May 2009

Vegetarians + bbqs = fun in the sun

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, thousands of Americans will be heading out to the beach, the countryside or local parks. Amongst their number will be a good amount of vegetarians, and seeing as we don’t just hang out with each other, we’re going to have to find something that we can eat alongside our carnivorous companions. Here’s the thing, too; I don’t know about you, but I don’t find eating faux meat products, like soy burgers or the like, either terribly interesting or satisfying.  So, I’ve come up with a few ideas that you might want to try out. Watch out, though - everyone’s going to want to try these, vegetarian or not!

Green Onions and Aioli

Lentil Casserole

So, the lentil seems to have become something of a bête noir for those who wish to make out that all vegetarian food is tasteless and hard to eat. To be fair, they probably have something of a point, but I suspect that’s at least partly because they’ve never eaten them properly prepared. I’m a big fan of the puy lentil, these tiny nutty ovals that you can pair with almost anything.

I’ve used them to make a simple lentil casserole, which I hope that you’ll like.

Ingredients (makes enough for 2-4, depending on portion size, and what you serve with it. A salad would be nice)

1 cup puy lentils, well washed
2 Carrots, diced
Handful of mushrooms, your choice of what type, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
Half an onion, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1 potato, diced
1 large potato, finely sliced
Stock cube (or fresh stock, if you have it)
Tomato puree
Fresh Thyme

Method

Five vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco

San Francisco, as you might expect, is a very vegetarian friendly city. Most every place you go to eat will have more than one decent vegetarian option. There are, of course, some exceptions (I’m looking at you, Blue Plate), but even somewhere like the marvelously meaty Back Porch has a different vegan special each day, which changes according to what looked good at the market that morning. Oh, and their in house hot sauce is insanely good. Of course, on top of this, it’s hard to beat a super vegetarian burrito!

Anyway, I digress. There are some excellent specialist vegetarian restaurants in the city here, and I wanted to share five of my favorites.

1. Cha-ya, Valencia and 19th St

One of the most popular stops on Valencia, its Japanese menu is long and varied. There are soups, hot pots, goiza and a full selection of vegan sushi. It’s cash only, and gets pretty busy, so go early. They also have a great range of sake, as well, so this is a great place to go on a Friday or Saturday evening, before stopping across the road for a beer in the Elbo Rooms.