Travel, food and Vegan MoFo wrap up

Beyond sushi

What a month! I am not sure what possessed me to think that doing Vegan Mofo while travelling in the USA for the whole month was a good idea. On the plus side, I had plenty of restaurants to write up, because I was eating out two or three times a day.  But I hadn’t counted on the pressure of writing up almost every day, as well as the problems of flaky wifi that made loading photos a complete pest. Funnily, until I got to Chicago, my best wifi was on an Amtrak train. In other places I had to stand in a particular corner of the room to get a signal.

I managed 19 posts for the month, which I think technically makes me a Vegan Mofo fail, but I cannot imagine doing any more! :)

Wrapping it all up, there was some great food, a few surprises and very few disappointments.

So here are my favourite food “Oscars” for the trip.

Most unexpected pleasure

Beyond Sushi – NY

Who would have thought sushi could be so sensational?

Best fine dining experience

Millennium, San Francisco

Great food, great service and a bargain at the price.

Best Comfort Food

Karyn’s Cooked, Chicago

Meatloaf, potatoes and gravy…yum.

Best Chain Restaurant 

Native Foods Cafe, Chicago

Burgers and sandwiches that hit the spot.

Best Diner/Sandwich Bar

Champ’s Diner, Brooklyn

Love at first bite. Breakfast done perfectly.

Best Pizza

Dimo’s Pizza, Chicago and Two Boots, NYC

A draw, but completely different. Dimo’s has a thicker crust and more variety, but Two Boots does an impeccable thin crust vegan slice.

And also…

Gracias Madre – San Francisco,  Mana Food Bar – Chicago, Karyn’s on Green – Chicago, Merge – Buffalo and last, but not least, Caffe Streets wonderful coffee – Chicago.

And finally, a big thanks to  the non vegan places that gave it a go in non-vegan territory in Western Pennsylvania

Hometown Diner and The Italian Oven in Connellsville, PA, Cafe Connections in Ligonier, PA, and the Connellsville Bed and Breakfast. They fed us well, against the odds.

So that’s me signing off from Vegan Mofo 2014. I’m taking a few days off from blogging, phew!

I’m looking forward to cooking again after a month of eating out.

veganmofo2014

 

 

San Francisco again

strawberry almond cake

Well here we are, back where the trip started, in San Francisco. We had a day and a bit to rest up before flying back to Melbourne, just enough time to fit in 3 more meals! :)

First stop was a return visit to Gracias Madre for dinner. We had ordered way too much food last time we were there and had left no room for dessert. This time we were determined to eat dessert. Sadly, we over ordered again! But all was not lost. I got a flan to go which we carried home carefully on the bus and ate later.

We ordered a repeat of the baked eggplant. Sadly this time it was a little underdone for me, with my terror of undercooked eggplant, though it was still delicious. We also ate some guacamole with fresh tortillas, some corn chips with a spicy, creamy chipotle salsa roja and cashew cream and some tacos with three fillings, mushroom, pumpkin and greens. The food at Gracias Madre tastes so good that it is really difficult not to order the entire menu.

Breakfast next morning was a return visit to Herbivore. I ordered the Southwestern Tofu Scramble with blueberry corn bread and S ordered pancakes with maple syrup and grilled bananas.

I headed off that day to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, and ate lunch alone at Greens Restaurant. I ordered a Mediterranean platter which was a delicious combination of a smoky eggplant dip, pita, tabbouleh, a green bean, butter bean and shelled bean salad with a tarragon dressing. Not particularly innovative in any way, but perfectly done. Dessert was a strawberry almond cake with strawberry sorbet, also delicious.

We had a leisurely coffee at Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar again and then headed off to the airport to fly home.

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Chicago part 4

oklahoma bacon cheeseburger

On Sunday we spent several hours at the Art Institute of Chicago, absorbing just a tiny portion of their vast collection. Afterwards, we ate again at another branch of Native Foods. I wish they’d open a Melbourne branch, they beat the pants off Lord of the Fries for high quality junk and comfort food. This time I ate the Oklahoma Cheeseburger and S ordered the Portabella Mushroom and Sausage burger. We had sides of lemongrass and chilli broccoli and some roasted veggies. Yum.

That night we ate dinner again at Mana. We just needed to sample more of the menu, and it was handily only 2 minutes walk away. We ate the collard greens again, a cold peanut sesame noodle dish, ma po tofu and spicy eggplant, and a sweet and tart caponata with grilled sourdough. And more beer…delicious.

The following day we took a Chicago Board of Trade tour run by the fantastic Chicago Architecture Foundation. While were were downtown we also looked at the Rookery building. And yes, we ate lunch AGAIN at Native foods. I ate the Chicken and Avocado Club Sandwich again, and S ordered a soup. For dessert we had key lime pie. Delicious.

In the late afternoon we headed to the Signature Bar at the John Hancock Building for a drink while admiring the fabulous 360 degree view of Chicago from the 95th floor. The view from the women’s toilets is also fantastic.

That evening we went again to Dimo’s Pizza for a mac n cheese pizza. This had been recommended to us as a ‘must eat’ by the vegan night manager at our accommodation.
Yes that’s right, mac n cheese pizza. Serious. Carb. Overload. It was OK, but a bit weird. We also ordered a couple of other slices of more conventional flavours. Dimo’s always has a few vegan pizza slices on offer.

mac n cheese pizza

The next morning we had our last coffee at our home away from home at Caffe Streets before heading to the airport to fly to San Francisco.

Farewell Chicago.

veganmofo2014

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