(Vida) Vegan Eats Vegas

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Behind-the-scenes with Vida Vegan’s location scouting of Las Vegas, including a vegan meetup at Bar + Bistro and cheap vegan eats at Garden Grill and Ronald’s Donuts. Continue reading

The Hiatus, Hiatus in Cocktails & Coconuts

Hiatus, Hiatus on Get Sconed!

Presenting the Hiatus, Hiatus in Cocktails, Coconuts, Coffee, Juice, Tea & Beer, shown in near chronological order from the digital archives…so…very…many…photos…. Continue reading

We’re Not in Portland Anymore: Postcards from Hiatus, Hiatus

Hiatus, Hiatus on Get Sconed!

Scenes from my vegan travels in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Bangkok. Continue reading

Autumn Inevitability: Homemade Pumpkin Coconut Coffee Creamer

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Day 22: The DIY coffeeshop fun continues with homemade pumpkin coconut creamer and cinnamon breath. Continue reading

Scenes, Beans and Zebra (Cup) Cakes

Zebra (cup) cakes on Get Sconed!

A combination of baketivism and plastic-wrapped nostalgia at its finest.   These were for last weekend’s Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in Portland, inspired by a big ole vganized Zebra cake that J. Legume and I made a few months ago. I vaguely remember … Continue reading

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.