Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Trip to Washington!

In early May I hopped a plane and headed to Blaine, WA to visit my good friends Langley and Yahtil. First, let me just send out another giant THANK YOU to them for allowing me to come stay with them for 8 glorious days. I cannot wait until I take another trip up. You guys are AWESOME!!!

Now, on to the food and the reason I gained weight while away. (So worth it!)

Potato and Leek soup in a sourdough bread bowl... YIKES! ::drool::

Yahtil made this from scratch and it was absolutely amazing. I had this the second night I was in town. My first time ever having leek. Must have more often.

Potato/onion soup:

Yet another wonderful creation by Yahtil. I think I'm now addicted to bread bowls. I always appreciate my meat eater friends that go out of their way to make something that I can eat. That's some serious love right there! Some seriously tasty foodage as well. I wish I could re-live these 2 soups.

Need I say more?:

A nice, hot soy latte from Woods Coffee. Nice place! Apparently it's a Pacific Northwest chain. Wish we had it here.

Soy Latte:

And look how cute it is from the outside. This location that we went to was right on the ocean. We sat and drank coffee on the water and it was magic!

Woods Coffee:

I love you, Clif Bars!:

I hate to say that I live on Clif Bars, but some days I am so wrapped up in the crazy that I have to have these just so I have something to hold me over until I get a good meal in. Well, while I was in WA I was able to find these 4 flavors that I didn't even know existed! I bought like 3 of each and brought them home with me.

Black Bean Burgers:

These weren't too bad. I've had some nasty vegan burgers before and these weren't a total disappointment. I still prefer my homemade black bean burgers over these any day though.


Vegetable Soup:

This was yet ANOTHER Yahtil vegan creation. No bread bowl, but I ate it so fast I barely noticed.


This I was insanely excited for! This was my first trip to an all vegan establishment. Langley had told me that there was a vegan restaurant in Bellingham and I was so grateful that I finally got the chance to go!


Hummus w/ Veggies and Flax Crackers:

This was some good hummus. I don't usually have hummus as thick as this, but that mattered not. The veggies were clean and fresh and delicious. The flax crackers were also a great addition to this spread. I want to re-eat this!


Aaaaaaaand... the one food I had that thoroughly surprised me...

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich:

Closer shot:

Why did it surprise me? Not because it was one of the best ever tempeh sandwiches I've had so far, but because it had beets on it. BEETS! I HATE BEETS! At least... I thought I hated beets. I remember hating beets my whole life. Turns out if they are made just right I really do enjoy them! They accompanied the tempeh quite well in this case. Look at that! One more food I am allowing back into my diet.

My new addiction... HARD CIDER!:

I was introduced to hard cider during my trip to WA. I must admit, I wasn't sure I would like it because it looked like beer and sort of smelled like beer. MUCH better than beer. Beer I don't really have a taste for. Cider has a new place in my heart. Woodchuck brand and Wyder's brand are both vegan friendly. I've tried Raspberry, pear and apple flavored and Pear is most definitely my favorite. Thanks guys!

La Fiamma Pizza:

Pre-pizza Salad:

We all know I'm a sucker for a good vegan pizza. And this contained yet another food I have hated my whole life... OLIVES! I barely noticed the olives on this one. there were plenty of flavores to even out the taste so I was extremely happy.


Well, that's the majority of my pictures of the food I ate. There were many other meals that I just didn't get the chance to photograph mainly I inhaled my food before I remembered to take the pictures. I'm dying for another visit to WA.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

An anonymous comment.

I received an anonymous comment on a recent post that I was kind of surprised to get. It was on a post that I put up July 20th 2009 and was referring to my visit to Red Velvet Cafe. This was the comment(following the comment I will reply):

Anonymous said...

We have been eating here since this place opened.

At first, we were thrilled to have the kind of food so readily available to us in other big cities in which we've lived on our side of town; as a vegetarian/vegan couple it certainly seemed to most number of menu offerings in the city!

Unfortunately, despite developing an affinity for certain favorites (the taco salad, pizzettas, certain wraps and the red velvet cake are all extremely tasty), the rest of the menu is fairly uninspired and the grilled panini sandwiches kind of mushy and flavorless. (or I should say, the flavor of the mushy bread overwhelms the ingredients within).

The specials are ridiculously overpriced for what they are, and the prices in general are a bit high considering the scant use of organic ingredients, the overall starchy nature of most everything, and the reliance on commercial soy products for mock meats.....these things are of questionable nutritional value (other than being lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, maybe in calories) because they're highly processed forms of soy......which at that point yields a substance that may taste salty and chewy but is regarded by the body as something akin to plastic.

In a place like L.A., only the cheap quick vegan eateries do that. It allows them to keep prices low and find a middle ground on taste, texture, and presentation. Red Velvet Cafe, however, charges up the wazoo for these things ($15.00 or more for some soy fish on brown rice with some overcooked until shriveled, thin, bland asparagus? Really?).

Nevertheless. For the times when we were very busy and didn't want to deal with food prep (sometimes veggie food takes a lot of ingredients!) or when friends and family were in town we happily continued to frequent the place, and spent quite a lot of $$ along the way...especially when ordering the food in bulk for a party! WOW!!!$!$!$!

What has finally killed it for us, no matter how delicious that darn cake is, or how much I long for a turkey wrap that isn't Tofurkey (much as I love and should own stock in that stuff), is the absolutely appalling service!

NOT just when it's busy!


Starting with the chef/owner. While her husband is gracious and engaging, helpful and affable, she has never once smiled at me in all the times I've been there (what has it been now, nearly 2 years now?), which, as a fellow industry person, loyal customer, and part of what was keeping the lights on, thinks is a pretty poor excuse for manners.

I'm in a customer-service based industry; you don't get to be crummy towards your patrons unless they get crummy with you -- and even then sometimes you're expected to take it, with that whole "customer is always right" nonsense! ;-)

It's a bad vibe, and it's a bad look for her. I know she works long hours and has a lot on her shoulders, but that's no excuse for thinly veiled hostility or at best, diffidence to one of your early adopters and strongest supporters!

The service there is a real paradox! The actual people are perfectly pleasant and seemingly quite intelligent. How then does a new group sit in your station after strolling through the front door of your fairly small restaurant and not get menus, water, or service for up to 15 minutes?! It's ludicrous! And, it's costing them money......a small group I'd brought walked out.

You have to wonder after 10 minutes or more who has left RVC in a huff as my group did? That is money down the drain. If they do stay, they might not come back.

And most tragic of all, even those of us who have tried to get used to it are despairing and MOVING ON.

The food is not THAT spectacular to have that poor of a customer service experience, sorry.

I will miss the grub, and even some of the people, but I will not miss being made to feel like somehow they were put upon to have to sell it and serve it to me.

We're taking our restaurant business elsewhere.

I wish I could have known who posted this, but they had a right to be anonymous if they chose. I posted my trip to Red Velvet last year in July. The day I went it wasn't very busy and the service we got seemed to be quite good! I left there very happy with the food that I ordered and the service we had. This was back during the renovation.

HOWEVER... I went back a second time during November of last year and things were a bit different. The food was pretty good still, but the restaurant was jam packed with people and it took forever (and a day) to get us seated. I noticed an older gentleman walking around and making sure people were OK and being very nice. I'm assuming he's one of the owners that you mentioned. When we finally got a table we had to wait with it a bit dirty for about 10 minutes before someone cleaned it for us. I didn't want to miss getting the table, who knows how long we would have had to wait otherwise.

It was just me and my friend Heather. We figured out what we wanted and when they did come to take our order, 20 minutes after the table was cleaned, it seemed to be another 30 minutes before we got our food. I felt dumb because I talked her into going to this place and she liked the food OK but was upset with the service, as was I. I didn't didn't decide not to come back or anything, just decided I would only go if I was in the area and hungry.

I attempted to go there for breakfast one morning because I was out at Red Rock with my friend Magda at around 9 am and it was pretty close and had food I could eat. They claim to serve breakfast, yet don't open until 10:30. That kinda bugged me. If you are serving breakfast, you should be open a bit earlier than that. Luckily we were on that side of town anyway so I didn't have to go out of my way to be let down. I found out they were closed on Sundays the hard way. I live in Henderson and it isn't just a short drive to what's practically Summerlin. The menu I had in my hands I got from there said they were open Sundays. Ugh...

My roommate and a friend of hers decided yesterday to go have lunch and picked Red Velvet. I was off and had no classes so when she invited me I accepted. Luckily when we got there it wasn't busy, we got seated, got our drinks and had pretty good service this time around. I swear, Red Velvet is extremely hit or miss. It's a huge bummer to have to go through all the crap that you did with them. That really sucked and you shouldn't have been treated wrongly.

Hit or miss places suck. I'm not writing them off completely, just not going out of my way for them. They haven't proven themselves worthy.

Thank you so much for the comment!