I recently had the opportunity to travel to San Jose, California and, as always, my first priority was to find and visit the local vegan restaurants. The only problem was that, because of missed connections, a trip which would normally take two (flight) legs, took us four. So we were, understandably, exhausted when we arrived.
When we finally made our way to our hotel in downtown San Jose, all we wanted to do was to chow down and pass out. Normally, I do my homework ahead of time to research vegan restaurants but this time I didn’t (oops!) so odds were we weren’t going to be able to find anything quick and easy. That however, was very fortunately, not the case…
Thanks to the hotel staff, we found a little gem called The Vegetarian House on DoorDash (this service is not available in Canada…yet?). We ravenously ordered way too much food then collapsed on the bed of our hotel room while we waited. That night we ordered the Fresh Rolls, Queens (a soy protein based house specialty which we fell in love with), the Smiling Gyro and Happy Crispy Rice. Everything tasted fresh, looked delicious and smelled amazing.
Writing this is making my mouth water because the food was THAT good. My omnivore husband quickly became obsessed with the soy protein they used – the texture, flavor and everything about it was perfect. (So perfect that in my delirious exhaustion I double and triple checked their website to ensure it was indeed a vegan restaurant just to be absolutely certain!) The flavors were incredible and each and every dish was phenomenal.
I am embarrassed to admit that we ended up ordering from there THREE more times during our stay and on our last day, we actually went there for brunch because I HAD to see this place in person. It did not disappoint – the bright colours and cheerful colored glass windows perfectly matched the bright flavors of the food they served.
This small bar dished up plate after plate of satisfying food that went well with their extensive beer selection. They have a beer for every palate and can make recommendations based on your preference. The casual hipster-style of the place (complete with Bernie pins and fem-posters) made it an easy pick for a quick bite to eat. We sat at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed looking around while we waited for our meal.
For our lunch, we started with a spicy guacamole (I don’t see this on their online menu so perhaps it was a special?) which packed a solid kick of heat and then made our way to their protein drumsticks. These saucy numbers are similar to wings and I am obsessed whenever I can get vegan “bar-food” so they were a winner in my books.
My favorite dish was the pulled-“pork” street tacos made from slow-cooked jack-fruit marinated in a BBQ sauce and topped with black beans and their house slaw with a cilantro-lime tahini. I could eat these all day long. The sweet sauce and tangy dressing made the flavors sing and I don’t think there is anything better than enjoying a couple of these with a cold beer.
We will definitely be back to San Jose in the future and hope to check out more vegan and vegan-friendly places – drop a note in the comments if there are any places you recommend!
The Vegan Virgin, xo