Vegan Eating Seattle
Our eating schedule has been thrown off a little again this week, as my good friend from high school and her boyfriend were in town checking out UW for grad school. My friend has a dairy allergy, so she can't eat anything with cow's milk, cheese, butter, etc. Basically her diet can be described as vegan plus meat. Given Seattle's hipster culture, there are plenty of restaurants out here that cater to vegan diets, so while she was here I wanted her to feel like a normal person again where she could actually choose to order anything off the menu instead of the one tasteless vegan item so often found on most menus. In solidarity and in the spirit of adventure, Dustin and I ate (partially) vegan for the last few days. In most cities, this would not be a good idea for us, but in Seattle, I think it was totally doable.
Our friends arrived late at night, so before we picked them up from the airport we stopped by this vegan, gluten-free bakery with locations in Fremont and Redmond to pick them up a little post-plane treat and to have some vegan muffins in the house for breakfast the next morning. Since it was late in the day, our selection was limited, but we picked up a couple of maple pecan muffins and a couple of dark chocolate muffins. The texture was different and much more dense than my typical favorite kind of muffin, but the chocolate one was moist with a satisfyingly rich flavor. Probably not something I'd seek out again on my own given the abundance of good bakeries around here, but I could see this place being a regular pitstop for someone with food allergies.
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
After a morning of exploring, we stopped by this cafe in the University District for a quick lunch. I ate a hot artichoke melt sandwich while my comrades consumed an eggless quiche, a "Hippie Bowl" with tofu, meatless chili, and "cheezy" potato soup. I had a little bite of everything, and it was all quite good— vegan or not. It'd definitely be a place I'd stop for a healthy lunch if I lived closer. And to top it off, we finished with a lovely hazelnut chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
Many Asian restaurants, particularly Thai, do not use dairy to begin with, so they are often quite safe for vegan eaters. Some of these restaurants, like Araya's Place in Bellevue, don't serve any meat, so they are entirely vegetarian. We split a bunch of dishes family-style— Tom Kah soup (a sweet and spicy coconut milk based soup), pad thai, banana curry, and pineapple fried rice. Overall it was a great Thai place that Dustin said he'd go back to, so I guess that was a pretty good compliment from the biggest non-vegan there is. I really enjoyed the unique banana curry and couldn't stop going back for more bites.
When my friend saw this place on Yelp, she said we had to go, and she would stuff her face with pizza. As much as she loves pizza, it's often a no-no unless the restaurant has vegan cheese, which is typically not so great, taste or texture-wise. I told Dustin going in not to expect pizza like we think of pizza, but to think of it as something completely different. Vegan pizza is indeed quite different than our traditional pies, but was quite tasty in it's own right. Our friends created their own, while Dustin and I got the Mediterranean with pepperonicis, red onion, kalamata olives, and tofu-Feta over a garlic sauce. I really liked the garlic sauce on ours. I don't think I'd ever convince Dustin to go back given places like Serious Pie exist, but it was an enjoyable experience and definitely better than what you'd expect from vegan pizza with fake cheese.
Last night we didn't go to a vegan restaurant, but instead to Ivar's Salmon House, so they can get a little taste of Seattle's delicious seafood bounty. Tomorrow we are off to explore some Seattle neighborhoods and Pike's Place, and we'll be stopping by Mighty-O for some vegan donuts! If you eat vegan, Seattle is definitely a city where you'd do very well culinarily speaking.