This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cambridge, UK

There is only one vegetarian restaurant in Cambridge although it does sell a lot of vegan food. It's called the Rainbow Cafe and is opposite King's College. I went there twice ordering the lentil soup with sundried tomoto garlic bread and an elderflower drink on the first day and the chocolate and raspberry vegan cheesecake with pomegranate and cranberry tea the second day.

Well, the lentil soup was bland to the point where I was so bored eating it I was just going to leave. The garlic bread was a disappointment as the sundried tomatoes were just chucked on top of the bread and baked in the oven so they came out burnt and leathery. I was expecting some sort of vegan garlic and sundried tomato butter (and with a blender it would take 2 mins to make) but it was not to be.

The cheesecake had a smooth and creamy texture but barely tasted like anything. The biscuit crust was equally disappointing. The tea, however, was very pleasant but as they just added hot water I can't really give them credit for that.

The restaurant itself is in a basement and is quite cramped and can get really hot in the back room as that is where the kitchen is also. There is seating in the front room but apparently they don't use it.

The place has received really good reviews from a lot of different places but I was not impressed. Especially since the prices are around 11 pounds each dish.

I did eat somewhere that was modest and delicious, though. My friend Zach (I think he likes to be called Comrade Zach) invited me and some other friends over for dinner while I was in Cambridge. He cooked an asian stir fry which was delicious. I think this was partly credit to the fact that he accidentally put half a bottle of tamari in when adding the sauces. But it looked great (kind of like an asian risotto!) and tasted great and everyone was going back for seconds.

The good news is it looks like I may have snagged myself a spot at the Cavendish lab at Cambridge University for the next four years so this Not-So-Skinny-Vegan will be moving her blog to the UK and will have ample opportunity to try out the Rainbow Cafe a little more, eat more of Zach's cooking and will be able to cook for all her new friends.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seattle Reviews

University District

Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe 

This is a big, bright, open cafe with lots of seating. They are very green with recycled and recyclable goods everywhere. I had the pesto melt sandwich. The pesto had a lot of coriander, which was a bit of a surprise, that gave it a fresh taste which was great alongside the creamy vegan cheese they include on the sandwich. I almost couldn't finish it; it felt like it was bursting with flavour. It was ~$US9 including tax. I haven't worked out the tipping in the cafes where you order and pay first so I've been skipping out without paying the tip.

Capitol Hill District

Plum Bistro
I think this place is also owned by Hillside Quickie's (see below). It's a great restaurant, though. Excellent service. I had to have the Mac 'n' Yease and I also got the stuffed mushroom. It was fantastically delicious. The only thing I get a bit worried about is the amount of fat/oil that's left on the plate afterwards.

Sage Cafe (Hillside Quickie's)
I went here for lunch after a bit of a walk around Prospect park. I was quite hungry but running out of money. I ordered the Northwest Portobello Crepe because it was only $US9 and the burgers on the menu were $US11. But I was not disappointed! The mushrooms and seitan had a delicious smoked flavour and were both warm and juicy. The crepes were sweet which gave a pleasant contrast to the heartiness of the filling. The mushrooms and seitan were topped with a creamy in-house vegan mayonnaise. Everything they serve is vegan. Some cons included very limited seating and my meal took a little longer than I would have liked although not too long and the chef served me and apologised for the wait. Would definitely go back.

Remedy Teas
After my delicious crepe I pop across the street to this delightful little cafe. They have lots of vegan goodies for sale (I had the raspberry and coconut muffin which was deliciously moist and soft) and over a hundred different teas for you to choose from. I had the Digestion tea (as was recommended to me) which had mint and vanilla flavours. They give it to you in a self-brewing cup with a timer and instructions. It was delicious and the service was great. For a muffin and the tea it cost me $US5.65 including tax. Far better and cheaper than Starbucks!


Flying Apron Bakery
This is a cute little bakery in north Seattle in the lovliest area. I ordered the Apple Pear Gallette and took it through the Fremont Sunday markets to sit by the river to eat it. It wasn't fantastic, the cake was a bit fluffy and insubstantial. The topping was moist and I enjoyed the white glaze but it wasn't as delicious as it looked. But everything looked really good so I would be willing to go back and give it another try.


Noodle Ranch 
The only reason I decided to go into this place was that it was right across the road from the hostel and I had just arrived and was starving. Also, pan-asian normally guarantees something vegan. I probably should have kept walking. I ordered the green curry which I thought would be some sort of Thai concoction but it looked and tasted more like a spicy, thick white sauce. I was so hungry that I ate it all but it made me quite ill afterwards. It also contained only potato, broccoli and some silken tofu. It was very spicy but bland. I wasn't impressed. And it cost me $US12 after tip and tax.

Whole Foods Market
I love Whole Foods. Delicious fresh baked vegan goods every morning and lots of vegan sections. If you feel like just grabbing a quick plate instead of eating at a restaurant you need to go here. It's also great for groceries although a bit pricey.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Coeur d'Alene

The conference is over. :( Here is a list of places I could eat at in Coeur d'Alene. Mind you, there are no vegan or vegetarian restaurants anywhere nearby but most places were quite friendly.


This small restaurant has tacky decor but cheap and tasty food. I had the vegetarian falafel gyro. It was very tasty and very filling. I would highly recommend going here. Great service and value for money food. (~$US6)

Pita Pit USA
This store is the HQ for a series of stores across the US. I ate the falafel pita here a few times just because it was made in front of you, convenient to the hotel and relatively cheap (although the gyros at Olympia were cheaper (see above)). It's not amazing fare. I'd compare it to a doner kebab in a food court at home only with a better variety of salads. I didn't like the fact that they heated the falafel on the same hot plate that they cooked meat on. (~$US7)

Angelo's Ristorante Italiano
This place was fantastic. They are more than happy to accommodate vegans and it is great value for money. It was probably the most expensive place we ate at (around $25 pp including tip, tax and a shared bottle of wine) but was well worth it for the great service and the delicious food. They gave you a salad as a starter with each meal and continuous bread which was delicious. The Cambridge crew that I ate with all seemed very happy with their meals as well. (~$US25 inc wine)

Takara Japanese Restaurant
I ordered the edamame and the tofu don from here. It was cheapish and the service was okay but the edamame were overcooked and the tofu don wasn't anything spectacular. It wasn't bad but you wouldn't go out of your way to eat there (~$US12).

Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company
I had the starter hummus plate (~$US8) one night and the House salad (~$US10) another night. The hummus plate was good value for money although a little monotonous as a main. I had to order the House salad without the eggs, croutons or dressing so I ended up with lettuce, tomato and red onion which was a bit disappointing. The serving sizes were good, though, and to be honest you'd come here for the microbrewed beers and not the meals. But do come for the beers! I loved the Vanilla Bourbon Stout and the Huckleberry Ale was interesting. I also liked the Centennial Ale and I loved the Huckleberry Riesling. Definitely the place to drink in town if you like your beers.

I was a little afraid when I walked into here that the steakhouse-esqueness of the restaurant would mean I would end up with salad again. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a black bean burger on the menu although I had to get it without the butter or mayonnaise. But with a bit of ketchup it tasted pretty good. And the side salad that you can get with it is a generous size. The only thing I would say is that it took them forever to deliver our meals and we consequently missed out on some of the conference. (~$US10)


Beverly's @ The Coeur d'Alene

Apparently eating here is overpriced and quite mediocre but you definitely should visit for the views and unique cocktails. I had the Huckleberry Lemon Twist which was vodka based and it was delicious. My companion had the Pomegranate Martini which was tasty too. (~$US12)

Java on Sherman
This seemed to be the only non-Starbucks coffee house in town with an espresso machine. The ambience is quite nice and casual although I'd heard mixed reviews about the coffee. I only had chai here which was pretty good. They serve food as well but none of it was vegan as far as I could tell. (~$US4).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I went to Hudson's Hamburgers...

...and I drank a Diet Pepsi. Why?

Still, I thought the ambience was kind of nice (in a real, American, counter food sort of way). They had a picture of the old store 100 years ago and the menu was pretty much the same. I kind of liked the fact that they found something they were good at and stuck to it.

How did I end up there in the first place? Well, the Cambridge crew are trying to kill me (actually, they just forgot I was vegan). But it's okay as one member made up for my veganism by eating 2 double cheeseburgers and 1 normal cheeseburger. Maybe I should stay away from them. This afternoon involved a high power speed boat on the Coeur d'Alene lake. It was a lovely mix of exhilirating and petrifying. Although, we were all a little scared when we got stuck on top of some sort of old junk wharf lying on the bottom of the lake.

Last night we went to the Coeur d'Alene Brewing Co. I had a huge plate of pita and hummus and one of the on-site brewed beers called the Centennial Ale. It was actually quite good!

Only 2 more days of the conference left and then I'm back to Seattle.

EDIT: Since this was posted two of the Cambridge crew accompanied me on a mountain walk and tried to get me to fall down the very steep descent. We then discovered some unusual gigantic tank and they were planning to use me as a sacrafice to the US government. I have since convinced myself that Cambridge is only prestigous because they kill off the competition.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Maybe Australia should have more vegan options...

... considering this article. Seriously, if you outweigh a country that puts bacon and cheese between two fried chicken fillets as a meal you've got a real problem.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Idaho & The Conference Day 1

The flight was very short but the plane had propellors! Propellors!

I have spent most of the day inside my hotel room watching television. I was okay until the L&O SVU marathon ran out and then I realised I was alone and wanted to go home. But I made myself go to the reception (where everyone talked in very close knit groups) and then I left to get dinner since there was no non-meat food provided.(When I asked the lady about the dinner and lunches provided she told me to pick around the meat and cheese and butter. She was from the Los Alamos lab. I now don't like Los Alamos.)

I ate at Pita Pit USA. It reminded me a little of the falafel places in Israel which was nice. And it was a pretty nice falafel.

Maybe I'd be happier if it wasn't so cold. And Geoff and Belly were here. Belly would be good entertainment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Packing Disaster

I just realised my flight is tomorrow morning and I have all this food and tea I now need to pack. The tea can squeeze in the big bag along with some cookies from Whole Foods. I'll throw a few snacks in my backpack in case I get hungry on the very long flight (1 hour and 1 minute) but what about the rest? Should these items stay at the hostel for my return, be thrown out, be stuffed in my already full belly or fly with me to Idaho:
  1. my honey (much needed for my super secret get better drink)
  2. one lemon (also much needed for super secret get better drink)
  3. 2 more packs of soy pudding (delicious but has flimsy lid and will be gooey if it leaks)
  4. leftover pasta and sauce from last night's dinner
  5. vegetable oil
  6. half a clove of garlic (useful for cooking and super secret drink)
  7. one left over white flour tortilla
  8. half a carton of soy milk
  9. some juice
I have half a mind to eat most of the above and them use the gym a lot when I get to the conference. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Vegfest 2010 Review

It was so awesome!

90% of the stalls were vegan, I ate until I could eat no more and I even snatched up a few free goodies to take home with me. One of the highlights was So Delicious Coconut Milk ice-cream (called Purely Decadent) of which I tasted the Passionate Mango and Cherry Nirvana which were both equally delicious. Another highlight was my first slice of Tofurkey. I will never eat it again (the texture is far too Turkey-like) but it had to be tried. There were also these vegan burgers there and I honestly thought they were meat.

I was a little sad, though, that a city of only 700 00 people (2.7 million in the urban area) could have such a large festival like that with so many people (you could hardly move there were so many people) with such a great range of vegan restaurants when Brisbane has two vegan restaurants and a few vegetarian ones and you tell people you are vegan and they wonder if there is a cure for it. And a lot of the products were local so it's not just about the huge population of the US being able to snap up their share of Tofurkey. I just think Australia is really behind when it comes to changing our lifestyles for someone (or rather somethings) other than ourselves.

There was a stall promoting drinking water (apparently not everyone knew it was good to drink water) and they had free samples of an immune booster drink. I have been a bit flu-ey since I've been here so thought I'd try it. Everyone else trying it was pulling funny faces but not me. I thought it was delicious. Turns out, it's because it's almost exactly like my super secret honey-ginger-garlic-lemon drink. Here's their recipe:

Natural Immune Boosting Drink

2 litres of water
8-10 lemons (juiced)
9-12 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
1/2 cup of honey (try to use non-commercial honey)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Pour 1/3 of water into blender with juice of lemons. Blend. Add garlic and onions. Blend very well. Add honey and pepper. Blend. Add remaining water. Blend.

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Seattle goodies

I made it to Whole Foods this afternoon (after I woke up). I missed the free breakfast here (by 4 hours) so had to eat somewhere. I bought lentil and vegetable soup with a crusty rosemary bread bun. I also treated myself to a Vegan Thumbprint (which is a Jam Drop, pictured) and a piece of vegan cheesecake. I just ate the Thumbprint (with my super secret garlic-ginger-lemon-honey tea that I drink to get over colds) and it was delicious. I will devour the cheesecake tonight.

I stopped in to MarketSpice on the way to Vital T-Leaf. Lots of tea. I also spotted vegan marzipan chocolates, vegan chocolate covered Oreos (pictured) and vegan chocolate covered pretzels (also pictured) at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. All in good time, my pretties.

I will get very fat before I return home.

Vegfest 2010

P.S. I'm sick so I walked down to the Pike Street Market to get some teas to placebo myself into getting better and it snowed. SNOWED! Clearly, Seattle, our definitions of Spring are hemispheres apart.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seattle: My vegan adventure plan interrupted

I am so jetlagged. I went to sleep at 7pm and woke back up at 12am. Which is equivalent to going to sleep at 12pm in Australia and waking up at 5pm. It makes no sense in either time zone.

To try to combat falling asleep at 5pm I decided to take a rather freezing walk to Whole Foods Westlake. I didn't make it. I made it exactly half a block when I saw a coffee house called Bedlam who advertised that they had Mighty O's vegan donuts inside. So I bought coffee and an orange glazed donut and came back to my room. I drank the coffee by six and fell asleep by seven. The coffee was very good but pointless. There is no such thing as a pointless vegan donut.

 They are doing road works or something nearby and I can hear everything. Luckily I'm awake at midnight. I will have to buy earplugs, though, for the next few nights.

It was 8 degrees C today. And raining. I got Brisbane's weather in my iGoogle and was very jealous of the little cloud and 24 degrees. I'm going to miss the sunshine. But I have donuts so it's all okay.

Seattle: My Vegan Adventure Plan

I'd really like to visit at least some of these places in Seattle while I'm here: