PALO ALTO GOING VEGAN? ... In many cases, yes, according to a few chefs with restaurants in Palo Alto. "Eating vegan is a growing trend," said Calafia restaurant owner and chef Charlie Ayers, who has readjusted his offerings to reflect the changing trends. "We've launched a whole new menu and converted some of our dishes into vegan entrees. I look at my sales, I look at the trends and I respond to what the community requests." The menu at Calafia, in Town & Country Village, now lists at least a dozen vegan items, including Brussels-sprouts fricassee and a spinach dragon-noodle bowl.
Over at the First Baptist Church at 305 N. California Ave., where the nonprofit Peninsula Macrobiotic Community has been serving vegan meals on Monday nights for 25 years, demand is also growing. Palo Alto resident and Monday-night dinner manager Jay Whitcraft said the six-course meals, created by two macrobiotic vegan chefs, have become increasingly popular. "We serve about 100 dinners now on Mondays. A year ago, it was maybe 60 to 70," Whitcraft said.
Several other restaurants are also responding to the vegan trend, including Loving Hut at 165 University Ave., which has only vegan items on its menu. It has more than 200 locations globally, 40 of which are in the U.S. At 460 Ramona St., Garden Fresh serves Asian vegan dishes including mock versions of lemon chicken, pineapple ham and cashew shrimp. Curry Up Now at 321 Hamilton Ave. offers vegan food, Indian-style, on a separate menu. Lyfe Kitchen at 167 Hamilton Ave. has also noticed a big demand for vegan food and has begun offering a separate menu with vegan items. And Reposado, an upscale Mexican restaurant at 236 Hamilton Ave., offers a vegetarian menu with a handful of vegan options.
SCHOOL OF ROCK OPENS ... A new music studio in the Midtown neighborhood of Palo Alto has scheduled its grand opening for Jan. 26. School of Rock at 2645 Middlefield Road teaches young musicians to perform like rock stars, with students working together to create a rock show. The event is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. and will include giveaways and tours of the facility.
YOGURT AND PRETZELS AT THE MALL ... The Zagat-rated Red Mango Frozen Yogurt, with nearly 200 locations, and Auntie Anne's Pretzels, which recently introduced its first whole-grain pretzel, are both planning to open in the Stanford Shopping Center.
LISA'S TEA TO STAY ... Lisa's Tea Treasures in Menlo Park is taking a line from Mark Twain, who once wrote: "Reports of my death are an exaggeration." Contrary to an earlier report, Lisa's Tea Treasures, at 1175 Merrill St., continues to host its high teas and private parties and to offer catering. "Lisa's Tea Treasures in Menlo Park is open for business, and we do take reservations. We are looking forward to serving customers as always," Thao Nguyen, manager and co-owner, said. Neighboring Crepes Cafe also remains open for business. A new restaurant operated by celebrity chef Bradley Ogden is expected to debut later this summer in the space formerly occupied by Gambardella's, which closed in December, a spokesman for Ogden has announced. It will be called. B.F.D. (Bradley's Fine Diner).