Posts Tagged beer

VeganMoFo: Celebrations

This is my 300th post!  To celebrate, I figured I’d show you some celebration food.

St. Patrick’s Day – corned beef seitan, spinach potato patties, soda bread, a shamrock shake made with avocado and mint, and Guinness Extra Stout.  Guinness Extra Stout distributed in the US is vegan!

Cinco de Mayo – ground “beef” tacos with guacamole, rice and beans.

Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Covered Katie’s Snickerdoodle Blondies cut into cute little heart shapes.

Easter – homemade peanut butter cups.  I was going to make eggs but Michael’s was out of egg-shaped molds, so hearts it was!  The filling was 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter mixed with 2 teaspoons melted Earth Balance and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  The coating was a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips melted with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil.  The cups had a really good texture, but you could taste the coconut oil a bit, so I’d reduce it next time.

all packed up for shipping

I made the Ultimate Vegan Brownies from veganbaking.net to send to my mom for her birthday.  There are a few steps to the recipe, but it’s so worth it – they are by far the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had.  They’re the perfect mixture of fudgey and cakey and crumbly, and even have the desirable crunchy top.

We went to a San Francisco Giants tailgate for Dave’s cousin’s birthday, so I brought cupcakes – yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and white and orange sprinkles for the Giants fans.

I’m not a horseracing fan, but Dave and some of our friends are, so we had a little gathering for the Kentucky Derby.  I made Wolffie’s Derby Pie from La Dolce Vegan.  The filling starts as something like a dough, with flour, margarine, sugar and flax seeds, which you then combine with chocolate chips and walnuts.  It’s probably one of the richest things I’ve ever made, and so delicious.

Comments (3)

VeganMoFo: Eat Real 2012

The Eat Real Festival in Oakland has been an annual event since 2009, but I first found out about it last year since a friend was going.  It’s a three-day event with food vendors, a marketplace, demonstrations, a beer shed, wine barn, cocktail bar, and DIY contests.  There’s a lot of meat and cheese and animal celebration going on, but if you can avoid or ignore that part it’s a great place for vegans.  All items are $5 or less, so you can try smaller portions of lots of different things.

The festival posted a list of vegetarian items on their website, and Vegansaurus posted a list from an intrepid vegan who went the first night, so I set out Saturday with an idea of what I’d like to try.

I crossed out what I wasn’t interested in and highlighted what seemed the most intriguing.   I knew it was going to be crowded though, so I didn’t set my heart on anything in particular.

I was starving when we arrived, so I got the first vegan thing I saw, a bowl from Plum.  I was dubious of how all those ingredients were going to work together, and happily discovered that it was delicious.  The vadouvan curry broth was intensely flavorful, and the fresh veggies on top kept it from being to heavy.

It was really hot outside (September seems to be the height of summer around here), so I was seeking out something light and cool for my next dish.  Luckily, we stumbled upon Miss Pearl’s, who was offering marinated black eyed pea salad.  The apple cider vinaigrette was tangy and perfect on the peas and corn.  Plus, only two dollars!

Next up were sweet potato tots with spicy mango ketchup fro Little Green Cyclo.  I think sweet potato tots were less ubiquitous a year ago than they are now, and I needed them.

I was starting to get a little full, so we headed to the beer shed for some liquid refreshment.  They had a great selection of local beers.

You pay a few more dollars for the first beer and get this adorable mason jar to drink out of and take home.  I still use it all the time!

Hodo Soy is a local tofu maker, and I was so glad to see them representing at the festival.  (If you keep up with your vegan news, you may already know that Chipotle is now making vegan burritos using their Sofritas all over California.)  I tried the Kale Pesto Yuba, which I assume is kind of a play on pasta.  The yuba was a little chewy but definitely seemed pasta-esque, and the only fault I found with this dish is that it could’ve used a little more salt.

hello, gorgeous

Before we left, I HAD to get an ice cream sandwich from Big Wheel Cookie Co.  They were running out of lots of their cookies, but luckily they still had the vegan option – dark snickerdoodles with coconut-based chocolate ice cream.  So good.  The cookies were very sturdy and nicely spiced, and the ice cream was generously portioned, a perfect end to a hot day.

Eat Real 2013 is less than two weeks away, and I can’t wait to go knowing that there will be plenty for me to try!  The only thing I regret missing last year is bao from The Chairman, and I see they’re going to be back this year.  I’ve also got my eye on Hella Vegan Eats, Homeroom, No No Burger, and Rice Paper Scissors.

Comments (2)

VeganMoFo: One Day in NYC

Last October I got a last minute opportunity to go to New York City for two nights for a work trip.  I’d been to/through Manhattan a few times but never really had the chance to spend time there and explore, so I jumped at the chance and immediately started researching places to eat.  Food was, of course, the main attraction for me.  My workplace was paying for the flights and two nights at the Hilton Midtown.  I couldn’t afford to pay for another night on my own, so I decided to take a red eye in order to have a whole day to myself before I had to begin work functions.  Red eyes are always a better idea when booking than when actually taking them; I have a hard time sleeping on planes and get pretty wiped out.  But, it was too good of a deal to pass up!

My plan was:
breakfast – Cinnamon Snail
lunch – Candle Cafe
afternoon – Champs for Dun Well donuts or Bagel Store to pick up food for breakfast to bring back
dinner – pizza from Vinnie’s, beers at Brooklyn Brewery
dinner #2 (depending on tiredness/stomach capacity) – Beyond Sushi, Lula’s

When I discovered that Cinnamon Snail’s Friday location was a 15 minute walk from the hotel, my decision for breakfast was easy.  After landing at La Guardia at 9AM, cabbing it to the hotel, and checking in to my room which was surprisingly ready already, I headed to the truck that I had heard so much about.  The weather was overcast and drizzling, but I did not care.

I was absolutely starving and wanted one of the breakfast platters, and opted for the 200 Year Old Frog Man Breakfast Jamboree – maple pecan waffles with cardamom butter, candied pecans & Vermont maple syrup. Served with scrambled tofu, chipotle grilled seitan, and spicy French mustard greens.  I also got coffee, and a donut to enjoy later.  It was really hard to choose from the bakery case, everything looked amazing!

There was nowhere to sit near the truck, so I walked to the nearest park, Bryant Park, which I knew or from watching Project Runway.

This warm meal was perfect to fill my belly on a chilly, dreary morning.  The waffle was incredibly sweet, and incredibly good.  The spiced butter and maple syrup ran into the crevices, and the candied pecans were a nice crunchy contrast.  The greens were pretty bitter (and I like my greens bitter), but good when eaten next to the waffle.  The tofu scramble was standard; I do remember that it had some good herbs in it.  The seitan wasn’t my favorite.  The seasoning was good, but it was a little chewy.  I was plenty full from everything else though!

The next item on my agenda was lunch, so I needed to kill some time.  I checked out Parson’s (also of Project Runway fame) just because it was close by.

I walked through Times Square just to say I saw it, then hung out in the MOMA store for a while, to warm up and buy some Christmas presents.  (They have a great selection of super cute kids books.)

I also stopped by FAO Schwartz to see the piano from Big!  Around lunchtime I was just starting to feel a little hungry, so I started the walk up to Candle Cafe Upper East Side, about a half hour by foot.

The restaurant was pretty full, so I took a stool at the end of the bar, right by the smoothie supplies.

I started with a Green Goddess juice – mixed greens, apple, lemon and ginger.

The sandwiches and daily specials all sounded good, but I was overtired and starting to not feel so hot, so I stuck with the Good Food Plate, where you choose four sides and two sauces.  I went with steamed greens, mac & cheese, grilled tempeh, quinoa pilaf, and tahini and carrot ginger dressings.  The greens and quinoa pilaf were pretty plain, which made them perfect for mixing with the sauces.  The tempeh was well marinated and had a great grilled flavor.  I honestly didn’t love the mac & cheese.  It wasn’t bad, but just wasn’t very flavorful.

I really enjoyed my lunch at Candle Cafe.  The service was quick and friendly, and the people watching was great.  I was dead on my feet for the walk back…so, so tired.  I knew that taking a nap would force me to skip a planned destination or two, but I needed sleep more than anything else at that point.

I woke up after a few hours feeling much better, and recharged with the Cherry Chocolate Pretzel Party donut that I had bought from Cinnamon Snail.  This treat was definitely a party!  Possibly a party with too much going on.  I liked the donut okay, but wished I had stuck with a more classic flavor that I might have enjoyed more.

With that, I ventured over to Brooklyn, taking the NYC subway for the first time ever.  It’s a little confusing if you don’t know exactly where you’re trying to go!  I eventually got on the right train and managed to get off at the right stop, just over the Williamsburg Bridge.  My first stop was The Bagel Store.  I wouldn’t have much time for breakfast the next two mornings, nor were there any appealing options at the hotel, so I picked up some supplies to take back.  The Bagel Store was very cool.  They had all the typical flavors plus some seasonal options, and multiple flavors of tofu-based cream cheese!

From there, I headed to Vinnie’s Pizzeria.

this guy stepped out to instruct his dog just as I was taking a photo

When I first went into Vinnie’s I thought I was in the wrong place, and actually went back outside.  Although I had done my research beforehand, I didn’t see anything about vegan options anywhere.  Plus I think I was a little intimidated by the hipster vibe.  I went back in and found the section of the menu board I had missed, stating that they had vegan slices!  I should’ve taken a picture of the selection.  The guy behind the counter was really nice, and listed out all the vegan flavors for me to choose.  I took my pizza to go, so that I could enjoy it at Brooklyn Brewery.

I was a little sketched out by walking by myself at night, and very happy to turn the corner and see the big Brooklyn logo!

I bought some tokens, got a beer, and dug into the pizza.  I went with an eggplant parmesan slice and a bbq chicken slice, and they were both outstanding.  The crust was crispy even after walking ten minutes, and all the toppings were very flavorful.  They did have the Vegan Mac Attack available (topped with macaroni, ground beef, two cheeses and hot sauce), but I skipped it since I’d had mac with lunch.

As for the beer, it was great.  We used to drink Brooklyn Lager pretty often when we lived in Florida and can’t get it in California, so it’s a treat whenever we can have it.  The brewery is really cool place, it’s a big industrial style room with long picnic tables.  Groups of people were having lively discussions or playing games.  I didn’t mind being there by myself, I sipped my beers while reading a local paper and playing on my phone, and listening to conversations.  After a few beers I was getting really tired, so I gave away my last token and headed back to the hotel.  Despite wanting to go to Lula’s reeeally bad, there was no way I was doing anything else that night.

I had planned to rise early the next morning and run in Central Park, but that did not happen.  I was still on west coast time, and got up just in time to get ready and eat breakfast.

I sliced open the everything bagel from The Bagel Store with a plastic knife and spread on the jalapeno tofu cream cheese, and it was SO GOOD you guys.  I know everyone thinks it’s a joke when people say “New York bagels are better”, but they really are.  I can’t even explain why it was so good, but it was dense and chewy and crispy and light all at the same time, and the jalapeno cream cheese was the perfect complement.  I didn’t really take into account that the whole reason I was there was to talk to people all day…I chewed a lot of gum…

I had to be at my table from 10 to 3, and could only sneak away for 15 minutes and eat what they had available for lunch, which was a plain green salad and a sad veggie sandwich with the cheese taken off.  It was at least enough to get me through the day, along with a good amount of coffee and sparkling water.

After the forum was over I had to pack up and move hotels, since the hotel I was at was booked full for the second night.  The new hotel was right by Koreatown and I needed a quick early dinner before heading out to meet friends, so I checked out Woorijip.

It’s a buffet style, not vegetarian but offering plenty of vegetarian options.  Clockwise from bottom left: rice noodles with kimchi, greens, mung bean sprouts, bok choy and eggplant, seaweed salad, inari, veggie sushi, and tofu with vegetables.

That evening I went to watch the Gator game at a bar in Tribeca (whose name I can’t remember), which was surprisingly filled with fellow Gators!  After taking the subway back it was pretty late, and I needed to pack.  Believe it or not, I was hungry again, so I sought out anything nearby and found there was a Whole Foods a few blocks away that was still open.

Veggie wrap, salad roll with peanut sauce, Sweet & Sara S’more, and a beer.  Good packing fuel.

After a few hours of sleep I was up and getting ready to leave.  I enjoyed the last of my New York food, a pumpkin spice bagel also from The Bagel Store.  It was moist enough to eat on its own, with a cinnamon sugar topping.  A perfect way to end the trip!  I really enjoyed my short time in New York, and would love to go back sometime soon.  Beyond Sushi is at the top of my wish list for next time.

Comments (3)

Vegan Food & Beer Fest 2012; VeganMoFo 2013

So, VeganMoFo is in September this year.  I thought about signing up over a month ago, and I even came up with a fun theme.  And I meant to plan for it and cook ahead in order to be prepared, then I realized I just didn’t have the time so I sadly decided not to sign up.  Just now, I looked at the backlog of photos from the last year that I’d love to write about and realized I ought to do it, even if my posts are totally random and sometimes very short.  So, I’ve done it!  VeganMoFo here I come!  My goal is to post every weekday in September.

————————————————————————————————————————-

I know that Vegan Food & Beer Festival 2013 already happened and it was bigger and better than the year before, but I was lucky enough to attend in 2012 and I have to post about it!  When I first found out it was planned for three days before my birthday I asked Dave if we could go as my birthday present, but we decided that it was too far away and too much money to go to LA just for one day.  Then Dave’s sister, whose birthday is a few days after mine and lives in LA, invited us to her birthday party at Marina Del Rey that evening.  Serendipity!  We decided to drive down that morning, go to the beer fest, clean up, go to the boat party, crash at a hotel, then drive back the next morning.

We left at 6AM in hopes to get to the festival by 1, but traffic is always hellish getting into LA, and we had to drop the car off at the hotel and get a cab back to West Hollywood.  We got there closer to two and were starving, so we headed to the closest and fastest food source, The FrankenStand, which has the cutest logo ever.

It was a premade sausage (Tofurky, I believe), but that’s okay!  They had lots of homemade toppings and interesting condiments to choose from, which made it especially tasty.

With some food in our stomachs, we quickly developed a system.  Dave wasn’t that interested in trying all the different foods, so he went and got beer samples for us while I waited in line for food, and boy were there lines!  I really wanted to try Seabirds, but the line was just too long.  Since we arrived late and our time was limited, I basically stood in line then ate, then stood in line then ate…

Next, I headed to the Doomie’s Home Cookin’ tent for their barbecue seitan sandwich. which was perfect for such a warm day.  The sandwich was on the smaller side, as were most of the offerings at the festival, which made it easy to try lots of different things.

I couldn’t resist trying their chocolate covered bacon too.  It started melting right away, but it was really interesting; the bacon was extremely salty next to the sweet chocolate.  The bacon part was a little chewy, and I think it might’ve worked better if it was crunchy.

Next up was Plant Food for People and their delicious jackfruit tacos.  They came with a choice of two sauces, and I believe this was chipotle cream and green chile salsa.

I was getting pretty full by this point, but I can’t pass up vegan southern food!

Sadly, by that point in the day they were out of most everything except the mac and cheese, and it wasn’t my favorite.  Even though it was super hot outside, the cheesy shreds were clumpy and not melted.  I’m sure I would’ve liked their other food if I had gotten there earlier!

I couldn’t eat another morsel at that point, but I also couldn’t resist getting some baked goods to go from Amanda’s Bakery.  I ate them the next day on the way home.

Apple stuffed donut!  I don’t think I have to say that it was delicious…

I believe this was a maple crumb cupcake.  (This is the problem with not blogging about something for over a year!)  Whatever it was, I do remember that it was really delicious.  The frosting looked lovely before it sat overnight and came on a road trip :)

Although it was hot and crowded and there were long lines for food, we really enjoyed the festival and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who can go!  I hope the event keeps going and growing and would love to go back someday myself.

Comments (4)

On The Road Again, Part II

For the second leg of our tour, we were away from home for four nights.  This was the part where I got to go to Portland for the first time, and I was pretty excited for that!  We got up Monday morning and headed for Eureka, CA.  Once you get past Santa Rosa there is really not very much on the way, so my lunch was what I could scrounge up at the freeway corner store.

Yum.  Actually, I had never tried the Naked gold machine before, and it was quite nice.

When we arrived in Eureka it was like a ghost town.  It was Memorial Day, and nothing seemed to be open.  We checked in at the venue, and the bartender recommended that Eureka Natural Foods might be open, mentioning that they had a deli-style area including vegan options.

I had a hard time choosing, so I got a few things.

Hugely stuffed sandwich – horseradish vegenaise, spicy mustard, carrot, cucumber, pickles, tempeh, sprouts, avocado, tomato and lettuce on sprouted wheat bread.  The sandwich guy mentioned that they marinate the tempeh in soy sauce then saute it, and he cooked it again while making the sandwich so that it was nice and crispy.

Curry tofu samosa.  This was fine, but I think it would’ve been better warm.

Corn chowder, with carrot, potato and cauliflower too.  It was rainy outside, and the soup was hot, well-seasoned and comforting.

I’m not sure I would purposefully go to Eureka again, but if I did I would make a point to stop at Eureka Natural Foods.  They had a cute little area to eat the prepared foods, and walking around I saw lots of products that I would normally buy.  They had flavors of Zevia I had never seen!

For breakfast the next morning, I tried Artisana’s Cashini Butter.  We had stayed at a Hampton Inn, so I even had the luxury of toasting my english muffin!  Cashini, which is a combo of cashew butter and tahini, is delicious!  It tastes great on its own, but would probably be even better with some jam.  I felt really healthy eating something that said “high in calcium & iron” on the package.

We stopped over for lunch in a random commercial area and settled on Pita Pit.  I lived near a Pita Pit in college and ate it a bunch (admittedly, usually the tuna, before I was vegetarian), so going there is kind of nostalgic for me.  Although they have a new spicy black bean patty which is apparently vegan, I went with the old stand-by of falafel and hummus.

We arrived in Portland and sought out a sports bar to watch the A’s game, and managed to find probably the one restaurant in the city with nothing vegan on the menu.  Even the veggie burger had egg in it.  So, plans changed and we headed down the street to La Sirenita, a taqueria with decent online reviews.

The woman at the counter helped me figure out what was vegan, and I ended up with a very tasty fajita burrito with black beans.  I know the inside of a burrito isn’t very pretty, but this one was good enough to warrant showing!

After dinner we went to the hotel, and I started narrowing down my Portland must-do short list.  We only had one day there, and you can be sure I was planning to make the most of it!

With the help of The PPK forums, I decided on Junior’s for brunch.  Junior’s is a cute little hole-in-the-wall diner in the southeast quadrant which purportedly has lines out the door on weekend mornings.  I knew the boys wouldn’t want to spend quite as long as me in the city, so I hopped on public transit and went on my own adventure.

After reading this post I had a hard time deciding on the superhero scramble or the potato plate, but I went with the scramble in the end.  I think the sausage component won me over.  This scramble had “garden sausage”, tomato and spinach, and the potatoes were well cooked and crispy.  The toast came with earth balance, and I had a happy tummy.

My next stop was walking distance from Junior’s.

The vegan mini mall!

Cute stuff from Herbivore – a tote, a t-shirt and Papa Tofu.

Haul from Food Fight – white chocolate chips, Dandies marshmallows, bulk soy curls, Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Peace Bomb, and a Jokerz candy bar.

While I was shopping the mini mall, the boys called and said they were on their way into town, to go to Prost!, a German beer bar and restaurant.  While Prost! sounded excellent in and of itself, it also happens to be next to the food carts where Native Bowl is located, so it was a double win for me.  I picked out some goodies at Sweetpea Baking Company and hopped in the van.

On the way, I ate this amazingly delicious apricot danish from Sweetpea.  I don’t think I’d ever had a vegan danish, and this one didn’t disappoint!

The super-flaky crust was more salty than sweet, which played perfectly off the sugary jam and glaze.

I drank a delicious wheat beer and willed my stomach to have more room in it…Around 3PM, I decided I could handle lunch before the carts closed.

Because I wasn’t very hungry, I had a hard time deciding on what to choose.  The guy working the cart helped me narrow it down, and I went with the Alberta Bowl – jasmine rice, garlic tofu, Fire Breathing Dragon Sauce, housemade furikake, shredded green cabbage, carrots and scallions.

I knew the bowl was going to be good, but didn’t know it would be THIS GOOD.  The rice and tofu were cooked perfectly, the sauce was creamy and spicy, and the raw veggies gave it the perfect crunch.  I am in love with this bowl and can’t stop thinking about trying to recreate it at home.  The bowl was so good, in fact, that Dave chose to get one for himself over the other meaty food cart options.  He said his Couch Bowl was maybe a tad too spicy, but other than that he enjoyed it.

After some time driving around and checking out Powell’s (which might be the biggest bookstore ever), we decided to go back to the hotel to rest up before the show.  I had one more item on my short list of must-dos to take care of first.

Homegrown Smoker, ya’ll.  I couldn’t possibly fit anything else in my belly at that point, so we took it to go.

The entire menu looked fantastic, but their sandwich special made ordering easy.  (I did not get the fried oreos.  Even on vacation, I’m not sure I could let myself get fried oreos…)

This sandwich was seriously amazing.  The bread was really sturdy and somehow held all the fillings together.  The smoked soy curls were possibly the closest thing to meat that I’ve had since being vegetarian/vegan, texture- and taste-wise.  The mac and cheese was really good; it seemed like they sauced it once when making it, then sauced it again when plating, which made it really creamy.  I would compare the flavor to Souley Vegan’s mac.

My stomach was starting to protest at this point, but I couldn’t not eat this peanut butter brownie that I had bought at  Sweetpea earlier.  That would just be ridiculous.

After eating my way through Portland I was pretty pooped, so I got a soy latte at Stumptown Coffee Roasters before the show.  Even though it was ordered to go, the barista poured this cute little soy heart on top.

As expected, I pretty much fell in love with Portland and can’t wait to go back in August for Vida Vegan Con!

Breakfast on the way to Seattle was Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter on Good Seed bread.  Separately they are wonderful, and together it was the best breakfast ever.  I’m pretty sure you could ice a cake with the hazelnut butter, it’s so sweet and rich.  The bread is chunky with seeds and whole grains, and almost tastes buttery on its own.  I want to hire Dave to live in my house and bake bread every day.

Arriving in Seattle after a few hours, it was high time for lunch.  We drove by the venue just to check it out, and as you so often do on tour, we ate at the closest decent-looking restaurant.  This one had a big Pho sign in the window, which was enough to draw us in.

I started with fresh rolls of fried tofu, sweet potato, carrot, noodles and lettuce, with peanut sauce.

Tofu pho – I was excited to see actual vegetables in the bowl!  This was pretty good for your standard veggie pho.

A few of us had never been to Seattle, so of course we had to check out the Space Needle and Pike’s Market.  We had a very confusing bus ride back.  There was a sign over the place where you pay that said something to the effect of “pay as you get off”, but then nobody ever asked for money.  If Seattle doesn’t want my two dollars, they’re not getting it!

photo by Eric Atria

Most of the gang had pizza by the slice for dinner, and I convinced Stacie from Morningbell to take a hike with me to check out Cyber Dogs, a vegetarian internet cafe serving international gourmet hot dogs.  Intriguing, right?  I couldn’t decide between two dogs, so I just got both!

(iPhone pictures because my memory card was full)

Chicago-style dog – brat with dill pickle spear, tomato, pickled peppers, celery salt and mustard.  We realized after being served that these were not hot dogs you pick up and eat.  Stacie ordered a chili cheese dog, and couldn’t even see the dog under all the chili!  This dog was really tasty and I loved the pickle spear.  My only complaint is that there was a whooole lot of mustard, and I am generally a mustard lover.

Hungarian Goulash Dog.  I really only needed one dog for dinner, but this one was too amazingly weird not to try.  Potatoes, “beef”, celery, carrots and noodles stewed with Hungarian spices and topped with “bacon” and kraut.  There’s a hot dog and bun under all that, and there were actually lasagna-style noodles and veggie bacon lining the bun, and some sort of liquid pooling in the bottom.  Despite the wackiness, this actually tasted really good.  I couldn’t tell the potatoes from the beef from the vegetables, but I forged on and got through about half of it.  I would say it’s worth trying if you’re looking for something different.

We had a place to stay in Seattle, but decided to drive home through the night instead.  We just wanted to get back home.  The snacks I had packed came in handy, especially the ProBar.  Tour isn’t always the most convenient form of vacation, but I had a great time, saw some new places, and ate some great food!

Comments (22)

On The Road Again

Unless you know me in real life, you probably don’t know that I used to be in a some-what successful ska-punk band in college.  We never got signed or made a whole lot of money, but we did go on a few tours, including one to the United Kingdom, and we had a whole lot of fun.  I’m in a different band now, and I never really thought I would go on tour again because we’re “adults” with “jobs” and “responsibilities”.  A band that we are friends with from Florida, Morningbell, contacted us a while back, asking if we would be interested in going on an eight day west coast tour with them.  We would provide and haul the gear, and they would do all the hard work of booking the tour and making arrangements.  The answer was yes!  It was a different kind of tour, because we were actually at home for three days in the middle as opposed to being gone the whole time.

The thing about tour is, you’re in it together.  You obviously spend a lot of time in the van, but you also spend a surprising amount of time just waiting around, and you have to kind of go with the flow.  My goal on the trip was to eat as much delicious vegan food as possible without being a pain to anyone else.  I have a lot of pictures, so I’m gonna split this into two posts.

I prepared for tour by stocking up on some snacks and breakfast items, so that I would only really have to worry about finding lunch and dinner each day.  Apples, fruit leather, cheddar crackers, emergen-c and stevia, english muffins, split pea soup, bananas, kale chips, pumpernickel pretzels, a pro bar, bragg’s-roasted almonds, and a few kinds of nut butter.  The paper grocery bag that held my food became known as my feedbag, as in “hey guys, can you see if there’s a banana in my feedbag?”.  I also took a bunch of big bottles of water so that I wouldn’t have to buy small bottles at gas stations, and we may have stashed a few bottles of two buck chuck.

I was particularly excited about these.

And these.

I tried the “kool ranch” kale chips on the way down to LA.  They didn’t taste particularly ranchey, but did have those undertones of garlic and onion, and were very tasty.  The whole bag only had 200 calories, and I could only manage to get through half of the bag as an afternoon snack.  Filling!

I was hoping to eat at either Veggie Grill or Real Food Daily before our show in LA, as both were relatively close to the venue.  What I learned quickly is that in LA, “relatively close” means count on 45 minutes in traffic, so sadly I didn’t get to either.  We stopped at a grocery store and I got what I could.

Apparently this is the part where we all look at our hands.

Morningbell

The next morning, I grabbed a soy latte from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a chain which seemed to be all over LA.

For breakfast, I tried the maple almond butter on an english muffin.  This stuff is the business.  Seriously, if all almond butter tasted like this I would eat it constantly.  Also, I learned that english muffins are hard to fork split without a fork.

Our lunch stop that day was at a stereotypical highway-side fast food mecca, and my choices came down to Subway or Taco Bell.  The veggies at Subway sounded really good, but so did the protein of a Taco Bell bean burrito, so I did what any normal person would do and got both.  No pictures, but the sandwich was possibly the best Subway I’ve ever had, due to the addition of avocado.

Upon arrival in San Jose we had about an hour until load in, so we checked out the Vietnamese place across the street.  On tour, you often have to eat what is close and easy.

Luckily, they had a few vegetarian dishes and I chose the tofu stir fry.  It wasn’t the most amazing stir fry every, but it was a warm and welcome addition to my tummy.

The show in San Jose was actually in a record store, Streetlight Records.  This is True Mad North, some of whom are old friends of Dave’s from high school.  I <3 these guys.

The next morning was Saturday, and I had to go in to work.  Well, they didn’t make me go, but there were some things I really wanted to take care of before I was gone for a whole ‘nother week, so I went in for a few hours.  As a reward for being dutiful, I treated myself to brunch at The Donut Farm.

Tofu scramble with spinach, mushrooms, herbs and green onion, hash browns and sourdough with house-made “butter”.  Sadly, they were out of the Dave’s Killer Bread they usually have, so I had to settle for sourdough.  My quest for Dave’s Killer Bread will continue in part II.

Apple fritter and coffee with coconut creamer.  I think I like Ronald’s apple fritters a little better, but really, if we’re ranking vegan apple fritters we’re splitting hairs.

I didn’t want to buy any groceries the two days we were at home, so it was mostly burritos and Chinese, which isn’t worth reporting since I eat them all the time!

The next day, we were fortunate enough to play a show at the Russian River Brewpub in Santa Rosa.

According to Barnivore, the beers brewed at the brewpub aren’t vegan, but the beers in bottles which are brewed off-site are.  So, bottled beer it was!  This redemption blond ale was really light and tasty.

Their online menu didn’t list a vegan pizza, but the in-store menu did.  This is “Mary’s Vegan Pizza”, which had spinach, artichoke, green pepper and olives.  It was a good pizza, but it really could have used a pop of flavor, like something spicy or sun-dried tomatoes or something.  Nevertheless, I’m not complaining any time I find something labeled vegan on a menu.

That’s all for today!  I’ll be back soon with part II, in which we went north to Portland and Seattle.

Comments (10)

Mendocino Birthday

My birthday was this weekend, and I asked Dave to take me to Mendocino as my present.  We only went for one day and one night, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to sight see, but we had a great time and ate some excellent food.  Despite living in the bay area for over two years now, I haven’t spent much time in the north bay, which is really something I should remedy!

Mendocino is a good three and a half hour drive from home, on quite possibly the windiest road I have ever driven.  By the time we arrived, we were starving.  Thanks to a timely post on Vegansaurus, I knew just where to go.  We pulled into the tiny town of Mendocino and parked right in front of The Mendocino Cafe.

I took it as a good sign that they had my favorite flower, alstroemeria, on the table.

As suggested in the Vegansaurus post, I ordered the Thai Burrito with tofu.  I thought the whole bush of cilantro on top was an interesting touch!  This didn’t taste authentically Thai per say, but maybe “California Thai”, by which I mean the blend of flavors suggested Thai food.  The inside was stuffed with onion, zucchini, red pepper, celery, brown rice, sauteed tofu and peanut sauce, and it was served with the most delicious chili sauce.  I also had a glass of malbec, because when it’s your birthday and you’re in Mendocino, you can have wine with lunch.  This was a tasty and filling lunch, and the service was very friendly, and I would definitely return to the Mendocino Cafe.

After lunch we wandered around a bit, and came across this health food store, Corners of the Mouth, which appears to inhabit what used to be a church.  The store was small, but had a good bulk section and lots of healthy staples, including plenty of vegan stuff.

I bought both powdered and flaked dulse from Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company.  I love dulse!

We settled in to Patterson’s Pub for a while to watch the end of the A’s game.

I believe this was Dave’s favorite part of the trip…

After checking in to our room and resting for a bit, we headed for the main attraction – dinner at Raven’s Restaurant.  Raven’s was the reason I chose Mendocino; it’s a fully vegan, gourmet restaurant in the Stanford Inn, about two minutes south of Mendocino.  If we could’ve afforded it, we would’ve just stayed at the inn, but…the rooms are a little pricey.

The Stanford Inn grounds have a wonderful garden, with lots of vegetables and edible flowers and other pretty plants.

giant fennel!

giant chard!

There was also a llama and two horses, which sadly I did not get close enough to pet.  I think the llama might have spit at me, anyway.

We arrived a bit early and enjoyed a local beer by the fireplace.  The restaurant is fully vegan, and not afraid to show it!  They had a host of vegan books on sale in the lobby, including some health-related books.

local wines

The Stanford Inn is very dog-friendly.  I watched this little guy while we waited for our table.

Amuse bouche (so fancy!) -  sweet rice balls with some sort of tamari sauce.  These were delicious, and tasted of charred onion in a good way.  Dave was abhorred when I ate the leaf underneath.  I’m pretty sure it was just a shiso leaf!

The wine list tells you what is vegan!  This is a very cool feature that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

I chose the Meyer Family Cellars Syrah, and liked it a lot.  I’m a sucker for a good shiraz.

Appetizer #1 – Spicy King “Crab” Roll, made of mushrooms, with spicy sauce and cucumber salad.  The bigger pieces without sauce were okay, but the pieces with spicy sauce were outstanding.  Before I went vegan, I would order veggie sushi just to have something to dip in spicy sauce, and it had been a long time since I had it!  Dave was again abhorred when I ate the little flower on the plate.  I told him they wouldn’t put anything on the plate that wasn’t edible, but I guess he’s not into the idea of eating flowers.  It tasted nice!  Tasted like you would expect a flower to taste.

Appetizer #2 – Crab(less) cake with some sort of tangy sauce, fried capers and arugula.  (The menu changes seasonally, so I don’t remember exactly what the sauce was, but it was delicious!)  There were whole oyster mushrooms in the cakes, which gave it an interesting texture.  The only small thing I would change for this dish would be to lightly dress the arugula, since it was a little dry.  Very minor complaint!

My entree – potato gratin with maple-glazed vegetables and oyster mushrooms.  Dave was flabbergasted that carrots come in a color other than orange!  Damned if I don’t know what the sauce on top of the potatoes was, but I could’ve dove into a pool of it and eaten my way out.  There was a green puree under the potatoes that you can’t really see, which was a nice counterpoint to the potatoes and sauce.

Dave’s entree – house-made ravioli with some sort of squash filling, cashew alfredo sauce, kale, leek and mushrooms.  This sauce was really amazing too!  Raven’s really knows what they’re doing with those creamy sauces.

For dessert, we chose the bananas foster, which came with house-made chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams.  The chocolate and strawberry ice creams were outstanding.

I would highly recommend Raven’s Restaurant.  Even Dave, who doesn’t always love vegan food, said he really enjoyed the meal, and was stuffed by the end of it.  The food was fantastic, the setting was beautiful and relaxing, and the service was impeccable.  I can only hope that some day I get to choose from the breakfast menu!  And pet the llama.

After a good night’s sleep, we headed south, stopping at The Little River Inn for brunch.

More alstroemeria!

I ordered the Vegan Rancheros, which is corn tortillas with black beans, spinach, green onion, peppers, chiles, pico de gallo and avocado.  There’s another corn tortilla under that pile of green.  This was very, very tasty, but unfortunately not as filling as I had hoped.  Regardless, I never complain about finding a vegan menu item at a non-vegan restaurant, and they had soy milk for the coffee, which is always a bonus.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the scenery.  By the way, I haven’t forgotten about my 31 by 31.  I’ll post a roundup soon, then get to working on 32 by 32!

Comments (7)

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 250 other followers