Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Trip to San Francisco

I just got back from my trip to San Francisco yesterday. It was amazing, as always. I really love that city.

I went to San Francisco to attend the VegNews Music Issue Launch Party for the VegBloggy award I won. The party was at the Electric Works Gallery and it was packed:



I met and spoke with Elizabeth Castoria. She's the Senior Editor at VegNews and is extremely nice. I saw Joseph Connelly, Publisher of VegNews, running about but didn't get a chance to say hi to him.

I also met two other fellow vegan bloggers: Lauren (VeganYumYum) and Amanda (Walking the Vegan Line). Lauren brought her husband Stewart and Amanda brought her husband as well.

Lauren and Amanda were both super nice. It was nice meeting both of you! If I'm ever in Boston or Houston I'll let you know.

Below is a picture of Stewart, Lauren, and my friend Amy.



I flew into San Francisco Wednesday night but didn't end up getting into the city until almost 11pm, as my flight was delayed almost two hours. All flights in and out of SFO were delayed due to the fires in Northern California. The smoke from all of the fires was so bad that it was pretty smokey in San Francisco. Below are some pictures I took from Telegraph Hill. You can really see the smoke in them. I was looking for the wild parrots but didn't find any. For those of you who don't know, I'm obsessed with birds. I love them.





Telegraph Hill is probably my favorite part of San Francisco. Here's another picture of Telegraph Hill:



I started Thursday morning with brunch at Herbivore - the location on Divisadero. I really love Herbivore. I've stopped in every time I've been to San Francisco. Their brunch is really good. I had fruit pancakes.

I also went to Amoeba Music, which I consider the very best music store in the country. I bought the self-titled Sublime CD to replace the one I lost, the complete season of Extras for my wife, and a Nine Inch Nails CD for my best friend. If you've never been to Amoeba you should definitely check it out the next time you're in San Francisco. It's in the extremely popular and touristy Haight Ashbury neighborhood.

Of course no trip to San Francisco would be complete without stopping at Maggie Mudd. For those few vegans who haven't heard of Maggie Mudd it's an ice cream shop in the Bernal Heights neighborhood that can make most everything vegan. It's amazing! I usually get the Waffle Bowl Banana Split but this time I got the Messy Marci (a brownie topped with three scoops of ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, and more). Here's a picture of what my friend Amy and I got (mine is on the left):



And here's me about to enjoy my treat:



As always, I was sad to leave San Francisco. I caught a very early (6am) flight back to Seattle because I had a meeting for work.

I'm looking forward to reading blog posts from Lauren and Amanda.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When Your Cat Won't Stop Licking



This is what happens when your cat won't stop licking a wound.

A week ago I came home to find Owen in the sink licking his paw. He had cut all of his toes on his front left paw. My guess is that he was mooching for food scraps in the compactor in the sink and cut it on the blade.

Owen wouldn't stop licking his paw, which was preventing the wound from healing. My wife took him to the vet. He came home sporting the latest in cat fashion.

Owen hates the cone. He's had it on for several days and still isn't used to it. He continuously walks into walls with it and has problems judging distances. He is forced to eat his food slower as it is a challenge, which frustrates him because he enjoys devouring his food.

So, share this picture with your cats and warn them that they'll become gimps like Owen if they refuse to stop licking.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Vegan Visitor Guide to Seattle, WA

Seattle is the most vegan-friendly city in the world. That's my opinion at least. Anyway, I've lived here in Seattle for almost two years and have yet to write a visitor guide for vegans.

This is in no way a comprehensive guide to the vegan haven that is Seattle. This is merely a guide I would like to give vegans visiting the city with recommendations on what I consider to be the best.

RESTAURANTS



Teapot Vegetarian House



This is hands-down my favorite veg restaurant in Seattle. If you can go to only restaurant, definitely go to Teapot.

The lowdown:


Recommendations:
  • Mongolian Vegetarian

  • Mandarin Crispy Tofu

  • Spring Rolls

  • Hot & Sour Soup

  • Basil Nuggets

  • Sweet and Sour Nuggets

  • Teapot Curry Loaf

  • Bounty of the Sea

  • Gula Malacca (dessert)

  • Tofu cheesecake (dessert)


Eating great at Teapot is all about ordering right. Some dishes are so-so but some are amazing. If you stick with my recommendations, you won't be disappointed.

Araya's



Where else can you find an all vegan Thai restaurant? Nowhere! The staff members are really nice and the food is great. I highly suggest Araya's. It's in the University District (U-District) right in the middle of everything.

The lowdown:
  • Vegan, Thai

  • 1121 NE 45th St

  • (206) 524-4332

  • Mon-Thur 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun closed

  • No website, can you believe it?!


Recommendations:
  • Pad Thai

  • Veggie Beef with Peanut Sauce

  • Spring rolls


Araya's also has a weekday buffet from 11:30am-3pm. All you can eat for $7. Fill up on spring rolls!

Bamboo Garden



Another all vegan restaurant (except for the fortune cookies). Be sure to ask for no fortune cookies...they are not vegan. This is a good Chinese place. The food comes out pretty quickly and virtually all seats are booths. The downside is that this isn't the healthiest food. Most of it is deep fried gluten. When you want protein or want to be filled up, head here.

The lowdown:


Recommendations:
  • Corn chowder soup (everyone loves this)

  • General Tso's Chicken

  • Mandarin Chicken

  • Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Vegetarian Sausage and Chicken in Black Bean Sauce


Bamboo Garden is good and I definitely get into moods for it, but it's not super healthy. The only real thing that bothers me is that this is a vegan restaurant serving non-vegan fortune cookies. It baffles me.

Cafe Flora



Amazing food...for brunch. Don't bother going for anything but brunch. Their lunch and dinner is awful and most all items cannot be made vegan. In fact, I'm only going to list their brunch hours below. They really cater to vegetarians. You know, those people who just refuse to part ways with pus-filled dairy.

The lowdown:


Recommendations:
  • Sticky Buns (amazing!)

  • Family Platter

  • Grilled Asparagus Scramble

  • Hoppin' John Fritters


Brunch is really good. If you go, get there as early as you can. They're super busy for brunch.

Chaco Canyon Cafe



A nice all vegan, modern, half raw cafe in Seattle's University District. I really like this place. They're very environmentally and socially conscious. They recycle and compost nearly everything and all virtually all organic.

The lowdown:


Recommendations:
  • The Elvis smoothie

  • Raw Tropique smoothie

  • Artichoke Melt (my favorite)

  • Tunaless Melt (my wife's favorite)

  • Cilantro Pesto Melt


Chaco Canyon is also somewhere you can go to just sit and hangout. They have free wifi. Big plus.

Cyber Dogs



An all vegetarian hot dog restaurant in downtown Seattle! I love this place. It's really tiny but awesome.

The lowdown:


Recommendations:
  • El Bandito

  • Spudnik


Everything except the corn dog can be made vegan. I highly suggest the El Bandito. It's sooo good! In addition to eating good food, you can play Pac Man or surf the net at one of their computer stations.

Mighty O



An all vegan donut shop in Seattle, near Green Lake! All of the donuts are vegan and mostly organic. However, they do offer dairy as an option for coffee drinks, which is extremely lame. Many "vegan" places in Seattle do this. It's stupid. Anyway, order their donuts, let them know it sucks they serve dairy, and take a nice walk around Green Lake with your amazing vegan donuts.

The lowdown:
  • Vegan, Donuts

  • 2110 N 55th St

  • (206) 547-0335

  • Mon 6am-1pm, Tues-Fri 6am-5pm, Sat-Sun 7am-5pm

  • www.mightyo.com


Everyone loves Mighty O. You must go to Mighty O while visiting in Seattle. No trip is complete without doing so.

Carmelita



Looking for a vegetarian restaurant with a nicer atmosphere? Try the upscale Carmelita in Phinney Ridge (my neighborhood). They do accept reservations and I highly suggest you make one.

The lowdown:
  • Vegetarian, Modern, Upscale

  • 7314 Greenwood Ave N

  • (206) 706-7703

  • Sun, Tues-Thur 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm, Mon closed

  • www.carmelita.net


Only a few items can be made vegan, but this place is worth the visit. It's a great place to eat on special occasions or for a nice night out.

Kitaro



A veg-friendly sushi restaurant with a separate vegan menu.

The lowdown:
  • Veg-friendly, Sushi

  • 1624 N 45th St

  • (206) 547-7998

  • Hours

  • No website


Kitaro is not all vegetarian but they have a separate vegan menu! Vegan sushi! The owner is quiet but extremely nice. I really like giving him my business. I highly recommend Kitaro, located in the Wallingford neighborhood.


GROCERY STORES



While you're in Seattle, screw Whole Foods. Check out and support the co-ops!

Sidecar for Pigs Peace



Sidecar is Washington State's only all-vegan grocery store. It's more of a convenience store. I'm super spoiled in Seattle. Have I mentioned that yet?

Sidecar is located in the University District and sells vegan dog and cat food, frozen convenience foods, vitamins, candy, toiletries, kitchen items, shirts, and more.

Also, the manager is really nice. Say hi to Doh when you go.

www.sidecarforpigspeace.com

PCC Natural Markets



A local chain of co-ops in the Seattle area. PCC is one of the best places to shop in Seattle. I love PCC. They're my neighborhood market. I go here most all of the time.

www.pccnaturalmarkets.com

Madison Market



A local co-op in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I love this co-op. I stop here whenever I'm in the neighborhood.

www.madisonmarket.com


CAFES



You'll find that free wifi is available at all coffee shops here in Seattle. If you walk into a cafe and they're asking you to pay for or don't have wifi, leave. You found the one place that doesn't have free wifi. (I still haven't found it.)

Anyway, avoid Starbucks and Tully's like the plague. Check out and support the little guys. The coffee is much better anyway.

Caffe Ladro



A local chain of awesome cafes here in Seattle. All coffee served at Caffe Ladro is organic, fair trade, and shade grown. Plus, free wifi. Beat that!

www.caffeladro.com

Wayward Coffeehouse



This is my favorite cafe to hangout in here in Seattle. Hands-down. I'm sitting in Wayward right now actually, writing this blog post.

Like Caffe Ladro, Wayward serves only organic, fair trade, and shade grown coffee. And, of course there's free wifi.

I'd have to say the best tasting coffee in Seattle is Caffe Ladro, but the best place to sit in a cafe is Wayward. Plus, their coffee is almost as good as Ladro's. The interior is very spacious and they're only really busy late at night. You'll most likely have your very own table. I can't say enough good things about Wayward Coffeehouse. Oh, they offer a few vegan sandwiches as well!

www.waywardcoffee.com

Trabant Coffe & Chai



Vegan specialty chai drinks in the University District! Think coffee drinks like lattes, only with chai instead!

Be sure to ask for your drink to be made vegan with soy milk. Trabant has two chai mixes (one is vegan and one isn't). They offer soy and rice milk.

Trabant tends to be quite crowded due to its proximity to the University of Washington (UW). You aren't always guaranteed a seat; however, the chai drinks are amazing. Don't know what to order? I suggest the Hazelnut, made vegan with soy of course.

www.trabantcoffee.com


Wow, that was a lot of typing. That list isn't even close to comprehensive. I'm sure my fellow Seattleites reading this post are thinking, "You forgot ..." There's just too much to cover.

You can view a pretty comprehensive list of vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants in the Seattle area at Veg Seattle.

Or, you can certainly contact me anytime with your questions, via the "Email me" link on the right side of my blog or by leaving a comment on any post.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Cat is Just a Little Off

Do all cats enjoy sleeping in odd places? Or, is it just my cat? Take a look at where Owen was sleeping today:





This is how my normal (well, more normal) pets sleep:







Reilly, my dog, looks bored because he's waiting for me to take him outside.

I took him on a walk and now I'm sitting in a cafe with him. That's just one thing I love about Seattle - a number of places let you bring your dog in with you.

Do your cats sleep in odd places? The more cats I meet, the more I firmly believe they're all a little off.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Vegan Wedding Cake

I think a vegan wedding cake deserves its own blog post!

Here's the amazing cake Kamber at Sticky Fingers Bakery made for us:



It was a two-tier vanilla cake with fondant on the outer layer. Those flowers are all sugar flowers - totally edible!

The cake looked wonderful and tasted amazing. Our guests had no problem polishing off the entire thing (even the non-vegan ones).

I highly recommend Sticky Fingers Bakery if you're looking for a wedding cake, or just a vegan treat.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I've Won a VegNews VegBloggy Award!



VegNews has named my blog one of the top 21 on the web!

I've also been invited to attend the VegNews Music Issue Launch Party as a VIP guest.

Here is part of the email I received from Colleen Holland at VegNews:

On behalf of VegNews Magazine, we're thrilled to announce that Vegan Talk was named one of the 21 best blogs in the first annual VegNews VegBloggy Awards. Our team of editors navigated, clicked, and painstakingly perused hundreds of vegetarian blogs and spent months determining the best virtual destinations today.

The awards are featured in our July+August edition, available on newsstands across the country on July 1.

I'm really excited and honored that VegNews has chosen me as one of the top 21 vegan bloggers. Thank you!

Are any of my vegan blogger buddies out there planning on attending the VegNews party on June 26th in San Francisco? I'm really going to try to make it. I'd love to meet up with you! I think there's a trip to Maggie Mudd in my future.

An Easy Way to Brush Your Dog's Teeth


It's important to brush your pets' teeth. I've especially realized that now that my cat had to have eight teeth removed.

A while back I discovered Easy Brush. I love this product! Easy Brush makes brushing fun for Reilly. He acts like he's getting a treat and playing with a toy.

Easy Brush essentially works the same as our toothbrushes. You wet the bristles, rub some toothpaste on, and hand the bone to your dog. Note: be sure to use dog toothpaste. Human toothpaste is not okay for dogs.


I've been buying Triple Pet All Natural Toothpaste, made by Benedent. Luckily for me, it's sold right up the street from my house at Mud Bay.

I called Benedent and the person on the phone told me the product contained no animal ingredients and was vegan but I'm never 100% sure unless that's printed on the package. The only possible ingredient of animal origin is glycerin.

Does anyone else use this toothpaste? Have you contacted Benedent? If you use a different kind of toothpaste for your pets, what do you use?