Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 25: San Francisco Sourdough Salad

One of the most joyous travel experiences I've had as a vegan was taking my first-ever trek to the West Coast. In September 2007, my hubby and I flew to San Francisco for a 4-night vacation. Even though I've flown east of Rhode Island many times, I hadn't actually travelled any further west than New York (isn't that crazy!) If you don't know how crazy this is, look at a map of the USA and you'll see what I mean. Rhode Island is almost as far east as you can go, and New York isn't that far away. There was a whole bunch of the USA that I wanted to see, and I decided to go all the way to California for my first venture west.

I chose San Francisco for many reasons. For one, I think the Golden Gate Bridge is absolutely, stunningly beautiful, and I was DYING to see it. I also wanted to run across it, which I did! That was so cool! :)

This is the view of the Bridge from the top of Coit Tower. It wasn't too foggy this day, obviously!

I also chose SF because I'd always wanted to see the sea lions at Pier 39. Wow, those are noisy little fellas!

Of course, a trip to SF wouldn't be complete without stopping by Ghirardelli Square...

...or Fisherman's Wharf...

...or seeing the twisty Lombard Street (which is also the home of Scottie Ferguson, the character played by my favorite actor of all-time, James Stewart, in one of my favorite movies of all-time, Vertigo, by one of my favorite filmmakers of all-time, Alfred Hitchcock)!!

I also had to visit Alamo Square and look for the Tanner family. Where was Uncle Jesse??

I had a blast riding the cable cars...

 ...and enjoyed visiting the SF Cable Car Museum. It was fascinating!
These are the ACTUAL cables that pull the cars on the 4 main lines!
But I think my absolute favorite thing to do was visit Alcatraz. I've always been intrigued by the history (and mystery) of The Rock, so I was unbelievably psyched to book a night tour. I wanted my visit to be as creepy as possible! :) By day, it looks pretty tame...

...but by night, it's a whole different story!
 Can you imagine being in one of these cells with some of the baddest criminals around?
You could hear the frosty, bitter wind howling outside. It was definitely creepy!
Does anyone remember this episode of Unsolved Mysteries? That show used to scare me silly, but I absolutely LOVED the Alcatraz-escape episode with the "dummy heads." I was tickled to see them in person!

Some pictures are just a little eerie...like this one from the prison's kitchen. The silhouettes were done so guards could immediately tell if any of the knives were missing:
 And the infirmary was really spooky at night.
Honestly, the Alcatraz tour was one of the coolest things I've ever done! I highly recommend it if you ever visit SF, but in the meantime, you can watch two great movies - Escape from Alcatraz and Birdman of Alcatraz - if you want to get your Alcatraz fix!

But what really stole my heart was the FOOD. The abundance of delicious, vegan food! Incredible sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery:

...my first taste of Eritrean food (injera!!!!!) at Assab Eritrean Restaurant:
...and the incredible yumminess of Herbivore:
Yes, I ate, and ate well, during my 4 nights in SF. It was pure awesomeness to have so many vegan options available!!

Tonight, I wanted to remember some of that yummy San Francisco goodness. I was at Trader Joe's today and saw this:

And, of course, I had to have it (I also had to have 8 packages of seaweed crackers and a box of soy vanilla ice cream sandwiches, but that's neither here nor there). I also picked up some yummy tomatoes and some organic arugula at TJ's, but I had no plans for them. I was trying to think of what to do with the sourdough, and the arugula, and the tomatoes, when boom, it hit me: panzanella! I found an easy-peasy recipe for Tuscan Bread and Tomato Salad in 1,000 Vegan Recipes and decided to put a San Franciscan-style spin on it. I made croutons with the sourdough bread and served the salad over a big bed of arugula. It was....amazing.

I added some chickpeas on the side to boost the protein factor. And also because chickpeas are awesome.
Make this salad! And make me stop eating the rest of the sourdough bread, will ya?

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