Vegan Friendly: Plant-Powered Vietnamese at Thanh Tinh Chay in City Heights

Thanh Tinh Chay courts locals with a $5 baseline price for nearly all dishes. It’s a bargain tempting to everyone—vegan or not.

Van Bui had never run a restaurant, but the need for one was clear. 

Cost is a large hurdle for those exploring vegan and vegetarian dining, and while City Heights is filled with affordable Vietnamese restaurants, most have limited options for those seeking meat-free meals. 

The lack of affordable vegetarian food in City Heights (and beyond) begged for a solution. 

Read more:

Top 10 Restaurants I Frequented in 2019 (San Diego, CA)

Before social pressures, we would just eat and tell others to eat wherever we always ate. These days, it seems, recommendations come skewed by hype (to which I too am not immune) when what we really should be sharing are the places we return to over and over even when no one is looking.

So, here is an un-scientifically compiled list of the restaurants I frequented in San Diego the most in 2019, which was totally inspired by this tweet:


Hands down one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego. I love about 90% of the menu and never hesitate to recommend it to anyone. While I rotate between many of the dishes, the Black Pepper Cashew Chicken—trimmed mushrooms battered and fried in “beef jerky” (my words) sauce served with always perfect rice—special (above) is almost always on my table.


There are only have a handful of restaurants that slay on every single visit. Pokez is one. Even on the off days, I’m still happy to be here. The kitchen harnesses San Diego Soy Dairy tofu to create fajitas, tofu/potato/mushroom burrito, tofu tortas and other favorites scatted throughout the menu.

Donut Panic

I fell hard into the party pit of Donut Panic. Here, donuts are a fleeting moment of lightness, with an almost eggy crumb, deep fried to a crisp and dripping with glossy sugar glaze spiked with lavender, lemon, or maple syrup.

Which Wich

I know! But facts are facts and I eat here all the time. It’s close to my office, the black bean patty is filling, vegan options are clearly spelled out online (pdf) and there plenty of pickles to choose from (I get them all). I basically eat a pickle sandwich with a black bean patty accent.

Sattvik Foods

Dining here shook my taste buds to life. The menu runs deep with chaat (Indian street food/snacks), mostly marked vegan, and a rotating menu of entrees often prepared vegan when possible. You can read just how much I love Sattvik place here.

Phuong Trang

I come here for one dish: The Banh Xeo. It’s a huge crispy rice flour, turmeric, and coconut crepe stuffed with beansprouts, tofu, and mushrooms. It’s meant to be neatly wrapped into lettuce leave and herbs but, in my hands, turns into an delicious mess. It’s perfect.

Poke UTC

I don’t frequently post this one on Instagram because Poke UTC is so un-vegan-friendly. A plastic bowl comes piled high with brown rice, lettuce, sweet strips of inari tossed in spicy sauce, seaweed salad, jalapenos, onions, mashed avocado, pickled ginger and radish, edamame, horseradish, and cilantro for $11-ish. It’s essentially deconstructed sushi—a relative bargain to forgo the fancy rolling and cutting.

Native Foods

I am hooked on the burgers. The house made seitan patties fill me with protein under melted vegan cheese and a side of seasoned fries (or steamed kale). This is my favorite burger in San Diego by a lot—but here are my other favorites to peruse. Not into burgers? Nachos sub fries make for a brilliant meal.


This is must visit spot in San Diego for all my vegan friends… which is what brings me here frequently. I’ve never not ordered the Skewers on a dinner visit. The Memphis BBQ Sandwich is also a steady diner buddy while the Hashes for the Mashes warm me up at brunch.

First Friday Night Market

You will find me here always, running around with a big tray of food for the volunteers. Snapping pictures then feeding them spreads like this while I pick at the scraps left behind. Favorites have included potato croquette and veganized chicken fingers. None of this would happen without the support of the San Diego vegan and vegan-curious community, so thank you so much for embracing this idea and allowing me and mostly Carly to bring it to life.

The Purple Mint Vegan Bistro (San Diego, CA)

Summer Rolls are one of the great culinary inventions in the history of man. A perfect package of crunchy vegetables, fragrant herbs, and the soft but snappy bite of rice paper enriched with the sweetness of some sort of sauce. At Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro I appreciate that they don’t dilute the rolls with extra noodles, offering rice paper stuffed with tofu, purple mint, lettuces, basil, jicama, and carrots.  The sauce, although spiked with crushed peanuts and pickled carrots, runs bland and benefits greatly from a kick of hoisin ($5.95).
Purple Mint ups the anti on summer rolls with the Double Delight Spring Rolls ($6.25). A crispy egg-less roll bisected and wrapped in rice paper with lettuce, bean sprouts, pickled daikon, carrots, and cucumbers. Served with a light and thin sweet vinaigrette that is apparently unladylike to slurp directly from the cup.
Doubling down, the free-range Satay “Chicken” Lettuce Wraps ($12.95) is a DIY adventure of marinated chicken strips, bean-sprouts, coconut curry vermicelli, pickled daikon and carrots. Served with the same peanut sauce as the Summer Rolls, the neutral nature the sauce is bolstered with the selection of well-seasoned lettuce fillers.
Fiery “Shrimp” ($9.95) was order and enjoyed by the rest of the table. The lightly battered soy shrimp are smothered in a nightmare of sweet and sour spicy-pineapple vegan mayonnaise that everyone but me thought sounded appealing. My parents claim they taste just like the real shrimp… the exact reason I can not stomach it.
A temple of iceberg and romaine lettuce serve as the base of the Asian Chicken Salad ($11.95). Glazed with grilled soy chicken and accented with the juicy crunch of bean sprouts, slivered snow peas, tiny mandarin oranges, almonds, and crispy vermicelli, the confetti of toppings are finished with a light plum-sesame dressing.
For those avoiding protein, the Chinese Broccoli & Shitake Mushrooms ($11.50) serves simple vegetables in a light brown sauce. A few sharp onions and a mound of rice flush out the bowl.
In an industry where consistency is key, I’m caught in the conundrum that is the Kung Pao “Chicken” ($11.95)—the dish comes out different every time. Battered hunks of deep fried soy proteins come drenched with a sauce that is sometimes sticky, sometimes muggy, but somehow always good. I’m guess it’s the high salt content with the light crunch of scallions mix in pungent garlic, seared cashews, and ornamental dried chilies. The pile of steamed broccoli and jasmine rice offer respite from the salty richness of this dish that I order almost every time I’m here.
Soy shrimp, mock chicken, tofu, cashews, and tiny vegetables make up the House Combination Fried Rice ($11.75). Luckily for me there was only one shrimp, but I guess the other three people found this offerings stingy. I gnawed on the chicken while rest of the table divide up the shrimp into tiny morsels of sadness. *
Tender medallions of Japanese eggplant and sugar-cube sized nuggets of tofu under way too much sauce manages to be my second go-to dish. Be ready to eat all the rice with the saucy Eggplant & Tofu Delight ($9.95).
The fresh oranges sing with the battered Orange “Chicken” ($11.50) but the dish begs for a vegetable… so I add broccoli and $2 to my bill. Because this dish doesn’t warren broccoli, compared to the complex King Pao which does include broccoli, it prevents me from ordering it more.
Yam & Sweet Potato Curry ($10.95) with taro and king trumpet mushrooms in a thin coconut broth is a straight forward dish which offers much more flavor then is expected from its watery consistency. Served with choice of French baguette, jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles—I personally go for the rice.
If you’ve made it this far through this rambling review, here is your prize: The Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi ($7.95). Confidently the best item on the menu (this statement applies to all of their Banh Mis). Warm soy hunks fragrant with lemongrass sauce are served warm saturating the thin walled baguette. Twisted with threads of cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon that offer more texture then flavor. But that’s alright. Against the meager offering of vegan Banh Mis in San Diego, this is the standout of the city.

The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro
6171 Mission Gorge Rd
San Diego, CA 92120

*We did complain and ask for more shrimp—offering to pay for it—and were told no.

A Comprehensive List of Vegan Burgers in San Diego

I uncovered more vegan burger options  then I could have imagine when building the 20 Vegan Burgers To Try in San Diego map for Eater. It seemed a shame to not share the full list for those who swim in the deep dark waters of the restaurant scene (or have a lot of friends and family that drag them to non-vegan-friendly spots). So here it is.

For photos and descriptions of the top 20, check the Eater map and help drive up views (and demand) for vegan content.

[information current as of November 2019]

    1. Amplified Aleworks
      • Housemade veggie patty is vegan($11.95)
    2. The Balboa
      • Menu states they have a fresh black bean patty and that some burgers can be made vegan.
    3. Bare Back Grill
      • Two housemade patties, Black Bean Betty or Yamburger, or a Beyond patty can be subbed for (+$2) into any burger.
    4. barleymash
      • House Made Quiona and Black Bean Burger ($14) with baby greens, cucumber, tomatoes, pickles, and onion (hold the cheese or aioli to make vegan).
    5. Beach Burger
      • #9 Impossible Burger ($14.99) Impossible burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles on a toasted bun (hold the cheese and mayo to make vegan).
    6. Burger King
      • Impossible Whopper (price varies) with tomatoes, lettuce,  ketchup, pickles, and onions on sesame seed bun (hold mayonnaise to make vegan).
    7. The Butcher’s Cut
      • The Vegan Burger ($21) Two large soy patties, caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, avocado, salt and pepper beer battered fries with house-made bbq sauce.
    8. Cali “O” Burgers
      • The Berkeley ($12 .95) Meatless Veggie Burger, grilled onions, tomato, and lettuce wrapped in an organic tortilla spinach wrap (hold aioli to make vegan).
      • Fresno Veggie ($8 .95) Handmade quinoa & garbanzo bean patty, avocado, baby spinach, tomato, pickled red onions & fresh sprouts on a whole wheat bun (hold spicy Remoulade to make vegan).
    9. Carl’s Jr.
      • Beyond Famous Star (price varies) with lettuce, tomato, onions, dill pickles, and special sauce (hold mayonnaise and cheese to make vegan).
    10. Cheesecake Factory
      • Veggie Burger ($14.95)  Patty made with brown rice, farro, mushrooms, black beans and onion with avocado, cucumber, tomato, arugula, and pickles (hold the cheese and aioli, sub vegan bread–some locations use egg in patty, verify when ordering).
      • Impossible Burger ($16.95) with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion(hold the cheese and aioli, sub vegan bread)
    11. Corner Drafthouse
      • The Impossible Burger ($18) Plant based veggie patty, soyrizo, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli (vegan cheese and aioli available by request).
    12. Crazee Burger
      • The Beyond (aka The Shelby) ($11.99) 100% vegan, this juicy plant based vegan patty is complemented with a vegan bun and accompanied with freshly sliced avocado. Add Violife vegan cheese for $1.
    13. Dan Diegos
      • Veggie Burger ($13) House made patty with lentils, polenta, bulghur wheat, nuts and veggies is vegan when ordered on a baguette.
    14. Fatburger
      • Boca Burger or Gardenburger available (verify at location if it’s vegan) or Impossible patty (+$3) can be ordered in burger (hold mayo to make vegan).
    15. Garage Kitchen + Bar
      • The Vegan Burger ($15) Beyond meatless patty,  LTO, pickles, veganaise, and harissa ketchup on a kaiser roll with fries.
    16. The Habit
      • Veggie Burger ($6.05) Vegan veggie patty (Morning Star) on a toasted wheat bun, green leaf lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions with sweet mustard dressing (choose raw onions, grilled onions are not vegan). A side of Tempura Green Beans ($3.15) are also vegan!
    17. Hamiltons Tavern 
      • Cattle Decapitation – not on menu anymore 😦 But potato patty is vegan and Impossible patty can be added for $2.5. Staff can help build a vegan burger.
    18.  Hodad’s
      • Veggie Burger ($7) A Malibu Burger Organic Vegan Gardenburger on vegan bun (hold the mayo to make vegan).
    19. Healthy Creations
      • Sunshine Veggie Burger ($10.5) Soy-free veggie burger, spring mix, avocado, tomatoes, sprouts, chipotle aioli on a multigrain roll
    20. Islands
      • Impossible ($15.99) with avocado, lettuce, and tomato (hold cheese and aioli to make vegan).
    21. Kairoa Brewing Co
      • Vegan Flat Top Burger ($16.5) Impossible, american ‘cheese’, lettuce, tomato, onion, vegan mayo, mustard, vegan bun w/fries or salad
    22. Karl Strauss
      • The Big Beer Burger ($14.50) comes with Red Trolly ale steeped onions and Tower 10 IPA sauteed mushrooms over a slab of smoky tofu.
      • The meaty Beyond Burger ($16.95) comes drizzled with avocado chimichurri and aswirl of pickled red onions.
    23. Knotty Barrel
      • Plant Based Burger ($14. 95) with lettuce, tomato, and onion (hold bun and cheese to make vegan).
    24. La Valencia
      • Black Bean and Quiona Burger ($17) mixed greens and tomato (hold bun and aioli to make vegan).
    25. The Lot
      • The Impossible Burger ($19.50) Vegan patty, arugula, tomato jam, caramelized onions, focaccia herb bun.
    26. Jaynes Gastropub
      • Jayne Impossible Burger ($21.50) with pickled onions and greens (hold the cheese and ailoi to make vegan).
    27. Jyoti Bihanga
      • Cali Burger ($9.95) Housemade black bean and beet burger. Lettuce Tomato, sunflower sprouts, avocado, cashew cheese, served in organic 9-grains with tofu tamari spread.
    28. Mavericks Beech Club
      • Impossible Burger ($10) lettuce, tomato, and onion (hold the cheese and ailoi to make vegan).
      • Veggie ($9, lettuce, tomato, and onion (hold the cheese and ailoi to make vegan).
    29. The Modern Vegan
      • (10) 100% vegan burgers in the menu that range between $14 to $21.
    30. OB BBQ House
      • Vegan Black Bean Burger ($8.00) Ask for no mayo to make it vegan. Has lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mustard.
    31. Organic Food Truck
      • Veggie burger ($9) is vegan w/o cheese
    32. Pacifica Del Mar
      • “Impossible” Vegan Burger ($15) bibb lettuce, tomato, sweet pea sprouts, sun dried tomato-tofu spread (sub for bread to make vegan, lunch only)
    33. Peace Pies
      • Bliss Burger($12) a hearty sun dried tomato & walnut burger topped with cheez, pickles, and homemade ketchup. Served on onion bread. Add mushrooms and onions (+$2).
    34. Plan 9 Alehouse
      • Spuds Veganzie ($19) Beyond Meat plant based burger patty. Vegan cheddar/mozzarella blend. Bourbon maple maitake mushrooms. Fire roasted red bell peppers. Spring mix. Fried pickled onions. Potato bun.
    35. Pure Burger 
      • Impossible X Pure ($14) 5 oz. Impossible Burger, mixed greens, tomato, pickles, avocado, and ketchup
      • Vegan Burger ($7.50) with choice of topping like jalapeno, grilled mushrooms, avocado (+$1.6), and chipotle ailoi. Topping are all clearly marked vegan.
    36. Red Robin
      • Keep it Simple ($10.49) Custom-blended, ancient-grain-and-quinoa veggie patty, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes (hold the pickles and swap bun for bread or lettuce wrap). Option to swap in Impossible burger (+$3.50).
      • Vegan Burger ($10.99) Custom-blended, ancient-grain-and-quinoa veggie patty with tomato bruschetta salsa, fresh avocado slices and shredded romaine in a lettuce wrap. Served with steamed broccoli.
    37. Second Nature
      • Plant Based Burger ($11 + $1 cheese) Beyond Meat, butter lettuce, tomatoes, roasted garic aiol.
    38. Sister Ray’s
      • The Standard Burger ($8.25) lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, american cheese, the sauce – made vegan with Impossible burger (+$2) and Daiya (+$1)
      • The Sister’s Flat Top Burger ($7.50) Grilled Onions, cheese, mayo – made vegan with Impossible burger (+$2) and Daiya (+$1)
    39. Soul Shine
      • Beach Burger ($14) your choice of a quinoa lentil patty topped with ketchup, lettuce + tomato OR a black bean patty topped with chipotle crema + cabbage slaw. Served with seasonal fries.
    40. Stacked
      • B4 Burger (a San Diego based company) with green leaf lettuce, guacamole, tomato and red onion on our vegan, whole wheat bun (can add/sub more toppings).
    41. Station Tavern
      • House Veggie Burger ($9) Topped with lettuce, tomato, cucumber (hold sauce and bun to make vegan).
      • Spicy Black Bean Burger ($9) Topped with lettuce, tomato, cucumber (hold sauce and bun to make vegan).
    42. Swami’s
      • ABC Impossible Burger ($17.99) with avocado lettuce, tomato, and chipotle veganaise (hold the Morning Star vegetarian bacon and “soy cheese” with whey to make vegan).
    43. Tavern in PB
      • Tavern Impossible ($14) with tomato, red onion, pickles, shredded lettuce, vegan cheddar, veganiase, ketchup, and yellow mustard on whole wheat bun.
    44. Torrey Pints
      • Burger and a Pint Thurs Beyond Burger ($13) Beyond Meat patty, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onion, sriracha aioli
    45. Trilogy Sanctuary
      • Can’t Stop The Beet Burger ($14.90) Patty made from beets, black beans, quinoa, and roasted red peppers grilled with cheeze, served in a toasted spelt and millet bun. Topped with fresh spinach, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. Served with garlic fries
      • Trilogy Cheeze Burger ($13.9) A hearty burger made with brown rice, black beans & portobello mushrooms, grilled with cashew cheeze. Topped with fresh tomato slices, lettuce & caramelized onions. Served with our sun-dried tomato cashew aioli and sweet potato wedges OR rosemary potatoes.
    46. Veggie Grill
      • VG Beyond Burger ($12.95)  burger by beyond meat, american “cheese”, grilled onions, house made sauce, tomato, iceberg lettuce, sesame buns + crispy fries
      • The LUXE Burger (13.50) grilled beyond burger, white truffle cheese sauce, roasted mushrooms, arugula, sriracha ketchup, roasted tomatoes, poppy seed bun
      • Steakhouse Burger ($13.50) Beyond Burger, provolone cheese, steakhouse sauce, VG bacon, tomato, iceberg lettuce, blue cheese dressing, cracked pepper, poppy seed bun.
      • Grilled Quinoa + Veg Burger ($11.75) Organic quinoa + organic shiitake mushrooms + raw sunflower seeds, cheese, house-pickled onions, arugula, veg mayo, cilantro pesto, whole grain bun.
    47. Wood Ranch
      • House-Made Veggie Burger ($15.95) House-recipe patty with avocado. It is vegans as a lettuce wrap.
    48. Working Class
      • Veggie Burger ($10) beyond meat patty, avocado, butter lettuce, tomato and red onion.
    49. Wrap Shack
      • Vegan Burger vegan crumbles, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and vegan ranch ($11.95).
    50. The Yellow Deli
      • The Yoga Vista Special ($8.25) Veggie burger with onions, tomato, lettuce, avocado, sprouts, mustard, garlic spread on kaiser roll ( I strongly recommend reading about this group before going).


Ciccia Osteria (San Diego, CA)

The joke starts “In heaven, the chefs are Italian…” and for reasons beyond me San Diego is becoming more like that good place. Italian restaurants are popping up and down the southern most coast of California. Many, such as Ciccia Osteria, offer a thoughtful vegan menu.

Chef Francesca Penocelli hovers over the desserts, lovingly tending to a gluten-free vegan chocolate cake and chiming in as guests ponder the counter-service menus. As I order my carefully considered dishes Francesca leans in to the tell me there is also a special vegan ravioli—stuffed with greens and tofu—but the weight of the line forming behind me is too much to bare an order change.

We are assigned a table along the fence looking out on Barrio Logan. In time a bread basket arrives with a side of cheese. When we reject the cheese the waiter brings a dish of olive oil, balsamic, and tomatoes flecked with mint leaves.

The generous Mista ($8) salad arrives wet in a light lemon vinaigrette with carrots and beets ribbons tossed with supremed oranges, almonds, and briny olives. It’s a good salad that I consume too fast in fear that our pasta will arrives to no space on the table. It was an unnecessary move, the kitchen timing was perfect.

Truffle oil is essentially western MSG so it seemed wise to place my money on the Conchiglie ($13). Tender sea shell-shaped pasta under too many wild mushrooms for the price with basil and the scent of truffles. If you order this, save some bread and don’t let the flavors glistening on the bottom of the bowl go to waste.

Saffron is another hard-to-not-order seasoning. Thick curls of pasta in a saffron sauce, plump with pureed roasted pepper and its own water, fill the bowl of Sombreri ($13). Confit sundried tomato, a few pine nuts, and a dusting of parsley close out the dish.

We ended with a Chocolate Coconut Milk Panna Cotta ($5). “Something a little more common” winks Francesca. “No!” I tell her “Vegan panna cotta is rare. Thank you so much for offering it.” We smile at each other as I wander out the door.

Ciccia Osteria
2233 Logan Ave.
San Diego, CA 92113
Instagram @cicciaosteriasd
Facebook: @cicciaosteriasd

Gravity Heights (San Diego, CA)

CITRUS SHANDY gh pilsner, grapefruit, orange, lime

Gravity Heights is a strange fellow. Atop the hilly landscape of Sorrento Valley—a wise move to capture the tech workers trapped by the 805’s unholy rush hour traffic—clear glass walls bath the space in light, while maple veneer and sky blue upholstery keep the interior on trend.

The latest project of Whiskenladle Hospitality, Chef Keith Voight (formerly of Prep Kitchen Del Mar which was formally a part of the Whisknladle brand) helms the only vegan-friendly menu of the group’s portfolio.

Perhaps vegan-friendly is too effusive a term for the two options, but when you’re the single vegan in a sea of omni co-workers, the little “v” on the menu becomes your good time enabler.

From the west coast of India to the best coast of America comes Bhel Puri ($10.75). Delicate puffs of rice—not unlike the healthy hippy cereals that filled many of our childhood bowls—come tossed with roasted peanuts, diced tomato, cubes of sweet mango, bites of red onion, quinoa, and a side of tamarind date chutney (the mint cilantro chutney is not vegan). It’s a fleeting dish, growing softer by the minute, that balances tastes and textures in a respectful (albeit very sweet) fusion.

The Sundried Tomato N’duja Pizza ($14.5) comes speckled in char. Spread with a thin tomato sauce spotted with thick nugs of umami in the form of sun dried tomato paste, wilted basil, red onion, and dollops of cashew ricotta.

“It’s my favorite… and I’m not even vegan” exclaims our waiter as he places it before us. Digging our toes into the wood chips below the purple picnic bench, a whiff of smoke from the distance oven falls over us as we raise the first slice to our lips.

Gravity Heights 
9920 Pacific Heights Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92121
Instagram: @gravityheights

Vegan Friendly: Tribute Pizza in North Park

There are two types of people: Those that love a specific style of pizza, and those who love supreme examples of EVERY style of pizza. Tribute Pizza—where pizza topping combinations are inspired by all the American greats—is for people who love them all.

The cavernous hall of the old North Park Post Office seemed an audacious choice for a debut restaurant. But attention to detail and a sweeping love of pizza quickly attracted customers.

On most nights, the restaurant is packed.

Read more at:

Vegan Friendly: Telefónica Gastro Park in Tijuana

The indoor/outdoor Telefónica Gastro Park offers an array of global flavors infused with the creativity of some of Tijuana’s rising chefs.

The Vibe

Long under the influence of its northern neighbors, the relatively recent dip in tourism has given rise to a brave new breed of Tijuana restaurant. Aimed at feeding the local’s hunger for innovation and community, chefs are pushing the boundaries of Baja cooking.

Telefónica Gastro Park encapsulates this shift.

Read more here:

a god-awful small affair: A Bowie Dinner with Joshua Ploeg

I’ve long espoused the idea that foodie culture rose from the smashed emotions of the Great Recession swizzled with Yelp. But lately I’ve been reading the theories of food as entertainment—a phrase that immediately rings true. Because foodie culture also rose along side Food Network, increasing obesity, grocery abundance, Salt Bae, and other bastions of 21st century American culture.

Our Birthday Lady, Beth

But for longer than that, food has been the fuel of the party season. Entertainment not aimed to sell us more or make us docile, but to share a bit of joy with friends, and friends of friends. Touring chef, Joshua Ploeg, tied it all together in an unironic David Bowie themed dinner theater for Beth’s birthday.

Is Ploeg’s food Michelin star worthy. LOL, of course not. His food is crafty, sarcastic, joyous, and frankly more fun then any tweezers plated, food as art, tasting menu could ever wish to be.

Dinner starts off wet with the Ploeg Ziggied out and serving up “In the wilds of Oh Lordy, Oh Lordy, You Know I Need Some Iced Tea”—a hibiscus lavender brew spiked with fresh mint and self-administered rum.

Joshua Ploeg as Ziggy Stardust

life’s a well-thumbed machine


Course 1
Doped up on 70’s cocktail party air, the meal opens with “Some Cat Was Layin’ Down Some Rock ‘n’ Roll Veggie Shrimps.” Adorned in Japanese robes, Ploeg shimmied little plates of turnip and jicama “shrimps” towards us. The bits are skewered with mini potatoes and broiled zucchini over a swirl of cocktail and garlic sauce.

He’d like to come and meet us But he thinks he’d blow our minds

Joshua Ploeg as Starman


Course 2
In the kitchen, baby leaves turned matte side up. Plated as “Nights Are Warm and the Greens Are Young,” the salad hides bits of rainbow carrots, Golden Years of young tomatoes, crescents of shaved fennel, and black lentil sprouts under a wild drizzle of sweetly aged mulberry balsamic.

gold whop whop whop

Joshua Ploeg in Station To Station


Course 3
The flair of “Living Nostalgia… Humble Pie or Bitter Fruit?” overshadowed the DJ performance on the soup course. A shallow dish of slow cooked squash and cucumber layered soup capped in a semi-sweet almond crust tart stuffed with black garlic pate. To the side, a sweet tamarind and bitter melon chutney bleeds slowly into the broth.

Joshua Ploeg as the DJ

I am a D.J., I am what I play


Course 4
As our ears filled with the ashes and melancholy of Major Tom, the “…But the Little Bean Wheels Are Following Me, Oh No Not Again” soothes our entry into the closing acts. Irregular pats of fava bean cakes arrives under a sandy toss of garlic herb crumble and creamy splats of pale pesto. Beside it, hearts of fancy mushrooms and roasted beets come obscured in the crumble as well.

Joshua Ploeg as Scary Monsters

The shrieking of nothing is killing

Course 5

With miniature Muppet dressed in trash bags and jute, Ploeg dons the classic fitted pants and shock of white hair of to deliver the Magic Dance of “Slime and Snails, or Corny Dog Tails?” Bamboo skewers of pecan caramel came battered and fried in sweet corn breading. The tip rests in a muck of coconut vanilla ice kreem snails swirling with blackberry slime sauce and bits of crunchy praline.

Joshua Ploeg as the Goblin King

Slap that baby, make him free


Joshua Ploeg:

Debra with Joshua Ploeg as the Goblin King

Vegan Friendly: Thali and Chaat at Sattvik Foods in Miramar

The Short and Skinny

At Sattvik Foods the menu flutters through a well-honed collection of curries and rice, offering only a few options each day. Lay your trust in Kanta Jina’s spice-tempered pots and pans and follow her around the metal thali, because they’re all good.

The Vibe

Counter height tables line the walls leading to a small window overlooking the open kitchen. Here, the women of Sattvik Foods can been seen stirring pots of daily dishes like sesame aloo and turia patra—ridge gourd stewed in colassia leaves and topped with gram noodles.

The space has the feel of a catering kitchen, which reflects the fact that half of the meals produced here are delivered to local businesses. Kanta can most often be found overseeing the kitchen with deserved confidence, though you might also see her wiping down tables, chatting with customers, or demonstrating the joys of eating Pani Puri.

Read more at: