If 2009 was the year of snout-to-tail dining, 2010 was the year Mondays trended meatless, nut milks challenged dairy's dominance, and even midgrade restaurants thought beyond the perfunctory veggie pasta option. SFoodie vegan contributor Laura Beck spent the year diligently taking notes about the Bay Area's 10 best dishes:
1. Taquitos at Flacos: 3031 Adeline (at Emerson), Berkeley, and at Berkeley's three weekly farmers' markets.
Do you guys remember those giant bags of taquitos that Costco sold when we were kids? There were like a hundred in a giant clear plastic garbage bag? Anyone remember those? Do they still make them? Anyway, they were bomb! Flacos makes the vegan equivalent, but healthier and covered in avocado salsa. Suggested weekend plans: Buy 200, create a fort, and then eat your way out.
2. Fried Avocado at Saha: 1075 Sutter (at Larkin), 345-9547.
Officially: Couscous tabbouleh-stuffed avocado coated with kanafeh (shredded phyllo) and lightly fried, served with semi-soy-marinated tofu and raspberry reduction. Unofficially: a FUCKING FRIED AVOCADO HELLO IS ANYONE HOME???
3. Vegan tamales at Papalote Mexican Grill: 3409 24th St. (at Valencia), 970-8815.
Papalote's Mission location didn't always have them, but when they did, my god were they marvelous. Sweet or savory, these tamales helped me not lose my shit multiple times in 2010. Call ahead and see if they're selling them. If not, request more.
4. Toasty Crispy at Souley Vegan: 301 Broadway (at Third St.), Oakland, 510-922-1615.
Pure perfection: a sandwich of barbecued tofu on top of cornmeal-crusted deep-fried tofu, topped with garlic sauce, lettuce, and tomato. If you find fault in this sandwich, it is only because it is a mirror shining back your twisted soul into your ugly face. Too much? I feel strongly.