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Almost vegan in San Francisco III

February 17, 2011

As I told a friend on Facebook yesterday, I’d challenge ANYONE to claim vegan food is unappealing after they see this post.

Yesterday morning, Matt and I miraculously found ourselves with just enough time to ride the train to Berkeley and back. Why was this such a big deal? Because Berkeley is the home of Cinnaholic.

Cinnaholic is a 100% vegan gourmet cinnamon roll shop. Translation? Dream come true. I dare you to take one look at their menu or these photos and NOT drool.

Matt was in the mood for something fruity, so he selected a Blueberry Pie cinnamon roll, with blueberry icing, brown sugar and oatmeal crumble, and fresh blueberries.

Now brace yourself for my order: a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CINNAMON ROLL.

Take a closer look at the “Old Skool” vanilla icing, big chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough that melted on top of the warm roll, chocolate drizzle, and mini chocolate chips. Did your heart skip a beat? This thing was a showstopper.

While we were at it, we decided to get extra-crazy and order a round of frosting shots. Clockwise from top, we had butter pecan, macadamia nut, coffee, hazelnut, and cherry frosting samples. Oh, we sure did.

You’re not gonna believe what happened nextβ€”Justin, Cinnaholic’s very helpful cinna-man, came out to our table (we were the only people in the shop at the time) with THIS package:

Apparently, these beauties were the shop’s “ugly duckling” rolls that morning, and so weren’t going to be sold. So Justin offered them to us. For free. No joke. How could we say no?!

Yes indeed, we had found ourselves the most outrageously decadent breakfast ever…and it was worth every penny, calorie, and gram of sugar. Cinnaholic ROCKS!

That breakfast actually lasted me until late in the afternoon, and a single pear then tided me over till dinner at the also-all-vegan Herbivore. After the morning’s indulgence, I chose to be virtuous and start the meal with a green juice. For whatever reason, this was probably the best-tasting juice I’ve ever tried. It was silky smooth and perfectly flavored. I meant to ask what type of juicer they use, but I forgot to…damn!

We were pretty famished, so we both ordered appetizers. Matt got a bowl of chili with cornbread…

…and I got the za’atar flatbread, toasted baguette topped thickly with za’atar seasoning (literally, about 1/8-inch of itβ€”heavenly!) and sides of pesto and tahini.

I didn’t realize that our meals also came with soup or salad, but I happily devoured this bowl of white bean-vegetable stew.

Matt went for comfort food again (probably because I almost never make such things at home) and ordered the Potato-Soy Pie, a shepherd’s pie stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and onions, served with greens, toasted crostini, and sides of mushroom gravy and marinara sauce. Not my cup of tea, but Matt liked it.

I got the Shawarma Wrap.

It had grilled seitan, potatoes, avocado, red onions, tomatoes, hummus, hot sauce, and tahini.

For dessert, we shared something I’d never heard of before: Olallieberry Pie. Evidently, the olallieberry is “a cross between the loganberry and the youngberry, each of which is itself a cross between blackberry and another berry (raspberry and dewberry, respectively).” In other words, the olallieberry is my favorite berry ever! And to think, I never even knew about it. The pie was utterly fantastic, our server Leah was great, and overall, Herbivore was a real hit.

We’ve got just one more day left in San Fran, so stay tuned!

68 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2011 3:52 pm

    Oh, the noble cinnamon roll, how I love thee. I cannot believe you guys ordered frosting shots, that is ridiculous! I am ogling that shawarma wrap with major lust.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:25 pm

      “Ridiculous” is right! But hey, what are vacations for? πŸ˜‰

  2. February 17, 2011 4:03 pm

    So decadent! I’m in carb coma just looking at it. Funny that Cinnaholic was just mentioned in the VegNews bucket list.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:26 pm

      Decadent indeed. I nevvver eat that much sugar at a time, but (luckily for my body) it was a one-time opportunity! Cinnaholic definitely earns its spot on the VegNews bucket list.

  3. Jennifer permalink
    February 17, 2011 4:43 pm

    These past few entries of your trip to San Fran has convinced me to go… driving down from Seattle for a Vegan feast!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:27 pm

      Are you really going to?! That’s awesome! Glad I could help persuade you πŸ˜›

  4. February 17, 2011 5:19 pm

    Oh my gosh–that cinnamon roll is enough to get me on a plane right now!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:28 pm

      Cinnaholic was hard to leave behind! πŸ™‚

  5. February 17, 2011 6:08 pm

    Oh. My. God. I’ve never, ever had a cinnamon roll in my life, and then you show me that cookie dough temptress, which is a billions hours’ flight away? And FROSTING SHOTS? How did America get to be so cool?

    I’m in awe. I also have always, always loved the word olallieberry πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:33 pm

      You’ve NEVER HAD A CINNAMON ROLL? My god. My god, woman. As if you didn’t already have reason enough to come live here! πŸ™‚

  6. February 17, 2011 6:33 pm

    can I just follow you around all day and eat everything you do? it always looks SO good!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 9, 2011 4:34 pm

      Haha! You know, no one’s ever done that before…sure, let’s try it. πŸ˜›

  7. Ellen permalink
    February 17, 2011 6:34 pm

    Total foodgasm all over this cinnamon roll picture right now

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 12, 2011 4:00 pm

      Haha! Quite so πŸ˜‰

  8. Green Beet permalink
    February 17, 2011 6:34 pm

    Herbivore – bleh! Hit or miss every time I eat there. You’re just two hours from Sacramento .. you want to have incredible vegan food? Come to Sacramento and eat at Sugar Plum Vegan Cafe; best vegan food I’ve had anywhere. β™₯

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:22 am

      Sugar Plum CafΓ©…I will remember that, thanks!

  9. February 17, 2011 6:35 pm

    The food from Cinnaholic looks incredible! πŸ™‚ *drool*

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:22 am

      “Incredible” doesn’t even begin to describe it! πŸ˜›

  10. February 17, 2011 8:15 pm

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I was on our New Orleans trip, enjoying the evening in a coffee shop with Adam, and an e-mail popped up on my Blackberry that YOU’D WON!!! I was super excited and couldn’t wait to wish you a big congratulations!

    Second, I’m left speechless at the sight of this vegan cookie dough cinnamon bun. Speechless. You’ve got to find a way to re-create it!

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip to San Fran πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:23 am

      Belated thanks for your belated congrats! πŸ™‚
      You would loooove Cinnaholic, I just know it!

  11. February 17, 2011 8:41 pm

    Wow! What a day. I’m so excited to tour the SF food scene. Enjoy your last day in the city.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:24 am

      You’re gonna go nuts in San Fran πŸ™‚ There’s so much to choose from, you’ll be downright giddy!

  12. February 17, 2011 8:41 pm

    Oh wow, the last picture of the pie looks super delicious! I really like it! I would love to try one of those cinnamon rolls to! I subscribed to your blog! Love it looks like we have a lot of passions about food in common! Looking forward to your next post

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:24 am

      Thanks for subscribing, Angie! That berry pie was delish; berries are my favorite fruits πŸ˜€

  13. February 17, 2011 9:01 pm

    Those cinnamon rolls look out of this world!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:24 am

      They certainly were!

  14. February 17, 2011 9:39 pm

    OMG those chocolate cinnamon rolls look to live for! Yummy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:25 am

      Most definitely!

  15. February 17, 2011 10:24 pm

    You know how I love sweets…and cinnamon rolls are one of my favorites. Your cookie dough one looks awesome. Bring me one?? :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:25 am

      Brought you one πŸ™‚ Have you thawed and eaten it yet? I’m sure you loved it.

  16. February 17, 2011 11:38 pm

    Yes, thank you for reminding me that I have a review for Cinnaholic to do before I forget again! Their cinnamon buns ARE delicious! That schwarma wrap looked good too!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:25 am

      Ooh, did they mail you cinnamon rolls?! Lucky girl! How much did you love them? πŸ™‚

  17. February 18, 2011 2:05 am

    I love your middle-eastern tenacity at Herbivore! I remember flatbreads with za’atar on them fresh from markets in Israel when I was a kid (before I realized about being allergic to gluten)–something about that particular herb blend is just stunning.

    I used to live in Berkeley and can’t picture Cinnaholic–is it relatively new? Being a gluten shop, may not have been on my radar, but it looks like a striking front. And what a score with the ugly ducklings! Did you enjoy the BART?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:27 am

      I’m a sucker for Middle Eastern goods πŸ™‚ “…flatbreads with za’atar on them fresh from markets in Israel” – I can almost close my eyes and smell that! Wow.

      Cinnaholic opened mid-2010, I believe, so it’s pretty new. Riding the BART was entertaining because we went from cold winds in downtown San Fran, to pelting HAIL as we were changing trains in Oakland, to warm sunshine in Berkeley!

  18. Spumoni permalink
    February 18, 2011 4:43 am

    Frosting shots!?!? I feel light headed just reading about that much sugar! Oh, the flavors, though!
    I’m off to a ladies’ retreat this weekend in Laguna Woods, minutes from Laguna Beach (of course we have flash flood warnings! lol) Anyway, I get to cater the lunch on Saturday for the ladies. It’s all vegan, and partially raw. I’m excited, I just love getting to make lots of food! I also made some yummy raw brownies to take for munching on in my room. Before I return home, I hope to get lunch on Sunday at Au Lac, keep fingers crossed:)
    As soon as I get back, I’ll look to read all about your last day in SF. I’m so happy to see how wonderful it’s all been for you two. Blessings to you both ❀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:29 am

      Haha! Oh my goodness, tell me about it. Those had, oh, a week’s worth of sugar in ’em. But “at least” they use evaporated cane juice…so they’re “less bad” for you…right? Right? πŸ˜‰

      I LOVED seeing the photos of your luncheon on Facebook, thanks for sharing! You are clearly an absolute wizard in the kitchen πŸ™‚

      I can’t wait to eat at Au Lac someday!

  19. February 18, 2011 7:29 am

    O.k. – so you officially had the best cooked vegan food day EVER in my book! I think I will say that it trumps the Mexican from the other day. I would have felt sick as h*ll after all that frosting, though. I’m getting too old for the wild life! Lol!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:32 am

      It’s right up there! The frosting shots weren’t the smartest idea, sure…but it was a vacation, so we had an obligation to live it up, right? πŸ˜›

  20. Conner Murphy permalink
    February 18, 2011 10:45 am

    as far as health is concerned, most vegan cooked food is not good for you, but I am sure it was tasty:)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:33 am

      Haha, I know, Conner. I’ve never wanted or planned to be 100% raw, so I do eat cooked food daily already, but suffice it to say, cooked food like THIS is a very rare occasion indeed πŸ™‚

  21. February 18, 2011 12:27 pm

    Holy effing moly. Umm, I. Want. One. Now. (in ref. to the cookie dough cinnamon roll, of course)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 12:58 pm

      Now you’ve got me wanting another one myself…

  22. February 18, 2011 5:08 pm

    Those cinnamon rolls look out of this world! Vegan food has never looked so good πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 12:59 pm

      YES! So true. No omnivore could NOT drool at these babies.

  23. A Tablespoon of Liz permalink
    February 19, 2011 9:50 am

    Those cinnamon rolls look too good to be true!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:00 pm

      Nearly so! πŸ™‚

  24. February 19, 2011 1:10 pm

    Ok that place Herbivore is looking pretty damn nice and I love all the Middle Eastern flavours (zaatar and shwarma!) Would feel like I never left Saudi πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:05 pm

      Yeah! I bet you would’ve loved that meal πŸ˜€

  25. February 19, 2011 7:20 pm

    Ok, I have totally lost all words…Everything in this post looks so freakin’ amazing!!! Especially, those cookie dough cinnamon rolls omg it looks like a plate of heaven on earth!!! I am completely 100% convinced I could live in San Fran if I had foods like this everyday:) Anywho, I’m so so SO happy to find your blog and I’m loving all your posts! Adding you to my reader; can’t WAIT to read more!! XOXO

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:25 pm

      That cookie dough cinnamon roll was practically from another planet, it was so mind-bendingly good!

      I’m so happy you found my blog too, Olivia! Keep enjoying πŸ˜€

  26. February 20, 2011 2:39 pm

    This honestly all looks incredible. Just, ah! Oh my gosh. I’m going to California(but not San Fran) in a couple weeks with my family-how great it would be if they appreciated vegan food like this!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:26 pm

      Most larger cities in CA cater very well to vegans, so I know you will enjoy yourself! Steal away for a vegan treat every now and then if you have to πŸ˜›

  27. February 20, 2011 11:51 pm


    (That’s my reaction to the vegan chocolate chip cookie dough cinnamon roll.)


    (yeah… still reacting…)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:27 pm

      Yep, that sounds about right.

  28. February 22, 2011 10:22 am

    so jealous of all this delicious food you are eating hehe. looks like you are having a blast πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 1:27 pm

      Fo sho! It was an amazing trip πŸ™‚

  29. February 22, 2011 12:26 pm

    what a super blog – I’ve only been to the USA once, to Washington DC for a few days, but I really NEED to go to San Francisco now to eat at all those wonderful restaurants:) How do you fare in Kansas for eating out?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:32 pm

      In Kansas City (which is actually in Missouri, mind you!), there are actually lots of options for healthy vegetarian eats. Most people would disagree, but they just don’t look – anywhere you go, there is a way to eat healthy and vegan. I’m living proof! πŸ™‚

  30. February 23, 2011 3:18 pm

    Those cinnamon rolls look amazing!! I would have been happy to take the “ugly” ducklings of the morning, ha.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:33 pm

      Hehe, no kidding! I sure was πŸ˜›

  31. February 23, 2011 6:12 pm

    Wow, that is some good looking food. I love San Francisco – such a great city for walking around and abundant vegetarian eating!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:33 pm

      Absolutely! San Fran treated us very well.

  32. February 23, 2011 8:44 pm

    Chocolate chip cookie dough cinnamon roll? YUM! Want to bring some back to KC? πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:34 pm

      I did bring back one lone, bare cinnamon roll…for my mom πŸ˜› Now I have to get my butt in gear and make some homemade c-rolls sometime soon!

  33. February 24, 2011 7:52 am

    OH, AMAZING!!! Wish I could get that kind of fantaaastic food here in Sweden!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:34 pm

      Amalia, I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden! πŸ™‚

  34. May 4, 2011 10:55 am

    Oh, WOW! What exactly are frosting shots? Is it just frosting that you eat by itself? What an awesome experience. And that wrap looked amazing.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      May 4, 2011 3:10 pm

      Yup, that’s exactly what it is! Heavenly πŸ˜€

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