Destino, a "nuevo latino bistro" opened in 2000, is found on a rather unprepossessing block of San Francisco's Market Street between Guerrero and Valencia. If you dig a little deeper, there are gems to be found in this part of town. For example if you're hankering to sing yourself a song, but want nothing to do with karaoke you can scratch that itch at The Octavia Lounge or Martuni's. Of course the venerable Zuni Cafe is just another block or two away. Destino is destined, no pun intended, to remain a dining destination, no pun intended intended again, for me whenever I hit this part of town.
Unlike many Latin restaurants which like to offer even meat with a side of meat, Destino goes out of its way to accommodate my kind...the veg*n kind. They go so far as to have a vegan choice in every category of their prix fixe menu, which is very unusual indeed.
My most recent Silicon Veggie article for the Silicon Valley Metro was all about how Oprah and Ellen and other celebrities are making Vegan the New Black, what with their very public flirtation with the Skinny Bitch gals and Kathy Freston...she of the "Quantum Cleanse", or what I call the "extreme sports of eating."
I closed the article by describing the meal I had at Destino, as evidence that a vegan diet doesn't have to equal deprivation.
I started with a nice South American beer (no alcohol on that Quantum Cleanse) and my friend and I shared some fried yuca (I'm betting no fried food on the Quantum Cleanse.) My friend also tried their coconut mojito, which was quite yummy.
I had a wonderful Hearts of Palm salad to start, much enhanced with jicama, papaya and toasted pumpkin seeds. That was followed by Quinoa entree with Peruvian artichoke hearts. Now this entree I did have to order without the cheese it would normally come with, but I'd like to point out that the waiter was the one who asked me if I was vegan and told me about the cheese...and I can't tell you how much I love when a waiter is attuned to a diner's needs and anticipates them!
Finally, I really appreciate it when a restaurant has dessert options that aren't made with dairy or eggs. Destino offers a Granita (aka a shaved ice dessert.) That evening the flavor was a deep red wine grape granita. (Oh, and no sugar on that Quantum Cleanse.)
It was a very complete and satisfying meals from starting with a little cocktail to closing with a nice dessert.
I should say: I have nothing against the Quantum Cleanse, it's probably very effective and useful, but it is not equivalent to a vegan diet, m'kay?
You can indulge and still being a vegan...my visit to Destino proves that!