Monday, 4 July 2011

USA 2011: Auckland and San Francisco

I have been neglecting my blog again, but for a good cause! I have spent the last two and a half weeks in the USA, and the weeks leading up to it busily working and preparing for the trip. So, to make up for it, prepare for many posts detailing my exciting eating adventures! Be warned, these are long posts with loads of photos!

I flew with Air New Zealand flying from Brisbane to San Francisco with a stop over in Auckland. My flight over to Auckland left in the evening, and when I was on board I was presented with a vegetarian meal. Upon mentioning that I had just not two hours ago confirmed vegan meals for my trip, I was told that the trans-Tasman flights do not offer vegan options! Thanks for mentioning that. I had a fruit plate and a little snack in my bag, but that was it. Starving! And I got into my hotel in Auckland so late that nothing was open for me to get any sort of food. Starving! My flight to SFO didn't leave until 5pm, so the following morning I jumped on a bus and went into Auckland for fooooood!

I had heard Revel Cafe mentioned on several blogs, and it was very close to the bus stop. So off I went in search of noms.

I chose the Vegan Tofu Florentine. It had potato wedges, roasted capsicum (I didn't eat that), tomato slices, spinach and tofu with some sort of very yummy sauce and some chutney on top. After so long with no real food, this was so delicious!

I also got a Vegan Oat Slice to take away. This was wonderful, it was quite soft and crumbly, with oats and berries and seeds. The bottom had burnt just a little, which was actually great.

As I ate my slice, I strolled down to the waterfront and walked along the harbour, before heading back up through the city to Karangahake Road, where I happened to stumble across the only Cruelty Free Shop in Auckland! Fate?? I think so!

Check out this fabulous shop! The people in there were super nice, and they had a great range of food and cute t-shirts there. I wish I had bought some t-shirts! I did buy some snacks to take on the plane to SFO with me, in case that stuffed up my food.

This was my haul. Thankfully I did not need it on the plane trip. I still have the orange chocolate bar and the truffle balls left, but everything else was consumed during my holiday. I really liked the jerky!

For lunch, I went back to Revel and had a slice of their vegan pizza. It had pumpkin, eggplant and yummy tofu chunks on it, and was served with a peach chutney. I enjoyed it, but I did find the base had become quite hard so I really had to chomp through it.

I also got one of their famed mint slices to take to the airport with me for afternoon tea. I had hoped to get a ginger crunch slice, but they weren't vegan that day. The mint slice was good, but incredibly sweet. A bit too much icing sugar for my brain to handle.

I then boarded my plane to San Francisco! Hurrah! I was leaving Auckland on Tuesday evening and was getting into San Francisco on Tuesday morning, after a 12 hour flight, so I was pretty happy with that timing.

I was also very happy to receive my vegan dinner! Code name VVML. It was pretty standard as far as plane food, which you can see. The dessert was tinned mandarine segments with some sort of coconut agar. After my dinner, I was able to have something of a doze for most of the flight, which was good. The plane was relatively comfortable. There was a lot of turbulence, though!

Breakfast on the plane was some sort of fritter with what appeared to be a Sanitarium sausage, as well as some cornflakes with soymilk. Again, happy to have vegan fuds supplied as they were meant to be!

Shortly after breakfast, the plane landed and I was in San Francisco! Yay! Clearing customs was really quick and friendly, and then I was on a BART to Embarcadero. I came up the stairs from the station and walked straight into this:

Hello San Francisco! It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Sadly, my had was still stuffed in my big suitcase back at the airport, and despite lots of sunscreen and long sleeves, I still got burnt. Especially on my poor little scalp! But it was glorious weather.

Being a savvy little vegan, I had planned my foodage in advance. And I knew that I would be having lunch from Hodo Soy Beanery, that I had read about over on the Vegansaurus blog. They don't have an actual shop there, rather it is a little kiosk, so if you cannot find it immediately, just keep looking!

I had the Yuba Kung Pow salad with a Straberry Banana Smoothie. It was a great lunch. I had it sitting on a bench, looking out over the water. Perfect!

The next thing I did was to make a beeline to Pepples Donuts, to enjoy my first donut since I had become vegan - so that's almost eleven years for those counting. Again, Pepples is a kiosk, and is kind of down one end of the building (the end walking away from Pier 39 direction), so don't miss out!

I scored their last cinnamon sugar donut. Glazed donuts don't excite me that much, cinnamon donuts are where it is at! And it was gooooooooood. Though not the best donut of the trip! More on that later.

After lunch, I strolled down to Pier 39 to see the sea lions. They were so cute and playful and funny!

After taking many more photos of the sea lions than these you see here, I walked around Pier 39. It is so touristy! There is every kind of cheezy, gimmick, themed shop you can imagine! But it also has a carousel, and I love carousels! Never mind that I was on my own with no child in tow to justify my presence, I went on the carousel!

This was my trusty steed!

Then I walked back to the Ferry Terminal. There were quite a few market stalls around selling fresh produce, and they were amazing! Check out some of these.

For those of you from the US, you may be used to such sights. But for those of us from Brisbane, these are mindblowing. I had always suspected that US markets were better than our markets, and I was right! I wish I could go to stalls like these!

Walking makes a girl hungry, so I went back to Pepples and got a Vanilla Glazed Donut to fuel me as I got back on the BART and headed into the Mission for dinner.

Dinner was at Cha Ya, a vegan Japanese restaurant that I had heard fantastic things about!

I had some Genmai-Cha tea, which was served in this adorable pot.

I started with some Agudashi Tofu, which was outstanding! The best agudashi I've had, without doubt.

I also had the Tofu and Vegetable Udon Curry. There were two dishes I was tossing up, and the recommended this one to me. It was good, but there were so many noodles in it that I couldn't finish it all. I was also suffering from some post plane trip imaginary turbulence as I was sitting down, so it was making me feel a bit funny!

I would have liked to try some of their desserts, but I was stuffed full! I caught the BART back to SFO and then a shuttle to my hotel for the night. I managed a reasonable night of sleep before waking up to go back to the airport for my plane to Denver.

For breakfast, I had picked up a few things at the Ferry Building the day before. I discovered I didn't have a fridge in my room, so I had to keep things cold in the ice bucket. Thankfully, it was a large and well insulated ice bucket! I had a Kale and Avocado Smoothing from Hodo. This was pretty interesting, it had little chunks of kale still in it, but overall I give it a thumbs up! There were some fresh raspberries and giant strawberries from the markets. And, just because I can't be too healthy, a cherry glazed donut from Pepples. Hurrah!

Then it was off to the airport for my plane to Denver!

Next time... Denver!


  1. Looks like you had an amazing time in SF! Those fruit stalls do look amazing, especially the one with the strawberries.

  2. Nice to see a post from you. San Fran is high on my list of places to visit. I think it gets promoted seeing the vegan food on offer. You can't find vegan donuts in the UK easily either :(

  3. Your photos of San Fran are gorgeous! And I love that you'd planned where you'd go in advance, I'd do that too. And the sea lions - adorable!