Of Roots and Blooms

I love Facebook and Instagram.  I follow vegan posts and find out about all cool things to do with the vegan community! I had been seeing amazing photos of food prepared by Of Roots and Blooms, and vowed that I would one day make my way out to one of their pop up events.  I saw that they were doing a pop up at a place called Bottles in NE Portland.  I posted on my Facebook to see if anyone wanted to join me, and a vegan friend said the menu looked amazing, and we made plans to meet at Bottles at 7.

Cute little space, the outdoor patio looked inviting, but a little crowded.  We sat inside, the door was open and we had a nice breeze blowing in.  We ordered at the counter.  I got the lime coconut kombucha, and it was so good!  I ordered the Mac & Cheese with cashew cheese sauce, cavatappi pasta, baby spinach, toasted breadcrumbs, crumbled kale chips….it was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had, vegan or not!! My dining companion ordered the same, but she also got Side of Heirloom Tomatoes with Avocado & Basil Vinaigrette, and the flavor really popped! We both got the dessert Lemon Cherry Trifle with pound cake, lemon curd, cherries, and whipped cream….so yummy!

bottles

Gene Baur’s 30th Anniversary Tour

To be honest, I didn’t know who Gene Baur is.  A fellow vegan had messaged me to see if I wanted to attend an event that she saw listed on a social website.  I checked out the event, and from what I could see, it looked interesting.  I went to a bookstore and looked for his books.  What was weird is I did find a book by Gene Bauer about flora.  It was located close to where the other Gene’s book would have been, but alas, I could not find any by the guest speaker I was to go listen to.

I listened to Gene speak of his beginnings, selling vegan hot dogs at Grateful Dead concerts out of his van.  Profits went to fund animal rescues.  He spoke of some of the atrocities that he has witnessed and documented of factory farms and slaughter houses. I remember seeing footage of such occurrences, and wonder if maybe they were recorded by Gene.  That is the beginning of my personal  journey.  He is now president of Farm Sanctuary located in California and New York.   In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller.  He had his current book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, And Feeling Better Everyday, available for purchase and signing copies.  I really wished I had enough cash to purchase a copy.  I had $20, and the book was $30.  He would have taken a check, but I didn’t have my checkbook with me.  There was another author at the event, but I didn’t realize there was someone else that was speaking, so I ignored him.  How rude of me!

Well, I scurried to the front of the seating, to make sure I had an unobstructed view of the guest speaker.    I really enjoyed listening to Gene speak.  He did it with grace and a sense of humor.  Plus, he is easy on the eyes.  Next to speak was Alex Lockwood, the author that i ignored. He was from the U.K. and had a sexy accent.  He spoke of how he came into animal advocacy.  He was also a very good speaker.  Gene had to leave after a Q&A to catch a plane.  Alex stayed around to answer more questions.  Afterwards, he sold his book, “A Pig in Thin Air” and signed them.  He also was gracious enough to chat with the folks that came out for the lecture.  I ended up buying a book and talking with him a bit.

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Chunky Green Burrito….vegan style!

Back when I used to live in Mesa, AZ, I used to go to this Mexican food restaurant called La Comida Ranchera.  I loved their chunky green burrito.  I was missing the taste, not necessarily the meat.  With vegans, I see and hear the conversations about how our former lives were cruel, and we shouldn’t crave that taste.  My thought is that everyone is on their own journey, for whatever reasons that they have. A friend of mine, when she first went vegan, she did so because heart disease runs in her family.  She learned how being on a vegan diet is beneficial for our health.  She said at first, that leather and the other animal by-products didn’t bother her.  But now she says the longer that she is on a vegan diet, the more she is starting to think otherwise, how could you not?  For myself, I did it because I didn’t want another sentient being to suffer, just because I am selfish and can only think of the pleasure of eating or wearing animal by-products.  And the longer I am on this journey, the more I learn about the health benefits as well as reducing one’s carbon footprint.  It just makes sense.  I know I still have a long way on this journey.

However, I still can remember that chunky green burrito 20 years later!  That’s not to say that I don’t get nauseous at the thought of eating a dead animal, because I do.  Anyways, I tried out Gardein’s Sweet and Sour Pork-less bites.  I thought they were good, but not a big fan of Sweet and Sour.  The texture though…I thought it had potential.  Soooo….I bought some Hatch green chile enchilada sauce.  I cooked this together with the Pork-less bites, I added a little Chao cheese.  In the picture I sampled a little with Spanish rice.  But boy, in burrito form, it is reminiscent of that Chunky Green Burrito from years gone by…cruelty free!

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Eugene, OR

I’ve been meaning to go to Eugene forever!  I visited when I first moved to Oregon, to scout a company that was located there.  At the time, I didn’t really think twice about this college town.  But through Instagram and Facebook, I keep seeing posts of some very delicious meals from several restaurants, especially Corn Bread Cafe!

When I do road trips, I like to incorporate many of the things that I love.  First, finding the best vegan food!  For our first night there, I looked on yelp for vegan restaurants close to the hotel we were staying at.  I found a Chinese restaurant called Lotus Garden Vegetarian Restaurant.   They had Hot and Sour soup, which I had been sorely missing since becoming vegan. I had ordered the Twice Cooked Soy Slices, my partner ordered the Cashew Veggies.  We got Spring rolls and Hot and Sour soup to share.  A lot of people seemed to love this place, judging from the reviews that I saw on Yelp.  I wanted to love this place, but it was so-so for me.chinese

The next morning, I grabbed a banana from the hotel’s complimentary breakfast.  We stayed at Best Western, and they claimed they had a hot breakfast,   I think I saw a pancake making station, but they didn’t have an omelet station. (Not that I wanted eggs!)  On my last road trip, the hotel we stayed at had an omelet station, and I was able to get potatoes with veggies.  I was going on a nature walk that included letterboxing, so I didn’t want to get filled up anyways.  I met up with a lady that I met through the letterboxing site, and she was fun company while we walked on the trails.  I found 13 letterboxes, but got to see plenty of nature!  I saw a deer, right about the time I was stamping an image of deer in my log book.  We saw bright yellow finches, I’m guessing they were finches anyways.  And then I saw wild turkeys!  I saw all sorts of flowers…I didn’t get pictures of all, but here are a few assortment of what I did see.

flower

I had first heard about Cornbread Cafe from a high school friend that had moved to Eugene. We had found each other on Facebook and after chatting, I learned that she was vegan as well, and she says that Cornbread Cafe is her favorite restaurant.  Well, after she mentioned this place, I started seeing pictures on Instagram and Facebook featuring food from this place.  It all looked so good!  I made plans to meet her for dinner after a day of letterboxing.  Well, sadly it didn’t happen.  Her work got in the way. :(  But I was not going to miss out on this Vegan Comfort food experience!  Let’s just say that my experience lived up to all the hype I’ve been hearing about!  We both did the build a meal option, you pick the main entree and then pick two sides.  I got the Chicken Fried Tempeh with Mashed Taters and gravy, spinach and corn bread.  My partner got the Moody Portabella, side of Mac Un-cheese and and Crinkle Fries. We ordered iced tea, it was so good.  We also got desserts to go!  The staff was really superb!

cornbread    dessert

The next morning, after check out, we found our way over to Morning Glory Cafe., vegetarian cafe with lots of vegan options! This place was jumping!  We had a 30 minute wait!  But once we got a table, things moved faster.  I got a really savory breakfast the Mama’s Tofu Scramble with herbed potatoes, my partner opted for an omelet.  So good.  I even got an apple fritter for the road.

morning

Oh so the purpose for this road trip besides Vegan noms and letterboxing, was to get our McMenamin’s passport stamped.  We went to all three of the McMenamins in Eugene.  Now all we had left was Roseburg.  After a filling breakfast, we made our way down to Roseburg, OR.  The Roseburg Station pub and brewery once was a train station.  We had to do a photo hunt in order to get our passports stamped and collect our prize.  The clue was “I’m not a crook!”  Lucky for me, I lived during that era!  Apparently, Tricky Dick was once at the train station!

mcmenamins

On our way home, we stopped in at Bridgeport Village to have dinner at Native Foods cafe.  Right now they have the Bistro Steak Sandwich, which is one of my favorites.  My partner always, always opts for the Reuben sandwich!

native

Well, I have one more day off before I have to go back to work on Sunday night.  I guess I better get some exercising in!!

New Orleans trip

Back in November 2015, I went with a group of friends to New Orleans, LA.  This was a very fun trip, visiting a lot of food places, museums and plantations.  New Orleans is not a very vegan friendly place, but with persistence, I was able to locate a few restaurants that were vegan friendly.

Our first dinner was at Green Goddess.  It’s been so long since I was there, so I am trying to look at pictures and checking out the website menu to figure out what I ate.

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Pecan Orange Mushroom Pate

 

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Citrus Salad: A simple salad, arugula and local mixed greens tossed with Sicilian orange olive oil, a resh sqeeze of orange juice, and candied pecans.

For breakfast we went to Ruby Slipper Cafe

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The Costa Rican: Gallo pinto (slow cooked black beans and rice) over warm tomato salsa, crispy plantains and avocado

For the Palace Cafe, make sure the male members of your party wear a jacket.  My friend had to borrow one from the restaurant.  The restaurant isn’t very vegan friendly, but the staff was!  I had one of the best salads there.

palace

One of my favorite dinners was at Carmo.  I can’t remember what it was called, and looking at the online menu, nothing looks familiar.  At the time of dining, I realized I left my cell phone at Mardi Gra World, so I had to enlist my friend to take the picture.

carmo

There were vegan gumbo to be found, I heard there was a vegan beignet, but couldn’t find those.  Here’s my gumbo:

gumbo

Late night snack at the hotel we stayed at.

palace

The next day, I had to go back to Mardi Gras World to retrieve my phone.  I was able to take the shuttle to my lunch destination to meet my friend at Bennichan.

mardi 

bennachin

Baham: Sauteed vegetables in ginger, onion, garlic sauce served with rice or cous cous.

Final breakfast was at Meals from the Heart Cafe.

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I can’t wait till my next food adventure!

 

Verde Cocina

I’ve been having some shoulder pain, and a friend recommended that I give acupuncture a try.  I made an appointment with Working Class Acupuncture; I was a little nervous since this was my first time.  There was nothing to be nervous about, it was so relaxing and pain free.  Well, almost pain free.  The needle that she placed in my forehead didn’t feel very good.  I waited a few seconds and it never got any better, so I had her take it out.

My friend was there having a treatment as well.  Afterwards, we went to Verde Cocina for lunch on Capital Highway.  I had been to the one over by the zoo.  Verde Cocina is completely gluten-free.  They offer a few vegan options.  They had a Chile Relleno that looked good, and Chile Relleno happens to be one of my favorites, but I also love mole.  I opted for the Gringas con Mole.  Lots of veggies and delicious mole sauce.  I need to go back and try the Chile Relleno sometime!

verde

Coastal getaway in Lincoln City, OR

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, but this is the first annual family vacation that I scheduled.  It’s challenging enough being vegan at the coast, but even more challenging is being vegan in a family of omnis.  This took a lot of thought and pre-planning of meals.  My partner made up a big batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies, and everyone enjoyed them.  I made a big bowl of potato salad.  I took a couple of vegan frozen meals for emergencies.

beachhouse family

Our first night there, the omnis had my potato salad along with their fried chicken.  I microwaved a couple of Gardein’s BBQ pork-less buns to go with my potato salad.  This was so easy and tasty!  I don’t have a microwave at home, so I don’t get to eat the BBQ pork-less buns often, but at work or a beach getaway, these little guys hit the spot!

The next day, I made vegan sandwiches with Tofurkey deli meat and it went well with the potato salad.  For dinner, we popped our homemade enchiladas in the oven, and I made Spanish rice to accompany it, along with a salad.

enchilada

For lunch the next day, we had leftover enchiladas and rice.  For dinner, we made a BBQ.  I love Field Roast Apple Sage sausages, we grilled up a bunch of those, and I also like Sweet Earth Teriyaki burgers.

For lunch the next day, we went over to McMenamin’s lighthouse.  McMenamin’s is a hit or miss as far as vegan cuisine goes.  They had a food special of a flatbread called, “Olive to Die Another Flatbread”. This was a flatbread spread with an olive tapenade, sauteed tomatoes and balsamic red grapes, topped with arugula.  It’s supposed to come with feta cheese, but I opted out of the cheese.  That evening, we had spaghetti and garlic toast.  Everyone loved it, even the omnis.

tapenade

For lunch the next day, we headed over to the shops on 101.  I had read on Yelp and Happy Cow of a place called Nepali Restaurant.  According to the reviews, the veggie momo’s were a must try.  My partner ordered those, and they were OK.  I ordered this mixed bean soup with spinach and whole wheat dumplings.  The flavors in the soup was excellent!  It’s a quaint little restaurant with a cute garden patio in the back.  The service was a little slow.

nepali

We cooked up the frozen potstickers that we brought from home.  I had bought a big bag at Costco prior to the trip.  These potstickers are so delicious, I would take some to work for potlucks, and everyone would rave about them.  Costco will carry them, and then they won’t.  I was so excited to see these in stock again, but imagine my disappointment when we tried to get an extra bag prior to the trip.  Hopefully they will carry them again!

We went for a walk on the beach everyday.  Always seeing something new and different.  On one of the first days we were on the beach, these little shells were washed up.  I had never seen them before, and I didn’t see them again the rest of the trip.  They had little clear mohawks.  Not sure what that was.  Maybe a thin layer of the shell came off?  It was very rubbery to the touch.  I loved seeing all the colorful flowers to and from the beach.  Some planted in the yards of the beach houses, others growing wild on the side of the road.  We took the grandkids to fly kites, and that was fun.  But on the very last day, we saw a pair of bald eagles!  They were sitting up high on a rail of some sort when we first spied them.  Black birds kept swooping down on them trying to shoo the eagles off.  The eagles took to flight and found an area on the face of a cliff that looked a little more protected.  But then the seagulls started swooping in on them.  The male looked like he had had enough and flew off, leaving the female behind.  After a while, she took off after her mate.  For me, that was an exciting moment in my beach getaway!

shell

Velella velella, or By the wind sailor

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flower

Cistus Ladanifer Spotted Flower

 

 

 

eagles

Bald eagles

 

a.n.d. cafe

I found a couple of articles on the web for vegan foods. One listed the top 13 vegan restaurants to try, and the other listed 20+ restaurants that had a signature vegan dish to try. The restaurants aren’t necessarily vegan. Well out of the 13 vegan restaurants, I’ve been to 7 of them. I’ve decided at least once a week I would visit at least 1 of them. Yesterday I went to a.n.d. cafe for brunch. And it was a most awesome brunch! I had the walnut meatloaf Benedict. It was topped with herbed tofu and hollandaise sauce. My dining partner had the Reuben. He loves Reuben sandwiches, and he is on a quest to find the best vegan Reuben there is. Right now he is enamored with Native Foods, though he said a.n.d. cafe came close. I loved my meatloaf Benedict, though my sourdough toast was a little too hard for my liking.

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a.n.d. is open for breakfast and lunch only. Hurry in there!

Vegan Beer and Food Festival

I had a blast last weekend at the Vegan Beer and Food Festival in Portland, OR last week!  I am so grateful that Portland has such a great vegan community.  Through social media, I learned of the festival.  I’m not really a beer drinker, so I didn’t want to pay for the upgrade to a wristband for unlimited beer sampling.  I wasn’t really into kombucha before, didn’t think I liked it.  But the wristband I bought, had unlimited kombucha sampling.  Turns out I really like kombucha!  There is tremendous health benefits to drinking it.  Probiotics for the gut, and heaven knows I can use all the help I can get in that regard!

I met up with some of my vegan friends…and a friend that is vegan friendly for some fun in the sun!  I was worried because the day before was rainy and gloomy.  But thankfully it was a gorgeous day!  My first sample of food was from Nicholas Restaurant, and it was free!  A tahini sauce over jasmine rice…really delicious, and I really want to go the restaurant for a full meal now! My first meal that I paid for, I shared it with a friend, was from Clean South.  A vegan food truck based in L.A.  This place did not disappoint in the least!  We got the fried chicken with pimiento mac and cheese and cole slaw!  It was the best vegan fried chicken I have tried, hands down!  We shared, because I wanted to pace myself!  I found myself in a vegan smorgasbord!

Next up was the sammy from Snackrilege.  This is a food truck based at 625 NE Killingsworth Portland, OR.  I can’t for the life of me remember what the name of the sandwich was, I don’t think it is on their menu, but it was pretty tasty!  It had cream cheese and bbq vegan meat stuff…so delish!  I definitely want to go visit them at their location!

Afterwards, I had a fried chicken bowl with roasted corn and mac and cheese from Southern Fried Vegan.  Awesomeness!  Was getting full by this point, so luckily I brought my green take-out food container to take leftovers home.  I drank so much kombucha, I thought I was going to pop on my drive home!  I also had the chocolate covered cheesecake from Blossoming Lotus.  I really wish I could have tried samples from all the food vendors, everything was so delicious!  Fun live bands to listen to as we sat back in our chairs next to the Willamette river with a view of the Tilikum Bridge. Truly a vegan heaven!

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Birthday Painting

My daughter painted this for my birthday. She knows that I love koi fish!

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