Three Days, Five Things, Chicago

Back in January, the busy month that was, I went with team VVC to scout Chicago as a potential location for Spring 2013’s conference.

Did we want the conference to take a leap east to a bigger city? Or did we want one more year of celebrating the vegan grandeur of our own home turf? We’ve now been discussing the pros and cons of both locations for 2 months, and as of last week, came to a decision. I won’t spill the beans here – you can check out the Vida blog for the official news.

Oh, we did.

As for the windy city, I had never been before, and had 3 items on my to do list:

1) Location scouting
Verdict: Check! Plenty of possibilities in multiple neighborhoods, and really great, really reliable public transit options – one stop even told us the weather, which bring me to…

Perfect day.

2)Winter
Verdict: We arrived the morning after the first real storm of the season – check! I used to joke that I suffered from reverse seasonal depression since moving from New York and Boston to Portland, where it rarely snows for more than a few minutes within the city and 40F is a low. I miss the chills. To be fair, I do loathe humidity, as well.

No deep dish, but they have multiple Upton's seitan options so....

3)Vegan deep dish pizza
Verdict: According to our friend Snarky Vegan, there was a pizzeria in Chicago that was serving vegan deep dish until it closed a couple of years ago. These days, you can request a deep dish pie without cheese, making sure to ask about butter in the crust, or you can go to other pizza parlours for Daiya or Teese (hometown pride, y’all) topped pies. Michele and Janessa did have a chance to hit up one local shop for a cheese-less slice after I headed back to Portland for work (d’oh!), but overall, I did enjoy our pie at The Boiler Room. More on that follow below.

Three Days, Five Things, Chicago

With three full days, I had a taste for Chicago, and longing for more Upton’s under my belt. It’s a huge city with spread out vegan options, including the classic Chicago Diner (which we dined at twice, rest assure).

Since I’ve been a major procrastinator (see: December travels) and Janessa and Michele are covering the same trip, in addition to our joint contributions, for the VVC blog, I wanted to break down my brief stay in Chicagoland with my five favorite food experiences. Plus, it’s an internet blogging list rule, or something.  

Regrettably, in my five days, there was more I tried that I wasn’t a fan of (I’m still trying to get the thought of a hybrid cheese sauce off my tongue) vs. what I could rave about, so the list was easier to put together than I planned on.

The tops include my inaugural torta experience at Quesadilla, a stand-in for deep dish pizza at The Boiler Room, classic milkshakes, caffeination, a surprise turn with cake balls, and more swooning over Upton’s products.

First up, Quesadilla:

Quesadilla La Reyna del Sur
2235 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Complimentary chips & salsa at the all-vegetarian Quesadilla

Ordering a Soy Curl-stuffed torta from Los Gorditos – either the truck or the restaurant – has been on my to-do list for years now.  I’ve simply been so easily distracted by burritos and mulitas and the quick journey home to my apartment. Now that I’ve experienced the tremendous satisfaction that was my meal at Quesadilla’s, as pictured below, it could actually happen?!

Vegan Cubana torta with Mexican sausage, soy bacon, soy chicken, lettuce, avocado and beans on crusty bread. It was intense and did not disappoint.

One of the soy meat-sensational tacos on our table.

Counter-style ordering with Michele at Quesadilla.

Next stop, The Boiler Room:

The Boiler Room
2210 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Pizza with Daiya, Upton's seitan bacon, some shredded basil and marinara.

We held a small VVC reunion at The Boiler Room once we learned that deep dish pizza with vegan cheese,  our original intent, was currently nowhere to be found in the city.  The crust was surprisingly thin with an element of flop,  something that saddens my inner New Yorker. I will, however, give kudos to the high quality ingredients and availability of Upton’s seitan products. It takes something special overshadow the d-cheese, in my humble option.

Intelligentsia Coffee
Millennium Park Coffee Bar
53 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Let’s just say that while it was not my first visit to an Intelligentsia location, coffee on a warm day in Silver Lake does not compare to a soy latte on a brisk day in Chicago. I quickly went through the smokey Diablo Dark Roast I brought back home with me.

Soy Latte, Intelligentsia

Cake Balls at Bleeding Heart Bakery

Bleeding Heart Bakery
1916 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

So, I’ve yet to take an official stance on cake balls. Part of me thinks they’re dumb, part of me really enjoyed the moist cake balls at the evidently-starred-on-a-Food-Network-special Bleeding Heart Bakery, part of me wants to throw every round piece of sprinkle-coated cake I see out of a window, and my heart says I should really give Dovetail’s a chance in Portland before I roll my eyes some more.

Yeah, I'd pop more of these into my mouth.

Bleeding Heart: proudly offering preservative-free Srichacha for all your preservative-free spicing needs.

Vegan Milkshakes!  I experienced the joy of two creamy vegan milkshakes in the windy city. I want more.

Chicago Diner
3411 N Halsted
Chicago, IL

&

Whole Foods Lincoln Park’s Diner
1550 N. Kingsbury Street
Chicago, IL 60642

Peanut butter cookie dough milkshake sharing with Janessa at Chicago Diner.

Chicago Diner: Like we went to Chicago without dining here twice! I often suffer from bad-ordering luck, and it happened here with a few plates, despite small plate sharing optimism with Janessa. Over all, I think brunch had the most potential, regret not ordering the Titanic BLT or more with Upton’s seitan (a reoccurring theme of the trip) and have to give my props to their milkshake…and they were out of whipped cream at the time. It was an awesome welcome.

Whole Foods: Team VVC had a momentous shopping excursion at Whole Foods in Lincoln Park, where we sipped sparkling wine as we strolled the aisles picking up goodies and stopping at the Diner. I’m not one of veggie dogs, but my cohorts dug in, while I opted for a different classic:

Cookies and Cream milkshake & hand-cut fries at the Diner. What of it?

I’ll spare the details, but I would not order these appetizers again:

Special: Potato Skins at Chicago Diner. Pass. That ubiquitous hybrid cheese sauce may have seeped into my brain.

BBQ Seitan Wingz and Ranch at Chicago Diner. Pass #2, and #3.

Honorable mentions:

Ebel's Weiss Hefeweizen from Two Brothers Brewing Company at Native Foods. This was light and lovely.

Coming across two Native Foods in Chicago = delightful. I picked up a Twister wrap with blackened chickin’ for dinner on my Denver layover on my way out-of-town.

Dinner with our friend Kelly Peloza, the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, at Native Foods on West Belmont. I ordered a tasty deconstructed Scorpion Burger over quinoa, proving to myself that ordering faux gluten-free is indeed, pretty amusing.

Official VVC cocktail hour at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower.

If only there was a vegan option...

Long live Upton's.

Steamed Soy

I remain a broken record these last few posts.  Reflections on my Southeast Asian travels, this past week’s VVC scouting trip to Chicago, and a Portland vegan nacho report (East End, Veggie Grill, etc.) are bound to come. I’m slowly compiling a list of my most memorable travel meals, and have been trying to recreate a few, as well. Khao Soi Noodles, Young Coconut Curry, Tom Yam, Tofu Larb and a ‘Wedding Dip’ in Siem Reap are all encouraging visits to Fubonn and eyerolls to food cart options.  I’m now back in town for a few weeks solid, at the least, and caffeination has been at my side once I was able to stomach it in Portland once more…

From this weekend: cup of coffee, Chicago Diner 

Equal Exchange beans & sugar

This past Autumn: Soy Cappucino, Cloud Seven Cafe 

Intelligentsia

Just yesterday: Soy Cappucino [f] & Soy Latte [r], Fresh Pot downtown 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

The we’re-waiting-for-Sizzle Pie-to-open-for-brunch-pizza Soy Cappucino, Grendel’s Coffee House

Hilltribe coffee & steamed soy milk, Blue Diamond in Chiang Mai

The post Montavilla Farmers Market stop: Soy Latte, Bipartisan Cafe

Soy Latte, Public Domain Coffee 

PD/Coffee Bean International

 Soy Latte, Aliviar Coffeehouse

Maeve and I stopped here before the screening of My Own Private River with Gus Van Sandt and James Franco at the Hollywood Theater. Jitters. Swooning.

Soy Latte, Coffee Division 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Lastly: more caffeination in Chicago. I picked up a pound of El Diablo Dark Roast from Intelligentsia’s Millennium Park Coffeebar on Monday.

Soy Latte, Intelligentsia in Millennium Park


Pumpkin! Whiffies, Lattes, Donuts, Pie & Beer

Fall’s the best.

I remain broken-hearted that I was too busy to stop by the Portland Nursery for the Apple Tasting for the first time in years and years, so I’ve been consoling myself with autumn’s other BFF: pumpkin. I don’t take a knife to its face anymore, but I will scoop out the insides to get my pie and latte on.

And everything else appropriate.

Pumpkin Soy Lattes with cinnamon and nutmeg, Rain or Shine Coffee House

Pumpkin-filled, cinnamon crunch donut, Acme Donuts

I’ve given this SE Powell donut shop a hard time in the past, but things have improved with this pumpkin pudding-filled, lemony glazed donut.  I say this lovingly, but honestly, the standards for vegan yeasted donuts aren’t that high as it is! And as someone who spent a few years in Boston, they charmed me with their new (to me, at least) slogan.

With the recent release of Terry and Isa’s latest cookbook, no one’s going to object my insistence that it’s the year of the pie, right?

Butternut Pumpkin Coconut Cream with a Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl


It’s a store-bought crust, but cut me a break – it was my third pie of the weekend, and the first two crusts were homemade. I couldn’t stop. Pies for all!

Speaking of, seasonal Whiffies remain one of my favorite things about the cart scene.

Pumpkin Creme filled Whiffies

It’s precious and deliciously fried. Like I could resist an inside shot.

The Whiffies’ Menu. Yeah, you see that asterisk.

The only thing better would be pumpkin chocolate chip. I’ll give it some time.

The following slice is from take 1 on a Heartichoke development. Next up, adding the ricotta-factor, a currant swirl and candied carrots.

Spiced Pumpkin Millet Teasecake with a Poppy Walnut Crust

In additional autumnal latte developments, two more spiced pumpkin creations from around town, one surprisingly more lovely than the other:

Pumpkin Spice Soy Latte, Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Pumpkin Spice Latte, Common Grounds Coffee House

It’s like the rest of Portland knew just how I was feeling.

Portland Farmers Market, PSU Park Blocks

In conclusion, I have tried three pumpkin beers so far this season. The first up was the Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale carried by Trader Joe’s. The verdict? Light, but weak.

Next up, Silver Moon Twisted Gourd Pumpkin Ale, from Bend.  Getting closer.

Silver Moon Twisted Gourd Pumpkin Ale; kale in the sink


Lastly, we have our winner of the season, and my heart and tastebuds, thus far…

Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking Ale, New York

My friend Janessa shared a bottle of this rich pumpkin ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company with me a couple of weeks ago, and this is the reason I have been judging all others so harshly. It was so good I assumed it came from the Northwest!

It costs a pretty penny, around $8-9 for a 22 ounce, but hey – my neighbors, the Beermongers, had it on tap while I was there over the weekend. Now you know what to do next time you’re waiting for a table at Portobello.

Playing tourist in Portland

In strange yet true developments, I have two friends from my hometown visiting Portland on vacation right now. Tis adorable. I don’t typically admit this, but I’m originally from the South Shore of Long Island and my accent is in full bloom once more from being around my friends. Commence TAWKING AND WAWKING AND CAWFEE without any deep prompting from excitement or libations.

Said friends aren’t vegan, so I’m not breaking out the normal must-go-to Portobello and vegan bakeries routine. One friend, however, is allergic to eggs, and the other is a pesceterian, so they’re both cool with vegan options – which has included obligatory $1.25 vegan corndogs * at Hungry Tiger Too this past Wednesday and perusing food carts. I haven’t been joining in on many of their tourist activities as I’m working during the day, but we have strolled Last Thursday and Alberta a few times, Powells, and hit a few carts – pretty damn Portland. Isn’t it nice that the food carts (and that IFC show which I warned my houseguests to watch in preparation but to never mention in town) have finally given tourists something more to do in this city besides drink Stumptown coffee, sip microbrews, eat donuts and plan hiking adventures?

With that, it’s hard being a food blogger and playing a tourist in this über hip city – you have to be incredibly discreet with your photography so you’re not mistaken as either role in public, jeez.

Iced toddy and carafe of soymilk, Barista II. Creepy friend in the background, of course.

Iced toddy and carafe of soymilk, Barista II

Alyse, meets the Floor Punch. aka The Bye & Bye without the booze.

BBQ Brussels bowl, The Bye & Bye. I'm normally a BBQ Platter gal, but the brussels were calling my name.

BTW, The Rapture TM hit NE Alberta. Remnants.

I played tourist myself, lunching with a friend at Nicholas, SE. Photo by Melissa.

Obligatory rainy day lunch time visit to the food carts, SW 9th. I had a vegetarian "can you leave out the fish and oyster sauce, please? thanks!" lemongrass tofu salad bun from the Mai Pho cart on SW Alder.

Small french fry, vegan chipotle dip, Potato Champion! (now bigger!)

Alyse's first Whiffles. I think she found our peanut butter chocolate chip fried pie both mystifying and glorious. I think it was my first pie of the year! I dedicate this pie to Panda.

Back to NE Alberta for Last Thursday

Last Thursday on Alberta. My friend was considering buying one of these fabulous skirts until she saw the $125 price tag.

For some reason, my friend was a bit creeped out by the candy schoolbus. Quirky buses I've seen on Alberta now include the beer bus, grilled cheese bus, bong bus, Vaudeville showbus and the candy bus.

El Nutri Taco Truck

Could this really be the first cupcake first cart I've seen in town? The return of the cupcake? I didn't check it they had vegan options- anyone know? cute logo & colors.

food & beer buses. how we roll.

Lastly, I had a chance to hit up the Baked! ma & cheese window for dinner.

Margherita vegan mac with tomatoes & garlic, Baked! take out on NE Alberta. Hell yeah. It was super salty, but super creamy and good without any of that gross packaged vegan cheese-ness going on - I'd add a green vegetable next time, for maturity's sake.

And before they depart, they plan on getting hitched at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis window after a couple rounds of Ms. Pac Man and Visos at Ground Kontrol. Oh my god, what should I wear?!

*Truthfully, I’ve gotten to the point where I have ordered a corndog, but I can’t bring myself to eat it. As much as I can get down with pancake batter, I just don’t have any desire to eat veggie dogs.

30 hours in Seattle: a food photo essay

Recently, a bunch of us PDX Vegan Iron Chef volunteers and friends headed north to Seattle to support our pals at VeganscoreThe Great Vegan Chili Cook-Off. The fundraiser for their own eventual Vegan Iron Chef was a super fun and sold-out event full of enthusiasm, smiles and chili peppers, and I’m stoked to see what they have in store! Keep your eyes peeled to Tofu and Sprouts for 2nd place winner Marti’s wrap up soon. Hopefully she’ll post the recipe for her now-famous New Mexico Green and White “Chicken” Chili, too!

My typical adventures to Seattle naturally include coffee, Vietnamese or Thai food, rainboot wearing, lots of walking, and vegan bar food. Vacation consumption-wise, this past trip featured Trabant, Araya’s Vegetarian Place, brunch at Wayward, late night greasy bites at Highline and recuperation at Bang Bang Cafe the following morning. My camera battery didn’t make it very far, so here are a few pics from our 30 hours of vegan frolicking I wanted to share:

Soy Latte, Trabant, U-District

Lunch Buffet Plate, Araya Vegetarian Place. I'd include the photos of my friends moaning at their inaugural visit to this entirely vegan Thai buffet, but I don't want them pissed at me. It's suffice to say that we were all impressed by the tables of Thai food, heaps of noodles and springrolls, galore.

Griddle Combo at Wayward Cafe. I'm all about the tofu scramble + a sprinkle of nooch + hot sauce. Goooooood afternoon! The tofu omelettes are totally a must-get here, too.

FORKS OVER KNIVES IN WASHINGTON! ZOMG!

The Great Seattle Vegan Chili Cook-Off: a mere part of the grand line-up of chilis!

CHILI CHILI CHILI, ETC.

Spreading the word. Nearly a month till it returns! Just saying, you'll be able to watch live around the world as it streams...

Reppin'

The crowd at The Great Vegan Chili Cook-Off in Seattle

Pretty cupcakes at The Great Vegan Chili Cook-Off in Seattle

Bathroom Art, Trabant, U-District

Cornbread Row!

Chelsea's Mac & Cheese for breakfast at Bang Bang Cafe. This was fantastic and inspired my own take on it the following day for a potluck.

Alicia's Vegan Breakfast Burrito with Red & Green Chile Sauces, Bang Bang Cafe

Melissa went for her first Mighty-O Donut. Aw, classic.

Really great, moist chocolate chip cookie from Cinnamon Works by Pike Place Market. Skip the rolls, go for the cookies!

I like playing spot the almost-amusingly-named pho restaurants wherever I go.

One of these days. Alicia expressing our feelings of what might have been, outside the Korean Tofu House.

Next time I’m up there, I’m hitting up my beloved Georgetown Liquor Co. and In The Bowl again. It’s been far too long.

Holiday Projects: DIY Kahlua

Hello! I revamped this recipe for an even better version of homemade coffee liqueur last year. Check it out here!

Homemade Coffee Liqueur on Get Sconed!

 

Somehow, I found a way to grumble a wee bit while making this. Office holiday gift exchange pressure!!! The rest of my mood was all smirky, caffeinated anticipation, with the buzz of Victrola beans from my Seattle adventure, clear grain alcohol, rich vanilla paste and a little fresh clementine zest, for good measure.  I had sampled my friend Millie the mixtress’ homemade kahlua at a holiday cocktail party a couple of weeks ago, and it was totally a I have-to-make-this moment.

The internet seemed abundant with two varieties of recipes. One involved patient infusing (which is fine, because please), and the other was a matter of warming & mixing. Millie’s successful concoction followed the second route, and so did I, using the recipe posted last year on the Cupcake Project as a basis.

Serving suggestions:

 

A Day in the Life: Lattes, Earth Balance & Stuff

Not to get all livejournally, but I’m updating this early afternoon more well-rested than I’ve felt in weeks.  There’s something to be said for falling asleep before the SNL repeat you intended to watch even airs. Therefore, there’s a warm, caffeinated beverage in front of me that I’m not depending on for fuel – it’s simply fitting in to my day. I’m heading to a big Vida Vegan meeting after this, and well, how could cafes that actually toast bagels, offer Earth Balance, and a project like that not put a smile on my face?

Is that classy or what?

It’s such a vegan pet peeve of mine when a cafe stocks more than a couple spreads and doesn’t keep a tub of Earth Balance on hand. The place I’m at this morning is primarily vegan and does, and the other great coffeeshop I considered, Floyd’s, totally offers it too. It was a nice realization in regards to those Portland bagels I find myself ordering a few times a year… I can remember carrying around tiny containers of melting Earth Balance in my pre-Portland days. That was silly.

In continuing seasonal syrup adventures:

Pear, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar (eventually drained):

Soy Latte Round Up

You know what it takes for the posting of these examinations? Days that don’t belong in june, a return to japanese genmaicha and african rooibos, and another mild vow of cutting back on coffee. I don’t drink it daily, but goddamn So Delicious Coconut Creamer is dreamy, and I certainly broke my 1-2 soy lattes-a-week vow during the final past weeks of preparation for Vegan Iron Chef.

Here are some recent highlights in caffeination, including a stop at a sharp new favorite downtown  – Public Domain, that evolved from Portland Coffeehouse. It is remarkable how they’ve elevated! The round up completes with a summer requirement: iced soy lattes. I’ll be on the search for Portland’s best as it warms up – any recs?

Soy Latte Round Up: Public Domain

Soy Latte Round Up: Barista II. You will never, ever go wrong here. The impressive NE location just started serving beer on tap, too.

Soy Latte Round Up: Artemis Cafe, vegan-friendly, organic & sustainable cafe located on the corner of SE 12th and Division that has so much awesome to offer.

Soy Latte Round Up: Haven Coffee. The bleakest of the round up, admittedly, but I like this shop.

Green Tea Matcha Latte: Little T American Baker - I think this is magic.

Soy Latte Round Up: Public Domain (nearly positive, since this is taken in Pioneer Square)

And the beckoning of iced lattes…

Soy Latte Round Up: Raspberry Iced Latte from South East Grind - such an indulgent wonder. This place is a little out of my way, but I like it. It's nice to know it exists if I ever want good coffee at 2am.

Soy Latte Round Up: Stumptown, Ash

Soy Latte Round Up: Stumptown, SW 3rd - this was just everything I wanted, sipped as I almost shed a tear finishing Solar by Ian McEwan.

Round Up: This time, it's individually dripped Columbia Meta Lejanias single origin coffee from Cafe Velo. Beans from Heart.

Cafe Velo

Outside Cafe Velo. I really like their small but intriguing Mediterranean menu, and adore their coffee options, but it's a bit weird to see folks out flank steak when you're on a coffee break. I still intend to try the housemade falafel and flatbread.

Starbucks Soy Frappucinos: An Excuse to say FrappHapp.

Let’s start with this:

Goodbye frapp, hello ice…

Picture 004

Soy Coffee Frappucino: The Flashback

Long ago…

Picture 002

Is this a dream?

FrappHapp

Starbucks has really had their eye on the vegan market this past year. This winter, they added Lucky’s Cookies into the majority of the national shops. This May, it’s been the dawn of the soy frappucino with the re-organization of their menu set-up.

Have you been vegan so long that you can’t imagine why vegans are excited about this socially acceptable, anytime dessert?

It’s crazy, you’re right, but it’s also a gigantic step for the main-stream acceptance of vegan kind. If you care about that type of thing.

As for the Coffee frappucino above, I can tell you that this is something that tastes like the lovechild of a Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Coolatta (oh, apparently now officially Iced Lattes) blended with ice, soymilk, and whatever a muli-layer Starbucks candy bar will one day be.  I’m thinking a cross between a Milky War, and well, a frappucino.

I was also given a sample a of the sweet, creamy Soy Strawberries & Cream.  Can you say strawberry milkshake? Nothing beats Sip, but it’s nice and bizarre to know that if I really want one, I can walk into anymore Starbucks and order this, or a damn frapp if I just can’t handle the thought of immediate coffee without ice, sugar, and nondairy milk. Even more nice & bizarre was walking by a Starbucks and being able to accept a sample.

I was waiting to post about this strange but welcome leap for vegan kind until a friend and I put a certain plan into fruition (hint: it involves decadence), but we’ve been busy and it’s the last day of the 1/2 price Frapp Happ. Hard to believe they didn’t use that fun phrase in their marketing campaign, I know.

So! If you’re curious and have yet to embrace this indulgence- today’s the last chance you may have to purchase and consume a frappucino without feeling like a total tool. I really don’t think it’s worth its full price. Remember, it’s for veganism!

FYI, the vegans who have come before me seem to agree that all frapps can be made vegan with soy milk, skipping caramel sauce, and the light options. Be careful! And, of course, you still have to pay more for soy.

More:

P.S. Ironically, and proudly, I wrote this with a cup of local iced coffee at my side. Thank god.

Photo Essay: boston. vegan. vacation. go.

Just what got checked off the Vegan To-Do List from my Return to Boston post…

See tall buildings? check!

beantown

As for food, let’s start with the No Name.  If there was a flag representing Vegan Boston, this would be on it.  The very first gluten/fake meaty anything I could stomach! (and now require at least once every two years).  Battered gluten, sweet and sour sauce, sesame seeds, broccoli – need I go on?

they call me no name

More from Grasshopper – Tofu & Broccoli

1/100th as exciting as the No Name, I know.

Grasshopper

What best follows Grasshopper?  Pizza! Who’s with me? (Not immediately after! Allicia can attest.)

Slice of the day from Peace ‘O Pie in Allston.  With Daiya, vegan sausage, pine nuts, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic.

Peace O'Pie

I was really content with my experience at the former T.J. Scallywagg’s.  On top of that, this was the first time I tried the Mozzarella Daiya and continued eating.  Super nice staff, great menu, and gluten free options!  Any place that optimizes the pine nuts gets a gold star in my book.

My friends shared this intense looking vegan ham & mushrooms pie:

Peace O'Pie

Tableside jar of Parma.  A shaker of nooch (okay, or Parma) is the true sign of a vegan friendly establishment.

Parma at Peace O'Pie


Soy Latte from Espresso Royale on Newbury Street

Espresso Royale

Featuring Bagel Rising bagels and cream cheeses & tofu cream cheeses!

Below, you can see my first East Coast bagel experience – a real treat with jalapeno tofu cream cheese, roasted red peppers, and sprouts. Thank you to my friend Sarah for the rec, even if I wasn’t badass enough for the vegan Tequila bagel sandwich!

bagel rising

Spike’s Curly Fries

spike's

Dinner at Montien Thai Restaurant in the Theater District.

One of those great, impromptu dining decisions.  I was really pleased that our server didn’t even flinch at the vegan requests.

Montien

Sorry for the flash photos, but what can I say? It was after a bubble gum martini at the IT.

Montien

Rice Noodle something something.

Montien

Back Bay, the old college stomping grounds.

boston

Comm. Ave – tiny little bits of old snow that broke my heart.

Comm Ave

Wired Puppy Coffee on Newbury St.

NEWBURY ST

Espresso from Wired Puppy.  Every now and I give in and decide my stomach is up to the task.  It was worth it.

Wired Coffee

Davis Square & Blue Shirt Cafe

Blue Shirt

My friend Millie and I decided to visit Davis Square for a bit. I have so many fond memories from my first apartment there.

Our original intention, besides wandering memories, was to visit the new, all vegan Pulse Cafe that someone had left me a comment about a couple months ago. Sadly, we were in Davis early on, and the cafe didn’t open until 5pm.
We then browsed the menu at Diesel Cafe and were both bummed that the most exciting vegan option being a hummus plate, and went corner the corner to Blue Shirt for lunch. The cafe had expanded since my days of running in for a wrap with tofu to quickly eat on the T to class or work downtown, and it at least seemed like their vegan options had as well.  There were a few more mentions of tofu on the menu, but bizarrely, it’s not that they weren’t vegan, because I comprehend that honey and eggs are utilized, but that there wasn’t a vegan-izable version of a couple of these options. Both Millie and I found our wraps unexciting, which is extra sad considering that a) we have just flown in that morning and were ravenous, and b) we’re both excitable people!

A Disappointed Millieship

millie! with a boring wrap.

Her Disappointing Curry Wrap

wrap

My Disappointing Wrap.  I rarely don’t remember what something was, but this…huh?

wrap 2

Expanded Blue Shirt Cafe

blue shirt

Ah, Chinatown.  I remember when I found you terrifyingly sketchy to walk through at night as a college freshman.  How things change. This is where the original Buddha’s Delight was. I did go for lunch at My Thai, and have a review in the works.

Chinatown, Boston

Soy Latte from Boston Common Coffee Co. in Downtown Crossing. News to me. I have to say that it doesn’t look like much, but it was decent.

soy latte

Let’s head to Kendall Square. When I lived in the area, I was constantly paranoid of secret helicopter pads and underground labs blowing up on the MIT campus.

jess 032

My reason for the venture to Kendall – scoping out the Clover Food Labs food cart. It was nearby the relocated Olive Tree cart, which was formerly my staple Jerusalem cart (and restaurant). I was in college, so my diet was supposed to consist of $3 falafel wraps.  C

jess 033

Heading down to Central Square – just because it’s fun, I will mention again how much I used to love Pu Pu Hot Pot, their free delivery, and Spicy Tofu and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce.  And again, did you see their name?

Central Square

The highlight of my time in Central Square, or Cambridge, for that matter,my first exposure to Leslie and the Lys!  Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW.

leslie

Another highlight? 1369 Coffee House.  So reliable!

jess 015

Vanilla Soy Latte.  Vanilla = Vacation.

Soy Latte from 1369

Next up, NYC.