Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan Mofo: The End.

Well, lookit here! I managed 7 posts during Vegan Mofo! Kindly withhold your applause; it may not be an easy feat, but it is a manageable one.

All joking aside, may I be honest here? My job is kicking my ass. As in, I get home and either stare at the wall until bedtime or take a nap and want nothing to do with dinner. Making food seems impossible! In regards to lunch at work, I have reverted to the awesome roasted veggie burrito at Sandoval's (sub avocado for the cheese, aw yeah!) or the oatmeal at Elephant's Deli (my lunch is at like 8:30am, so this is totally normal) far too many times. My dinners usually revolve around a baked potato. While I'm not necessarily eating unhealthily, it's very bland and boring. Plus, I'm a bit broke after travelling and paying our car insurance premium and signing up for a half in Austin (more on that in a bit).

So, I've decided to take on the October vegan kickstart with my running buddy Libby. At the very least, I'll be forced to raid my pantry and cook up all the veggies I just bought! I tried the plan a couple of years ago (see this post) and while it's a bit boring for an experienced vegan, it's sure gonna help an uninspired vegan!

Now, back to food of September past. For my last Mofo post, here are three photos of some recent vegan goodies:

Vegan mulita with soyrizo at Los Gorditos...a random stop on my way home from work.
Vegan pats of butter at a salad bar in my honky-tonk hometown.
Vegan burger at OMSI's new restaurant Theory.

I'm planning on checking in about the Kickstart program during October. The menu has changed and there seems to be more variety than in programs past. I would love for this to help me build meal plans and a schedule when it comes to cooking and feeding my little family of two, but only time will tell.

Lastly, that half marathon I mentioned earlier? Yeah, Libby and I are embarking on a new challenge: run half marathons in every state. What?! Our first one is the 3M Half in Austin. Check out the last year's goodie bag!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Breakfast in 'frisco (Not at Tiffany's)

While for the most part Jeff and I foraged for lunch at dinner at bars while in San Francisco, breakfast we took seriously. Well, I took it seriously.

Having been scared off of Herbivore by a friend's recent experience, I searched for other places to catch vegan breakfast. The first place to pop up? Pork Store Cafe. It is a terrible name and it has a terrible logo with a pig waiting on people. But there was tofu scramble on the menu and it came highly rated, so we ambled over 2 miles from our hotel to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood for happy morning belly time.

Speaking of ambling, why is Portland the only place I can count on for having consistent city blocks? Thirteen blocks in Portland is something like 3 blocks in San Francisco. This is why we walked SO MUCH during our trip.

Back to the food. I ordered a vegan version of the rancheros. At first I thought "oh, this will be easy to veganize" but then the waitress kept asking about replacing this and that. I was impressed by how easily she took my order. And look at this plate!
This was my first time eating anything rancheros and I am HOOKED, dudes. That plate was full of so much delicious. Crispy tortillas, avocado, perfect tofu, soyrizo, refried beans and hashbrowns. I just about ate the whole thing, swollen belly be damned. I highly, highly recommend trying this place out!

For our second breakfast, I suggested we try Boogaloo's in the Mission District. We commence another hike (seriously, Steph, they're not PDX blocks) and hit the cafe right before the hipster hour. I ordered the Tofu Lover's Scramble (with ranchero sauce) and while it wasn't as good as the first breakfast, it was still pretty tasty! The plate was huge and the cafe was super cute.
Yay, breakfast!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Travellin' Vegan Mofo: Petaluma & Oakland

After that exciting night at Lagunitas and a consequent bedtime of 8pm (oh, what working early hours will do to one's sleep habits) Jeff and I made our way into Petaluma proper. It's such a tiny town full of cute stores and bakeries. I was peeking at menus and found a place called Food Bar that boasted a tofu scramble that could be made vegan (uh, it had eggs) and we stopped in. It was actually pretty good, if not a little plain, and the potatoes were wonderfully crispy.
After eating, we wandered around a bit. Downtown is really, really tiny and it took us all of 15 minutes to take it all in.
We then made our way to the Oakland airport because it is far cheaper to catch the Bart there and take it into San Francisco than to take it from SFO. I had been browsing the PPK thread about SF and Oakland and noticed a mention of The Olde Depot and Beer Revolution, two beer shops next door to each other that were vegan friendly! So, of course, we had to stop in. We split the vegan cheezesteak and pretzel. The menu listed the cheezesteak as having TVP as the protein, but what was actually on there was more like a chewy soy meat. No matter, it was delicious!
I really loved both places. Beer Revolution prided itself on not carrying "corporate" beers so we tried to stick with local breweries we'd never heard of. I would recommend a stop in to anyone who enjoys a sudsy pint!

Tomorrow I plan on discussing the two breakfasts we had in San Francisco. We didn't hit Herbivore or Gracias Madre or Millenium or any of the cool spots, but I think we made out just fine.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vegan MOFO: PDX to SFO via STS

Oh, fellow MOFO'rs, has it really been 12 days since my last missive? You know that feeling when you *should* be doing something (like posting regularly) and you're all set up to do so but then several days go by and it just feels like it's too late to make it up? Yeah, that happened!

No worries, let's dive back in again, yeah? Jeff and I took an anniversary trip (we've been married for 5 years now, woo!) to San Francisco this year. Because flights are notoriously late into SFO due to ATC flow (as in, the fog slows everything down and ATC has to fit in all those late flights throughout the day SOMEWHERE) we decided to fly through Santa Rosa after I got off of work and stop in at a brewery that's been on my list for ages: Lagunitas. The original plan would be to hit up Russian River that Sunday and then head to Lagunitas on Monday, but apparently Lagunitas is closed on Mondays! No worries, I can stop in at Russian River any ol' time.

Lagunitas was, in a word, adorable. The back patio was beautiful and one could have their dog there if one wished (the people next to us brought their rescue Greyhound, which was the best). It's in Petaluma's commercial area, which meant there wasn't a whole bunch to do around our hotel after stopping in at the brewery. Some photos from that magical visit:

This is kind of a terrible photo, but Santa Rosa Airport is actually the Charles Shulz Airport! The airport has these cute statues and is super tiny and my new favorite.
After getting into STS, we picked up our rental car and drove south to Petaluma, where Lagunitas was housed. As I said, Lagunitas is in the commercial area, so we found a cheap hotel nearby and walked there, planning our visit to Petaluma Proper to happen the next morning. Can I just repeat how much I love Lagunitas? They are veggie friendly with their sandwiches (most you can just leave the cheese off) and all but one of their beers is listed as vegan on Barnivore. Plus, pups!
 Petting the pup, as I do.
 The BEST sampler.
I had the Roasted Veggie Grill (minus cheese!) and we shared a super salty pretzel. Like, ridiculously salty. This is coming from a couple of salt fiends, even!

This is Jeff's face, all the time. hahahahaha!

Tomorrow I will share about our (short) time in Petaluma and a visit to Oakland for, you guessed it, more beer!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Day in My Work Life. Or, How the Shamrock Run Brought 2 Vegans Together.

When I first started my training at the airline, I found out one of my new coworkers not only had the very same water bottle I did (a very Portland-specific Shamrock Run Camelbak bottle) but also a camera lens coffee cup! When talking about how similar our tastes ran, my trainer said, "oh, but she probably isn't vegan." To which I replied "OH MY GOD YES I AM!"

And that, my dears is how I found my first vegan coworker.

A couple of you have asked me to write about my daily work life. The angle I thought it best to attack would be that of food. See, my shifts are not normal shifts. While I have held several jobs at a time for the last ten years, my hours (for the most part) were between the 7am-6pm range. My body was set to specific meal times.

Now, since I managed to bid a morning schedule, my shifts start between 4am and 6am. To give myself time to get to the airport and ready for work (airlines are incredibly strict about on-time performance) I have to get up at 2am most days. Dudes, this is not an ideal meal time. I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone shove food in my mouth. However, my job is physical! I'm on my feet all day long, bringing planes in, pushing planes out, sorting baggage, greeting passengers, etc. I barely get time to sit down, which is quite the change from an office environment. Don't get me wrong, I love being active and physical, but it's definitely been a learning experience.

ANYWAYS, back to the food. Most mornings I can handle coffee and two pieces of toast with Smart Balance and nutritional yeast. I find that much like how I fuel myself for running, the less on a sleepy stomach the better.

Lunchtime is different. Usually, my lunch takes place around 8am. What is that even?! Time for pancakes? Tempeh bacon? I've been working at making food ahead of time so I don't have to buy lunch at the airportwhich, considering it's the airport of the vegan mecca, is not so bad.

Just this week, I tossed couscous (it's almost instant!) with sauteed 'shrooms and tomatoes from my vacant neighboring apartment's tomato plant.
Delicious, yeah? I chowed down on that food so fast, it was ridiculous. Apparently planes = hunger.

Now, eating lunch at 8am brings up a conundrum. When is dinner time? After failed "snacking sessions" I've decided to enjoy the hobbit way of life and call lunch "second breakfast" and it solves all conundrums AND throws an extra meal in my day.

Unfortunately, by the time actual dinner rolls around, I'm either conked out on the couch or too tired to cook. My poor husband has been eating a lot of baked potatoes lately.

Here is a bonus, grainy, very early morning shot of that blue moon some weeks back:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegan Mofo 2013 - Buffalo Tofu & Absolute Boredom

Yesterday was Labor Day and like many of you, I had it off. I wish it were because my employer shut down for the day (hahaha, airlines don't shut down!) and gave everyone a break, but actually, I was on call and enough people wanted the holiday pay I wasn't needed. So I found myself staring at internet for hours, looking for inspiration for dinner. I found it hidden under some buffalo sauce at Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan's post here.

See, I have never had buffalo sauce. Growing up poor meant we ate a lot of substantial potato/rice/corn dishes, things that were cheap and decidedly not frivolous. The first time I had finger food covered in sauce I was at least 20 and totally not a fan of getting messy. My recent forays into vegan wings have included a knife and fork and sauces that do not include buffalo, that sauce of hot sauce and butter. I was intrigued, though.

So, I tackled the recipe. I used a buffalo sauce recipe I found elsewhere, but....I don't know where that tab went. I know it included too much oil and the perfect amount of Frank's Red Hot and spices. I made fries to go along because, duh.

The verdict? I thought this was delicious! The sauce was my right kind of spicy and the bleu cheeze dressing was just the right tang. My only change next time would be to cut down on the oil in the buffalo sauce recipe (which is still missing) to make it slightly less rich.

So, what does this have to do with boredom? First, if I don't have projects or other jobs to accomplish on my days off, I get so bored. In mindlessly scouring the internet for hours (quite literally hours, I was so pissed at myself for wasting so much time) I decided I needed to test out my flight benefits a wee bit sooner. So tomorrow, I'm hijacking my friend and lifelong travel buddy Sarah and we are headed to my Seattle for the day! It's just a 40 minute flight and we haven't had an adventure in so long. I plan on taking her to Mighty-O and to see the Fremont Troll and perhaps climb to the top of the Space Needle.

Until tomorrow!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vegan Month of Food, Day 1.

Hello vegans and vegan lovers!

It's so great to be hitting Vegan Mofo time again. I feel so inspired by the community to cook and bake such wonderful and new things. This year, I don't really have a plan for posting, but that could change! Watch out, world!

So, as I mentioned before, I started a new job at an airline. This has proven to be the craziest summer I can ever remember, and I've some crazy ones! I'm planning on taking full advantage of my flight benefits this month and taking my husband to San Francisco for our fifth (!!!) wedding anniversary. Of course, I will be posting lots of photos of the delicious things we plan on hitting up.

For now, though, I thought I'd share a couple random photos I found in my phone. What is Vegan MoFo if not random sometimes?

First, Hood & Portland to Coast, one of the most awesome running/walking relays in the USA, took place last weekend. This is my second year participating and I just love it so much. A teammate baked me my own personal size vegan marionberry crumble!! I snacked on this thing after all my legs and it was the best.

Sometimes I forget to pack a lunch for work. Well, it's more that I have to get up at the ungodly hour of 2:30 or 3am and have no desire to cook the night before in this unseasonal heatwave Portland has been experiencing. By "heatwave" I mean "stupid hot thick humid times." When I forget lunch, there are some awesome options at PDX I can turn to, like Elephant's Deli, who recently had a vegan quinoa curry bowl. They also carry this vegan chocolate mousse that is TO DIE FOR.

My husband and I recently hit up Sen Yai, a new outpost of the Pok Pok empire right down the street from our to Pok Pok. Jeff was not impressed by the food he ordered OR the service, but I loved my dish, which was called Suki Haeng and is available vegan. I don't know what was in that sauce, but holy crap it was good.

The other day, a friend and I hit up Fire on the Mountain for their "Mountainfest," which we assumed meant beer festival but actually just meant live music and pints outside. The thing about FOTM that makes them super awesome? They make vegan wings. VEGAN. WINGS. They are a delicious baked seitan concoction. So, I had them with raspberry habenero sauce and they were delicious. Also, beer. The wings are so much better than the beer.
Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow!