Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Portland and some Voodoo

I'm back from Portland! SO much to tell you about, I'm not sure where to start!

At the beginning...

I arrived on Saturday and went straight to Julie's home to start cooking and filming the recipes. Julie and I connected instantly, and boy, did we talk food! Talk. And talk. And talk... and stopping only to actually eat the food!

What a treat to spend a few days with a fellow vegan foodie and share the excitement about food and cooking - I know our hubby's appreciated us having someone else to talk to as well!! :) This pic I snapped myself while we were prepping food. Julie gave me a gift bag for my hotel, including some granola and soy milk, dark chocolate, teas and hot chocolate, and her very own vegan orange-chocolate chip biscotti. She is such a sweetheart.

We filmed six recipes total, starting on Saturday and finishing on Monday afternoon. After our first day of filming, we went out to dinner. Julie mentioned that Jess spoke very highly of Ya Hala, a Lebanese restaurant. We had to wait about 1/2 hour for a table, but it was well worth it. The menu had a large selection of vegan options, and one particular artichoke dish that was my favorite. I forgot to take pics!!! Doh! Sorry... it was delicious though, and I would love to dine there again.

Now, get this... Kris mentioned on her blog that Jennifer McCann was also at Ya Hala the same night! Apparently Kris went in to get take out, and Jennifer was there with her family after doing a signing at Herbivore that day. We were probably a table or two away and didn't even realize it!!! Do you all know that Jennifer's Vegan Lunch Box cookbook is out? Go get yourself one!! I was hoping to get to the Herbivore store and actually meet Kris, but the only day I had to shop around was Monday late afternoon, and the store wasn't open - bummer.

Sunday was pretty much a full day of filming for us, except in the morning we made a quick visit to the New Seasons store. Holy hannah!! You guys in Portland are LUCKY! Lots of veg restaurants, vegan friendly shops/cafes, and then this marvelous grocery that has just about every vegan product/good you can want plus beautiful organic foods and get this - in their bakery, among the other cakes... 4 vegan cakes! Incredible looking cakes too, like German Chocolate Cake and Carrot Cake. I was walking around in awe and had a hard time leaving the store (please, let me camp out here!).

Monday morning we went to Voodoo Donuts. Pictured is their oreo-style vegan donut. Not all their donuts are vegan, but they had about 8-10 (I think) that were. I bought several including one to bring home to our older girl. The donuts are cake-y, but still very good. Quite sweet, I only finished 1/2 of my donut and soon felt my blood sugar soaring! Whopeeeee!

Things went a little wonky on Monday after our visit to Voodoo. I'm not implying there really is some voodoo in those sugary treats... I'm just sayin'! Things got a little bizarro, that's all... just a word of caution to you. :) We wrapped up on Monday, and then as I said, things went a little wacky. Julie and I joked about it, but we also wondered - things that make you go 'hmmmmm'.....

I flew out on Tuesday, and tried to get to a few other shops including vegan shoe store, but they were closed in the morning. I did check out Trader Joe's, which we hear so much about in Portland, and Julie pointed out these Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. I was going to save them for Christmas, but I couldn't wait! They are very minty, not just sweet. I think they are delicious, though our older girl said they were too 'hot' for her! I also picked up some vanilla paste, pictured right, highly recommended by Julie, and some freeze-dried mangosteen.

I like this freeze dried mangosteen, even though I can only describe it's taste and texture as slightly odd. It is almost foamy (like a hard meringue, but softer), and has a tangy-sour taste. They are a bit like a tangy cheesie or something. Yet, as I said, I really like them, and so does our 2-year old, she is scarfing them down! Oh, speaking of cheesies, I have finally tasted Tings. Nummy, nummy, guys, go get them if you can and if you used to like cheesies (kind of like Cheetos, but they aren't a sharp cheesy taste, just mild and yummy!)

I had the best time cooking and chatting with Julie, shopping a little, and nibbling on new foods and swapping food info and cooking tips with Julie. I learned a great deal from her, and I think if we lived in the same city we mightn't leave the kitchen - except to hit New Seasons and Trader Joe's to stock up on more supplies! :) Oh, here's a picture of her super-sweet dog, Bruno. He was a darling puppy.

I will post more details on the dvd when I have them. For now, here is a brief wrap-up clip that we did. I think I was enjoying the wine too much at this point - we had finished our last segment and were kicking back and said "hey, let's get this on film"... so, you will understand my overuse of the word 'goodies'. Come on, I know I like saying "vegan goodies", but must I say it 3 times in a 1 minute video clip??!! Cut me off after 2 tbsp of wine, folks - ha!

All 'goodies' aside, I am super excited about this dvd. I'll give more recipe details later, but for now I can tell you that Julie shares some comforting home-y dishes as well as a couple of chocolate desserts, Bryanna includes several of her seitan and soy recipes and walks you through the steps to make these faux meats, and my recipes include one much-anticipated pasta recipe (hint, hint), a chickpea patty recipe, two out-of-this world hummus recipes, and of course I couldn't resist but include a new cookie recipe! I think you guys are going to love this dvd and the recipes us vegan mamas cook up for you!!


rita said...

Looks like you've had a good time!! Looking forward for the DVD!

laura jesser said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a really great time in Portland! I love the video clip... The DVD is going to be awesome!

springsandwells said...

Hoorah, what a fun post! It's great to read about all the fun vegan food activities - shopping, restaurants, cooking... Sounds like a super fun time. There really is something so special about sharing all your vegan enthusiasm with another vegan foodie! I loved the line that your husbands were glad to have someone else for you to talk to... ha ha!

Thanks for the super fun posting,

*a* said...

hi Dreena! Welcome back! What a fantastic trip! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I'm really looking forward to your DVD; Will it be out in time for the winter holiday gift giving season?

Eat Peace Please said...

Dreena, this post is amazing! What a great review of your adventures in Portland. I think people up there are lucky as well (for many reasons). You have such enthusiasm talking about everything!

I can't wait for that video, it must have been really fun with the 3 of you cookin' it up!

I saw those Peppermint cookies in the store yesterday but couldn't justify buying them. As for Tings, those are certainly a treat, glad you got to taste them.

Glad you're back!

Also, I made your creamy cashew maple dip (what's it called?) from VegNews and it is AMAZING. People, make it now. I dipped apples (and my fingers) into it. You come up with the best stuff my friend.

bazu said...

Dreena, I just loved your post. It looks like you had such a great time, and you've convinced me that I need to visit (move to?) Portland NOW.
I was drooling over your Jo-joes. I love those things, but don't have a Trader Joe's within 200 miles of my house! Once, when I was teaching a class in California, I took a box of these cookies as a treat for my students- I set out the cookies during their break, turned around to chat with a student for a few seconds, and when I turned back, they were ALL gone! So good.

Can't wait for that DVD...

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Dreena I'm so pleased you had sucha delightful visit and look forward to the dvd!
I agree with the voodoo donuts, they're like a cavity waiting to happen, but so, so good. I like the coconut coated, personally.

I have to say, you have given me a Portland-related, at least Trader Joe's-related tip - I will keep my eye out for the candy cane joe's joe's!

Vicki said...

I LOVE this! Dreena, you are so cute & it's fun being in the kitchen with you. When can we get your DVD?! Your trip to Portland sounds like a blast & it looks like you found some awesome vegan goodies! :o)

erica said...

I'm glad you had a good time in Portland. New Seasons is indeed awesome, I go there several times a month.

I might have to get that DVD, I tried making seitan last weekend and it was slightly disastrous!

Candi said...

Hi Dreena!! I'm so glad you had a good time in Portland! I keep hearing how vegan friendly it is, but I never had a chance to get there. Thanks for taking us around with you via blog! Lol.

I cannot wait for this DVD. It's fun to see you off of my cookbook covers and in motion! You are truly gorgeous. I cannot wait to hear of all the fun recipes and to see you talented girls making them right before our eyes!! :)

I hope they fed you some vegan oreo cupcakes before a taping. I think it's be pretty funny to see you on a sugar-high!! Lol!!

Thanks for the update. However you find the time to do all that you do, we appreciate it!!!

hyphen_helena said...

That sounds like so much fun! I love meeting people with shared interests.

Ha! Brilliant video clip, me gusta mucho.

I got Jennifer's book and it's wonderful! And I love how supportive you are of each other.

AND JOE-JOES OWN MY LIFE!!! I'm not exaggerating at all. We have a few Trader Joe's around us and those are my favorite indulgence. It's great because it's so cheap because it's all Joe's brand. I've never had mangosteen before but I will definately be checking it out.

Also: today my mom ordered me Vive for Christmas and I'm pumped!

Kris said...

I've been behind on my blog hopping! I'm glad that you had a good trip and I'm even more glad that you went to Ya Hala! I can't believe that you must have been there when we were there! It is a very small world! I'll have to try that artichoke dish the next time I'm there.

And, as I was reading this entry I was munching on a peppermint Joe-Joe! I just got them this week. They definitely have a presence, which is good because they are enjoyable, but they won't let you eat too many!

I'm sorry that we didn't get to meet while you were here! Maybe we'll be able to convince you to come down here for the release of "Eat, Drink and be Vegan!" :)

I just recently started baking with that vanilla paste as well. I love it and it puts such beautiful flecks in everything. It smells so good too, so much richer than extract. If you ever run out of any Trader Joe's finds, I'd be happy to ship them up to you, just let me know!

Anonymous said...

mmmmmm.... donuts.....


Anonymous said...

haha. actually that was moi.

can't wait to see this video. glad you had fun in portland! sounds like they have lots of yummy places to eat. that must have been a real treat for you. so might have to plan a trip down there next time we visit brent's parents.


Dreena said...

Thanks Rita and Laura, I'm quite excited to see the dvd come together myself!

Amey, it was SO much fun, and yes, the hubbies enjoyed the break - though Julie's husband *did* have to hear us blabber on a good deal of the time - poor guy! :)

Aimee, I'm not sure about the release date - I'll check with Julie and her husband - it WOULD be spectacular to have it out for the holidays, but it might be too close... I'll see, and thanks!

Hey Leslie! Julie and I had a blast - I haven't actually met Bryanna yet, she did her filming the week before I did. Wow, that'd be something having three of us together - would we ever stop talking or eating?! :) You are SO sweet, how pleased I am that you tried out that cashew dip and loved it. So easy, huh? I like that you can vary the nut butters in it too. Thanks Les. :)

Hi Bazu, wow, I didn't realize the Joe-Joe's were so popular! I thought they were a new cookie, but obviously they have a following already. We need to find someone to send you some Joe-Joe's... volunteers, anyone? Poor Bazu needs a fix of Joe-Joe's!! :)

Hi Jess, yup, your city is pretty phenomenal for veggie living. I haven't had a donut in years and years, so it was such a treat. We got the donuts and then went to Stumptown (? I think) coffee. I had a tea and I think it was the butterfinger-type donut. Julie had the maple-glazed, and that one was better, imo. I didn't get a taste of the coconut coated... next time! Oh, and yes, it sounds as if you must find those Joe-Joe's now. :)

Thanks Vicki - hey, I just watched your habanero jelly clip, and YOU are so adorable and a treat to watch cooking in the kitchen. We all need to get together for one big cooking party!! I'm not sure about the dvd release date - will check and update soon.

Erica, I'm going to learn from Bryanna's seitan segments myself. I've also made it and have just not been impressed with it - and my family hasn't been too interested in it so up until now it really hasn't been worthwhile for me to make it. But I know Bryanna's faux meats are sensational, and so seeing her process will help a lot of us. That New Seasons store is Ah-mazing! I could have spent a couple of hours in there that day -and then gone back again the next. :)

Hey hyphen_helena! Thanks for that... oh btw, I noticed your myspace comment - I am so "bad" with myspace - haven't gotten around to figuring out much of the workings and so I am slow to keep on top of it and reply and such - sorry about that. Jennifer's book is so adorable, it has a great look and tone, and we already know how super the recipes are. I can't believe how popular Joe-Joe's are... I do like that the Trader Joe's brand is not very pricey. The mangosteen is also their brand. I bought a fresh mangosteen once (very $$) and it was rotten when I got it home. I still want to try it though. Oh, and how nice of your mom to order Vive for you - I love how supportive that is - does she eat vegan too?

Hi Kris! I know, it's too coincidental - we could have passed you on the way out or in. We were in the market next door for a while looking around before we were seated. Julie bought a whopper box of olives for a very good price. I can't wait to start using that vanilla paste. I sometimes buy the beans and scrape out the seeds - but they are wicked expensive, about $6 for two beans, and sometimes they are a bit dry to handle. This is like gold to have the vanilla paste! I really wanted to visit your store and meet you - Monday afternoon was our 'play' time, and then we realized Herbivore was closed. Bummer, I wanted to pick up some t-shirts. I also wanted to get to Food Fight - they are close to the Herbivore store, right? (or did they move, I cannot remember) Anyhow, what a fun veg city you have - I'm missing some of the offerings already - especially New Seasons!

DOH! Hi Dayle. :) There's somethin' about that donut taste that only donuts have! I had a massive donut craving with my second pregnancy, but had no vegan donuts to satisfy it. You guys really should spend some time in Portland next time you take that trip. It's incredible, I think I would have needed to stay a month to just begin to take in all the veg cafes/restaurants - let alone those that are veg friendly. Mostly I want those big markets, shopping there for me is as exciting as shoe shopping is for most women! Hope you guys are doing well... I'll e-mail soon. xo

hyphen_helena said...

My mom and Dad are both omnis but they're very supportive. They don't really agree with it, but they still bring me to health food stores and nutritionists and such because they want to make sure I stay healthy and they know it's something I feel strongly about. I'm lucky because I've read teens online saying how their parents tell them it's dumb and refuse to pay for any special food items for them. Sad :(.

raising_kahne said...

wow. You guys really were busy! I love the video, and think it's funny that you're so 'kicked back'. I wish I could have been there with you guys, going to the Herbivore store, going to Trader Joe's(always wanted to go), and last but SO not least, eating vegan donuts!!! How awesome.

How do you use the vanilla paste?? Is it like pure vanilla extract??

Oh, and Im so sorry that I missed the article in VegNews! Now Im missing out on the cashew dip! : (

Anonymous said...

You and Julie together are so cute! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and I am really excited for this DVD to come out. I'm so glad you got to experience TJ's. I used to live within 2 miles of one in California and now in TN there isn't even one in any bordering states! I'm going to have to go visit my family in CA just so I can stock up again! HAHAA!

maybepigscanfly said...

It seems like you had a really enjoyable time in Portland. It's great that you got to try out some cool vegan restaurants. Now you've got me itching to go there.

I love the video clip! I just can't wait for the real thing. I'm glad you had fun making it!


raising_kahne said...

Oh, and one question: I made your Lemon Rosemary for our last Thanksgiving dinner, and Id like to make it again for our second one. But is there any other herb that I could use instead. I didnt know that my mom and a few other people dodnt like rosemary, and Id really like to make something very similar.

Carrie™ said...

Awesome trip by the sounds of it! I'm always envious of the selection of veg food in the US, but I can't imagine being in Portland! What a great place it must be.
Where and when will this DVD be available? I still say you should have a program on Food Network. BTW, I look for that show you mentioned, This Food, That Wine, bu I haven't stumbled across it. I must be checking at the wrong times. Looking it up in a TV Guide would make sense, wouldn't it. Duh?
Glad you're back and had a wonderful experience.

Dreena said...

Hyphen_helena, you're right, that IS sad, and I think when parents do that it's because they are quite defensive about the idea of eating vegan - and eating healthier. The thought of changing themselves is so daunting that it is easier to try and squash the changes their children are trying to make. At least your parents are very supportive of your choices - wouldn't you love for them to make the switch too - I know we all feel that way with our families, it's tough but we can only change for ourselves and *hope* to influence/inspire others.

Hi Savanna! It WAS a hoot, thinking back I cannot believe how much we talked food and sampled things, what a treat that was!! I haven't used the paste yet, but Julie explains that it can be used instead of vanilla extract and it imparts a much more pronounced vanilla flavor. I love using vanilla beans and scraping out those itty bitty seeds, so I am kinda stoked to try this vanilla paste. The VegNews article is in the Nov/Dec issue, if you can still find it somewhere. It's a super easy dip, and I also have two other recipes in there. Oh, about the Lemon Rosemary Potatoes - absolutely you can use other herbs. If you want to use dried herbs, something like oregano, thyme, or basil would be nice - even a combination of these - try a small amount first (tsp or so) to see what you like. You could also use fresh oregano or thyme, and just toss them in during the last 5-10 minutes of baking, but I wouldn't do this with fresh basil. Dried herbs are probably your best bet... good luck!

Thanks Vivacious! I am feeling your withdrawal, believe me!! Not for Trader Joe's per se, but just for the different brands of veg products availabe in the US, and the wider selection. Now I'm going to our grocery here with a list of "can you stock this, this, and this" - yeah, they're going to love seeing me come through those doors now, ha!

Hi Teresa, thanks... yes, if you have the opportunity to visit Portland - GO! And give yourself enough time to visit all the great veg places. :)

Hey Carrie!! Yep, it was an awesome veg place to be for sure. At least we can hop across the border occasionally to check out some of the other veg offerings, but still, I'm a little green. :) That's funny about that wine show - I keep coming across it - seems like when I turn on Food Network, I either get that or Easy Entertaining, or Fixing Dinner. One of those three it seems. Ha, I don't think we ever check a tv guide either!! I am checking with Julie about when the dvd will be available and will post about it when I know more. Also will soon have more info to share on the recipes included and name of the dvd, etc. Have a great one, Carrie... :)

Julie said...


Glad you are back safe from Oregon and back to posting :) It looks like you had a really good time. I want to visit Portland soooo bad...maybe soon.

I can't wait for the DVD...that's TOO exciting.

Thanks for the tip on those joejoes~they look great. I'll have to stock up during the holidays.

ooo How did the frozen chimis work for your hubby?

Dreena said...

Thanks Julie! :) You know, the chimis worked out just great - at least hubby said so. I froze two, and he took them out just a little while before supper hour, and then baked them. They hadn't thawed much he said, so I think it would be fine to even bake them straight from frozen. Did you freeze any afterwards?