Jeez the weather has been strange this year, right? But this looks like it might be our last warm weekend until 2018 so I guess I’d better enjoy one last day of wearing shorts before they’re stored away for the season. The pups are already in chilly fall weather mode enjoying a lazy day of sleep after our long walk yesterday.
I have a confession to make – I got vegan-burned Friday or I burned myself, however you want to look at it. I work in IT for a large, non-profit company mostly from the corporate office but have to travel to other locations from time to time to for projects. Friday I spent most of the day at a warehouse in a nearby city deploying new equipment and software with another co-worker. We did not break for lunch until 1:30pm when we wrapped everything up and I was pretty tired at that point. Not too familiar with the area, we decided on Panera for lunch since I knew they had vegan options even though I haven’t been to one in ages.
When we got there, I first tried the automated ordering terminal and pleased to see a Plant-Based section of the menu to choose from, but realized most options weren’t plant-based because I was looking at salads and sandwiches with cheese. What?! I decided not to trust it and headed to the regular counter to order and found items marked with a friendly green “V” and others marked with “VG” on the menu. The Autumn Squash soup had a “V” and I confirmed with the staff that it was vegan before ordering, but apparently it was not and contained milk. Gah! What if I had a legitimate dairy allergy?
I should have triple confirmed it online before ordering, but I decided to trust the staff and that damn green “V” on their menu. Plant-based and “V” deceptively means vegetarian at Panera, not vegan, and their actual vegan menu is pretty sucky, especially since the location we went to didn’t even have the black bean soup, or any actual vegan soup, and a watered down salad or sandwich seemed awful. So I should have been more careful or gone to Chipotle instead, but I guess I’m spoiled with better vegan-only restaurants near my usual office and not having to worry about bad labeling and confused staff. Gah!
The rest of the eats for the week were actually plant-based like this simple sesame chickpea and veggie saute/stew for a lazy dinner one night.
And this delicious cashew tofu spicy Thai dish we got Friday.
Simple kale and chickpea salad with tangy hummus dressing for lunch yesterday.
And last night we met a group of vegan friends at Evan’s Kitchen for the final weekend of the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. Evan’s always has strong vegan items on the menu, especially their brunch menu. But they add even more creative options for the chef challenge and we arrived with a group to try as many as possible.
Starting with a great bottle of vegan-friendly wine.
And the super garlicy bruschetta with crispy toasted bread.
We also tried the mushroom “clam” chowder which was amazing, so much like I remember the traditional chowder and would have been perfect in a bread bowl.
Hubby got the patty melt using Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger.
Believe it or not, we’ve never tried the Beyond Burger before. We’ve had the Beast Burger and other Beyond Meat products, but have never found the Beyond Burger in stores since they’re usually a limited run and sold in the fresh meat department like meat burgers. And it absolutely amazed hubby declaring you’d never know it wasn’t meat! It was so real it was freaky to me, but clearly I need to track it down in stores for hubby more!
The chickpea “tuna” melt sandwich was also awesome.
I got the eggplant lasagna for my main dish because I’m a sucker for great vegan lasagna and I never make it at home.
It did not disappoint with melted vegan cheese and the portion size was perfect with fresh veggies and toasted bread.
For dessert, they brought plates of these cute vegan pudding cakes topped with vanilla vegan ice cream for us to share.
Again, perfect portion size for a sweet treat and the cake had a great, chewy and crispy brownie texture. It was a great way to recover from Friday’s deflating nightmare and spend time with great company to wrap up a month of amazing vegan eating in the Sacramento area. So to the list!
I must try this oven-roasted vegan Ragu.
I’m ready to try all of these potato recipes.