Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Vegan Options Dwindling
I don't know if its just me, but it seems as if my vegan options are dwindling. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, many restaurants are closing down or eliminating their veggie options. I tried to patronize my local raw/vegan joint in Fairfax called Lydia's Lovin' Foods but I noticed the restaurant had a sad FOR RENT sign in the window. Okay, so the service was crap but Fairfax is known for their slow, hippie ways. I assumed that I had to adjust my perspective when entering the town of self proclaimed freaks and peaceniks. My backup plan kicked into gear, which is choosing from various hot/cold prepared foods at GOOD EARTH Grocery across the street. I guess this is a lesson in not stereotyping, because I thought Fairfax types would lean towards vegan cuisine. It seems that much of their options include eggs and butter.
They have about 5 different pizzas now, which look delicious but all have cheese. I remember buying vegan pizza there for lunch once. I remember often picking up a tasty seitan or tempeh dish there for my husband and I for dinner. I would drive out there to shop for local produce (which they ALWAYS feature, they have the BEST produce) and bulk items sometimes not available at Whole Foods. Good Earth is NOT cheap, its quite pricey. I stopped going so often because of the dwindling vegan selections. The salad bar is really my best bet there. If you go, try the Caesar. The croutons are tasty!
The only reason I can come up with for this downward trend is that the bulk food preparation is too expensive when using vegan ingredients. I suppose there is not much of a demand for vegan pizza when its sitting next to 4 other dairy cheese pizzas. I used to order Noah's Bagels with Tofutti at my local shop in Greenbrae. Unfortunately, they eliminated Tofutti cream cheese from the menu which leaves me with peanut butter as the next best choice. I think people should give Tofutti a try, its amazing! So tasty, I think many would choose it over cream cheese once they have tried it. Noah's needs to put out some samples of bagels with a bit of Tofutti and determine reactions of the customers. This stuff lasts awhile, I don't see how it could expire too soon and cause them to lose money providing it for the lactose intolerant or vegan customers. Tofutti is cholesterol free, while Philly Cream Cheese has 40 mg of it! Tofutti has 2 grams of Saturated Fat, while Philly has 6!
Whole Foods tends to serve the same damn vegan items in their hot food meal deal section. Always the curry that is flavorless or the damn dahl that tastes nothing like dahl. I do appreciate the sandwich section providing soy mayo, eggless tofu salad, hummus, and other tofus. I wish I had more to choose from.
Another yummy restaurant called Geranium closed down recently in SF. I don't know why, the food always tasted great and the service was acceptable. Cafe Gratitude is multiplying, which is a plus. Unfortunately, raw food makes me feel ill sometimes. Its so heavy that my tummy has trouble after a small meal there. The desserts are AMAZING! Strawberry shortcake, highly recommended! Look out for the new location in San Anselmo, Marin County.
Another restaurant nearby, Paradise Seafood and Vegetarian, a faux meat Asian place closed down and is now replaced with yet another Indian restaurant. Running a restaurant ain't easy. I suppose I have to accept that vegan restauranteurs have good intentions, but maybe lack experience or business sense.
I suppose I should stick to writing. One thing I do know, you will be the first to know if I find the perfect spot for a hearty vegan lunch or dinner. Until then, cook for yourself!