A long anticipated, now it is here. Seed + Salt New Vegan Cafe Opens in San Francisco.
I was fortunate to be invited to the preview party on Friday. I honestly did not know what to expect but from my research on the owner, I believed it would be something special.
Located on Chestnut Street, Marina District, a rather sophisticated, trendy shopping street a mere stones throw from a magnificent view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Seed+Salt has a crisp, clean, beechwood and white interior. If it is possible to effuse an atmosphere of health then this place does. It was packed with friends and family, gathered to do a trial run before opening proper.
The owner, Mo came and greeted me warmly. I have to say everything about this woman is beautiful. No flapping, ‘rabbit in the headlights’ , opening day panic was evident as she talked me through the menu. I was fascinated by her zen like air. I discovered that Mo was born with entrepreneurial DNA. At 8 she was making greeting cards and selling them in her neighbourhood in Michigan. She had balance sheets and plotted every sale and every cent. She said it just was the most natural thing for her. She then grew up and founded a marketing company. Sold it years later with a substantial book of large corporate clients. Mo then sidestepped into making designer jewellery. She told me that opening a restaurant was never part of her vision but she got a sense a couple of years ago that she wanted to build a place that served the type of food she wanted to eat. Plant based (vegan), gluten free and processed sugar free. She hired a chef from Brooklyn and over 1.5 years they developed a menu that she is really proud of. This was all whilst bringing up a small child and running several of her other businesses. ‘How do you juggle it all and look so calm?’ I asked. Meditation, came the answer.
Mo wanted to create the cleanest food that could be delivered quickly. It’s a walk up to the counter place. The menu has soup, bowls, breakfast items, sandwiches – her eggplant bacon BLT was a hit with the customers (friends/family) I chatted with. Over 90% of the menu items are made in house from scratch, from cheeses to all the delicious spreads (she plans to sell on her product line one day) and her (one day sure to be famous) nut bread and baguettes (gluten free!!). Her ‘clean’ ethos extends to all the cutlery, takeout boxes, napkins etc. All green as can be and compostable.
So, what was it like you ask?
Incredible Chef Ariel Nadelberg.
Mo Clancy. Owner of Seed+Salt.
I began with cookies. They just called to me from the stand. Chocolate chip and ginger molasses. Soft, chewy, crumbly, perfectly sweetened and very morish. One of the best cookies I’ve ever had! And healthy to boot! Just how all food should and, as inventive vegans are discovering, can be.
Next I sampled a selection of the spreads suggested by Mo. I tried the nut bread topped with wild mushroom and walnut spread, house made cheese, and a chimichurri sauce. The tri-combo of spreads were incredible. Their cream cheese is exceptional, and I can say that as I have tried many on the market. The whipped mushroom spread was flavoursome and light. The vibrant chimichurri was perfect and added an acidity that made for a reverential mix of flavours and a great acidity/creamy/umami balance.
Warm from the oven, the flourless nut bread is packed with nuts and seeds but it somehow manages to be light. Mo suggested I tried the chia seed jam coupled with the raw lemon curd. The cool sweet but slightly tart curd on top of the warm bread and the thick chia seed jam were so very, very good. The curd is like a smooth citrus butter cream and it is spoonable, sweet loveliness.
This is the eggplant bacon sandwich. Most of the people in the party I spoke with were carnivores. Each and everyone declared the eggplant bacon had a great flavour and closely matched the flavour of bacon and was worthy of much respect.
Everyone I spoke to declared the food to be full of flavour and satisfying. The cookies and nut bread and spreads were very filling. I had no room for anything else. I will be returning for sure. I have to try that eggplant bacon, and the soup, and the blackbean tempeh.
Seed + Salt is a great concept, set to flourish in San Francisco and no doubt, from what I know of the beautiful Mo Clancy, in every city another Seed+Salt appears. The staff are super friendly and passionate about their fayre. The food will speak for itself. Seed+Salt is a sure fire hit.
Seed + Salt New Vegan Cafe Opens in San Francisco. December 2nd 2014. 2240 Chestnut Street, San Francisco.
Hours 7am – 8pm.