A Lunch in the life: Cafe Yumm & Library Books

On my walk back from Cafe Yumm yesterday, I had the grand realization that it was the best thing to happen to my lunch hour in quite some time.

That’s an ambitious statement, and it’s taken a few visits to get into the swing of things, so insert the following qualifying factors:

  • Easily transportable – particularly, the self-contained bowls
  • Super duper quick, for there or to go – VEGAN FAST FOOD.
  • Specifically handy when the farmers markets are closed in the colder months
  • Location: it’s in walking distance to my office and alongside PSU
  • Right on the MAX Green Line
  • Rather nutritious offerings
  • There’s sometimes extra avocado offered for vegans – Yay! (often the same at The Whole Bowl – Is it standard? Random? Often forgotten? I don’t know).

Three silly things I don’t like:

  • The diced tomatoes are consistently bland and blah.
  • Chewy tofu: stick to the tempeh! I don’t think I’ve ever specifically avoided tofu somewhere before.
  • All the college students: totally silly, selfish annoyance.  I left Boston for a reason.

Tempeh Skewer Bento with Ginger Asian Slaw, Jasmine Rice and Yumm Sauce (and Tapatio, of course)

I’m also become a fan of the Yumm! N Greens, Jazzy Bowl and Edamame Bowl.

After lunch, I stopped by the Central Library to pick up my hold (full disclosure: I’m giving the first season of Fringe another shot) and browse the cookbook section. I was there for French cuisine, but the vegetarian/vegan section never fails to catch my interest:

The full section:

Not sure if you want to buy a book? Check it out! Check. It. Out.

And if you want more vegan food by PSU, check out Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ!!!

This is, and isn’t, a MoFo Update.

Would this be more appropriate of an update if I included that I’m drinking a glass of water and that there was a glazed tempeh skewer in my lunch? What? Save it for twitter? Anyway, I do have stories of butternut hollandaise coming, but I’ve already blogged twice today, so cut me some slack, and if you’re so inclined, check ‘em out:

Vegan MoFoMoFo Midweek Giveaway: Cookbooks!!!

Vida Vegan Con: Speaker Round Up #4: This is It!

 

Have I mentioned that I just may live on the vegan internet?

Portland’s Late Night, Vegan-Friendly Eats

A list of bars, carts and restaurants of just where to find vegan grub that’s more than a hummus plate or basket of fries after 10pm. It includes 38 businesses, their addresses, neighborhood, late night hours, and recommended offerings.

If you think of more, please leave a comment!

Portland’s Late Night Vegan Eats
Originally Compiled by Jess and the vegan internet in Summer 2010 for the 2010 Try Vegan Guide to Portland

Sometimes you have a hankering for vegan poutine at midnight. Sometimes you really want a tofu burrito. Sometimes you simply can’t sleep without a bowl of pho.

Read on, late night dining enthusiasts…

Aalto Lounge

3356 SE Belmont St, SE/Belmont, 2am

It’s tragic that they’ve dropped the herby, housemade meatball sandwich, but you can still order their White Bean Cassoulet vegan (but, minus the duck !?!…what a way to start this) and enjoy the lounge or back patio come nicer days.

Backspace Café – all vegetarian

115 NE 5th Ave Old Town/Downtown, till 11pm Sun-Wed, till 12am Thurs-Sat

A vegan gamers’ paradise that’s also home to rotating art and live shows.

Recommended: Philly Steak Sandwich, Broccoli Goddess Salad, Club Vegan

Bar of the Gods

4801 SE Hawthorne Blvd., SE, 4pm-2:30am (full menu till 1:30am, bar menu after)

BOG is one hell of a dive bar. It’s dark, moody and illuminated with strings of grape-shaped lights to fit with the theme. Happy Hour is from 4pm-8pm, featuring $2.50 wells, $1.50 PBRS (75 cents on Thursdays?!?), chips and housemade salsa, and a small basket of really good handcut french fries for $2.  Other vegan options include the Spicy Red Lentil Dahl, BOG Bento Bowl, and Avocado Sandwich (specify vegan). Note: There’s a Chicken Fried Tempeh entrée on the online menu, but it’s no longer available.

Basement Pub

1028 SE 12th Ave, SE, 2am

Snacks include curried chickpeas and spiced black beans & rice in this cozy bar, where the big draw is 20 ounce pints, pinball, and the $1-3 small plate offerings.

Beulahland

118 Northeast 28th Avenue, NE/Burnside, 2am

Apparently people come here to watch sports and for some music video night; I tend to find myself here with friends for cider (because it’s always on tap) after viewings at Laurelhurst Theater. There’s a standard hummus plate and red curry. Anyone know if their housemade veggie burger is vegan?

Bonfire

2821 Southeast Stark Street, SE, 2am

Whenever you want to feel really hip on SE Stark. Tasty vegan offerings include the Hellfire Burrito, Portobello Sandwich, Tofu or TVP tacos, and really solid French fries – of which the Veganshizzle is a big fan.

Bye & Bye – all vegan

1011 NE Alberta St Portland, OR 97211, NE/Alberta, 2am

What do you need to hear? You’re crazy if you haven’t been here yet. There’s the BBQ Platter, Grilled Cheese, Meatball Sandwich, Eastern Bowl, etc. – not to mention the drink list and bartenders.

Recommended: BBQ Platter with bbq tofu, black eyed peas, collard greens and bread with Earth Balance

Cactus Jack’s

4342 SW Beaverton Hillsdale, SW, 2:30am

Reppin’ for SW. I think I went here once years ago on an adventure, because one thing remains the same: You must request the special vegan menu.

Crush Bar

1412 Southeast Morrison Street, SE, 2am

Home of Vegan Prom 2010, Crush is open late in inner SE and has more vegan options than I’d realized. They include grilled mushroom skewers, falafel, and rich mocha cake.

Dots

2521 SE Clinton St, SE/Clinton, 2am

If we’ve met, you probably know that I adore Dots. Hold onto your seat, but they actually added a new vegan item to their menu this past year – the Vegan Pita.

Recommended: Vegan Platter, Hot & Spicy Fries with Tofu Sauce, Vegan Geek Salad

East Side Deli

SE 47th & Hawthorne, Coming Soon to NE Lombard, 11am-11pm

I finally visited this all day & late night (with a walk up window!) deli, and all I can say is, I never want to make my own sandwich again.

Recommended: Start a sandwich with a roll of Dave’s Killer Bread, add layers of Field Roast, Vegenaise (put a V on the mayo selection) and pile on the complimentary toppings.

El Brasero cart

SE 12th and Hawthorne, SE, 2am or later

I’ll be honest, I’ve never eaten here because I’m more into the other late night options in Cartopia, and they’re more expensive than Los Gorditos. However, there are many vegan options and Soyrizo can be found across the menu.

The Fixin’ To

8218 N Lombard, NoPo/St. John’s, till 2am Mon-Sat, till 1am Sundays

I’ve yet to go, but my Stumptown Vegans partner has a full review here. Can you say, Frito Pie? Are you looking for a late night with warming Southern grub in St. John’s?

The Grilled Cheese Grill

1027 NE Alberta, NE/Alberta, 2:30am on Fri & Sat

Look, I dig their trippy school bus seating. A lot. And now I want a vegan grilled cheese with roasted jalapeno for lunch.

P.S. They have plans to open a new cart, er bus, on SE 28th

Hammy’s Pizza

2114 SE Clinton St, SE/Clinton, 4am

Late night delivery and takeout pizza, bread sticks (floppy, but good!), seitan nuggets (worth getting at least once) and calzones. Flavorful sauce and nooch, too.

Recommended: Vegan Greek Calzone with a side of sauce.

Hungry Tiger Too – has a separate vegan menu

207 SE 12th, SE, midnight

Greasy spoon and dive bar hybrid, mere blocks away from the Vegan Minimall.

Recommended: Vegan corn dogs ($1.25 on Wednesdays), Tofuffalo (40 cents on Thursdays), Club Sandwich, Giant Pancake, Butternut Wontons, Tots!

Langano Lounge

1435 SE Hawthorne Blvd, SE, 2am

Because you never know when you may find yourself looking for a moody dive bar that serves Ethiopian veggie dogs floating in a sea of spicy lentils.

LaurelThirst Public House

2958 NE Glisan, NE, 2am

Live music, tofu and veggie rice plates, housemade veggie burgers. I clearly haven’t been in years.

Mash Tun

2204 NE Alberta St # 101, NE/Alberta, 2am

Do vegan-friendly establishments outnumber the rest on NE Alberta yet? Mash Tun Brewpub is just south of Alberta on 22nd, and has a few vegan offerings, like falafel and tempeh things.

Recommended: Spicy Tempeh Things

Mississippi Pizza

3552 North Mississippi Ave. , Mississippi neighborhood, open till 1am Fri & Sat, till 12am otherwise

This pizza parlor and pub offers vegan cheese, vegan pesto, vegan pies, and slices. Quite likely the best vegan thin crust in Portland, and I dig any place that features chopped pepperocinis on their slices. Thanks to Josh at That Vegan Site for the tip!

Recommended: Garden Party and Historic Pies

Night Light Lounge

2100 SE Clinton St., SE/Clinton, 2am

For when you don’t want to go to Dots, this nearby lounge offers a lot of seating, a nice back patio, and a surprisingly good stir fry – and hand cut fries, don’t fret.

Recommended: Veggie stir fry with fried tofu, Fried Tofu with Peanut Squash sauce, Mint Fava Falafel

Pause

5101 N Interstate Ave, NoPo, 2am

I haven’t been, but I hear “good things” about their housemade black bean burger.

Peoples Sandwich of Portland

53 NW 1st, Old Town/Downtown, 10pm-3am, Fri & Sat

Their Soylent Green vegan sandwich is highly regarded.

Perierra Creperie

SE 12th and Hawthorne, SE, 2am or later

A member of Cartopia offering savoury and sweet, gluten free vegan crepes. I vote savoury.

Pho PDX – has a separate vegan menu

827 SW 2nd, Downtown, 12am-4am Fri & Sat

One of my favorite places to get lunch is this indoor food court downtown. They added super late night hours last year – for when it’s 2:14am and you must have vegan pho.

Recommended: Tofu Udon Curry Noodle Soup, Tofu Salad Bun, Pho Vegan

Potato Champion!

SE 12th and Hawthorne, SE, 2am or later

Possibly home of Portland’s best French fries. It’s a hotly debated topic. Order a cone or vegan poutine and consider.

Recommended: Fries with Veganaise, Truffle Ketchup, Vegan Poutine

Pyro Pizza

SE 12th and Hawthorne, SE, till 1am W, Thurs & Sun, till 3am Fri & Sat

When this cart housing a wood-fired oven opened last year, I was consistently blown away by their crust and ingredients. My last two experiences turned slightly burnt, and then super chewy, but I’ll definitely return to see what’s up. Oh, and bike delivery is coming soon and they sometimes have vegan seitan sausage~

Recommended: Margherita pizza with vegan cheese ($1 extra) and housemade sodas

Red & Black Café – all vegan

400 SE 12th, SE, 11pm

Stop by Portland’s anarchist, vegan café just before they close for a bite and quite likely, a show or reading.

Recommended: TLP sandwich, daily soup, housemade chai, kombucha on tap

Roadside Attraction

1000 SE 12th Ave, SE, 2am

This place has a cozy front yard with plenty of fireside seating and special nooks, only takes cash, and offers Veggie Skewers, a hummus place, and a couple other vegan-friendly options.

Shanghai Tunnel

211 SW Ankeny, Old Town/Downtown, 2am

The housemade black bean burger can be prepared vegan, and Big Note: only one bowl/sauce combo is vegan. Make sure to ask which one! And then, remind me.

Someday Lounge – all veg

125 NW 5th Ave, Old Town/Downtown, 2am

For when you’re downtown and looking for a cocktail and vegan food. Shares a kitchen and similar menu with Backspace Café.

Southeast Grind

1223 SE Powell Blvd, SE, 24 hours
This shop is home to round the clock Stumptown coffee, vegan pastries, bagel spreads, and more. Good place to get some work done for the insomniacs in town.

Tube bar – very vegan friendly

18 NW 3rd Ave, Old Town/Downtown      , 2am

Pure Portland greatness. Bunnied walls, duct taped seats, Daiya, and ham tube. What else do you need to know?

Recommended: Professor Nanotear muffins, Vegan Ham & Cheese sandwich plate

Vendetta

4306 N Williams Ave, NoPo, 2am

Haven’t been, but they apparently have a Sloppy Jane, and that’s cool.

Voodoo Doughnut – shelf of vegan donuts

22 SW 3rd Ave, Old Town/Downtown, 24 hours

Quite possibly the biggest and smallest tourist destination in this city – and set to expand into Berbati’s in the future. Make sure you order from the vegan shelf, most yeasted varieties are available both ways.

Recommended: Try both the vegan cake and yeasted donuts. I’m a McMinnville cream and Chick-O-Stick gal, myself.

Voodoo Too – shelf of vegan donuts

1501 NE Davis, NE, closed 3am-6am

See above. This time, on the East Side and with pinball.

Whiffies

SE 12th and Hawthorne                  SE, 2am or later

This cart is home to deep fried pies of rotating sweet and savoury varieties. If they have a seasonal, vegan pie (such as the PUMPKIN!) order it immediately. Fruit pies are nearly always vegan, just make sure to check the sign to see what’s up. Request the vegan fryer, and order some sweet tea or kombucha.

Recommended: Marionberry, Peanut Butter, Savoury Vegan Breakfast

XV

15 SW 2nd Ave, Old Town/Downtown, 2am

Another spot for when you’re downtown and looking for a cocktail and vegan food.

Recommended: Vegan pizza with white bean spread, Tofu wrap, Yam fries with Tomato Chutney

And now, a sampling:

The infamous Bye &  Bye cocktail (also available non-boozy as a Floor Punch)

Pints at the Basement Pub

The Donut Case at VooDoo, downtown (an entire shelf is now vegan yeasted and cake donuts!)

Fried Pies at Whiffies

Fried Tofu ($4 during Happy Hour) at the Night Light Lounge

Mini Pizzas at Tube

The Vegan Platter at Dots

Butternut Wontons at Hungry Tiger Too

Spicy Tempeh Things at Mash Tun

Yam Fries and Potato Chutney from XV

VooDoo’s McMinnville Cream Doughnut

Mcminnville

Last Year: The Veganshizzle and Jess Present: Our Favorite Vegan Friendly Bars! 1/22/10

A Day in the Life: Onwards, Marsala

Continuing on my classy streak with a dinner pairing from the versatile 500 Vegan Recipes, which is by two lovely ladies I dig: Tofu Marsala and Sesame Kale
It just may be the week of marsala.

My variations from the original entrée recipe were the use of cremini mushrooms vs. button, and the addition of a wee bit of minced garlic. The meal was oh so elegantly paired with a glass of black currant juice.

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):

A Day in the Life: My Favorite Vegan Mac & Cheese remains the New Farm

This falls into my MoFo theme as an immediate result of yesterday’s post and the failed intention to make some for dinner last night. I did my part, supported my own economy, and did that leftovers thing.

New Farm Style Comforty Gluten Free Mac & Cheeze

I’ve been posting variations on the classic, but very, very rich New Farm Mac & Cheese for a long time. It’s one of those classic cookbooks that vegans don’t seem to mention anymore, and simply a recipe that I’ve added to – It’s by no means mine. Long live New Farm! My favorite variation is below. It’s gluten-free and adds a tint of green with chopped broccoli into the mix. I feel as though the gluten-free spirals hold up best after baking, and aren’t as heavy, or soggy, come leftover time. I’ve updated the recipe to have the right noodle ratio!

New Farm-Style, Comforty, Gluten Free Mac & Cheese

Makes: 4-6 servings (easily doubled)

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces.of uncooked rice spirals
  • 3 tablespoons of vegan margarine
  • 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic
    • Or, 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ cup chickpea flour, or other gluten-free flour(s)
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
    • Nut milks are encouraged for creaminess
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Generous dash of freshly ground black pepper or white pepper
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon or hot or sweet paprika (use common sense with your tastebuds here)
  • 2 tablespoons of wheat-free tamari
    • Or, if gluten-free is not a requirement, soy sauce or shoyu, etc.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups of nutritional yeast

Consider:

  • 1 cup of gluten-free breadcrumbs for topping
    • Or, a combination of ground nuts and breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of rinsed and chopped broccoli
  • ¼ cup vegan pesto
  • 1 tablespoon miso – I just may find it impossible to make noochy dishes without it
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini – for that vegan ‘aged’ taste
  • Cajun style: add a generous pinch of crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon of Cajun spices, 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke when you add the liquids.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350Fº. Lightly grease an 8×8 casserole dish.
  2. Boil and drain the noodles – save water for the sauce, if you’re that clever. Toss with a very small amount of oil or margarine. You know the drill – and you can easily do this as you cook the sauce, as well.
  3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  4. Beat in the flour with a whisk, making a roux. Stir for one minute. Lower the heat if needed. It may clump, and that’s okay, just proceed quickly to the next step and don’t burn anything!
  5. Stir in the liquids, nutritional yeast, sea salt, tamari, garlic powder if using, turmeric, pepper, paprika, optional ingredients, and any other spices you want (Cajun spices, onion powder, oregano, thyme, chili powder, whatever).
  6. Stir for another minute or two until the sauce starts to thicken. Whisk in the oil and the nutritional yeast.
  7. Add at least half of the sauce to your cooked noodles and broccoli*, if using, in the casserole dish. Carefully spread in the rest of the sauce, optional toppings, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden (or, however you interpret orange to brown…)
  8. Broil for an additional 5 minutes, if desired.
  9. Cool for at least 10 minutes, and serve.
*Broccoli note: I don’t precook mine, but you can add it to the last couple minutes of boiling time, if you’re so inclined.
Karla or anyone else – if I’m utterly crazy with this pasta:sauce ratio, please let me know! We’ll boil water together and stuff.

A Day in the Life of Leftovers: Yellow Curry and Favorites

Yesterday’s ginger-riffic take out from Just Thai for lunch really hit the spot. The mellow yellow, (had to be said) brothy curry, chewy cubes of fried tofu and cutely ridged vegetables over steamed rice was super decently priced, quickly prepared, and with a drizzle of Srichacha, was just what my still-dulled-from-sickness taste-buds wanted. As you can see, even before I sat down for a single lunch, the leftovers were incredibly generous. I had the second round today, and there’s 2 more to go.

I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers. Growing up, my family rarely ate casseroles. Green bean what? The closest things in my memories were homemade Italian pasta dishes, and being picky, I didn’t eat most of them.  Nowadays, in my trying-to-be-a-grown-up years, busy life, and an always-cheap-at-heart mindset, I’m better behaved. I just like making something new so much! I’m well versed in what restaurants, and more likely, food carts, offer meals that will yield leftovers for at least a day, and I do take my leftovers from home to work. I mean, I have a rule where I HAVE TO LEAVE the building I work in for AT LEAST A WALK on my lunch hour, because I’m sane –  and I’m usually wary of the microwave and the smell of defrosted frozen meals of death – but I return and eat my lunch more often than not.  It’s actually refreshing when a couple of weeks go by and I realize I haven’t spent additional money on lunch.

I’ll admit that I’m just as likely to make dishes for the week with different components that can be assembled, such as noodle or grain bowls. I live alone, and again, don’t love leftovers, but I’m here to talk about casseroles*, not what homemade vermicelli bowl sauces have spilled in my purse.

Here are some of my favorite meals that yield more than a day’s worth of worthwhile leftovers.

Homemade Leftovers to Look Forward To:

  • New Farm-style, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – will be posting an updated recipe for this tomorrow. Traditional Mac & Cheese was something else I never ate until college, strangely enough.
  • Sweet Potato Pie Casserole - I don’t make this every holiday season anymore, but it’s the essential dish attached to Thanks, Mom.
  • Lasagna. It’s been forever since I’ve made one. Therefore, the next time I’m invited to a social outing, I’m bringing one.
  • Tomato, Rice, Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean Soup from Veganomicon - one of the soups I’ve made the most in the past few years, since the ‘ole testing days.
  • Persian Eggplant Stew – a new one to my repertoire this past year that is just as soul-warming the next day, just like a stew should be.
  • Curry Roasted Vegetables – cube your protein, roast, add chopped vegetables, roast some more, add broth/curry paste/peanut butter/spices, etc., roast a bit more, serve over grains. Tah dah.
  • Tempeh Bacon: not so much of a dish, but the easiest of the baked proteins to just throw into everything: sandwiches, salads, wraps, smokey greens, etc. In most recipes it’s pan-fried, but I tend to bake it now.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. I make these the most often for potlucks, stuffed with nuts and wine and herbs and goodness and whenever I do, I think, “Why the hell don’t I have these around more often?”
  • Chili: and it’s nearly always a variation of Tempeh Chili Con Frijoles or Seitan Chili Sin Carne Al Mole in my kitchen – even when I start out with another recipe.
  • Basil Fried Rice. Leftover rice? Acquire basil. Add garlic, veggie, sesame oil and pepper. Rice pudding is even easier, but this is my go-to path.
  • Refried Beans. Because with beans, which you really should be cooking on a regular basis anyway, you have the options of tacos, burritos, nachos, dips, beans bowls with sauce, etc.  Again, eat your beanz!

*Speaking of casseroles, the Vegan Iron Chef group in Portland is in the beginning stages of putting together the warmest, more comforting competition ever this winter – The Great Vegan Casserole Off! (a better name is perhaps, in the works)

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.

A Few Days in the Life; Last Month: The Vegan Vacation in LA

First time. Los Angeles. Vacation. Tourist Sights. Vegan Foodz.

Every time I start to tell the stories of my short vacation in Los Angeles, I start squealing about catching up with an old friend, or dramatically demonstrating how I threw out my back on the morning of the last day – so, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

The Top 5 Highlights:

1) The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

I find myself telling my friend and co-organizer on a couple different projects, Michele, “Thank You!” on an average of 3 times a week, it not daily, and this recommendation deserved a big one.  Casual vegan sushi at Taiyo and big laughs at UCB made for a fun evening.

2) Flore Cafe. A small part of me wanted to wake up and brunch outside this  cafe every day.  If only I were that cool…  Photos below. More coming.

3) Intelligentsia Cofffeebar. Located at the Silver Lake junction, the Chicago-based roaster clearly boasts great coffee (vacation = lattes), endless hipster eye candy and a shaded patio to enjoy both with their wireless, where I often planned my next stop.

4) Sunglasses and simultaneous young coconut consumption. If I had glimpsed cool kids sipping other tropical fruits walking down the street, I’m sure I would have tried that, too. I know, it happens elsewhere, but this was like 3 girls, 3 blocks.

5) Late night vegan pizza delivery. What do you do when you’ve already deemed the vegan restaurant attached to your hotel inedible and you’re beat? Thank you, Cruzer Pizza delivery!

Runner Up: Seeing people reading scripts in public. I only saw this twice, once on the subway (which was handy!) and once on the bus (again, handy and easy?!?), but it cracked me up, both times. No offense. I love television.

The Photos & Foodz

Obligatory Sight-seeing.

Necessary star power. Not the one I posed with.

Graffiti-orientated sight-seeing.

There’s always been something eerie about Mickey Mouse.

Schoolyard Graffiti!

Is this a real landmark? I don’t know. Palm trees and a dinosaur were enough for me.

Vegan-friendly Silverlake: where I didn’t go…

As much as it pains me not to visit a cafe that shares a name with one of my favorite friends, there just wasn’t enough time…

Options, options, options.

Yup.

Aforementioned pizza delivery:

Ordering was a bit odd, but quick. I’m glad I went for the “extra crispy” (Italians use quotes) crust. Not sure why that meant overcooked seitan sausage bits, but the rest was tasty — and delivered to my door! in 20-something minutes!!

Again, this one can be filed under the worst vegan food in LA &  a dumb reason to book an adjoined (but quite cheap & decent) hotel: Vegan House.

My first meal..or should I say..bites of a meal, really blew, even for $4.99 “Happy Hour” fair. The order was bland, messed up, most of the vegetables were worrisome, the ‘chicken’ was mushy, and there were multiple pieces of hair. Negativity over.

In Silverlake, but sadly, encountered closed up:

Down West Sunset Blvd:

That whole Flore brunch thing I was talking about: buckwheat pancakes, blueberry sauce, tempeh bacon.

Inside Flore:

I was terrified of how under-toasted this bread appeared – and somehow, some noochy tofu, tempeh and avocado combining way, this was a kick ass BLT – with a side of fresh fruit, to boot. Kudos, Flore.

And kudos, sprouts.

Flore Deli Case:

I had just visited a Veggie Grill days before in Irvine, and was happy to come across one again. If this is the future of mainstream veganism, we’re gonna be all right*.

*Which is, admittedly, a much longer conversation about mainstream veganism and society.

It’s so…normal. And refreshing. And fast. Throw some of these into America, STAT.

Cajun Tempeh Burger. I don’t normally find myself saying such things, but I even really liked the citrusy slaw!

Inside the V to the G

I almost bought half price tickets to see Tim Allen and grunt the night away, but somehow, I resisted…

Instead, UCB! And here’s their neighbor – a freaking conscious convenience store.

Locali

Back to Silverlake – pictured because I really liked that they advertise their guacamole like so. How inviting.

Oh look, another vegetarian restaurant. This is getting exhausting.

And another that I actually visited: Pure Luck. Sweet service and pickle chips. Boring wrap. Why talk about anything else?

Half pickles/Half fries plate

Spring Rolls. Served fresh.

Scoops = mini vegan ice cream mecca = vacant shoppe = who cares, I was coaxed into sampling every flavor (okay, 4? 5?).

Vegan selections of the day included Salted Chocolate, Pomegranate Blueberry, Coconut Mocha and Banana Oreo.

Light & Creamy Banana Oreo with some fixin’s

I clearly caught this employee shirtless ?!? and dancing in the back…Sorry!

Fairly befuddling.

If I hadn’t come across Bar Keeper on my last day of vacation, lamenting that I’d already spent too much, I would have spent even more at this kitschy cocktail supplies store.

Be still, my heart. Be still, my nose. New spices and Coconut Bali Smoked salt  won out over vintage cocktail stirrers and exotic bitters.  Not that shocking.

Inside Spice Station:

Now, this is vacationing.

And back to reality…

A Day in the Life #1: VeganMoFo Begins & White Russian Pie

Let me be amongst the nearly 550+ vegans to proudly announce, “Happy Vegan MoFo!”*

This marks Year IV of MoFo creativity – and this year, I’ll not only be participating in daily posts, I’ll also be helping with the official round ups, too. Aka I’m supposed to spend all day reading vegan blogs! Ah, ah.

As for my plan for this year, the year of the theme, I’m committing to something simple, yet open-ended: A Day in the Life. Sure, I could do something cute, like A Scone a Day, but even I don’t want to eat a scone every single day. I mean, I would, but I’d want to eat a different scone everyday, and it seems silly to make a batch of scone an evening and my single-serving vegan scone cookbook is on the back-burner. Not. I do intend to write daily, because I have this issue with my words being stale. We’ll see what happens, but the aim is to have at least one photo per day, whether it’s a morning latte, simmering pot of soup, impromptu recipe and turn out, blind kitchen project, or a shot of something from an in-the-works Stumptown Vegans piece.

It may become more like…yesterday in the life, or earlier today in the life, or for this exception (see the asterisk below already) – last Saturday, in the life.

dude pie

Shocker, it’s not orange and black for the seasonal weekend, but pale and creamy, which still makes sense. I made this White Russian and chocolate coconut cream pie for a Big Lebowski viewing. There’s an organic spelt crust (store-bought) with a big layer of dark chocolate, soft tofu, chocolate liquor, coconut creamer, Mexican coffee liquor, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, and Tofutti sour cream. Lesson learned: I tried to outsmart the chocolate layer’s dominance by baking it for 20 minutes and cooling before adding the White Russian layer, but it had the last laugh and absorbed most of it, anyway.

*starting late due to illness.