Category Archives: restaurants

Cornbread Cafe: Vegan Comfort Food in Eugene, Oregon

Eugene Oregon- Luminous Vegans

Back in early November we took a mini-trip to Eugene, Oregon (to find out why, keep reading). Cornbread Cafe was the first place we ate while there. This cozy, diner-like restaurant serves 100% vegan comfort food made in-house. Not only was the food and friendly staff amazing here, but Cornbread Cafe really makes an effort to keep things local and sustainable. You can read all about their mission here.

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Their menu is an indecisive person’s worst nightmare because there are so many tantalizing things to decide between from eggfu benedict to nachos and phish & chips.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

Since we went early on a Sunday morning, we selected dishes from the breakfast menu. Neal went with their Chik’n & Waffle – breaded and deep-fried seitan atop a large Belgian waffle served with country cashew gravy and maple/agave syrup.

Neal says it was THE best vegan chick’n and waffles he has ever had. The gravy was rich and savory and was perfectly complemented by the sweet syrup. And the seitan was the right kind of fried- moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

I went with the build-your-own-omelette served with home fries and a fluffy white biscuit. The omelette comes with Daiya cheese and a choice of 3 items to stuff it with. I chose to get mine stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and salsa.

I don’t know how they did it, but they have created the most eggy vegan omelette that I’ve ever tasted. Every bite was full of flavor. And most importantly, it was nice and moist. Nobody wants a dry omelette. I don’t think I could make an omelette at home that even comes close to how lovely this was.

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I so wish that I could have tried more dishes but we were only there for a short time. Luckily I’ll be able to eat there as much as I want in several weeks because we’re moving to Eugene!

We’ve been dreaming and scheming about moving to the Pacific Northwest for a looong time. So when we saw our friends Kenn and Jeanette pull it off, we were inspired to finally go for it ourselves. The trip in November was our scopin’-out-places-let’s-make-this-happen trip.

We were able to secure a place to live and come the end of this week, we’ll be loading up the car and driving from Atlanta to Eugene. If it sounds cray-cray, I assure you it is. But I’m excited (and nervous, scared, anxious, etc.) about our new adventure! And I can’t wait to have another one of those omelettes…

What is your favorite vegan comfort food?

Wayward Vegan Cafe in Seattle

As Neal prepares for the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, I am reminded of the last time we were there which was after Vida Vegan Con.  We could only hang around for one meal because our final destination was Whidbey Island and we had a ferry to catch.

So of course we had to make our Seattle meal epic, which is why we chose Wayward Vegan Cafe. This place has a menu that is FIVE full pages of diner comfort food. They have everything from Belgian waffles to Country Fried Steak….talk about tough decisions. wayward-0772-2

At one point, I had so much trouble deciding that I was going to employ the “waving finger and random stop” method to help me. This is where I wave my finger randomly all around a menu and then have Neal randomly say “stop”. Wherever my finger lands when he says “stop” is what I order. This method is also good for choosing vacations, movies, what to wear, etc.

Given the sheer quantity of menu items I wanted to try, I’m impressed that I didn’t have to resort to this primitive decision making app. I chose the Crunch Wrap Supreme Master–Ground “beef”, refried beans, diced tomatoes, diced red onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and crispy lettuce on a crunchy tostada round and wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.

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It was served with cilantro sour cream, salsa fresco and my choice of a potato salad side.

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Neal got Suns Over Seattle–Grilled ham slices, American style cheese, and their signature tofu scramble sandwiched between golden buttery sourdough slices and served with hasbrowns.

wayward-0776-3So. Good. All of it. This is the kind of place where you discreetly leave with one button undone (I hope I’m not the only person who does this).

Neal is going to be pretty busy working the festival this weekend. But hopefully he will get a chance to drop by Wayward Vegan Cafe or perhaps some other vegan eats. If you’re gonna be at the Bumbershoot festival, he’d love for you to drop by and visit him (Epic Problems) at Flatstock in the Armory.

Still Happily Redeeming My Yearly Trips Around the Sun

Alright, real talk. When I was a teenager, I used to think that I would never make it to my 30’s due to some terrible, random accident. I had no legitimate reason for thinking that. It was just a strange premonition I had that I’m sure wasn’t helped by teenage angsty broodiness and a feeling of not belonging. Thankfully, I suck at being a psychic and I gratefully (and happily) enjoy my yearly trips around the sun with good food. And lots of cake! Come on, did you really think this post was going in any other direction?

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A stroll around the hood resulted in some indulgent pre-birthday dinner cupcakes at Dulce Vegan – caramel, chocolate, orange cardamom and lemon.

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Next, we had an early dinner at Cafe Sunflower.

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Since we don’t eat here very often I usually end up getting some of the same dishes that I know I love.

For apps we got the “Supreme Vegan Nachos”- organic corn chips, Daiya, homemade chili, shredded romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno and fresh guacamole.

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and “Mushroom Ceviche”- shiitake, enoki mushroom, jicama, mango, onion, garlic, cilantro, smoked paprika, lime, orange and avocado.2013bday-7364

We each got a “Green Tea Chai”-green tea, soymilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave.2013bday-7360

For the main course, Neal got his usual, “Fiesta Enchilada with Corn Salsa”- Marinated soy chicken, sauteed onions, red bell peppers, and granny smith apples wrapped in a flour tortilla topped with shredded romaine lettuce and corn salsa.

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and I got the “Garden Loaf”- veggie loaf, herbed mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, spring rolls with organic mushroom gravy.

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Despite having a plethora of leftover cupcakes at home, I had to get a slice of strawberry cake!2013bday-7377

After dinner, I scared myself silly by watching The Conjuring. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Big blowout or low-key affair?

Happy Birthday Dough Bakery!

What do you do when you turn one year old? Eat lots of vegan food ’till you have to unbutton your pants and celebrate with a gaggle of nice folks? Sounds like a good plan to me.

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This past Sunday, Holly from Traveling Pink Lips  threw a plant-based potluck to bring ATL vegans together and celebrate Dough Bakery’s first year of awesomeness in Atlanta. For the past year, this vegan bakery along with Gutenfleischers (the vegan deli inside Dough) has been satiating my needs for whoopie pies, chocolate chip cookies, soft serve ice cream, ginormous deli sandwiches, queso, pimento cheese, milkshakes and more. The pups even get a fix with their peanut butter treats.

Here’s the event-planner extraordinaire greeting us. She’s about to let us loose on the food.

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Everybody brought a dish + I brought my camera = vegan food porn. Here are a few highlights.

Mac and cheese with coconut bacon. This was Holly’s dish. Check out that rad spatula!

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Peanut butter tofu. Yes.

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100 % organic tabouleh.

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Raw cheese dip (with chia seeds!).

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Dill and sour cream potato bites. Nom.

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“Goat” cheese. I love cashew cheese and I’ve made something very similar before.

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Mini loaded potato bites with tempeh (recipe on Glue and Glitter).

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Candied jalapeno with cream cheese. So creative!

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Squash casserole.

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Quinoa sweet potato balls with Daiya mozzarella!

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My final plates. Yes plates! My eyes were far hungrier than the size of my stomach. I tried to get one of everything but I’m sure I missed some dishes as some arrived later while I was stuffing my face. Everything was delicious! I brought a black bean and corn quinoa salad (recipe here), but forgot to get a pic of it because I was too enamored with everybody else’s dish. It’s on the bottom of the circular plate.dough1yr_mixplate

Holly also surprised everybody with a gift!

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I was so excited to finally get my hands on some coconut bacon. I was also thrilled to get a Crazy Rumors lip balm (that balm is my jam) and a vegan key chain from Jeanette Zeis Ceramics.

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There was a raffle to win the big bag of vegan swag.  All the raffle proceeds went to Animal Action Rescue.

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And boy were there sweets!

Brownie cookies. We split the second to last one.

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Chocolate chip and walnut cookies.

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Vegan gelato from Revolution Gelato. We’ve had this creamy-dreamy vegan gelato before but it’s not for sale yet, so it was a real treat to have some. I tried the new flavor, Hatch Chili Chip. I can not wait until this stuff goes on sale for realsies.  According to Jared the owner/creater this will hopefully happen sometime in the fall.

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And no birthday is complete without cake. Check out these fun decorated cakes made by Dough! Nom nom and nom nom nom!

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I’m so happy that Holly put this event together. She did an incredible job bringing together an awesome and diverse vegan crowd where I got a chance to talk to old friends and make some new ones. And big ups to Dough and Gutenfleischers for hosting and basically being ‘da bomb!

Vegan Eats in Olympia Washington

When we went to Portland, we also drove up to visit Neal’s parents in Washington and made a pit stop in the capital, Olympia. Did you know that Olympia is a pretty vegan friendly city? We didn’t get to explore many of the vegan offerings because we only stayed for two meals worth. Doesn’t everybody measure time in meals?

The first place we visited was Narai Asian Cuisine. This place is very vegan friendly. On the Happy Cow website, it was mentioned that the owner is veg and therefore very accommodating to veg*n. And indeed, when we asked if the dishes we ordered could be made vegan they said–absolutely! It’s always nice when your server confidently knows what the word “vegan” means.

We got the Fresh Rolls (with tofu) – fresh green leaf, cucumber, shredded carrots & Thai basil wrapped in a soft rice skin, cut in half and served with peanut sauce & sweet chili sauce sprinkled with ground peanuts.

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Neal got the Pad Thai (sans the egg and fish sauce) – thin rice noodles stir fried with green onion, ground peanuts, pad Thai sauce & bean sprouts and garnished with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, ground peanuts and a wedge of line.

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And I got the Pad Wooh Shen (no egg) – veggies stir fried in garlic sauce with clear noodles, white & green onion, cabbage, napa, snow peas, bok choy & mushroom. This dish was smoky and garlic-savory goodness!

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We were tempted to eat there again for a second meal, but we decided to try another Asian restaurant called Saigon Rendevous. They have an extensive veg*n section on their menu.  There are some non-vegan items in the veg*n section to be aware of like eggs and mayonnaise, but a quick check with the owner was all we needed to make sure the dishes we wanted were a-ok.

We got Tofu and “Pork” rolls (served on top of pickled cabbage!)

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wonton soup

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and we split the Mongolian “Beef”- spicy stir fry of bamboo shoots, carrots and green onions over a bed of crispy rice noodles.

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Would I eat at these two places again? For sure. The food and service were both great and there were definitely more things on the menu I wanted to try.  I’m a sucker for tasty vegan Asian food.

Kale Me Crazy, First Impressions

A new juice joint called Kale Me Crazy has opened up in Atlanta. Their facebook page states “Kale Me Crazy is an upscale juice bar that specializes in cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and raw foods.  We believe in better health and well-being through organic raw food”.  I love smoothies especially in the summer, so we headed over to try it out.

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Its interior is sleek, mostly white and modern and small.  There is seating at the front bar or at another bar facing the window. The guy at the counter was really nice and let us sample the juices. All the juices and smoothies are vegan and they offer some vegan baked goods.

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I got the Refresh smoothie- kale, celery, apple, banana, mint, coconut meat, coconut milk and maple syrup.

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Neal got the Recovery smoothie-banana, cherries, cashews, coconut yogurt, almond milk and vegan protein.

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Both smoothies were good, but I think I would have liked it more if there had been more cherry tartness in the Recovery and more apple sweetness/tartness in the Refresh. Neal really liked his and thought it tasted like a cherry milkshake.

I got the vibe that they were still getting a feel for what customers wanted and liked, so it’s possible their menu may change. If I happen to be in the neighborhood and get a hankering for a smoothie I’ll definitely stop by again, but I don’t see myself going out of my way to get one. To be fair, I don’t think I’m their target demographic because while I like smoothies, I’m not that into the whole juicing thing (I like pulpy fiber!). And since I own a Vitamix, it’s hard to justify spending that much on a smoothie when I can make one all day, err’day for a fraction of the price.

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Homemade spinach, pineapple, frozen banana,and coconut flakes smoothie.

What do you prefer….fresh pressed juices or smoothies?

Canteen in Portland: There’s a bowl for that


What better way to end the series of Portland posts than with the dish that, to me, defined Portland…bowls! They were such an iconic dish there that for two weeks after getting back to Atlanta, I just made bowls and only bowls.

We had these two lovely bowls at a small neighborhood joint, Canteen.

Neal got the Bangkok Bowl which was avocado, curry and red curry peanut sauce, long brown rice, aduki beans, broccoli, red cabbage, kimchi and black sesame seeds.

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I got the Walnut Taco Salad which was walnut taco crumbles with mixed greens, pico de gallo, avocado, curry sauce, carrots, cashew ancho spread, sliced avocado and green onions. While not technically classified as a bowl it had all the bowl qualities- lots of different elements layered separately that come together nicely when mixed.

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Portland vegan food, It’s goodbye for now…until we meet again..