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

Monday is for Reminiscing: Celebrating in Seattle

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While my original intention for Monday’s theme was to share stories and photos from travels a bit further from Seattle, walking into a third decade during a short mid-week getaway with J. Legume included so many memorable dining experiences that … Continue reading

31 Hours and Three Lattes: A Seattle Photo Essay

Last month, team VVC took a quick trip to Seattle.  It basically went like this: Soy lattes were sipped. Pickle chips were consumed. Vegan treats were sought out. Locations were visited. It was business as usual.

One of my first stops: a mug of house Caffé Vita & the vegan chocolate cupcake at Cupcake Royale

What clearly, caught my attention. I must admit, with a sign like this, I was expecting more than one vegan option, but it was good, albeit crumbly.

Once I arrived in the U District, I stopped at Trabant for a soy latte.  

Thanks, Rayray.

For brunch, I arrived early and revisited Plum. I had enjoyed the spicy mac & yeast, years ago, but overall, was left with a really greasy feeling in my stomach, and I’m not usually one to say such a thing.

The perplexingly plated Fresh Tofu Benedict – with tender, savoury seitan unlike anything I’ve had before (making me want to try it in pho), paired with a pomegranate mimosa.

droid photo, whoa-oh

I’m pleased that I tried this – and it was the most expensive item on the menu, but I would opt to try some of their fancy pancakes next time. I’m glad I dined solo and no one was there to witness the constant state of distress I experienced with each bite.

Dinner time, I met up with team VVC for hugs and cocktails at a seemingly mandatory stop on my past few Seattle visits: the Highline.

Sometimes I’m thrilled with my food, sometimes I’m near-terrified. This time, my long-awaited pickle chips were served indoors, remained crispy and warm for an impressive amount of time, and I was ranch-dipping and stoked. Yeah, they were salty and battered and dill-y and awesome.

The TLT. Classic, but nothing on D.C. Veg’s new TLT-on-a-sub-roll creation.

We stayed in a budget hotel outside of the U-District, which meant we somehow found ourselves across the street at the Ram for some type of manic late night happy hour with $3 pineapple  & whipped cream vodka cocktails.

Michele and I went with the upside-down pineapple drop, with Vanilla Stoli & Pinnacle Whipped Cream vodka; Janessa went with a microbrew

Breakfast time at Herkimore: Mighty-O doughnut & soy latte. Ah.

Naturally, we picked up some goodies at Sidecar.

Our sight-seeing including a visit to Pike Place Market and Cinnamon Works.

The elusive Michele picks up a cookie.

One day, I will actually take note of whose art this is at Bang Bang. Because I want it on my walls. All of them.

I did manage to grab a plate of their smokey mac & cheese for lunch, while my silly cohorts ate bagels or something. I was content!

Smokey Mac & Cheese  with a side of toast, Bang Bang Cafe 

We had a meeting at the Seattle Public Library for our VVC Tech Seminar in the fall.

Janessa doing some undercover location scouting.

Supplemental caffeination via an iced Americano with soymilk at Victrola Coffee

Spiked refreshment, courtesy of a jalapeño pomegranate margarita at Bimbos Cantina

It may not have had that spice the name promised, but there was green hot sauce on the table – and a photo booth downstairs.

For dinner, we were joined by our friends Dawn and Anika at another Seattle vegan favorite, Teapot Vegetarian House. I hadn’t been in years, and it was a great time.

Our table somehow fit not one, but two of these BoBo Platters

Michele may have used these bamboo skewers as defensive weapons throughout the meal.

Our table also shared Beef & Broccoli, Vietnamese Crispy Fried Noodles – a unique dish I’d been craving since 2007, and a Ginger Soy Chicken special.

No photos of the noodles, but let me add that I’ve been googling them sporadically since first trying them, and have never seen anything close!

Mandarin Crispy Tofu

Lastly, souvenirs.

The espresso blend was freshly roasted and on sale for $5. Heck, yes. Cue cold pressing.

Eugene, Eugene with the Sisters Legume

Communal breakfast caffeination at Wandering Goat. Photo by J. Legume

It looks me nine years of dwelling in the Pacific Northwest, one quick train ride, and the encouragement of two sisters, but I finally made it to Eugene for the weekend recently. The break included sunshine, strolls, Lane County farmers market, vegan food, frolicking at the top of Skinner Butte, soy lattes, TMNT: The Secret of the Ooze, and the charming company of the Sisters Legume.

Everything I’d heard about Eugene seemed to be true: it was scenic, it was cozy, it was much closer than I thought, there were lots of bikes, interesting pizza, cute vegetarian carts and the breeze often carried a delightful combination of nutritional yeast and pot. It reminded me of weekend trips to Northampton, MA during my college years.

After a late night arrival, we started the weekend bright and early at the Wandering Goat coffeeshop. We quickly moved on to the second order of business: picking up treats for later at Sweet Life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends who’ve been to Eugene debate Sweet Life vs. Sweetpea, it’s ridiculous. Just bring on the pastries!

Inside the box: cinnamon roll, salted caramel cupcake and blueberry fritter

The verdict on the box from Sweet Life Patisserie:  I appreciated the dark (perhaps, black cocoa powder?) chocolate cake of the cupcake with bites of the rich, coconut & brown sugar-tinged salted caramel frosting. It made me realize how many bakeries must use cheap cocoa powder – the difference here was apparent. The blueberry fritter was more like a soft scone, which wasn’t up my alley, and while I didn’t try the cinnamon roll, J. Legume found it to be  a “fine cinnamon roll”, but ” a struggle” to devour. So darling.

Once we had consumed and breathed in enough sugar for the morning, we stopped at the downtown farmers market to take in some greens.

Raab perusal break at the farmers market

It would be another week before I had a chance to visit the Portland Farmers Market since it’d reopened for the Spring, and my local green-seeking-radar was going crazy. It had been so long since I could purchase raab without a plastic tag. So, so long.

Choi samplin'. This booth has tasty sesame seed-based mixes for sale.

In addition to a beautiful bunch of gai lan for a Bryant Terry recipe, I picked up sun-dried tomatoes, buckwheat pancake flour, Dakota black kernel popcorn and garlic.

Spotted on our stroll along the river: this is how we do it.

For a legitimate lunch, we stopped by vegan food cart-turned-adorable dinerette, Cornbread Cafe.

Since moving to Oregon in 2004, I've sipped from many a mason jar. It took a year to get over the nonsensical horror.

Counter-style seating at Cornbread Cafe

Why does one go to Cornbread Cafe? Why, vegan comfort food. Shout it out style: VEGAN COMFORT FOOD.

Just look at this menu, full of cruelty free country classics.

My new, bizarro cashew allergies withheld the gravy and cheese sauce options (and the d-cheese does not appeal to me), but I was incredibly satisfied with my plate, so who cares?

I don’t, and will continue to tell myself this (alright, again and again), return, and chomp into more crunchy-coated Southern Fried and Buffalo style tofu, after which, I will one day try the Shredded BBQ Seitan and Chicken Fried Tempeh.

Basically, I’m already penciling in a second visit on my next trip to Eugene, unless the Garbanzo Grill cart catches my attention first. We can share.

Such vegan wonders from such a small-ish city! That’s the Northwest for ya.

Pictured: Southern Fried Tofu, jalapeno cornbread with Earth Balance, Uncle Todd's sauteed baby spinach, BBQ sauce and mashed potatoes - hold the gravy.

Sisters A. Legume & J. Legume

For dinner, we picked up a pizza from a place I’d heard both raves & a few whines about through the years, PRI: the Pizza Research Institute.

Admittedly, I decided to bypass the famous peach and pear topped ‘zas once I heard they were canned fruit, which is silly, since the pineapple and jalapeno party below was the same case, and it was March.  We built our own pie, and while the tangy, miso cheese sauce took some time to set, it was a welcome change from processed shreds. The toppings, however, overloaded the chewy crust. That being said, I’d return to try out a peach slice and a pint of ale. There’s no way around it. Plus, any pizza is better pizza when paired with costumed turtles.

Pizza with red sauce, vegan cheese sauce, spinach, jalapeno, pineapple and herbs.

Cowabunga, Eugene – til we meet again.

The view from Skinner Butte

Beverage breaks

It’s damn near sleeting outside right now, Portland is freaking out, and I could go for a warm frothy mug of peppermint hot chocolate.

Or this, from Cacao.

Sipping chocolate with soymilk, Cacao, downtown

Or what the hey, a giant pumpkin pie cocktail is pretty much the same thing.

Pumpkin Pie Mason Jar, Swift Lounge. Pumpkin infused vodka, house spiced syrup; hold the amaretto whipped cream. I had the smaller happy happy jar version of this special a few weeks ago and was thrilled to see it again on my next visit.

Also warming, from Wafu..

Sriracha Sazerac, Wafu. Rye, Herbsaint & Sriracha bitters. Intriguing, but underwhelming amount of heat.

Even better when you pair it with this:

Vegan Miso Ramen, Wafu. Added the "make it hot" option.

Classic.

Soy Latte, Fresh Pot on Hawthorne. Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Classic, take 2.

Beer sampler, Bridgeport Brewing Pub. Tasting notes recorded in Gabrielle's notebook.

The type of thing that stays on your mind for far too long…

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Milkshake, Chicago Diner. Because really, this was my favorite from our VVC trip to Chicago.

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


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.

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.

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):