Sunday, April 19, 2015

Gardein Meatless Meatloaf

You may remember awhile back when I mentioned my discovery that Target of all places had quite the selection of vegan meatless meat options. One of the things I picked up was the Meatless Meatlof by Gardein. Now I know meatloaf is considered by many to be a classic American "comfort food," and I also know that Gardein has so far not disappointed me when it comes to their ability to create tasty vegan products.

The Meatless Meatloaf is another example of Gardein getting it right. It comes with a really terrific gravy (that does have cornstarch listed as an ingredient, in case anyone out there like me has a corn allergy / sensitivity--I gambled on trying it anyway and thankfully it wasn't enough to bother me). I made the meatloaf and gravy one night for dinner when I didn't really feel up to cooking but wanted something tasty and satisfying. Served with a kale salad and baked potato on the side, this was truly a fantastic "comfort food" -based meal that satisfied my cravings.

The good news is, Gardein has done it again! The bad news is, the only place in Bellingham that I know of who carries it is Target... (And I recently had a slightly disturbing conversation with a Co op employee who told me that when it comes to vegan products, if I can get it at Fred Meyer or Target, they probably won't carry it at the Co op. She actually referred me to Fred Meyer for my Pacifica makeup and said "It's right on Lakeway!" Nice when my local community-owned grocery store goes out of their way to advise me to shop at a chain. Will make me feel less-guilty for shopping at the very-vegan-friendly Whole Foods once they finally come to Bellingham! But I digress...)

Anyway, thanks Gardein for doing it yet again and coming up with yet another tasty product that makes it even easier than ever before to be vegan. (And thanks to the Bellingham Target for carrying it!)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Icing on the Cake: 314 W. Champion St.

A little while ago, I briefly mentioned the amazing chocolates I was able to try from Icing on the Cake and promised to do a longer feature later. Well, it is now later and I have lots to share with you. Lucky me, I was contacted by the store's lovely owner, Vie Sweet, who generously invited me to stop by and sample some vegan caramels. A couple of weeks after this kind invitation, my husband and I wandered downtown and popped into the very cute store and had a great chat with Vie.

Not only did she give me the most beautiful, lovely, and divine-tasting chocolates and turtles to try, she had also made me a gorgeous and wonderful cake, which is featured in the photo at the top of this post. And now I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make: The cake was soooo delicious, so wonderful, so good, that every time I had some of it, I would actually get so excited about eating it I would forget to take a picture of it sliced and beautifully presented on a plate, photographed in all of its loveliness so that you could see the rich chocolate that made up its interior.

Honestly, you would think that after all these years of writing about and photographing food, and with and ENTIRE cake at mine and my husband's disposal, I would have snapped at least one photograph of it once I had cut into it. I think I was so blown away by the beautiful cake and how amazingly delicious it was, it really slipped my mind completely, and on repeated occasions, to take a single picture.

While embarrassing for me, I share this in an attempt to somehow convey to you how awesome this cake was. While most vegans I know understand that vegan desserts and baked goods can be just as good (if not better!) than their non-vegan counterparts, I do think there is still a general misconception out there by most omnivores that a vegan dessert just won't be as good as one that is made with dairy and eggs. And this cake was an example of something that could dispel that misconception--I truly don't think anyone would ever have guessed it was vegan--it was so rich, so moist and so very chocolatey and good.

And this cake was in addition to Vie Sweet's amazing chocolates, which were better than any vegan chocolates I have ever had. If you haven't stopped by Icing on the Cake yet, you most definitely should. I can't recommend Vie's chocolate creations enough! Bellingham is lucky to have someone so talented in this city.

Currently, she makes vegan cakes and cupcakes only for special orders, but she did mention that if there was enough of a market for them, she would be interested in carrying them more regularly. And she has definitely proven to me that she is exceptionally vegan -friendly. Thank you, Vie Sweet, for your delicious generosity! I know I will be seeing you again soon!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Curry House: 2034 Main Street, Ferndale, WA

For quite some time whenever I have complained about the lack of local Indian food options, omnivores and vegans alike have told me that I really needed to check out the Curry House in Ferndale. I am not exactly sure why it took me so long to do just that, but now that I have finally tried it I can promise you it won't take me long to return!

The Curry House is family-run and everyone that works there is really nice and friendly. They cater to people with a variety of dietary needs, whether it be omnivore, vegetarian, gluten-free or vegan. In fact, the Curry House is so vegan-friendly, they even mention that they have vegan options right on their menu, which you probably know is something I always appreciate.

Even though they have a statement about vegan items on the menu, I of course still had my usual series of questions to ask before ordering, but these questions were met with knowledgeable and friendly reassurance and the answers I received in exchange made me very happy! Just about every item on the vegetable section of the menu can be made vegan, and they substitute potatoes or coconut milk in for cheese and milk whenever necessary. In addition, their naan bread is vegan, as are their pakoras, which were phenomenally delicious.

For our entrees we selected the Allu Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) along with a spectacularly tasty spinach dish that was so tasty that any description I attempt can never do it justice. It was melt-in-your mouth good, rich and creamy and sooo delicious. As I reflect back now to write these words, my mouth is watering, my stomach is grumbling, and I find myself longing to taste these dishes once again.

In summation, our meal was absolutely fantastic. The food was so good, so rich and flavorful, with that home-cooked authentic feel. The people who own and manage the restaurant were warm and friendly, and the entire experience was so great I can't wait to go back there again. If you are looking for a place where everyone can get something delicious to eat no matter what their dietary needs, this is the perfect spot. And, if you are in Bellingham craving delicious Indian food but don't want to drive to Vancouver BC or Seattle to get it, then Ferndale is the place to go! And if you haven't been to the Curry House before, don't wait as long as I did before you finally try it. This place is now one of my favorite spots in Bellingham-by-way-of-Ferndale. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Vegan News and Catch-Up!

Thanks for your patience while I took a break that ended up being a bit longer than I intended. I am pleased to be back online, settled from my move, a little older (and hopefully wiser!) and ready to get back into posting about food and other fun things...

Brunch goodness: Biscuits & gravy with mushroom "bacon."

From the Star Wars costume exhibit at the EMP
During the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of eating and living quite well. Not only did I happily observe my 40th birthday, I also enjoyed a week's vacation from work during which I was able to unpack from my move and also celebrate with my husband by experiencing what we now refer to as "Geek Week." (Our week was filled with multiple trips to comic book stores, lovely decadent homemade brunches, a fun excursion the Sci-Fi Museum at the EMP in Seattle, and lots & lots of wonderful restaurant food.)

In restaurant food news, I finally had a chance to try the Curry House in Ferndale, and I now see what all the raves are about! That place is FANTASTIC, and, not coincidentally, the subject of tomorrow's blog post.

Curry House Yummy Goodness

In other local vegan news, the Soy House and Ambo Ethiopian continue to be two of my favorite local restaurants, and one exciting tidbit to share with you: Mulu (from Ambo Ethiopian) recently told me she might have a cookbook coming out soon! How awesome is that? I'll let you know as soon as I hear more...

In Unexpected-Places-To-Find-Vegan-Stuff-News, I recently discovered that Yorky's Market (on Alabama) carries a number of desirable vegan finds, like Field Roast products (including the amazing Chao Cheeses), vegan cream cheese, Earth Balance potato chips, Tofurky Quiches, and an assortment of vegan chocolate bars. It just goes to show, when it comes to vegan food, Bellingham is full of surprises.

Holy Moly these chocolates are INCREDIBLE!!!

And speaking of chocolate... I was recently contacted by Vie, the owner of Icing on the Cake downtown, who generously invited me to sample some of her vegan chocolates & other goodies. This morning we decided to make a day of it and journeyed downtown to visit some of our favorite local spots and also stop in to meet Vie and sample her offerings. Not only is Vie incredibly generous, she is incredibly talented AND vegan-friendly to boot! Her vegan caramels are Out of This World Delicious, and I am going to be devoting an entire blog post to singing her praises in the near future. 

Thanks again for your patience with me and for reading! I look forward to sharing more wonderful things with you very soon. And again, to all of you who have emailed me, thanks so much for your emails. I am almost caught up on my responses, so if you haven't heard back from me yet, please know you will soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brief Hiatus

I must apologize for not updating my blog this weekend (and possibly next...) I am in the process of moving and I promise to resume posts to this blog as soon as I am all settled. I also want to apologize because I am also a little behind on all of my veganinbellingham emails, so if you have written to me and I have not yet responded, please know I intend to soon!

I really appreciate your emails more than you can ever know--they are a constant source of inspiration and what motivates me to keep this blog going. So thanks for all of your emails, and for reading this, and for your patience. I will be back again soon, and in the meantime, please don't hesitate to send me ideas for what you would like to see me cover next. It's been awhile since I have written any restaurant reviews and I look forward to writing some in the very near future!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Vegan Products at Target

I generally avoid the mall because it's not really my thing, but recently I learned that Target often carries some of the vegan food products that large vegan-friendly stores (like Whole Foods) carry, so today I decided to check it out. I came across a number of vegan food products and plant-based meat substitutes that I have not seen at any other store in Bellingham, so I picked up a variety of things to try later. Just wanted to share with you the news about the selection at Target, in case you didn't know about it already. More info and product reviews coming soon!