Vegan invasion: Sonoma’s plant-based foodies

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Self-described pan-based eater Jo Toscana started Sonoma Plant-Based Foodies as “a collective of passionate people who would like to change the perception of what vegan food is all about.”

“Our goal is to reach out to chefs, wineries and restaurants to encourage them to include plant-based items on their menus,” she said in an email to the Index-Tribune. “We hope to eventually host plant-based fine dining pop-ups in conjunction with vegan wineries, (not all wine is vegan) and other wine country venues.”

Some of the group’s members include Tracy Vogt, who started Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary (and just purchased Traci des Jardins’ Jardinière in San Francisco to create the first vegan Italian restaurant in the city); Alison Kilmer of Uppercase Tea; Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Vegan Cheeses; Michelle Rulmont of La Belle Vie Vegan Wine Tours; as well as leaders at Amy’s Kitchen and the Sonoma County Humane Society.

The group’s first outing was to the Girl & the Fig where restaurant chef Jeremy Zimmerman created a complete vegan dinner menu for them, and they said it was “outstanding.”

Girl & the Fig owner Sondra Bernstein told the Sonoma Index-Tribune that the Girl & the Fig now has a “secret vegan menu.” All a plant-based eater needs to do is tell their server they are vegan, and the server will tell the guest what vegan items are on the menu that day, from cheeses to entrées, as well as what dishes can be cooked as, or are, vegan already.

In the meantime, El Dorado Kitchen has added a vegan and gluten-free entrée to its menu. Sous chef Hector Rosado has created a pan-roasted Maitake mushroom, grilled asparagus topped with cilantro pepita “hummus,” vegetable succotash, a slightly spicy grilled half ear of corn, and cherry tomatoes, all drizzled with a balsamic reduction sauce ($18).

According to Toscana, Layla at MacArthur Place has added a vegetable ragu Bolognese with housemade almond ricotta.

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