Dining at Café Flora

One of the auction items I won at the Hoot! chimpanzee fundraiser was a Café Flora gift card. So last Saturday, I went out with my husband to enjoy dinner at Flora, a great vegetarian restaurant in Seattle’s Madison Vally neighborhood. I’m not the only one who thinks that: They were voted best vegetarian restaurant in 2014 by Seattle Magazine. Travel + Leisure Magazine also lists them as one of the top vegetarian restaurants in the US.

The only way they could be better is if they were an all-vegan restaurant. Still, there were lots of vegan options and we had a great time.

We started with drinks–and they didn’t disappoint. Hubby stuck with his martini and I tried a refreshing springtime mule, a vodka-based cocktail with home-made ginger beer and raspberry bitters.

flora drinks

We gobbled up the paté platter so fast I didn’t get to take a picture. It centered around a lentil-pecan paté and included red onion confit, pickles, olives, red pepper and apples.

I suspected I might want dessert too, so I made a salad my main course. Vegan Caesar salads are few and far between so this was a real treat! Hubby loved his Italian black bean burger.

flora salad

Several vegan dessert options tempted me, but the chocolate brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate sauce was irresistible.

flora brownie

On the way out, I saw the Café Flora Cookbook on display, along with a fantastic vegan children’s book: That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. I bet the cookbook is fantastic, and I recommend the kids’ book for all the little animal lovers in your life. I’m glad Flora had a copy on display. It’s a great way to talk to kids about the ways animals are exploited and how to help.

flora books

If you’re in Seattle, check out Café Flora!

Dining at Candle 79

I met up with my parents in New York this past August and every night, for over a week, we dined at terrific vegan places. The city is a wonderful place to eat meat-free.

The first thing I did when I started planning my vacation was make reservations for Candle 79, New York’s premier vegan oasis (yes, it says that on their website and it’s so true!). On our first night in the Big Apple. we left our condo in Harlem and went to Candle 79’s two-story location on the Upper East Side.

candle 79

I never thought I’d forget the exact names of what we were eating, but I did. And being an organic, local, seasonal eatery means the menu changes often. So forgive my inaccuracies–and believe be when I share how delicious it all was!

First, we were treated to an amuse-bouche. A delightful teaser and hint of things to come. I tasted chickpeas and cucumber in a smooth creamy sauce.

amuse bouche

My parents split an order of spaghetti and wheat balls. It’s a classic simple dish but Candle 79 put their own unique twist on it and my parents couldn’t get enough!

spaghetti and wheat balls

I ate a seitan (or possible tempeh) cutlet with apples and beans. It was divine. The best part about eating in a vegan restaurant (aside from knowing it’s a cruelty-free place and everyone is not eating animals) is that I can order anything off the menu, no questions asked! So I asked very few questions and now I can’t tell you the specifics of what I ate (except I’d be eating there right now again if I could teleport).

seitan cutlet

Finally, we had chocolate peanut butter bliss for dessert.

pure bliss

Happy, healthy dining!

mom ans Jean

After our meal, we walked toward Central Park along Lexington, took in the quintessential New York streets, and caught a cab back to our place.

What a fantastic way to start a vacation. If you’re ever in New York, don’t miss the Candle 79 experience!

Visiting Vaute Couture

One of the highlights of my New York trip was visiting Vaute Couture, a vegan-owned, compassionate clothier in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Fellow blogger Jesse Anne O lives in Brooklyn, and although it was a hike from her neck of the woods, she met my mom, dad and I at Food Swings, near Vaute. My mom is a blogger too, so it was great for the three of us to compare notes while my dad, patient as always, enjoyed his coffee.

We loved the vegan fast food at Food Swings. It’s a great diner-style establishment with a terrific brunch menu. We chose from sandwiches, burritos and scrambles. They use Daiya vegan cheese in their recipes too. Yum!

Walking from Food Swings to Vaute Couture, we passed Skinny Skinny, an organic, sustainable bath and body store, and Bliss, a vegetarian restaurant down the street. It’s a veg-friendly ‘hood!

brooklyn collage

Seeing Vaute’s flagship store was a thrill! I’ve been a fan for a while and I finally got to be a customer. Owner Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is a passionate animal advocate and she’s put her heart and soul into creating sustainable, eco-friendly, made-in-New-York clothes that are free of animal products and oh-so stylish. I didn’t buy my wool-free coat this particular day, but I did jump online a week later for the Fall 2013 presale.

I got a Friends not Fashion tank top and a Vaute necklace. Jesse picked up a dress she had preordered. And of course we had to do the obligatory “blogger pose” on our way out. Sure was nice to have our own personal photographer on hand!

three bloggers

Next door to Vaute Couture is Eco Closet, another sustainable shop. I found a gray and black tunic there. and I’ll be blogging about that on my style blog soon.

The four of us enjoyed walking through Williamsburg. We ended up at a flea market, but that’s a story for another day.

walking through Williamsburg

Dining at Veggie Grill

Have you tried Veggie Grill? I’ve been eating there a lot ever since I discovered two Seattle locations and I have to say “wow!” Veggie Grill is a healthy, 100% plant-based restaurant chain that boasts delicious, nutritious meals. They have 19 locations up and down the west coast and are expanding.

vegan BBQ wings

I’ve had their wraps, burgers and sandwiches but I think my favorite dish is the B-Wing Salad–it’s spicy and cool, with its mix of hot “chicken” strips (made with Gardein), cool vegan ranch, avocado, romaine, celery and corn salsa.

veggie grill

Another reason I like to stop by is the mac-n-cheese (vegan cheese and quinoa pasta). Comfort food at its finest! The cauli-mashed potatoes and gravy is another delight. Sometimes I just get the two sides (and a vegan cookie) instead of a meal.

mac'n'cheese

Veggie Grill is a bright, casual atmosphere with vegan twists on American classics. They serve beer and wine too. I’ve been with hubby a few times and it’s fun for a group of friends. I’ve seen people bring in kids too–they even have a kids’ menu. There’s something for everyone.

Have you been to Veggie Grill?

Brunch at The Highline

The Highline is a kickass vegan bar with a punk rock vibe in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. From house-infused liquor, delicious vegan comfort food, trivia, live bands, and cakearoke, what’s not to love?bloody mary and mimosa

I started going to The Highline when it first opened a couple of years ago. The Crazy Train sandwich soon became my favorite, but my friends were addicted to the pickle chips.

I recently dropped by with my husband for brunch. I love an all-vegan establishment. I don’t have to ask if there’s dairy in the dressing and I know all the drinks are vegan. White Russian with soy creamer, anyone?

I started with a mimosa and the Mister had a bloody Mary. Then we got our food.

My breakfast burrito was an entire rolled-up breakfast. It’s seasoned tofu with green chilies, onions, garlic, home fries, spinach and “cheese” all wrapped in a giant tortilla and served with chips and salsa.

tofu burrito

My better half had the Free Bird, a house-made seitan chicken-fried steak covered in gravy. He had his with homefries and tofu scramble.

free bird

Best of all, I got to hear The Ramones. Any Sunday that starts with delicious vegan food, a light bevvie, and I wanna be Sedated playing on the sound system is bound to be a good day.

If you’re in the area, check out The Highline. You might see me there!