Hi! I’m a displaced Canadian in California banging it all up on Kittee’s blog, and I am here to talk to you about San Francisco sandwiches. My name is Gabrielle, and Kittee was kind enough to offer up her blog for guest-posting since I wasn't industrious enough to get things moving on my own (not-yet-existent) blog.
First…some Kittee appreciation is in short order. Kittee rules! When I’d long-finished my undergrad degree (in fine arts, aka useless but fun!), and was psyching myself up for my MFA, I went through a massive vegan cookbook/zine/blog blitz and came out of the whole affair with Kittee’s Papa Tofu as a fave zine and Paku Paku as a favored site. Mostly it was due to Kittee’s amazing veganized Ethiopian recipes, since I’d just began an obsession with Ethiopian food, but it was also Kittee’s creative flair complete with adorable illustrations, innovative recipes, and general all-around awesomeness that kept this lady on my radar for a long time until just recently when I had the pleasure of interviewing her for a MoFo feature. It was a blast, and when I one day meet Kittee in person, I know I will love her just as much as I do now as a mere E-friend. In short, thank you Kittee for letting me grace the pages of Cake Maker to the Stars and talk sandwiches.
What IS it about deliciousness smushed between two pieces of carbs that is so appealing? I don’t know, but SANDWICHES!! I never really gave it much thought, but I have made some spectacular ‘wiches in my time. I think that I never fully appreciated the beauty of non-homemade sandwiches until I moved to San Francisco, the land of Ike’s, aka, THE BEST SANWICHES OF ALL TIME. But this is not just about Ike’s, kids. In fact, in addition to Ike’s, I’ve had epic offerings from a hole-in-the-wall deli in the Lower Haight, gorgeous tortas from Gracias Madre, stellar Banh Mi, vegan cheese steak goodness from Jay’s Cheesesteak, a pretty tasty shawarma and a tempeh bacon breakfast sandwich from Herbivore, a stacked bagel with falafel from House of Bagels, a simpler veggie-hummus bagel from Javalencia, and (embarrassingly) more!
The biggest name in vegan sandwiches in this city is, without a doubt, Ike’s Place. I salivated over their menu long before I even knew I was coming down to SF to live, and was disturbed by all the controversy surrounding Ike’s that eventually led to the original restaurant closing. Ike’s SF is currently looking for a new permanent location, but in the meantime they are slinging sandwiches in SF proper out of Lime in the Castro. Personally, I’ve only had the pleasure of experience Ike’s once, but it was as epic as ever.
|The Vegan Brutus: Vegan Breaded Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Garlic Sauce, and Soy Cheese on Dutch Crunch|
I ordered this baby as per my girl Melisser (see below)’s suggestion. This was indeed an epic sandwich for the ages. I was a little hesitant upon ordering it because I’m not the hugest fake-meat fan, but luckily this guy had lots of veggies, the freshest bread, and a garlicky spread to fulfill my greatest sandwich desires. Standard practice for me is adding a layer of sriracha, so you can bet that that happened.
The next sandwich I experienced more than a few times since my workplace used to be located way out in the Outer Sunset, truly no-man’s-land by San Franciscan standards, was the veggie sandwich with lots of avocado and hummus from Java Beach Café. This really is just your basic sammich, but in the pictured version I’d slathered Vegan Mom queso all over and washed it down with a GT’s kombucha. If you’re out in the Sunset at one of Java Beach’s locations, I enthusiastically recommend this guy.
|Veggie-Packed Java Beach Sandwich|
On my bike commute home, I ride through the Lower Haight, which is a veritable sandwich wonderland including places like Café International, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, and Love N Haight. At Café International I have enjoyed the tofu sandwich with a side of the awesome sassy attitude of the co-owner, at Rosamunde an apple-sage brat piled high with hot peppers and sauerkraut, and at Love N’ Haight, the unbeatable vegan chicken sandwich.
I certainly still have a ton of other SF sandwiches to experience, but here are a couple more to round out this round-up! The first, something I adore but was hard to find vegan when I lived in Vancouver, BC, a Vietnamese Banh Mi from Banhwich in the Sunset; the second, a seitan “cheesesteak” (sans cheese but big on flavor) from Jay’s Cheesesteak in the Mission; a perfect torta from Gracias Madre vegan Mexican restaurant; a tasty marinated tofu ‘wich from Herbivore which features spotty service and oft-underwhelming food offerings but is 100% vegan and has decent sandwiches; and finally a piled-high veggie sandwich from my neighborhood favorite Velo-Rouge, which features lots of bike racks and a free tire pump along with great food-offerings and friendly-as-hell food service. So, kids, know that SF has your back as far as vegan sandwiches are concerned, because I’ve been here less than six months and have already noshed on a slew sandwiches!
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to pimp out a just-released book by my friend Melisser Elliot, aka, The Urban Housewife. Melisser is a dear friend-for-life for several reasons: 1) Melisser went to check out my current home in San Francisco, charming my roommate and solidifying my awesome digs in the Richmond district, 2) I recipe-tested for Melisser’s just-released book, The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, and the most memorable dish for me personally was her portobello Banh Mi Sandwich, and 3) Melisser is the only born-and-raised in SF friend I have (to my knowledge!). I met Melisser in Kyoto of all places, just over a year ago, where I do believe her husband Ryan and I enjoyed tempeh sandwiches while Melisser enjoyed delicious soy milk ramen at Café Proverbs. We enjoyed our time together so much that we met up again in Tokyo at NON, an all-vegan izakaya where we ordered roughly 100 things, and finally, I ended up contributing to Melisser’s book. Oh, but it doesn’t end there! Melisser’s SF bakery Sugar Beat Sweets is run by amazing ladies such as Jordan, Erika, Jennifer, and Megan, who have become some of my favorite people and greatest friends since I’ve been down here.
Anyway, both Kittee and I are contributors to The Vegan Girl’s Guide, and the book is an image-packed, beautiful and fun guide to the vegan lifestyle, not just for girls! If you head over to the official site for the book and order one there, Melisser will even sign it for you!
In conclusion, thanks Kittee for allowing me to guest-blog, thank you for reading, and thank you SF for knowing your damn sandwiches. Happy MoFo, y’all!
This post is part of VeganMoFo 2010 - the Vegan Month of Food. Get more MoFo info by checking out VeganMoFo Headquarters Itn'l, where you can subscribe to a bunch of vegan blogs and ohh and ahh to your heart's content.