Saturday, October 25, 2014

Seattle 2014: Part 4

Back to Seattle! After the thrilling adventures of the day before, I decided that there was no better way to start my Sunday than with breakfast at my favourite Seattle breakfast place, Wayward Vegan Cafe. I ordered the Cheesy Scramble, which came with steamed garlic kale and toast, and a side of avocado. Outstanding! The scramble was beautiful, a soft tofu, but not smooshy, slightly oozy from the melty Daiya. The only issue I had was that the toast seemed to be spread with quite a lot of oil. I would prefer oil-free toast and just smear with the avocado. But even so, this was a seriously good breakfast. So good that someone asked what it was so that they could order it for themselves.

Cheesy Scramble with Kale and Toast; Side of Avocado at Wayward


Wayward is not far from Chaco Canyon Cafe, so I stopped in there after for a green smoothie. This is their Really Green Smoothie, which had greens, banana and apple juice in it.

Really Green Smoothie from Chaco Canyon


Afterwards I spent some time wandering around University Way looking at the shops, and strolling up and down looking at the pretty street with sorority and fraternity houses, before stopping by the Henry Art Gallery. Every year they have an exhibition of Masters projects from students at the university. I had really enjoyed it last year, so was please to be in town when it was going to be on this year. It was another great show, and there were a couple of works that seemed to have direct ties to animal rights. I hope to be able to see it again next year!

Then it was a bus to the place I had been dreaming about for the last year - a trip back to Violet Sweet Shoppe! The sweetest bakery in the world. I had been hoping to get custard fruit tart, but they sell out super quick, so I had a beautiful lemon tart instead. And I am happy to report that the cream is very light on the coconut, no coconut fat death head for me!

Lemon Tart at Violet's


Violet's


I also got two cookies - a Snickerdoodle and a Lemon Raspberry Cookie - to take away and share with my mum (who was coming back to Seattle that evening) back at the hotel.

Lemon Raspberry Cookie from Violet's


Snickerdoodle from Violet's


Full of sugar, I went for a stroll down to University Village, a shopping center near the uni. I knew that there was a third location of Veggie Grill, but had otherwise assumed that this would be standard supply shops for university students. This is actually a super swanky shopping center full of some very cute shops and one of the fanciest bathrooms I have ever visited. I then took a little hike up to Ravenna Park for some greenery. It is pretty.

Ravenna Park


Ravenna Park


And I finally saw a SQUIRREL! The only SQUIRREL! I saw this trip. They wouldn't sit still, so enjoy the blurry photo. Also a lovely big black crow. Or possibly a raven.

Ravenna Park


Ravenna Park


After a big walk, I was ready for some dinner. Looping back around to where I started my day, I did some essential vegan shopping at Vegan Haven, just across the road from Wayward. It is also right next to Pizza Pi. I got the Mac and Yeese pizza, with additional pineapple and olives because I like it like that. This was outstanding! So good!! I also got a Garden Salad with Garlic Tahini Sauce as a side dish. Even a side dish was a great big bowl - I love that about the US! A side of salad here is tiny.

Mac and Yeese Pizza with pineapple and olives from Pizza Pi


Garden Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing at Pizza Pi


Afterwards I caught a bus home. I was a little full, so I stopped into the Westlake Starbucks to order some peppermint tea, extra strong. I had also stopped in the night before, and the same woman was serving and she remembered me and was super lovely. Then back to the hotel to drink my tea and eat some cookies!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara before I leave


I always travel with photos of my cats saved onto my camera and my phone so I gaze at them anytime I need to, and I also took a photo of each of them right before I left for the USA. This is Sahara's shot. As you can see, she is sleeping quite peacefully and not caring at all that I am about to leave her for two weeks.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recipe Round-Up: Forks Over Knives The Cookbook

A brief break in the Seattle posts, as I realised that I have not labeled the rest of my photos yet and that will take a little while, so here is a recipe round-up post I prepared earlier. And what better book to break up the indulgences of an overseas eating trip than Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook.

Mayonnaise: My favourite store-bought mayo is super expensive (I like the Plamil, we don't have have all of the choices that people in the USA have), and the cheaper one that you can get in the supermarket is too sweet and vinegary for me, so I am a big fan of home-made silken tofu mayos. This oil-free mayo is creamy and comes together in a snap.
Rating; :)

Mayonnaise


No-Cheese Sauce: I didn't have any roasted capsicum on hand when I first made this (which is one of the options) so I warily made it with the raw red capsicum. A small amount of cashews and tahini add creaminess, and the cheesiness came from a cup of nooch. Though I added an extra 1/4 cup to get it cheesy enough for me. The sauce has a slight sweet quality, and the capsicum was not overpowering at all. I made this in a food processor because I knew that the ration of solid to liquid would not do well in my blender, which meant it was a little granular. I added 1/4 cup of water to smooth it all out. This sauce is used in lots of recipes in the book.
Rating: :)

No-Cheese Sauce


Very Berry Smoothie: This pretty in pink smoothie is extra pretty in my Vegan Wares mug. It is simply dates, berries and almond milk blended. It gives you a choice of berries, but I went with strawberries.
Rating: :)

Very Berry Smoothie


Breakfast Scramble: This unusual scramble uses cauliflower instead of tofu (there is the option of using tinned ackee instead, but I have never found that here), plus lots of vegetables. I used zucchini and carrot in place of green and red capsicum. it lists nooch as an optional ingredient, but we all know that there is nothing optional about nooch in our lives. I served this with some avocado on toast and some tinned baked beans.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Scramble


Breakfast Rancheros: This recipe requires some of the breakfast scramble from above, which is topped with a tomato-chili sauce and served on corn tortillas. It says it serves 6, but really it is 4.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Rancheros


Portobello Florentine: Cauliflower hollandaise tops some sauteed spinach, which rests on a grilled mushroom (more on those below). The sauce is quite thick, as you can see, and very lemony, but this all melds perfectly with the other flavours. It says it serves 4, but serves two as a light meal.
Rating: :)

Portobello Florentine


Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange and Chickpeas: This is a very refreshing salad, with the mild flavour of the fennel and the bright citrus of the orange. I served this with over some spinach, and topped it with some avocado and a leftover grilled mushroom.
Rating: :)

Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange and Chickpeas


Tuscan Bean Stew: Sometimes you just want a simple and satisfying vegetable soup, and this hits the spot. Leeks, celery, carrots, cabbage and potato with lots of garlic and basil will make you happy.
Rating: :)

Tuscan Bean Stew


Millet Stew: I really enjoy millet as a grain, it makes a nice change from rice and quinoa (not that I could ever get tired of those!), and it adds a great bulk to this stew. Large serving sizes mean that this will keep you full.
Rating: :)

Millet Stew


Creamy Basil Pasta Salad: This is a nice way to use up some of that homemade mayo. It says to halve the artichokes, but I chopped then roughly to make them a better size. Definitely make sure you use the pinenuts, they should not be optional, as they add a great flavour and texture.
Rating: :)

Creamy Basil Pasta Salad


Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: These were used in the florentine recipe above, and turn up in a few recipes throughout the book. These are garlicky and juicy. I didn't have a grill, so I just pan-fried these. The marinade goes very sticky when it hits the hot pan, so make sure you have lots of hot water to clean it quickly.
Rating :)

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms


More Seattle coming your way soon!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in her tent


Dim Sim loves to find little tents to hide herself away in. This is her current favourite, which is created by an crocheted blanked draped over a flat basket. Here I breached the sanctity of the tent to take a photo of her.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Seattle 2014: Part 3 - Twin Peaks Adventure Day!

When I was in Sydney earlier this year I was introduced to the amazing show that is Twin Peaks, and I watched it all and tweeted about it a lot. Helen saw my tweets, and then she watched it as well. So by the time I was coming to Seattle we were both obsessed. Many iconic locations in Twin Peaks were filmed in Snoqualmie and surrounds, which is a reasonably short drive from Seattle. Helen was able to recruit us a car and a driver, the lovely Tim, and together (along with Madeline, another friend of Helen's) we embarked on a Twin Peaks adventure.

All good adventures begin with food. As it happened, that day the SLU location of Veggie Grill was having a fundraiser where a percentage of all sales went towards a great animal cause that I unfortunately cannot remember, so we decided to meet there. I kicked off with some nachos and a side of kale. The nachos were OK, but needed more guacamole - what is with that tiny little scoop? Helen got one of her favourites - the B-Wing Salad (essentially a buffalo wings salad). You may notice the binder above the nachos in the photo - that was full of Twin Peaks location information. We were prepared!

Mondo Nachos and Kale with Ginger-Miso Dressing from Veggie Grill (South Lake Union)


B-Wing Salad from Veggie Grill (South Lake Union)


Then we were on our way. We ran into some traffic early on, but then it was out and driving through beautiful Washington state. I was excited - this was my first trip out of Seattle! Our first stop was Twede's Cafe in North Bend, better known as the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks. This place completely embraces the heritage of Twin Peaks - the mugs are embossed with a Twin Peaks motto, there is a Twin Peaks memorabilia and news clipping wall, and they sell Twin Peaks maps (and frisbees)! Helen ordered herself a Damn Fine Cup Of Coffee (and a beer), and Maddie ordered a (sadly not vegan) piece of famous cherry pie. As I don't drink coffee, I ordered a grapefruit juice. I think the waitress was amused by our orders and our quietly geeking out. At the end of our visit, we also bought a Twin Peaks map for fun, and to add to our collection of Twin Peaks location information.

Double R Diner


Double R Diner


Our Twin Peaks Map


Our next stop was Reinig Bridge, otherwise known as Ronette's Bridge. It was kind of creepy, though it was set over a beautiful river with lovely mountains in the back that I completely forgot to take a photo of.

Ronette's Bridge


After spending some time by the bridge and the river, we set ourselves the task of finding the spot where the iconic Welcome To Twin Peaks sign appeared in the TV show. Of course it isn't actually there in real life. It took us a few goes of driving up and down the road, listening to the Twin Peaks theme song and comparing the views to a photo of the sign from the TV show until we found it. But then we found it!!! To make up for the lack of sign, Tim and I posed with the Twin Peaks map in a sign-like fashion.

Welcome to Twin Peaks


Welcome to Twin Peaks


Another place that took us a few goes was to find the right vantage point for the Twin Peaks High School. The school itself was easy enough to find, but the entrance used in the show was concealed from the road by some trees. But not well enough to be concealed by our super snooping.

Twin Peaks High School


We headed into the main street of Snoqualmie to visit the rail yard. Oddly, Snoqualmie makes no references to Twin Peaks in the town, or even on their website. You would think they would tap into the Twin Peaks tourist market, but apparently not. At the rail yard we found the Really Big Log that was used in the opening credits. Helen found a really cool 'Fire Walk With Me' graffiti on it, though I didn't get a photo. There are also a lot of railway cars stored here, and we were trying to find the car used for the murder scene, but no luck. There were some cars under some covers so we assume it was under there.

Giant Log

Speaking of logs, Helen decided to try out being a log lady in training. Because she is in training though, she only has a stick, it takes some time before you are reading for the log.

Log Lady in training


Afterwards we decided to head out to the falls and the lodge, and to enjoy a picnic. A Twin Peaks adventure day requires a Twin Peaks picnic! Helen had made a delicious vegan cherry pie and Tim had picked up some Mighty-O doughnuts (including my favourite cinnamon sugar). We also had the new Maple Bacon Kettle Chips (they are OK, Tings are still the best of all) and some black coffee with hemp milk. And yes, Helen did carve 'The Owls Are Not What They Seem' into the top of the pie.

Twin Peaks Picnic


The Owls Are Not What They Seem cherry pie


Snoqualmie Falls was pretty popular on a Saturday afternoon. It turned out there is only an observation platform, you don't actually hike down to the falls themselves. The falls are famously shown in the opening credits of Twin Peaks. At the top of the falls is the Salish Spa and Lodge, better known to us as The Great Northern Hotel. (Note my super sun sensible attire - a red head should never expose more skin to the sun than absolutely necessary, even with sunscreen).

Snoqualmie Falls and Great Northern


Snoqualmie Falls


Snoqualmie Falls


Great Northern


Great Northern


We did go and have a poke around the lodge, and a look in their gift shop. While it did have cute things, there was nothing related to Twin Peaks! Though there were some owl things so I can make that into a Twin Peaks thing in my head. After this it was time to head back to Seattle. There were a few places we wanted to go to and didn't get to, but I think we still did a pretty awesome job of covering a lot of the iconic ones.

Helen and I got dropped off at her house so I could meet her kitty Zeno (see below!), then I got a lift back into the city. I arrived back at the hotel just in time to get to the downtown Veggie Grill before they closed, so nipped in to get a BBQ Tempeh Plate with Fries to take away. Then I took it back to the hotel, had a good hot shower, and ate my dinner in bed while watching totally trashy TV.

Tempeh BBQ Plate from Veggie Grill (to go)


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Zeno


Zeno


Helen is an awesome cat lady, and Zeno is her cat. I was very excited to get to meet Zeno, who was utterly adorable.

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.