Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Twisp River Pub

I recently spent my birthday in the Methow Valley and did some serious research about where to eat on the special night. Unfortunately, it appears the Twisp/Winthrop/Mazama stretch is pretty bleak for good vegetarian food.

I initially got really excited about this:, an unusual (and not corny/cooperate/tourist trap, as the name might make you think) restaurant developed as a life dream by a local woman that revolves around eating artfully prepared, healthy, traditional (local as possible) Native American foods while in a beautiful tipi. In the winter time, there is fire and candle light and and animal skins to keep everything warm. The proprietress, Suekii, cooks everything in a nearby kitchen and brings it via hand held wagon to her hungry guests. I spoke to Suekii about what she does for vegetarians (no bison steak for this birthday gal), and it all sounded wonderful... hummus and pickled asparagus, stuffed squash, emmer farro, etc. But it turned out that the tipi was already fully booked (it only holds 8) on the night of my birthday.

There are other fancy type options in the area, including the Sun Mountain Lodge and the Arrowleaf Bistro, but these have really limited vegetarian entrees that are priced at meat prices. No thank you.

So I went to the Twisp River Pub, where I knew there were decent vegetarian options to be had. My dining companion and I split two things: the Asian salad and a veggie burger with fries.

Based on the menu description, I had hoped that the Asian salad (with rice noodles) would be similar to the contents of a Vietnamese bun. Turned out the noodles were more of a garnish, and the salad was mostly green. I ordered it with fresh tofu (instead of fried), which was possibly a mistake, because it came fully unmarinated (rather than in the sesame marinade the menu describes).

The pub-made veggie burger was tasty, and the fries were excellent.

For my birthday dessert, I ordered a warm walnut brownie with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious.

Winthrop Tipi Dinners on Urbanspoon Twisp River Pub on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tacos El Asadero

I have walked past the jumbo bus, Taco "truck" at Othello and MLK, by the Othello lightrail station, countless times and finally stopped in for some tacos. There weren't any vegetarian tacos on the menu, but it was no problem to order them. After you order, you can actually board the bus and and sit inside and eat and watch Mexican TV, but I got my tacos to go.

I ordered three vegetarian tacos. They were somewhere around a buck fifty a piece, and came full of beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Both the red and the green salsas were delicious and spicy. I think the refried beans may have been cooked with lard.

The one thing that was obviously lacking was the little packet of pickled carrot/radish/jalapeno/fresh lime... on one hand, they are tiny insignificant garnishes, on the other, they are one of my favorite parts of eating at a taco truck.

These tacos totally hit the spot, and are hard to beat for the price. One complaint is the use of styrofoam in the packaging for the tacos to-go. I'd definitely be willing to pay a little more for a compostable option.

Tacos El Asadero on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Some hidden hipster part of me is really reluctant to embrace restaurants that gain quick noteriaty; I tend to initially shy away from places with too much hype (or accolades, eh). And then eventually, once curiosity or necessity or social obligation finally requires it, I drag my snagglepuss self out into the world to check then out. And on occasion I am blown away. Revel was a restaurant like this. I should have gone sooner.

The menu is small and changes frequently, and is grouped into a few categories: salads, dumplings, rice bowls, etc, each of which has maybe 3-4 varieties in it, including one that is vegetarian.

On a surprisingly lovely recent night I began with a spinach salad with palm hearts, black lentils and smoked peanuts. The dressing was salty and lightly acidic and every item was perfectly in balance. I would not have guessed that the explicit flavor of the lentils would be important and enhancing in a salad like this, but it was.

Next I had the vegetarian dumplings, which were filled with cauliflower and ricotta and served with pickled leeks and a black truffle puree. They were every bit as interesting, delicious and unusual as they sound.

The perplexing this about this place, which had fancy, well crafted, artsy type food, was that the prices were in the same ballpark as a "normal" restaurant. Both the salad and the dumplings were $9 each. Ordering them together made the meal extra fun and decadent, but wasn't necessary to get full. I am intrigued by whatever else is going to be coming out of this kitchen!

Revel on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I recently went to Lemongrass Vietnamese restaurant on 12th ave full of excitement for a bowl of vegetarian pho.

In addition to having a vegan broth, my current qualifications for what is a "good" bowl of pho include:

1. Soft (NOT DEEP FRIED!) tofu
2. Interesting selection of veggies
3. Broth that gets its goodness from more than just MSG

What arrived at the table looked exquisite... nice soft, white tofu, and a selection of veggies that included broccoli, baby bok choy, green beans, carrots and more. But I took one slurp of the broth and had a, wait, WHAT? moment on my tongue.

This ol' gal has gotten quite adept at tasting the foul or flesh (or fish) when it sneaks into my food. A check with the waitress confirmed that, in spite of the fact that vegan broth is standarly used in some OTHER soups, the "veggie" pho will be made with meat broth unless otherwise specified. Ah.

I'm glad to know this, and I would consider visiting again in spite of the broth confusion because of the surprisingly hard to find soft tofu and nice veggies.

Lemongrass on Urbanspoon