Souley Vegan's proprietor Tamearra Dyson uses techniques she learned from her family in Louisiana to subvert that idea that healthy, vegan eating lacks flavor. She dredges tofu in a southern-style batter that mimics fried catfish and fashions a menu that appeals to meat-eaters and vegans alike. Tofu also gets dressed in BBQ sauce in burgers and tossed in sweet and sour and green peppers. Tamearra and her kitchen staff put a vegan spin on a roster of Southern classics, such as potato salad with black olives following a family recipe three generations old, as well as mashed potatoes drenched in vegan gravy made like her mom did. The eatery's mac and cheese made with yeast-based, non-dairy cheese earned it accolades from the East Bay Express, which said that it "is so perfect a substitute to its dairy-based kin that it leaves the eater convinced it’s the real thing," while also bestowing Souley Vegan with "Best of East Bay" awards for the past five years. USA Today has also recognized the eatery as among ten great places for soul food in the country.
Brightly painted walls and block-style prints of blues musicians lend a cozy Southern atmosphere to the restaurant, where diners gather around color-splashed tables or cluster on picnic style benches as they share family-style meals or play License Plate Bingo for the last piece of fried okra.
In the past, Brendan Eliason's oenophilia has landed him gigs at David Coffaro Winery in Dry Creek and Va de Vi Bistro & Wine Bar in Walnut Creek. These days, he mans Periscope Cellars, which stocks an impressive selection of Californian wines. Available by the bottle or from up to 10 taps, the tasting room showcases everything from pinot noirs and zinfandels to mulled wine in winter.
Pours pair perfectly with gourmet bites from the surrounding Swan’s Market; Rosamunde Sausage Grill, for instance, is just steps away. Of course, Periscope's libations are also available to go in refillable 500ml bottles or unlimited handfuls.
Back to Earth’s retreats couple outdoor adventure with relaxation, letting nature lovers and city slickers alike flee urban landscapes in favor of mind-body rebuilding. Escape the ironic graffiti of urban-transit systems and explore California's undeveloped stretch of coastline, beginning in Shelter Cove, on the self-centering qigong retreat. Participants spend four days and three nights hiking, camping on the beach, and practicing qigong, honing forms and meditations to boost inner wellness. In between activities, the staff prepares organic meals to elevate body and mind and refuel energy stores depleted from asking the mountains hypothetical questions.
The executive chef at Back Forty Texas BBQ Roadhouse and Saloon scripts a menu of authentic Texas recipes that pile plates high with tender meats and down-home sides. As diners stroll into the bright red roadhouse, noses sniff out smoky tendrils emerging from custom Southern Pride cookers where pork ribs, beef brisket, and barbecue chicken turn slowly for 14 hours, much like exceptionally sleepy astronauts.
When not dominating the awards table at local competitions, Dave Tendick enjoys cooking for others and catering events with his signature seasoned meats. Dave and the team at Smokehouse 10 have assembled a menu of heaping servings of St. Louis–style ribs, served wet or dry, as well as Texas-style brisket, Memphis-style pulled pork, and other barbecue favorites. An ambassador for flavor and the art of slow cooking, Dave also nurtures future chefs through extensive, daylong barbecue classes. Students immerse themselves in the science of sauces, rubs, and injections. Chefs at Smokehouse 10 have also mastered more eccentric fare, including cheesy corn casseroles and smoked alligator ribs.
San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures’ sparkling 1950's Mack Fire Engine carries passengers on themed adventures that combine the excitement of racing toward a fire with the fun of outwitting time. From the vantage point of the "Big Red Shiny Mack Fire Engine," guests catch views of the Bay Area while pretending to be important pieces of firefighting equipment. Tours run year round, and the crew outfits patrons with authentic fire gear to keep them warm while they explore the city on one of the themed tours. Winery tours cruise to Treasure Island, where guests enjoy tastes of signature varietals, while the Golden Gate bridge tour begins in Fisherman's Wharf before heading across the iconic bridge, through the village of Sausalito. Holiday-lights tours capture some of the city's most festive and decorated locations, and Halloween tours creep through Historic Presidio where ghosts are rumored to vacation.