My Week In Review

 

Hello guys, welcome to the first (and most likely only—we discussed my attention span in my previous post) edition of My Week In Review.

This past week, I:

  • Ate these vegan nachos at Moonshine Tavern while discussing a new project with my friend Amado (hint: PODCAST).

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  • Decided that enough was enough and asked my friend Rob to take some professional shots of me. By professional, I mean not in a photobooth and not eating a spaghetti sandwich or a taco, which is my typical MO.

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Exhibit A: this photo from 2011 was my profile picture for longer than I care to share. But come on, ya’ll. A spaghetti sandwich. Made with a grilled cheese. Side note: my hair was so short!

I don’t have any of the pictures yet (and lord knows YOU WILL ALL KNOW when I get them cuz they’ll be all over my Facebook and Yelp and Twitter and Blog and Pinterest and Instagram and whatever new social media comes out between now and then) but I do have photos of the photographer taking pictures of me, because I’m post-modern and stuff.

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  • Took a trip to Astoria (on the Oregon Coast, about a two hour drive from Portland) with my friend Zach. I was in desperate need of a getaway (bruised heart problems, yadda yadda), so this was PERFECT timing.

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We played Bingo at the best little dive bar in the world:

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I swear to god, the person taking the picture and the bartender TOLD US to get up on the bar for this picture. This was not my idea, though I gleefully complied.

…and we ordered a sampler of fancy (read: expensive) and delicious beers at Ft George Brewery…

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…and checked out the fogginess of the Oregon Coast from the vantage point of the Astoria Column.

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  • I attended a Sausage Party.

It’s not what you think.

Or is it?  It was just a vegan sausage potluck, guys. Gosh.

Fennel SausagesGluten Free Sausagesoupmushroomsbiscuitspizza

It was tons of fun and I ate the heck out of some vegan sausage. Some highlights included:

  • Apple, Brussels Sprouts and Soyrizo Soup
  • Homemade Pepperoni on English Muffin Pizzas
  • Fennel Sausage Links
  • Soyrizo-stuffed Mushrooms
  • Cheesy Apple Sage Sausage and Jalapeño Muffins

 

  • I ate at Veggie Grill’s Grand Opening of their 3rd Portland location in Hillsboro (their treat):

the spreadwingsRollersMac and CheeseB Wing SaladPudding

I could eat Veggie Grill every single day. Now, if only they’d put their vegan Caesar back on the menu…

I tackled a big bowl of pho after an extensive and always-hilariously fun grocery shopping trip with the roomie (love that gal so much):

Pho

 

Had a few Vida Vegan meetings:

One was at the Portland Art Museum, to go over a few minor setbacks we encountered (don’t worry, Vida Vegan Con goers, it’s going to work out even better for us in the long run!)

Art Museum Outside

 

And the other was at a potential Galarama + Silent Auction site:

Staver Locomotive

So pretty, right??

 

I’ve also been munching my way through the treats in this Healthy Surprise package that they sent me. This company specializes in sending vegan, gluten-free and soy-free snack to your door. Review coming soon.

healthy surprise

 

Just another week in my life. I do feel very fortunate that I’ve carved out a life that keeps me busy and happy and surrounded by fantastic friends and great food.

 

Note: This is in addition to my normal 40-45 hour work week at the restaurant. I don’t blog about that because, well, is that boring? I don’t know; it’s not to me. If anyone is interested in a ‘Day In The Life’ type post about what I do in a day as a restaurant manager, let me know and I will totally consider it.

 

…..And now I want a spaghetti sandwich. Great.

Marcel’s Adventures in Chicago-Land

 

Team VVC recently took to Chicago for a research trip.

 

I decide to bring along my new friend, Marcel.

 

Marcel in Chicago

He came into life last month, when a date and I won him at Wunderland Arcade on Belmont. He’s little, and purple, and I think a frog. Or an alien.

 

Here’s the story of Marcel’s adventures in Chicagoland.

 

The Friday morning we’re set to leave, he wakes up early. He’s never flown before (what, he’s only 4 weeks old) but he’s excited.

 

View from airplane

 

He sleeps while I read a gorgeous Spanish novel on my Kindle and indulge in a little rum and OJ.

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(My knee is way banged up from a bike accident, hence the bandages and cane I used all weekend.)

The book is called The Shadow of the Wind, by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It’s this beautiful haunting story set in post-war Spain and involves a cemetery of lost books and a boy who tries to solve an old mystery which brings him up to present day. There’s love and intrigue and murder and ghostly characters and beautiful girls and it’s the best book I’ve read this year.

 

He likes to cuddle while he sleeps. This is his favorite spot:

Marcel sleeping

He sleeps with his eyes open, which is weird, but I let him do his own thang.

 

Marcel VeganMania

On Saturday, he can hardly wait to get into VeganMania.

He loves big crowds, and Chicago VeganMania does not disappoint.

 

VeganMania Crowd

 

He was really looking forward to seeing the Vegan Black Metal Chef (have you seen his videos?)

Vegan Black Metal Chef

The Vegan Black Metal Chef is a nice dude from Florida with a crazy amount of You Tube hits for his black metal vegan cooking. He writes his own music and makes his own videos. This is his first live cooking demo, and Marcel and I both enjoy it.

fanboy marcel

fanboy

 

Marcel and his Coconut Water

Marcel sticks close to me while we watch the demos. We share a coconut water.

 

He really geeks out over Miyoko Schinner. She recently released an artisan vegan cheese cookbook and was the lady cheese expert in the September-October edition of Veg News.

Miyoko

Miyoko’s cooking demo includes almond ricotta (SO EASY—I come home to make 2 batches in my kitchen), nacho cheese sauce, and meltable Muenster

Marcel falls a little in love. I don’t have the heart to tell him she’s married, plus she lives in San Francisco. Long distance relationships rarely work.

 

The volunteers pass around pasta shells made with the ricotta and the Muenster.

ricotta manicotti shells

Yurm. I want to eat this forever.

Team VVC, Marcel and I spend the next few hours checking out the rest of VeganMania.

I <3 Vegan Girls

vegan chalkboard

Choose Vegan

 

 

After VeganMania Day, while Jess, Michele and I spend the majority of our remaining trip researching, checking out venues for Vida Vegan’s 2014 conference and gala, and sampling the fine vegan cuisine of Chicago, Marcel gets a kick out of riding the CTA with us and becoming a vegan epicurious alien-frog.

 

Marcel on the CTA

Riding the CTA like a boss.

 

Marcel in Creamer

Marcel in Mimosa

 

Helllllloooooo, Chicago!!

Big City, Little Frog

Chicago

 

Seeing the sights and swimming in vegan mimosas can really wear a little frog alien out.

 

COFFEE BREAK!

Marcel at Intelligentsia

Marcel likes to stay well-caffeinated

Marcel drinks a soy latte.

 

Marcel gets excited when he sees the local flavors of Chicago. Ho’peps*!

Marcel and Ho'pepps

*Slang for Hot Peppers. All the cool kids are saying it. Try it, you’ll like it.

 

little boy marcel looking out the window

Riding the train at sunset, Marcel asks for a window seat so he can see the sights. I happily oblige.

 

After a long day of riding the train all around Chicago, Marcel is ready for a shot.

Marcel gets drunk

It’s weak, but he’s a little guy and it goes straight to his head.

 

I’ve taught him well; he knows he needs to stay hydrated after a night of drinking.

Responsible Marcel drinking water

 

On Monday, Marcel is craving coffee. Hooked on Intelligentsia, he is disappointed but settles for a Starbucks for his morning caffeine kick.

2nd best

I can hardly bear the disappointment in his eyes.

 

Marcel, Michele, Tom and I walk trough the park. I hear Chicago has fall for like a week, and feel lucky that we get to experience it. It’s beautiful.

Chicago in the Fall

Autumn Chicago

(Though I have to admit, I rather liked the ridiculous snow and cold and wet feet of Chicago when we were there in January.)

 

View of Chicago

We arrive at the Field Museum for the day’s first appointment.

 

Marcel is such a tourist. He really wants his picture taken with me on the steps.

 

Me and Marcel at the Field Museum

 

 

Once inside, while Team VVC is getting a tour of the event space, Marcel makes some new friends.

 

Hello, Sue.

Marcel and Sue

(Sue is the world’s most extensive and well-preserved T-Rex in existence.)

 

Feeling confident with the glass case between him and this new friend, Marcel agrees to get his picture taken.

Marcel's scary new friend

 

Marcel and I are introduced to the marvels of MOLD-A-RAMA.

Mold-A-Rama

According to my native Chicago friends, I guess MOLD-A-RAMA is totally a thing. Michele and her husband Tom get giddy when they smell the hot plastic molding a fantastic new shape into creation. It takes them back to grade school.

I have to try it out. Two dollars is an insignificant amount for such a quality experience.

There are several different varieties of dinosaurs I can choose from, but naturally I’m drawn to the Brontosaurus (also unfortunately but accurately known as the Apatosaurus).

Marcel and Charlotte?

BAM!

Within seconds, Marcel has a new friend. I already have a dinosaur named Emily Bronte-saurus; what should I name this one?

Charlotte?

We also find a photobooth. I jump up and down with glee. Jess and I talk Michele into cramming into it with us.

Field Museum Photobooth

 

After the Field Museum, we hop on the CTA out to Logan Square to look at a space for the 2014 Gala.

We’re 30 minutes early, so duck into a café for quick Wi-Fi usage.

Marcel takes after me and has quickly cultivated a fine taste for anything bubbles. We share a champagne cocktail with Campari and a gorgeous orange twist. The others drink coffee.

Marcel and bubbles

 

The event space is beautiful, though on the second story of a building and unfortunately lacking handicap access.

Logan Square Gala Space

 

What’s the best way to end a day of venue viewing and appointments?

 

Ice cream.

Duh.

 

Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan chocolate ice cream in a vegan cone.

Marcel like chocolate ice cream

We’re stoked.

 

Last day in Chicago. Marcel has fallen in love with the city and doesn’t want to leave.

 

I can see why.

 

It’s a beautiful city.

 

Chicago

We view two event spaces, which are our favorite yet (stay tuned to Vida Vegan HQ for info as things slowly get finalized).

And then. And then. Whoo boy. We find a taco shop that offers vegan options in Logan Square, right off the Blue Line on our way to the airport.

La Cocina

 

Tacos, people.

 

TACOS.

 

My lifeblood

These are the best tacos ever. Upton’s chicken, refried beans, avo, lots of lettuce, cilantro, onions, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (yeast was my own; I always have a little shaker in my purse. What, don’t you?).

Marcel enjoys the hot sauces and the weird grapefruit-ish beer-ish we try.

Marcel and Hot Sauce

Marcel and Stiegl

Marcel and Grapefruit Beer

The beer thingy is weird, but we all enjoy the heck out of our tacos.

Then, a remarkably easy path through security, a quick glass of champagne before boarding, and we’re back home in Portland.

view from plane

Marcel is exhausted, but had an action-packed trip full of good food and good company.

I have a feeling he’s officially been bitten by the travel bug.

 

**Vida Vegan Tech Seminar Giveaway**

 

Oh, HI, GUYS!!!

Pardon me, I’m drinking coffee for the first time in 12 days. WHOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!

I also happen to be very excited to announce that I’m doing a giveway right here on this ol’ blog.

Guess what for???

 

Give up?

 

It’s the…………..

vida-vegan-tech-seminar

 

Vida Vegan Seminar Series: Tech

When: Saturday, November 3. 9am-5pm

Where: The Sexy Seattle Public Library

How Come: Because Jess, Michele and I love you and want you to learn all the ins and outs of techy blogging so vegan blogs can take over the worrrrrld.

This ticket includes 100% complimentary full-access registration to the first (of many!) specialized one-day seminars.This first one is all tech, all the time. A lot of the feedback we got from VVC1 suggested even more focus on techy stuff. You talked, we listened!

The line-up is looking stellar—see this page for details on speakers and classes.  We’re so thankful to be able to gather together some truly top-notch experts in the vegan tech field. And, in case you haven’t heard, guess who’s providing lunch? Only the makers of the best salads and sandwiches and buffalo wings and peach iced tea in the multiverse(drum roll please): VEGGIE GRILL.

 

Rules

* Winner gets complimentary full-day pass to the entire tech seminar.

* This covers the day of classes, a coursebook with materials provided by our speakers, lunch and snacks, and a notebook.

* Must provide own transportation and lodging, if coming from outside of Seattle.

 

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Q. Do I need to be a vegan to enter?

A. Nope. The lunch may be vegan, but the content is universal. If you’re interested in learning more in-depth blogging skillz, you’ll get a lot of this seminar, vegan or not.

Q. How do I enter?

A. Comment below about 1.) something you’re interested in learning in the blogging technical sphere. 2.) Or, if you know everything already, leave a comment with your favorite vegan spot to eat in Seattle.

Q. Who’s eligible?

A. Anyone who wants to come and can make it to Seattle on Saturday, November 3!

Q. When and how do I know if I won?

A. You have until Wednesday, September 26 to enter. That will give the winner plenty of time to make travel arrangements if needed. I’ll randomly pick a winner and announce it on here, Facebook and Twitter, so stay tuned.

Q. I entered, but I didn’t win.And now I wanna go so hard. How do I buy a ticket?

A. If we still have tickets available, you can purchase them here.

 

Good luck, lovelies!

Kale Chips, Alpacas and Sunny Day Shenanigans

 

Hi guys! I have a blog! This is it. I seem to forget sometimes.

 

Guess what? I got a dehydrator for Christmas. It took me six months to plug it in, use it, and then read the instruction manual. Turns out it’s remarkably easy to use, and makes the most phenomenal kale chips. All I had to do was plug it in and turn it on—there aren’t even any temperature settings on there, so there are, like, minimal ways I can mess up using it.

 

Last week I made a cheesy nut-free sauce to coat the kale. I used tahini, yellow pepper, mustard, coconut liquid aminos (my roomie is soy-free, so no soy sauce), yeast, and jalapeño pepper.

 

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Into the beloved Vitamix went these ingredients. I tossed the Dinosaur Kale (RAWR. Doesn’t this kale LOOK dinosaury?) in the ‘cheesy’ sauce and laid out the kale on the 5 racks. I thought it was going to take 14 hours or something ridiculous.

But, no—they were ready in just over 2 hours! I wonder if it’s because the internal temperature is higher than normal for dehydrators? Dunno, but I was stoked.

This week, today, I’m making lemon dill kale chips.

I didn’t feel like going through all the work of making my Vitamix dirty (it’s my Saturday, I’m lazy). I mixed together olive oil, lots and lots of dill, fresh lemon juice, coconut aminos, a touch of rice vinegar, sea salt and cayenne.

They’re dehydrating right now, but I tried a bite before I trayed them up and they’re going to be great, I can feel it in my vegan bones.

FYI: My brand of dehydrator is called Nesco.

 

What else have I been up to, besides finding new and exciting ways to eat kale and using my Christmas present for the first time in July?

I’ve been drinking a lot of Vega. I love the berry kind in smoothies, but recently got sent a few samples of other kinds to try.

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It took me awhile to get into the taste of Vega (and I still can’t behind the chocolate) but I’m loving the berry and the tropical flavors. I add ‘em to my morning smoothies (usually a spinach/kale mix with banana, frozen fruit and orange juice) and they give me SO MANY NUTRIENTS and added energy.

 

What else have I been up to? Oh, so much.

I’ve dined on the rooftop at Departure (BEST and current vegan food favorite in Portland);

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picked cherries from my mom’s cherry tree on a recent visit home;

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Fell in love with some alpacas on the same trip;

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I call this one “Grandpa” because just LOOK at those eyebrows.

 

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This one I call Ringo.

 

drank way too much cider on a sunny patio with friends (on multiple occasions);

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ran (<—I use that term loosely) a muddy 5k in the woods with my bestie;

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played in the kitchen a few times;

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Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and fresh raspberries made for my mom’s birthday

 

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Chickpea Blondies. My new favorite recipe. I’ve made them three times this summer already.

 

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Potato shells stuffed with kale and corn

 

…and dined at Portobello with some Vida Vegan Con friends:

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I’ve also been hard at work on Vida Vegan Con; our early bird registration tickets sold out within 24 hours!! Don’t worry, we still have tickets available; if you’re interested in spending a weekend in Portland with a bunch of amazing inspirational fellow vegans and eating as much vegan junk food as your body can handle, come to Portland next May! Info on tickets available here.

And here’s one more picture to close out this post:

 

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Portland’s pretty.