A visit to Cinnaholic and Gracias Madre.

Two recommendations were brought up during my dinner at Millennium. Cinnaholic, a vegan cinnamon bun place in Berkeley, CA that had only recently opened up, and Gracias Madre, an organic, vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission area of San Francisco. I went over to Cinnaholic that morning and tried the Old Fashioned cinnamon bun. I’m pretty traditional with my sweet foods (well… I guess as traditional as vegan cinnamon buns can be) and I loved it. The bun was firm on the outside, and soft on the inside, rolled up with an adequate amount of cinnamon sugar. But the icing really sealed the deal, it was magic. Two people were working there, and one of them was great and friendly, the other one not so much. Maybe my questions were irritating, but I was curious and excited to be there. I noted that they didn’t really openly say “vegan” anywhere, and thought that was kind of a good idea. It doesn’t “taste vegan” at all, so why not? They’ve only been open about a month, and as a really nice touch they have a student discount! Which is great considering they are located right outside of the UC Berkeley Campus. I like the idea of custom designing cinnamon bun toppings, but I wasn’t feeling very creative, so I picked up the special of the day, a Butterscotch chocolate chip oreo cookie. It was good, but the old fashioned one was totally my favourite. I jumped on the BART and headed…

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A day trip to San Jose and Berkeley California

Sometime Friday morning I decided to take the train over to see The Tech museum in San Jose. I’m blown away about how easy it is to get around here in the Bay area, so many options and interconnected transit systems. I can only hope that Edmonton gets somewhere near this someday. It took about two hours in total to get into San Jose, the BART and an express bus into the city. First stop was the San Jose Museum of Art. Couldn’t miss it. They had a Retro Tech exhibit and a lot of mixed media/mixed technology pieces there. My favourite part of the space was that it encouraged participation and creativity, and provided “Art Packs” that had art supplies, paper and a game in it, so people could write/draw/play while they were in the Gallery. I think one of the most moving and horrifying things I saw was the Midway: Message from the Gyre (pictures are graphic) photo exhibit from Chris Jordan. I’ve seen them before, but just wow. They are photos of dead albatross chicks who had been fed plastic debris from the ocean by parents mistaking it for food. It was hard to look at. The Tech Museum was great, and had a lot of interactive fun stuff to do (even as an adult) and they have an extra bit of fun to take home with you (via website.) My favourite exhibit was the one on alternative energy, and that tied in well to going up…

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Prairie Vegan in San Francisco

I have one more stop before I get back to Edmonton. I’m on my way to San Francisco, and as usual, I’m trying to plan out the visit in advance. But unlike usual, I’ve failed the planning process, and am doing it on the plane, on the way (yes, that’s right, I’m up in the air on a plane right this second). This trip will be more for sightseeing than for eating, probably similar to my trip to New York in 2008 (two restaurants, twelve “places of interest”) but I’ll have more time. Some food places I really want to check out are: Millennium Restaurant (580 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA, 415-345-3900) One of the things I’m really excited to try is Millennium’s Frugal Foodie Menu (with the optional wine pairing.) They offer a three course prix fixe meal for $39/person ($12 for wine) Sunday thru Wednesday. Another one that sounds wonderful is Souley Vegan in Oakland, California. It’s a vegan soul food place, with generous portion sizes and comes highly recommended, so how can I pass up the opportunity. (Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607-3804, (510) 922-1615) There is a special event on Wednesdays and Thursdays at La Victoria Bakery (2937 24th street, San Francisco) called Soul Cucina, where they have a variety of fresh new vegan items to choose from. When there are lots of options it’s hard to decide where to go, so I’ve been modifying and cutting down on places to visit as time has…

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Ronald’s Donuts – Vegan Donuts in Las Vegas

Well, yesterday was the day I finally went over to Ronald’s Donuts after being in Las Vegas for nearly a week. There is one main thing I love about the place; it’s totally normal. It’s just a random coffee shop, that just happens to have vegan donuts. Vegans and non-vegans alike happily munch on them. It shows how good vegan baking can be, and how unnecessary certain ingredients are. It’s been voted the best donut shop in Vegas, with no qualifiers. And in case you are wondering are these donuts too good to be true, like I was, check out the Quarrygirl blog post about the lab tests commissioned by Ray Ortega from Sun Flower Baking California. (in short… they really don’t have eggs in them.) Shortly after I got there (on the 203 bus from the Strip, by the way. Those instructions actually worked!) a couple from Germany walked in and asked “Are all these donuts vegan?” then two tattooed girls from the Rollercon walked in and said, “Which are your vegan donuts?” While sitting across from me were three seniors, drinking coffee and chatting. Such a interesting mix of people in one place. In case you’re wondering, it’s usually the top two rows that are vegan.

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Las Vegas Recap

So the last few days in Vegas have been action packed. The conference is over and it went well. I’m excited to go again next year (maybe… probably.) The last two days have felt like a week. Most of my days were spent at speeches, and evenings were spent going out. I’m wondering when I’ll catch up on my sleep. Not this week! Friday evening we visited Mesekrem, which is an Ethiopian restaurant just off the Strip. The main thing about them is convenience. The food was good, and I really enjoyed their injera bread. I couldn’t really get a straight answer whether some of the things had dairy products in them, so I skipped them in favour of avoiding any potential stomach upsets. The server was really nice, and it seemed popular with some of the other conference goers. On Saturday we went to Wazuzu in the Encore Hotel right on the Strip. I was excited to find out that they really did have a separate vegan/vegetarian menu (but you do have to ask for it.) Great selection (about 20 items), and not horribly expensive (at least not by Vegas standards.) My friend ordered the Vegan Chow Fun, and I had the Vegan Szechuan Bowl. They were both pretty good, though I have to say, my dish was more flavourful, but I loved the noodles in the Chow Fun (so of course I mixed the two together.) Beautiful location, and perfect for visits with dedicated omnivores. Saturday night we…

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Vegan in Vegas

In a couple of days, I’m heading off to Las Vegas for a nerd conference. I’ve been there once before (for different reasons), and it was an experience to remember. As with most trips, I’m starting a list of things to check out, and hopefully, by being there for a week, I’ll get some of these things done while still making the most of my time at the conference. I’ve been given a few recommendations of places to eat, especially right on or near the strip. Last time I went to Las Vegas was in 2006, so a lot has changed, but several places are still around (which is great to see). Places I’d like to to eat: – Ronalds Donuts ( 4600 Spring Mountain Rd. Las Vegas, NV) Loved this place, and have to go again! What I am really curious about, is whether my love of these donuts will have been changed by my experiences with Portland donuts (such as the ones from Sweetpea, or even the ones at Voodoo.) My last visit to Ronalds Donuts was probably the first time I had had a donut in about 5-6 years since going vegan. According to what I could find on the internet they are open Mon-Sat 4am-4pm, and Sun 4am – 2pm. How to get there by bus: walk southwest down the strip (towards Fashion show mall) to W Spring Mountain Rd  @ Las Vegas Blv S. Catch the RTCS 203 – Spring Mountain/Twain Westbound and get off…

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Saskatoon, Vulcan, Calgary, Edmonton.

The last remaining days in Saskatoon were pretty uneventful. I went to Keo’s on 2nd again, this time with my mom. I was a little nervous taking her there because in the past she didn’t like anything too unusual, or atypical. But she loved the massaman curry just as much as I did, and wondered how I could eat the pad thai in all of it’s hot spicy glory. I spoke with the owner’s son, and found out that there was a sibling restaurant in St.Albert (a suburb of Edmonton) but he wasn’t sure of the name. I’m guessing it’s probably Thai Mekong Restaurant (506 St. Albert Road, St.Albert, AB). So I’ll try and check that out soon. I got into Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, so I missed the Worldwide Vegan Bake sale that was happening at Planet Organic, but I did end up following tradition and going with Jen to Double Greeting for a quick evening snack. We decided to go to Calgary the next morning. While in Calgary we stumbled upon Le Chein Chaud. My normal go to place, Buddah’s Veggie house has turned into a meat veggie “Fusion” restaurant, so I was less interested in heading out there this time. So we were walking down 4st towards 17th, and there it was. The Chicago is vegan without modification. The consensus was that the veggie dogs were undercooked, but the toppings almost made up for it. We decided to drive the two hours to Vulcan, just because… we were already in Calgary……

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Portland Vegan 100 – 2009

100 Great Vegan Foodz in Portland, OR! This list was inspired by Melissa Bastian’s Vegan NYC 100 Listing for VeganMoFo, which was inspired by Hannah of Bittersweet Vegan’s Hundred. I (MeShell) took this list from Jess from Lets Get Sconed. Here’s how it works: 1) Copy this list into your own blog, facebook or website, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. 4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one. 5) Pass it on! The PDX Vegan Hundred: 1. Fries with spicy tofu sauce at Dots 2. $1 Corndog from Hungry Tiger Too  (I’ve been there on Corndog day, but didn’t end up ordering one. Definitely next time) 3. Chick-o-Stick doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts 4. Tiramisu from Portobello 5. Vegan Mulita from Gorditos or Gorditos II 6. Nanotear Ham and Cheeze sandwich from Tube 7. Milkshake from Sip 8. Gnocchi from Portobello 9. Caramel Nut Bar from Sweetpea Baking Co. 10. Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus 11. Local cherry tomatoes from a farmers market 12. Dong Po Tofu from Bay Leaf 13. Jerked chickun from Assase Ital 14. A Big Big Lunch Special from an Indian cart 15. Soy latte made with Stumptown espresso 16. A crappy tofu scramble  I can get a crappy tofu scramble anywhere, why leave the country for it. 17. Cornmeal pizza from Dovi Vive. 18. Weeping Tiger sandwich from Bye & Bye 19. Bye…

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