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Secretly Vegan

“So do you only eat salad?” my roommate asks as I explain to her my vegan eating habits.

It’s a question I get frequently, but those who are looking to eat vegan or simply cut back on meat will be happy to hear that the answer is a resounding “hell no!” Don’t get me wrong, I love a good kale salad, but on a Friday night I’m usually looking for something a little more filling than a bowl of greens. Still, I won’t deny that eating vegan and eating out aren’t always compatible – unless you know where to look.

San Francisco has an abundance of plant-based options, but unless a restaurant is fully vegetarian they won’t usually advertise their vegan foods. That means it’s up to the veggie-loving consumer to determine which restaurants will cater to their diet and which ones won’t. Of course an easy option is to solely eat at restaurants like Millennium that only serve vegan fare, but that can become prohibitively expensive. Instead, finding restaurants that have a few vegan-friendly dishes on the menu or can make vegan food upon request is a great way to open up your dining options.

Mission Pie is one such restaurant that can satisfy vegans and omnivores alike. Located on the corner of 25th and Mission, this is a great spot to stop by on any given weekend spent in the heart of San Francisco. It has a reputation for its perfectly flaky crusts and seasonal pie fillings, but many don’t realize that Mission Pie’s menu offers an array of options for plant-based eaters at well.

While it’s tempting to start with dessert at a restaurant that bakes up so many delicious sweets, I was compelled to try out the green curry pot pie first. It was marked with an asterisk on their menu, as are all of Mission Pie’s animal-product free options. Service was quick, and within minutes I was served a personal pie for less than $10. As your fork breaks the crust of this delicious dish, steamy waves of spice and curry waft over your nose. The potatoes, peas, and other locally-grown vegetables felt and tasted fresh; more importantly, though, those veggies filled me up more than any salad ever could.

Of course a meal at this restaurant would be incomplete without a slice of some sweet pie for dessert, so I chose to try out the vegan raspberry pear variety. This dish was also wonderfully crafted, and my omnivorous friends confirmed for me that it tasted as good as any non-vegan pie they’d ever had. The tartness of the raspberries cut the honey-like sweetness of the pears, creating a beautifully balanced dish that could fool even the most adamant meat eater.

Mission Pie’s menu rotates with the seasons, so I could probably be persuaded to go back and try out their new menu options regularly. But it’s also good to note that Mission Pie is just one vegan-friendly example out of an abundance of San Francisco restaurants. Many eateries now offer plant-based options, even if they don’t loudly advertise them. Look around for those menu items and you might even be able to become secretly vegan.

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