Nice review of the Veg Awards from the Examiner
- Wednesday night, down on Geary in the heart of the theater district,
I encountered a ripening new scene, a melding of all the above. ...
Just opposite the Home of the Original Perfect Hamburger and that
delightful low bar, the High Tide Lounge -- with its neon champagne
bubbles effervescing from a red neon glass -- the lively, glossy
magazine VegNews, published in the Sunset, brought its readers
downtown for the annual Veggie Awards, a kind of Academy Awards for
veg-friendly institutions. And it was quite uptown. ... The venue was
the Millennium Restaurant in the Savoy Hotel, perhaps the most
upscale vegetarian restaurant in America.
One might think the vegans and vegetarians assembled would resemble a
joyless salad of ex-hippies, Santa Cruz nature lovers and relics of
stern childhoods, intent on punishing the palate. But what a scene!
This may be the first time in the years it's been my pleasant duty to
check out scenes that I entered a room of 200 partying San
Franciscans and wasn't blinking from the light bouncing off the
reflector-tight skin of myriad Botox-ed foreheads and pointy,
angular, surgically sharpened cheekbones. And about half were in
their 50s, 60s and above. ...
The other half were twenty- and thirty-somethings, epitomized by
Julia Butterfly Hill, famous for having lived in Luna, a 180-foot
Coast Redwood, for two years to spare it from the ax. Julia left the
lumbering look behind for tight slacks, belly-showing sweater and
beaten silver earnings. She ran the show. ...
There are 70,000 vegetarians in The City, so it stands to reason they
cross economic and social lines, but as they don't have pinched
faces, they don't have pinched personalities.
Talk politics in most joints these days and you feel like you've
taken a shot in the liver -- people are so depressed. Not here. These
people are kind of optimistic, but not naïve. Maybe because they feel
good. There was lots of political talk, refreshing in its hopeful
Top veg venue victory was scored by Millennium. Owners Larry and Ann
Wheat (a fine old vegan name) are accidental restaurateurs. He was a
top partner at KPMG, the accounting firm. Retired, the Wheats were
hungering for a vegetarian restaurant that would define itself around
fine dining. In chef Eric Tucker, they found their man. Curiously,
about half of Millennium's customers are not practicing vegetarians --
just foodies. ...
The Gav was there to accept an award for S.F. as America's most veg-
friendly city. Jenny Humphrey asked him The Question. His
answer: "I'm an aspiring vegetarian." ... Rainbow Grocery won the
market award, and that ongoing county fair, the Ferry Plaza Farmer's
Market, won too. Herbivore won for favorite brunch.
When vegans are praising brunch -- the most Society-like meal -- you
know they've arrived. ... Food was delish, too. ...
Tip off P.J. at (415) 359-2649. E-mail to pjcorkery@....