A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Tag Archives: vegan pizza

NaPizza: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_2839" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Sign NaPizza Sign[/caption]

 

LITTLE ITALY, 4S COMMONS, and OPENING SOON IN HILLCREST.

I am always on the look out for places that serve vegan pizza.  After all, is there anything better than biting into warm dough that is covered with tomato sauce and delicious toppings?  Although I always wish there were more vegan pizza options, NaPizza reminds me that it’s not the quantity but quality of those options that matters.  And NaPizza does an excellent job of focusing on quality by offering pizzas, soups, and salads that are made with fresh and local ingredients.

 

Soups:

 

NaPizza offers a vegan soup every day — on my last visit, they had Potato Onion.  The soup exceeded my expectations (after all we’ve all had bland potato based soups before!).  The onion flavor popped on my tongue!  And with a cup of soup (pictured below) costing $2, it’s an economical addition to any meal!

 

[caption id="attachment_2840" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Potato and Onion Soup Vegan Potato and Onion Soup[/caption]

 

Salads:

 

The salads at NaPizza are special.  I thoroughly enjoyed the “Superfood Me Salad” made with an organic spring mix, kale, quinoa, walnuts, avocado, blue lake beans, sprouts, and apples.  It traditionally comes with a basil lemon dressing but upon recommendation from the NaPizza server, I added the tahini dressing instead!

 

[caption id="attachment_2841" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Superfood Me Salad Vegan Superfood Me Salad[/caption]

 

Pizza:

 

NaPizza, of course, also offers delicious pizza.  NaPizza believes that a piece of pizza is only as good as its dough — they source a low-sugar, high protein flour from a small, family-owned mill in Rome.  NaPizza then mixes the flour with yeast and allows it to rest and rise for 72- hours.  This process creates a dough that is light and digestible.

Wondering about the specifics of NaPizza’s vegan offerings?  The restaurant makes a “Veggy Me” pizza — a pizza that is topped with a combination of locally grown veggies (the day I went it was eggplant and peppers!).  This pizza is made without cheese BUT if you prefer, you can ask for Daiya cheese to be added.  Personally, I like adding the Daiya cheese but whatever your choice, you’re sure to end up with a delicious piece of pizza!

 

[caption id="attachment_2842" align="alignnone" width="640"]"Veggie Me" Vegan Pizza “Veggie Me” Vegan Pizza[/caption]

 

NaPizza also offers an array of meal specials.  They can be a great way to try more items on the menu!

 

[caption id="attachment_2845" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Specials NaPizza Specials[/caption]

 

NaPizza has their mouth-watering pizzas on display when you enter the restaurant.  Customers order at the register and receive a number to take to their table.  A NaPizza server will bring the food to the table when it’s ready.  And because NaPizza cares about the environment, you will be eating in a green certified building under energy efficient LED lighting!

 

[caption id="attachment_2843" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior NaPizza Interior NaPizza[/caption]

 

NaPizza also offers outdoor patio seating — it’s a great place to enjoy a warm San Diego afternoon!

I hope you make it out to NaPizza to enjoy one of their vegan options soon!

 

[caption id="attachment_2844" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Patio NaPizza Patio[/caption]

 

Little Italy:

1702 India Street

San Diego, CA 92101

619.696.0802

 

4S Commons:

10550 Craftsman Way, Suite #186

San Diego, CA 92127

858.312.1036

Uncle Steve’s Italian Sauces

We all know that the freshest, best ingredients are the foundation for high quality products. Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces are proof of this. For someone who grew up on Prego and Ragu (their ingredient lists include things like citric acid, tomato paste, sugar, and soybean oils), really good tomato sauce is a special treat! And Uncle Steve’s tomato sauce definitely falls into the special treat category.

Uncle Steve makes three varieties of sauces: (1) marinara, (2) tomato basil, and (3) arrabbiata.  They are all USDA certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and don’t contain any added sugar!

 

Marinara Sauce:

 

Uncle Steve’s Marinara Sauce is made from Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, basil, and black pepper.  Quite simply, this sauce puts other marinara sauces to shame.  Its fresh, flavorful taste evokes images of tomatoes ripening on the vine.

 

[caption id="attachment_2801" align="alignnone" width="360"]Uncle Steve's Marinara Sauce Uncle Steve’s Marinara Sauce[/caption]

 

Tomato Basil Sauce:

 

Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, sea salt, and black pepper make up the Tomato Basil Sauce.  It tastes just as fresh as the marinara sauce but with a stronger basil flavor.  This might be my favorite (I say might, because it’s so difficult to choose!).

 

IMG_6359

 

Arrabiata Sauce:

 

Last but not least, Uncle Steve makes an Arrabiata sauce made Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.  As the ingredient list indicates, the Arrabiata sauce contains peppers that help give it a bit of a spicy kick!  A great variation on a classic.

 

[caption id="attachment_2800" align="alignnone" width="414"]Uncle Steve's Arrabiata Sauce Uncle Steve’s Arrabiata Sauce[/caption]

 

More about Uncle Steve’s:

 

So who is the Steve behind Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces? It turns out Uncle Steve is Steve Schirripa, the actor, who played Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos and appeared on the ABC Family show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He is also a New York Times best seller author (check out A Goomba’s Guide to Life, Schirripa’s book, documenting some of his experiences growing up in Brooklyn)!

 

[caption id="attachment_2794" align="alignnone" width="640"]Uncle Steve's Sauce Uncle Steve’s Sauce[/caption]

 

After sampling Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces, I felt inspired to make something Italian. And so I found myself making vegan pizza on Friday night. Delicious.  There were no leftovers.  The fresh, light Tomato Basil sauce made a great base for my pizza!!  Next, I’m picturing some pasta covered in one of Uncle Steve’s fabulous sauces 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2795" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Pizza with Tomato Basil Sauce Vegan Pizza with Tomato Basil Sauce[/caption]

 

For more information on Uncle Steve and his sauces, check out his website!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

 

Blind Lady Ale House

I have a special treat for you today – a guest post from Tamra, a San Diego native and long time vegan.  Tamra loves great vegan food and is on a constant search to find it.  She also plans on attending The Natural Gourmet Institute in the Spring of 2015.  Aside from her passion for food, Tamra loves listening to live music, crafting, hiking and backpacking, riding bikes, and taking photos on her 35mm camera.  Did I mention she also brews her own beer?  Check out her awesome Blind Lady Ale House review below!

 

[caption id="attachment_2059" align="alignnone" width="310"]Blind Lady Ale House Sign Blind Lady Ale House Sign[/caption]

 

NORMAL HEIGHTS.  As many San Diegans may know, the craft beer movement has been growing rapidly over the last few years. Four years back, Blind Lady Ale House opened its doors and taps to Normal Heights and has never looked back. They offer the best local craft beer and recently their own, paired with artisan pizzas and other treats. On the menu, the vegan and gluten free options are clearly marked welcoming all beer and pizza lovers.

The atmosphere is family friendly, yet it retains a certain level of maturity. It’s a beer bar, but it’s a place to enjoy and savor the moment which sets this establishment a cut above anything else in the area. The decor is rustic, and adorned with tons of vintage beer cans and signs from a private collection.

 

[caption id="attachment_2069" align="alignnone" width="552"]Beer Cans Beer Cans[/caption]

 

Also, you’ll notice the bicycle hanging from the ceiling, Blind Lady Ale House supports San Diego’s bike culture by hosting events and bikes rides for different charities throughout the year.

You order your food and drinks at the counter and their pizzas are also easily customizable.  Written on a large chalkboard is the expansive beer list. Feel free ask the beertender behind the bar for the perfect pairing with your food. They are happy to help and offer samples to compare your choices.

The dining area is comprised of two rooms and plenty of long wooden picnic tables. The community style seating is a great way to get to know your neighbors, or loosen up a bit in the friendly atmosphere. Everyone is here to share the same experience.

 

[caption id="attachment_2062" align="alignnone" width="640"]Blind Lady Ale House Interior Blind Lady Ale House Interior[/caption]

 

I ordered the mixed greens salad which comes dressed in a tangy, sherry vinaigrette and tossed with fresh croutons. A great balance of tender baby lettuce and crisp, bitter arugula. A very simple salad yet the flavors excite your taste buds thoroughly.

 

[caption id="attachment_2060" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixed Greens Salad Mixed Greens Salad[/caption]

 

Some friends and I ordered a pitcher of the house brewed (Automatic Brewing) India Pale Ale, which was bold yet had a very smooth finish. I love this IPA; it’s not too overpowering and it goes well with anything. I especially enjoy this style of beer with bold flavored food such as the salad and pizza served here.

 

[caption id="attachment_2067" align="alignnone" width="640"]India Pale Ale India Pale Ale[/caption]

 

Next was the vegan pesto pizza. Two words: life changing! It comes standard with pesto, cremini mushrooms, kalamata olives, pickled onions and arugula. I have been ordering this pizza for years but I always add rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) and their incredible house made soy chorizo.

 

[caption id="attachment_2061" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pesto Pizza Pesto Pizza[/caption]

 

It’s always a good time whether with family or friends, and it’s nice to know that most dietary restrictions are accommodated. Check their website for the next special event or beer release night! Blind Lady Ale House is located off one of my favorite bike routes on Adams Avenue. Next time you’re in the area stop by for a great time!

 

3416 Adams Avenue

San Diego, CA 92116

619.255.2491

 

Local Habit: Vegan Friendly

Local Habit Sign

 

HILLCREST.  On Wednesday, I ate at the Local Habit for the first time.  On Thursday, I ate at the Local Habit for the second time.  This could be my new addiction.  In a good way.

The menu is clear and instructive, using colorful symbols to highlight which items are vegan (or can be made vegan).  This, I appreciate.  There is no need to annoy the server with a recitation of every ingredient or an interrogation into whether a dish is vegan.  Everybody wins.

I am ALWAYS on the look out for delicious vegan pizza.  Vegan pizza can be hit or miss.  The lackluster versions usually include a lot of bread, tomato sauce, and some sad looking veggies.  A great vegan pizza, however, will rival even the best of the traditional mozzarella vanguard.  Local Habit falls into the “great” vegan pizza category.

I first sampled the Green Pizza, which layers pesto, pickled zucchini, bell pepper, kale, onion, micro greens, and chive on top of the crust.  The sublime pesto, sweet bell pepper, and tart pickled zucchini play in harmony.  And the oven baked kale is crisp, salty, and crunchy.  The chive and micro greens are fresh – they are sourced from local organic farms! – and, more importantly, they ease the guilt of inhaling an entire pizza.

Local Habit offers three thin crust options: (1) traditional, (2) whole wheat, and (3) gluten free.  On this particular day – my maiden voyage – I ordered the traditional crust.  It was soft and delicious.

 

Green Pizza

 

Twenty-four hours later, I was back.  Same table.  First, I selected the Mountain Meadow pizza with crimini mushrooms and fresh herbs.  Even though this pizza is traditionally served with jack cheese, you can sub in a spicy almond ricotta cheese (or leave the cheese off all together).  I tried the almond ricotta.  And loved it.  The “cheese” is thick and has a fun kick, slightly subdued by the light, sweet tomato sauce.  The mushrooms are cooked and seasoned to perfection.

And I walked into the world of the satisfying gluten free crust – bean flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, and salt.  The crust has a personality that evolves throughout the slice.  For the first couple bites – where the ingredients and sauce are most prominent – the crust is gentle and plays a supporting role.  For the last couple bites, the crust becomes the centerpiece, crispy and satisfying like a fine pita chip.  This is the best vegan, gluten free pizza crust that I have ever tried.

 

Mushroom Pizza

 

At some point during my pizza indulgence, I ordered the eggplant sandwich, vegan style, which means (1) grilling the eggplant (instead of frying it in buttermilk) and (2) using house made mustard and hot sauce as condiments (instead of tartar sauce).  The eggplant went well with the mustard, and the bread was thick and soft.  I also tried the side salad of crisp, fresh lettuce served with onion and citrus vinaigrette.

 

Vegan Eggplant Sandwich

 

In the past year, I’ve become obsessed with Brussels sprouts.  Local Habit puts their own twist on the vegetable by not only roasting the sprouts so they are crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside, but also by adding a tangy mustard dressing.  I could have eaten these Brussels sprouts for lunch – and nothing else – and been perfectly happy.

 

Brussels sprouts

 

I couldn’t leave without trying the vegan dessert, a chocolate almond pudding with whipped coconut cream.  The pudding layer was smooth and creamy.  On top, whipped cream was light delivered the blissful taste of . . . not surprisingly . . . coconut.  A good end to the meal, but the spotlight belongs to the pizza.

 

Chocolate Almond Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream

 

The inside of the Local Habit is warm and inviting.  The tables and chairs are all dark wood, and the walls are painted in a variety of earth tones.  And these walls display large photographs of farms and local produce, representative of the core mission of the restaurant.  I will be back.  Often.

 

Interior Local HabitInterior of Local Habit

 

3827 5th Ave

San Diego, CA 92103

619.795.4770