Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest

Happy Frivolous Friday! I’ve been on holidays for the last two weeks- doing some heavy-duty relaxing around the Pacific Northwest. I even got to spend a couple of days with a very familiar face (and a couple of familiar kitty faces!) who’s every bit as delightful IRL as online.

Remember how last month I wrote about deciding to go vegan? While that’s been really easy when I’m at home cookin’ up some yums, try and have lunch outside and it gets.. tricky. At least, back at home it does. If you’re very very lucky there’ll be one option. If that happens to be covered in things you can’t stand (my nemeses: onions, cilantro and mushrooms) you’re outta luck. Hope you’ve brought something with ya.

So when I opened up a menu to be told that every single item could be adjusted for omnivores, vegetarians or vegans? Oh myyyy. Yes please.

A few minutes later, this tempeh Oly Cheesesteak arrived. It did not survive much longer than it took to take the picture.

Look at the garlic on those fries. Just.. Look at it.

A little research later and it turns out this isn’t terribly unusual. All sorts of herbivore-friendly goodies are out here just waiting for me to nom the whole lot of em.

I started at home. A trip to the local co-op found an entire shelf full of different kinds of vegan cheese. Not to mention sauce. What’s a person to do but spend an afternoon eating elaborate toasties?

Oh yes.

Fast forward a couple of days and I’ve travelled up north to Seattle, where our own Dana Hunter was lovely enough to take me sightseeing. One of the places she raved about? Her favourite chowder place:

We didn’t think there’d be anything vegan-friendly at a chowder restaurant, so our plan was for her to pop in and get a bowl of her favourite, and then the two of us would go hunt down something herbivore-friendly. As she was taking a look at the queue, though, I stopped for a second to check out the menu. What is that I see?! Is that what I think it is?

Oh yes. Hello. Yes I will have one of those, and of course I’ll have it in a bread bowl. Just look at this rich, creamy bowl of deliciousness:

Hungry yet? I am. And I’ve already gone to grab a snack since starting this post. But we ain’t even close to done yet. On Dana’s housemate’s recommendation we were off to an all-vegan restaurant for some all-day breakfast before I got my bus down south.

Now, biscuits and gravy is one of those American things that you always hear about. It’s also one of the things that sounds really gross to Irish ears, since ‘biscuits’ are what we call cookies and tbh I’d far rather dunk one of those in my tea than cover it in gravy, chocolate chips and all. I couldn’t resist biscuits, gravy, tofu scramble and steamed greens with my massive cup of (undunked) tea:

That was a good decision. I’ve added “learn to make vegan biscuits and gravy” to my to-do list because oh my, that was yum. Dana’s fried artichokes with ranch dip were pretty spectacular as well:

After breakfast it was time for me and Dana to say our farewells (until next time!) and for me to head down south. A quick overnight in Olympia to say hello to my Oly friends (hi, Oly friends!) and it was time for the foodapalooza that is: Portland. In my 36 hours in that city I ended up in four different restaurants and cafes and oh my, did none of them disappoint.

Fresh off the bus- having grabbed a breakfast of sweet coffee and pretzels on my way to the Greyhound- it was time for serious brunching. Firing up my trusty Happy Cow app at the bus station, I went straight for a place called Veggie Grill that promised something quick, straightforward and tasty. Sorted. I liked their chick’n bowl so much I had another one before leaving the city. You can’t see it, but under those greens is a pile of lovely, creamy potato-cauliflower mash. Yum!

After taking the edge off my ravenousness with that, what was I to do but make tracks for the all-vegan bakery a half hour’s walk away? And yeah, sure, I could have taken the bus. But why would I do that if I could walk and work up more of an appetite for cake?!

Not that you’d need an appetite to get this in ya:

Look at that. Moist. Rich. Sweet. Chocolatey. Covered in peanut butter swirls.

Dairy-eaters, let me let you in on a secret, k? I know you figure that nothing can make something decadent, rich and delicious quite like a generous helping of dairy in the ingredients. And yeah- those things will do that. But this? This was one of the greatest brownies I have ever had the privilege of savouring. Not one of the greatest vegan brownies. One of the best, period. If you’re ever in Portland, get yourself to Sweetpea bakery. Maybe skip breakfast before you go. Or take a run around a few blocks. Anything you have to do to leave room for cake. You won’t regret it.

Later that evening I met up with my old friend N. After an afternoon eating cake, there was only one thing to do: burgers. If you don’t like looking at big durrrrrrty plates of greasy deliciousness, you might want to avert your eyes.

Yum. And yes, I did manage to eat the lot.

After the burger, though, I had to admit defeat. Portland had bested me. I had to take my order from Voodoo Donuts (who have a whole shelf stuffed with brain-meltingly sweet vegan doughnuts) home for breakfast the next day.

This one is called the Gay Bar, and it is the breakfast of kings. Kings who are gonna crash hard before too long, and don’t even care:

I ate that and then hiked up a mountain. What?! I never said I was sensible.

That was yesterday. Today I’ve been living on rice, beans and toast. And I regret nothing.

 


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Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest
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3 thoughts on “Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest

  1. 1

    Seattle is a haven for vegans. Even puts my very vegan-friendly city of San Francisco to shame. I don’t eat out much nowadays though. I usually like to cook simply: Baked potatoes and yams, pasta, oatmeal (I really love oatmeal), and yes, sometimes rice and beans. Starch gets a bad rap; I live on it.

    While I’m vegan for ethical reasons, eating vegan became a lot easier when I gave up trying to find the perfect cheese substitute, and just ate completely different things. The only cheese-like substance we often make is a blend of nutritional yeast and almonds, which resembles parmesan. Good on many savory dishes.

    While her writing is more diet-focused than many are comfortable with, I really like the Happy Herbivore recipes, because most of them have relatively common ingredients and are pretty easy to make. Lots of muffins, etc., that don’t require specialty ingredients like Egg Replacer.

    1. 1.1

      I have a feeling that once I get back home it’s gonna be the simplest food I can make for days. You know how that goes? You eat really rich things on holiday and get home and your tummy is like “rice and lentils and steamed veg please thank you, and please not another tub of that amazing cashew ice cream for a little while?”

      I’m actually quite liking a lot of the dairy free cheeses on offer around here. I wouldn’t eat most of them in chunks like I used to with dairy cheese, but they’re lovely melted up in a toastie or mixed in with rice and beans and the like. Which (with generous shakes of nooch, natch) seems to do just fine to keep my cheese cravings under control.

      Thanks for the recipes link!

  2. 2

    I’ve gotten so used to the great variety of non-meat options in Seattle travel can come as a rude shock:P I can’t be satisfied by the “oh you brought your vegetarian friend so I guess we need to have a mushroom or something o the menu somewhere” variety of restaurant food any more.

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