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!!