Happy Vegan Pizza Day! What would be a better way to celebrate the day then sharing one of my favorite local (San Diego) spots for vegan pizza! And if you’re into craft beer too, then this place has you covered. I’m talking about Blind Lady Ale House, right here in my Normal Heights neighborhood.
I’ve been meaning to do a “proper” post about Blind Lady Ale House, aka BLAH, for quite some time now. I’ve featured them in my LOVELIKEBEER Vegan Beer Night II review, but it’s time they receive a truly dedicated post. Named after a window blind business that used to occupy the 1920s brick building (known around the neighborhood as the “blind lady”), Blind Lady Ale House has been growing strong & gaining accolades since it opened in 2009. BLAH’s mission is simple:
To offer hand-crafted & tasty organic salads, Neapolitan-style pizza, craft beer & wine to the families, couples & singles of Normal Heights (& beyond) to eat & drink & enjoy.
In the spirit of the thriving farm to table movement, BLAH sources local organically grown produce from Suzie’s Farm, Crow’s Pass Farm & direct from the local Farmers’ Markets, & uses sustainable meats & seafood from local sources.
They are just as much about quality food as they are about quality craft beer. In fact, Draft Beer Magazine has listed BLAH as one of “America’s 100 Best Beer Bars” three years in a row. Well known brew-master & fellow vegan, Lee Chase, is one of BLAH’s owners, & operates Automatic Brewing Company in house. In addition to special house-brewed selections from ABC, their rotating draft beer selection highlights a curated selection of local & craft brews.
As I’ve mentioned, I don’t know much about beer, but I’ve never tried a saison that didn’t agree with me. It’s my kind of beer, & the one above is light & fruity with an almost floral quality. Refreshing & wonderful for washing down vegan pizza on a warm summer’s afternoon. So…right, back to the vegan pizza. With 2 of the 4 owners vegan, BLAH’s menu always been very vegan & vegetarian friendly, offering appetizers, salads, & pizza, with substitutes to satisfy any dietary persuasion. The only thing they were missing, in the beginning, was a vegan cheese alternative.
When Daiya Foods first hit the scene a few years ago, I reached out to BLAH & encouraged them to offer Daiya cheese on their pizzas. A gracious response was relayed, & however, at that time they didn’t feel that any non-dairy cheeses on the market were to their liking, however they were happy to honor the request to make any pizza vegan by omitting meat & cheese. I respected their position, & continued to enjoy (some variations more than others) sans cheese, or would take a pizza to go & reheat it at home with my own addition of Daiya.
Well, perhaps due to enough requests, or on their own tastebud’s accord, they changed their tune. They are now offering Daiya on any pizza at no extra charge. Bless them.
I can’t talk about their pizza without mentioning the crust…light & flaky, staying true to the “Neopolitan” style. Upon returning from a trip to Italy, where many pizza pies were consumed from Florence to Naples, it was difficult to come back to “Americanized” pizza. One bite into a BLAH pizza crust & I am whisked right back to the streets of Roma, with pizza in hand.
In my humble opinion the two best pizza’s to “veganize” on their menu are the “Chorizo” & the “Pesto.” Both which I previously enjoyed cheese-less…
This pizza rules! I’ve recreated it at home on numerous occasions, but without BLAH’s signature crust it is never quite the same. BLAH’s house-made soy chorizo is awesome. A nice mix of mild heat & flavor, & not too greasy. The colorful pops of green come from smoky poblano chiles & epazote, a leafy green herb often used to add depth of flavor to Mexican style dishes. The addition of Daiya mozzarella gives the pizza an extra layer of creamy, buttery flavor.
As much as I love the “Soy Chorizo” pizza, my favorite BLAH pizza, hands-down & no question, is the “Vegan Pesto”…
With or without cheese, this pizza has layer after layer of flavor. House made garlicy-basil pesto, marinated cremini mushrooms, briny olives, & pickled red onion create a pizza with a vibrant flavor profile. I also love fresh greens on pizza, & the fresh arugula adds another depth of peppery flavor & making it seem all the more good for you. Salad on a pizza crust, I’ll take it! Again, the addition of creamy Daiya mozzarella adds that extra bit creamy, buttery goodness.
For you traditionalists out there, they also offer a classic marinara & margherita, as well as other creative & seasonal offerings – such as butternut squash, summer squash, & fire roasted corn, all of which I can imagine will be amazing vegan!
So, there you have it, in honor of “Vegan Pizza Day!” Blind Lady Ale House offers, arguably, the BEST vegan pizza in all of San Diego. They are now open for lunch 6 days a week, so near or far, there is plenty of time to get down here & get your vegan pizza on!
***If you like artisan sandwiches & creative pub grub, be sure to check out their sister establishment Tiger!Tiger! Tavern in North Park. They offer an equally veg-friendly menu, including a newly added Daiya wood-fired grilled cheese!