Vegan MoFo is upon us! I’m starting out my MoFo with a food tour of the west coast from Vida Vegan Con last month! I will be MoFo’ing it up from both my blogs. I’ve been preparing a project for this blog that I can’t wait to start posting-a month long series of interviews! Each day of the week will have a theme (hint: one of the days is vegan bakers) and I’ll have interviews posted with really great people in the vegan community, and I guarantee you won’t be familiar with everyone! Each and every one of these people are doing wonderful things and I’d really like to feature their ideas, projects, and opinions. The interview series begins tomorrow with the Laziest Vegan, John McDevitt. Get ready for a month of interviews, then head over to The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, where I’ll be documenting the cookbook and recipe writing process throughout the month.
I cannot believe over a month has passed since Vida Vegan Con. I started school directly after the conference. Like, 12 hours after I got back after spending the first day of school on a plane with Lindsay! Needless to say, I didn’t have time to process that this event was actually over. Plans to attend had been in the works since last October, so I spent that entire time with Vida in the back of my mind, saving money so I could turn it into a multi-city trip and eat absolutely everything.
I had never been to Seattle (as a person over 6 years old) or Portland, and I love San Francisco, so those were my three stops during my 2 1/2 week long trip. Prior to leaving, I spent a few days in (the) Chicago (suburbs), attending Naperville Veggie Fest, eating at Native Foods, and getting tattooed by the amazing David Allen. I flew out of O’Hare on my way to San Francisco, which was the best flight ever, if you leave out the part about me losing my driver’s license and finding out when I get to airport security. After they let me through with my student ID (I didn’t even have to fake cry!), the flight was non-stop with free wi-fi on the Chromebooks they lent out for the flight. Google probably sold my email address to a million third parties, but I don’t even care because I got to spend a glorious 4 1/2 hours on the internet with an aisle of three seats to myself. And if you’ve ever flown Virgin America, it’s so great! The plane has ambient lighting with a nightlife vibe, but I didn’t have to stick dollars in someone’s thong to get a glass of water. A+ flying experience (and I got a new driver’s license a few weeks later).
I thought I could make it 2 1/2 weeks with two carryon suitcases. That plan went out the window on the way back after acquiring lots of Portland swag and I was forced to check a bag because I had an extra full bag of stuff and I didn’t want to forfeit my Food for Lover’s queso, Vegan Vine, toothpaste, or anything else that was over 3 ounces of liquid.
My second night in town, I met up with a group of people at Source, including Megan and Kristen. Source is a relatively new restaurant in the Bay Area (they weren’t there when I last visited in January). It’s a “multi-dimensional” dining experience that “feeds your senses through taste, sight, sound, and vibrations”. The pizza oven is a giant dragon mouth and they have a waterfall on the wall! My friend Jen, who I was staying with in SF, warned me not to touch the waterfall because someone got yelled at when that happened, so maybe it isn’t really water. I didn’t touch the waterfall (or drink the water), but I’m just imagining something happening like that episode of The Simpsons when Homer eats Guatemalan insanity peppers and goes through a hallucinatory journey through the desert, but is really just convulsing on the ground of a golf course the whole time. I’m not sure that’s what Source means by “multi-dimensional” dining experience because it was really a normal restaurant with a waterfall and pretty colors on the wall.
I ordered the avocado awesome burger with “oink bits”, made vegan. Source names all their mock meat-style foods after animal noises (“oink bits”, “jerk cluck”, “peking quack”, “moo skewers”, “bow wows”) and they use beets in the veggie burgers so it really looks like meat. The menu is really extensive, so I asked for recommendations and settled on the avocado burger.
Source also makes Hostess-style desserts, so we got an assortment of desserts to share.
The next day, we had a small gathering with Jen, Lisa, Nate, Mel C, Chris, and Laura at Souley Vegan, where I had to get my Toasty Crispy fix. First you do the twist and smash, then eat!
The next day there was a big food truck festival in the Mission and I wanted to check it out and find this samosa curry burrito Jen was telling us about.
I walked all the way to the fest through the Mission. Artichokes!
The Curry Up Now! truck! This truck isn’t vegan, nor vegetarian, but they have a vegan burrito they will begrudgingly make if you ask. Now, a lot of vegans would be turned off by that “sigh, whatever. I’ll make you a vegan burrito, I GUESS” attitude, but this burrito is so fucking good it doesn’t even matter! When I asked for the burrito, the response was “I guess so…but don’t tell anyone. And you’ll have to wait a few minutes”. I waited in line for 10-15 minutes, so that was totally fine by me!
The burrito. So so so good.
San Francisco knows how to do a food truck fest! This was a small portion of the crowd.
We walked around Berkeley and the university campus, then headed over to Saturn Cafe for dinner.
Giant french fry
The next day, Megan met up with Nate, Lisa, and me at Gracias Madre, which is probably one of my top three favorite restaurants in the country. I got an empanada, Mexican hot chocolate, and a side of refried beans. The empanada was so flavorful and the crust was flaky, melt in your mouth. Perfection.
The last meal of San Francisco was at Paxti’s, where you can get Chicago style vegan deep dish pizza. Actually, one of the ONLY places in the country you can get it. Chicago needs to get on this!
The next day, I packed up my two carryons and flew to Seattle. The flight wasn’t as fun as the one to San Francisco because the guy sitting next to me didn’t understand the concept of personal space, but it was a short flight and I got some yummy food that night!
The classiest presentation of french fries I’ve ever seen. The aioli was delicious and I really love how garnishing with edible flowers is a common occurrence in the Pacific Northwest.
Normally, I never order salads in restaurants, especially when traveling, but the salads at Cafe Flora looked wonderful that I had to try the avocado grapefruit salad.
For dessert we shared a couple of chocolate peanut butter parfaits. The waiter brought out a tray with examples of all the desserts they were offering that night (fancy!). Not all of the options were vegan, but this one was and we all decided on it.
The next morning Lauren and I met up at Pike Place to start our day of deep fried food, that continued into Portland. All the Seattle food pictures were over the course of 12 hours, because we are awesome. Ending at the food carts picture, that is just about 36 hours of serious eating.
I have serious farmer’s market envy.
Coffee and Mighty-O from a coffee shop in Pike Place
We walked around the market, then made our way over to EMP and saw the Nirvana, Battlestar Galactica, and Avatar exhibitions!
Bamboo Garden, a Supreme Master restaurant, was lunch #1 of the day.
This was either General Tao’s or Kung Pao mock chicken, but we call them saucy balls.
Corn chowder, which tasted like liquid tortilla chips!
We visited a few thrift stores and vintage shops and at one point, ended up looking through several racks of ridiculous t-shirts.
Lauren and a glittery puffy paint beauty of a shirt:
We met up with Rory and Ian at Highline Bar for second lunch and more deep fried food.
I’ve had fried pickles one other time at Handlebar in Chicago (and again recently at Palomino Bar), so I was excited to try these out. Cut in thick slices and deep fried, they’re probably my favorite fried pickle experience.
How can we not get an appetizer called Satan Fingers?
Seattle Public Library
Basil sorbet and chia seed kombucha at Whole Foods. We are now hooked on chia seed kombucha and I can’t get it (well, this brand anyway) in Milwaukee!
The next morning, we took the Amtrak to Portland. It was a 4 hour trip with lots of legroom, entertaining conductors, and a great view!
More Mighty-O goodness
PDX Amtrak station. We’re here, we’re here! Our friend Katie picked us up from the train station.
The first stop was the vegan mini-mall. Lemon Bar from Sweetpea Baking Company.
Corndogs and tots!
More dessert: Back to Eden soft serve
Afterward, we went to a nickel arcade. Lauren won a blow up unicorn (a pony, whatever!) named Majesty.
Food cart park at 12th and Hawthorne with Lauren and Jeff.
Whiffie’s Fried Pies, ice cream, poutine, and pizza.
Fried pie champ!
Lauren and I went shopping so I could bake Margarita biscotti that afternoon for a baking demo on KATU-TV the next morning.
Louzilla arrived in town on Thursday and we met up to head over to the VVC meet and greet. Our meal on the way there was at Kitchen Dances! I’m not interested in raw food at all, but I figured if I was going to eat raw food, I should get it a. in Portland b. from the Vegan Iron Chef winner! This is the golden beet ravioli and it was delicious!
Meet and Greet at Vendetta, the first official Vida Vegan Con get together! There were SO many people there I hadn’t met yet, so I just kind of froze when I walked in and didn’t know who to run up and hug first!
Janessa and Michele with the conference schedules!
I stole these next few photos from Isa because she took lots of pictures of people for a Vida Vegan Con family album and I didn’t take enough.
Louzilla, Isa, Terry, and me
Lou, John, and me
We then walked over to the screening of Vegucated, a really amazing new documentary. Check it out and sign up to screen it in your town!
Sizzle Pie kalamata olive, artichoke, and Daiya slice
There was a mini meetup at Native Bowl. This is the Mississippi Bowl! Mmmmmm.
Sweetpea visit 2 (of 3). Lemon cake
This hypnotizing sign drew us in
The Macnocheetoh burrito. Mac n cheese, baked beans, sausage soy curls, and a whole lotta awesome in my mouth. And deep fried coconut oreos, which tasted like an inside out donut.
Jen’s reaction to the oreos
Cupcake and champagne reception! Catered by Sweetpea and VegNews
PPK represent (another Isa photo)!
We had a PPK dinner at Vita Cafe. Half the table (vegans in Portland!) ate salads.
Buffalo Tofu Wrap. Sadly, I forgot about it and left the half that I didn’t eat in the fridge at the dorm rooms.
After a hilarious preparation for the galarama where Jasmin Singer and I laced up eachother’s corsets, we all piled into a car and headed over. There was a Coconut Bliss ice cream sundae bar, Sizzle Pie, and a whole bunch of different appetizers.
John and his Milwaukee girls, by Isa
Upton’s Naturals did a pop-up shop at Food Fight! after the galarama with limited edition seitan. I got a pastrami sandwich. We sat on the sidewalk in front of the mini mall and ate sandwiches!
Closing talk by Isa and Terry
Gabrielle and me
Vida Vegan Con was such a whirlwind and the greatest time ever! So many amazing people, so much food, and great ideas and fun! I absolutely cannot wait for VVC 2013.
Happy MoFo, everyone!