Sunday, January 29, 2012

ChuMinh Tofu & Veggie Deli

I have finally located the antidote for Maruta's and other vegan un-friendly Asian delis all over Seattle: the ChuMinh deli at 12th and Jackson where the staff is lovely and everything is animal-free!
The vegan deli has a well stocked hot case full of various curries, veggies and tofu dishes. There is also an impressive selection of various deep fried things and both sweet and savory rice flour pastries. The prices were inexpensive and my dining companion and I tried a bunch of different dishes:
In the above picture we have stewed greens and tofu (with two different types of greens- this was my favorite!), some kind of fresh, lightly steamed veggie and tofu, an egg roll, an interesting and delicious shishkabob with grilled pineapple and various savory sweet and sour flavors, and a coconut bamboo shoot curry.

We also ordered a bahn mi and it was large, fresh and spicy!
It was such a treat to be able to order freely from the plentiful options and not worry too hard about the potential for meat/fish ingredients. My only complaint is that all of the tofu had been fried, while I would have preferred it to have been steamed, and as a result the various dishes all felt a little greasy.

ChuMinh Tofu & Veggie Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Sunflower Cafe

While in the Methow, we made our own breakfasts and lunches with the exception of the last lunch on the way back home. As we left Winthrop, hungry and soaked from a wet morning ski, we scratched our heads about where to grab a reasonably priced, vegetarian friendly, tasty lunch, and were stoked to notice the Sunflower Cafe. It appeared to be what I affectionately call a hippie cafe; a ripe haven of tofu scrambles and yogurt etc.

Indeed it was a cozy place, though it seemed most of the savory vegetarian options were centered around eggs. As far as non-eggy vegetarian options go, there was a hummus wrap and a veggie wrap (and possibly some soup, but it wasn't ready yet when we were there).

Now the ladies in the cafe were lovely, the place itself was warm and inviting, but I have a gripe against "wraps". I think wraps are one of the worst culinary inventions of recent time and I wish they would disappear. As far as I can tell, a "wrap" is anything stuffed into a cold (often whole wheat or some other aberration) tortilla. A cold, splitting, dry whole-wheat tortilla is one of the last things (in the context of our modern, 1st world, food variety explosion) I would choose to put in my mouth. Lightly smear it with few streaks of hummus and stuff it with lettuce, cucumbers and olives? Not much better.

As I said before, I appreciate the aesthetic of this place, and the workers were so sweet and friendly, and I feel a little bit reluctant to make them the target of my wrap rant. And I should say that my dining companion had a tasty spicy chicken sandwich that came with a huge salad with some amazing homemade lemon-honey-herb dressing. The folks eating around us seemed happy and satisfied. I bet the soup would have been delicious.

But seriously, it is time for the wrap craze to move along. What happened to burritos? A burrito has a warm, supple, soft tortilla and you can stuff it with all kinds of stuff, including (cheap to make, warm, please!) beans and it makes a wonderfully satisfying vegetarian lunch.

Are vegetarians so culturally misunderstood that people really believe that a cold, hard, cracking whole wheat tortilla stuffed with undressed lettuce is what we DESIRE? Or maybe it IS what we desire as a group and I am way off-base??

Sunflower Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I hope everybody is hunkered down and enjoying this snowy day! I've got a kitchen full of tasty ingredients and am looking forward to using this day for some home-warming cooking.

Since we seem to be in a collective snow frenzy, I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention the Snow Buddy app, written by my faithful dining companion:

This app (for iPhone and iPads) is a one-stop-shopping resource for everything you want to know about the current snow fall, future predictions, avalanche conditions and ski reports in the Pacific Northwest.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cinnamon Twisp

Cinnamon Twisp, in Twisp, is another standout in the Methow area. In addition to the famed cinnamon twisp pastry pictured below (a delicious twisted buttery doughball gooey with cinnamon laced honey and chopped nuts), I noticed that their pastry case carried small take-out containers of vegetarian friendly foods: peanut noodles with tofu, tabbouleh, etc. YES!!!

Cinnamon Twisp Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 9, 2012

East 20 Pizza

East 20 Pizza is one obvious stand-out to the dearth of good, vegetarian food in the Methow area,
and its nightly overflowing popularity speaks to this.

Suffice it to say the pizza is tasty and reasonable priced. We ordered a "Puttenesca" with chicken on just one half. It was deliciously packed with olives, capers, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, oregano, spicyness, etc.

If there wasn't some part of my brain/body telling me not to eat pizza every night, I probably would cut out the relatively fruitless Methow vegetarian dinner search and eat only here.

East 20 Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Carlos 1800

My dining companion and I had been dreaming of tacos all the way across eastern Washington and it was with excitement that we spotted Carlos 1800 Cantina in downtown Winthrop (a town with an old-West theme).

I didn't take any pictures, but can say that it was a mistake to eat there. It is quite possible that the meat entrees were good, but we both ate vegetarian and our experience was lame and over priced. I ordered fajitas, and they consisted of a a bunch of (almost assuredly recently frozen) veggies (rubbery slices of orange and yellow carrots, soft broccoli, etc) in a sauce that tasted like the liquid from a can of tomatoes. My dining companion ordered a sauteed veggie quesadilla that came with the same wet, soft, lame-ass veggie mixture (minus the sauce) in a spinach tortilla with a little barely melted cheese. The quantity of "mango salsa" (a selling point for his quesadilla), would have maybe filled a thimble.

To add to our growing regret, the waitstaff had a few practical jokes up their sleeves that were of one of my least favorite types of humor: do something unexpected but not very funny and force your "audience" to react. For example: If a dining patron drops a fork and asks for a new one, return with a comedic fork the size of your leg and offer to them. See what happens!

Eating here reminded us that we were in the middle of an old-west Disneyland type of environment and that our hopes of a quality vegetarian dining experience were naive.

CARLOS1800 Mexican Grill & Cantina on Urbanspoon