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

Making a vegan Egg McMuffin

Da da da da da… I’m lovin’ it!

I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for eons, but I admit I used to have a weakness for their egg McMuffin. Even after I went vegetarian, I’d order one now and then (and remove the slice of ham).

They might be yummy, but all that ham, cheese and egg is neither cruelty-free nor healthy. So after a bit of Internet research (most of the credit goes to Vegangela), I embarked on a vegan version and look how it turned out:

McMuffin

It was delicious and easy to make. Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients:

  • Whole grain English muffins
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • Tumeric
  • Black pepper
  • Black salt (also called Kala Namak)
  • Daiya vegan cheese
  • Upton Naturals seitan bacon

First, drain the tofu and cut it into slices, about half an inch thick. Use a glass and a knife to cut the slices into a circle (I used the leftovers in a stir fry).

tofu circles

Mix together a bit of turmeric, black salt, and black pepper (I didn’t measure, but you won’t need much–a pinch of each for color and flavor). The black salt has a slightly sulpheric smell, and gives food an eggy flavor. You can find it in Indian grocery stores or online. Rub the mixture on both sides of the tofu.

spicing up the egg

Fry up the “eggs” until warmed.

eggs

Fry up the “bacon” while you toast the muffins. Upton’s makes fantastic seitan bacon–my favorite–but you can use another brand of veggie bacon if you can’t find Upton’s. Or Canadian veggie bacon if you’d like to be more authentic.

Upton's bacon

Slice up the Daiya and assemble the delicious goodness that is the vegan McMuffin.

Daiya

I served mine with a side of home fries and fresh strawberries for a meal even a non-vegan would love!

the final product

A Plum good vegan blogger brunch

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Celeste from Honk if You’re vegan, and her husband Paul. I’d know of them only online but suggested a get together when I found out they were coming to Seattle.

Luckily Celeste chose to meet me at Plum Bistro, one of my favorite vegan restaurants. I invited a couple of other local vegan bloggers, Megan and Molly, and we turned brunch into an impromptu blogger meetup!

Jean, celeste, Megan and Molly

Celeste and her husband were so wonderful. It felt like we’d known each other for years. We chatted about blogging, vegan things, travels, and had a great time.

Our food was amazing too. Plum never disappoints, whether you get banana hotcakes…

banana hotcakes

tofu benedict…

tofu benedict

portobello cake tartine…

portobello cake tartine

or a spinach asparagus crepe.

spinach asparagus crepe

Time flew by and it was time for Celeste and Paul to head out. I really appreciated that they took time from their busy travel schedule to meet virtual strangers! I’ll repay the favor by visiting them next time I’m in SoCal!

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!