My first time visiting Sea-town as a vegan, but it won’t be the last

About every year (minus the pandemic years), hubs goes to Seattle (about a 2 to 2.5 hour drive south of Vancouver, plus time at the border) to visit friends. And he almost always comes back with a t-shirt tan because he forgets to wear sunscreen!

After his trip in 2019, I said that the following year I would go with him, since I knew someone from college who now lived there. It took us four years to make that trip, but we did it in about 36 hours the last weekend of August.

My last trip to Seattle with hubs was with friends in 2007 or 2008. Before that in my early 20s, I went with friends overnight because my friend DJ’d at gay clubs. Mostly we would hang out around Capitol Hill where the gay clubs were located and ate around there the next day before heading home.

This is the fifth city I’ve been to outside Vancouver as a vegan (after Toronto & Montreal, Calgary, and Victoria). So far so good travelling across the North American continent!

 

Saturday, August 26

Before the trip, I took notes from Veggies Abroad’s “The Ultimate Seattle Vegan Guide” because I’d saved Rebecca’s Instagram post with a few places she had eaten vegan food in Seattle. The guide is so thorough, I only noted places that were completely vegan vs with vegan options.

We left just after 7am, stopped at the Starbucks in Blaine (which had NO vegan options, but I brought my green smoothie with me) and spent 30 to 45 minutes at the border before arriving in downtown Seattle around 10:45am. There is a Home Depot in Quil Ceda and hubs gave me the tip that this is a good place to stop if I needed to go to the bathroom. It was really clean!

When we arrived, hubs dropped me near Pike Place Market, where I’d planned to eat at El Borracho for lunch, but it was only open for dinner. So I walked to Veggie Grill first, which I’ve always wanted to try. It was early, but I came hungry.

Since I’d eaten an Impossible burger the night before, I didn’t want to get another burger and fries, so opted for a fan fav, the Santa Fe Chick’n sandwich with a side of Buffalo Chick’n Tenders. The sauce on the tenders was completely on point, and 3 was more than enough—without bones, I felt like I was eating pure protein!

The chick’n sandwich is easily the best I’ve ever had. So far no vegan chick’n sandwich has satisfied me but there was a nice balance of flavours and ingredients in the sandwich. Vancouver’s Beetbox (now closed) was the closest thing, but the inside of their fried seitan was mushy. In Vancouver we don’t have access to vegan frozen chick’n alternatives except Gardein, so this was a real treat.

The only thing about Veggie Grill is, it isn’t cheap. It doesn’t look like a fast-food restaurant (they bring you your food), but my meal was just over $21 without a drink, so this would have been around $25 for an entire meal; far from cheap.

Time to walk off the calories! I walked to Pike Place Market and the first thing I saw was The Purple Store. I didn’t go in because I don’t need anymore purple in my life, but it was pretty cool to see.

If you like to explore local artisans and food producers, Pike Place Public Market is good to visit and there is shade, so it was a very popular place to be to escape the summer heat. Outside, you will see lineups at certain restaurants—none of which are vegan—so I suggest you save your time and find a place to sit and eat outside of this area. I didn’t bother with the food area because I’d been here before and know it’s just a lot of dead fish on ice.

I decided to go down to the waterfront area where there was a bit more happening, including a ferris wheel I don’t remember was there last time I visited Seattle with friends around 2015 and ate at Crab Pot (I was pescatarian then). This whole area is still under construction and it will probably be way nicer when it’s complete, but I imagine even busier than it is now.

It’s nice and cool on the dock and there’s a nice view of the water, although it was still hazy from wildfire smoke. There were some nice flower arrangements that smelled good. The lines for the ferris wheel (“The Seattle Great Wheel”) and the “Wings Over Washington” (whatever that is) were so long…I don’t know how all those people could stand in the heat and wait.

Hubs was ready to check into our hotel close to 2pm, so I walked East to meet up with him. I wasn’t able to go through Post Alley near Pike Place Market (this is where Gum Alley is, where I’ve put my used gum on the wall!) so I’ll make a point next time to stop by here.

If I had the energy, I would have walked to Frankie & Jo’s for vegan ice cream to cool down, but I needed to re-energize, so I took a nap.

Hubs and I wanted to eat Thai for dinner, so at 5pm we walked 15 minutes to Kati Vegan Thai. And let me tell you, I was excited to eat some fibre after that Veggie Grill meal!

We ordered the fresh garden rolls and house-made pot stickers to start and then went with a couple stir-frys with rice afterward: Chuchi Artichoke (with crisp, batter-fried artichoke hearts and red curry) and Pad Makua, with eggplant, tofu, and bell peppers.

I had zero intention of getting dessert here, but because I still had some room (and Frankie & Jo’s was a longer walk from here), ordered the coconut ice cream with caramel sauce and peanuts. The sauce wasn’t very prominent, but I could safely say this was the best coconut ice cream I’ve had since before Coconut Bliss became Cosmic Bliss.

I’d happily go back to Kati Vegan Thai, but my one complaint is that there was not nearly enough heat in the stir-fry dishes. The curry had slightly more spice, but they should have cooked the Pad Makua with chili pepper. The staff there seemed like they were Thai (or at least Asian), so my guess is they completely removed the pepper to cater to Americans who can’t handle heat. It’s unfortunate because Thai food is authentically spicy, and it just didn’t seem right without at least a bit of heat.

Hubs and I walked back to the hotel and then left shortly after to meet with his friends.

Walking to Sugar Hill, a Thai street food and hip hop lounge, I could hear this soft roar…and I learned that it’s the freeway traffic you’ll hear if you cross an overpass in downtown!

Sugar Hill (named after The Sugarhill Gang, no less) is not very big, but is a really cool place with lots of records and art that pay tribute to hip hop legends. Since we had already eaten dinner, I wasn’t hungry and had a drink but the food that our friends ordered smelled good. Now that I’m looking at the menu, what’s vegan vs. vegetarian isn’t specified, so definitely ask what’s vegan when you go. I would have taken photos, but it was pretty dark and it was my first time meeting Leo’s friends (who are now my friends) and we had some great convos.

Hubs and I called it an early night around midnight to save our energy for day two.

 

Sunday, August 27

Hubs and I split ways, and I checked out around 10:45am. I walked about 10 minutes back to the Capitol Hill area where Sugar Hill was to hit up Ben and Esther’s vegan Jewish deli. I love that the logo has an old world feel, but everyone working there was young and it was clearly a popular breakfast/lunch spot for young folks.

I got an egg-cheese-sausage sandwich on a plain bagel and an iced oat milk latte, since it was already pretty warm late morning. I got the food to go but grabbed one of the six tables to snap a quick shot of my meal. I also got a black and white cookie because it’s an iconic snack from Seinfeld and I hadn’t had one before. It was HUGE and the cookie itself wasn’t too sweet, which was a nice balance with the chocolate & white icing. Had the cookie icing not stuck to the inside of the bag, I would have taken a selfie with it.

I took an Uber to Gas Works Park, which is on the southern tip of the Fremont area. Rebecca at Veggies Abroad recommended this. I hadn’t planned on going because it is outside downtown, but my college friend Brian planned to catch a honky (marching) band practice there with his partner and kids, so I tagged along.

Band practice ended up being cancelled, but this park was a great landmark to visit. There’s a big hill that gives you a great view of the city, a playground for kids, and some repainted refinery structures.

Although the refinery is not in operation, it’s fenced off because it’s still dangerous to be there.

After hanging out with Brian and his kids for a bit, we went to lunch nearby at Pablo y Pablo (Wallingford). Originally, we had talked about going to Plum Bistro, but they were on bikes and would have trekked south for 30 minutes and I didn’t think that was fair.

We were seated right away at Pablo y Pablo, the kids got some drawings to colour, and I got the pan fried tofu and vegan chorizo taco combo with a side of rice and beans. The tacos were pretty solid, but not mind blowing. The tofu came with a soft taco and the chorizo was hard, which I preferred over the tofu.

Hubs came late and ordered vegan nachos. They have really authentic-tasting chips here, but found it weird they put sliced carrots in their nachos.

If we had more time, I would have taken Leo back to Gas Works Park and taken some photos, but it was 3pm and we were ready to head home.

It was a good thing we did that because I got bloated and couldn’t eat dinner. One thing I’ve learned I need to do even for quick weekend trips away is to bring probiotics. Normally I take refrigerated probiotics after lunch, but I took Pepcid tablets before eating breakfast and again before lunch. But Pepcid reduces stomach acid, and I’m sure I have an underactive stomach, so probiotics would serve me better than antacids.

When we got home, I drank hot water with ginger, but woke up from acid reflux around 12:30am and sat up in pain for another 3 hours before I could lie down again. So lesson learned—take your probiotics when you travel!

Here are the other places I noted that I didn’t get to but will be on the list for future Seattle trips. Food:

  • Life on Mars
  • The Wayward Vegan
  • Plum Bistro
  • Broadfork Café
  • El Borracho
  • Ba Bar Green
  • Cycle Dogs
  • Sushi Samurai
  • Next Level Burger
  • ChuMinh Tofu
  • Pi Vegan Pizzeria
  • Araya’s Place
  • Georgetown Liquor Company
  • Frankie & Jo’s
  • Lazy Cow
  • Cinnaholic
  • Dough Joy
  • Mighty-O Donuts

Other areas:

  • Pioneer Square
  • Seattle Center/Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
  • The Washington Park Arboretum

I have been to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle and it’s honestly one of the coolest places I’d go to again.

Until next time, Seattle!

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