Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seattle 2014: Part 2

After my angelic curry I went for a wander around Capitol Hill. My first stop was Pretty Parlor, a fantastic shop full of vintage and locally designed clothes and accessories. Also home to an amazing cat Vincent, who you will see more of below! I bought some cute jewelry as well as the cutest dress ever. After Pretty Parlor it was a short walk to Twice Sold Tales, a second hand book store that is also full of cats! Yes, there is a theme. There are many kitty photos at the end of this post! Then I went for a bit of a stroll to get to Casitas International where I picked up some Rescue Chocolate and a super cute kitty top. I look forward to spending some more time wandering around Capitol Hill on my next (yes!) visit to Seattle.

I had heard a lot about Healeo so it seemed like a good place to go for an afternoon smoothie. I'm sad to say I had terrible service here, and I won't be going back. I waited for about ten minutes before even placing my order because the person behind the counter was chatting to some friends. I eventually got my Peanut Butter and Cacao Smoothie, which was fine.

PB and Cacao Smoothie from Healeo


More exciting was my stop by High 5 Pie to check out their vegan options. I got a mini Cherry Almond Pie and a slice of Apple Pie to take away and eat later. The apple pie was definitely the best. Sadly the cherry pie was had a very strong almond extract flavour that overpowered the cherries.

Cherry Almond Pie and Apple Pie from High 5


On my way back to the hotel I got to wander through the beautiful Freeway Park.

Freeway Park


I had parted ways with my mum after our chocolate tour, she went off to Veggie Grill (she isn't vegan, but no one can resist Veggie Grill) while I went off to Capitol Hill, but we reunited for dinner at Wild Ginger, which was very close to the hotel. I went there with Ashleigh last year and really enjoyed it. We started off with some Buddha Rolls, which were served with a great pineapple dipping sauce. For our mains we got Thai Passion Tofu (tofu and eggplant) and the Seven Flavours Tofu (lemongrass, peanuts, hoisin, chilies, basil, garlic and ginger) with rice and some Baby Bok Choy in Garlic Oil. I had had the Thai Passion before, but this was the first time trying the Seven Flavours.

Buddha Rolls at Wild Ginger (Downtown)


Thai Passion Tofu at Wild Ginger (Downtown)


Seven Flavour Tofu at Wild Ginger (Downtown)


Baby Bok Choy in Garlic Oil from Wild Ginger (Downtown)


The next morning my mum had to head to Missoula for a couple of days, leaving me in Seattle for more adventures. I took a ten minute walk to do some hot yoga at Breathe Yoga. I have been regularly practicing Bikram Yoga for the last year, and was keen to keep up some sort of practice while I was away. The studio was just around the corner from Whole Foods, where I headed afterwards to stock up on snacks including Tings and a whole lot of my beloved Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (tip, if you buy a whole box they give you a discount!). I also got breakfast from their hot food bar, which I filled with tofu scramble, rosemary potatoes, fried tofu puff, steamed vegetables and chickpea salad. It was all OK except for the scramble, which I didn't really like at all.

Whole Foods breakfast box - scramble, rosemary potatoes, tofu puffs, chickpea salad, steamed vegetables.


After breakfast I got on a bus and headed to Georgetown, and finally achieved a long-term Seattle goal of mine: I made it to Georgetown Liquor Company! Of course I had to have the famous Picard sandwich: Lentil-sage Field Roast, roasted red onions, Tofutti cream cheese and roasted garlic spread served with au jus dipping sauce. Hell yes, this lived up to all my hopes and dreams! I chose some cauliflower soup for my side.

The Picard Sandwich with Cauliflower Bisque from Georgetown Liquor Company


With a happy tummy, I spend some time wandering around Georgetown enjoying their nifty architecture, the (sadly closed) trailer market and some of the local shops.

Georgetown


Georgetown Trailer Markets


I caught a bus back into downtown and I happened to pass Eat Local on my way back to the hotel. I had a great time browsing their vegan selections, and ordered a green juice from their food bar. I took that back to the room and drank it while enjoying the view.

Green Juice from Eat Locally


In the afternoon I caught the monorail to the Seattle Center. Obligatory Space Needle photo!

Space Needle at Seattle Center


This time I took a visit to the Chihuly Glass Exhibition, which was amazing. So many beautiful artworks made from glass, including some in a lovely garden.

Chihuly Exhibit at Seattle Center - Persian Ceiling


Chihuly Exhibit at Seattle Center


Afterwards I headed downtown and picked up an afternoon snack from Cupcake Royale, which has a vegan chocolate cupcake. This was a lovely light chocolate cake with not too much frosting.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcake from Cupcake Royale (Downtown)


The last time I was in Seattle I got to have dinner with Helen, so I was super excited to get to meet up with her again on this trip. Helen had a Groupon for Plum Bistro, so we met up for a lady date and some seriously good food. We started with the smoky mac, which was amazing. I ordered the Olive Pesto Grilled Tofu, which was great, while Helen ordered the Pistachio Crusted Tempeh. Even though we were full, we found room for dessert - Strawberry Basil Beignets with a trio of dipping sauces. Yum!

Smoky Mac from Plum Bistro


Grilled Olive Pesto Tofu from Plum Bistro


Pistachio Crusted Tempeh from Plum Bistro


Strawberry Basil Beignets


After eating all that amazing food, it was back to the hotel for a good night of sleep. Helen and I had big plans for the next day. Twin Peaks plans! Stay tuned...

Cute Kitty Photos of the Post

I believe I promised you lots of kitty photos, so here they are! The beautiful shop kitties I met on my walk through Capitol Hill.

Vincent at The Pretty Parlor (Capitol Hill)


Me and Vincent from Pretty Parlor. Vincent spent so much time hugging me, I was walking around the shop for a good fifteen minutes with him on my hip giving him kisses. I also bought some earrings with him on them. Poor Vinnie was attacked by a dog a little while ago, and had to have some pretty major surgery. Thankfully he is recovering well and is still holding court at the shop.

Schmoo at Twice Sold Tales (Capitol Hill)


Schmoo from Twice Sold Tales.

Elanor at Twice Sold Tales (Capitol Hill)


Elanor from Twice Sold Tales.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Seattle 2014: Part 1

Warning: A few pretty photo-heavy posts are coming your way! Earlier this year the opportunity to go to Seattle for a mum-funded trip came up rather suddenly, and thankfully I was able to organise time off work to go. Because really, who says no to a parentally funded trip to the best city in the USA? Not me. This was going to be my mum's first trip to Seattle, so I was also really excited to share my beloved Seattle with someone new. Have I mentioned that I love Seattle? Seattle is the best!

We flew with Hawaiian Air again, though this time travelling business class. This meant that before our 6.30pm flight out of Brisbane we were able to go into the Air New Zealand lounge. They had a little buffet of food available, and I was able to put together a tasty pre-flight snack of rice, hummus, olives, sun dried tomato and salad as well as some fruit.

Snacks in the Qantas Club Lounge


Even when flying business class Hawaiian Air does not offer any sort of vegan meal, which is pretty poor. I bought a sandwich from Subway to take on the plane with me, as well as several snacks including McDougall soup and ramen and assorted snack bars. The flight staff were also able to provide me with some fruit plates. After finally watching Frozen and having a laughable attempt at sleep we landed in Honolulu for a five hour layover. This is the worst part of this sort of trip, because this is kind of a silly partially open air airport. I helped myself through this rough time by getting a Roobos Vanilla Soy Latte from Starbucks, walking around a lot, having a brief nap and getting some Split Pea Soup from the little California Pizza Kitchen in the food court.

Split Pea Soup from California Pizza Kitchen


Then it was another flight to Seattle. We arrived at about 10pm and caught a taxi to our hotel - The Red Lion on 5th Street. As soon as we checked in it was just a short walk to Cyber Dogs, which is open quite late. I had the Seattle Drunken Dog, which had cream cheese and grilled onions.

Seattle Dog from Cyber Dogs


The next morning we headed down to Pike Place for one of my favourite Seattle experiences - breakfast overlooking the waterfront. I always get breakfast from Cinnamon Works and then get a spot overlooking the beautiful water. This morning it was a blackberry scone and a large cinnamon soy chai.

Blackberry Scone and Cinnamon Chai from Cinnamon Works


After breakfast I took my mum for a walk through Pike Place Market, and I was thrilled to see that my favourite peonies were in full blood. We spent some time wandering around and exploring all the little nooks and crannies of the market, visiting a couple of my favourite shops from last time and finding some new ones.

Peonies at Pike Place Market


After wandering around some of the streets downtown, buying a cookie scoop from Sur La Table and having a little break back at the hotel, it was time for lunch. Since I was last in Seattle, the downtown location of Veggie Grill had opened. More importantly, I could see it from my hotel room. So I headed straight there for lunch. I ordered the Harvest Bowl, which had Field Roast sausage, kale, vegetables, quinoa and gravy. It was as good as it sounds! Washed down with some strawberry lemonade.

Harvest Bowl at Veggie Grill (Downtown)


After some more wandering around downtown, I was feeling very sleepy, so I naturally needed a snack. Back to Veggie Grill it was! I had a bowl of their delicious Mac and Cheese, and also got a slice of carrot cake to go for a later snack. Their carrot cake is seriously amazing.

Mac and Cheese from Veggie Grill (Downtown)


Carrot Cake (to go) from Veggie Grill (Downtown)


After my snack and a short power nap, I jumped on a bus (number 11) to the new Madison location of Araya's Place for some seriously awesome vegan Thai. The new location is in a cute little building, tucked away from the main street and just across the road from Cafe Flora.

Araya's Place (Madison)


My mum didn't come with me, so I had to think very carefully about how to maximise the number of things I could eat as I couldn't share. I had heard good things about the Fried Brussels Sprouts (brussels, broccoli, garlic and lemon), and they were indeed pretty damn tasty. Though once they start to cool down they go a bit gluggy. I also had to order their Tofu Satay, which I had last year, as it has the best peanut sauce in the whole world. It didn't disappoint. Finally I ordered some Tom Yum Soup, though I didn't realise when I did that it would come out in a giant soup volcano! I was expecting a smaller bowl. I had requested it mild, and they made it without any chili at all, so it did lack the subtle heat I like about a mild Tom Yum, but it was still good. I had to take some of the tofu and Brussels away in a doggy bag (she gave me extra peanut sauce, bonus!), because I was so full. Though I finished those off for a snack later on that evening.

Fried Brussels Sprouts from Araya's Place (Madison)


Tofu Satay from Araya's Place (Madison)


Tom Yum Soup from Araya's Place (Madison)


Yeah, remember how I said I was so full I had to get some to take away? I had left a tiny bit of room for dessert. Their Jasmine Creme Brulee is a thing of pure joy. I could eat this forever. A crispy top and a cool, creamy custard and had an amazing flavour.

Jasmine Creme Brulee


The next morning I started my day at The Crumpet Shop with a marmite crumpet and a peanut butter and maple butter crumpet. I had some rosehip, chamomile and peppermint tea as well.

Marmite Crumpet and PB and Maple Butter Crumpet with herbal blend tea from The Crumpet Shop at Pike Place Market


Afterwards mum and I went on a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory, which is something I had been wanting to do for a while. It was a very interesting tour, full of samples. Not all the samples were vegan, but most were and they even got me a vegan truffle (chai coconut) at the end. The tour ends in the shop, so of course I had to buy some chocolate (the sea salt one is amazing) as well as a peanut coconut caramel and a salted caramel ganache truffle.

Theo Chocolate Factory


Theo Chocolate Bars


Smooshed Theo Coconut Caramel and Salted Chocolate Ganache


After heading back to the hotel to drop off my purchases, I headed out to Capitol Hill to In The Bowl, another first in my Seattle adventures. I had heard good things about the Angel Curry on Get Sconed!, and it did not disappoint. Lots of veggies, fried tofu and a beautiful, mild curry sauce with some brown rice. So very very good. When the bill came they also brought a dessert of some sort of black bean, corn and coconut concoction. Very nice.

Angel Curry at In The Bowl (Capitol Hill)


Free dessert at In The Bowl (Capitol Hill)


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

The Crumpet Shop at Pike Place Market


OK, so not an actual kitty (don't worry, I have so many kitty photos in my next post!), but this adorable kitty painting adorns the wall at The Crumpet Shop.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe Round-Up: Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

I am yet to meet anyone who doesn't sing the praises of Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. This book probably has the highest proportion of :D ratings of any book I own, I think. It includes an entire chapter of hummus! It is also full of suggestions for combining dishes, so you put together some truly amazing meals.

Orange Sesame Tofu with Coconut Lime Basmati Rice and Simple Swiss Chard: The fresh citrus flavours of this tofu are delicious, and there is loads of the sauce left over to drizzle all over the rest of your dinner as well. In this case, the rice and chard. The rice cooks beautifully in a rice cooker, minimising the number of pans you have to have on the go. When I made the rice I had a bit of leftover basmati and wild rice mix, so I used that with plain basmati rice for a bit more interest. The chard was indeed simple, and makes a speedy side.
Rating: Tofu :D, Rice :D, Chard :)

Orange Sesame Tofu; Coconut Lime Basmati Rice; Simple Swiss Chard


Avocado and Pinto Bean Enchiladas with Cornmeal-Crusted Plantains and salad with Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette: Enchiladas are pretty fun, if sometimes a bit fussy. I used 2 bottles of Old El Pasa Enchilada sauce for the casserole, and ended up with some of the mixture leftover. The real star of this dinner was the plantains! Delicious. I served this with some salad greens, doused in a delicious and so simple vinaigrette.
Rating: Enchiladas :), Plantains :D, Vinaigrette :D

Avocado and Pinto Bean Enchiladas; Cornmeal-Crusted Plantains; Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette


Lentil Veggie Chimichangas with Rosemary Cornmeal Polenta Fries and Creamy Basil Dressing: Get ready for a particularly knock-out meal! The chimichangas are stuffed full of zucchini, patty pan squash (I used this instead of capsicum), onion and some lentil tomato sauce. I used the regular sized tortillas (rather than the large) and this filled eight of those. The polenta fries are amazing, using a package of ready-made polenta for super ease. I used 1kg rather than 510g to get my four servings (these are really, really good). Finally, a bit of freshness with some creamy basil dressing over tomatoes and cucumbers. Gorgeous.
Rating: Chimichangas :D, Polenta Fries :D, Dressing :D

Lentil Veggie Chimichangas; Rosemary Cornmeal Polenta Fries; Creamy Basil Dressing


Lemon Garlic Pasta and White Bean and Walnut Bruschetta (also with some Creamy Basil Dressing): Carbs go so well with carbs. The pasta is very quick and simple, but has lots of flavour. The bruschetta topping made enough for 16 slices of baguette. I found the topping a bit bitter for my liking, probably from the walnuts. To prevent scurvy I served this with some more salad and left over basil dressing from above.
Rating: Pasta :), Bruschetta :|

Lemon Garlic Pasta; White Bean and Walnut Bruschetta; Creamy Basil Dressing


Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto and Pasta with Simplest Garlic Bread and salad with Back-To-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette: More carbs! For both these pasta dishes I used spinach fettuccine, which is a favourite of mine. I had to add a bit of the pasta water to the pesto at the end, or it would have been a bit too thick and clumpy to coat the strands. The garlic bread truly is simple, and amazing. However while it is salty and cheesy and fabulous, I didn't find it garlicky. Originally you rub frozen bread with a garlic clove. I have since made it again by mashing the garlic into the butter, which makes it perfect. The dressing is incredibly simple. It says to make it in a blender, but I just put it all in a jar and shake well!
Rating: Pasta :), Garlic Bread :D, Vinaigrette :D

Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto on Pasta; Simplest Garlic Bread; Back-To-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette


Gimme Chimis topped with Guacamole Con Alga Marina and Potato Squashers (and salad with Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette): Chimichangas is fun to say, and they are fun to eat. These ones are full of beans, tempeh and veggies. Again I filled 8 regular sized tortillas rather than 4 large ones. The guacamole was a bit of a let down, which is hard for me to say as I love avocado. But I didn't really like the flavour that kelp granules give it, it was a bit too strong. The potatoes more than made up for the guac, these are amazing. They are one dish that I have made regularly, as you can't go past them if you want an easy potato side. Bake potato, squish potato, top with oil and salt, bake more. I bake for a bit longer than the recipe calls for to make them go extra crispy.
Rating: Chimi :), Guacamole :|, Potatoes :D

Gimme Chimis; Potato Squashers; Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette; Guacamole con Alga Marina


Brown Rice n Beans 'Jumble-aya' with Lemon-Broiled Green Beans (and salad with Back-To-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette): The 'jumble-aya' needed an extra half an hour to cook through the rice before it was soft enough for eating. I put in green peas instead of green capsicum. The beans are very easy, but you may want to make a triple batch because the original recipe (calling for 100g of beans) certainly does not make 2-3 servings.
Rating: 'Jumble-aya': :), Green Beans :)

Brown Rice n Beans Jumble-aya, Lemon-Broiled Green Beans, salad with Back-to-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette


Cashew-Ginger Tofu with Cinnamon Lime Quinoa with Apricots and Almonds: Another yummy and saucy tofu, using cashew butter and fresh ginger. Again, you get a lot of extra sauce for pouring over everything. The quinoa is quite sweet, a bit too sweet for my dinner tastes. You need to serve it with something salty on the side. But I think it would make a great breakfast! I served these with some roasted asparagus.
Rating: Tofu :), Quinoa :)

Cashew-Ginger Tofu; Cinnamon Line Quinoa with Apricots and Almonds; roasted asparagus


Blackened Tofu with Autumn Puree: Blackened anything is not something I had experienced before acquiring my vegan cookbooks, and I do love how the spices form a lovely crust around the tofu. The autumn puree is another quite sweet side, so thankfully the strong flavours of the tofu were there to balance it out. I think the puree would make a nice dessert on its own. I served these with some brown rice and some baby spinach leaves.
Rating: Tofu :), Puree :)

Blackened Tofu; Autumn Puree


Sweet Potato Lentil Chili with Kinda Corny Muffins: This is a lovely and hearty chili, with sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes and kidney beans. It goes well with the muffins, which are a fun take on cornbread. I spread these with some Nuttelex, and they make a nice snack as well as a good side.
Rating: Chili :), Muffins :)

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili; Kinda Corny Muffins


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


Sahara is a little bleary-eyed after, she woke up from her nap right as I was going to take a photo.