Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge


Congratulations to ALL of our restaurants and chefs, for an excellent round!!!  Below is a listing of our 2015 winners.  As you can see, every restaurant that participated has something to sing about!

58 Degrees & Holding Co. takes home 1st place for Entree AND Soup this year!!! Their Caps & Griddle Cakes Entree, and Butternut Squash Soup were both ‘spot-on.’ Excellent flavors all around!

Chef Matthew Brown also receives Best Overall Menu Presentation for Excellent Creativity and Presentation: All Courses. (*again, they were neck-in-neck with Thai Basil’s beautiful presentations!)

“Every dish at 58 Degrees was exquisite. There were so many phenomenal options!”

The Porch Restaurant and Bar wins 1st place for Brunch–taste, creativity & presentation especially for their Banana Krispie French Toast and Pumpkin Spice Waffles; AND 1st place desserts–taste, creativity & presentation– for their Banana Mocha Cake (but every single dessert they served was scrumptious!) Kudos to their pastry chef Kari Hawley! Porch also receives ‘Greatest Variety of Vegan Menu Options’ for ‘Tasty Vegan Comfort Food’ from Fried Hominy & Fried Beets appetizers, to Vegan Meatballs, Frito Pie, Mac & Cheeze, and even a Chocolate Whiskey Poached Pear! While some of their fare included returning favorites, Chef Jon rotated in plenty of new & original vegan options this year!

Porch also turned in 239 vote cards and received an Enthusiastic Vegan Challenge Menu Promotion Award for highest volume of voter responses.

And if THAT’s not enough, they’ve agreed to continue rotating vegan options onto their weekly menus year-round, earning them a Vegan Community Appreciation Award!!!

Chef James Herzig of Nectar Cafe up in Auburn receives 1st Place-(taste) for his Endive Beet Bites Appetizer and 1st place (taste & creativity) for his Thai Kale Salad. Chef Herzig also deserves special mention for his tasty and beautiful pear and coconut cream dessert. Their food is delicious~ if you haven’t yet been up the hill to Nectar, it’s worth the trip! Way to bring it,Nectar Cafe ! So glad they joined us this year!!! (By the way, did you see the post about their November vegan weekend dining specials on Fri-Sat nights?)

And Thai Basil wins 1st place (creativity & presentation) for Appetizer & Salad: Fried Brussels Sprouts and Miang Kum Endive cups. (*some voters counted the endive cups as salad; some as appetizer therefore the ‘combined’ award.) Additionally, Thai Basil wins an award for Excellent Menu Creativity and Presentation, for Appetizer, Soup, Salad & Entree! (*They were neck-in-neck with 58 Degrees for this award!) Their winter curry entree also received rave reviews from diners, and will continue on their menu.

The Rind :: Cheese. Wine. Beer. wins 2nd Place Entrée (it was a serious split- tie!) for their delicious Milano Vegan Sandwich featuring Miyoko’s Double Cream Chive, a green olive tapenade (red bell peppers, pepperoncini, crimini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, parsley) on vegan French Batard bread from Grateful Bread, mixed greens, and roasted zucchini. Which, thanks to YOUR enthusiastic support, they will be keeping on their menu! Yay!!! We are thrilled to bestow a ‘Vegan Community Appreciation Award’ with Enthusiastic Menu Promotion as they will also be including more vegan menu options, given the popularity of their Milano Vegan Sandwich.

Metro Juice Company gets 2nd Place: Entrée – (taste) for their Cornmeal-Crusted Ratatouille Tart and 1st Place: Bar Menu for their alcoholic drinks blended with fresh juices, along with an award for Enthusiastic Participation & Vegan Menu Promotion. Bring your friends on over there!!! They were so excited to participate in Vegan Chef Challenge, and will be keeping more vegan options on their menu.

Lou’s Sushi received 2nd place for their entree (presentation) for their Vegan Spider Roll, ‘Can You Dig It?!!’ Roll & Vegan #2 Roll.; and Most Creative Vegan Menu Options/ Favorite Vegan Sushi for this year’s all-out menu including: Vegan Spider Roll, Can You Dig It?!! Roll & Vegan #2 Roll, Spicy Tuna Vegan Handroll, Vegan OMFG Roll, Portabella Katsu, Tofu & Grilled Asparagus Salad

Abyssinia takes a 2nd place for their entree (taste). If you haven’t tried their Vegan Sampler, you definitely need to go!!!

2nd Place Dessert (taste) went to Baagan for their Salted Caramel Brownie (and yes, their amazing Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake is still very popular!) Have you visited their new location yet???

Evan’s Kitchen And Catering also receives a 2nd Place for Dessert (presentation) for his Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Red-Wine Sorbet. Evan also received an award for ‘Best Variety of Vegan Menu Options-Vegan Homestyle Cooking’ with special mention for his awesome and ever-popular brunch (this year included a new Cashew, Leek & Cremini Mushroom vegan quiche, along with his super-awesome Rice Krispy French Toast) AND his delicious Eggplant Lasagna, which will now be featured on his regular menu!

Chef Sylvanna MislangThe Roaming Spoon wins 1st place for Bar Menu category (food) and 2nd place for Brunch–both categories claiming taste, creativity AND presentation! Some diner favorites included: kung pao brussels sprouts, spicy apple poke, kahlua tofu, mac & cheeze, and chilaquiles and chickpea scramble.

Orchid Thai Restaurant & Bar won 1st place Bar Menu- creativity and presentation for their Thai Tea (made deliciously vegan with coconut cream) and special mention for their Caramelized Tofu Skewers appetizer and diner’s favorite marinated tofu and grilled asparagus entree. We also awarded them ‘Vegan Community Favorite New Find‘: they have an extremely vegan-friendly menu, and a growing vegan customer base!

El Papagayo Restaurant receives the award for ‘Most Popular Vegan Mexican Menu/ Favorite Overall Vegan Chef Challenge Menu’ for their Guava Margarita, Vegan Posole Soup, special Challenge Sope, and dessert tamales. (*plus all of your other favorite vegan items, from Albondigas Soup to Tacos!) AND a Vegan Chef Challenge Excellent Menu Promotion Award: with over 200 vote cards turned in!!!

The Green Boheme has a loyal diner following, and takes home a Vegan Community Favorite Overall Menu 2015 for taste, creativity & presentation for their rotating vegan daily specials, dinner options, and weekly dine & demo menus. Be sure to try out Chef Brooke’s Dine & Demo Monday nights, or any of her weekly evening sit-down dinners! They are one-of-a-kind!!!

Tower Bridge Bistro received 2nd place (taste) for their delicious Celery & Parsnip soup; tied with Evan’s Kitchen And Catering Split Pea & Rutabega Soup, also 2nd place (taste).

Capitol Garage ~ special mention on those AWESOME Pumpkin Pie Pancakes w/ cranberry syrup; and we especially want to thank them for the best Murder Mystery Dinner Event so far!!! The menu for that was especially popular and receives a ‘Most Inspired Appetizer & Bar Menu’ award: Raphael did a ‘spooktacular’ job of creating themed drinks, appetizer, entree, and a Skittles Cake for dessert! (Whaaat??!!! You missed it??? Maybe you can sweet -talk him into featuring that cake again sometime, or even making one for your birthday!) Kudos for a job well-done!!!

Andy Nguyen’s Vegetarian Restaurant~ Thank you for being one of our featured participating venues, and for the delicious Vegan Vietnamese Crepe. Enthusiasm Award for promoting your menu, and for joining us this year!

Queen Sheba ~ This was their first year, and they got a late start. NEXT year, though, we look forward to their full participation with an all-new vegan menu, etc. Meanwhile, please continue to enjoy their vegan options and lunch buffet!


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