Monday, December 29, 2008

Tawon Thai

Tawon Thai is my favorite of the Thai restaurants in little Thai village that Fremont has become. I like the way the place feels: it is clean and spacious (able to handle the inevitable Fremont lunch crush), and has high ceilings and dark wood furniture.
Another reason I like Tawon Thai is because they have the vegetarian thing understood. They understand about a vegetarian not wanting fish sauce or shrimp paste, and they have a nice section of the menu dedicated to vegetarian options (Spicy Thai Pumpkin, Grilled eggplant, Spinach Soup, etc). But it gets better than that: they also have an indicator (a J for "Jain") next to any other item on the full menu that CAN be made vegetarian/vegan.

And the most wonderful thing is that all of their curries can be made vegan.

Most recently a dining companion and I ordered food to go. We got the Spicy Szechuan green beans with soft tofu (you always have a choice of soft or fried), and a Green Curry with Tofu, which comes with tofu, zucchini, bell pepper and lots of stewed fresh basil in a rich and spicy coconut milk sauce.
Both were excellent. The green beans were cooked until tender crisp and the sauce was spicy and delicious without being too oily. The curry was outstanding. It is rare to be able to order a fully vegetarian curry in a restaurant, and this one wasn't lacking in any dimension.

My only tiny complaint would be that everything was a little bit saltier than it needed to be, but that seems to be par for the course in restaurants, and especially in Thai restaurants.

From a vegetarian perspective, this place is awesome.

Tawon Thai
3410 Fremont Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-4545

Tawon Thai on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 22, 2008

Joey's Lake Union

I was recently down in the South Lake Union area with people who were growing hungrier and crankier by the minute. I did the quick vegetarian swoop of the menus in the immediate area... chowder houses, crab houses, expensive seafood restaurants that didn't offer anything vegetarian. I even went into Hooters, ready to resign to a plate of jalapeno poppers, but was offended enough by the entirely beige and deep friend menu (the girls looked wholesome in comparison) that I couldn't bring myself to suggest it in earnest.

Joey's Lake Union ended up feeling like the best of all bad choices. We entered the restaurant, which was classy but had a critical problem in ambiance: The restaurant was really dark. It had dim lighting, dark furnishings etc. But on one wall was a gaping floor to ceiling window view of the extremely bright and glaring Lake Union. The contrast in brightness was enough to give me a headache in a few minutes and blind me no matter which way I looked.

All that aside, Joey's ended up being a surprise winner, relatively speaking, because there was an unusual detail at the bottom of the menu: For the vegetarians, some dishes can be made with a "high quality" meat substitute. YAY! I ordered the "Grilled Chicken Souvlaki" vegetarian style.
And it wasn't too bad. It included a warm soft pita stuffed with fake chicken, lettuce, and some kind of creamy sauce. Also on the plate was a rather large bowl of "skinny fries" which were fresh and tasty and had a flavour bizarrely reminiscent of Pik-Nik shoestring potato chips.

I probably wouldn't choose to eat here again for my own pleasure, but am glad to know that there is a vegetarian option available in the conglomeration of seafood and seeboob in the South Lake Union parking lot.

(206) 749-5639
901 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Joeys on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beni Hoshi

Beni Hoshi, which used to be a Yasukos, has tempted me from the west entrance to the West Seattle bridge for years and years with the promise of "West Seattle's Best Teriyaki."

I finally stopped and ordered some food to go. They didn't have tofu teriyaki, but they did have tofu yakisoba, so I ordered that.

Food smelled great on the way home, and I was excited to open up the tightly tied plastic bag to reveal my meal. Like at almost every Teriyaki restaurant, the folks at Beni Hoshi take care to double knot the plastic bag that surrounds the Styrofoam carry out container before handing it over the counter, to prevent you (I'm assuming) from adding extra sauce before leaving.

Got home, opened it up, had a bite, and was disappointed. The tofu had the very obvious spongy texture from being frozen, and spooged oil when pressed. The noodles were gloppy, and the vegetables were few. There was a pile of white rice along side the noodles that could have benefited from some of the forbidden sauce.
While it is nice to know that this place has a tofu option, I wouldn't choose to eat it again unless circumstances were really dire.

Beni Hoshi
(206) 932-3395
4402 35th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

Beni Hoshi on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bombs Away

Corvallis was surprisingly full of vegetarian friendly restaurants, and we are really well fed while we were there. The last stop of our vegetarian feasting tour took us to Bombs Away Cafe, a mostly Mexican themed restaurant near the University.

In addition to meat items, they have a huge vegetarian menu, including vegetarian tortilla soup, savory tofu burritos, potato enchiladas, green chili cheese tamales, tempeh burritos, tofu enchiladas, etc. It was pretty much everything you could hope for as a vegetarian at a Mexican restaurant.

I ordered the tamale, and it came well stuffed and aside a big pile of black beans and brown rice.
Also ordered was a vegetarian Chimichanga, a menu item that I immensely appreciated. Vegetarians don't always want whole wheat/brown rice/steamed vegetables/non-fat dressing. Sometimes we want our meals made with deep-fried white tortillas drizzled in sour cream. I have to admit, after tasting this, I wished I had ordered it instead of the tamales.
Thanks so much to our knowledgeable hosts for sharing some of their favorite spots. I miss you guys!

Back to Seattle.

Bombs Away Café
2527 NW Monroe Ave
Corvallis, OR 97330

Monday, December 8, 2008


Interzone is a Corvallis cafe with broken WiFi (at least when we were there trying to use it), slightly chaotic service, and excellent vegetarian and vegan breakfast options.

The menu was entirely vegetarian, with some rather spectacular vegan options (tofu rancheros, tofu scrambles, homefries with veggies, etc) available on the weekends.

I ordered some tasty mac and cheese that was made with mixed vegetables and crumbles of veggie sausage.
D ordered a breakfast burrito with beans and eggs and cheese and vegetables. L ordered scrambled eggs with veggie sausage patties and toast on the side.
I tend to judge a city by the ease with which one can get a good vegetarian/vegan breakfast, and Corvallis has been a surprisingly awesome place in that regard.

Interzone Inc
1563 NW Monroe Ave
Corvallis, OR 97330
(541) 754-5965

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Evergreen Indian Restaurant

While in Corvallis, one of our hosts took us to her favorite Indian restaurant (also the only Indian restaurant in town), and it was excellent.

There was a huge emphasis on vegetarian dishes on the menu, and the three of us ate vegetarian. We each ordered a different vegetarian entree Thali style, which, in addition to the main dish, included a wide plate of rice and 5 little metal bowls each full of a different delicious vegetarian Indian specialty.

Our dinner started with a big plate of papadums, the crispy, savory crackers typically made from the flour of legumes and rice. They came with three delicious sauces, one of which was cilantro based, another tomato based, and the third, coconut based.
After we finished the papadum, the very nice and attentive waiter came and replaced the plate with a basket filled with piping hot, buttery naan covered in the delicious charred blisters that come from cooking in a hot hot oven.
I ordered the Lentils cooked with tomatoes with onions, and my little bowls included a lentil soup, some creamy spinach with paneer, curried chickpeas, a dish with cauliflower and potatoes, and a cool yogurt sauce with cucumbers. The others ordered variations on this, and their little bowls rotated around the menu accordingly.
It was extremely delicious. Not too salty, not too heavy, but full of flavour and just enough spice.

Dessert was also included with our Thali meals, and we ordered mango/cardamom/almond ice cream and gulab jamun, the warm little egg shaped doughnuts that come to the table floating in a bath of hot, honey sweetened ghee.
The ambiance was relaxing and quiet and the space was made beautiful with Indian art and decorations. The server was really pleasant and attentive, always coming by to refill a water glass or offer more rice (he even went out on a limb and brought me a new plate of rice, after I had devoured mine but declined any more).

I can see why our Corvallis hosts love this place!
Evergreen Indian Restaurant
136 SW 3rd St
Corvallis, Oregon 97333