Two recommendations were brought up during my dinner at Millennium. Cinnaholic, a vegan cinnamon bun place in Berkeley, CA that had only recently opened up, and Gracias Madre, an organic, vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission area of San Francisco.
I went over to Cinnaholic that morning and tried the Old Fashioned cinnamon bun. I’m pretty traditional with my sweet foods (well… I guess as traditional as vegan cinnamon buns can be) and I loved it. The bun was firm on the outside, and soft on the inside, rolled up with an adequate amount of cinnamon sugar. But the icing really sealed the deal, it was magic.
Two people were working there, and one of them was great and friendly, the other one not so much. Maybe my questions were irritating, but I was curious and excited to be there. I noted that they didn’t really openly say “vegan” anywhere, and thought that was kind of a good idea. It doesn’t “taste vegan” at all, so why not? They’ve only been open about a month, and as a really nice touch they have a student discount! Which is great considering they are located right outside of the UC Berkeley Campus.
I like the idea of custom designing cinnamon bun toppings, but I wasn’t feeling very creative, so I picked up the special of the day, a Butterscotch chocolate chip oreo cookie. It was good, but the old fashioned one was totally my favourite.
I jumped on the BART and headed back to San Francisco, jumped on a MUNI train and headed to the Castro, I wanted to check out Harvey Milk square and wander around for a little while. What a great neighbourhood. I loved all the book stores and cafes.
I was planning on visiting Weird Fish that night, but as I was walking over there, I stumbled upon Gracias Madre, and decided that sounded way more appealing. I love entirely vegan businesses, and want to support them most of all. Plus I love Mexican food. Win Win.
In all my life of eating, (and as this blog can attest to, I’ve eaten a lot) I have never had a tamale. But unsurprisingly, I saw them on the menu at countless places, so it was time to make it happen. They have an interesting seating set up, family style, so you might end up sitting with complete strangers at your table. It was funny to watch how uncomfortable that seemed to make people. I didn’t mind, because it meant I wasn’t really eating alone.
I ordered the Tamal Del Dias and as an appetizer the Guacamole with fresh tortilla. The tortillas were delicious, soft and warm and I think the guacamole was the best one I’ve ever had. It’s hard to make bad guacamole, but it’s even harder to make guacamole that’s really genuinely impressive, this was it. I could really taste the lime and cilantro, with just a hint of spice.
After I finished my Tamal Del Dias, I followed a recommendation I was given, and tried the Elote (grilled corn on the cob.) Sure, it’s just corn on the cob, but I think the garlic rub really made it for me. The chipotle crema was okay and tasty, but the corn stands well enough on it’s own without additional sauce.
Then as always, it was time for dessert. And what a dessert. I had the Flan. Which apparently everyone raves about, and I’m no exception. Another near tear producing dessert. My only experience with flan has been as a vegan, but it’s normally made an egg based dessert made with evaporated milk. This tasted sweet and rich, and the caramel flavour on top was ambrosial.
Now I’m back in Edmonton, and getting used to eating at home again. After the excesses of vacation, I think it would be interesting to try following VeganHope’s idea of the 21$/week vegan challenge. I admire the idea and the reasons behind it. Eating ethically and healthily doesn’t have to be expensive.