Portlanding: Vegan Options at Departure Restaurant + Lounge

Greens & Seeds Roll. The table favorite.

Early last month, I just may have used two almost-birthdays as an excuse to finally experience Departure’s new (to us) Pan-Asian, vegan-friendly happy hour offerings. The real kicker was their bao-sampling during IFBC’s opening night, local restaurant exhibiting the week before. … Continue reading

The Long Haul: 100 Days Homemade, Part VIII…Days 80-91

Day Eighty-Nine: Pasta E Fagioli & more Vietnamese summer rolls, from my lunch date with Panda

Ah, 100 Days. I miss you already, on this little Chicago VeganMania suspension & adventure. I miss my kitchen so much when I travel – especially when my luck seems to fail with menu ordering more often than not in the Windy … Continue reading

100 Days, Part V: Days 43 to 53

Hello, hello! I have returned from the International Food Bloggers Conference, where I co-presented on Niche Blogging, attended classes, met food bloggers of nearly every variety, sought out vegan food and most importantly, vegan-friendly SWAG. Hello, OXO avocado thingy! Don’t fret – I have a new avocado waiting at home for its inaugural slicin’ and will be sure to Instagram every single step.

Speaking of insta-sharing, it’s once again time to peer into the culinary lives and stomachs of J. Sconé, J. Legume, and friends. As always, you can follow @jdfunks and #100DaysHomemade on Instragram for more riveting updates of the versatile, seasonal, plant-based dining variety.

Now 65 days and a new camera into this project, I’ve decided to shorten the updates a bit for some more concentration.

First up, my first (and so far, only) contribution from a duo of two guests in one day. Staring with summery cocktail with ginger-infused rum from my Heartichoke cohort.

Day Forty-Three’s Guest Cocktails: lemonade cocktails with ginger-infused rum

And my, what a pleasant day this was. I came home and my girlfriend had prepared a fancy Italian dinner, which included her first-ever risotto and fresh farmers market tomatoes…

Day Forty-Three’s Dinner Contribution: Vegan Caprese by J. Legume

Oh – and there’s more.

Day Forty-Two’s Dinner by J. Legume: Mushroom Risotto with fresh basil

Now, I was so thrilled with the following meal’s outcome — it was the first time ever I have truly seen J. Legume willfully consume and enjoy Indian cuisine. I love to see the evolution of taste bud adventures, or something like that.

Day Forty-Four: Aloo Channa over basmati

Success! I based it on every other Aloo Channa recipe I have ever seen on the internet.

Day Forty-Four: The Isa Does It testing continues with Peanut Butter Granola Bars (sliced like pie, in this case)

Remember that time, in the first photo, that Louvella, er Maeve, made cocktails? Well, it was to facilitate a certain interview on Autostraddle that accompanies these roasted chickpea tacos (that shockingly, include an actual recipe from yours truly). The things you do for your friends, right?

Day Forty-Five: Roasted Chickpea Tacos with vegan queso, local tortillas, mashed avocado & other stuff

The aforementioned BFF and author with the second (and final) round, white chocolate peanut butter white russians

Day Forty-Six: Vegan Ginger Chicken, Black Pepper Beef & Thai Basil Fried Rice

Details.

Day Forty-Seven’s Dinner from Appetite for Reduction: Mac & Trees and 40 Clove Garlic, Chickpea and Purple Beans subbed for Broccoli

Day Forty-Eight: Boysenberry, Cherry & Ginger Cocktails & Mocktails with the Legume sisters before dinner at Portobello

Moving on.

Day Forty-Nine: Syrian Lentil Soup. While I only made one recipe from Bean by Bean during its precious ‘library hold’ time in my life, I happened to make it twice and I have added this book to my legitimate, it-will-happen wish list.

Bean by Bean: For the bean curious and obsessed.

Day Forty-Nine: Picked up Food Fight’s finest

Day Fifty: Grilled Cheeses with local tomatoes, jalapeno & farmers market pickles

It’s the half-way point, so….

Day Fifty: Kaffir Lime infused vodka, Pellegrino bubbly, fresh mint, lemon juice & a touch of agave

Day Fifty is all about the sandwiches: BLTs with local produce and smokey soy curls from Vegan Diner

Day Fifty-One: Italian Herb & IPA baked tofu cutlets with rice, roasted potatoes and a side salad with crumbled strong cheddar Scheese

While it’s got nothing on my still-dreamt-about-Cheezly, rumor has it that Scheese will be ending its Portland distribution soon. I may have purchased the last-ever package of Strong Cheddar yesterday at a certain vegan mini mall.

Day Fifty-Two: Nacho Skillet Salad aka Nacho Salad Skillet! With jalapeno and Scottish ale simmered black beans, lime dressed lettuce and diced tomato, seasoned brown rice, salsa, FYH cheddar, avocado, black olives and black pepper & nooch baked tofu cubes

It’s become increasingly clear to me that the love of nachos, no matter how basic (I mean, crappy) or well-constructed, is never outgrown. 

Day Fifty-Three: Chai-spiced Snickerdoodles, another Isa Does It tester

Shocker, the grand finale to this round up is an Isa Does It dessert tester. 

Sexy

Earlier this Spring, I received a press copy of The Sexy Vegan by Brian L. Patton. The release of vegan cookbooks has become pretty damn overwhelming in recent years, and I dug seeing one stand out with such personality. ‘Sexy’s’, as my vegan food nerd friends and I refer to it, is written by a self-described “ordinary dude” who creates “extraordinary food”; a professional and home chef turned vegan, and his inspiring story is inside. More importantly, are his recipes, presented with his very ‘Sexy’ introductions. It’s that great personality, that while browsing, I had such mixed feelings about. I had read nothing but outstanding, likeable press, and it struck me as odd that no one else seemed to share my concerns…as a woman. Was it bro humor? Who was this for?

After trying out a few recipes, I lent my copy of ‘Sexy’ to my close friend, writer Maeve Connor, thinking she would get something of a kick out of it, and try out one of the intriguing drink recipes. She definitely seemed to, and gives her take below. That being said, in the past few months, I’ve started following Brian on twitter and Instagram, and I’ve come to find him genuinely relatable and charming. So, is the shtick working? There’s so much more to discuss.

Maeve’s guest post follows…

Veganism for Douchebags
aka Commentary on The Sexy Vegan
by Maeve Connor

It’s exciting to watch veganism become more and more mainstream. I love that you can get vegan nachos in suburban malls now, or that you can learn about veganism from Oprah, The New York Times, and the cookbook section in every chain bookstore in America. You are even officially allowed to go vegan without getting any sort of facial piercing now—great news for those of us who hate needles! In fact, veganism has become so mainstream that even sexist douchebag guys are vegan now and write books about it! Hallelujah. Wait, actually, I think I would rather return to a time when all vegans lived on communes and ate mostly sprouts.

I’ve been vegan since I was 17, but according to my mom I’ve been feminist since birth. My veganism and feminism basically come from the same place. I’ve always been a strong believer in justice and opposed to oppressing those weaker than you. Exploiting and torturing animals because we like the taste of hamburgers just never seemed like a good idea to me, which is why I announced to my parents that I wouldn’t eat cows or pigs anymore when I was nine. Even at a young age, I identified with the animals who never had a voice and had no autonomy over their bodies or lives. Marginalized groups of people (women, people of color, queer people, etcetera) also frequently do not have autonomy over their bodies or lives—it wasn’t a hard connection to make. So can we please stop coming up with vegan stuff that is sexist and offensive?

Obviously there are the sexist and fatphobic PETA ads. Those have been talked about plenty, so I’m not even going to touch them here. (But seriously, PETA, just stop it.) Then there was Skinny Bitch which told women they should go vegan out of hatred for themselves and their bodies. There’s Meat is for Pussies, a book which confuses me because meat sucks and as a queer lady I think pussies are great so what’s the connection? (But seriously, can you believe that is a book title? It makes me want to throw up.) And more recently, there is The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude.

While The Sexy Vegan isn’t on the same level of offensiveness as Meat is for Pussies, it’s still pretty annoying. There are obnoxious recipe names like The Fat Ass, The Real Man’s Quiche and The S.I.L.F. (Yes, that does stand for Sandwich I’d Like to Fuck—finally, bros who only ever think about sex can relate to veganism!) Worst of all is The Girlfriend’s Favorite Salad That She Constantly Asks Me to Make and Won’t Shut the Hell Up About. It’s funny because women are nagging bitches, get it?

Against my better judgment, I did make some recipes from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook. I started with The Beet Down, a salad with roasted beets, beet greens, fennel, iceberg lettuce (weird, right?), cashews, and a citrus vinaigrette with tarragon. It was fine, though I felt weird buying iceberg lettuce for the first time in my life, and I thought the vinaigrette needed more tang. I am, however, always excited about beet recipes that utilize beet greens because I think they’re tasty and I hate waste.

Of course I had to check out the cocktail chapter, since cocktails are my favorite thing. Overall it is pretty boring, though I might try making a margarita with homemade hibiscus syrup at some point. This time I stuck with the Get Some, which features champagne and a puree of macerated strawberries. He recommends serving it with dark chocolate, so I figured I might as well treat myself. It was good—because it was champagne and strawberries, duh—but I don’t know if I needed a recipe to figure it out.

Overall, the recipes in The Sexy Vegan Cookbook are uninspiring, and many are surprisingly fussy. Does anyone like a recipe where you have to flip all over the book to find other recipes to make it? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Does anyone want to put rum in their oatmeal? Not anyone over the age of 16, I don’t think.

I’m vegan because I care about animals, so I’m thrilled that veganism is becoming more accessible. I’m glad there are vegan men in the public eye, especially because eating meat is often seen as so masculine. But is it wrong to expect a little more from vegans? Like maybe if we can talk about animal rights, we can also talk about what masculinity means and why we value it. Maybe we can not make sexist jokes about our nagging girlfriends. Maybe we could not perpetuate fatphobia. (Oops, that was about PETA again.) After all, people are animals too. And women are people too! Even when they won’t shut up about salad.

-Maeve Connor

The Beetdown. Photo by Maeve Connor

The Get Some. Photo by Maeve Connor

Smokey Cheese Sauce. Photo by Jess

BBQ Tofu Ribs, Greens and Smokey Mac & Cheese. Photo by Jess

Note: The above piece featured independent content that was not created by Get Sconed!

31 Hours and Three Lattes: A Seattle Photo Essay

Last month, team VVC took a quick trip to Seattle.  It basically went like this: Soy lattes were sipped. Pickle chips were consumed. Vegan treats were sought out. Locations were visited. It was business as usual.

One of my first stops: a mug of house Caffé Vita & the vegan chocolate cupcake at Cupcake Royale

What clearly, caught my attention. I must admit, with a sign like this, I was expecting more than one vegan option, but it was good, albeit crumbly.

Once I arrived in the U District, I stopped at Trabant for a soy latte.  

Thanks, Rayray.

For brunch, I arrived early and revisited Plum. I had enjoyed the spicy mac & yeast, years ago, but overall, was left with a really greasy feeling in my stomach, and I’m not usually one to say such a thing.

The perplexingly plated Fresh Tofu Benedict – with tender, savoury seitan unlike anything I’ve had before (making me want to try it in pho), paired with a pomegranate mimosa.

droid photo, whoa-oh

I’m pleased that I tried this – and it was the most expensive item on the menu, but I would opt to try some of their fancy pancakes next time. I’m glad I dined solo and no one was there to witness the constant state of distress I experienced with each bite.

Dinner time, I met up with team VVC for hugs and cocktails at a seemingly mandatory stop on my past few Seattle visits: the Highline.

Sometimes I’m thrilled with my food, sometimes I’m near-terrified. This time, my long-awaited pickle chips were served indoors, remained crispy and warm for an impressive amount of time, and I was ranch-dipping and stoked. Yeah, they were salty and battered and dill-y and awesome.

The TLT. Classic, but nothing on D.C. Veg’s new TLT-on-a-sub-roll creation.

We stayed in a budget hotel outside of the U-District, which meant we somehow found ourselves across the street at the Ram for some type of manic late night happy hour with $3 pineapple  & whipped cream vodka cocktails.

Michele and I went with the upside-down pineapple drop, with Vanilla Stoli & Pinnacle Whipped Cream vodka; Janessa went with a microbrew

Breakfast time at Herkimore: Mighty-O doughnut & soy latte. Ah.

Naturally, we picked up some goodies at Sidecar.

Our sight-seeing including a visit to Pike Place Market and Cinnamon Works.

The elusive Michele picks up a cookie.

One day, I will actually take note of whose art this is at Bang Bang. Because I want it on my walls. All of them.

I did manage to grab a plate of their smokey mac & cheese for lunch, while my silly cohorts ate bagels or something. I was content!

Smokey Mac & Cheese  with a side of toast, Bang Bang Cafe 

We had a meeting at the Seattle Public Library for our VVC Tech Seminar in the fall.

Janessa doing some undercover location scouting.

Supplemental caffeination via an iced Americano with soymilk at Victrola Coffee

Spiked refreshment, courtesy of a jalapeño pomegranate margarita at Bimbos Cantina

It may not have had that spice the name promised, but there was green hot sauce on the table – and a photo booth downstairs.

For dinner, we were joined by our friends Dawn and Anika at another Seattle vegan favorite, Teapot Vegetarian House. I hadn’t been in years, and it was a great time.

Our table somehow fit not one, but two of these BoBo Platters

Michele may have used these bamboo skewers as defensive weapons throughout the meal.

Our table also shared Beef & Broccoli, Vietnamese Crispy Fried Noodles – a unique dish I’d been craving since 2007, and a Ginger Soy Chicken special.

No photos of the noodles, but let me add that I’ve been googling them sporadically since first trying them, and have never seen anything close!

Mandarin Crispy Tofu

Lastly, souvenirs.

The espresso blend was freshly roasted and on sale for $5. Heck, yes. Cue cold pressing.

Inspired Vegan Dining

Meyerly Sipping Gingerly Cocktail, garnished with Thai kefir lime leaves and fresh lemon peel.

It takes a lot for a cookbook to truly hold my attention, and the stories and recipes, in addition to the soundtrack, of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen did just that. This past January, his latest, The Inspired Vegan was released, and I’ve been captivated.  The words, the quotes, the instructions and meal components, were just that, inspired. I immediately placed a hold at my library upon its release, and after two weeks and multiple recipes on my table, I purchased my own copy.

Bryant Terry is simultaneously an activist for food justice within the culinary world – and beyond, as he is an author, chef, and parent, taking a lot of inspiration for his books from his daughter’s birth.

The human connection and understanding of what we put into our mouths, and how, and with whom, is fascinating. I may not have a space to garden of my own, but I’m anxiously awaiting my first Portland farmers market visit of the season this weekend, and returning home with a notion of that evening’s dinner unfolding in my head.

Sunday night’s dinner from The Inspired Vegan brought the following to the table:

*I subbed fresh pinto beans

Tofu in Roasted Chili Oil with Peanuts

Roasted chili oil, cooling.

Plates being set for Sunday night's dinner: tofu in roasted chili sauce with peanuts, garlic braised gai lan, pinto beans in a thick gravy with roasted garlic, short grain brown rice and tagerine & orange mimosas.

I was stoked to find so many fresh greens at the Eugene farmers market, including gai lan, which was specifically called for in a recipe.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my first leap into the book for a dinner party. My guests, some dear friends, have a variety of dining habits, and every dish included was eaten by all.

The Inspired Vegan spread with accompaniments.

On the table for this dinner:

  • Wet jollof rice with garlic parsley paste – a vibrant, perfect accompaniment
  • Funmilayo fritters [baked with coconut oil spray] with harissa – I find myself starting to praise another accompaniment, so, you get my drift. It wouldn’t stop.
  • Bright-black fingerling* potatoes
  • Chipotle & blood orange ketchup [adapted from the plum ketchup]
  • Gingered sesame brittle [I couldn’t find my candy thermometer and over-caramelized, but the final product remained intriguing]
  • fresh thyme
  • Moskarella #1  & rice crackers, a bonus from Isa’s test kitchen
  • in addition: cherry vanilla sodas with fresh blood orange and local Burnside Bourbon

*I subbed Yukon Gold potatoes

Funmilayo white bean & peanut fritters and the Wet jollof rice stew.

Bright black potatoes, etc.

In short, if you’re appreciate of creative, plant-based cuisine, pick this up.

Beverage breaks

It’s damn near sleeting outside right now, Portland is freaking out, and I could go for a warm frothy mug of peppermint hot chocolate.

Or this, from Cacao.

Sipping chocolate with soymilk, Cacao, downtown

Or what the hey, a giant pumpkin pie cocktail is pretty much the same thing.

Pumpkin Pie Mason Jar, Swift Lounge. Pumpkin infused vodka, house spiced syrup; hold the amaretto whipped cream. I had the smaller happy happy jar version of this special a few weeks ago and was thrilled to see it again on my next visit.

Also warming, from Wafu..

Sriracha Sazerac, Wafu. Rye, Herbsaint & Sriracha bitters. Intriguing, but underwhelming amount of heat.

Even better when you pair it with this:

Vegan Miso Ramen, Wafu. Added the "make it hot" option.

Classic.

Soy Latte, Fresh Pot on Hawthorne. Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Classic, take 2.

Beer sampler, Bridgeport Brewing Pub. Tasting notes recorded in Gabrielle's notebook.

The type of thing that stays on your mind for far too long…

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Milkshake, Chicago Diner. Because really, this was my favorite from our VVC trip to Chicago.

soy curls & margaritas

Portland’s had a weirdo summer all right. I blocked out most of the spurts of humidity (shades help), but it seems like it’s back with a vengeance for my goddamn birthday. I don’t plan on doing much today besides listening to Billy Joel, waiting to see if my second sibling remembers to call and imbibing on a refreshing cocktail or two, so I suppose I’ll manage.

The following watermelon margarita, inspired by Lauren Fitzgerald’s (of Millennium and Portobello) “market-driven” mixology demo at the Montavilla Farmers Market this past weekend, is totally in the running for 2011’s birthday cocktail:

Watermelon Margarita test run: fresh yellow watermelon juice, fresh lime juice, clementine liquor (subbed for Harlequin), silver tequila and a sea salt & cayenne rim

Learning how to make cocktails at the Montavilla market with the lovely Lauren Fitzgerald and her assistant.

Speaking of markets, I hit up three over the Labor Day weekend. This mini haul is from the Hollywood market, with a couple of bonus additions and the Sunny Day Farms zine for inspiration. Come to me, heirloom tomatoes!

My weekend also included a long-awaited date with the Flavor Vegan over cocktails and dinner at Sweet Hereafter.

I’ve caught myself joking more than once about how Soy Curls are so three, if not four, years ago, and I take it back.

The Buffalo Sub at Sweet Hereafter changes everything. It features hot soy curls, lettuce, tomato, tangy ranch dressing and creamy miso chive cheese in a crusty baguettewich (yeah, I said that) and blows every other tasty option I’ve tried at this bar away. Plus, you know, Chelsea is adorable, and we got to catch up on life and that con thing.

 Sazerac & Buffalo Sub from Sweet Hereafter: There’s a Soy Curl revolution in my life.