Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom

Adventures of a vegan girl living in an omni world.

Poppy Birthday Dinner September 23, 2013

Filed under: restaurant,Seattle — bookie85 @ 11:11 AM
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This past July for my birthday, my Aunt K treated me to a wonderful birthday dinner at Poppy. Poppy is a restaurant on Capitol Hill here in Seattle that specializes in creating thalis, which are platters of food served to each guest. While Poppy doesn’t have a vegan thali on the menu, if you call ahead and tell them that you are vegan, they will create something wonderful for you. As our waiter said, they can always create something for a vegan to eat, but if you want something spectacular, you need to call ahead.

We started with drinks. This is the sort of place that has a bunch of ingredients in their cocktails that I had to Google to figure out what they were. After consulting with the waiter (and hearing him use the word bitter three times to describe the other cocktail I was considering) I ordered “lovage story.” What is lovage? Read more here. We also ordered pakoras to start, and they were really good, slightly spicy but not overwhelmingly so.

Lovage story (and pakoras).

Lovage story (and pakoras).

Next up was my custom vegan thali, the main event.

Vegan thali.

Vegan thali.

Counterclockwise from the bottom yellow dish, I had a potato and carrot stew with dill (probably my favorite), pickled radishes, a bean and cucumber salad, carrot ginger soup, potato salad, steamed peas and other veggies, and quinoa. Poppy is known for their naan, but they use dairy in it, so it isn’t vegan, so I got the quinoa instead.

Veggie stew

Veggie stew

Carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup

 

This was so much food that I couldn’t finish it, but it was all very well seasoned and thought out. I loved that each dish was different, but used similar enough ingredients (potatoes and carrots throughout) and seasonings that everything harmonized, and didn’t compete with each other.

No birthday dinner is complete without dessert, and when my aunt asked the waiter to bring out their best vegan dessert (the menu didn’t have anything vegan) he said he had just the thing, and disappeared in to the kitchen for a minute.

When he re-appeared he had a fruit gummy candy, which is naturally vegan since they make them with fruit pectin. The candle was a nice touch.

Fruit squares

Fruit squares

After dinner we took a stroll through their garden in the back, where they grow some of the veggies they use in the kitchen. There was the biggest fennel plant I have ever seen in my life back there (no pictures, unfortunately). In the summer there is seating out in the garden as well.

I really enjoyed my meal with my aunt at Poppy. The food was fantastic, well thought out and beautifully presented, and the service was attentive and knowledgeable. I look forward to returning in the future.

Poppy is located at 622 Broadway East, Seattle WA 98102.

 

 

VVC 2013 Photo Essay September 2, 2013

Hello. Well, it has been a while hasn’t it? Pretty classic move for me, to attend a blogging conference (Vida Vegan Con) in May, come away completely inspired and blown away and “recommitted” to blogging, and then…. not blog until September.

Since many a re-cap has been posted by my fellow attendees at this point, I will just bring you a few photos of my favorite meals, and people that I spent time with at VVC. The memories and the network is still strong (I was just talking to my Mom about possible new cities to visit/consider moving to, and for each one I said “I know someone who lives there!”).

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There was mac and cheese at White Owl Social Club.

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There was photo booth fun.

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There was Portobello. So good. So so good.

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Sweet pea gnocchi. This was incredible. They are known for this dish for a reason. Also, a shout out to Crissie from Run Crissie Run and Megan (@veganwtsn) for sharing this evening with me.

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Raw food platter from Blossoming Lotus.

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Some of the sweet treats from the “Breakfast Showcase/Showdown.”

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“Prom pose” from before the Gala with my roommates for the weekend, (L-R: Helen, Megan, Dawn and myself).

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Isa teaches us vegans how to properly eat cheese.

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Epic swag pile.

So, there you have it. VVC 2013 in a few pictures. It was such a fun time and I look forward to many cons to come.

P.S. September is Vegan MOFO, the month where vegan bloggers all over the globe blog at least 20 times in the month about all things vegan food. I am not participating this year, but if you want to read some of the other blogs that are, hop on over Randomofo. 

 

El Borracho- Vegan Tacos! May 19, 2013

Filed under: restaurant,Seattle — bookie85 @ 8:51 PM
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Two weeks ago, I went shopping and had drinks with my friend, Liz. Afterwards we were walking towards the bus and I suddenly announced my desire to eat a lot of tacos (as you do once you have had enough champagne). I remembered that a new Mexican restaurant, El Borracho had opened a few months ago near Pike Place Market, and decided that the moment had arrived to check it out.

It was a nice day that day, so the outdoor patio was jammed, as was most of the inside, but we found a table in the back. After a short wait, a waitress arrived with the requisite chips and salsa, which I do have to note was $2 and not free like most Mexican restaurants but it was a nice mild salsa, many times the salsa is too spicy for me in Mexican restaurants, so I didn’t mind too much. We ordered guacamole to add to the chips and settled in to peruse the menu. The menu has an entire vegan section, and my friend and I both picked a burrito with soy chorizo and potatoes (and several veggies, rice and beans).

The waitress that took our orders was excited to see us order vegan food, and asked if we were vegan, and told us that she has been vegan for 21 years. She created the vegan section on the menu, and I felt a lot safer ordering vegan food from her, as sometimes in non-vegan restaurants you never know if they quite understand why you care if they put chicken stock in the rice, or lard in the beans.

The burrito was the size of my head, with nice flavor and texture, and I had plenty of leftovers for dinner the next day as well. My one tiny complaint would be that it needed some sort of sauce, possibly a salsa to give it a little kick.

Soy chorizo and potato burrito.

Soy chorizo and potato burrito.

The food was tasty, reasonably priced, the service was great, and there are many more vegan options on the menu still to try, including nachos that look fantastic, which means I will be returning for sure.

Now, the question is, did Liz like El Borracho too?

Liz about to dig in to her burrito.

Liz about to dig in to her burrito.

I think it safe to say, yes.

El Borracho is located at 1521 1st Ave (between Pike and Pine) in Seattle, WA.

 

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Caffe Ladro October 17, 2012

Filed under: restaurant,Seattle,Vegan Mofo 2012 — bookie85 @ 7:45 PM
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The first fall after I went vegan I was so disappointed to find out that Starbucks put dairy in their pumpkin spice syrup, and thus pumpkin spice lattes were off my list of fall food options. Flash forward to this past weekend when I was standing in line at  Caffe Ladro (the Lower Queen Anne location) ready to order my usual spicy soy chai latte when this sign caught my eye:

Seasonal drink offerings at Cafe Ladro
Seasonal drink offerings at Cafe Ladro

Pumpkin sauce! This means that the fine folks at the Caffe Ladro bakery make pumpkin sauce from scratch, without all of the extra sugars and other junk that is found in typical pumpkin syrups. I ordered my first decaf pumpkin spice latte in years and it was delightful. I will be back many times during this cold, and sometimes rainy Seattle fall.

 

Vegan Things I Ate While in Boston September 4, 2012

Filed under: Boston,restaurant,Vacation — bookie85 @ 9:22 PM
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I went to grad school in Boston, and hadn’t been back since 2009 when I graduated. Since several of my friends still live there and Boston is one of my favorite places in the world, and I scored a great deal on airfare, it was a perfect time to go back this past June. Now, when I was in grad school I wasn’t vegan yet, or even vegetarian (except for in the dining hall, the veg option was often the least disgusting thing on the menu) so I had all new culinary territory to cover. I didn’t take pictures of everything I had, since I had a few cheese free pizzas and large salads, but here are a few pictures of the more notable things I ate.

On the plane on the way to Boston I read the Veg News article on vegan ice cream (can’t find a link right now, but it is in the August 2012 issue on page 63) and discovered that JP Licks had non-dairy options. So, the first order of business was to drag my friend, T, to the Harvard Square location for sorbet. It was really good, and the woman behind the counter decided to charge me for only one topping instead of two because she said I really didn’t have that much fruit, which was nice of her. From the looks of their website, they have even better vegan options right now (soy chai, yum!) so if you are near by, go and tell me how it is!

Berry sorbet with fresh fruit toppings

Berry sorbet with fresh fruit toppings

After our ice cream lunch, T and I wandered around Harvard Square for a while, then took the train back across to continue wandering around Downtown Crossing and the Boston Common. At the Common we came across one of the Clover Food Lab food trucks and decided to have a snack.

I had a chickpea fritter, rosemary french fries and some kind of lemonade (I really should write these posts in a more timely manner, then I would remember the flavor). The chickpea fritter was very flavorful and super filling, I was almost full before I even reached the chickpea part, the pita was so full of vegetables and tahini sauce. The fries were crispy and since they were tossed with fresh rosemary as we watched, the flavors were still present and the fries were still piping hot.

Lemonade being held by my friend

One handed shot of the lemonade.

Rosemary french fries and iced tea, held by my very patient friend.

Rosemary french fries and iced tea, held by my very patient friend (hanging out with a food blogger can be a bit exhausting to those not used to documenting everything they eat).

Chickpea fritter

Chickpea fritter

I had Clover Food Lab again a couple days later at the South Station location with another friend and it was just as delicious, even though they were out of tahini sauce the second time.

The next day, another friend from grad school came in to Boston from New Hampshire for the day, and we wandered the city, shopping and taking pictures and catching up on the last three years of our lives. The morning started with a quick stop at a cafe called The South End Buttery in, you guessed it, the South End near my friend’s apartment for breakfast. The menu wasn’t terribly vegan friendly, but I had them modify a berry smoothie for me, taking the yogurt out and using soy milk instead.

Slightly blurry berry smoothie

Slightly blurry berry smoothie

We ended up having lunch at the relatively new Wagamama in the Prudential Center in downtown Boston.  Wagamama had several vegan options on the menu, and several more items that could be made vegan. I started with the yasai gyoza (vegetable dumplings) and my friends had the summer rolls.

Yasai Gyoza

Yasai Gyoza

Summer rolls

Summer rolls

For my main dish I had the moyashi soba, which was basically a doctored ramen, but much better, if that makes any sense. I don’t remember what my friends had for their main, but they weren’t vegan, so no pictures.

Moyashi soba

Moyashi soba

The next day I went to the North End for yoga, and lunch. I love the North End, there are so many great little Italian restaurants and I walked up Hanover street reading menus until I found a place with no crowd and a vegan sounding pasta dish on their menu. I don’t remember the name of the place, but they made me a heap of pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil. It was so simple, but perfect, especially with the glass of Sam’s summer that I accompanied it with. This might have been my favorite meal, most likely due to the ambience, and the sunny window I was sitting in (remember, this was June and this Seattle girl hadn’t seen proper sun in months).

Pasta with tomatoes and basil

Pasta with tomatoes and basil

Overall I was pleased with my choices, but wish I had tried a few other places, but I couldn’t try everything. To see what is on my list for next time, read the posts about vegan eats in Boston by Vegan Miam, and Helen from Vegtastic.

 

Wild Prairie Bakery July 22, 2012

I turned 27 almost two weeks ago and all I really wanted for my birthday was vegan cake. Not just any vegan cake would do, though. I wanted one that was like the (non-vegan) cake of my childhood. Every year, my Mom would get me a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and piped frosting flowers on top. To fulfill this desire, I made my way out to Wild Prairie Bakery in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Wild Prairie is run by a very sweet woman named Megan. She bakes an assortment of cookies, cupcakes and pain au chocolate every day, as well as baking cakes for special orders. I went out there the Saturday before my birthday to have brunch and to order my cake.

It was a very nice, sunny Seattle weekend day, so when I arrived I wasn’t completely surprised to find that I was the only person in the bakery. People were missing out though, I had a wonderful brunch of tofu scramble with fruit while I finalized my cake order decision.

Brunch menu

Brunch menu

The tofu scramble was chock full of veggies, lots of kale which is always a huge plus in my book. My only complaint would be that a side of fruit should be more than a strawberry and a slice of orange. The small amount of fruit did mean that I had room to order a pain au chocolate (which I failed to get a picture of) so it isn’t all bad.

Tofu scramble with fruit

Tofu scramble with fruit

By the time I finished eating, I had settled on a chocolate cake with vegan chocolate butter cream filling and raspberry frosting. I asked Megan to decorate it with “whatever flowers inspired her.” I returned on the day before my birthday to pick it up, and I couldn’t have been happier. It was beautiful.

Birthday cake

My beautiful birthday cake

I took it to work the next day to share with my (mostly omni) coworkers, and they loved it. I believe a happy dance was performed by one of them upon the first bite. I loved it as well, it was super rich, but not too sweet. The frosting was thick (it had been refrigerated due to the buttercream filling) but not so thick so you felt like you were eating fondant, and it tasted like fresh raspberries, because it was made from fresh local raspberries picked just days ahead of time.

Wild Prairie will be hearing from me each July, if not many times before then as well.

Wild Prairie is located at 2019 NW Market Street, Seattle WA 98107.

EDIT: Wild Prairie Bakery is now closed, the owner had to close up shop due to health issues in late 2012.

 

Plum Bistro Guest Chef Night at Fare Start April 12, 2012

Filed under: restaurant — bookie85 @ 10:43 PM
Tags: ,

I am really behind on blogging all of the great dinners and new products I have tried in the past month or so, but I promise to get back to it and tell you all about it. To start, I want to tell you about the dinner my friend Megan and I had at Fare Start on March 1, 2012.

Fare Start is a non profit restaurant dedicated to helping people make a new start in their lives by training them to work in food service through a 16 week training program. Fare Start also runs a restaurant in downtown Seattle, and once a week they bring in a guest chef from a restaurant around Seattle to work with the students. March 1st they brought in Chef Makini Howell from Plum Bistro, marking the first time they had a vegan chef.

You can see in this (slightly blurry) photo the menu they had that night. This entire menu was prepared by Chef Howell with help from the students in the program, and it was as she said, the first time she had prepared her food without one of her own sou-chefs in the kitchen. As avid Plum Bistro fans, Megan and I could only tell that different kitchen staff were preparing the dishes on one dish (mac and yease) and it was only because we have had that dish more times than we would like to admit.

Menu

Menu

First course was mac and yease, a spicy mac and cheese that Plum Bistro is famous for. It was a bit oilier than normal (and this is a pretty oily dish normally) but really tasty as always.

Mac and yease

Mac and yease

Second course was grilled chimichirri seitan steaks and tofu steaks with asparagus and purple mashed potatoes. This was some of the best grilled tofu I have ever had. Normally I am not a big fan of eating chunks of tofu, but the texture was perfect on this and the sauce they placed on it had the right amount of bite to it, slightly salty with a touch of sweetness. The seitan on the other hand was a bit too oily, it oozed puddles of oil with every cut of the knife. It had a nice texture to it though, and would probably be the dish that I would suggest to my omni friends and family members as it mimics the texture of meat just enough while still being interesting enough as a plant based food on its own, which is what I strive for when picking menu items for non-vegans.

Tofu, seitan, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Tofu, seitan, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Dessert was a gluten free brownie with raspberries and non dairy ice cream. It was served warm and was really tasty. I could over hear some of the other diners around us, and they were in disbelief that it was gluten free and vegan, which is food activism at work, in my opinion. While several of the diners in attendance were vegan like Megan and I, many more were not, and I am hoping that they were at least convinced that vegan dining can be not only satiating, but satisfying.

Gluten free brownie with raspberries and non dairy ice cream.

Gluten free brownie with raspberries and non dairy ice cream.

Over all the evening was a success, the food was exactly what I have come to expect from Plum Bistro, all of the proceeds went to charity, which made me feel a bit less guilty indulging. I can only hope that Fare Start will do more vegan guest chef nights in the future.

Fare Start is located at 7th and Virginia in Seattle, WA. Plum Bistro is located at 1429 12 Ave in Seattle, WA.