I should have posted this yesterday but I got so wrapped up in conference stuff and eating more food that I forgot. So here it is now.
Thursday September 19
Thursday morning I woke up at 3:30 AM and caught an early flight to Abbotsford where I rented a car and made the lovely drive down to Seattle. Upon arriving and checking in at the comfortable and rather nicely appointed W Hotel I met up with Shalini from ReadingAndChickens.com to enjoy lunch at Cafe Flora. I am lousy with remembering areas of this city but it wasn’t a terribly long drive from downtown and the restaurant was nestled in among a residential area as far as I could tell. I think perhaps Madison Park. There’s a reason Cafe Flora has won Seattle’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant award. It was so good. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with tons of gluten-free and vegan options.
I ordered two things because I have to try as much as I can on every trip. I ordered the soup of the day – Roasted Carrot and Ginger with Cilantro Oil. It was gluten-free and vegan. It was wonderful. I’ve made carrot ginger soups before and this was very much like homemade and the cilantro oil drizzled on top was an excellent addition. I must do this at home now. I also ordered the Grilled Peach Chimichurri Pizza, vegan style. You can also order it with a gluten-free crust, but since Levi wasn’t with me I figured I’d splurge. The pizza was delicious with a hint of spiciness and oh my goodness the grilled peaches. The vegan version includes an almond feta and so naturally I was like, heck yes, I’m going to make a version of this at home using my own chimichurri and almond feta. There was also grilled zucchini and I think almonds coated in a spicy cajun seasoning. At first I thought it was roasted pumpkin seeds but they were far too easy to eat so I am settling on them being sliced almonds. I took back over half the pizza to the hotel and enjoyed a snack later in the afternoon.
I had a chance to explore some of the Seattle waterfront past Pike Place Market, by the Aquarium and Ferris Wheel. I didn’t actually visit any of those attractions yet but I do plan on hitting up the Market at some point this weekend. It was a rare beautiful sunny day in Seattle and I had to soak it up.
In the evening I was invited to attend the Fresh Bloggers cocktail party hosted by Coryanne Etienne and California Giant and Stemilt Growers as sponsors. It was a lovely event held at 1927 Events which is a really cool space on 3rd Ave. I posed for a photo with Tom Douglas, a well-known Seattleite restauranteur and chef. I finally met up with Vicki Winters from The Vicki Winters Show and met some new people. The majority of the people I met at the Fresh Bloggers cocktail party were also attending IFBC this weekend so I’m sure we’ll see them again throughout the weekend. I was still so full from my huge lunch that I completely forgot to sample any of the goodies at the party but the fresh fruit cocktails were ohmygoodness amazing. We were greeted at the door with a pear-rosemary concoction and steadily supplied fruity strawberry and currant beverages throughout the party. Well done Coryanne. Well done!
After a couple hours of visiting and laughing I was hungry. So we stopped at the Veggie Grill on our walk back to The W. I have sampled Veggie Grill goodies at IFBC last year and also at Vida Vegan Con earlier this year. Mostly what I’ve sampled are the ‘chicken wings’ and these little roll up things and the kale salad. I wanted to try something completely different now that I was actually in a Veggie Grill restaurant. I ended up ordering a comfort food platter of ‘fried chicken’ on cauliflower-potato mash, portobello gravy and a side of kale. It was very filling but man, so good. The ‘fried chicken’ definitely wasn’t gluten-free but I do know that Veggie Grill has a special gluten-free menu as well as a soy-free menu.
While we were at Veggie Grill a nice fellow was chatting with us. As a former Seattleite visiting from Denver he asked if we wanted his suggestions for where to eat in Seattle as vegans. We are armed with his list and hopefully we have time in the next couple days amongst our busy conference schedules to sample some more goodies.
Stay tuned for more about my Friday experiences at IFBC and Seattle coming later today, hopefully.