Laptop Lunches

I haven’t been cooking as much as I’d like to, so I figured I’d catch up with some laptop lunches.

1-6 fried quinoa & veggies, grilled bok choy, avocado
(that I didn’t eat because it was gross), truffles

1-9 pizza, salad with carrots & sesame shiitake dressing

1-12 penne with butternut squash & radicchio, raw kale salad
with oranges & pecans, cherries, piece of dark chocolate

1-13 leek & potato soup, smokey broiled tempeh,
steamed brussels, pretzels, cherries

1-14 TJ’s soy nuggets with ketchup (I really like these!  Glad I finally
got to try them.), carrot & celery sticks, pretzels, cherries

1-15 black bean & tofu enchilada, carrot & celery sticks,
sample jar of amazing cashew butter, cherries

The enchilada was from a frozen meal, O Organics brand at Safeway.  I picked it up totally on a whim – I wouldn’t expect a product like this from a major chain to be vegan, but it was!  Marked as such right on the box.  And they were downright decent enchiladas.

I’ve had visitors this month that have kept me out of the kitchen.  My friend Jackie was here for six days, and my parents were here for four.  This was not a bad thing, cause I got to eat out at all sorts of new places!  I didn’t take pictures most of the time, but I figured I’d list the good stuff in case anyone is in these areas, googling for food options.

San Leandro
La Bella Italia on 150th @ E 14th.  Jackie and I went there on a whim one night, starving after coming back from SF.  According to the waiter, their pasta does not have eggs, and while they don’t have any vegan dishes on the menu, they are happy to change their dishes to suit nutritional needs.  I had a garden salad with balsamic and pasta primavera, and it was quite tasty and filling.  They are not afraid to use black pepper, and this is a good thing in my book.

Jackie wanted to go to the aquarium even though I’m terrified of sharks and water creatures in general, and I’m glad we went.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing.  And they have a nice little cafeteria.  It looked like there might have been a few veggie options, but I went for a burrito after the burrito guy confirmed the beans and rice were vegetarian.  It was far from the best burrito I’ve ever had, but it was a good lunch, and it was really nice to have some hot protein on a cold, rainy day.

Santa Cruz
On the way back from Monterey we stopped in Santa Cruz.  We went to the Boardwalk, which is very cool even in the winter when nobody is there, and we ate at Saturn Cafe, a vegetarian diner that Jackie found online.  They didn’t have quite as many vegan options as I would’ve hoped for, but there were a few good choices for sure.  I went for a veggie burger with mushrooms and avocado, and fries.  My meal was fine, but what was really super good was my dessert – a chocolate pb milkshake.  Holy cow, I’ve wanted that milkshake again almost every day since then.

San Francisco
My mom is an excellent vacation planner, so before coming out she did a lot of research on what to do and where to eat.  Since they were staying right next to Chinatown she suggested Lucky Creation, a vegan Chinese restaurant.  I was hesitant, because I had gone once before and wouldn’t have suggested it.  My meal was okay, but I didn’t think it was omni friendly.  I ordered a bunch of meat substitutes though, so when mom suggested it again I was willing to give it a second try.  Boy am I glad I did!  The food was fantastic.  Dad got chow mein, mom got fried rice, and I got tofu & veggies in a clay pot.  And we ate off each other’s plates.  So I was wrong, Lucky Creation is good (and quick and cheap), just don’t order mock meats unless you really want ’em.

Saturday morning we went to the Ferry Building Farmers Market, which is a great, great market.  After wandering around we were hungry for lunch.  Mom and dad ate at the Mexican place in the back of the building, and I went back to the Alive! table.  Alive! does raw food, and I’ve wanted to give them a try for a while now.  Their food isn’t cheap by any means, but I got a hummus wrap (in a collard) and a big side of celery root salad for $12.  Everything was great, and I especially liked the salad.  It was kind of like raw cole slaw.  Recommended!

After trapsing around Alcatraz for hours (also recommended), we were ready for dinner.  I had heard good things about Ike’s Place (possibly from bf’s brother who works there).  Ike’s is a sandwich joint in the Castro, and I had heard they make the best sandwiches, so we had to check it out.  We were a little surprised when we got there.  It’s pretty much a hole in the wall with four tables out on the sidewalk.  Not exactly the type of place you take your parents!  But we were there, so with the help of the girl at the counter who was very eager to give suggestions, we placed our order.  A short while later, Ike himself delivered our sandwiches to the table.  And they were good.  Really good.  My sandwich was called the Vegan Shanghai something-or-other, and it had a ginger sauce and Chinese noodles.  And tofurkey, teese, and vegennaise, I think.  An odd combination maybe, but it was super tasty.  Whoever had the idea to put Chinese noodles on a sandwich is a genius.  Warning:  There is honey in the wheat bread.  The super-friendly employees should be able to help you avoid non-vegan things.  Call your order in for pickup if it’s during peak eating hours, I’ve heard the wait can be really long.  Did I mention each sandwich comes with a blowpop?

We also went to Millenium, but I actually took (dark, blurry) pictures, so that’ll be another post.  Until then…



  1. Caroline said

    I always love your LLB posts! I am so jealous of those delicious looking cherries.

  2. Melisser said

    Make lunch for me, please!
    Hooray for local exploration! I recommend the Vegan Backstabber at Ike’s! yum.

  3. VeggieGirl said

    Ahh, too bad about the avocado being gross!!

    As always, your laptop lunches are STUNNING!! You should totally submit the photos to the Laptop Lunches company website:

  4. Marni said

    I agree with Caroline, I absolutely love to ogle your lunches. They’re so pretty!

  5. stacey said

    where did you get the cute bento box?

  6. Carrie said

    Your lunches (as always) look delicious!!

  7. Cathleen said

    I love the little sample jar of cashew butter. Even better is you can keep reusing that sucker!

  8. Sounds like you had a great time! 😀 That leek and potato soup looks yummmmmy!

  9. Sophie said

    wow, all my favorite foods in one place. looks like you’ve been eating well!

  10. Oh, Erin – in Santa Cruz, Dharma’s is so much better than Saturn Cafe! It’s super yum and all vegetarian with many vegan options.

    So funny that you were at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on Saturday – I was there with Chef Eric Tucker and the whole group of folks (like 16 of us altogether – 3 assistants, chef, co-owner and most of 12 students). On Sunday, I assisted at the Winter Mushroom Cooking Class at Millennium. It was super yum – I’ll post pix and a review on my blog tomorrow night.

    I’ve never been to Ike’s but will have to check it out… no Teese for me, though. Soy protein products make me barf. 🙂

  11. Your laptop lunches are so colorful! I have a feeling you like cherries. 🙂

  12. Yum! Especially that pizza box. I love pizza and salad together. And the enchiladas sound damn tasty too.

    What’s the deal with avocado’s lately? I’ve been cutting into a lot of yucky ones with black spots….

  13. i love your lunches! if i didn’t go home for lunch every day, i would definitely be interested in getting a bento like that.

    oh, and i have to tell you, one of our local chinese restaurants has hotdog sushi on their buffet! that post of yours made me giggle 🙂

  14. Vegetation said

    Your lunches are always so fantastic! Mine are terrible, peanut butter and jam on a sandwich is about as fancy as I get at lunch 😦

  15. Dawn said

    Your laptop lunchbox is adorable! And all the food looks so tasty.

  16. denny said

    Wow, I am glad River mentioned ya or else I wouldn’t have had a new buddy!

    Your quinoa had me salivating and naturally, I am here!

    Love your lunch boxes, def adding you to my google reader:D

  17. abby said

    Hi there! I totally admire people who could live a healthy lifestyle and ingest healthy but scrumptious meals. I read your blog although you don’t know me coz I really find it interesting. BTW, I changed my blog address to Feel free to visit it anytime 😉 Thank you and keep posting 😉

  18. Diann said

    You must be cooking something cuz all those lunches look amazing!

  19. Amey said

    Next time you come to Santa Cruz, you should let me know! I live here! I will take you to much tastier places than Saturn Cafe.

    🙂 Amey

  20. veganf said

    Your grilled bok choy always looks so yummy!

  21. appifanie said

    just catching up on your awesome blog!!

    belated sorry for your gross avocado – a bad avocado is such a sad thing!!

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