Tag Archives: Veggie Grill

Best Meals: Seattle

While in Seattle, I had a few particularly good meals.

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Capital Cider – I happened to Google “gluten-free Seattle” and found out about Capital Cider. Their menu was entirely gluten-free, they had what appeared to be vegan options, and best of all, they served cider flights. I asked my boss if he wanted to check it out and he said yes. Then another person joined us, and someone she was talking with and another two chimed in and soon a group of seven was seated in the lower level of the restaurant and bar. It was “Drink and Draw Night” which turned out to be rather enjoyable. I know I had hand cut fries and some Brussel sprouts, and maybe some broccoli, all of which were quite tasty, but the drinks are what really mattered. I had a flight of ciders, all of which were a bit dry for me, and a delightful mixed drink made with Scotch, Gran Classico Bitter, and BroVo Ginger. The outstanding part of the meal came when I realized they had flights of dessert ciders – like port made with apples. They were amazing.

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El Borracho – I had lunch with a colleague at El Borracho, just outside Pikes Place Market. They have a vegan section on the menu, including nachos, soyrizo, and other delights. I ordered a taco de hongos (mushrooms) and a taco de papas y poblanos (potatoes and peppers). Both were great. I wanted more, but it worked out just as well that I left a little hungry, because…

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Emmy’s Vege House – I took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island after lunch. I was walking around and decided there was no way in hell I was passing up an all-vegan Vietnamese fast food kiosk in the center of town. Emmy’s Vege House has a full-picture menu and outside seating. It was a perfect respite. I ordered summer rolls and a Thai iced tea.

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Veggie Grill – There was a Veggie Grill around the corner from the hotel. We need more of these on the East Coast. Over the course of the days I was there, I had the tempeh tacos, gluten-free mac and cheese, asparagus soup, and bahn mi salad. The tacos and mac and cheese remain my favorites.

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Oatmeal, Lake Union – My absolute favorite meals were eaten at Lake Union with my new duck friends. I was out for an early morning walk and ducked into a Whole Foods. They had a decent hot bar with oatmeal and toppings. I took mine to-go and walked up to Lake Union. It was a perfect morning to sit on a bench and look at the water. The first morning the ducks and geese came to see if I was sharing. The next morning I picked them up some peas and corn at the salad bar and we had breakfast together.

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Seattle: Food, Bags, Books, and Wasabi Toothpaste

This was a work trip, but I was able to squeeze out exploration time by embracing the extra three hours Pacific Time offers and waking in the wee hours.

Seattle
Seattle

We here at Next Exit Travel have absolutely no corporate sponsorship, but one of us would sell-out to Timbuk2 in a heartbeat. I’m not sure when my obsession with their bags began, but it started with an innocent yard sale purchase some years ago. For the longest time they only had one retail store (in SF) and I made that pilgrimage in 2012. They now have a store in Seattle and I wanted to take a look (yearn longingly) at some of their new luggage. Their bags are waterproof and have lots of compartments. I’ve used one as my camera bag for years. I fondled just about every bag in the store and decided on my future suitcase (it has wheels and works as a backpack) and bought two bags on clearance.

Veggie Grill, Mac & Cheese and Corn
Veggie Grill, Mac & Cheese and Corn

Seattle is home to several locations of Veggie Grill, an all-vegan West Coast fast-food chain. I have spent the last year yearning for their creamy gluten-free mac and cheese and tempeh “fish” tacos. During my time in Seattle I had the mac and cheese, tempeh “fish” tacos, asparagus soup, and grilled corn on the cob. I wish we had these on the East Coast.

Seattle Mystery Bookstore
Seattle Mystery Bookstore

Near the Underground Tour (which will be covered in its own post) is Seattle Mystery Bookshop, which offers the mystery and thriller reader a convenient place to go bankrupt. New books, old books, imports, signed books, first editions, they have it all. The store is well-organized and the gentleman I spoke with was helpful and friendly. I left with some Icelandic mysteries and a signed James Lee Burke. I was almost afraid to keep looking because I knew I would find more and more. Great store, great staff, great selection.

Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee

Another great place to drop some cash is the Archie McPhee headquarters. I remember mail ordering ridiculous things items in the epoch before .com. Who needs wasabi toothpaste? I thought of two people, actually. Horror movie victims? A perfect gift. Hula coasters, schadenfreude mints, a patron saint of dogs, and other items all made it into my basket. I was tempted by the Bigfoot luggage tag, but somehow showed restraint. I would have bought the coffee can urn, but I already have one friends gave me years ago.

Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes at Portage Cafe
Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes at Portage Cafe

I had a breakfast meeting at Portage Café one morning and the coffee and “farmer’s hash” (vegetables, potatoes, tofu) was quite good, but I was curious about their pancakes. I was up early on my last day and went for a walk that took me past another location. They make gluten-free, vegan banana pancakes. Normally I am anti-banana, but in this case they were absolutely perfect. A lot of gluten-free foods taste like particleboard and despair, but these were moist and somehow light (I mean, aside from the fresh maple syrup I drowned them in). The breakfast bar offers all sorts of toppings, including coconut shreds and berries. The home fries were every bit as good as the pancakes. This meal will haunt me.

Hammering Man
Hammering Man

Before I make Seattle sound too sunshiny, the city has a weird vibe and crazy amounts of construction and these are connected. I was mostly in the downtown area this time and the demographics seem to have changed in the last few years. This is a major tech job/internet commerce area and because of that you see huge flocks of young, awkward, stressed out people. Amazon, Microsoft, and others are bringing thousands of jobs to the area and building new facilities left and right. Cranes fill the skyline. In a way, it looks like Seattle is having another boomtown period, only this time the frontier is the internet. This means that more and more people are being squeezed out due to rents increasing and the disparity between the entitled and the vulnerable is evident walking around downtown. It made me wonder what things were like outside of the downtown areas.

Downtown Seattle
Downtown Seattle

In line at security at Sea-Tac Airport my co-worker and I were fortunate enough to witness one of those travel moments where you wonder if you are watching a some form of performance art. These two middle-aged women were enacting a version of the airport security scene from High Anxiety, but with a personal shopping cart and unspecified large display. I started hoping they were genius terrorists.

Sunset over Olympic National Forest, Seattle
Sunset over Olympic National Forest, Seattle

Also at the airport is Metskers, a map store that offers travel books, maps, prints, ephemera, compasses. It you are passing through the airport, check it out at the end of concourse B. Should you need Bigfoot memorabilia, Sea-Tac Airport also has you covered.

For all your bigfoot needs
All your bigfoot needs

 

More scenes from Seattle:

Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
Car Wash, Seattle
Car Wash, Seattle
Manhole Cover, Seattle
Manhole Cover, Seattle
Coneflowers and the Space Needle
Coneflowers and the Space Needle
 Asparagales
Asparagales
Ferris Wheel, Seattle
Ferris Wheel, Seattle
Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel
Sunset over Olympic National Forest, Seattle
Sunset over Olympic National Forest, Seattle
Tim's Cascade Style Potato Chips, Salt and Vinegar
Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips, Salt and Vinegar