One of my all-time favorite casual veggie restaurants has hit the Bay Area. Finally! You may recall me speaking of the place a few years ago from when I was on a business trip. I even tried to replicate one … Continue reading
Oh, Ben & Jerry’s. You’ve done it again. As if one of my all time favorites, Phish Food weren’t enough, you go and add my weakness – sweet/salty – to your gourmet ice cream line-up. It’s in the form of “Late Night Snack” – inspired by the Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered potato chips (yes, potato chips!!!), swirled with salted caramel – it’s a little taste of heaven.
According to some gossip and reports going around, Ben & Jerry’s may have ripped the flavor off of my absolute favorite ice cream place ever – Humphry Slocombe. With almost identical flavors, Humphry Slocumbe serves up their “After School Special” flavor at Spork SF restaurant.
And while I live not too crazy far from San Francisco to get a scoop of the original vanillacaramelchocolatepotatochip ice cream, my local grocer is much easier for me to go and pick up a container of the Late Night Snack version by B&J. Except the main problem is that the either one of these will ooze with at least 270 calories/15g fat.
That being said, I’m going to rip off both of them and make my own healthy(er) version. With closer to 160 calories/7 g fat, this is a delicious substitution that will ease your late night noshing conscious.
Healthy(er) Late Night Snack Ice Cream
- 1/2 cup Half-the-fat Vanilla Ice Cream (or if you prefer, fat free or no sugar added types work as well)
- 8-10 bittersweet chocolate chips (melted in a glass bowl for 45-60 seconds, then stirred)
- 3-4 baked potato chips, crushed (I prefer baked Kettle Brand chips)
Simply, drizzle the chocolate over the top of your scoop of ice cream and sprinkle the crushed potato chips over the top.
My husband took me to Umbuntu in Napa, CA – this lovely restaurant (and yoga studio) a while ago. He’s such a patient and kind meat eater, willing to take me on food adventures to try vegetarian restaurants (and for the record, he even enjoyed it!). Tucked downtown Napa, this posh restaurant is open, airy with lots of earthy decor gracing the tall walls. The ambiance is comfortable and the staff was friendly as we were seated. Looking toward the back of the restaurant, you can see the stairs into their yoga studio. I might have to go try a class sometime…
We were seated at the long bench along the wall with tables lined up. It was a bit too tight for my tastes. I didn’t love sitting elbow to elbow with fellow diners. I felt a bit uncomfortable and didn’t feel like I could talk freely and comfortably with my husband across the table from me. Because we were so close to other people and because lighting was dim and because I didn’t bring my “big” camera, I just took flashless shots with my point-and-shoot. That means I don’t have any ‘great’ pics to share. So, we’re just going to have to say these are artsy, gritty shots done this way for the sake of art, ok?
If you walk in from the back door (like we did), you’re sure to be impressed with the line up of awards and articles framed on the wall of the hallway to the dining room praising the owner/founder Sandy Lawrence and partner/executive chef Jeremy Fox and chef Deanie Fox. Since we dined, Jeremy Fox has departed Umbuntu and Aaron London, the very young (26!) executive chef, has taken on this role. I’d be curious to return and see if I can ‘taste’ the difference.
The restaurant is following a green philosophy by growing a lot of their own produce and their menu is graced with bold fonts for each ingredient grown in their gardens. I ordered their signature salad (don’t remember the name) with the beet ‘dirt’. It had great flavor and the (optional) cheese was a nice touch. This salad basically has everything in their garden, so the ingredients change with the season.
As much as I loved each dish that was brought to our table, the highlight of the meal were the appetizers! They were to amazing. We had the lavender almonds, chickpea clusters, and some ‘crackers’ of sorts with an avocado dip. We talked about the almonds for days, weeks, and even months afterward. In fact, that’s what inspired my own attempt!
The presentation of each dish was spectacular You could tell that the chefs took each dish to heart and carefully placed each item of food on the plate. Gorgeous! And since they work in an open kitchen, it’s easy to see them slaving away on each service.
The desserts were pretty good. I got one of their signature desserts – the cheesecake in a jar. It came out in a darling jar with some fruit layered in between the very soft, pudding like cheesecake with a lovely crust on the bottom. There were a couple of cookies on the side that were tasty. Overall, while it had good flavor, I wasn’t spectacularly impressed. Granted, I’m a big dessert snob, so for others it was probably great. It was good. Not great. This surprised me considering all the praise over the pastry chef on the wall.
My main regret about this restaurant is that even though I consider myself an average to above-average ‘foodie’, I really had a hard time deciphering the menu. I didn’t know what half the things were or how they were prepared. It made it next to impossible to decide what to get and then when I did finally decide and order, what I got wasn’t really what I thought I was getting. For example, we ordered a pasta dish and it ended up being very sweet. I did not want ‘sweet’ and the menu didn’t give any indicators that it might be sweet. I wish they’d use a bit more ‘plain’ English to a certain degree so the average (and maybe even slightly above average) foodie can know what they’re ordering.
I tried to ask a lot of questions, but I think we got a new server because they didn’t know the dishes really well and had to request assistance from other servers. I’d say service was just ‘ok’ but I blame it on the newness of our particular server. Everyone else seemed just fine.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this restaurant to any food loving vegetarian. It’s a must-try place. Prices a are a bit high, so for us, it won’t happen often, but hopefully we’ll go again soon so I can check out the new chef and see how the food/service is this time.
Whenever I travel for business, I try to go to a vegetarian restaurant every time. I like to find unique and local vegetarian cuisine. This time, I selected Spread in San Diego, California. I’ve categorized my feedback into chucks for you…
All their food is from local farmers markets and such, much of which is organic. love the concept and idea that everything is local/organic/etc. And I love that the menu changes with the seasons. They had a reasonable selection of both vegetarian and vegan options. Continue reading
If you’ve never been to San Diego, California, you need to plan a trip – stat. If for no other reason than to visit this darling dessert shop. They have two locations in the San Diego area. I visited the one on 5th Street, right next to Balboa Park and right next to Nature-Express, a fascinating little vegetarian restaurant. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat there since I had just come from another veg place across town. Had I known, I would have planned that one a little better).
Located in a cute cottage style house with both indoor and outdoor seating, this place is a little taste of heaven. I think I committed every single one of the 7 deadly sins just walking in and eating here!
There’s a new Texas Roadhouse in a neighboring town and my husband (meat eater) really wanted to check it out. I normally don’t have a problem with steak houses in general since I am usually happy to have a baked potato and side salad and call it a night. So, I went along with it.
Overall, the service was good, atmosphere fun and lively. But for a vegetarian? Not good. I just have to spread the news to all my vegetarian friends…
VEGETARIANS BEWARE!!! I was excited that they had a “country veg plate” (where you get a choice of 4 sides) that I was thinking would be perfect for me, the vegetarian. I assumed the green beans would probably be cooked in bacon, so I thought I’d ask just to make find out for sure what was vegetarian and what was not. So, I asked the waitress if any of the sides had meat products in them.
Thankfully, our waitress was very honest (not all would be so honest, I doubt). She informed me that almost all of their veggie dishes have meat products in them!!!
- Mashed potatoes and seasoned rice are both cooked in chicken broth.
- Baked sweet potatoes are rolled in bacon grease.
- Baked white potatoes are rolled in bacon grease.
- Green beans have bacon.
- Baked beans have ham.
That leaves just the house salad, mixed vegetables and apple sauce as meat free options (I’m not sure about the steak fries – I didn’t ask). Even the house salad has eggs and cheese on it (which you can request to leave off if you don’t eat those products) and the vegetables have butter (which you can request to leave off, also). There were no other options for vegetarians, except maybe mac and cheese on the kids’ menu, but who knows… That might have bacon or ham in it, too.
I was HIGHLY disappointed – especially since I was so starving.
After many long weeks of no “date night” with the husband, we finally decided to get out and go somewhere! We’d heard fabulous things from friends about Lark Creek in Walnut Creek. So, we made reservations and a few hours later headed off to the WC.
The place was pretty crowded at 9pm when we showed up for our reservations. The temperature outside was so bitterly cold, everyone was huddled inside waiting for a table. We were a little early, so we sat at the bar a few minutes and got a couple of drinks while we waited.
When we were seated and started reviewing the menu, I was very impressed at the vegetarian selection available. They had much more unique and interesting options rather than the one token pasta you may find at the very bottom of the page.
Whenever I take off on any trip away from my safe Veggie-friendly bubble that is the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m always a little worried about what I’m going to be able to find to eat – especially getting protein is a challenge. It’s amazing what some restaurants consider food for a vegetarian. (No, I don’t want a ‘green salad’ with iceberg lettuce as my dinner).
Early this morning, I ate my breakfast at home and brought a banana as a snack, but by the time my delayed flight was set to leave, it was noon. And I was hungry again. I discovered Terminal 2 has a 360 Gourmet Burrito. I haven’t been to a 360 in a very very long time, but I figured I’d try it out. It was perfect.
They changed the menu format since last time I’ve been. And I think it’s for the better. Now, it’s a build your meal style. You pick what you want (burrito, bowl, salad, quesadilla), your meat (smoked tofu for me!), and style the meat is cooked (curry, teriyaki, Thai, garlic lemon). I got a Thai Tofu Salad. It was fabulous and filling. The salad was a fresh dark leaf lettuce with tomatoes and all topped in sauteed smoked tofu, bell peppers, onion, carrots and bean sprouts. They gave me a salad dressing to use, but the juices from the veggies and tofu mix on top were dressing enough. And the spicy, intense flavor with the tofu (protein!) was satisfying and filling.
I looked up the nutritional value from the meal and it wasn’t too bad, either! Just 433 calories for my salad with tofu. The fat content was a bit high, but not the end of the world (30g).
Meal #2 of the trip was another success. Directly next door to my hotel is a Sweet Tomatoes. I walked over there for dinner tonight and munched on a mixed salad, soup, and a very yummy orange cranberry lowfat muffin. I’m still full from dinner!
If you’re ever in Atlanta, Georgia and want some good Southern food without all the meat, check out South City Kitchen Midtown Atlanta (There’s also one in Smyrna, but I don’t know where that is). It’s the most elegant Southern-cooking restaurant you’re bound to find anywhere. Imagine collard greens, fried green tomatoes, and grits meets elegance with white table cloths and candlelight. It makes for a fabulous evening out.
I kidnapped my husband last Friday evening without telling him where were going. I had my eye on the new Fenton’s Ice Cream parlor that I had heard recently went into the Nut Tree in Vacaville. Not wanting the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs available at Fenton’s, I found a restaurant a few doors down called Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria.