Scenes from my vegan travels in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Bangkok. Continue reading
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
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
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.
Just what got checked off the Vegan To-Do List from my Return to Boston post…
See tall buildings? check!
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?
More from Grasshopper – Tofu & Broccoli
1/100th as exciting as the No Name, I know.
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.
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:
Soy Latte from Espresso Royale on Newbury Street
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!
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.
Sorry for the flash photos, but what can I say? It was after a bubble gum martini at the IT.
Back Bay, the old college stomping grounds.
Comm. Ave – tiny little bits of old snow that broke my heart.
Wired Puppy Coffee on 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.
Davis Square & Blue Shirt Cafe
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
Her Disappointing Curry Wrap
My Disappointing Wrap. I rarely don’t remember what something was, but this…huh?
Expanded Blue Shirt Cafe
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
Another highlight? 1369 Coffee House. So reliable!
Vanilla Soy Latte. Vanilla = Vacation.
Next up, NYC.
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
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!
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.
Seasons’ Greeting All! Time to go home and bake the candy cane layer cake!!!
Victrola Soy Latte
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
From my high table, I could see right into their roastery, nice.
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
This latte was a perfect part of my afternoon.
Well, what do we have here?
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.
Stumptown in Seattle, Soy Latte
If you have a favorite Seattle soy latte I’ve missed, please say so!
More Northwest Latte Love:
exhibit a: maple glazed yeasted donut with fake bacon. vegan! vegan! vegan!
source: Sweetpea Baking Co.
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
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.
Just a tour of the lattes of my life in the past few months…
Soy latte from Coffee Plant, downtown. So reliably good.
This is from Cacao at the Heathman.
This chocolate shop’s espresso is from Caffe Vita in Seattle. I ridiculously feel guilty because theyir beans are from Seattle and not roasted in PDX. From Seattle!! The coffee capital of the US!! I’ve found lattes from here to be hit or miss, but overall, are a huge step up from the large chains in the area.
Now we move onto the foam fans club:
Another for the sad face pile, Soy Latte from Coffee Time in NW.
I was stoked to try a latte from this coffee shop in NW with a hobbit room in the back, but as I stepped up to order I noticed the beans were Panache. I’ve never liked their coffee. I sipped at it, but the sentiment remained.
Hemp Latte from K & F BellaSelva Coffee House
I frequent this coffee shop and have a soft spot for their coffee (especially the iced during the summer) and dig that they tout their alternative milk selection on the chalkboard, but I’ve yet to have a great latte. This is turning pessimistic, oops.
Soy Macchiato from Stumptown, Ace Hotel
This was my first Macchiato in years, I was trying to branch out. It was quite striking, both visually and taste-wise, and soothed my low energy soul that afternoon, but I don’t find myself called to another one.
Pumpkin Spice Latte from Peet’s Coffee
One for the shocker pile. Autumn hit and I wanted a damn pumpkin latte, because the media told me so. FYI, Starbucks pumpkin lattes are not vegan (as if), but Peet’s are. I was astounded that this was so tasty, and pretty! I’ve had another since, that paled, flavor wise, and I came to my senses and realized I was in Peet’s.
One more for the Coffee-Plant-rules-fan club.
It took me a moment to realize there was a freaking swan on my latte.
Thank you, once again, Coffee Plant.
Ironically, as I write this, it has been over a week since my last latte or cup of coffee. I was developing a little habit. Previously a latte would come my way every other week. I’m not shaking, but the first two days without brought on a fierce migraine and were very stressful at work. I used to drink lattes in my early 20s and then went a few years without it, almost entirely, so I know I’m fine without it. It wasn’t even a year ago I started up with it again. I’m thinking kombucha could be the new kombucha, which was the new latte. I was on a big, spendy kombucha kick for a while, aka I need a starter!
Anyway, a little caffeinated tea has come my way since and I do intend to dip back into the latte experience as soon as tomorrow, but more exclusively. I had been adventurous on my latte expeditions, and the adventure had disappointments. The final latte before my week off was mediocre, and I didn’t finish it. It’s not pictured above.
I was also going to some coffee shops around my office where I wouldn’t bother spending money on a lousy latte, which means I really shouldn’t bother spending money on a coffee there. Seattle’s Best, I’m talking to you. I was in love with my one-week-left tradition of a cup of individually ground and brewed Stumptown from Cafe Velo at the Wednesday Farmers Market, but that market has closed til Spring, and I hope their downtown cafe is truly under works!
If you’re looking for more latte art action, check out Drowning in Demitasse (based out of NYC).
If you have a favorite Portland soy latte, do tell.