So, who told you only big cities have great vegan food? Sometimes the best spots are the big fish in little ponds, which is exactly what is occurring in upstate NY. Rochester, a pretty little city who is often overshadowed by New York and Boston, especially when it comes to restaurants, now has a big vegan fish! Within the city lives a delicious gourmet restaurant who caters to people who love food no matter what their diet is.  The Owl House, which opened it’s doors in the Fall of 2010 focuses on local, gourmet American foods and specialty beers and cocktails. Although the restaurant serves meat and dairy, it also has tasty vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes including desserts!

On a recent road trip through upstate New York, we had the chance to indulge in this restaurant. After driving six hours we were more than happy to see the adorable Owl House, which living up to its name is in a house in a residential area. One step inside and we felt like we were at part 20’s style bar, part art gallery, part cafe, and part cozy house. Needless to say, we found it hip and relaxing.  After a long drive we were happy to treat ourselves to their unique cocktails such as the Townsend, Bright Eyes, and Upstate.

Vegan Mozzarella Sticks

And what goes better with drinks than appetizers? The Owl House boasts a vegan appetizer we have never seen elsewhere:Vegan Mozzarella Sticks! These definitely live up the hype. We really don’t know how they’ve done it, but it is quite possibly the best mock vegan dish we’ve ever tasted! The “cheese” was perfectly melted and the crust delicious. Honestly, they haven’t left our minds since and the non-vegans among us were just as enthused!  We also tried their Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Fries with house made ketchup, House-made Pickles, and Marinated Olives. We love how everything here is house made and it definitely shows.

Tacos with Smoked Tofu

Next we shared the Viva Verde Tacos with smoked tofu (you guessed it, done in-house) and the Saigon sandwich.  The tacos were delightful, especially with the house smoked tofu and black bean and corn salsa. They were filling and really great. We also enjoyed the Saigon sandwich which is a modern take on the Vietnamese Bahn Mi. The sandwich was made with more of the great smoked tofu, pickled veggies, and roasted garlic Vegenaise on a baguette! Boy, were we satisfied! As Bahn Mi connoisseurs this sandwich, although not traditional, was tasty and it was great to have the Vegenaise, which is normally hard to find unless added yourself.

Vegan French Onion Soup

Even though the Owl House has a great list of vegan desserts, we opted for a bowl of soup to round out our meal. One of the best features of the Owl House is their daily specials. Some recent specials include: Grilled Citrus Tofu, Tomato Braised Seitan & Chickpeas, and daily soups. The daily soup for the day was Vegan French Onion soup with vegan cheese! Once again, the Owl House surprised us with a dish almost impossible to find vegan. And let us convince you, this soup was wonderful. The Daiya cheese and soup flavor was perfectly blended. To see their daily specials which include appetizers, soups, entrees, desserts, and drinks, check their Facebook page, which often causes us to almost buy a plane ticket to Rochester just from checking our news feed.

It is too bad the Owl House is so far from us, well perhaps it is good for our hips, we wish we could eat every meal there! However, it provides a haven for vegans living upstate that have limited choice. This restaurant makes visiting Rochester completely worth it, even on top of its quaint beauty. It is clear the Owl House offers unique vegan dishes and really takes care in the food they prepare. We must say, it has landed itself a spot on our Top 10 Vegan Restaurants!!


While on a recent vacation, we decided to expand our restaurant reviews to the international scene. Montreal is a lovely, artistic, and interesting city that feels like a mixture of Paris and San Francisco. Not surprisingly, a major city such as Montreal has a wide array of vegan options and a few all vegetarian restaurants. Located in the Latin Quarter, we passed a delicious looking restaurant a number of times before deciding to try it.  Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant (although the Y is missing from the sign, in true urban fashion) is situated in the basement of a building housed by tourist shops and clothing boutiques. From the outside it may appear a bit shabby, especially since the Y is missing from the sign, however, once you enter the spot it has a tranquil, modern, and has a classy appearance.

We arrived around 8pm and the joint was packed. The busy wait staff seemed a little confused and stressed with the crowd. It was my impression, they aren’t normally this busy. When we first arrived, we were quickly sat at a nice table and given water, however, we were not noticed again for about 20 minutes. We were willing to forget this, because their menu looked absolutely delicious. The menu has a wide array of vegetarian and vegan Pan-Asian options. With menu offerings such as Lemon Crispy Fish, Pan Fried Steak, Japanese Eel, and Sushi Pizza, how could one not immediately be intrigued? It appears their online menu does not encompass all they offer, but do not be fooled, this place has an extensive menu!

Buffet Menu

The truth is there are several vegan Pan-Asian restaurants, in fact it may be the most common style of vegetarian cooking. No matter how common they may be, we still love to try them out! There was one thing incredibly unique about this place, it was buffet style. Not just any buffet style, but you were given a huge list of dishes and you checked which ones you wanted from appetizers to entrees, as many times as you like.  You just check off on a piece of paper each time and order as much as you want for $20 a person. I am definitely not used to this ordering technique and coupled with my minuscule knowledge of the French language, this created some confusion. Once we figured it out and were no longer ignored by the staff, we were really excited to order but nervous not to let our eyes be bigger than our stomachs (as they charge you extra for leftover food and do not allow you to take any to go).

Sushi Pizza, Seaweed Salad & CA rolls

For our first round we ordered Miso Soup, BBQ Tofu Briquettes, Raviolis with Peanut Sauce, Stir Fried Mushrooms, Crispy Lemon Fish, Seaweed Salad, California Sushi Roll, and the Sushi Pizza. It may seem like a lot of food, but each dish was split between two people and the portions were pretty small. Even though it is listed as buffet style, every dish appeared to be made fresh to order. So fresh that it took a while to receive each dish and they often came out of order. Our sushi came first, followed by one entrée and soup, then the appetizers, and finally our last entrée. It was definitely a different style of eating for us! The sushi, soup, and salad were all tasty and the vegetables were really fresh. We especially enjoyed the Sushi Pizza, which was unique and delicious. Basically, it was seaweed battered, fried and covered in a vegetable vegan mayo sauce. It was tasty and crunchy for the palette. This may have been my favorite dish we ordered at this restaurant and certainly one I will not likely find anywhere else.

Fried Mushrooms

About five minutes later our first entrée was served, Fried Mushrooms. The older I get the less I enjoy mushrooms and I had a suspicion I would not enjoy this dish completely. My suspicions were right! Although the flavor was good and the mushrooms were mixed with goji berries and some sort of yellow bean, I couldn’t get into the oyster mushrooms. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was cooked deliciously but I just personally did not enjoy it. However, quickly following this dish were our two appetizers which were incredibly scrumptious. The BBQ Tofu Briquettes were delectable shish kabobs with plenty of flavor and the Raviolis in Peanut Sauce were almost perfect. Really, the peanut sauce was superb and I could have eaten it on every dish. Unfortunately, it seemed the kitchen staff forgot about our Lemon Fish and we had to wait another ten minutes or so for it to be prepared.

BBQ Briquettes & Raviolis

As we waited, our appetites grew for some dessert, so we received a new buffet ordering sheet. Much to our surprise the buffet did not offer dessert! Feeling a little defeated, we opted for some fruit based sushi to satisfy our sweet cravings. Both our late Lemon Fish entrée and Mango Rolls provided a little sweet ending to our dinner, although I think they should definitely add dessert as an option. We are happy to announce we did not over order and finished our plates, while still being satisfied. Despite the odd ordering technique, Yuan’s provides its patrons with a variety of unique and flavorful fare, as well as a classy and cool environment. Although, not the best vegan pan Asian I have ever had, I  definitely recommend it to those visiting Montreal. Bon Appetit!

-Gina Williams

Roadtripping across the United States, CA to MA.  The Southern route.  Highway 10.  The sun splashes the evening sky with an appetizing palette of color, and after a long day’s drive through the desert, my girlfriend, Gina, and I are getting hungry.

Entering the megalopolis of Phoenix, AZ, we scour the internet for local vegan options but our initial searches come up short; Phoenix seems not to be much of a vegan-friendly town.  Nearly giving up, I follow a seemingly disconnected path of links into a remote area of the interwebs and come upon a little place called Green Vegetarian, technically in the city of Tempe.  Perhaps a good sign.  Confused as to whether that was a description of the restaurant or its actual name, we decide to try it.  It’s right off the 202, in true megalopolis fashion.

Passing a few corner-strip-malls in a low-lit neighborhood we initially drive right past it; turning back around, we see how easy it is to miss, tucked away in the far corner of a little shopping plaza.  The sign, in green, says “green RESTAURANT.”  Kinda funky, but our rumbling stomachs cannot be questioned.

Walking in is a pleasant surprise.  Warm, low-hanging lamps lit the deserty color scheme.  Rows of dynamic black and white photos line the walls, an installment from a local artist.  Small racks and shelves sell independent, eco-friendly foods, wares and local art, a touch of the corner store vibe but healthier.  The space is open and lively, filled with people of all ages and social persuasions.  And an extensive, ALL-VEGAN menu.  Not just vegetarian.  We can choose anything.  Amazing.  And the menu shows a dude on a bike.  Points.

Crab Puffs

The place bills itself as “New American Vegetarian.”  Perfect description.  The list of starters has dishes like Artichoke Gratine, Samosas, Spicy Peanut Tofu and Buffalo “Wings.”  Salads like Jerk Tofu and Ranchero.  Flatbread pizzas, pan-genre noodle/ricebowls and po-boy sammies.  A little something for everyone, or any mood you might be in.  They thought of everything.

We decide to start with the Crab Puffs, curious to see how they might approach a vegan crab imitation.  Delivered shortly by a friendly server, the flaky, crispy dough wraps artfully around the warm crabbiness inside.  I dip one in the sweetish red sauce provided and take a bite.  Very good; the mock crab meat and vegan cream cheese are perfectly melted together and deliver a mellow, satisfying taste without too much “fishiness.”  The dish only comes with four puffs; we could have eaten fourteen.

Meatball Po'boy

No sooner have we finished than our entrees are on hand.  We decide to stick with the sandwiches: Mum’s Meatball Po-boy with a side of fries and The Mexicali Burger (already missing home a bit) with a side of slaw.  Slightly lacking in fixings (lettuce, tomato, etc.), the Mexicali is decently sized and super tasty.  On paper, the combo of vegan mayo, spicy chipotle sauce, nacho cheese and hummus seemed like condiment overkill, but the result further confirms that Green Veg has a plan, and that plan is to destroy your tongue with flavor.  The slaw is made with tahini instead of mayo, which prevents it from being drippy and adds a complimentary tang.  Onto the Meatball: probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.  The soy cheese melts perfectly over the tangy marinara, the ample, sandwich-size mock meatballs spiced perfectly with a proper consitency that stick together without being gummy, all on a soft sourdough roll.  It isn’t difficult to savor every single bite.  The fries are shoestring style, crispy and seasoned well; not my favorite kind of fry but great for those who prefer them that way.

PB&J Tsoynami

Perhaps the most interesting and exciting course is our meal follow-up: the strange and beautiful Tsoynami dessert shake.  Essentially a large cup of vegan soft-serve ice cream with ingredients added, the Tsoynami menu is extensive and creative, combining a number of sweet toppings that blend together to make something between a milkshake and a sundae.  There are a number of scrumptious options, including a S’more and a wacky Captain Crunch concoction.  We decide on the PB&J, which is peanut butter, sugary whole strawberries and graham cracker chunks, all whipped together with the soft serve.  Yikes, it was satisfying.  We thought the price was a tad steep until we tried it and totally forgot the $4.50.

Our meal is so good from beginning to end that, even though full and finished, we linger at the table for awhile, not wanting to give up the welcoming atmosphere and secretly hoping we will impossibly get hungry again and try more of the offerings.  But alas, it is time to move on; we must make it to New Mexico before midnight.  The temperature is dropping and we’ll be pitching the tent by the light of the full moon.  Fortunately, Green Vegetarian is on our side, keeping our bellies comfy and our spirits high for the rest of the evening.

-Jeremy Pearson

San Francisco is known as one of the most liberal and unique cities in the world! People from all over the world and from every background roam these streets. Personally we have spent a lot of time in this city, as one of us from AP grew up in Northern California. This place is brimming with vegan friendly food and pretty much every restaurant has an option! Or at least they will know what the word vegan is and accommodate you!

Most people talk about Millennium (as it is often rated the Best Vegan Restaurant in the US) and Herbivore (always wins for Best Brunch) as top vegan destinations within San Francisco. Both these restaurants are fantastic and some of our favorites, however we at AP would like to highlight a restaurant a little more off the beaten path. So for San Francisco’s restaurant pick, we have chosen Golden Era.

Golden Era is located in between the juxtaposing neighborhoods of the Tenderloin and Union Square. The Tenderloin can be a bit sketchy, but the restaurant is on the outskirts of the neighborhood. We have dined here over the course of 6 years and have never encountered any problem! Golden Era’s menu is pan Asian based and all vegetarian. There are a few items that are not vegan, but like most restaurants the staff will advise you.

There are not a ton of Appetizers to choose from on the menu, but the quality is superb! The Drumsticks and Steamed Veggie Bun are mouth watering and will leave you craving more! Both the Golden Rolls and Spring Rolls are delicious classics and the Vegetable Fu Young is scrumptious!
Spinach Tofu Soup

They offer both Salads and Soups to start your meal off healthy and are quite tasty themselves. We recommend the Tofu Salad and the Spinach Tofu Soup! These are meals within themselves.
Spicy Mongolian Chicken

There are tons of Entrees on this menu to choose from! They offer Noodle Dishes, Rice Plates, Regular Entrees, Claypot Choices, and Specialties. It must be said that most of these dishes are not run of the mill asian style! They are creative and of course delicious. For instance the menu offers dishes such as Caramelized Chicken, Pineapple Salmon, Vegetarian Lamb Claypot, and Sautéed Jalapeno Tofu. If you are looking for a little more classic dishes, fear not, as you can order Sweet & Sour Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Gourmet Fried Rice, and Pho Noodles. Trust us, dinner here will not be an ordinary event, because even their typical dishes are satisfying with a unique flavor.
Caramelized Chicken

Desserts here are just as exciting as their dishes! There are a couple non vegan desserts, but they are marked clearly on the menu. You can order anything from Vegan Caramel Flan to Egg-Less Cheesecake and our personal favorite Fried Banana w/ Vegan Ice Cream. And don’t forget to order a Vegan Thai Iced Tea to make your meal complete!
Fried Banana & Ice Cream

So if you are a local looking for some unique and creative asian style vegan dishes, hop on over to Golden Era! And if you are visiting, this is a MUST on your trip through the city.

Golden Era is located at:
572 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel: 415-673-3136

Wed-Mon 11am-9pm
Closed Tuesday

  • Twitter: @autonomie

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Facebook

  • Topics

  • Recent Posts

  • March 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Oct    
  • Archives

  • Advertisements