Monday, July 22, 2013

Le Fin

Today we head back to Boston. It has been an amazing trip, but I'm ready to go home (especially since I get to see Guster, Ben Folds Five, and BNL at Tanglewood tomorrow!).  Yesterday we visited the botanical garden in Golden Gate Park. It was quite large, and featured plants from all over the world.  They are able to mimic a cloud forest because of all of the fog, which is pretty cool. They had s tree that is only able to thrive in a few places in the world, and foggy San Francisco is one of them.

We headed to the Mission district for lunch because we had been craving mission style burritos since we arrived in the city. After some careful Yelp research, we settled on Pancho Villa Taqueria for its excellent reviews and extensive vegetarian burrito menu. Even at 2:15, there was a decent  line. Apparently it is sometimes out the door. Luckily we did not have to wait too long. I ordered a veggie burrito that beats Anna's in Boston, hands down. The flavoring was delicious and it was tightly rolled - no abrasions in this burrito!  They have a salsa bar that also included grilled jalapenos.  The food was delicious, quick, and inexpensive, with plenty of seating for their many customers. A great find!

Last night was the culmination of my vegan eating - dinner at Millennium. On Sunday nights, you can do a three course tasting menu for $42, so we all decided to do that and order different things. For starters, we tried the crusted king trumpet mushrooms, the raw Pad Thai salad, and the grilled flatbread. The mushrooms were my favorite by far - lightly breaded and fried, served with a delicious soy sauce based sauce. The Pad Thai was good, made from carrots and zucchini and dressed lightly in a peanut sauce.  The flatbread was served with delicious, garlicky butter beans. For my entree, I chose the Vietnamese style crepe with lemongrass and marinated tofu - amazing!  Kristin chose the eggplant dish, which was served with a delicious tomato sauce and a cashew ricotta. Amy ordered the nettle tamale, which came with an excellent Mole sauce. All of the entrees were fantastic!

Surprisingly, we were not as impressed with dessert. We ordered the chocolate almond midnight which had come highly recommended and was my favorite. The cheesecake was very grainy and too sweet for my taste. We also ordered a three layer ice cream dessert which included lavender ice cream. The best part of that dish was the amazing caramel corn it was  served with. All in all, it was an excellent way to end the trip.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

San Francisco

We've seen quite a bit and eaten quite a lot in the past two days!  On Friday, we checked out Streatfair, the San Francisco food truck area. We got there fairly early, around noon, and the place was already hopping. After a stroll around  the perimeter to see what they had to offer, we settled on falafel. And what a falafel it was!  They crammed lettuce, tomato, cucumber, hummus, and French Fries (yup, you heard it right) in there. Then there were a bunch of other toppings to add on yourself, so I loaded m  pita up with pickles, cabbage, and jalapenos, along with hot sauce. It was not easy to eat with all of that crammed in, but I managed somehow.

After  lunch we explored the Mission district and then Haight and Ashbury. We had tickets to the 7:15 Giants game, so we walked to the stadium after eating our leftovers from Thursday night. We made sure to leave room for garlic fries though!  The game was fun an  the stadium is gorgeous, right on the water, but it was cold!!!

Today we checked out the farmer's market at the ferry building - it was massive!  We started with the shops in the building, where I found vegan donuts!  I tried a Mexican hot chocolate one, and it was chocolatey, cinnamon goodness. We then ate our way through the market, trying a variety of samples. There is also a craft portion of the market, so we spent some time browsing there too. We then walked along the water through the tourist areas on our way to Fort Mason to try Greens. Unfortunately, when we arrived we realized that the restaurant was  closed for a private party. Luckily, they have a to go counter, so w  picked up sandwiches and ate them in the park where we chatted with a dad and his 21 year old son. My grilled tofu sandwich with avocado was delicious, as was the oatmeal granola cookie I had for dessert.

We made a quick stop at Ghiradhelli Square before waiting in a very long line to get on a  cable car. It was worth the wait, though, as we climbed  up and down the hills. I kept having  Full House flashbacks  as w  drove along...

Kristin picked our dinner restaurant - Baonecci in North Beach. They are  known for their thin crust pizza, and they did not disappoint. We started with their house  salad, which was simple and delicious. I had a spicy pizza with lots of garlic and parsley. I had read that this pizza was very spicy, but I didn't get that at first. However, there were a few bites that set my mouth on fire!  It was good, though - I like to keep it spicy.

Tomorrow night we go to Millennium - I'll have lots to write about that one!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


In the past two days, we did a ton of driving. We pretty much spent all of today in the car.  It sucked, except for the fact that we drove the Pacific Coast Highway, which was beautiful and extremely fun - I loved the windy mountain roads. What did not suck about the last two days was the food. Let's begin with lunch on Wednesday. We were on the 101 in Redwood National Park. There's not too much going on there in terms of civilization. However, a very nice park ranger recommended the Beachcomber Cafe in a little seaside town called Trinidad. This place was delicious!  It's very small and quaint inside, and the staff was super friendly. I had a cup of coconut curry zucchini soup that was amazing with a salad topped with avocado and hummus with a garlic walnut dressing - yum!!

Last night we stayed at the Requa Inn in Klamath, CA. What a cute place!  It's an old inn from the 1800s run by a family. Each room is different and charming. I spent a relaxing hour reading outside in a rocking chair before dinner. Speaking of dinner - it was amazing!  They serve a four course meal every night and will accommodate any diet. We sat with a couple from Columbus, Ohio and a woman a little younger than us from Asheville. The company and food were both excellent!  The vegan menu consisted of broccoli, radishes, and onion; beets in a delicious breading with potatoes; fry bread; hazelnut fritters with cashew cheese, snow peas, and other veggies; and almond cake in a berry sauce. I am so glad we decided to do dinner at the inn. My only regret is that we had to leave before breakfast was served this morning.

Today we drove from Klamath to San Francisco. That is one long drive. We made it longer by taking route one, but it was totally worth it. We stopped in Mendocino for lunch. I wanted to try the vegan restaurant Raven, but unfortunately they do not serve lunch. So we tried the Mendocino Cafe instead, which proved to be an excellent choice. We ate on the deck with a slight view of the ocean. We shared some delicious guacamole and I had a Thai burrito with  a yummy chili sauce. When we finally made it to San Francisco and dropped off the rental car, we ended the evening with a quick Vietnamese dinner  at Sunflower. The Imperial Rolls were excellent and I got a huge portion of vermicelli noodles. Now I'll be able to have dinner before the Giants game tomorrow night!

Looking forward to more good eating in San Francisco...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crater Lake

Today's post is not about food. Though I ate plenty of it, none of it is blog worthy. However, the awesomeness that is Crater Lake is blog worthy, though I'll keep it short because I am tired. Crater Lake is the bluest, clearest lake I have ever seen. Most people view if from the top of the crater, and it is breathtaking. But I am not most people. So instead, we hiked into the crater to the shore of the lake. And then I went into this crystal clear, very cold lake that is 700 feet deep.  Had I known you could go in the lake, I would have put my bathing suit on and actually swam. But since I did not know that, I had to settle for wading. Regardless, it was awesome, and I got to chat with some really nice people in the lake. Totally worth the strenuous hike back up to the rim!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Portland West

Today's post is going to be about food. There is so much vegan food in Portland. I want to live  here.

Lunch was at the food trucks, of course. Kristin had not yet had the Portland food truck experience, and she needed an introduction. I tried street food from Georgia (the country, not the state) at Kargi Gogo. It was so good!  I couldn't decide what to get, so the vendor suggested a vegan sampler plate. It contained grilled eggplant filled with a delicious walnut spread, pastry filled with a black bean spread, and a tomato cucumber salad with walnut dressing. Everything was amazing!!!

After some browsing at Powell's, we got in line for Voodoo Doughnuts. I tried the vegan chocolate coconut - yum!  Kristin tried the maple bacon, which she loved, and the Mexican hot chocolate, which she did not love as much. Our next stop was the vegan "mall".  Okay, it wasn't so much a mall as a block of vegan stores, but I'll take it!  I picked up an apricot strudel to go from Sweet Pea Bakery before wandering around Food Fight, the all vegan grocery store. I would move here for this block of vegan goodness alone!

Our last stop of the day was Vita Cafe for dinner. Kristin found this one on Yelp when we discovered that my favorite Thai restaurant is closed on Mondays. Cafe Vita was a great second choice!  I had tempeh and broccoli in a delicious, spicy ginger sauce. Kristin had lasagna with both marinara and vegan pesto. For dessert, we tried the raw peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake - amazing!  Needless to say, we are both very full. Good thing we are headed to Crater Lake tomorrow to hike off some calories!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Olympic National Park

What an amazing weekend!  Olympic National Park is gorgeous!  We arrived in the late afternoon and checked into our cabin, which was right on Lake Crescent.  The lake is crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise color. We didn't swim in it, as it wasn't really warm enough, but I certainly admired it from our back patio.  Once we had settled into our cabin, we drove to the hot springs, which we discovered were actually chlorinated pools fed by the springs - not nearly as exciting as natural ones.  So we hiked to a waterfall instead before heading back to our resort for dinner.

Saturday began with coffee and breakfast by the lake. I honestly could have sat there all day, but we had more to see.  So we made the two hour drive to the rainforest. Temperate rain forests at  quite different from topical ones, but no less beautiful. Evergreen trees tower overhead and mosses hang from the branches. We hiked four miles into the forest, along the Hoh River. Afterward, we drove a bit more to the coast and enjoyed the rocky beach as the tide rolled in before making the long drive back to the cabin.

Today we tried two trails. The first was short, but led to a 90 foot waterfall.  We then drove up to Hurricane Ridge, at an elevation of about 5,200 feet.  The views were spectacular, but we wanted more, so we hiked along the ridge to the summit. Words can't even describe the hike; it's as if we were in a painting. Wildflowers lined the trail and green mountains surrounded us. The sky was deep blue and cloudless. At the top, we could see Port Angeles and Victoria, BC. It was definitely one of the most scenic hikes I've ever done.

This post is definitely not food centered. While I ate plenty, the food in th  park is nothing to write home about. However, we ate at two really good restaurants in Port Angeles. On Friday, we had lunch at the Next Door Gastropub, where I had a delicious handmade black bean burger. For lunch today, we tried Cafe New Day in Port Angeles, where I had a barley and mushroom burger with caramelized onions and spicy mustard. It came with homemade  sweet potato chips - yum!  For dinner tonight, we went to Revel by my request so that I could sample whatever vegan goodness was on the menu for the evening. We ended  the night at Molly Moon's Ice Cream, where I was happy to find coconut milk ice cream on the menu.

Off to bed so I can get up early to run by the sound one last time before another day of eating in Portland!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Final Seattle Day

For our last full day in Seattle, we bought a trolley ticket so that we could hop on and off while learning a little more about the city. We took the trolley to Pioneer Square for the underground tour, where Ben Folds played in my head for the entire hour and a half (we can be happy underground...) Our tour guide was quite entertaining and even though I've taken the tour before, I was very engaged. Kristen wanted to check out Salumi for lunch, and since I've  dragged her to every veg restaurant in Seattle, I figured it was th  least I could do. I was  pleasantly surprised to find a grilled eggplant sandwich on the menu - it was delicious!

After lunch we hopped back on to the trolley and rode up to the Pike brewery where we had a very informative tour. Samples were not included in the tour, so we bought bought a six taste sampler at the bar afterward. We caught the trolley back to Seattle Center where we switched lines and headed up into Queen Anne. We stopped at Karey Park for a spectacular view of the city. 

For dinner, we met up with friends who chose Marjorie. The staff there was  excellent!  Our waitress patiently outlined everything that was vegan or could be made vegan - there were a lot of options!  We had fried plantain chips and guacamole, risotto, and mushroom Brusschetta to share, all of which were made so that I could eat them. I decided on the pizza for my meal, which was made without cheese. It had very thin slices of lemon, which made for an interesting taste. Our waitress was very apologetic when she came to tell us about dessert because  I couldn't eat most of it. However, I was so full, I wouldn't  have been able to eat it anyway. 

Tomorrow we head to the Olympic National Park!  There is no Internet service there, so it will be a few days before my next post. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day Two - Seattle Eating

Today was all about food!  Yes, we did some touristy things, like the Space Needle, but mostly we explored neighborhoods and ate. We started in the University district. I was hoping to try Pizza Pi for some vegan pizza, but unfortunately they are not open for lunch. Luckily there were four other vegan restaurants to choose from in a three block radius, so we tried the Wayward Vegan Cafe instead. We ordered a lot of fried food - artichokes, sweet potato fries, and buffalo "chicken".  I also ordered a salad to add some healthiness to the meal. Though delicious, my stomach was not too happy afterward - I rarely eat fried food. We walked it off in the nearby Ravenna Park, a city oasis with woodsy trails. 

After a late afternoon break, we met a friend for drink at Rob Roy where I had a three dollar beer. We didn't order food, but I can comment on their excellent music selection. Kristin and I parted ways with Amy and headed up to Capitol Hill, where we tried Highline. It was not what we expected!  I was expecting a pub, which is how it is advertised. In reality, it was a bit of a dive. However, we got to sit outside, and the sandwiches were delicious. On our way home, we stopped at the Black Coffee Co-Op for a vegan sweet potato cinnamon roll - delicious!  It's a good thing I ran four miles this morning and walked an additional six or so during the day, given the number of calories I consumed today!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day One - Seattle

The weather is gorgeous here!  It's so nice to escape the heat and humidity of the northeast.  Kristin and I made our way to Pike's Place Market and started the morning at the original Staarbucks. We then wandered the marketplace visiting numerous shops.  We bought lunch in the market (Indian takeout for me) and ate in the park. It was nice to sit in the summer sun without sweltering. After lunch we rode the new (to me) Ferris wheel and admired the city from above.

And now on to the food!  We tried Cafe Flora for dinner, a vegetarian restaurant in Capitol Hill. To start, we split the bucket of sweet potato fries with a delicious aioli dipping sauce, which they made vegan upon request. For dinner, Deb and I both tried the potato and arugula cakes, which were served with vegan pesto and a cherry sauce - yum!  Scott and Kristin both had an Israeli couscous salad with grilled eggplant and morel mushrooms that looked delicious and they both enjoyed (though it was salty and contained a lot of cilantro).  I didn't try it because it had a yogurt sauce and feta. I was tempted to get dessert, because I could, but was too full. However, now that I've digested a bit, I may have to finish off my vegan oatmeal cookie from the market this afternoon...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Portland East

I know I said that I would begin my blog on my west coast trip, but this weekend I was in Portland, Maine, or "Portland East" as my sister likes to call it.  Like its western counterpart, Portland, Maine is a pretty veg-friendly city.  On Thursday, my family and I went to Pepperclub, which caters to all with its varied menu.  The waitress was very helpful, indicating which breads in the basket were vegan and which were not.  I ordered a tempeh spring roll to start, which was delicious!  The sauce it came with was great, and my sister used it as a dipping sauce for her bread when I was done with my spring roll.  For my entree, I ordered tofu cakes (similar to crab cakes, which my mom and stepdad ordered) over a huge bowl of veggies in a spicy sauce.  The dish was excellent, but too large to finish.  Unfortunately, I didn't leave room for one of their vegan desserts.

On Saturday, my sister, brother, and brother-in-law indulged me with a trip to Silly's for lunch.  Like Pepperclub, there is a lot on the menu that it non-veg, but they are great for vegans and vegetarians.  They have a separate fryer for vegan entrees.  The waitress was very helpful and clear about which options were vegan and which could be made vegan.  Their menu is also very clear in terms of which dishes are vegan or can be made so.  We started off with an order of the fried pickles, which were amazing and gobbled up in minutes.  I ordered the vegan version of WeeBee Jammin' - jerk seasoned tofu, red beans and rice, vegan coleslaw, and fried plantains - yum!  My meat eating dining partners all enjoyed their entrees as well.  I snagged a buffalo fry or two from my sister (the waitress made sure they were cooked in the vegan fryer so I could sample!) - spicy and delicious!  I really wanted to try a soy shake, but I was way too full.  I'm glad my siblings were willing to make the trip.

Onward to the west!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Getting ready for the Pacific Northwest!

On Monday, I leave for a two week trip to the Pacific Northwest.  My travels begin in Seattle, and will take me to the Olympic National Park, Portland, Crater Lake, the Redwood Forest, and San Francisco.  There's a lot of good vegan eating on those stops, so at the advice of a friend, I decided to start this blog.  It combines two of my favorite things - traveling and finding delicious vegan food.  The cities I am visiting (especially Portland) have some great options, and I will be sure to share about them here!