Do you love grilling but are a vegetarian or vegan? While grilling in the Midwest tends to be meat-centric, you can go all out with delicious and satisfying plant-based options like Brussels sprouts. Just marinate the vegetables like you would need to marinate the meat and plan ahead a tiny bit so it can marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Well, there you have it – the conclusion of my Pacific Northwest ramblings series. I left the Pacific Northwest extremely satiated in multiple ways. I was refreshed from the serene nature and fulfilled by the vast array of delicious international, vegan, and pescatarian cuisine.
While Portland has plenty of dive bars located in unassuming street corners, it has quite a thriving international food scene. Not only do they have amazing vegan and vegetarian food, they have a prominent Indian and Vietnamese food scene. I also had Swedish food there, which is not really a popular European cuisine in the U.S., so that was refreshing. Did I fall in love with Portland the way I fell in love with Seattle? No. But I am so happy I was able to experience Portland in its sustainable, vegan glory.
Have you ever been to a vegan prix-fixe dinner? I hadn’t been or even heard of this amazing concept until I went to Seattle. Most prix-fixe restaurants in Chicago tend to be pretty meat-centric with a sprinkling of seafood and it’s kind of a pain to switch because you want to get your money’s worth. But we didn’t have to worry about this in Seattle. We could eat everything on the prix-fixe menu, as is, and not pay an arm and a leg at $65 per person. It is definitely a special occasion, but it is much more affordable than other prix-fixe experiences.
Mountains, evergreen trees, the Pacific Ocean, a haven for vegans – is the Pacific Northwest all its cracked out to be? Yes, it is, in every possible way. Is it the most racially diverse and cutting edge place? No. Is it celebrating sustainability and environmentalism? Yes…and they have a statue of Lenin. I didn’t know what to expect from Seattle and had grand expectations for Portland as a fan of Portlandia. I ended up falling in love with Seattle and as someone who isn’t an “outdoorsy” person, I fell in love with its gorgeous nature.
Lula has been part of the Logan Square community for 17 years prior to the more recent explosion of restaurants, bars, and cafes. I have had the pleasure of coming here for both brunch and dinner multiple times. While I am more of a fan of their dinner options, their brunch is also delicious and affordable. The environment is quaint and cute within a somewhat eclectic and charming space. Their patio is always packed full of diners on balmy summer nights. Their service has always been accommodating and the servers are knowledgeable and proud of their food.
Table, Donkey, and Stick takes an incredibly innovative approach to Old World European classics. I am excited to see the creative concoctions of new Executive Chef, Justin Moser. Table, Donkey, and Stick continues to add charm and uniqueness to a neighborhood saturated with restaurants.
My recent trip to New Orleans was quite inspiring when it came to trying and exploring new and dynamic flavors. I was exposed to amazingly delicious Creole and Cajun cuisine (and I learned that these are distinct from one another as well) and wanted to explore making a vegan version of a New Orleans classic, Crawfish Étouffée. The étouffée sauce is traditionally made with butter and a meat or seafood stock, but I used soy butter and a veggie broth instead. I also made it with pan fried tofu instead of crawfish.
I do appreciate/value the fact that everything at Daisies is made locally whether it’s their homemade pasta or locally sourced produce. Everything tasted absolutely delicious and fresh. They also have high quality vegetarian/pescatarian options that don’t feel like an afterthought.
Lifestyle changes simply do not happen overnight. With many other lifestyle changes I have made over the years, changing my dietary habits has been slow, which, I must add, benefits me tremendously because it always gives me adequate time for self-reflection. Moreover, going at a slow pace helps me to truly let go of the habits so that I won’t re-acquire them in the future.