If you’ve ever considered going vegetarian or vegan, here and now is the best time to do it. Whether you’re animal-sensitive, concerned about meat production in the United States or just curious as to whether or not you’d be able to do it, there really will be no better time in your life to experiment as an herbivore than your college days. Berkeley (and the Bay Area in general) has a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan options as far as restaurants go, so we at the Clog decided to SparkNote some of the ones you have to try before you graduate:
1. Chocolate peanut butter shake from Saturn Cafe. If you haven’t been to Saturn yet, you should go just for the atmosphere. The space-age diner, complete with pink glittery booths and very hip servers, serves only vegan and vegetarian dishes. Don’t be fooled by a first glance at the menu — the “chicken” sandwich is not really a chicken sandwich.
2. Kale salad from Gather. Just across the street from Saturn Café is Gather, a more classy (and consequentially more pricey) dining location. The kale salad changes between the lunch option (carrots, pine nuts, capers and Fiscalini cheese) and the dinner option (grapefruit charmoula and tahini), but either one is a winning choice.
3. Summer Delight sandwich from the Berkeley Student Food Collective. The BSFC is a volunteer-run grocery store that sources only vegetarian products from sources that meet certain “real food” guidelines. Members make fresh sandwiches, soups salads and desserts every day and sell them out of the grab-and-go fridge next to the cashier. Our favorite is the Summer Delight sandwich — goat cheese, balsamic reduction, fresh greens, candied walnuts and strawberries.
4. Whatever the pizza of the day is at Cheese Board. It’s a bit of a trek up Shattuck — and now that Sliver is a lot closer, it may seem silly to want to go all the way there — but we see Cheese Board as an unmatchable experience in and of itself. Go on a sunny afternoon, grab a couple of slices (Always delicious. Always.) and sit in the grassy median while you listen to the live music coming from the open windows of the restaurant … now, that’s Berkeley.
5. I AM AWESOME from Cafe Gratitude. This dish (yes, that is its actual name) is a roasted eggplant sandwich with walnut pesto, tomatoes, cashew mozzarella and olive tapenade on Acme garlic bread. Every menu option at Café Gratitude is vegan and made with organic ingredients — we really recommend you check it out before you leave Berkeley.
6. Falafel wrap from La Mediterranee. If you’ve never been to La Med, get on it. Just about everything you could order is good, and while not everything is vegetarian, there are lots of good options — the vegan hummus and baba ganoush are killer.
7. Bean salad from Crossroads dining hall. You may think we’re joking, but for those of us with an abundance of meal points and lack of cash, eating veg is still an option. If you’re eating at Crossroads, you can choose to venture into the depths of the mysterious vegan section, (what would you call that color, anyway?) or you can choose the safer option and eat from the organic salad bar. The bean and pasta salads are surprisingly tasty, and you can usually whip up a nice salad from the greens and veggies and nuts. Then again, there’s always cereal.
Of course, we can’t even begin to cover the abundance of meat-free dishes here around Berkeley. If you have a favorite, let us know in the comments!
Image source: yelahneb under Creative Commons
Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]