One of my favourite travel things is seeking out and eating new and delicious vegan foods in cities I go to. My friend Susan had been to Seattle last year and raved about the eats there, so I was pretty excited, and armed with a great list of recommendations. I didn’t get everywhere I wanted to (it’s time consuming bussing around Seattle), but what I tried I was overall very pleased with!
I’d like to get my couple of sad experiences out of the way… Flying Apron gluten free bakery. I had my suspicions, considering everything Adam & I had tried making from their cookbook was not great. But yeah. Sad gluten free goodies. When you know how light, moist & amazing GF can be, rock hard scones & sad crumbly donuts/cookies are such a disappointment. I didn’t try any of their savoury stuff, so can’t speak to that. The brew was a nice one, from a local roast. Sorry, Flying Apron 😦
My other less than enthusiastic experience was Cyber Dogs – a veggie hot dog place/internet cafe. It may have been that I was in a rush, or that I really just picked the wrong dog for me, but I wasn’t impressed with the quality or the taste. This is the Chicago-style dog. Maybe I’d try them again next time if someone can recommend something not so overwhelming.
I missed out on Violet Sweet Shoppe, which I hear is a great Seattle bakery – it was just a bit too out of my way for the time I had to get there! I did make my way to Cinnamon Works in Pike Place market the afternoon I was wandering around there. I marvelled at the GIANT vegan cookies they had, and then scoffed this wonderful cinnamon bun (which they slightly warmed for me!). They also have GF goodies.
I also grabbed a bag of these when I spotted them in Pike Place market. Tasty and spicy, but not salty enough!
By far and away the most amazing sweet treats I had while in town were Mighty-O donuts. I made a mad dash my last morning in town to make sure I didn’t miss out on trying them, and I’m so glad I did!! I had these beauties for breakfast (i’m still thinking about the incredible apple fritter…), and took a box to go for a little Seattle taste on the plane & work the next day. Such a delicious place with classic, amazing donuts.
I went to Cafe Flora for a nice team dinner with my gaming team & supporters (we took part in the Gauntlet board game fundraiser at Mox Boarding House!), and it was a great evening! A wonderful little restaurant with friendly service, and flavourful food plus a nice wine list – but also lovely local cider for folks like me! Everything from the starters to dessert was a hit, and I would go back there in a heartbeat because there’s so much more I wanted to try – it’s a vegetarian restaurant, but they have lots of vegan options and GF is well marked too.
Starters – and coconut tofu
My main – a delicious portabello mushroom french dip with side salad.
And a couple of the many desserts we tried!
Once upon a time way back in the day, I visited a Veggie Grill in Los Angeles, and was in love. The chain’s expansion into Seattle is a little less fast food-y, more a mix of burgers and proper meals and sides than I recall. I ate at two seperate locations in one day because it was so great – but I forgot to snap a pic of my 2nd meal which was an incredible Crispy Chikin’ plate – with mash and greens and gravy nom. Below is my lunch burger, a grillin’ chikin’ and also my face.
In a quite hungover state one day, and in need of some really filling comfort food, I made my way to the Wayward Vegan cafe. I wish I’d been staying closer to Wayward so I could’ve tried their breakfast and lunches too! It was amazing. Their massive ‘chicken fried’ seitan smothered in gravy, with greens and hash. Plus a bottle of nooch & a sprayer of Bragg’s on every table! Yaassss.
I really liked the decor there! Nifty painted plates, plus my table which was made of part of a bowling alley lane!
On my last full day in Seattle I was in dire need of refuelling between museum-hopping. Not far from the EMP Museum (plus the Space Needle, etc) is Bamboo Garden vegetarian restaurant. They have a huge selection on their menu, but I decided to go for a lunch combo so I could have a little of a few things. It was great value for money, tasty and filling. I had the hot & sour soup, and the plate with spring rolls, ‘chicken’ fried rice, sauteed green beans and broccoli, and sweet and sour ‘chicken’. I don’t get out much for Chinese food here in Toronto, and I think this would be the kind of place I’d want to have anyhow.
As a refreshing way to end my last full day in town, I had some bar time with friends! I met them at Capitol Cider where I had this really delicious cider flight. I would drink this again and again.
Then we walked up to the Highline, a vegan bar in Capitol Hill. They had a really nice canned cider I hadn’t tried so far in my trip, plus bingo! Plus AMAZING tacos. Seriously, incredible. We got the ‘fish’ tacos. Oh my god. A crumbed and fried soy protein with some nori for flavour, plus a cool slaw and fresh cilantro. They have a great range on their vegan menu (almost everything had a drink pairing suggestion, too!), and I’d go back for the not-so-divey dive bar food any day.
I’m bummed to have missed out on Violet Sweet Shoppe, like I said. I also didn’t make it to Plum Bistro which I’d heard both good & bad things about. Next time. There’s also the pie truck (High 5) and the vegan food truck (No Bones About It) that I missed. Plus loads of coffee shops, and a couple of other bars that I wanted to visit.. so yeah, Seattle will be seeing me and my appetite again sometime!!
A while back, the Apiecalypse Now! bakery storefront on Markham Street shut down to refocus. At a new location, the Apiecalypse Now Pizza & Snack Bar had its grand opening on May 30th. I braved the lineup and grabbed a couple of slices as I was briefly in the ‘hood, but decided to drop back in yesterday for their first regular day of business and sit down for a quiet slice.
I am so pleased this new space has a little seating, in the front window nook (this picture was taken from there). It’s nice to have a sit and watch Bloor Street go by, with Christie Pitts park in the distance. The store is counter service, and it’s almost impossible to make a decision considering the amazing offerings of treats like donuts/cupcakes etc, plus the range of pizza slices. Throw the option of a Grains Grains Grains sub into the mix and it’s paralyzing. Deliciously paralyzing.
I have tried the BBQ Buffalobotomy, the Slayer & the Mac & Charlie. Not only do they have some of the best names ever for their slices (I am quite fond of the Weakerthans nod with ‘Reunion Tour’), they’re filling, flavourful and fantastic. All but the Reunion Tour use Daiya cheese, which I’m okay with – but some folks aren’t partial to it. I wish I’d gotten to try the ‘meaty’ Pig Destroyer Destroyer, but the slices I’ve had have used soy curls to my tastebuds’ pleasure. Below, the BBQ Buffalobotomy (L) and Slayer (R).
And, um, best condiments ever? I put hot sauce and nooch on almost everything, so I’m the #1 fan of this.
Not only are there terrific pizza slices and treats, but you can grab merch (buttons, mugs), Go Max Go candy bars and jars of the wonderous Magic Vegan Bacon Grease, there’s also a soft serve machine, with vanilla and chocolate available!
We’ve been spoilt with it at Bunners in Kensington Market for a while, but I do really like the option of all sorts of great sauces and sprinkley things. I got a sundae rather than a cone, so I could have peanut and fudge sauce with Oreo crumbles on mine. I’d like the soft serve to be creamier, but it was great all the same. I should’ve gotten vanilla/choc swirl!
I’m looking forward to seeing how this great little place develops, and if they will integrate any of the bakery’s cooler offerings (like the great sauces, dressings etc especially) in the near future. I have also heard talk of testing a gluten free crust, so I hope that appears soon – I love gluten, but would like to eat there with my vegan allergy-ridden pals.
Make sure to stop by and grab a slice/treat/sundae to take to the park, or order a whole pizza even. I think I will, next time.. Basically, just say FUCK YES to this amazing new vegan place.
Hours for the store are:
Monday — Closed.
Accepts debit and cash. (And possibly credit? I didn’t check.) And no delivery – yet? 🙂
As a lovely coincidence, today is my 13th vegan anniversary! Being vegan is one of the things I love most, and I never look back or question it. By now it’d be kinda weird to be any other way, it feels. For me, for the planet, for the animals, for the delicious food. And yes, for the super powers.
I mentioned it earlier in the week, but my love for Sleater-Kinney is all-encompassing right now and especially for this animated Bob’s Burgers video for A New Wave.
Trivia and related things are something I really love, and also museums – recently I got to combine going to a museum and a scavenger hunt, and it was super fun! We did the “Murder at the ROM” scavenger hunt organized by Urban Capers (not associated with the museum). It was great. I knew my way around pretty well which helped, but we ended up tying for 2nd place! Sigh. Here’s a couple of pics I Instagrammed on the day.
I love becoming more active and being a contributor to the board game community! I’m hoping to keep it up and get to BGGcon to meet some of the folks I am chatting with online a lot too. For now, I’ve been writing a bit for the Daily Worker Placement, and also chiming in for the Spooning Meeples round tables and it’s been good fun.
I don’t love that Parks & Recreation is over, but I did like the way it all wrapped up. A nice send-off. The cast was on Late Night with Seth Meyers which was pretty fun, and they had a little singalong (below) along with some general chats about the finale (here and here).
I’ve had weird pancake cravings lately. All of a sudden all I want is a syrupy plate of them. Adam made me some wonderful buttermilk pancakes from the Bunners cookbook on the weekend, and we put chocolate chips in them & slathered them with peanut butter! Perhaps a little too desserty for breakfast?
My recipe is one I’ve tinkered with to make vegan, and then subsequently gluten free. They’re fluffy without being ridiculously thick, and they’re really easy to amend to include spices (a dash of cinnamon, or perhaps some pumpkin spice mix?), throw in a nice half cup of blueberries, or even a little lemon juice & zest for freshness. These are great just with syrup, or as a side to a killer full breakfast of tofu scramble, home fries and tempeh bacon!
Gluten-Free & Vegan Pancakes (makes approximately 6 pancakes 5 inches/12cm in diameter)
1.5 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups soy or almond milk (or any dairy-free milk, really)
2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder together. Add the milk and mix well. Then add the oil and mix well until there are few lumps left.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat; pour batter and let it spread to desired diameter. When bubbles start to appear, flip the pancake and let it cook for another 30-60 seconds (I usually let it go 30 seconds then check it doesn’t overcook and is nicely brown).
When they’re done, flip ’em out on a plate and devour with maple syrup, or however you dig it.
Alright friends. Let’s think happy thoughts. First up, because Craig on the show and his anger management tactic of listing things he loves is totally relevant..
We spent much of our anniversary evening last night catching up on the latest season.. It’s gonna be over soon 😦 So sad. This is really the only comedy/sitcom I’ve legit laughed out loud at in forever. That and maybe Bob’s Burgers.
I’m still loving where I work and my new job! It’s been a great couple of months settling in and starting to get to know people. I love the spaces, the places, the people, the programs, the objects. It’s just great being here, y’now?
I still can’t believe how amazing Bunners is. That bakery is killin’ it, with amazing and delicious vegan & GF treats. I mean, I love gluten, but I will ALWAYS put Bunners in my mouth. Here’s a couple of recent, love-themed highlights. So delish.
And finally, I love sending/receiving snail mail! I’ve probably mentioned it before. But I get so excited. This week I sent a little package off to a Twitter friend in the Seattle area, and also started on doing Postcrossing. It’s so neat just having people on tap to send postcards to! Postcards are my fave, I love their little snapshots and their sense of ephemera. If you, reader, ever want to exchange postcards, I’m more than willing to do so!
Every so often I’ll realise I have this weird little cache of recipes I’ve tinkered with stored in my Google Docs, and share one. So here’s my chickpea salad recipe, which I came up with back in my cafe days. It is a fab substitute for tuna salad which is super gross and I make a face just thinking about it. This is great for sammies (as pictured) and also to throw on top of a nice green salad. Or get fancy and make vegan salad Niçoise!
Chick Pea Salad Ala Nicole! (vegan, gluten free, soy free option)
1 can (15oz) chick peas, drained
1.5 stalks celery (1 if you want it a little less crunchy)
½ green onion (only the white part)
4 small pickles (I love the Maille ones!)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp pickle juice
4 Tbsp or ¼ cup dijon mustard
4 Tbsp or ¼ cup vegan mayo (for soy-free you could make your own mayo, or sub in something like avocado)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Using a strainer, rinse chick peas well. Using food processor, process chick peas until no chick peas are left whole (approx 5-10 seconds). If you don’t have a food processor, you can go at this with a potato masher until mostly all of the chickpeas are smashed.
Empty mashed chick peas into a large bowl. Process the white part of the green onion, garlic, celery and pickles for a few seconds, until well chopped, but still chunky enough that the celery will offer some crunch. Add this to the chick peas. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Store in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. Use within 3-4 days. Nom on a sammie or a salad, or throw it in a bowl and scoop with some Crudités. Yeaaah!
Tofurky pockets! Dude, they’re vegan hot pockets. Oh man, so good. I have these ones and they’re handy for a quick work lunch snack.
I got myself a new water bottle recently, and I’m finding it is actually helping me drink more throughout the day! It comes with me to work, and the gym, and if i’m out for the day too. Solid!
I’m very fond of Isa Does It, and we’ve still got so many things to try. Right now our constant go to is her “lentil-a-roni” dish, which I LOVE and is so freakin’ quick to put together and you can tinker it if you really like. We use GF pasta, and usually throw in some kale or spinach at the end. It’s a treat with some almond parm on top! I don’t want to link to the recipe where I’m not sure it’s reproduced with permission, so get your hands on the book! It’s worth it.
I’ve started rewatching Twin Peaks (my shiny blu-ray set!) in advance of a trivia night at the start of Feb. I love this show so damn much. And I about flew out of my seat when I heard the news Kyle McLachlan will be back for the new episodes. COOP.
Book club! My friend MeShell started up the Toronto Veg Book Club, and I love it because it (a) gives me a chance to read books I might not normally think to and (b) I get to get together and hang out with lovely vegan folks and eat delicious food while we chat about the books! This weekend we’ll be chatting about the Lucky Ones, which I just wrote about. And eating all the things at Bloomer’s. CANNOT WAIT.
How’s your Thursday, folks?