Hi everyone! I want to start a new category here on The Vegetarian Carnivore documenting gastronomically amazing culinary experiences that I have while I travel. I think that is such an important aspect of vegetarian and vegan diets in particular, because it is definitely something that we need to take into consideration when we travel. Since I am from California, I think I do take for granted the variety and veggie friendliness of eating establishments here, so it sometimes comes as a shock to me when I travel and find myself eating the same generic thing over and over again for a week. I remember when I traveled to Iceland last year and had absolutely nothing to eat there. And it makes sense because they are a fishing and meat based community. So my aim with this is to provide options in restaurants with great vegetarian and vegan options in various places. First up, let’s start with vegetarian restaurants in Seattle.
I went to Seattle and Portland for Memorial Day long weekend. You see, my flight was delayed… due to “engine problems,” which is honestly code for “this plane is grounded for at least a few hours, so you should get comfortable.” So there was no better time to make my bucket list of highly regarded restaurants in Seattle, as I eagerly waited to board and see my family.
I’ve been to Seattle many times as a child and I do really love it up there (minus the perpetually gloomy weather! Depressing much?). I had never been to Portland, but we took a couple of days there and so I got a taste of the amazing food scene there too.
Do keep in mind that these places are not necessarily all fully vegetarian or vegan; some are, but the idea was to find great vegetarian variety.
Next Level Burger
Now, on to places I have never been, but hope to hit this long weekend. First up, Next Level Burger. Their mission is the first thing that stood out to me. As opposed to putting the emphasis of vegan dining solely on the human, they also acknowledge the need to nurture the planet, and that is a point of view that I feel is often missing from food establishments. I am also aware that restaurants generate a crazy amount of waste, and if that waste is non compostable, it ends up straight in a landfill.
As a self-proclaimed Impossible Burger lover, I am totally blown away by their menu, which features fully traditional burger joint options, but in a way that emphasizes love for the planet by way of sustainable practices, compostable packaging, and re purposed materials for their tables and chairs.
I had their Special Sauce burger, which was their imitation meat burger with their, you guessed it, special house sauce. Their vegan cheese was also impossible to distinguish from the real deal. They came with a side of crinkle cut fries 😉
This Portland restaurant served possibly the best Peruvian food I have ever eaten in my life. The experience was incredible! My family had made reservations and the servers immediately asked us if anyone in our party was vegetarian or vegan (all of us) and handed us a separate menu. Major brownie points!
We ordered everything family style so that we could get a taste of everything. For appetizers, we got yuca frita con salsa Verde, tres salsas (peanut, passion fruit, and jalapeño) con pan, and a trio de papas y salsas peruanas (ocopa, huancaína, y ricoto). I became especially obsessed with the huancaína, which has a delicious base of aji amarillo chiles and a queso fresco, whisked together to achieve a thick and smooth perfect result.
For a salad dish, we chose a quinoa con verduras, which was a lovely lime infused quinoa salad, with avocados, olives, and cotija cheese. Simple and delicious!
For entrees, we ordered yuca rellena, which was a cotija and mozzarella stuffed and fried yuca, served with that heavenly huancaína sauce. That cheese pull was the most satisfying thing ever 😉 Another big winner was the hongos saltados, which was a mushroom medley dish, with Asian undertones. The mushrooms had been infused with a subtle soy and garlic glaze and wok fried with onions. It was served with thick cut fries and garlic infused rice, which complimented the dish perfectly.
Now, cocktails! I had their sacsayhuamán, a spicy habanero infused cocktail. It was incredible and tasted unlike any drink I have ever had before.
All in all, 10/10 for this vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurant for their variety, quality of food, and hospitality!
Salt and Straw
This super hipster ice cream joint was all the hype. I know there is one in Los Angeles but I never went here, so I tried it out in Portland. They had some crazy ice cream flavors which I never thought would ever taste great, like their pear and blue cheese or their strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper flavors. Spoiler alert: they were both amazing. I ended up ordering their almond brittle with salted ganache flavor, and was blown away by the variety of textures in a single scoop! The chewy consistency of the ganache complimented the ultra creamy texture of the vanilla ice cream and the almond brittle gave a much appreciated crunch to the whole dish!
This little Mongolian BBQ restaurant is no bigger than a hole in the wall, but is a must go! My cousin introduced me to it about 10 years ago, and I have not been able to forget it since. I believe it is a chain restaurant, but I have not been able to find it elsewhere, so I was super excited to go back.
So, basically you walk in and self serve a bunch of fresh veggies, including carrots, broccoli, baby corn, zucchini, bok choy, etc. I remember piling my bowl so high that one wrong movement and it would have all come crashing down 😉 Next, I remember taking that bowl to the counter, where they would saute your concoction right in front of you and a protein option (for vegetarians: tofu or eggs). Anyway, now for the fun part: sauces! This place has such an amazing array of sauces, from spicy, to sweet, to sweet and sour. This time, I chose extra Spicy Mongolian sauce and plum sauce. 100% recommend the Mongolian sauce – totally packs a punch!
This place lived up to all my expectations and did not disappoint!
I pigged out like crazy this weekend. As someone who loves to cook and try new food, I find that going to amazing restaurants fuels me with ideas on new recipes and experiments to try. I definitely have a few new ideas up my sleeve 😉
Now I want to hear from you! Have you ever been to Seattle or had food from these places? Leave me your thoughts below!
Until next time,
Janani <3 <3