First up, Gather in Berkeley. My boss wanted to take my coworkers and I out for a post-admissions cycle celebration, and we settled on Gather. My coworkers are super cool about making sure that there are vegan options whenever food is involved. There was one dish in particular I knew I had to try.
The Vegan Charcuterie. We ordered lots of dishes to share, most of which were vegan, so I got to try a little of everything. Gather’s menu changes seasonally, so this dish is ever evolving. They bring it out on a wooden board with a little card that tells you what everything is. The waitress even told us which order to eat the dishes in!
On the right is pulled mushroom, charred peanuts, chili, cilantro, pistachio, seaweeds and olive. I don’t really know where all those components were in the dish, but it was delicious. On the left is mushroom, cauliflower, asparagus, potato, porcini butter and dehydrated onion. The porcini butter (in the back, I think) was ah-may-zing, and the potato mixture in the front was like a fancied-up potato salad.
On the right is beet blood custard, cashew goat cheese and beet tops. There was also a radish or two thrown in for good measure. I love the idea of beet blood! The sauce was very tasty and not too earthy. The goat cheese was not the best I’ve ever had, but good nonetheless. On the left is sprouted lentils, curry leaf and Vadouvan. The lentil mixture didn’t taste sprouty or lentily at all; rather, it had an incredibly depth of curry flavor. I’m not quite sure how they did it.
This is the Kale “Caesar” with roasted carrots, capers, breadcrumbs, almond “parmesan” and nori. This wasn’t your typical creamy caesar, but more like a briny salad with delicious toasty bits. The kale pieces were kind of big and unwieldy for sharing, but overall the salad was very good. I do love a kale salad.
Next, this Spicy Tomato Pizza with olives, capers and cashew garlic puree. The olives were chopped finely enough that I didn’t mind them, and while the cashew sauce was very runny, it was super duper tasty. The tomato sauce was perfectly spicy, and the crust was molded into these mounds that blackened every so slightly. I don’t normally go nuts for pizza, but this was possibly one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
This is one of two entrees we ordered. The other was vegetarian but not vegan. This is an oddly-angled picture of young carrots with Hen of the Woods, hay-carrot top pesto, fava beans, dehydrated kale, charred peel and espelette. The vegetables and beans were perfectly cooked, and the orange sauce and pesto underneath were excellent as well.
I don’t have the exact description for this dessert, a carrot cake with spiced frosting, candied carrots, molasses and a caramelly, salty strip of nutty goodness. This was a great plate of dessert, and the candied carrots were a really interesting touch.
I really enjoyed our dinner at Gather, and will definitely go back when I can. In addition to dinner, they serve lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends, and the always have a good number of vegan choices. The menu isn’t cheap, but isn’t prohibitively expensive either considering the quality of ingredients.
Source is a relatively new vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. We pass by it on our way to band practice but we’re usually in a hurry on practice days, so one day when we had more time I made a point to call in an order and swing by.
Source’s menu offers plenty of tasty looking options, but after reading my friend Kristen’s review on The Noochy Noodle, I had no choice but to go with the Truffle Macaroni & Cheese. It doesn’t look very pretty cause I got it to go and they dumped it in foil! The container didn’t have a negative impact on the taste though. Honestly, I wouldn’t call this a mac and cheese. It was more like penne with a rich, wonderful pinkish-hued sauce. I also noticed some bits of vegetable, perhaps cauliflower and fennel. So, it wasn’t really cheesy, but it was delicious and excellent and filling and warm and all those other wonderful words. And, they give you bread with your pasta for that extra carb-coma inducing effect.
I was feeling indulgent that day, so I also ordered a Brownie Bite, described as a live dessert with cacao nibs. This was about four small bites of chocolate tastiness. It was rich but not too sweet. Next time, I just might go for the vegan Twinkie!
This post brought to you by all vertical photos, courtesy of my iPhone.