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


Veggie Grill Weekend, Day Two: Avocados & New Menu Items

The following is a continuation of menu food porn from my recent Veggie Grill weekend. This post hereby includes upcoming Veggie Grill menu items of the ‘fork and knife’ variety (brief pondering: Do you call it ‘knife and fork?’ Or is that phrasing simply more carnivorous?), a morning visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market, strolling the Venice Beach pier, more silly photos, and further anticipation for the Beaverton opening, just over a week away. Never before have I muttered a similar sentiment for this suburb, but I like to think I returned from my December travels lighthearted, open-minded, prepared to take public transportation wherever it may go (and in any language), and certainly, craving American-style vegan cuisine.

First up, I appreciate a hotel with a chilled pitcher of soymilk, ready to go.

You know, I should have gotten my hopes up (and denied my bladder) when I passed by this publicity poster in an upstairs room. I missed out on a Dolly Parton lobby-walk-by, by mere moments.

My time visit to the Hollywood Farmers Market.

Oh, California.

I picked up two new-to-me varieties of avocado: Bacon and Zutano.

We were serenaded by a Michelle Williams look-a-like in between produce stops.

Branded iced tea shots from a Ghostbusters-style backpack. So LA?

Moving on, we made it to the West  Hollywood Veggie Grill, which I had lunched at last fall on my first visit to LA, for our second lunch tasting.

The full menu is here.

Here’s what we all came  here for, the food.

Most importantly, we started again with nachos. Most definitely, I did not complain. I may have applauded. I’m not normally one for the D-cheese, but Veggie Grill uses it as a base in their nacho sauce, and it really works.

Uptown Nachos [Daiya-based sauce]

Sweetheart Chili Cheese Fries [Daiya-based sauce]

NEW: Bayou Chickin’ Caesar Wrap

Chillin’ Chickin’ Strips, Sweetheart Fries, Ranch and Sweet & Sour for dipping

Wait a minute!

Chickin’ nuggets, Chipotle Ranch (how I dig thee) and BBQ sauce

NEW: Buffalo Chickin’ Sandwich

Fun tidbit: all sandwiches are available wrap-style or served on a bed of kale

NEW: Chicken Fried Steak Plate [Gardein] with Mashed Potato & Cauliflower (aka Caulipots! Name credit: Isa Chandra Moskowitz), Steamed Kale and Porcini Caper Gravy

NEW: The Gluten-free Urban Plate with Grilled Portobello, Grilled Tempeh, Caramelized Onions, Steamed Kale (aw, yeah!), Chipotle Ranch (yeahyeahyeah!), Tomatoes with Basil and Guacamole

NEW: Chocolate Pudding Parfait with Crushed Oreos and Sour Cream Frosting

Our Sunday tasting club: Terese from Veggie Grill, Janessa, Webly, myself and Veggie Grill ‘s “Food Man” himself, Ray.

One last look – surely, that’s a celebrity power couple clandestinely dining on the patio. It would be almost exciting as realizing Daryl Hannah was sitting behind  us the day before in a series of ridiculous pudding photos.

Farewell, Hollywood!

Hello, Venice Beach…

After a week back in rainy Portland, I admit, I missed reading on the beach.

If only there was a rum-based cocktail in a coconut available in place of $3 PBRs. Isn’t this the land of $2 buck Chuck?! The red is vegan-friendly, btw.

With that, we were on our way back to Portland -

Avocados & lemons in tow

I also had some Nicobella chocolates in my bag to sample back home.

On the downside, the mysterious Michele’s take out did not make it home with her.

More discussion coming soon to Stumptown Vegans, in addition to photos and menu tales from next week’s pre-opening event in Beaverton. Check  out their website and facebook for Portland AREA opening information. I’m out.

As for me, I’ll be in Chicago for the first time with the VVC gals this weekend (please share any tips!), and I’m focused on hushing my inner New Yorker about the idea of an authentic, deep dish pizza.

Veggie Grill Weekend: Day One

Veggie Grill: Day One. Everyone's ready to sample 4 different vegan burgers, right?

While I could sit here for hours and slowly being to photo document my December-long travels in Southeast Asia, deciding the next day’s destination on a whim, sleeping in a bamboo hut alongside a river, attempting to rock a saree at a Sindhi wedding, watching the sunset from the steps of ancient ruins, or the young coconut curry that changed my life, and so on…well, I’m almost ready. First,  however, comes the story of my satisfying weekend in Los Angeles.

No holds barred, here’s the gist: mere days ago, I was one of a few lucky-ass Portland bloggers flown down to LA (what!) for lunch tastings at Veggie Grill. I’ve been twice before, in West Hollywood and Irvine, and was a fan, and frankly, I thought the email I half-read while waking up in Thailand sounded too good to be true: Meet & Greets with founders? Cocktail hour with the CEO? Special lunch tastings and previews of upcoming menu items? Traveling with friends? Were they taking vegan bloggers seriously? Would we take ourselves too seriously?

The departure for the overnight whirlwind was less than a week after my arrival back home, and my jet lag was only just fading, but I was in. 

Again, the day was incredibly satisfying. It began with an early morning flight and quickly moved onto an extensive lunch tasting of the classic Veggie Grill menu items, while meeting with the co-founders, a visit to The Getty, haute cocktails with the CEO at The Bazaar, and later on, our off-site dinner at Mao’s before collapsing in bed watching Chelsea Lately.

I’ll be sharing more from our second day, including new menu items, and any news about the Portland area locations that comes my way soon, as well as  in-depth thoughts on the food itself over at Stumptown Vegans with Webly.

As for the first restaurant opening in the Northwest (which includes Beaverton, Portland and Seattle), expect the Beaverton Veggie Grill to open its doors the last week of January, followed by downtown Portland later this Spring.

The following are photos from the day, in order. You can download the current menu on their website.

It all started with our ride for the weekend, Lonnie, as joined by Janessa:

Cookies in the car for breakfast!

Get ready…

Get set…

Go! 

Uptown Nachos. We were treated to plates of these as lunch starters on both days, and I am not complaining.

Buffalo Wings [Gardein] and Ranch with celery

All  Hail Kale Salad with roasted corn salsa and agave-roasted walnuts

New favorite breakfast = leftover kale salad!

Refreshment break: Iced Pomegranate Green Tea 

The burgers begin…

Bayou Chickin’

El Dorado Style VG-Cheeseburger

Classic VG-Cheeseburger

Sweetheart Fries and my beloved Chipotle Ranch

Quinoa Mac-N-Cheese with Garlic  Breadcrumbs [Daiya-based]

You may think we were done sampling, but as the lovely Janessa showcases, we had more to come…

A few bites of dessert, perhaps?

Carrot Cake, Chocolate Tofu Pudding & Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie

“That cookie is just asking to be dipped in pudding” – Julia

It’s rare that my photo will included, but you guys….Janessa took a pudding photo series, and I wanted to share my favorite. 

The end! Of Saturday’s lunch tasting, that is.

Smiling bloggers & The Veggie Grill Founders & CEO

Ordering is counter-style at all Veggie Grills

Even as co-founder, Kevin’s cravings are relentless….

After our first lunch tasting on Saturday, we headed off to The Getty for some wandering. 

Not to mention a lot of close calls on these extended steps -

Cruising down Rodeo Drive may not have been a dream come true, but I like to think we were filming the opening sequence for some awful reality show that will never make it on air. I am not signing a release.

Later on, we digested and went for a cocktail hour at The Bazaar at the SLS.

I ordered the “New Way” Dirty Martini with Belvedere, on the right. Naturally, I could not pass up the chance for a burst of olive spherification and foamy olive brine air. I mean, come on.

Our group also experienced two table-side liquid nitrogen creations, including Michele’s Caipirinha and Webly’s Shirley Temple, pictured below. This series simply reminds me that I’m back from vacation and a new camera is totally on my back-to-life for a bit wish list.

This may have been the least dramatic of the hotel bathrooms used over the weekend, and yet I wondered such things as…just where will the water go in these sinks? Can people see through these stalls?

Hours later, with cocktails (and mocktails) sipped, we headed to Mao’s Kitchen for dinner. When Michele recommends a restaurant in LA, let alone a vegan-friendly Chinese restaurant, I’m in.

Fried noodles and sweet dipping sauce

Janessa and I split an order of the People’s Potstickers to start, filled with black & woodear mushrooms, smoked tofu and minced bok choy.

Next up to our table was a Peasants’ Onion Pancake. Not my type of dish due to our enemy status, but the ladies seemed to enjoy it.

Our crispy Beijing Spring Roll was $1. Enough said.

Tofu Fried Rice

Long-life Beans with Tofu

Hong Kong Chow Mein

HOLY CRAP, ROAMING, COULD-BE-FAMOUS, CARTOONISH FOOD CART ALERT!!!!1!!11!!

Day Two is up next. Go fawn over the menu some more til then.

Disclaimer: All lunch dishes were provided for by Veggie Grill, of which I have no contractual affiliation. I simply really enjoyed this outrageously fun weekend.

Departing for Thailand, Laos & Cambodia…

Heat tolerance, you ain't seen nothing yet.

In a matter of mere hours, I’ll be en route to Bangkok via LAX (insert Ana Lucia reference here) and Tokyo, for my first multi-week vacation in years, across Southeast Asia. Magically, my vacation is only partially scheduled, as the core intention is to attend a college friend’s wedding, after which I’m heading to northern Thailand  with another college friend to spend time with her family, followed by a few days of relaxation in Laos, a flight to Siem Reap, on-wards in Cambodia and back to Bangkok.

As I type this, I’m contemplating what t-shirts and sundress (and nutrition bars, Dr. Bronners and emergency bag of nooch) I want to spend the next month with, and hoping my back survives while my mind and tastebuds are blown.

If you have any recommendations, please, do share. You can also email me at GetSconed AT gmail.com.

I’m sure I’ll return with photos galore in 2012, but for now, if you wish to peer into my adventure, here’s my silly travel blog (which led me to realize how many times I’ve abandoned a baby tumblr in the past – we’ve all been there), inspired by an inside joke with my brother and my friend, Bahar.  Time will tell if I keep it up…

Bits and Pieces of Seattle

I’ve been telling myself that a Seattle hiatus is in order for months now (evidently, since March), and sure enough, pieces of one fell onto my path recently while I was heading to and fro the ‘heart of the cascades’ for work stuff.

I can't seem to get away from The Highline. I miss Georgetown Liquor Co, but this Capitol Hill location is great, and I'm a sucker for their Galvanizer- a pint of Spire apple cider holding a shot of Fireball whiskey.

Hot Pickle Chips with ranch, in all their (deserved) $8 glory.

The dining highlight of the trip - Eggplant & Tofu at Wedgewood Thai II. Totally a random dinner stop, and quite a sweet sauce, but fresh eggplant, tiny, cutesy tofu squares, doting staff and sidewalk dining made it memorable.

I embraced my inner 20-year-old by staying at The Green Tortoise, adjacent to Pike Place Market. All things considered, it was pretty damn swell.

Next Up: Loving Hut, Visit #2. In short: Summer rolls with shiso and the caramel-like peanut sauce = Pass.

Loving Hut's Vermicelli bowl. The crispy fried gluten stuff was fascinating and it wasn't a crispy roll to regret, but what's up with shiso overload here? Better yet, what's gotten into me?

My dining partner was on a dessert streak, and ordered not 1, not 2, but 3 desserts at Loving Hut. The creamy cheesecake was lovely, and seemed to be tops.

How cool is the Penzey's in downtown Seattle? Blame my own Northwest tourism, but this was more exciting than the Pearl location.

Existential vegan food query: I walked home past Cyber Dogs, and found myself wondering, 'Why is it that I won't eat a veggie dog?" Oh, analogues.

In between. Cle Elum, WA (where I met a vegan!)

With that, I leave you to the Lady Gaga inspired display at Red Light in Capitol Hill.

Pardon me while I go back into Vegan Iron Chef mode!

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.

Smokey Baked Mac & Cheese and inspiration from Bang Bang Cafe in Seattle, WA

Smokey Mac & Cheese, inspired by Bang Bang Cafe

This recipe marked the first time I’d turned to VegWeb for guidance in years. The veg recipe directory and LiveJournal’s vegan cooking communities were my learn-as-you-go and read-the-comments because you can only-sorta-trust-the-internet tip toes into the vegan culinary world back in the early 2000s. It’s like I can recall mildly freaking out when the number of nutritional yeast sauce recipes rose above 10. After our time apart, I admit that I really enjoyed seeing that most of the recipes I perused were still called “The Best Ever” “The Very Best Ever” “Mom’s Best” “The Best in the World!!!!”, etc. I like vegan enthusiasm.

To get to the point, I just decided to chance it on the internet, test my tastebuds and emulate the memorable vegan mac & cheese my friend Chelsea ordered at Bang Bang Cafe at Seattle this past weekend. I stole a couple of bites, and I was a little jealous that I hadn’t ordered their smokey vegan mac for breakfast, too!  I thought it was so good that it must contain vegan cheese, and was surprised to learn that it was tofu and nutritional yeast based! Swell.

Back to Bang Bang, where I fed my bourbon-induced mild hangover a more wholesome bean and roasted veggie filled burrito. When I returned, however, I had a potluck meeting to attend to the next day and after browsing my limited ingredients and finding a box of whole wheat shells, knew it was time to eye my 2 jars of Spanish smoked sweet paprika, Hungarian hot paprika, Hungarian half sweet paprika, Alder smoked salt and my good buddy, the giganto container of nutritional yeast flakes. The finished result didn’t seem to fit everyone’s tastes – which is how vegan mac & cheese always seems to work – but more than a couple folks seemed obsessed and another friend had me write down the recipe, so here we go. Dare I say I had fun making a mac & cheese recipe where you simply had to puree the cheesy sauce ingredients..because, I did.

Smokey Baked Mac & Cheese, adapted from Best Vegan Mac and Cheese in the entire world…seriously, as posted on VegWeb.com. I halved the recipe and made a few changes based on what I was aiming for and had on hand.Go, go smokey, creamy mac!

Ingredients:

  •    3/4 lb whole wheat pasta or rice pasta, preferably with ridges

Cheesy sauce

  •     1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used a combination of So Delicious coconut milk beverage and soy milk)
  •     3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  •     1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or non-hydrogenated margarine
  •     1/2 cup water
  •     2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  •     1/2 cup soaked and drained raw cashews
  •     1 clove of garlic
  •     1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch hot paprika
  •     generous pinch of salt (add more to taste after blending sauce)
  •     1 tablespoon mustard (I used TJ’s spicy sweet mustard)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Additional: 
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup vegan cheese (I used Teese cheddar sauce)
  • breadcrumbs
  • pinch of additional paprika and cayenne
  • olive oil mister/spray
  • smoked salt

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease a small casserole dish. Boil the water and cook pasta 1 minute less than instructed. Drain and add to your casserole dish. You’ll want at least a couple inches of room to be able to add the cheesy sauce.

2. Puree the cheesy sauce ingredients  in a blender until smooth and adjust the seasonings to taste. Carefully stir into the cheesy sauce and vegan cheese, if using.

3. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly on top, followed by the smoked salt and additional paprika and cayenne, if using. Lightly spray with oil. Bake until the breadcrumbs looks golden, 15-20 minutes. Broil an additional 5 minutes, if desired.

Serve with steamed greens, unless you’re nuts.

Bang Bang's Vegan Mac & Cheese

The aforementioned vegan breakfast burrito with red chile sauce

Alicia's Bang Bang burrito with red & green chile sauces

Melissa went with a classic Mighty-O Donut

spicy yellow curry noodle soup & inspiration from chau in vancouver, b.c.

Spicy Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with fried tofu, baked Masala tofu from AFR, snow peas, kale raab, baby bok choi, jalapeño, basil, garlic, ginger, v. chicken broth, etc.

Between us, sometimes I think like a blogger and frame posts in my head. They often never come to fruition for various reasons – my camera died, crap lighting, reserve/manners, annoyance, reality, etc. One thing I’ve enjoyed doing over the years is recreating memorable dishes from restaurants (and carts), but I rarely seem to talk about it on the internets. Weird shocker. Maybe too boring.

If you like to cook, you likely find yourself pondering the following: How can I put my own spin on this? How do I learn how to make this? I just don’t want to say goodbye – when do I get to eat this again? Could I make this for cheaper? Could I make this healthier? When do I get to wow guests with this? I could make this even better! etc.

Some time ago, it almost happened with a roasted butternut squash sauce and tart apple topped pizza at Hot Lips. I slowly gathered the ingredients, roasted the squash, picked up a couple of Pink Lady apples, stopped by a solid pizzeria for the dough (it’s legit!), stocked up on garlic, but forgot the fresh sage and rosemary, lost the dream, had curried squash puree for dinner and apples with my lunch the remainder of the week. You know how it goes.

A couple of weeks ago on my grand vacation in British Columbia, I enjoyed a warming bowl of veganized Vietnamese Beef Curry Pho [minus the beef and vegetarian ham, plus tofu] at the lovely Chau Kitchen & Bar in Vancouver. Once I threw in the Sriracha, there was no turning back. I practically wanted it to start raining outside (which it totally did the next day) so I could slurp noodles with my friends all afternoon.

This past weekend, before another quick trip out-of-town – this time, to table with my Vegan Iron Chef folks at Seattle’s sensational Vegan Chili Cook-Off, I spent my Saturday running errands, starting by getting my farmar on. After that, I stopped by my local tofu shop and after an internet search for ‘curry pho’ proved annoying, joined my current obsessions of Spectrum Coconut Oil spray and Southeast Asian cuisine in the Thai-style soup pictured above. My take was based on this recipe, with the additions of both fried and Masala baked tofu, green jalapeño pepper, light coconut milk, heaps of fresh, local basil and vegan subs, of course, such as dark soy sauce and nuoc man chay from Fubonn, aka vegetarian fish sauce. I wanted to keep it somewhat brothy to give the noodles something to live for, and left out the sweet potato.

Yellow Curry Pho from Chau

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.