Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aloha Ramen

I have long fantasized about Aloha Ramen up in Greenwood because it is one of the two (far as I know, the other being Samurai Noodles in the ID) ramen houses in Seattle that has a vegetarian ramen. I finally had the chance to eat there, and ordered the one clearly vegetarian ramen: Veggie Ramen.

The bowl came with bamboo shoots, broccoli, some sort of greens, corn and tofu squares. The simple broth tasted vegetarian, and the corn added a surprising nuttiness.

Overall, I could have used a little more excitement in the bowl... some ginger or garlic, or spice, and the tofu had the rough texture of raw extra firm tofu, instead of the lovely slippery texture of poached tofu that I prefer.

There were many other tasty sounding meat ramens on the menu that had vegan bases (spicy sesame paste, creamy tofu, miso, etc), and the waitress told me that many of the soups could be made vegan upon request. I think my inclination would be to do that next time!

Aloha Ramen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Portage Bay Cafe

I recently went to the Portage Bay Cafe in South Lake Union for lunch. I wasn't super hungry and was looking for something light. There were a few good looking vegetarian options including a portobello burger (assuming that you, unlike me, actually like the fungal beast), a quesadilla, many salads including a grain salad and a tofu noodle salad, etc. There were also vegan options, including a hummus burrito.

Everything cost a little more than I tend to favor. All for good reasons, no doubt, as the Portage Bay Cafe takes the idea of organic, local, properly fed/grown/harvested to heart, but still, it gave it all a fancy feel that automatically upped my expectations into the realm of nearly inevitable disappointment.

I ordered the soup of the day, which was creamy broccoli. Came with a delicious gluten-y sour slice of bread with soft butter.

The soup was fine. Nothing to write home about.

My dining companion got the portobello burger and enjoyed it. It came with a hearty serving of tasty spicy oven potatoes.

Not sure what exactly stuck in my craw about this place, but I'm not totally sold. It appears their main attraction is brunch, maybe if I liked brunch and I went I'd get it. In the meantime, I'd be interested in hearing other impressions.

Portage Bay Cafe & Catering on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Araya's Vegetarian Place

If you are a vegetarian or vegan in the Seattle area, you probably already know about Araya's vegan Thai restaurant in the U-District. And if you don't, woah gentle readers, consider this your lucky day!

Simply put: Araya's has a full delicious vegan menu and an awesome lunch buffet. For the most part, every dish I've ever had there has been a complete winner, the prices are good, ambiance is pleasant; I love this place. Araya's is a great restaurant to visit with a couple of friends so that you can order a bunch of dishes. Here is what we had on a recent, exquisite, vegan feast:

Tofu Larb: Little, garlicky lime covered tofu cubes sprinkled with roasted rice powder and served with thinly sliced veggies. You scoop it up and eat it with the green cabbage leaves.

Tom Yum: Delicious, fragrant hot and sour soup.

Spicy Noodle: rice noodles stir fried with tofu and misc veggies and chilies.

Lemon Tofu: This was the only dish that sort of flopped for me. The sauce was mega sweet, like poured corn syrup, which wasn't what I was expecting or wanting. I probably should have known better.

Thank goodness for Araya's! I hope they never go out of business.

Araya's Vegetarian Place on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coastal Kitchen

The Coastal Kitchen, with its rotating global menu, is a restaurant that intrigues the heck out of me but always gets the red light due to a real lack of vegetarian options (eh, and the fact that it is outside of the monetary realm that I usually patronize). But a recent special occasion, coupled with a gift certificate and a "New Orleans" menu, inspired me to go.

My dining companion and I started with two appetizers: a tasty arugula salad with grilled pears, shallots, candied nuts and Parmesan cheese, and a really delicious spicy, sweet, rich, jalapeno cornbread slathered in honey butter. Both were enjoyable.

Next came the main dishes, which were the low point for me. They had only one vegetarian main: mushroom stuffed tomatoes in a cheesy bechamel sauce. The fact that I don't really like mushrooms coupled with the fact that the dish arrived a wee bit on the cold side (film on the plated sauce), made it unappealing. It did come with a choice of sides, and I got the beans and rice (plain) and the cheesy grits (buttery and rich).

Luckily the dessert, Chocolate Turtle Bread Pudding, was quite delicious. I generally shy away from bread pudding because I don't like the egg-y custard-y stuff, but this was not like that at all. Instead it consisted of fresh pieces of Le Panier baguette lightly coated and baked til gently toasted in a delicious caramel sauce with warm melty chocolate chips and slightly sweet whipped cream. Oh my goodness it was good.

I'm glad to have finally checked this place out and I can possibly see the appeal if you are a wealthy meat/fish eater. However, from the perspective of a frugal vegetarian, there isn't much that makes me want to return.

Coastal Kitchen on Urbanspoon