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Thursday, September 28, 2023

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CultureFood & DrinkGood Taste: A year in vegan splendor

Good Taste: A year in vegan splendor

This year’s standout local plant-based dishes, plus exclusive recipes to devour!

Bienvenidos a Good Taste, your weekly serving of Bay Area food finds. As the year starts to wind down, we’re taking a look at some of the most memorable vegan bites we’ve experienced in 2021. Try the Unicorn Meat!

Ohlone salad with smoked walnut oil and blackberry-Bay laurel coulis by Cafe Ohlone

Ohlone salad by Cafe Ohlone

I began the year with a soulful Sunday Supper at home box from Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino aka mak-’amham, which begins with an Ohlone salad of gathered watercress, sorrel, pickleweed, piñon, wet-roasted hazelnuts, gooseberries, dried strawberries, blackberries, popped amaranth seeds, and nasturtium dressed with smoked walnut oil and blackberry-Bay laurel coulis. December’s Sunday Supper is sold out, but you should be able to try the Ohlone salad in the near future, since Medina and Trevino will soon open the next iteration of Cafe Ohlone in the courtyard of the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, which sits on Ohlone land. You can’t tell me that there will be a more meaningful restaurant opening next year!

Philz vs. Peet’s plant-based breakfast sandwiches

Vegan breakfast sandwiches by Philz and Peet’s

In April, San Francisco’s Eat Just offered me the opportunity to try the new breakfast sandwiches from local Philz and Peet’s locations in the same day. Both use the plant-based JUST Egg, Beyond Meat sausage, and vegan cheese, and I’d recommend either one if you’re getting coffee at a Philz or Peet’s, but one did have a slight edge in the end.

The Lucky Pig’s plant-based OmniPork Luncheon Royal Tteokbokki

Royal tteokbokki by The Lucky Pig

In June, I got to try OmniPork, a porcine substitute from Hong Kong made from non-GMO soy, rice, peas, and shiitake mushrooms thanks to The Lucky Pig, a Korean restaurant in the Tenderloin. The OmniPork strips are a highlight in their Royal tteokbokki, pillowy rice cakes stir fried with mushrooms and bits of OmniPork strips, and they also use the Spam-esque Luncheon version of Omni Pork in their Dosirak box (which has a fried egg). OmniPork products are also in dishes at local spots like Chef Reina, Shizen, Malibu’s Burgers and Casa Borinqueña. There’s also a ground version of the product that’s now available at Whole Foods Markets, though I did not like cooking with it at all and made a mess of a meal with it, when normally my cooking track record is pretty solid.

Vegan Mob’s Da’ Renz

Da’ Renz by Vegan Mob

The “fried shrimp” po-boy known as Da’ Renz is my favorite item to order from Vegan Mob, which operates a truck in San Francisco, a restaurant in Oakland and takeout services in San Jose. There’s something about the texture of the faux shrimp that is preferable to the OG that takes care of seafood cravings for omnivores.

Unicorn horn dumplings by T$

Earlier this year, I was tickled to discover Unicorn Meat, a new non-GMO meatless product made with chickpeas and probiotics from an independent company based in San Francisco. I found it to be a good vehicle for whatever flavors you want to introduce and published an easy recipe for Unicorn Horn Dumplings. The product has since been picked up in all Bay Area Andronico’s Community Markets; you can also order four packs of Unicorn Meat online.

Tamara’s Volcano Kimchi oshizushi

Good Taste’s vegan sushi collection

In September, I created a 10-piece vegan sushi collection as a solo culinary challenge and published the recipes here in Good Taste. If you missed them on the first go-round, you can learn some really simple but satisfying techniques to make several different styles that utilize fresh fruit and vegetables, with no rolling required. Recipes include all vegan versions of crab cake nigiri (individual pieces), fish and chip temaki (hand roll) and Volcano Kimchi oshizushi (pressed sushi).
Visit Tamara’s site California Eating for more fun bites.

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