Jet Lagged

Bah, I’m sucking at posting. But we’re back now. Got in Friday late night, spent the weekend trying to figure out what time it is and are at work today. I was full of energy at 6am, but now at 5pm I’m draaaaging. So the informative post doesn’t come today. Nor do the pictures because although I remembered to bring the camera cord to work, I forgot the camera.

The trip was great, but I’m so happy to be back, and one of the major reasons is the food. Don’t get me wrong, we ate really well, but I even get tired of eating out here in PDX. It’s been so nice to have our kale smoothie in the morning, and eat brown rice/black beans/tomatoes for lunch. We really haven’t even gone shopping yet because our garden had such a surplus that we’re just trying to make our way through that. Like, a million pounds of tomatoes, a zucchini the size of my leg, a half gallon bags worth of green beans that are all longer than my fingers. Probably the last time we go on a vacation at harvest time, but at least we came home to some good eats.

I’m inspired to cook. I need more time (work gets in the way of my cooking adventures!), but I’m hoping to can some tomatoes this week and make pretzel dogs. Probably stuff that zucchini. Perhaps a casserole. And I’m craving some homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Kao

It’s nearing the end of our trip. It’s been so amazing, but I’m looking forward to going home. We’ve started getting homesick for the simple things and it makes me realise just how important they are. Kale and tomatoes from the garden. A green smoothie to start the day. Using the bathroom naked in the middle of the night. A firm mattress.

However, we have today to explore Malmö and tomorrow for Copenhagen, and I’m looking forward to both. We got into Malmö yesterday and fell in such love with an all vegan cafe that we ate there for both lunch and dinner! Lunch was a very cheap and tasty buffet with a broccoli soup that was so creamy! J had the housemade burger and bun with roasted before dried (the carrots were a nice surprise) and I had a mushroom risotto that was our of this world! Oh, and the raspberry chocolate mouse pie for dessert was just over the top.

Please forgive my sad cell phone pics which do not do this place justice. Everyone near Malmö should check out Kao!

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Lunch Buffet

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Delicious Burger

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Creamiest Risotto

Full Stomach

Chock it up bike touring (where we’re totally reliant on tiny stores in the middle of nowhere and the peanut butter in our bag), but I feel like I can eat vegan anywhere. Of course, Gothenburg has made this crazy easy with vegetarian restaurants and items marked vegan on most menus, but I’ve yet to go hungry here. From a tasty bagel sandwich this morning to a flavorful Turkish stew this afternoon, I’m actually stuffed. We’ve also been having a blast in the grocery stores, reading ingredients and trying to figure out what junk food is vegan.

The internet rumors of vegan pizza nearby, so we’ll be hunting that for dinner tonight. Most pictures are on my camera, so like I mentioned, I will do a full recap when I get back.

Oh, also, I totally love Sweden, this place is a dream.

The Sweetest Hangover

We went out drinking last night. Had an amazing dinner beforehand (vegan nachos!), and saw some hipster bars that would put PDX to shame. Got pretty lit (I started singing as we got back to the hostel, so yah). Spent too much money ($17 cocktails, $8 beer – I’d have to go sober if I lived here!). Had an awkward moment with the bartender as J saw him adding egg whites to my gin drink – so glad I didn’t drink that! Off to Gothenburg today, excited for the next leg of this adventure!

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Hope you're a lightweight 'cuz this is what a $17 drink looks like.

Where Is The Love

I really want to be a good mofoer and post all the time. I have so many pictures of my food. Interesting information on camping vegan in a foreign country. A tip on where to get the best cinnamon bun.

But this is vacation. I’ve had internet access for only short instances since we arrived (especially since we spent two days on an island), and my best moments to blog are when I should be sleeping. I will try and be better during this second week, but I hope you’ll all hang in and wait for the recap when I get back to the states.

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Falafel Burger

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Veggie burger, Tofutti, and tortillas

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Bulgar salad and handmade Snickers

What’s the Deal with Airplane Food

It’s 3am and a symphony of snores here in the dorm room, so I thought I’d expand on yesterday’s post a little more. I’m really loving Sweden so far, and have been in this crazy state of excitement/nervousness/exhaustion nearly the whole time. Everything is so clean and beautiful – I keep trying to figure out with J where a city so giant puts its trash and homeless people! As we walk around, I find that we both get giddy over the huge historic buildings, the cobblestone alleys, and the cliche European postcard views of a waterway with a puffy clouded sky and beautiful bell tower. The nerves are really only based in our lack of knowledge of the language – it would have been nice if we studied as much as we promised ourselves we would because we both tend to freeze up with shopkeepers. I think we’ll be practicing a few key phrases over breakfast tomorrow. And I obviously touched on the exhaustion before, but it’s made my patience for taking pictures or stopping in random stores very small. If I sleep more after this post, tomorrow should be better.

The people have been a little different than I thought they’d be. Everyone seems to be an aggressive driver (my heart has leapt a couple times in the crosswalk), yet no one seems stressed about it – I think I only heard a car horn once or twice yesterday, certainly no one yelling. No one seems willing to make room while walking, so unless we want to run right into someone, we’ve been dodging pedestrians like it’s a video game. Is personal space an American thing? Everyone has been friendly but many seem a little impatient, perhaps not the biggest fans of tourists. We got an eyeroll when we thought we had to pay for beer in-flight and neither of us understand why that clerk didn’t give us back our 2 SEK in change.

I was pleasantly surprised with our food options on the flights. Though you have to pay for snacks on United, we were able to get some hummus on the way to Chicago – yay for healthier America!

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Hummus in a tube!

On the Scandinavian Air flight, we received chana masala, salad, and fruit salad. We specifically asked for a vegan meal, and although it came with butter on the side, I enjoyed a very hearty, healthy, and tasty dinner. Not to mention, spicier than most Indian food in Portland, ha.

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Breakfast was less of success (Greek yogurt and honey granola), but I was still full from dinner and just grateful for the orange juice and coffee. Oh btw, Swedish coffee is great everywhere, even the gas station.

I was really relieved to be fed so well on a 13 hour journey, and I’m less worried about traveling vegan in the future!

The Never-Ending Day

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Where do I even start? It’s the first day of the vegan mofo, and the first day of our trip in Sweden. Two nights before leaving, I found out my passport had expired (way to be on the details, eh?), so after sleeping maybe four hours, I was on the road to Seattle for an emergency renewal. I was lucky enough to get it on time, but my packing had been put on hold, and I spent my last night rushing around with another short four hour rest. Following that was a 13-hour flight (that I just couldn’t fall asleep on), and an effort to stay up all day in order to battle jet lag. Needless to say, I’m exhausted, my internal clock has no idea when I am, and though I had hoped to have my first mofo post be an exciting one, I’m just going to be happy I got one out at all.

So far the vegan thing isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Coming from the Portland vegan bubble and not really knowing the language here, I’m finding it difficult to get full well-rounded meals – I’ve been relying on a lot of bread. It’s not that Sweden isn’t vegan friendly, but coming in on a Sunday when most things are closed and sticking to the city center has made for a lot of hungry wandering. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when everything is open and we go explore the “hip” district. It’s all ended well though, as we found a very flavorful veggie buffet for lunch and made some tasty pasta at the hostel for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow will be more detailed and include pictures. After I get a good night’s sleep. I promise, I’m actually very excited to be here.

Eating Out

One of my toughest weekly balances is eating out v. cooking in. We have a killer pantry set-up. We can spend under $20 at the farmer’s market and eat practically gourmet all week. We can cook three dishes and make them cover our lunches/dinners and then some even into the weekend. And yet. We live in Portland. An absolute paradise when it comes to eating out vegan. How can I stay in and cook with all of those tempting dishes throwing themselves at me on my bike ride home?

I’ve started allotting for time to eat out. I make a weekly meal plan (because it helps with the shopping which makes things cheaper! and also I’m kind of crazy) and now I note 2-3 meals/week where I can eat out. If I don’t give myself this permission from the get-go, I find myself making up excuses to go out all week long, and all my groceries go to waste!

Breakfast sammich from DC Vegetarian.

Breakfast is one of the hardest meals to justify eating out, particularly during the work week – normally I just have a smoothie at 8am followed by some oatmeal at 10am. I always have the ingredients to make these two items, and they start my day on such a healthy note. But you’ll notice that neither of those things are bagels, the item that makes my heart flutter. So Fridays, I often give myself the okay to go out and hunt for a breakfast treat downtown. I was very excited to see that DC Vegetarian started serving breakfast, and this bagel sandwich did not disappoint. Only $3.50 for this tofu patty, vegan cheese, avocado, tomato and roasted red pepper sauce on a Dave’s Killer Bagel. The price was right, the breakfast was satisfying and the sauce was so flavorful! The long walk keeps me from eating there more often, but I hope this cart never goes.

Luc Lac’s Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi.

I recently went back to Luc Lac after not visiting for almost six months. I used to frequent this place (it’s such a perfect spot to meet a friend for lunch!), but one day I was mistakenly given pork spring rolls with my vegan dish. I know it was a busy night, but it’s hard to go back to a place where you found yourself with meat in your mouth. However, their flavorful pho and filling bahn mi kept calling me, so I went to give it another try. I have to admit, I now crack open each spring roll before eating, but my experience has been pleasant enough to warrant the return. I love the tofu on the pictured bahn mi, love the price (that plate is $7 – sorry Sweet Hereafter, but Luc Lac wins the bahn mi round), and that place is so cute that I can’t help but want to hang out at the bar and read my book while munching on this lunch.

White Owl’s burger week contribution.

So the Portland Mercury recently hosted a Burger Week in Portland, encouraging local places to put their best burgery foot forward and attempt to outdo each other. White Owl had the only vegan option in town, but frankly, I didn’t even need to eat any other burger after this one. Very similar to their current one, this beet & hazelnut patty was covered in chimchurri sauce and fried onions. The additions were so good that I might be tempted to write to them and ask for this concoction to be on the menu full-time. I’m always put off a little bit at the white bun at first, but I do appreciate that the bread steps back so you can enjoy the flavors of the burger itself. Oh, and all White Owl burgers come with fries, which is an ABSOLUTE MUST in my book. And their fries are soooooo good.

Moral of the story? I guess, anything in moderation – there is definitely a time and place to indulge in eating out, and the results are often worth it.

Gimme Pizza

P-I-Z-Z-A

This weekend was a very successful vegan/food weekend in the following ways:

  1. My friends brought me an amazing burrito from San Diego.
  2. My coworkers ate 9 out of 12 beet burgers that I brought to the company picnic, and I’m still receiving compliments at work today.
  3. I ate a pear and “brie” sandwich at a place only 10 blocks from my house that I’ve never been to and it was fantastic. What’s up, Hazel Room?
  4. We harvested a ridiculous amount of kale and started making kale chips for the first time.
  5. AND, we made pizza using store-bought cornmeal crust (super awesome – want to make my own and fill the freezer!), homemade cashew cheese, spiced tomato sauce made from a small can of paste, fresh zucchini, tomato, garlic, red onion, and finished off with a bit of Italian Field Roast. It was stupid good. Like, I had the leftovers cold for lunch and I still felt all gourmet.

Being vegan rules.

The kale & tomato harvest.

Pizza, before.

Pizza, after.

Begin Again

Welp, I haven’t posted in awhile. I also changed the layout. And deleted the posts that weren’t so vegan-related (no one really needs to hear me whining about being bored at work). Vegan MoFo is just around the corner, and despite being out of town for two weeks, I’ve decided I’m going to participate again. For real. For the whole month. I promise!

So I guess I’d better get back in the habit of posting crap.

Sweden

To kick off Vegan MoFo (and you know, to take a long overdue vacation), J and I are going to Sweden! Two weeks of train rides, new sites, cooking in hostel kitchens, and discovering buffets. I’m a bit nervous about my options, but since we’re sticking to the big cities, it looks like it won’t be that hard to eat vegan in Sweden. Can’t wait to post more on this and share pictures – 17 days to go!

Garden

We learned so much from our garden last year and stepped it up a notch this time around. More tomatoes, an extra bed, and even trying beans! I’m so glad that we planted zucchini instead of yellow squash this year – if I have to eat a ton of one vegetable each week, I know what I’d rather have.

Harvest!

You can see a few items we picked this past weekend. Don’t mind the weirdly shaped carrots, we’re going to till the ground MUCH deeper next year. I will share updates on the upcoming insane tomato harvest.

Cooking/Eating Out

We’ve been so much better about cooking at home this summer (which is hard when you get off work and just want some chips/salsa/beer for dinner), and have made some pretty tasty dishes, from tempeh bbq bowls to bell pepper casserole. But of course we still find ourselves pulled out by the beet burger at White Owl or pizza at Portobello. As I get back in the swing of things, I’m hoping to share more of what we make and reviews of things we eat out.

Happy to be back!