7×7 Magazine has a list of the top 50 vegetarian/vegan dishes in San Francisco, and Alex and I are on a mission to try them all. Well, I’m on a mission to at least try all the restaurants, even if I don’t get the exact dish on the list. We’ve been to some of the places already, so it’s our goal to eat our way through the rest of them in the next year. We started last night, on date night.
We ventured over to Old Jerusalem in the heart of the Mission district. On the list was the stuffed falafel – whatever that meant. The website had no description, and neither did the 7×7 list. I love me some Mediterranean food so I was stoked – I could live on hummus, baba ghanoush, lava bean dip and all the spreads that come with a warm basket of pita.
The place is a hole in the wall and obviously family run – I’m pretty sure we met the mother, father, and daughter – all very sweet and friendly. Alex wanted the falafel wrap and I got the vegetarian combo plate, PLUS we ordered a dip not included on the plate, a mix of hummus and lava beans.
Alex asked for the stuffed falafel in his sandwich, but unfortunately something was lost in translation and he didn’t get it. We decided to just roll with it rather than send anything back. He promises me he’ll pick up some stuffed falafel to try on the way home from work next week. 😉
My combo plate had roasted eggplant, roasted cauliflower, a cucumber/tomato salad, two falafel, a dolma, babghanoush, hummus, and fava bean dip. It came with another tahini parsley dip, hot sauce mixed with onions, and pickled beets and olives. We really needed that extra bowl of dip, let me tell you.
All of the dips on my plate were creamy and flavorful, with the baba ghanoush being my favorite. The cucumber tomato salad, while I ate the entire thing, left a lot to be desired. It is March after all, not exactly tomato season. I should have just had them leave it off. The roasted vegetables were good, but nothing to write home about. I used to hate dolmas, but have grown to like them and this one was tangy and delicious.
The falafel, unfortunately, were not my favorite. My absolute favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, Taboun in the Sunset district, makes the best falafel of all time. While fried, it’s still light and flavorful. The falafel at Old Jerusalem was heavy and a bit greasy. You could taste fried-ness, but not much else. I left the ones on my plate for Alex to take as lunch leftovers.
The winner of the night was the hummus/fava bean dip and the pita. The pita were light, warm, and fluffy – absolutely divine. And the hummus lava bean dip was the exact rich consistency and so addictive. Even after I’d managed to put down the pita, I continued to dip the tines of my fork into the bowl for one last taste.
The service was great, and I appreciated that it was the sort of place where they don’t bug you, making for a leisurely meal. The atmosphere is that of a hole in the wall, family joint – it’s nothing fancy but it’s warm and cozy.
Of course it’s right across the street from Mission Pie, so we couldn’t resist a quick dessert trip where we split this mini apple and huckleberry pie. The oat crust was to die for so I focused my attention there and let Alex have the fruit. 😉
Then we ventured back home, using the 10 block walk as a digestif and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city.
Another one crossed off the list – only 45 more to go!