Everyone should know now that Bolsa is a super cool place to hang out and have some fantastic drinks. Every vegan should know that it is also a great place to dine.
To start, I worked my way through the cocktail menu, making my decisions based on what the fabulous new bartender (fresh in from SF and originally from Hawaii) was making in front of me. The smell of fresh thyme, cucumber, berries, limes, etc was just divine and so was the sight (rush on in and try your luck before someone else snags him).
This fine evening, my drinks of choice were:
Bolsa Sangria: Red ~ Hibiscus Blood Orange. A nice sangria that is not too sweet. I added extra lime to make it even better.
Mad Hatter: Seasonal Berries, Tito’s Vodka, Citrus, St. Germain, Champagne. Did you think I’d pass up a drink with St. Germain? You know better than that by now. It was delicious!
Italian Affair: Solerno Blood Orange, Apple, Lemon, Aperol, Prosecco. Just about perfect for the warm evening.
About now it was a good idea to put some food in my alcohol laden belly. We opted to brave the warm patio, just to get our pick of server. Shannon was great and well worth the lack of air conditioning and the net that kept attacking our table (can’t complain too much as that meant there was a breeze moving our way). While I normally avoid a salad, it seemed the best option to for a fast fill option and I knew a Bolsa salad would be an above average experience.
My choice of Pickled Baby Beet Salad was a delightful combination of local Tom Spicer’s arugula, pickled baby beets, and candied hazelnuts. (veganize by omitting the caprino royale feta and horseradish cream) I opted for a vinaigrette dressing. The beets were tender while firm and pickled without being acrid or bitter. It was a perfect bit of instant filler while we waited for the main course to arrive.
Bolsa is one of those places that you can comfortably say: “I’m vegan, please just whip me up something fabulous.” That’s exactly what I did. After looking over the vegetable selection for the list entrees, I had a fair idea of what I’d be getting. The exciting thing, though, is not really knowing exactly what they’ll decide to prepare for you. My magnificent surprise was a boldly seasoned sauté of baby bok choy, spinach, French carrots, celery root and sweet potato hash. Shannon’s drink recommendation was the Bottle Rocket: Hayman’s Gin, Grapefruit, Arugula, Pink Peppercorn, Soda.
There is no vegan dessert on the menu, either, but it is also a meal that you can receive by surprise. My finishing dish was a happy mix of berries drenched in Grand Marnier and accompanied with a veganized El Perdedor: Don Q Anejo Rum, Pineapple, Falernum, Angostura, (Horchata replaced with coconut milk) and topped with sinfully scented cinnamon.
You can certainly call ahead for a vegan option, if you aren’t comfortable just going with the chef’s choice, but I recommend letting your hair down and going with the flow at this spot.