Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara

One of the restaurants I like in Santa Barbara is Sojourner Cafe, which is downtown on Canon Perdido off of State Street. They have vegan and non-vegan food. Everything is labeled if it’s vegan or gluten free, which makes it a good choice if you’re going out with a group that has different food restrictions.

We tried the Vegan Jumbo Pasta Shells, Split Pea Soup, Cornbread Muffin, and Chili Tempeh Tacos.

I’ve had the stuffed shells before, and it’s where I got the idea to try a vegan version of my own. The garlic bread that came with it was also quite tasty.

The split pea soup was also good, and I’d like to try out a recipe at home. Does anyone have a good vegan split pea soup recipe?

The chili tempeh tacos were on the spicy side, but yummy. The cornbread helped cool down the spice.

We couldn’t leave without trying out the vegan chocolate cake. Sometimes icing on cakes in stores and restaurants isn’t very good, but this icing was pretty yummy…almost like a light chocolate mousse. Yum!

If you find yourself hungry in Santa Barbara, Sojourner’s is definitely a good choice. They also have started composting, and they purchase produce from local growers, so you can can feel good about your yummy meal!

Vegan Brownie Mix

Every now and then I peruse the Whole Foods shelves to see if any new vegan products have appeared, and this weekend I found a vegan brownie mix. Yum! I don’t know if it’s new or I just haven’t noticed it before, but of course I had to buy it and try it out. I also bought a vegan pancake mix by the same brand, but haven’t tried it yet.

The mixes are made by Cherrybrook Kitchen. They specialize in allergy free cake, cookie, brownie, and pancake mixes. In addition to being vegan, some of their mixes are peanut free for people with allergies and they also offer gluten free mixes.

It’s not like I can’t make brownies from scratch, but sometimes you want a quick treat that only requires a few ingredients. The brownies came out pretty well, though they are a bit cakier than I think brownies should be. I had to cook them longer than the directions specified. They called for 16-18 minutes, but the middle was still pretty liquid after that long. I left them in for about 5-6 more minutes before they seemed firm enough to take out. Interestingly enough, after a couple days in the fridge, they have a more browny-ish texture and I like them better. (I know, I’m surprised they lasted that long too!)

The Rutherford Pancake House

Ah, vegan brunch…one of my favorite things! Breakfasts at restaurants tend to be heavy on eggs, cheese, sausage, and bacon, but I’m seeing more and more places offer vegan brunch options. One of my favorites is the Rutherford Pancake House.

It’s not a diner, but has that casual vibe. It’s not totally vegan, so they do have the usual breakfast fare, but there are lots of vegan options as well. My favorites so far are the vegan pancakes and the Vegan Roman Tofu Scramble.

Each week they also offer a special flavor of vegan pancake such as Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Apple, Lemon Chiffon, Cranberry Orange, Oreo, Tiramisu, or Chocolate Avalanche. They have vegan pizza, quesadillas, nachos, sliders, among other tasty options. You can get soy milk for your coffee and vegan butter if you ask, and they have gluten free options as well.

Right now they are only open for brunch until 3pm, but they will soon be expanding their menu and staying open for dinner as well. They have a count down going on their Facebook page and in their front window. 17 days! I for one can’t wait. New York has a lot of vegan options, but on this side of the river the choices are a bit scarce.

Rutherford Pancake House is the perfect place to go with a ¬†group of vegans and non-vegans because everyone will find something they’ll enjoy. The owners and staff are very friendly, and the food has been good every time I’ve eaten there.