Seaside, Cannon Beach, Oregon - Our Vegan Holiday Continues

So we got up on Boxing Day and after our requisite walk on the beach (weather was much calmer today...less windy and no rain) we decided to drift south for a little walk on Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is charming and maybe a little higher rent than Seaside (Sorry Seaside. We still love you.). Of course, the main attraction is Haystack Rock but the coast all along here is studded with basalt stacks very similar to this one. If I understand correctly these stacks are the result of lava flows from 17 million years ago and more recently the actions on wind and tide. Access to the beach in this area is not really difficult (you just need to find the designated access points) and it is a public beach but it is mostly lined with private residences and resorts. Also, pay attention to the tides. We got our feet soaked and nothing worse but I would imagine it can be tricky at times. 

We stopped for a coffee and piece of banana bread at Sleepy Monk Coffee. We were impressed that they had a nice selection of plant-based baked goods and tried a piece of Chai Banana Bread. After we continued our walk and explored Icefire Glassworks. Eventually we headed back to Seaside to find some lunch.
A few years ago on a visit to Seaside, in my omnivore past, we had wonderful Mexican food at The Stand, I'm not sure if it was true at the time but today they have a couple of vegan items on the menu.
We ordered the Vegan Burrito with Enchilada Sauce. This was a behemoth sufficient (along with a taco) for the two of us for lunch. Rather than the usual rice filled thing, this burrito was full of black beans and grilled vegetables. To be honest, it is hard to get veggies on vacation whether you are vegan or not so this was perfect. I'd post the picture of the burrito after I split it but it mostly exploded and ceased to be Insta worthy! Delicious and satisfying! After some more toddling around town and on the beach (and a wonderful nap), we set out to get some dinner.
We had read on Google Maps that New Garden Asian Restaurant had quite a few dishes that were or could be prepared vegan. Located in the rather sad little Seaside Carousel Mall ( a couple of blocks from the beach), it is a friendly and pleasant place with an open kitchen and a large menu. 
We ordered 3 dishes and ended up with a ton of leftovers to go as the dishes were quite generous. The Szechuan Tofu was quite amazing being crispy and served with lots of green beans and toasted peanuts. There was your basic heat from the dried chilies and the pleasant numbing heat from Szechuan peppercorns that we love.
Clearly we were craving carbs and ordered the Vegetable Fried Rice (they charge1$ extra for no egg!) and a Chow Mein. Both arrived hot and tasty with lots of broccoli and carrots. This marks the first time I have broken my long time rule of not eating Chinese food while away from Vancouver but now we go where the plant-based food is made available! 
Our stay in Seaside could have been longer but after finishing the worst Netflix series ever, Obliterated, we called it a night and prepared to head for Portland on Wednesday morning.

Seaside, Oregon - Vegan Adventure

This is not the first time Mharie and I have been in Seaside, Oregon during Christmas. Given that it is fully off season for beach towns, everything is quite a bit less busy than usual and we like that. Off season accommodation pricing is of course as low as it gets and we don't mind that either. Of course, sun bathing is out of the question and even the prospect of a dip in the sea is for those more stout of heart than we are but we love the show of force that the ocean provides. Since all the family festivities had been scheduled for the weekend prior, we were free to flee south on Monday.

It is the fist time that we have been here since I went fully vegan which presented some easily overcome challenges (i.e. nothing is open on Christmas Day so vegan eats are even harder to find). Of course, we could have brought food from home but the border rules can be a little challenging when it comes to food and we decided not to complicate our crossing. So I did a little research and I learned that the Olympia Food Coop (in Olympia, Washington) was open on the 25th. We decided to forage for supplies there!
The Coop is a nice little grocery store with lots of vegan grocery options. As you might guess, everything is a little pricey as they cater to a community which probably includes anti GMO, organic preferring helicopter moms and hippies (not that there's anything wrong with that). I notice that they sell meat. Anyway, we also learned that if you're not a member you pay 10% over ticket which means our $54 USD of groceries became $60 USD which means $80 CAD. Beggars can't be choosers.
We certainly did not go hungry and everything we bought, we would buy again. I was quite excited about the Miyoko's Cream Cheese as we don't not have the brand in Canada. We tried it on some Dave's Killer Bread Bagels and loved the slightly tart almost nutritional yeast notes ( I know. Nutritional yeast is not even an ingredient).
That little shopping adventure and the results were kind of fun. We enjoyed our comfy room at the Inn at the Prom and a walk on the stormy beach.
We are big fans of the Inn at the Prom and have stayed there at least 4 times over the years.
Its not a super fancy place and although they do have units facing right onto the beach, we usually stay in one of the smaller units at the back. It is still a short walk to the beach and the units have full kitchens, huge jetted tubs (such that I feel bad about using so much water to take a bath), gas fireplaces and wonderful king sized beds. The television streaming system is confusing and annoying and there doesn't seem to be a way just to watch the news. Still the drive and a relaxing walk on the beach and crashing out early made for a pleasant Christmas Day.

Tera V Burger, Delta - Vegan Options

So I noticed that there was another Tera V Burger on the map! In the past, we have visited Tera V on Broadway in Vancouver as well as their Knight Street location which I referred to as Vegan Fried Chick'un and both of which have been reviewed on this blog. Since the new location was closer to home for us than the others, we decided to swing by and enjoy some vegan eats.

I should have investigated further as plans to eat in went out the window as we realized that this was strictly a take-out counter and located in an industrial area at that (so more of a weekday lunch place for the locals). Not only is this an outpost for Tera V and the related Vegan Fried Chick'un, but we also noticed the Cheesecake Factory logo on the front of the building. Don't get excited vegans, as the CF offerings are not plant-based. Anyway, we placed an order when we figured out which items were available (half the menu sold out?) and vegan (there are a few other sneaky non-vegan items here).
We started with dessert of which some items on the menu were plant-based. The Carrot Cake was wonderful. The vegan cream cheese icing was spot on and not for the diabetics among us but topped off a wonderful moist cake.
One thing that doesn't travel well is Crepes. These vegan Maple Butter Crepes were quite tasty but look sadly abused because they travelled in a box. Don't order crepes unless you can eat them immediately. Period.
New to us on the Tera V menu were the vegan Samosa Burgers. We decided to try the Tamarind Samosa Burger. This was a pretty good offering. Noting surprising just a couple of small samosas on a bun with some topping including tamarind chutney and cheese. There was just a bit of heat which we enjoyed. One thing I have noticed is that while the Broadway location served us burgers with nicely melted cheese both of the other locations don't seem to get it. Plant based cheese does not melt quite as easily as the dairy stuff and you have to pay attention or you get a piece of cardboard. I put the samosas and cheese in the micro wave oven for a few seconds and voila!...melty cheese.
We've had the Buffalo Chicken Burger before but we seem drawn to it. Its a pretty decent chicken patty with lots of hot sauce, some toppings and the same un melted cheese which I remedied myself. Just a decent vegan option for someone way out in the middle of nowhere.
And finally, we tried the Butter Chick'un Wrap. Again, it provides a pretty good vegan option for someone working out in Delta. We liked the chick'un. It was crispy and as bird like as you could care for and with the butter sauce made for a pretty good wrap.
This location happens to present a rather confusing business model or maybe it was just our timing (local businesses were all closed on Sunday). I would suggest that you call ahead and find out what from the extensive menu is actually available. This is not a fresh from kitchen to table place so don't expect it. Our order took about 10 minutes so we knew a lot of stuff was getting warmed up which is fine. We didn't actually expect linen table cloths and waiters. I hope the Tera V chain is going to keep up the pretty decent standard that we found at their other 2 locations. It's nice to have another vegan option but for God's sake would someone figure out how to melt plant-based cheese?
Food                            3 out of 5
Vegan Options             4 out of 5
Comfort                       NA
Service                         3 1/2 out of 5
Value                            3 out of 5

V Cafe - Vegan Vitnamese Cafe

How have I missed this place for so long? Anytime we are on the skytrain between New Westminster Station and Columbia Station, I could look out the window and see V Cafe, Vegan Vietnamese Cuisine! So obviously, someone needs to pay more attention. And why is it that Vietnamese food lends itself so much to vegan cuisine? No doubt the strong Buddhist tradition in Vietnam is a large part of it. Since a Bodhisattva strives to cultivate compassion, likely many would start with vegetarianism and then move on to veganism when the cruelty of the dairy and egg industries becomes apparent to them.

Located at the corner of Carnarvon and Eighth, it could hardly be closer to New Westminster Station. That being said, although I am now 6 weeks into my new knee, I am still a little shy about serious walking and even transit. Also, we usually park at Scott Road Station and transit into town so there would be little advantage to using transit to just cross the river. So we drove here from Aldergrove.
There were a couple of things that we were quite excited about and the first was Pho. This vegan version was quite substantial and the broth was deeply flavourful. There were lots of goodies including fish balls, sausage in addition to some tofu and veggies! Very nice!
We ordered a Vegan Lemongrass Chicken Rice Plate which was also very good. The lemongrass chicken was the star of course, saucy and flavourful, but there was a second 'meat' which we think was the ginger chicken. It was more subtlety flavoured but we enjoyed it as well.  Like most Vietnamese plates this one came with a colourful and crispy salad,
We ordered both of these dishes as combos one of which came with Spring Rolls which were filled with veggies and tofu and was accompanied by the expected dipping sauce.
The other came with Lemongrass Chicken Salad Rolls and an excellent peanut dipping sauce. We seemed to end up with the lemongrass chicken a lot which we don't regret. That's not to say that there aren't other choices. There are a lot of combo options here and it would be crazy to pass them up.
The Bahn Mi is the second thing we were quite excited about. They have quite a few options and for some reason, we landed on lemongrass chicken yet again. This was a pretty good sandwich including quite good bread which is always one of the keys to great Bahn Mi. It was crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside as ordered! A nice selection of crunchy veggies in addition to the chicken and we were happy!
The menu at V is fairly extensive and note that not every single item is vegan, It is kind of the opposite of the omnivorous place that has one plant-based item for your vegan friend. They have one meat item so your carnivore friend will not die of protein deficiency. There are still a lot of things that we would like to try and again...right across from the skytrain station! The staff were friendly and accommodating. It was a little chilly but they had just opened so that is probably why.
Food                          4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options           5 out of 5
Comfort                     4 out of 5
Service                      4 out of 5
Value                         4 1/2 out of 5

Blaze Pizza - Vegan Options

We had a last-minute family thing with Mharie's family and I decided to cast around and see if there were any vegan pizza joints close by that I have missed so far (so we would have something to bring to the family thing if that's not clear)..Believe it or not searching 'vegan' on Google Maps is one of my go-to processes. Sure enough, Blaze Pizza popped up.

Located in Grandview Corners (160th and 24 Avenue), it was not far out of our way. We would be able to place an order and pick it up on the way to Mharie's sister's place.
There are no designated plant-based pizzas at Blaze but you can build your own as they have vegan cheese and plant-based chorizo as well as a variety of veggies and sauces. We ordered two of this build-your-own variety. The first started with spicy tomato sauce and cheese and chorizo (we had these on both). We added pineapple (for my wife), basil, and some spicy peppers and we were quite happy with the result. This was on their regular crust which was pretty good. It lent itself to the NY-style fold. Nicely spicy as well.
For our second Build Your Own, we started again with the classic dough but with pesto sauce. Adding red onion, roasted garlic, mushrooms, chorizo and vegan cheese again, we ended up with a delightfully garlicky affair once it was completed with a pesto drizzle. This is one you definitely want hot out of the oven. It suffered a bit due to travel and cooling time but that was our fault. It was still a great pizza. The 11" pizzas were $16.25 each which doesn't strike me as cheap but there was good value just the same.
Next time, we'll dine in. This is an enjoyable space and would allow us to spend some time after at Indigo while digesting. Bookstores have become a rare and precious commodity. We ordered online but the staff that we did deal with were quite pleasant. 
Food                             4 out of 5
Vegan Options              3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          4 out of 5
Value                             4 out of 5

Petite Bao - Vegan Options

Saying sando instead of sandwich or resto instead of restaurant is a little like wearing Crocs or flip flops. It's an indication that we have become too lazy to bend over and tie our fucking shoes...That being said, Vancouver Magazine published 9 of the best "sandos" in the city, including Petite Bao's Wagyu Bao. While I no longer advocate for eating dead animal products, I already knew that PB had a few vegan "sandos" on their menu as well. So we made the trip this past Sunday.
I just barely managed to get a picture of the front of their place, at the risk of my life, by stepping out into the street on West 12th, just near MacDonald. Parking is not abundant (street parking on a busy strip)  and since I'm still not up to speed on my new knee, I am more aware of that than usual. Normally I would say, your legs aren't broken, just park and walk. That may apply to you.
There are 4 vegan items on this menu and we ordered them all. Then we started being impressed right away. Brussels Sprouts with Omni Luncheon Meat were amazing! The Brussels Sprouts were cooked perfectly (still a little firm) and nicely garnished with vegan spam, some crispy garlic and a nice vinaigrette. Perfect! We have had the Omni product before (same with the fish) and we were quite impressed. It's a little pricier than actual spam but at least no one had to die and we still enjoy the meaty saltiness of it.
Truffle Fries were next. I had to check that the truffle mayo was indeed vegan and they were able to reassure me. This was also quite delicious. The fries were top-notch and stayed crispy under the assault of mayo (no better than saying resto?), shitakes, crispy shallots, daikon and green onions. Seriously, we were pretty stoked up for this plate of fries!
I've always been team Impossible when it comes to fake meat. Overall, I prefer it when someone puts together their own concoction (mushrooms, walnuts, lentils etc.) but I challenge anyone to tell the difference between Impossible and actual dead cow. In addition to a nicely fried patty, this bao has a wonderful onion jam, shiso, truffle mayo and confit tomatoes. The buns themselves are puffy and soft and very good at soaking up the flavours. This was an amazing sandwich! They have taken some time on the details!
Last up was the Omni Miso Fish Bao. Omni is the brand of the fish and we have had it at Kirin and prepared it at home. It is a strong product and again I challenge anyone to realize that they are not eating fish. The only one who was aware was my cat. She has no interest in plant-based eating. This was served crispy with a miso glaze. Again, the folks here pay attention to detail serving the bao with thinly sliced king oyster mushrooms, arugula, red onion and Furikake mayo. Another masterpiece!
The vegan options here are all amazing. Everything is well thought out, beautifully presented and delicious. It is a lot for what is kind of close to fast food.  I just wish that they had a few more choices! If this place was close to home, I would be there all the time. Our server was also very friendly and attentive. Its hard to find anything wrong with Petite Bao!
Food                           4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options           3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                      4 out of 5
Service                       4 1/2 out of 5
Value                          4 out of 5

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...