Prior to winning gift certificates to Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill (locations in California and Nevada), I had heard of it from a restaurant guide by the San Diego chapter of Last Chance for Animals (revised 04/03/2012.) However, I didn’t visit until years later after winning.
When I first visited in early 2016, their menu indicated vegan options (01/28/16.) The key had a V for Vegan and a leaf emoji for Vegetarian. (It also had and still denotes GF for gluten-free.) However, on subsequent visits I noticed that they took “vegan” right off the menu, which seemed passive aggressive. Now the V is for “vegetarian” even though cheese aint a veggie (see their latest revised menu, 01/18/17.) The waitress, however, informed me that none of the ingredients had changed and thus, whatever was vegan before was still vegan (that would be Baba Ghanoush, Edamame, Hummus, Wok’d Sesame Shishito Peppers, and Red Quinoa salad.) No, not pizza!
Thus, I always got Baba Ghanoush and Red Quinoa salad. Both are quite good. However, I felt that the salad had too much raw onion in it. I once read in a cookbook called Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan that people consume too much onion and garlic and I agree (because then you can’t share with your dog!) (By the way, the Scripps Ranch restaurant has a patio where you can bring your dog, but they don’t seem to like it.)
Not until my last visit (after working a full day of temp labor) did I find out that I could order a vegan pizza. At the Del Mar restaurant, an exceptionally knowledgeable waitress, Rachel S., explained how to modify a Margherita pizza to make it vegan. I should have taken notes because I can’t remember what she said exactly, but it was something like rejecting the roasted garlic sauce, doing something with tomato sauce (maybe replacing marinara?), and substituting vegan cheese for a $2 surcharge. Well, it was great! I highly recommend that you win gift certificates on Entercom stations.
Sammy’s also sells cocktails with Han alcohol, so I decided to do my research and find out if it’s vegan friendly. In March 2016, Michael Bacco of ProBev, Inc. said, “Yes. As are most all beverage alcohol products, HAN is vegan. No animal ingredients are involved.” That’s good news, but are “most” beverage alcohol products vegan? I hope so!
Here’s another tip about gift certificates. If you win one that doesn’t have an expiration date, try to use it sooner than later because the restaurant could go out of business! That happened to me with two (2) sushi restaurants, actually! However, it turned out that one of them, Roppongi, was owned by the Ladeki Restaurant Group, the same company that owns Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill. Thus, I contacted them and was pleasantly informed by Shannon Grillo from the Las Vegas Office that I could redeem my Roppongi certificates at Sammy’s. Yay.