Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eating Vegan (Pizza!) in San Jose

If you've been with me for a while here, you know that I often come to my old home town of San Jose (yes, I do know the way), to visit family. I'm the only vegan in the clan, so I usually end up eating a lot of salad, as nobody else is interested in finding vegan places with me.

On my most recent visit, I called a few old friends together for lunch, one of them Paul Graham, who wrote the groundbreaking blog and book entitled, Eating Vegan In Vegas. Paul recently moved back to San Jose, after several years in Las Vegas, and has now turned his attention to finding all the great vegan food in the Bay Area, and sharing it on his new blog, Eating Vegan Around the Bay. Lucky me to have such a friend to be my personal vegan food guide when I'm in town!

Our little group of four high school pals met up at Plant Based Pizza, on Meridian and Willow in the Willow Glen area of San Jose. It just happens to be very close to my dad's house, and that makes me very happy. I now have a good vegan pizza place to zip over to any time the rest of the family is having... something else.

The location is small and inconspicuous, tucked in around the corner from busy Meridian Avenue, and across the street from a Starbucks. It's funky and hip on the inside, with a few tables, a counter to order at, and a couple of picnic tables outside. Nothing fancy to look at, but as I started asking around the neighborhood later, I found that they're making quite a name for themselves, and for good reason. The pizza is great. Not just passable-for-vegan-pizza, but, in my Pizza Queen Opinion (Rick and I once owned and operated a killer pizza shop in Seattle), far better than most mainstream pies out there.

Each table displayed one of these little signs, telling people who might not know, about some of the virtues of eating vegan food, even if it's just for one meal. This is the kind of positive food talk I favor.

We ordered three different "personal" pizzas, which were generously sized at 10 inches, plus a pesto "steak" sandwich that I didn't get a good picture of. But check out these little beauties! All of them were just super, with nice chewy crusts that deserve to be eaten all up, and Daiya* cheese to hold all the goodness together.

This is the Greek Style, with white sauce, spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and olives. This one was on the gluten free crust, which was a good, real pizza crust, not a creepy sawdust cracker imposter. 
This is the Indian Style - a garam masala and curry delight that was totally delicious, although it could have been a lot spicier for some of us.
And saving the best for last, the Texan BBQ takes me happily back in time to a similar version we used to make in Seattle. This wonderful, alternatively flavored pizza features vegan chick'n that's been marinated in a zippy-sweet BBQ sauce, along with green onions and fresh cilantro. Maybe I liked it best because I ordered it. Or maybe I just have a knack for ordering the best!
Good pizza + good friends = a happy afternoon. Thank you, my friends, and thank you Plant Based Pizza!


* Most people pronounce "Daiya" wrong. Wanna be the smart kid? Here you go, from the Daiya website, because these things are important to me...

How do you pronounce Daiya?

We pronounce Daiya as “day-ah” as in “have a nice Daiya!” The name arose from a play on the words ‘dairy’ and ‘Dayaa’ which is Sanskrit for “loving, kindness, and compassion”.

1 comment:

Jean Baldridge Yates said...

These look terrific! One of my kids makes vegan pizza often--he loves it! He made one last week :)
jean xox