic of V to stock up on road trip goodies. Republic of V is an-vegan store with treats and pantry essentials. They had plenty of goodies in their store space. I picked up some peanut butter No No’s from Premium Chocolatiers, classic double cream chive cheese wheel from Miyoko’s Kitchen, and a big, fat Sweet & Sara‘s s’more.
And finally, dinner at the satisfying Sanctuary Bistro in Berkeley. Hands down, the best eats of the day.
Despite the California drought, we got a quart of the wet stuff, packed with sliced blood orange and greens. I also tried their housemade lemon kombucha.
To start, the Beet Tartare, balsamic marinated chopped beet topped with a delicious, thick housemade cashew cream cheese, garnished with fennel fronds. Perfection. The Electrician was into it, too. And he’s got good taste of course.
Trying to keep things light after a way too heavy lunch, I got a small plate: the Dynamite Futomaki Roll with Nigiri— Futomaki rolls packed and rolled with marinated tofu, spinach, carrot, bell peppers, avocado, roasted bell pepper, nigiri, and the Chef’s secret sauce. Just what I needed. Fresh, flavorful, and minimally processed.
There was nothing left to do but drive into the sunset. Until tomorrow!