Up in upper Nob Hill lies a very cool little restaurant and coffee shop called The Café Next Door, so named because it is attached to Sisters and Brothers alternative bookstore (4013 Silver SE, 266-7321). And if alternatives are what you're looking for, you'll certainly find them here. The menu is small but chock full of none-too-common dining options like wheat-free rye sandwich bread, vegan mozzarella, miso mayonnaise, organic coffee and soy ice-cream. Those of you who think you would never touch soy ice-cream with a 10-foot spoon might reconsider if your dining companion happened to order a two-scoop sundae topped with caramel and chocolate sauce (as mine did). No, it really doesn't taste as good as ice cream, but if I were a vegan or lactose intolerant I would probably really enjoy a soy sundae. Even more surprising was the vegan tofu “egg” salad. If you guessed that there weren't any eggs in that egg salad you'd be correct. But if you guessed that it tasted like wet cardboard you'd be wrong again. The stuff wouldn't pass for egg salad but it was reminiscent of the real thing and didn't incur any tastebud objections. Shocking but true. Check this place out for coffee, sandwiches or dessert any day of the week.
Burger fans can now head over to Harvard just south of Central where a Rex's Hamburger joint has taken over the space that was once home to Salsa Fresca. The restaurant's menu is similar to the offerings at other Rex's, meaning: big, messy burgers with skinny fries, one house-battered onion ring and a side of house-made applesauce. The Harvard Rex's will serve burgers in environmentally-
Bob Allen and his New York, New York hot dog cart are back Downtown after a months-long hiatus. Fans of the Boar's Head dogs Bob serves up can find his cart parked on the Fourth Street mall just south of Tijeras. It's Bob's partner Morgan who staffs the New York, New York hot dog cart that is usually stationed at Fourth and Central (outside Maloney's).