854 Washington St,
San Francisco, CA
It was glorious and sunny in San Francisco on the day of the Chinese New Year parade. Quite lucky, considering that it rained the days before and after the parade. Having gotten there early, V and I walked up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, where we ate our sandwiches. Then we walked up and down Crooked Street (Larkin) and over to North Beach until we found a nice little cafe' to park ourselves. Around 6 pm, we headed over to China Town hoping to find a good spot to watch the parade, but the street was totally packed. After standing around for an hour and a half with people leaving, V and I found ourselves in the front with a grand view of the dragons, lions and marching bands. It was nice!
By 8:30 pm we got hungry but luckily for us, V had looked up a great little vegetarian restaurant just a block up from the parade on Washington at the intersection of Waverly. It is not difficult to find cheap eats in China Town, but that usually means nothing to a vegetarian. So I did not expect to find this little hole in the wall in the middle of China Town serving vegetarian food exclusively. It must be popular; we saw several people waiting outside in the shivering cold. We too put our name on the list and stood outside in the cold. Again luckily, it wasn't a long wait.
The place is very unassuming and the service is brusque. We placed our order of 2 entrees from the "Specials" menu. Our choices were "Sauteed Mushroom with Gluten Puff and String Bean" and "Vegetarian shirmp and vegetables in spicy sauce"... atleast I think that is what they were called... the descriptions pretty much matched the dishes.
Apparently the speciality at Lucky is the "Wheat Gluten Puff". In fact they sell it by the pound ($4.50/lb) at the front of the store. We did find it quite tasty. The mushroom - string bean - gluten dish was out of this world, and the shrimp dish was quite good. V liked the latter better than I did.
Only cash is accepted, no cards. The dinner bill came to $24 for both of us with tax and tip. I think we were in and out of there in 30 mins! Definitely cheap eats which we are in the lookout for in this economy. V pointed out that eventhough we had been to several vegetarian "faux meat" places, we had never been to a Chinese vegetarian place. He may be right. Most of the places in the South Bay are Vietnamese.