The Chef: Gabrielle and Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant
The Menu: A steaming bowl of Kinoko (mushroom) soba noodles in a savory broth, with nori, shimeji, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms.
The Goods: This is my first day back to work after a horrible weekend spent fighting the flu, and when my container of quinoa salad that I packed this morning broke on my way out the door, I knew I needed to treat myself to lunch. Fortunately, Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and Associate Editor Liz Miller were happy to join me at Cha-Ya, an 100-percent vegan Japanese restaurant a mere block from the office. Despite the fact that San Francisco is experiencing a new-to-me phenomenon known as a "November heat-wave," I knew my recovering immune system could still use some soup. I'm a wild mushroom freak—the more obscure the variety, the better—and Cha-Ya left me extremely satisfied, with leftovers to boot.