Can I confess something to you? I am a foodie. No, really: I love great food. Not good food, superb food! As I have transitioned my diet into a “mostly” vegan one (and gluten-free), many of my friends have said to me, “Oh good for you, but I could never do it! I just love ____ too much!” (Fill in the blank with your favorite dairy, meat or wheat-inspired food.)
I want to share with you that, yes, it takes some exploring and learning new ways to cook. And yes, it’s not always easy to find things to eat out at restaurants. But I am so blessed to live near one of the world’s yummiest cities in the world: San Francisco. Just a short drive from where I live, I have found a blissful vegan’s paradise …
A blissfully vegan café
Seed + Salt is my go-to lunch cafe. Completely vegan and gluten-free, I can choose from anything on the menu! Once a month when I have to travel to UCSF for my cancer treatments (not the most enjoyable thing to do in the world), I reward myself when I am finished by stopping by for a delicious meal that is also completely animal-friendly and super healthy for my body, mind and spirit. Try it: I promise you won’t miss the meat, the dairy or the glutens. My favorite: The Quinoa Falafel (and I always add avocado). And don’t miss out on the brown rice krispie treat: yum!
Blissfully vegan Mexican food in the heart of the Mission
Gracias Madre on Mission Street is my “go-to” Mexican restaurant. La comida esta deliciosa! My favorites are any of their salads, and their guacamole is to die for! You won’t be missing the cheese one bit in these Mexican delectable dishes. Great and friendly staff, too.
Blissfully vegan comfort food
Just up the block from Gracias Madre is my favorite comfort food vegan restaurant: Citizen Fox. Actually, they haven’t officially opened yet, but I was fortunate enough to meet the chef and sample an amazing lunch when they hosted Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration for the Turkeys this past November. Their polenta cake was amazing, and they were very good with gluten-free substitutions. Don’t miss their vegan ice cream—it’s pure heaven!
The most elegant blissfully vegan meal
Although not a specifically vegan restaurant, inspired chef Dominique Crenn will create a special vegan meal for you if you let her know your dietary requirements ahead of time. Each course at Atelier Crenn is a work of art and a sublime adventure for your taste buds. It’s truly a spiritual experience to eat here, and I promise I am not exaggerating!
Blissfully vegan chocolate experience
Although some of the chocolate treats made at this small-batch chocolatier are not vegan, their dark chocolate bars are, and they are not to be missed! Dandelion Chocolate offers tiny tastings of each bar made with cacao beans from around the world; 70% Mantuano, Venezuela is my favorite by far! As you unwrap the gold leaf-embossed packaging, the gold foil wrapping inside gives you just a hint of the treasure you are about to uncover in this delicious and magnificent chocolate experience.
If you live in San Francisco, nearby, or even if you are just a visitor to our beautiful city, I hope you take the time to indulge your taste buds in some of these marvelous and animal-friendly delectables. And take the time to let the owners, staff and chefs know that you appreciate their animal-friendly offerings. Make sure to drop me a line to let me know your experiences!
What are your favorite blissfully vegan restaurants in your neighborhood?