Q&A and training with Seattle’s vegan trainer Ben Greene

Are you active, vegan, a Seattle dweller and striving for optimal health in all areas of your life? Take heart, you’re not alone. More and more people are realizing that diet alone isn’t enough, and we vegans know how much we love our indulgences. Thankfully, there are now individuals in the city who can help you achieve your health/fitness goals, and I’m happy to know one of them.

Ben BerlinMeet Ben Greene. Seattleite, vegan and badass Ironman Athlete, co-author of The Vegan Athlete and the owner of Greene Multisport.

An impressive resume, right?

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Vegan Haven Holiday Bake Sale this weekend!

It’s that time of year again, folks. The time when everyone’s kitchen is caked in flour and sugar, love is expressed through the creation of tasty treats, and generous, giving spirits abound. Sounds like the perfect time for a vegan bake sale, wouldn’t you say?

Photo of flier courtesy of Helen's instagram account.

Photo of flier courtesy of Helen’s instagram account.

Vegan Haven (formerly Sidecar for Pigs Peace) is holding their Holiday Bake Sale this weekend, Dec. 15-16 to benefit the wonderful Pigs Peace Sanctuary. I’m going to be whipping up some savory treats for the event, know a few other local vegan friends will be doing the same, and know that friend Helen of Vegtastic is helping to plan it. The sale is still seeking more bakers to donate goods vegan baked goods for this very worthy cause. Have some free time and want to help bake for the piggies? Here’s more info:

Baker guidelines:

  • Please drop off your baked goods at Vegan Haven during this time frame: Friday, December 14th after 6pm through Saturday, December 15 at 8pm.  If this doesn’t fit in your schedule or you would like to bring in your items on Sunday morning so we have fresh goodies, please contact Helen at bakesale@pigspeace.org to work out arrangements.
  • All items must be vegan (no honey)
  • All items must be cooked/baked.  Dehydrated food is A-OK to bring to the sale.
  • Avoid potentially hazardous foods that spoil easily without refrigeration.  For example, pudding, cheesecake, a whipped cream filling or topping, etc.
  • Wrap all of your items at home in individual sized servings.  For example, if you¹re baking cookies, wrap them individually or 2 or 3 together in saran wrap or a sandwich bag.  The reason behind this is to minimize direct hand to food contact at the sale.
  • Follow hygienic practices when preparing and wrapping food–wash your hands frequently, keep a clean working environment, etc.
  • Please bring a list of ingredients that you used in your baked goods. People might have questions at the sale regarding allergies, etc.  You can put the list of ingredients on each item or bring one list, it’s up to you.

Just a general bake sale FYI: individual-sized portions tend to sell better than large items. This way, people can pick and choose from a variety of treats, (I know this is my strategy). Also, you don’t have to be vegan to contribute, just your baked goods!

Bake sale 2012 assorted goods

Treats from this year’s Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in Tacoma.

If you are unable to bake, eaters are always welcome too! The bake sale usually features a variety of types of brownies, cookies, savory treats, cakes, etc., so there’s something for every vegan baked good lover. You can also check out the wonderful Vegan Haven for holiday gifts if you’re one of those people who have yet to start their shopping (aka, me). Win-win!

I plan on attending the bake sale on Sunday, and I hope to see some of your lovely faces there!

Event deets:

  • What: the Vegan Haven Holiday Bake Sale
  • Where: Vegan Haven, 5270 B University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
  • When:  Saturday, Dec. 15 from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

El Chupacabra: authentic vegan Mexican

Up until a few weeks ago, I’d had yet to experience the vegan-friendly Mexican food of El Chupacabra. Anika has raved about this place for years, but for some reason, every time we’d visit from Tacoma we’d end up at another one of our standby vegan or vegan-friendly joints. What were we doing all this time?!

I love Mexican food more than I can properly articulate. My ethnic background is part-Mexican, so I grew up eating tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales, and everything else delicious made in authentic style, and it was glorious. When I transitioned to veganism, (and especially after I moved to the PNW), I’d resigned myself to the fact that the only good Mexican food I’d experience would be in my kitchen. Thankfully, I now know that’s not the case, and I have a spot to visit whenever we’re jonesing for vegan Mexican eats and are too lazy to cook!

Located in Phinney Ridge/Greenwood, this Mexican restaurant/bar is adorable. Decorated in reds/oranges and Dia de Los Muertos style, I almost felt like I was at a restaurant back home for a second once inside. More things that makes me love this place: Christmas lights, board games, a working jukebox, front patio – prime for this season, and a full bar.

We’ve only happened to go on Friday nights (date night, etc.) and both times we’ve visited it hasn’t been longer than 15 minutes for a table. Not bad for a place that’s extremely popular with both the herbivorous and carnivorous types. For us vegans, El Chupacabra offers Gardein meats (chicken with green or red sauce – verde or rojo – and steak) and Daiya cheese, which means that lunch, dinner or happy hour meal options are endless.

The first time we visited, we started out with their chips, salsa and guac and I grabbed the Bartender’s Margarita, (all pictured above). Because, you know, Mexican food.

The guac – fantastic. Chips – warm, okay. Salsa – a little watery in my opinion, but doable. The marg – not my bag. It had a splash of cranberry and was made with Jose Cuervo, and while drinking it I was wishing I’d had the house one. C’est la vie.

In what seemed like no time at all, our food arrived. I went for a vegan enchilada with daiya and “chicken,” and R went for three tacos with the “steak” and rice and beans. See here:

The server warned me that the enchiladas were huge, and hence I got one instead of two. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had them and they’ve always been a fave. Chupacabra’s did not disappoint. All the flavors were there, the red sauce fantastic, and the combo of daiya and faux chicken was through the roof delicious. Goodness gracious.

R loved his tacos and sides and devoured them quickly too. We left no stone unturned.

On top of this, our server was wonderful: sweet, delivering excellent service and chatted with us about their vegan food. I’ve read reviews of their service as being spotty, but we experienced no such thing – not even on a busy Friday night.

About a week after we first visited, we headed back, because we both couldn’t get this food out of our minds. This is what happens when El Chupacabra gets to you.

This time we started out with the same apps, and I went for the pomegranate margarita – our server’s choice. Usually this isn’t something I’d go for, but I loved it. The flavor was sweet but not too much so, and like last time, it was strong. I’d order this again, easily. And for food, I chose the large vegan burrito with daiya and vegan “steak,” (don’t judge, I wanted leftovers!) and Rick went for the taco salad.

My burrito was indeed huge, so I halved it down the middle to look at the delicious inside.

I loved this, loved all the flavors at play again, and doused at it with their homemade sauces. I was in delicious Mexican food heaven by the end of this evening.

Comes fully loaded.

R is a sort of connoisseur of taco salads, and he gave this one two enthusiastic thumbs up. It was huge, had rice/beans, “steak,” salsa, guac, lettuce, etc., and looked like a great, filling meal option. His only gripe was that the shell was overcooked, (guessing that it was baked then cooked again with filling). Despite that, he loved it.

This place is ridiculously popular, so I feel like it’s a fluke that both times we’ve gone we hadn’t had to wait too long for a table, inside or out. If you go, I recommend either going early, going later (which is what we did), bringing a friend to catch up with or hanging out at the bar. Believe me, whatever the wait, it will be more than worth your while.

If you’ve been, what are your favorite vegan menu items? And if you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?

El Chupacabra
6711 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA, USA
(206) 706-4889

 

Sidecar Septemberfest this weekend!

Photo of delicious Sidecar goodies by veganheathen, via Creative Commons

Love supporting sweet pigs and eating delicious vegan cookies? There’s an event happening for you this weekend!

Sidecar for Pigs Peace, the glorious, volunteer-run, all-vegan grocery store in the U District is holding Sidecar Septemberfest! Happening this Saturday and Sunday, the event promises the following wonderful things:

A party!
Free cookies
Free samples
Sweet deals
A wonderful feeling in your heart knowing you supported happy pigs at the sanctuary

Come and stock up on some vegan essentials and/or splurges, hang with good people and earn raffle tickets based on how much your purchase. Rumor has it that there’ll be some awesome raffle prizes, too.

I’ll definitely be attending, as it’s been too long since I’ve visited our city’s only all-vegan store. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Deets:

Where: Sidecar for Pigs Peace, 5270 B University Way NE
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9
RSVP for the event on Facebook here.

Welcome to Seattle, Veggie Grill

Dear Veggie Grill, I’m so happy you’ve finally arrived in Washington state!

I’m lucky to have visited Veggie Grill in So Cal on visits home, and have long envied friends who text me with: “Guess who’s going to lunch at Veggie Grill today? THIS GUY!” ever since. I vividly remember the first time I went before heading to LAX to head back to Seattle. I grabbed the All Hail Kale salad with added Blackened Chick’n and the chocolate chip walnut cookie for my flight dinner home, and I reveled in every bite of both on the plane while nearby passengers looked on jealously (or so I imagined).

It seems like many months have passed since news first broke that the chain would be moving further north after landing in Portland, and I knew that I’d have to visit opening day. So the bf and I walked down to South Lake Union Wednesday night to check out the digs and 100% plant-based eats.

First off,  location. I walk through South Lake Union constantly but rarely stop to hang there. Due to Amazon taking over the ‘hood with their campus, there’s a lot of cool new options available and this definitely makes the area bustling and perfect for an outfit like Veggie Grill.

When we stepped inside, what I was blown away by was how much larger this location seemed than those I’d been to in CA. It also had a variety of seating available: a few bar seats to watch the food orders come up, private two person tables, booth + chair tables for groups and one long row table situated near the window – perfect for a group outing. I loved this and the options it opens for gatherings and meetings. Bright, modern and oh so clean, this location was definitely visually appealing.

Veggie Grill offers beer and wine options (yay!), as well as iced teas, juices and other beverages. They’ve also got some killer dessert options, which I’ll get to later.

Most assuredly due to the fact that this was opening day, our food came out in mere minutes.  In addition to the service being lightning fast, we were approached by no less than four employees (including the general manager) asking if we’d heard of VG before, if we had questions, and how we’d heard of them. I personally appreciated this, and thought it would be especially helpful for noobs and non-vegans. Every individual we interacted with was incredibly sweet and helpful, so kudos Veggie Grill on your impeccable hiring process!

Okay, let’s get to the stuff you really want to read about. We tried a few things for some variety (things we hadn’t tried in the past), but our stomachs are only capable of so much. Thankfully, they’ve added a few new items to the menu that caught our eyes.

Sweetheart Fries

I’m surprised that we hadn’t had these in past visits. We’re both huge sweet potato fries fans, and these were good, but not the best we’d ever had. They were nice and crisp and covered in a vegan parmesan cheese-esque topping when they arrived at the table, but the flavor was okay. I would order these again, but I am eager to try some of the other appetizers on future visits.

Buffalo Bomber

This was my main meal choice. Everyone has been begging me to try the buffalo wings but it wasn’t in the cards last night, so I thought this a nice compromise. This sandwich was composed of Veggie Grill’s signature crispy chickin’ (made of soy, wheat and pea proteins), which is eerily similar to the real thing in both texture and taste. Covered in vinegary, spicy buffalo sauce, a smooth and savory ranch dressing and lettuce/tomato/onion, it was a treat. The texture was substantial with a great (I hate this word) mouthfeel, and all of the elements of this burger worked together well. I opted for the main side – red cabbage ‘slaw – and it was a nice cooling option. Red cabbage + onion + carrot all melded well with a vinegary dressing (as opposed to heavy mayo), and it was a nice counterbalance to the heartiness of the sandwich. I respect and stand by my choice.

Crispy Chickin’ Plate

If I picked well, my dude friend hit a home run. This was one of three new homestyle plates and it is very much a hearty meal option: fried chickin’, cauliflower mashed potatoes, porcini mushroom gravy and steamed kale. I had a few bites of all of this and I was blown away by all the flavors at play. It was a very home cooked meal kind of meal, with the vegan chicken fried steak, smooth and flavorful potatoes, and all of it covered in rich mushroom-based gravy and lightened with the addition of kale. I would totally order this myself and plan on doing so.

Chocolate Pudding Parfait

One. Thousand. Times. Yes. What I loved about this dessert is that is sounds unassuming, but your taste buds have no idea what’s about to hit them. A velvety chocolate pudding is topped with a richer chocolate sauce, crushed cookies, walnuts and walnut crema. Just typing this out is making me want another. The walnut crema really stood out to me with its fantastic flavor and its ability to tie this all together. This was especially perfect on a warm summer evening.

Aftermath.

 

Carrot Cake and Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie

Full disclosure: these weren’t items that we purchased, but rather were extra treats offered to us on behalf of Veggie Grill.

Let me be frank: I hate carrot cake, and have since I was about five years old. Usually the carrot/nut combo is too overpowering to be considered a dessert and the frosting has never been quite right with the cake. I’ve tried some since to no avail, but when the manager of the restaurant suggested that we try it, I figured why not? I’m so glad we did. The cake portion of this dessert was decadently rich: screaming of vegan butter and the right amount of sweetness, I could’ve eaten this dessert without the frosting. Carrot flavor was present but melded well with actual cake, and when combined with the smooth cream cheese frosting, forget it. Sold. I’m now a carrot cake lover.

I’m really impressed by our ability to have picked all winners this evening. Usually there’s one dud in the bunch, but not so. I highly recommend all of the aforementioned items. Though Veggie Grill is part of a chain restaurant it is an all-vegan one that boasts non-GMO food, and that’s something I can stand behind. Our first trip was a success and I was pleased with how packed it was on opening day, but I look forward to future lunches and dinners once the dust has settled and every vegan in Seattle has made their way over to check out the new spot, (and tells me about all their dining choices).

Veggie Grill
446 Terry Ave. North
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
206.623.0336

 

From The City of Destiny back to The Emerald City

Life hasn’t slowed down for me lately, but in reality I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of life changes have been happening for me, and all of them seemed to have been pulling me in the same direction. Let me back up a bit, like a year ago.

Admit it Tacoma, you’re beautiful.

I started this blog last March in Tacoma primarily so it could be used as a resource for other South Sound vegans and vegetarians. I felt that the area needed more representation and coverage in terms of vegan events, people, restaurants and more. And I think that I accomplished that goal. Covering bake sales, new restaurant openings, vegan-related events and must-eat items was great, and it was amazing to meet so many other vegans. Every time it happened, I exclaimed “where have you all been hiding?” I ate some incredibly delicious meals there, (all of which I want to compile in a list…one day). And I loved it all.

Perennial fave and vegan-friendly Tacoma bakery, Corina.

I still do, and am going to continue doing what I love. But I’m going to be doing it in another city.

At the beginning of July, the partner, our two cats and I packed our stuff and moved to a much tinier place in Seattle. With both work and school here, it made infinitely more sense for us to relocate rather than have me commuting home on some late nights, and miss out on some networking and other relevant events. It wasn’t an easy decision for us by any means, as we both have strong ties to Tacoma. In the end though, we went with our guts. Change is good, and I think we were both in need of some.

Seattle. Where the streets are paved with Mighty-O Donuts.

I lived in Seattle when I first moved to Washington state back in 2006, and I loved the sense of awe I felt when roaming the streets and acquainting myself with neighborhoods. I also loved the plethora of vegan restaurants and vegan options that are available in this city. And guess what? 5 years later, there is so, so much more. It blows my mind to see how much has changed. I’ve naturally kept tabs peripherally through social media, but dang if I don’t see a vegan option on almost every menu in this city. It’s refreshing and a welcome change from Tacoma, where vegan is just starting to become an option that more restaurants and businesses are starting to seriously consider and take to heart.

And the home of the Georgetown Liquor Co. build-your-own Bloody Mary bar…

Tacoma’s a city where I changed a ton, learned a lot about myself, and is a place that really helped me in terms of getting my writing out into the world – something that I’d been wanting to do for years. My affinity for the city will never go away, and I will always defend it when people try to tear it down. A piece of my heart will always stay there, for sure.

…and so many Ethiopian restaurants with spongy injera! Oh how I missed Ethiopian food.

Though that’s the truth, I’m honestly very excited to be back. I walk to coffee shops, the co-op and restaurants, take the bus as often as humanly possible and am making plans to hang with all of my lovely friends who live here. The kitties have adjusted, and things are grand.

I can’t wait to get out and start reviewing all the things I find, previewing Seattle events and chatting about more general vegan things/topics. I have about three posts lined up for you all, but I’d been holding onto this news for too long. The move also explains my longer-than-normal quiet period. Hope you all understand, and hope you’ll all stick around though Vegan Moxie will now cover Seattle metro vegan-related events.

I realize that I’m fortunate to be in the best company here. Two talented and amazing friends – Anika and Helen – write fantastic vegan blogs here, as well as Molly, Rhean, and many more. We all have very different perspectives and voices, and I’m so happy to be among them. I don’t think a city could ever have enough vegan bloggers.

Thanks for being awesome as always, dear readers.

 

 

Vida Vegan Tech Seminar & Vida Vegan Con 2013

To put my life in terms that others from my generation will understand, things have been coming up Milhouse in a big way for me lately.

More personally (and reflective of real life Dawn), I’ve started a new job that is creative and fun and allows me to write all day.

More professionally but not job-related, I’ve been invited to speak at not one, but two vegan blogging events coming up in the next year that you’ve possibly heard of:

The Vida Vegan Con Fall Tech Seminar in Seattle,

and Vida Vegan Con 2013 in Portland.

How does all of this amazing news makes me feel, you may wonder? Kind of like these super pumped, ridiculously adorable otters.

But really, I’m mostly just honored and so, so grateful.

At both events I’ll be speaking (it’ll be a different talk at each for those attending both!) about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, so much so that I’ll be studying it this fall, and that I sit on a board discussing it with other nerds: social media.

And I’ll be presenting at both with a fellow Seattle-ite, Vida Vegan Con 2011 alumni and Field Roast hot dog-eating friend, Helen of Vegtastic. She’s one of the savviest social media mavens I know, and I’m confident that when we combine our powers, we shall compose two awesome sessions filled with strategic digital media and marketing tips, tricks, and much more.

The Tech Seminar is a one-day event that will focus on all things tech/nitty gritty about blogging: it’ll go more in depth about starting a blog from scratch, which forms of social media to use and how to integrate them, as well as more advanced blog options such as audio/video integration.

The Vida Vegan Con 2013 event will expand upon what the first was: a combination of workshops, panels and social events all celebrating and focusing on vegan blogging and spreading the word about the vegan lifestyle in new/emerging mediums.

VVC friends at the Bye & Bye, looking awesome.

I’ve described Vida Vegan Con to those who couldn’t attend the first as “vegan sleepaway camp,” and I’ve reminisced about it longingly since last August. Sitting at dinners and in talks and social gatherings with hundreds of other people who immediately *get* a big part of your life is an amazing thing to experience, and having the opportunity to learn from these people who all have something to share is even more wonderful. I met so many bloggers I’ve come to admire and came out of the event with a crazy long lists of blogs to read, and many of them are favorites now. More so than that, I’ve got memories and friendships that will last a lifetime, (cheesy, but true).

If you missed the inaugural event and have been kicking yourself since, I suggest you start planning for 2013 now. Whether you’ve been blogging for a while, you’d like to start a blog or you actually don’t have an interest in blogging but would like to meet and collaborate with those who do, I highly recommend the experience. It’s an event that you will gain an inconceivable amount from in just a few precious days. And I’m not just talking pounds from all the amazing PDX food that’s to be consumed.

100 early bird tickets for VVC 2013 go on sale over on the Vida Vegan Con site Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 12 p.m. PST for $200.  After they sell out, the remaining tickets will become available at regular price.

Here are some more pertinent deets:

When: Friday-Sunday, May 24-26, 2013

Where: Portland Art Museum, 1219 Southwest Park Avenue,  Portland, OR 97205

I can’t wait to see everyone who attended the 2011 event again, to meet a whole bunch of new folks next May, and to continue eating my way through one of my favorite vegan-loving cities in the country.

So, will I see you at the next Vegan Lovefest?

 

 

Vegan fragrance reviews: Sweet Petula, Herbal Alchemy, and Sweet Anthem

I started this blog last year with the intent of it not only being about vegan food, but also about vegan lifestyle. I haven’t covered a lot of ground in that arena yet and that’s where this post and future posts come in, and hopefully you all enjoy the change of pace/content!

As a woman who’s worn perfume all of her life, finding a “signature scent” is something I’ve struggled with for years. Becoming vegan didn’t exactly make this effort more challenging, but it’s a tad harder to find animal-friendly scents in mainstream stores than it is the traditional, alcohol-based scents found in most department stores.

I recently switched to using pure essential oils as my “perfume,”  but I quickly became bored with just using one very specific single scent everyday, (most notably, lavender). After running out of my most recent supply, I took to Etsy to research vegan, handmade perfumes to see if I could find a new, cruelty-free scent to call my own. Thankfully, I found three companies that seemed to offer a great deal of options and two of the companies are local, (Seattle-based) as well.

Sweet Petula – No. 4 Vintage Peony

Sweet Petula’s company mantra is “simple luxuries for bath & body” and that is exactly what I’ve found them to be, cheesy as it sounds. The Seattle company started selling at local farmers markets and craft fairs and has seen great success since. After perusing Cordelia’s page filled with lotions, balms, and many perfume scents, I  picked No. 4 Vintage Peony in a solid, as it was described as a modern, classic scent that is “laced with violet and honeysuckle and warmed with seductive amber and soft musk.” These sounded like an intriguing combo, and I wasn’t disappointed. The light fragrance notes really worked together and it seemed to last a while, though I’d been warned through other perfume reviews that natural/handmade scents fade quickly and need to reapplied. Feminine is probably the one word I’d use to describe this scent, and I’m not sure exactly what peonies in their physical form smell like. If it’s even remotely close to this, they’re hands down my new favorite flower.

Note: I purchased this perfume over a month ago, and since I’ve checked back it looks like they aren’t selling perfumes on the page anymore, which is a bummer. They do however still sell bath bombs, lotions, candles and soaps. Be sure to check the ingredients or message before purchasing, as not all their products are vegan. Visit the Sweet Petula Etsy page for current product information.

(Photo courtesy Herbal Alchemy)

Herbal Alchemy Apothecary – Tourmaline

Brooklyn-based Herbal Alchemy appealed to me for a few reasons, one being the cool names the store’s owner Julianne gave to her products: cocktails, waters and medicinals, to name a few. The company seems to have earned its Apothecary title, and the proprietor grew up drying flowers from her grandmother’s garden before she went on to become an herbalist/aromatherapist/perfumist.

I had trouble choosing just one sample to purchase as many sounded alluring, but I went with Tourmaline, which was inspired by a song of the same name and is composed of notes of tobacco, bitter orange, honey and fern. Classified as a musky floral, it’s quite different than anything I’ve ever purchased or worn as a perfume. It also was intriguing in the sense that it smelled different in the bottle than it did on my skin, which wasn’t a bad thing at all – both smelled earthy and sweet. I really enjoy Tourmaline and am now definitely considering trying out a few more scents from Herbal Alchemy when my current stash is depleted.

Tourmaline is available at HerbalAlchemy.net or the Herbal Alchemy Etsy page in a sample size for $5 or in a 20 ml bottle for $45.

(Photo courtesy Sweet Anthem)

Sweet Anthem – Annabelle, Emily, and Tara

Sweet Anthem was the only shop of the three that I purchased samples from that I’d heard about before starting my research. Friend/fellow Washington vegan blogger Anika of Vegan Score had tweeted about it the week before I purchased, so timely! Based in West Seattle, Sweet Anthem is a micro-perfumery owned by Meredith Smith, who left her graphic design job to make perfume full-time, (pretty rad, right?). Selling vegan-friendly scents in solid, oil and eau de parfum forms, she creates 100% of the fragrance combos in her shop, making them completely unique and one of a kind.

I purchased a sample set that allowed you to choose three fragrances in different forms, so I chose: Annabelle in oil, Emily in solid and Tara in oil. Annabelle was the scent I was most excited about, as it contained white amber, jasmine, osmanthus, and sea salt. Jasmine’s been a favorite scent for years and it was classified as “marine,” which brings back memories of warm beaches back home. It did not disappoint, and actually was my favorite of the three that I’ve been wearing almost everyday. It’s light, airy, romantic and clean. Emily was in the “gourmand” category, and sounded delicious as it’s composed of: almond, coconut, oatmeal, sandalwood, vanilla, yuzu and more. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m in a bakery or like I just baked something, as a warm, inviting and richly edible scent emanates from it. I don’t think I could wear this everyday (it makes me hungry!), but I would recommend it to anyone who loves smelling of delicious treats.

Lastly, Tara was a traditional floral in the “citrus” subcategory with hints of black tea, damascus rose, red currant, rosewood, saffron, and thyme, which sounded as though it’d give a spicy/sweet result. The black tea and currant seem really prominent to me as I put this on, and it feels exotic without smelling too strong or off-putting. I enjoyed it and seems perfect for warm spring evenings – whenever those decide to show here in the PNW!

All three scents are available in either oil, solid or eau de parfum forms on the Sweet Anthem Etsy page or SweetAnthem.com. If you’re local, you can also come in to Sweet Anthem for a Perfume Making 101 class or just pick out your favorite notes to have Meredith create a custom perfume for you.

- – -

I highly recommend checking out all three of these great, vegan-friendly perfume/bath and body products stores, especially if you’re trying to veganize/green your personal care routine, or if you know of a friend who’d love a handmade, personalized gift. While I’m reveling in the samples I’ve purchased, I’m still eager for them to run out so I can buy a few more samples and eventually land on my signature scent.

PS: This was my first time ever reviewing perfumes, and it honestly felt a little like reviewing wines.

Seattle vegan bloggers cocktail party

Friday evening I was feeling some major Vida Vegan Con vibes/memories, and that’s because I was surrounded by a few individuals who were there with me. Anika of Seattle Vegan Score graciously hosted a Seattle vegan bloggers cocktail party/potluck, and we all reveled in delicious vegan food, drink and the most charming company.

Anika opened up her beautiful home to us for the event, and prepared fresh-squeezed juices and liquors for us to get our classy drink on. Attendees brought hors d’oeuvres and other beverages of choice to accompany them, and boy was it a mighty spread!

When I pulled out my camera, (okay, cameraphone, admittedly) to start documenting all the food, Anika said, “I’m surprised it took this long in a room full of bloggers!” Truth. Here’s a sampling of what we feasted on:

(For a full rundown of exactly what everyone brought, jump over to Helen’s blog, listed below).

These were my contribution to the event: spiced nuts from Bryant Terry’s new book, The Inspired Vegan. I won’t go into much detail here as I’m planning on reviewing the book in the not too distant future, but they turned out fantastic, and were a nice pairing to our refreshing beverages.

Here’s a few photos of bloggers in party mode:

Cheers!

Check out recaps of the event by some of the other attendees:

Helen of Vegtastic

Molly of Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom

Rhean of Northwest Herbivore

I just have to say that it was so lovely to end the week by meeting new local vegans, being reunited with others and enjoying amazing fare that I know I can eat (and drink). Thank you again Anika for hosting such a fun time!

Getting our Ethiopian fix in Seattle: Lalibela Restaurant

While I love and constantly sing my praises of Tacoma, there are a few things that I wish existed in the city (food-wise) that currently do not. Exhibit 1: a vegan fine dining establishment, a la Portabello in Portland and Sutra or Carmelita north in Seattle. If someone built it, I believe we’d most assuredly come. Exhibit 2: a single Ethiopian restaurant. If you’ve never experienced Ethiopian food but have restaurants nearby in your city, I urge you to visit one on your next evening dining out. Not all of us are as fortunate to have one so nearby!

We Tacomans venture to Seattle for our vegan Ethiopian, because as to my knowledge, Olympia doesn’t have one either. This just makes it an every once in a while treat for us, and thankfully Seattle is teeming with Ethiopian restaurants of varying levels of hole-in-the-wall-ness. I haven’t been to all, (there are approximately one zillion) but our favorites, Queen Sheba and Kokeb, are both lovely in ambiance, service and delectable vegan options.

As we frequent both of those locations primarily for our Ethiopian fix, we wanted to try a new place while visiting this past weekend. Yelp is kind of hard to wade through for a suggestion on this, because almost all restaurants have the same ratings and all have veggie platter options. So I took a shot in the dark and picked a restaurant at random in Columbia City: Lalibela Restaurant.

Lalibela has a whole page dedicated to pure vegetarian/vegan dishes, and they should be pretty familiar to you if you’ve ever tried the cuisine. If not, Ethiopian food is mostly composed of staple ingredients such as potatoes, onions, greens and lentils that all different spicy flavors. Gomen, Foskua, Misir Wot, Fosolia and aptly named Cabbage all don the menu, and my favorite way to eat Ethiopian food at any restaurant, (the veggie combo platter) gives you a little bit of everything on the menu, save for a few dishes. When you share with a friend, you really get a lot of bang for your buck.

The boy and I split this monster veggie combo, complete with warm, soft, sour and delightfully spongy injera. His favorite was hands down the Fosolia, and I was the biggest fan of the Gomen, (collard greens), cooked down with onion, ginger, garlic and other spices. I don’t even want to tell you how fast we ate all of this, plus our injera, plus the injera that the food comes on. It’s that good, and/or we were just that hungry.

If you’re in the mood for Ethiopian and are near the Central District, I think you should definitely check out Lalibela. Though we did pass about five other Ethiopian restaurants on the way up, you can be assured that the food is tasty and vegan at this cozy spot.

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Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (Central District)
2800 E. Cherry St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-8565