I went to Seattle earlier this month for my husband’s yearly company get together. He works for CHEF and it’s not culinary related. They speed up IT infrastructure and are a fun bunch of people.
So while he’s working, I like to walk to one of my favorite places in Seattle – the International District. Since I have a real love for Japan and all the wonderful food and culture that comes from there, I always go to Kinokinuya Bookstore and pickup some books, magazines and stationery supplies. The Daiso is really near too and a fun place to get things for $1.50. They have bento making supplies and even stainless steel lunch containers there.
Uwajimaya is a grocery right next to the bookstore. The mushrooms are so beautiful there. I guess that’s one to the wonders of the Pacific Northwest. I got a black truffle for $4 and a half pound of fresh hedgehog mushrooms for $4.
I made a lovely pasta dish when I got home with the hedgehog mushrooms, braised fennel and leek cashew creme sauce!
I also found these brightly colored tubers called ulluco and oca root. They are related to the potato and I hope they taste good. I’m saving them for our Valentine’s Day Fondue fun.
Here are the restaurants I visited this trip, 2 of which are completely vegan establishments.
Loving Hut (vegan)
I had been to Loving Hut in several different cities and have enjoyed the meals there.
The restaurants are completely vegan and offer mostly Asian style meals.
This Loving Hut is in Little Saigon of the ID and had some more Vietnamese dishes.
I had a Tom Yum soup and Rainbow Noodles.
The owner told me where he got his mock meats from, but unfortunately I did not write it down and I can remember!
When I got back to Austin, I learned that our own Veggie Heaven on Guadalupe had closed. It’s a sad day for me – no more Protein 2000. It was the first veg restaurant I ever ate at in 1998 when I became a vegetarian and my sister was attending UT.
While in Austin and researching different food options for my trip, I came across this business. I found out they made their own tofu and were committed to making vegan meals. Unfortunately, they some problems in 2012 with sanitation and the health department shut them down. So I thought they were closed. While I was walking, I saw the sign and found out they were open. I guess I was brave or I was very hungry or I just didnt want to worry about having fish sauce or chicken broth in my lunch. So the next day I walked back and had their lunch buffet for $9.99. It was quite interesting and very inexpensive!
I had a super fatty vegan mock pork belly that tasted of coconut and char siu sauce. Lots of tofu dishes were on the buffet to make those with soy allergies cringe. My favorite was braised bittermelon stuffed with spiced tofu. I have to try to recreate it at home once bittermelon is in season. I’m going to see if the husband can grow some for me this year.
The location is a bit small and not fancy at all but Tanya, the owner, was there making sure everyone was happy and answered their questions. It’s not a 5 star place but a good way to fill your belly with tasty Asian food. I did have to drink lots of water later as most dishes were salty. Overall, if you are vegan, I would check it out for a casual lunch in the International District because who can just eat boring and uninspired stir frys.
What a cute name for a Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant! I went here for dinner with the Mr. and some coworkers.
The basic premise is that you cook your own veggies and meat-products in a broth in front of you. We sat at the bar and each of us had our own burner and broth hot pot. I did not have to share with anyone! However, if you don’t want to see raw meat and watch an employee shaving thin pieces for other diners, it might be bothersome. I would find a friend with the same diet and share a table and hot pot with them.
I ordered the vegetable set up that included 3 types of mushrooms – enoki, beech, and trumpet. It also came with napa cabbage, onion, bok choy, carrots, glass noodles, udon noodles, fried and soft tofu. The broth was a miso base. Two dipping sauces were provided – a soy-ponzu and a creamy sesame sauce (that was my favorite!) All was vegan!
On a cold, weekend evening, it was the perfect meal and it wasn’t crowded as most of Seattle was at a Seahawk game.
One neat thing about these restaurants is that they are all on the same street (Jackson Ave, just a few block south of downtown.) It’s very walkable distance, even from Pike Place market.
On a side note – If you are interested in Asian American history and the stories of immigrants who came to Seattle, visit the Wing Luke Museum. There is even a Bruce Lee exhibit, dedicated to his time in Seattle.
I went on a tour and learned about how different groups came to the US and the struggles they endured and the creation of community.
This wire display was in the Filipino room and it asked visitors to define themselves. That card is what I wrote and describes the culture I grew up with – my filipino mom and my dad from Tennessee.
Food is one of the defining elements of a culture and there was much to be shared about how people brought this important part of their lives with them. I highly recommend going and will probably visit again when I’m in Seattle.