I went to Seattle VegFest and returned with a lot of tea

It’s true! One would think it would be locally roasted coffee, but I have a whole lot of random tea bags waiting for me at home. I picked up a few coupons and sampled most of the new vegan items amongst the vegetarian (more on this below), got my Field Roast on, did several shots of coconut water, casually spread the word about Vida Vegan Con with the Voyager, but most importantly, I saw friends and took a much-needed mini vacation!  Here’s a quick run down and photos…

Best in Show: Prometheus Springs Capsaicin Elixirs. Invigorating, spicy beverages with exotic, stimulating flavor combinations such as Lychee Wasabi, Citrus Cayenne and Pomegranate Black Pepper. I only hope I can find these in Portland!

Saddest in Show: The Burgerville cow ad at the Chez Gourmet table.

I wish this was in Portland: Small Planet Tofu. My mysterious day job has taken me to Spokane on more than one occasion, and Huckleberry’s Market, along with its bulk, seasoned tofu, spreads and tofu scrambles is always something I look forward to. It’s cool, keep it local – I’ll pick more up on a road trip one day…

Note: Seattle Vegfest organizers, your mass of volunteers was an impressive sight, and certainly friendly – but maybe a briefing on vegetarian vs. vegan next time around? Postings would be helpful. I was warned in advance that VegFest is is more of a ‘vegetarian fest’, which is funny for a city that’s been such a ground-breaker in the vegan community, and sure enough, there were many product samples that weren’t vegan, which is fine, but in addition, there were quite a few volunteers who weren’t sure of the difference. I found myself reading more labels than I’ve done in years. Yikes! It was an odd feeling to feel like a left out vegan….at a VegFest.

Onwards to the photo tour…

Tea & Coupons

The crowd - can you spot Vegan Moxie?

Prometheus Springs’ magic elixirs

Finally clarified which Chez Gourmet Burgers are actually vegan!

Team Wayfare, promoting their new sour cream, chocolate pudding, and my favorite, the hickory cheese spread

Creepiest in show - but remarkable!

This vegan seafood is damn impressive and based on a root - I wasn't a fan of the cioppino, but below...

Yeah, the breaded vegan calamari was crazy fascinating. I would buy this in the future.

Looking for serious vegetarian guidance? Consulting & mentoring opportunities are all around.

White Mountain's tamales had a dulled spice factor. Oh, frozen food.

I want this.

The mime works the coconut creamer.

BREATHE.

YES, I TRIED THIS BEFORE YOU. YES, IT WAS PEPPERY. YES, IT WAS SPICY. Alas, not my jam.I swear, there were people passing around around this station.

Some popcorn sampling?

THIS

MIGHTY-O! How can you resist?

Chez Gourmet

I have no idea what's happening here, but I had to document it. My guess is chili.

Hard-working volunteer action.

And yes, it looked like this the whole time. I lived in my cowgirl rain boots.

Of course, a stop was made at Sidecar.

Where I sensibly picked up a couple fresh Mighty-Os to bring home.

Shockingly, there was no time for coffee?! And yet, I even stayed next door to the downtown Trabant.

I may still be digesting this killer Chicken fried steak plate from Wayward, but it was worth it.

My friend KJ, ready to devour her veggie omelette - within mere minutes!

One day, I will actually make it here.

More food! My friend Anika (you read VeganScore, right? Right!) took a break from the VegFest madness for lunch at Bamboo Garden. Pictured above is the Tofu Skin Hot Pot with Szechwan sauce. Possibly the best Chinese dish I've tried in Seattle yet.

Sweet & Sour orange glazed Chicken Ballz. Exactly.

Seattle, I'll see ya again at May's Vegan Chili Cook-off!

Lattes, Sandwiches & Vegan Vietnamese: Seattle Travels with the Veganshizz

Earlier this month, Karla the Veganshizzle and I spent a few days up in Seattle basically drinking coffee, eating vegan food, walking around, and drinking even more coffee.

Our first stop was Georgetown Liquor Co. Hands down, my favorite place to dine (and play NES with a microbrew or PBR in hand) in Seattle. And really, not that hard to find!

The Picard, with vegan aus jus dipping sauce and side salad

The Lowell with vegan ham and green chiles

The Cat Whisperer by Pike Place Market, reminding me, why don’t I have any pet portraits of my roommates yet?

Please help me convince my friend below that Coffeetalk with Karla is a great name for her never-gonna-happen talk show.

Soy Latte at Herkimer, U-District

Bang Bang Cafe

There are many things that I like about Bang Bang Cafe: the Belltown location, the giant dish of vegan mac & cheese (one day this will be mine), the friendly service, the coffee, the Mighty-O donuts, the burritos, the little card for Back to Eden they had posted by the register!….I’m charmed.

Coffee and Lemon Poppyseed donut

Now, consider me happy with my first-time visit to a Loving Hut.

First off, the framed, famous vegan head shot poster:

The Wall of Vegetarian & Vegan Elite (and food):

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Part of the shopping wall:

Vegan Bánh mì

Vermicelli House Special

Attempted to give Cinnamon Works another whirl, badabing, but they were all out of the veganz:

A peak of Shiz’s I know-Jess-is-taking-a-picture-face. Bloggers, be nice to you friends – they’re very patient!

Stopping by Sidecar for sweets:

We enjoyed a satisfying, comfort-food-galore brunch at Wayward Cafe. Honestly, just look at their menu and these pictures and tell me you don’t want to go here. You do! You do! Breakfast All Day!

The Country Bumpkin: Open-faced herb biscuit with tofu scramble, country-style sausage gravy & garlic steamed greens.

The Hillbilly Omelette, stuffed with sausage, peppers, onions &  hashbrowns, topped with country gravy and cheddar cheeze, and served with homefries. Even more whoa.

My Sweet Lord, Hare Krishna cafe. Free vegan cafe (by donation).

Seeing the creepy sights in the U-District:

Pizza Pi – According to my friends, the latest management & menu is the best yet! Noted for next time. The last time I went was years ago and I think it’s changed hands at least twice since then, and it was one of those ‘why does this gross vegan cheese even exist?’ scenarios.

One day, I will.dine.here.

We were in town for First Thursday, and at Anika’s (the vegan wonder of Seattle that she is!) recommendation, stopped by the 30 works in 30 days art show.

The top right here was my favorite:

If you’re a cat, and run to me when I call you, well, that’s a promising friendship:

In more Seattle animal sightings, this dog made me realize that I now have two favorite breeds of dogs: those with capes, and on wheels:

Special Piroshky Report: Last time I stopped by the historic Piroshky Bakery in Pike Place Market, they told my friends and I that a couple of their sweet varieties, like the apple, for example, would be vegan by default because there was no dairy involved. I was excited to peak by again, but that was instantly broken when we noticed ‘honey glaze’ on the window signs. Commence vegan sadface.

OntoThe Highline. No SV review coming with these after my first visit, but here are some quick thoughts: Poor lighting, but lots of greasy potential at this place – a full bar with a specialty cocktail list – I had a short & spicy tequila sipper, a great space with stage, the idea of CAKE-A-ROKE night(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), the faux meat options – looking forward to trying the faux fish sandwich on my next trip up, but our complaint? The pickle fries were deep-fried, and came with a creamy ranch-style dip, but didn’t arrive hot! Double sadface.

Crazy packed BLT-style tofu & tempeh sandwich from The Highline:

Faux breaded chicken sandwich at The Highline:

Most importantly, it’s the year of the pickle fries!

We also took our first trip to Moonlight, a Vietnamese restaurant in the International District that has a separate vegan menu. I wrote a post on it, so sticking with photos here, and my love of their vegan eggrolls.

Eggrolls at Moonlight:

Beef and Broccoli at Moonlight; the Shiz’s iconic favorite soda in the back

Tofu Eggplant Hotpot at Moonlight

Another warming, caffeinated break downtown at Trabant:

Soy Latte, Trabant (which always makes me think of my friend Evan from Drowning in a Demitasse)

Soy Latte, Victrola

With that, I leave you in the Shizz’s hands, at the Pike Place Market:

Season’s Greetings and Happy Long Weekends!

This post is hereby dedicated to KJ & Vijjy.

Seattle Sweets: A Visit to Sidecar for Pigs Peace

…and we’re back! Karla the Veganshizz and I have returned from a few days of both business and pleasure up in Seattle. We caffeinated, wined, dined, worked (my day job exists!) schemed & dined some more with Seattle vegan greats and got in a little sweets shopping at Sidecar for Pigs Peace, where proceeds really go to the animals. Similar to a stop at the Vegan Mini Mall in Portland in recent years, patronizing the mid-50 blocks of the University District in Seattle has become more and more of a mandatory stroll for vegan tourists.  Karla and I made an afternoon of it, starting at Herkimer, brunching at Wayward Cafe (more to come on that), perusing Sidecar, and walking around the U-District.  It’s always fun to see what’s new in the land of vegan treats, and I picked up a few non-perishable things (trust me, I wanted to stock up on Chao Cheese, locally made truffles, Tofutti Pizza, and Tiramisu, among others) to take back, which are pictured above. With that, let’s discuss my giddiness over the following few treats:

  • Sweet & Sara Brown Rice Crispy Treat – I feel like I want to save this for the apocalypse, you know?
  • Theo Organic Peppermint Stick Chocolate Bar - Check mark #1: It’s locally produced in Seattle.  Check mark #2: It’s organic. Check mark #4: It’s fair trade sourced. Check mark #5: It not only has fancy peppermint oil, big whoop, it has a brittled crunch – like an actual peppermint stick! Yes!!
  • Pangea White Chocolate Chips – Did I make white chocolate chip and orange biscotti with these already? Why, yes.
  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Somehow, these aren’t already in my freezer waiting for me to return home.  This company has a line of nut butters as well, including a chocolate almond. A warning about the cups on their website – they’re milk chocolate – but the above are from Sidecar, so I have no worries.

Coming Soon: more thoughts and recaps on visits to Victrola, Trabant, Georgetown Liquor Co., Highline, Moonlight, Wayward Cafe, Loving Hut, and the cutest cruciferous vegetables I’ve ever seen.

Tis the Tofurkey Day MoFo: Kabocha Squash Pot Pie, Thai Iced Tea Pumpkin Pie & Dinner with Friends

I may not really celebrate the holidays, but I do celebrate proudly made from scratch dishes, friends, wine, and the warm wonder that is a multi-course, cruelty-free thanksgiving dinner with said friends in a city we’ve made our home. Aww.

Commence warm and fuzzies and vegan food with part of the spread:

My contributions to the dinner were pies of both sweet and savoury varieties. This marked the production of my first-ever pot pie, so it’s time for a photo pictorial to capture my stirring hand’s excitement.

Sautéing the diced green beans, carrots, mushrooms, potato, baked tofu, and spices.

The savoury was a Smokey Kabocha Squash & Baked Tofu Pot Pie inspired by Karen from the Vegan Conversion Challenge’s recent Kabocha Pot Pie. She’s doing a month of chili-dominated dishes for VeganMoFo, and as soon as I saw her adorable baked-in-the-squash, smokey pot pies, I wanted to try them. Fatefully tying this plan together, I had roasted freaking kabocha squash the night before, so the question became – do I buy more squash (on the day before thanksgiving) or do I reach for a little more adventure? I chose the latter, following Karen’s recipe as closely as possible. There was no time for finding Soy Curls or big tvp chunks,  so I decided to bake tofu cubes in a marinade of tamari, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, garlic, and herbs. As for squash, it seems to get saucey in Karen’s, so I figured simply adding chunks of roasted squash into the mix with the broth would work for my take. A squashy gravy, if you will. I went light on the chili peppers, and ended up adding quite a bit more of smoked paprika and hot cayenne before baking.

Things take a turn for the saucey and squashy:

Dished into a pie plate and ready for some puff pastry action.

The finished dish, with its learning-as-we-go puff pastry weave, from my camera phone:

Enough of my silly tales of pot pie production – Chelsea’s famous Gluten Roast, stuffing & itty bitty, adorable potatoes follows:

Knowing this would be there just may have pushed me out of the house.

Damn good pumpkin pie and damn fine pecan pie:

My friend veganized John Edwards’ secret family recipe for us and I’m still thinking about it:

Sweet, sweet pumpkin cheesecake!!

My second contribution – half of a vision come to life – Thai Iced Tea Pumpkin Pie.

Take Bryanna’s classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie, sub coconut milk for the soy, and add a ton of powdered cardamom and star anise along with the usual suspects. If there was Thai tea in my cabinets, it would have been involved.  And one excuse short of my vision, I had just missed the stores closing on my way to dinner, or there would have been coconut flakes (or, in retrospect, dollops of coconut whipped cream) with the straws.

Note: I did not make people drink out of them.

A Day in the Life: Paradox Memories

Last night, I met my friends for a productive dinner at Paradox Cafe. A few years ago, Paradox seemed to be hands down, the restaurant I visited the most in Portland. I lived in the Sunnyside neighborhood and was there regularly, often deciding between corn and 4-grain pancakes or rice and roasted potatoes on the old early bird list.

It’s amusing to look back on, and to have ever complained about, but it was one of the few places an old boyfriend of mine would ever dine at.  I ordered a whole lot of those pancakes and would anticipating the changing of the seasonal decor and menu. On the bright side, dining at Paradox so often let me actually make my way through the menu. There are so many memories of brunches with old friends in the blue booths, casual dinners, and for some reason – I’m blaming a self-imposed fad in my early 20s?!? – drinking cups and cups of decaf coffee with a little pitcher of soymilk.

Our charming waitress sorta poses for a photo

These days, I don’t go as often as I’d like, maybe a few times a year – it’s Portland and I live in a different neighborhood –  yet, I’ve gladly dined there twice in the past week. First, it was to reacquaint myself with a classic Portland breakfast (for dinner, even better) for Breakfast in Bridgetown, and the other was last night.

 

One of my favorite friends was working (who should comment if they want to be outed!) and I have to say, it seems like new management has brought changes for the even-better in the past year or so.  For starters, “nooch” was on the specials board last week, and the menu looks more versatile – both in selections and pricing.  They’ve added Field Roast sausages, more tempeh, and still have those great pancakes. I should really visit more often…

Paradox Tempeh Scramble - my tastebuds are still sick with the rest of me, so I figured lots of straight-up vegetables was a good move.

return from travels & vegfest photos

Alright! I’ve spent the past weekend resting, doing laundry, and catching up with my cats after two weeks traveling on the West Coast for my mysterious day job.  As much as I usually think Portland is the bees knees, and as much as I complain about having a day job, I’m grateful for my employment and the bonus opportunities to explore other cities (and play travel writer). Back to my point and purpose here – I was in town for just over 24 hours halfway between my journeys north and south, which fortunately, allowed me to attend Portland’s annual VegFest. I may not have had time to experience every single exhibitor booth or attend any glorious talks, but I did get to see countless smiling veg-faces and proudly table for Vegan Iron Chef’s big public, pin-dispensing debut.

Most of these photos were taken as Saturday was ending. Pretend people aren’t falling asleep at their booths and that there’s a never-ending stream of veg-happy and veg-curious folks, because there was!

Photo essay time:

My favorite on the show floor (you can’t deny it was mostly a trade show out there, and I say that fondly): So Delicious.

I can’t really think of any flashy new veg products I hadn’t seen before or that blew me away, so I’ll call my favorite as I see it – So Delicious Coconut Creamer. And well, they were one of a couple of vendors offering complimentary coffee, and as I was there all day with my own mug, I happily drank it. On top of that, I have a fond memory of my friend Melissa bringing me one of their coconut ice cream sandwiches…

Deanna works the NW Veg table. She does so much for the vegan community and it clearly loves her back.

Here’s dear, smiling Wendy: VegFest organizer and author of the Veg Food & Fit blog.  She’s tabling with a friend for her recent cookbook release, Scatter Vegan Sweets.

What to wear when you’re veg…besides Herbivore, of course.

The German Viana line. In the past, I found these very hit or miss for my taste buds – but after sampling most of them, I really dug the Doner Kebap and Veggie Cevapici.

Supreme Master:  Never disappointing. Just tired. We had the sweetest reporter from their channel, Youping, come with a small team to Vegan Iron Chef last year.

Lundberg: Where I learned that according to CNN’s Health reporters, Black Rice could be the new Brown Rice. Noted.

Chicago Soy Dairy bros. Mozzarella teese, I got your back.

Fair Trade Theo Chocolate Samples

Another favorite of the day – Soy Feta at Heidi Ho’s Organic Vegan Cheeses. Locally made & currently available at Jazzkats Coffee Bar.  They graciously donated a fruit & hazelnut cheese spread to a Portland talk my friend & fellow blogger Janessa (with a new domain!) and I did last month for Try Vegan Week.

VegFest super announcer and staple, bodybuilder and author, Robert Cheeke, signs those autographs

Hold onto your hearts, you crazy Daiya heads – Amy’s  Vegan Mac & Cheese.  I finally tried it and have to give a big ol’ Pass, but I get convenience. I get novelty.

Pull yourself together! One more Daiya shot to go… Now this pizza? I really get it.

Thai and True’s distributor’s stand tied with Chicago Soy Dairy for the stand I supported the most, financially. I picked up 4 small tubes of teese (on sale 2 for $5 – it really bothers me that I can only get teese at one store in town, albeit the great Food Fight!) and restocked on Yellow and Massaman curry paste. Locally made & VEGAN.

Don’t buy curry paste from a can. This is so much better (or make it!)

Another popular neighbor, naturally:

Portland <3 Kombucha

I overheard such interesting, varying comments from the folks stopping by the Gardein table. What do y’all think?

Out to Pasture Sanctuary.

I  know these are *just beans* , but they really are good beans! The Better Bean Company.

A big bowl of spices at the CuisineMentor table.

Photo evidence of the crowds, and that guy on the left eating.

Food vendors. Who’s been to Yummy Tummy? I keep hearing such positive things!

Red & Black, my favorite anarchist cafe-runners, tabled on Saturday.

Sengetera, selling Ethiopian veggie combos.

My girls at the Vegan Iron Chef table:

Day Over! Back to the real job.

Off to work, work, beaches, work, Costa Mesa, and a few days vacation for my first time in Los Angeles after this.

I have a geeky Stumptown Vegans review of this cafe below coming soon….

graiiiiiiiins

Credit: Vegan Zombie by dennisculver on Threadless

Oh come on, you know the vegan zombie joke.  What vegan didn’t consider buying that shirt?

Here’s the theatrical trailer, by the talented Tim Kahn, for my friend and horror author, David Agranoff’s upcoming novel, “The Vegan Revolution with Zombies”.

If you have a sense of humor, find yourself searching out unique zombie showdowns, cherish the sight of fake guts (vegan-style), have any knowledge of popular veganism and the Portland vegan community, you will pee your pants when you read this book.

The trailer is just a taste…

The book, published by Eraserhead Press, is now for sale on Amazon and will be sold by David and Try Vegan PDX at VegFest next weekend. Don’t want to spend the $$? Request it at your local library!

As a Portland vegan and zombie fiction lover, I was stoked to be one of the first to read the finished draft (hence the cute blurb in the trailer!!).

Take Note:

censored cake

What happens on your neighborhood lounge's back patio stays on your neighborhood lounge's back patio?

I have a sneaking suspicion that Jeff and Maeve, the dear friends and culinary artists behind what’s coming below, knew this cake would be censored in order to ease up on decorating costs.

Inside the box lies my custom-designed, 28th birthday cake, emblazoned with a hilarious and offensive in-joke, and the most thrilling trio of maple, pretzel & peanut butter that has ever existed (to me, anyway). I doubt it could ever happen again, unless Evan was involved.

It was amazing, and I was joking earlier about the decor, because I thought it was all fantastic! I hadn’t seen a cake this exciting since my sophomore year of college and the Alec Baldwin-penis cake from Sweet-N-Nasty bakery. A positive, maturing night to remember, nearly a decade before.

The big semi-reveal:

Maple. Pretzel. Peanut Butter. Any guesses?

Friends. Portland. Vegetable Gifts. Vegan Cake. Love ‘em.

p.s. Naturally, I went to Portobello for dinner on my birthday and swooned over pan-fried gnocchi with summer squash. It’s a Portland vegan tradition.

the vegan prom of tomorrow: the slideshow from last weekend

warning: the future may be considered NSFW.

Welcome to distant future, where everyone at least looks like they intend to do the robot.

Here we have a few photos and a big, shiny slideshow documenting the third annual Try Vegan PDX Vegan Prom: The Vegan Prom of Tomorrow. This futuristic dance night naturally included a dance off, a best dressed catwalk, the crowning of Prom Royalty for 2010  and an infinite amount of glitter and glow in the dark necklaces.

Dancing into the Freaking Future.

The Awarding of Best Dressed & Crown Royalty Approaches.... Val took 2nd place in her homemade duct tape dress, The Robot Box & Future Cat were crowned King & Queen for 2010 - Best Dressed below...

Neal was awarded Best Dressed for his I-Tux, complete with functional shoes.

The Dance Off Finals. Lindsay (left) took the honors! Lady on the left took 2nd. Much robot, much awesome.

The Freaking Future.

The return of DJs Honest John and Vitamin G

Glimpse into the future…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

big shout outs!

  • the glorious return of DJs Honest John and Vitamin G
  • Try Vegan PDX and all its organizers & attendees of the 3rd Annual Try Vegan Week – the biggest yet.
  • always-awesome co-planner Deanna
  • Michele for her now revolution- & evolution-ary decor skills
  • Melissa for stealing my camera and getting all the shots I never would (followed by a slightly less mischievous Shelley)
  • Portland vegans for being my favorite vegans
  • Glow in the Dark necklaces, for existing

Try Vegan Week 2010: starting this weekend!!!

Do you have vegan-curious friends? Do you want your pescetarian friends to know just why they should go veg? Do you simply want to meet more vegan-minded folks in Portland area?

The 3rd Annual Try Vegan Week kicks off this Saturday with a Bike Rally starting at the Mini Mall with the Radical Cheerleaders for Animal Rights and concludes with the Vegan Prom of Tomorrow on Saturday, the 21st. Tickets are still available!

The week includes many classes, workshops, and talks: all about going vegan!

To name a few:

Check out the full schedule here – many more events and location/time info for the above~

Vegan Prom Poster by John Vincent Lovell

Check out Try Vegan PDX for more information. Consider having a week in your area. We’re all activists, folks.