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.

Three Days in Seattle, Vegan Style

I had a string of poor luck with meal choices on my East Coast vacation, and I must say that 3 days of vegan meals in Seattle kinda kicked the butt of my week of vegan consumption in Boston and NYC.  With some exceptions, of course.  I really do believe that food tastes better in the Pacific Northwest.

For one thing, the coffee is fantastic.

Soy Latte from Herkimer, University District

Herkimer, Seattle

I spent a lot of time working in a couple coffeeshops.  Unlike Portland, I was stunned to easily find a seat at shops.  This simply means Portland needs more coffeeshops, gosh.

Herkimer

Soy Latte from Trabant, University District (49th Parallel beans).  Just….right.

Trabant

Vanilla Vegan Chai from Trabant

Trabant Chai

Trabant

If I had more time…I would have hit the Korean Tofu House for dinner.  One day!  They open at 7pm, and I simply didn’t have enough um, dinner openings.

Sorry Mike, Sorry Vijjy! I just peered, like a tofu stalker, during the day…

will I ever make it here?

Oh, and look, another Tofu House!  This one was pretty much beef with tofu, beef with tofu, beef with tofu on the menu, though.  Tofu stalker will investigate further…

another 'fu house

Angel Curry with Soft Tofu from In the Bowl Vegetarian Noodle Bistro. My first time there, my first meal of the trip, my favorite meal of the trip! Review coming to Stumptown Vegans.

In The Bowl, Seattle

Wayward Vegan Cafe.  This popular cafe recently moved to a new location on University Street in Seattle’s slowly expanding V-District, and overall, bestowed the second of the top two meals of my visit.  Thank you, vegan omelet!

Sham and Cheddar Vegan Omelet with roasted potatoes – hello, vegan diner food.

Wayward Cafe Vegan Sham & Cheddar Cheese Omelette

Giant side of Garlic Steamed Greens with a little visit from the nutritional yeast shaker and hot sauce.

Wayward Garlic Steamed Kale

The line to order.  It was almost out the door at times!

Wayward Cafe

More to come.

Wayward

Flowers Restaurant for the Vegan Lunch Buffet

to michelle, love jess

My dear friend Michelle has been recommended Flowers several times over the past three years, and I note it on my sporadic northern trips.  I finally put aside the call of vegan chinese (I had my full on the East Coast) and hit up Flowers last week. Finally!

Flowers

My plate from the Flowers buffet.

Flowers Vegan Buffet in Seattle

My favorite parts were the chilled roasted broccoli and creamy, tahini-like pasta salad.  Personal preference – I wish some of the cold items were hot.  I really dug the large variety and wish I had more room to try more!  There were numerous stewed dishes, roasted vegetables, baba ganouj, fries, and more, that I would like to try another time.  With my friend Michelle, ideally!

The large buffet lays beyond these windows. Every now and then I’m too shy to take all the photos I’d like.

Flowers

Stumbling upon the University Farmers Market = heck, yeah!

University Farmar, Seattle

Intriguing fruit vinegars and sauces and whatnot.

U-District FarMar

Just builds the anticipation for the Portland Farmers Market opening next weekend!

U-District

It wasn’t me.

Seattle

Spotted downtown: kale

kale kale kale

New experience: Vegan coconut based ice cream at Full Tilt Ice Cream Parlor, below the popular Cedars Restaurant.

Seattle

Okay, there was a large piece of hair on top of the flavor I was leaning towards, Toasted Coconut, so I went with the enjoyably rich Almond Joy with bits of chocolate and almond.  It happens.

Vegan ice cream

My only disappointment was on a second visit to Georgetown Liquor Co. My first experience was superb.  This time, I still enjoyed my microbrew and Nintendo, but apparently if you don’t state vegan!!!!!!!! at this vegetarian restaurant, even when your sandwich isn’t listed with cheese, it comes with cheese, as does your side salad.  As the Vegan Shiz would say, sad face.  It’s been so long since this has happened to me!  There is a note on the menu stating vegan cheese can be subbed for any vegetarian cheese, and a few items are marked NV, but this wasn’t one, nor did this list cheese.  Now I know.

Georgetown Liquor Co.

Where to next?

back to portlandia!

I’m officially back from a one week vacation to Boston and New York with my friend Millie. I’m a little bummed it didn’t snow, but I had swell times, so I’ll live.

Expect a bajillion photos next week.  For now, let me say that the most awesome things I sampled on vacation were a variety of sushi at Soy and Sake, a latte at 1369 Coffeehouse in Boston, the new Peace O’ Pie, and a NYC bagel.  I need to go back to my rule of not eating bagels outside of New York State.  There’s simply no point.   Other highlights (or amusements) included the Leslie and the Lys show, a bubblegum martini, double doses of fake shrimp, Stogo, and Daiya cheese everywhere.  Is it the new face of veganism?

Vanilla Soy Latte at 1369 Coffeehouse in Central Square. Cambridge, MA

Soy Latte from 1369

I went for the vanilla, cause you know, I was on vacation…

Upcoming posts: NYC and Boston travel write ups, the secret project with Janessa and Portland’s First Vegan Iron Chef news!

Continued Examination of Portland Soy Lattes

Starting with a Stumptown…
Stumptown: Ash

So, I’m on day 3 of a brief coffee detox.  I had a major caffeine/sugar crash after attending a killer vegan candy party, and then recording and experiencing the  Stumptown Vegans local chocolate review, all within a 24 hour period.  I let Sahagun’s revolutionary Stumptown coffee bar live inside my brain.  Oh wow, ow.  I’m aiming to stay coffee-free until my annual East Coast snow pilgrimage/vacation next week, cup of oolong in hand.

Naturally, it’s time to torment myself with the continuation of my Examination of Portland Soy Lattes.

Portland is a city renowned for its stellar, ever- independent coffee scene.  It’s an amusing, eye-opening place where Stumptown Coffee and its appreciated and nestled, alternatives, rule. These examinations are simple photo essays of where I’ve sipped on soy lattes in the past few months. Recent adventures not pictured: Coffee House NW (for a macchiato – oh, my) and Sweetpea Baking Co.

Countless recommendations later (mainly Maeve), I finally made it to one of Portland’s newest microroasters, Heart!

Heart Coffee

I enjoy when I can say things like “This latte is like a cloud!” and “soy  latte dream!”, and this was an appropriate experience.

Soy Latte from Heart

Heart Coffee

Floyd’s, Old Town (Stumptown) There was something positively rigorous about this latte.
Floyd's Old Town

Barista

I have to say life has been really good lately – because I’ve been to Barista twice within a few weeks.  The highest quality coffee shop in Portland, offering beans from a small variety of rotating, independent roasters.

Barista

Another Soy Latte from Barista

barista
Soy Latte from Spella Cafe


Spella Cafe on 5th

The owners of the beloved Spella cart downtown opened a lovely small shop on SW 5th. My secret day job relocated this fall, and this shop has replaced Coffee Plant as my walking-distance-indulgence. I am full of gratitude when I visit!

Spella Cafe on 5th

The next two lattes have been featured as “awesomes” before, but what the hell. They’re awesome for awesome reasons, obvs.

The Perfect Holiday Latte from Artemis Cafe

Artemis Cafe

Soy Latte from Coffeehouse Five I’ve been on more than one #4 heading north and contemplated running late and catching the next bus, just to stop  here on Killingsworth.

coffeehouse-five

Acme Coffee Company (Ristretto Roasters)

acme coffee.

My first latte from this newer SE coffeeshop.  It really underwhelmed me, but I’ll give them another try -especially because I liked the hard workin’, creative, and homey atmosphere in this coffeeshop house.

Stumptown: Ash

Stumptown: Ash

I’ll use the word “ethereal”.  Just try and stop me.

Next up – I don’t remember where this is from!  Egads.

Unidentified Soy Latte

October 2009 052

Have you seen me?

Do you believe this shit? Believe I had a gift card. Believe there’s no need to ever order vanilla.  Or from here, in the Pacific Northwest, at least.  Hopefully ever, unless you’re in need of caffeine at an airport ?

Do you believe this shit?

Please note I did not finish this and I am still apologizing to my soul.

Any recommendations for the next round, or Boston or NYC coffee?  I’m always looking to try new spots.  Though in NYC, I will gladly let Drowning in a Demitasse lead the way…

awesome of the week: “the perfect holiday latte”

Holidays are a time for indulgence, AM I RIGHT?!?

I’m totally right, and living this mantra – recently ordering “The Perfect Holiday Latte”, advertised on a counter display board at vegan friendly Artemis Cafe & Catering on SE Division, my favorite street.  It was made with Soy Nog – by default!, Stumptown espresso and organic spiced syrup.  It wasn’t ornately swirled, but I knew I wasn’t at an esteemed coffeeshop, and thick nog was in effect. I detected actual spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, etc. Hells yes.  Seasons Freaking Greetings and Caffeinating to me.

Artemis Cafe

Seasons’ Greeting All! Time to go home and bake the candy cane layer cake!!!

An Examination of Seattle Soy Lattes

Victrola Soy Latte

Victrola

Three days in Seattle, and I consumed three soy lattes within 24 hours.

Invincibility. Fortunately, I’d been taking it easy on caffeine the week before, and proceeded to take a few days off afterwards.

Each Seattle latte was, simply put, great. I have nothing but fond memories.

The most memorable was from the staple Victrola Roastery and Cafe on Pike St.

Victrola latte, shot 2

victrola

From my high table, I could see right into their roastery, nice.

seattle

victrola

Before the awesome lunch buffet at Araya Thai, my friends and I popped into Trabant in the University District. I’d been there in the past for a lovely chai, but this was my first time for coffee. My friend Evan, the growing NYC espresso guru, clued me in that they exclusively use 49th Parallel beans, roasted in British Columbia.

Trabant Soy Latte

trabant

This latte was a perfect part of my afternoon.

Well, what do we have here?

'town

On my final day, I had two lattes in the same early afternoon. I ended up taking an afternoon train instead of a morning one, so what else was there to do besides drink lattes and wander a bit? I wasn’t planning on it, but shortly after my Victrola stop, I saw this – and it wouldn’t escape my mind. Also, I had to use their bathroom. FYI, it still opens with a duck.

Stumptown in Seattle. Portland based, internationally renowned.

seattle

Stumptown in Seattle, Soy Latte

stumptown, seattle

The End.

seattle

If you have a favorite Seattle soy latte I’ve missed, please say so!

More Northwest Latte Love:

An Examination of Portland Soy Lattes.

A Second Examination of Portland Soy Lattes.

awesome of the week


exhibit a: maple glazed yeasted donut with fake bacon. vegan! vegan! vegan!

source: Sweetpea Baking Co.

Sweetpea did this.

This Homer Simpson-style dreamboat was coated in my favorite flavor (okay, one of my primary favorites) and topped with a piece of vegan bacon!  Katie Jane mentioned the realistic bacon was from Food Fight! next door.

ala Voodoo Doughnuts’ Bacon Maple bars.

ala after this Fakin’ Fest organizer’s heart and stomach.  Plus, it had that whole fresh donut delicious thing going on. I never seem to luck out with very fresh yeasted donuts at the downtown Voodoo.

exhibit b: soy latte

source: Coffeehouse-Five in NE Portland

coffeehouse-five

I was blown away by this quiet coffeeshop’s soy latte months ago. I found myself between buses recently and seized an opportunity to re-awaken via soy latte. They have magical baristas, beans (Coava) and/or soymilk, I swear. The drink was so creamy, you could think it was just barely above room temperature, but, of course, it was just that well done.  And magical.