what i ate in seattle as a vegan
Seattle is pretty cool guys. It is surprising not so sleepy, nor is it only about coffee. This is my second trip to the Evergreen state and both times were totally different. One was rainy and I was alone; the other was sunny and I was with my family. I like Seattle for its emerald green nature, bright flowers, epic hikes and shining lakes. I like its surprising hardcore punk scene, wild-coloured hair styles and friendly folk. I like its liberalism and accepting attitude despite its rather small town feel and cookie-cutter neighbourhoods.
My family continued to West coast, following my sister's graduation, to see family friends and to explore something other than the concrete jungle of NYC. You can read about my New York travels and vegan eating here.
We breezed in and out of Seattle for quick three-day visit, so I only got to a handful of vegan restaurants, but I think I did ok. Check out some of my favourite places to eat below:
I'm going to be bold and say this is the best curry I have ever had. In my life. And I've had many curries in my time. If you can get yourself to Araya's Place, a fully vegan Thai restaurant, you must must must have their Massaman Banana Curry made with coconut milk, banana, potatoes, carrot, peanuts and delicious seitan. And how can I forget to mention that it also comes with warm roti - my weakness!
For starters, we shared Fresh Summer Rolls filled served with a tamarind sauce and ground peanuts, crispy fried Thai Tofu with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, and vegan prawns - which had the exact same texture as normal prawns. Creepy (but not as creepy as eating real prawns, let’s be honest).
Araya's Place is the first vegan-Thai restaurant in the northwest. It opened in 1987 and is still family-owned and family-operated today, aptly named after the founders' mother, Araya. They are rated one of the best Thai restaurants, by both vegans or non-vegans, across Seattle. A must!
Oh baby, this is a gem. My sister and I fuelled up Chaco Canyon in the University District before heading to some vintage stores. I love the humble and authentic community feel that exudes from the people who serve and cook, to the local, trippy artwork placed around the space, to the logo and furniture, and to the food ingredients. There is even a wall with the names of each person who contributed in helping establish the restaurant, as well as a board that outlines the ethos and values that Chaco Canyon stands for. They also have a Community Dhal Bowl where the customer can decide what price to pay!
I wanted to try everything on the menu but ended up going for the Mighty Breakfast Burrito that was stuffed with tofu, zucchini, and pepperjack cashew ‘cheese’ frittata with roasted chickpeas, avocado, rice, harissa sauce & cilantro wrapped in a flour tortilla. Yep, it was quite something. My sister had the Smokey Yam and Kale Bowl with roasted yams and kale with quinoa and lemon garlic tahini (and extra tofu). For dessert, we had their Lemon Poppyseed Doughnut and their Cowboy Cookie.
I really like the transparent and welcoming nature of this restaurant (the food happened to be great too). Some of their values include having equal respect for the planet, community, and employees; creating a welcoming space for a diverse community; and providing a safe space for people to be human, with the intention of growth and contribution. So nice :)
Restaurants like these make me freaking proud to be a vegan. With a line that was snaking out of the door, and a wait of close to 30 minutes, the excitement to try some plant-based ice cream from Frankie and Joe's was almost too much to bear!
I had their Salty Caramel Ash ice cream and their Chocolate Tahini on a maple-vanilla waffle cone, topped with moon goo (aka activated charcoal with cacao date paste). Other varieties that I managed to get a sneak peak included, Chocolate Date, Date Shake and Brown Sugar Vanilla. All were delicious. All were divine. All were delectable.
It was probably the best vegan ice cream I've ever had.
They keep their approach simple: They use dates or maple over sugar when they can, make their own nut milks and bases, keep their ingredient list short, and do not add any gums or other stabilisers. Some ice creams are nut free, some are free of cane sugar, most ingredients are organic, and all are vegan.
With creative flavours such as Carrot Coriander Shrub (apple cider vinegar included in this one!), Beet Strawberry Rose Sorbet, and Mexico Morning (which includes nutritional yeast!), it's hard to argue that vegans only eat fruit salad for dessert.
This was my second time at Plum. The first time I had their monstrous brunch Banana Hot Cakes, served with whipped cinnamon butter and warm maple syrup. It was glorious. This time around, I was there for dinner and it was just as yummo as I remembered it.
My sister and I shared their Sautéed Maitake Mushrooms and their super famous Mac 'n Yease. When the shrooms and yease were paired together, it was a full-blown mouth explosion. I highly suggest ordering both and eating them in unison. For mains, I had their Cuban Black Beauty (cumin spiced grilled tofu, black bean puree, fried avocado & sautéed baby bok choy), while my sister had their Kale Cesar and Tempeh Burger (panko-crusted tempeh, cucumbers, tomato, caramelised onions, raw kale, caesar dressing & russet fries). For dessert, we had some avo ice cream thingy-ma-bob with cherries and cacao wafer.
Taking their name from Japanese plum flowers that symbolise perseverance and hope, Plum aims to represent new beginnings in their approach towards food and business. With bold, sophisticated, vibrant and indulgent meals, Plum is changing the way that people view vegan food by opening them to the varied possibilities a meatless lifestyle can provide.
PS: If you are in a rush, hungry and close to the Space Needle, Chihuly Museum or MoPOP, Plum has a small stall in the Seattle Center, aptly named Plum Pantry. I can recommend their Protein Bowl (quinoa, roasted yams, roasted broccoli and lemon vinaigrette). They also have smoothies, juices, sandwiches and baked treats.
In an area where tall, glass building loom overhead, and where people in business suits mission about in an hurry, exists a little sanctuary called Sweetgrass. My sister and I were told about this place after a sweaty, morning yoga class and we were glad to have found it. As both a cafe and a creative space, Sweetgrass has ample seating, ample natural light and ample breathing space.
While not fully vegan, they have many options. My sister and I both had their Nana's Banana-Walnut Smoothie, blended with banana, spinach, walnuts, dates, coconut milk, flax and maca. We also had matcha lattes with a dash of cacao - a delicious combo. I would go back to try their Good Morning Brew Smoothie (cold brew coffee, spinach, banana, coconut milk, nut butter, dates, cacao nibs, maca, Himalayan salt & almond milk), and their Matcha Caesar Salad with vegan parmesan and vegan matcha caesar. Oh well, next time. 10/10 recommend.