Author: janessapk

VVC Cocktail Lounge Field Trip: San Francisco

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What goes better with a trip to San Francisco than a solo dining experience at Millennium? The answer is: nothing.

And what goes better with a solo dining experience at Millennium than a fancy twelve dollar cocktail? Again, nothing.

Out of the six featured cocktails on the list, I had to try the one that sounded the most outlandish. I mean of course something like the Broken Arrow would be good—with roasted anaheim chilie and cumin-infused tequila, fresh lime juice, cane syrup, orange liqueur and cumin salt/sugar rim on the rocks. BAM. Amazing. Or the Happy Boy-209 Gin, Muddled Lemon Verbana & Watermelon, Beet Puree, Lime Juice & Ginger Agave served up—of course that would be wonderful. I mean, it has watermelon in it.

But the Pied Piper—that one looked questionable. And because I knew—or hoped—that a drink that sounded so weird wouldn’t make it on the menu if it also tasted weird, I ordered it.

The Pied PiperDorado 5 year Rum, Pomegranate Juice, Chai, Maple Syrup, Lemon Bitters, Snap Ginger-Molasses Liqueur, on the Rocks.

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Upon first sip, I have to admit my first thought was, “Well, at least I have a straw and can suck it down fast enough to order another one.”

Upon further sucking, though,I started really really enjoying the cocktail. It was bitter yet had a depth and sweetness. t took me about 30 minutes to finish it. After those 30 minutes, I was sold. Pied Piper—success!

Thank you, Millennium for broadening my drink horizons.

Oh, and then with dessert I had a glass of sparkling Rosé. Naturally.

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VVC Cocktail Lounge Field Trip

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Oh, hello! Happy Friday! I had a hard time motivating to write this post because I finally watched one Leslie Hall video and then COULDN’T STOP. Holy heck.

Anyway, the ladies of VVC descended on a swanky cocktail lounge in the Pearl District last night for our weekly meeting. All in the name of research.

Olive or Twist—cutesy name, cozy interior.

The cocktail menu was small, by Portland standards, with about 15 listed. Luckily for us, there were a couple of real gems in there.

My favorite:

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The Spicy Peach – $8.50
Stoli Peach vodka, lime, muddled Serrano chilies, and simple syrup. Yes it is spicy!

Review: This cocktail didn’t have as much of a kick as I expected—and hoped—but it tasted like spicy peach limeade and went down in under five minutes.

I will totally make a version of this at home.

The drink that Michele was most excited to try:

lemon drop

Limoncello Drop – $8.50
Vodka, Pallini Limoncello, and a squeeze of fresh lemon with a sugar rim. A great twist on a favorite.

Review: A little too sweet with the limoncello instead of triple sec, which means Michele is still on the quest for that perfect lemon drop.

Runner Up:

Jess and I both enjoyed The Peruvian – $8.50 -Mazama Pepper vodka, mango puree, and lime juice.

I don’t have a picture of the Peruvian, so instead I will leave you with this:

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I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s a painting of a woman flying over the ocean with her cat.

I saw it while walking in Santa Cruz on my Bay-area vacation last weekend. What a terrific picture.

VVC Cocktail Lounge: How to Make the Best Bloody Mary

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This is of the utmost importance.

Do you like spicy tomato juice with vodka and vegetables for breakfast?

 

Yeah, me neither. For a long time.

Then my tastebuds started coming around, THANK GOD. Now there’s nothing like an ultra-spicy Bloody Mary for those special Monday mornings when I don’t have anything to do but watch an entire season of How I Met Your Mother, eat split pea soup, and nap. (Disclaimer: This happens about once a year, and boy oh boy, is it glorious.)

 

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For a perfect bloody mary, you’ll need:

Vodka. A mid-level like Monopolowa is just fine, and for the gluten-free folks out there, it’s made with potato—not grains– so you won’t die or curl up in the fetal position after drinking this.

Tomato Juice. Make it organic for bonus points.

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce. Generic store brands are usually anchovy-free.

Horseradish.

Hot Sauce. You can stick with Tabasco if you like, but I recommend Secret Aardvark Sauce. The Spicy Vegan recommends Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce if you like extra ultra way spicy Bloody Mary’s.

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

Celery Salt.

Lemon.

Lime.

Big ol’ Stalk of Celery.

Mix together 1 shot  vodka 1 cup tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and hot sauce to taste, and a dash of black pepper and celery salt. In a pint glass, pour over ice. Garnish with a lemon and lime wedge and a big ol’ stalk of celery.

Variations:

–> Make a pitcher if you’re expecting company.

–> Use tequila if you’d like a Bloody Maria instead. (Gross.)

–> Use V-8 if you’re feeling lazy.

Vegan MoFo Cocktail Lounge: Cucumber ReVeeVer

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If you attended Vida Vegan Con last August, and you swanked it up at Saturday night’s Galarama, you might have tasted the refreshing and sophisticated Cucumber ReVeeVer.

 

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VeeV is the name of a fancy-schmancy Acai berry infused liquor. A bottle of it goes for $35 in the liquor store (or ‘Grocery Store’ if you don’t live in Puritanical Oregon where one must go to a separate establishment to procure hooch).

 

This is well worth it though, friends.

 

 

VeeV Bottle (transparent) dry soda(source)

When mixed with Dry Cucumber Soda, the result is a sweet and refreshing sparkling cocktail, perfect for hosting cocktail parties or impressing your parents when they come to visit. It’s that sophisticated.

 

The Cucumber ReVeeVer

* 1 1/2 ounces VeeV Acai Spirit

* 5 ounces Dry Cucumber Soda

Fill tumbler glass with ice. Pour over VeeV and top with Dry Cucumber Soda. Garnish with cucumber slice.

Enjoy the heck out it,.

Vida Vegan Con and BridgePort Weekend Vegan Menu

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In Portland for the weekend? Or forever? Like beer? Like good vegan food? (Of course you do!)

In honor of Vida Vegan Con, both the BridgePort BrewPub and the BridgePort Ale House will be running special vegan dishes all weekend.

Oregon is home to the most microbreweries per capita. That means we have a lot of brewpubs here. Yes, we are incredibly lucky. And have incredible beer bellies to show for it. BridgePort, founded in 1984, is the oldest craft brewery in Oregon. Their beers can be found across the United States—chances are you’ve seen their award-winning IPA somewhere if you frequent quality beer joints around the country.

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The BrewPub and the Ale House both feature seasonal and local farm-fresh food on their menus. There are always a few vegan options (it is Portland, after all), but this weekend they wanted to make it extra special for all the Vida Vegan Con-ers coming to the Rose City.

BridgePort Ale House

3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

503-233-6540 (Call to reserve a table or just pop in)

The Ale House is offering a prix fixe 3-course meal for $22 all weekend.

The first course is a Chilled Cucumber Soup, a cool summer soup with cucumber, almond, tomato, and chili oil. This is followed by Summer Vegetable Lasagna: grilled squash and eggplant layered with a cashew/roasted red pepper cream, smoked tomato vinaigrette, and sweet ginger arugula coulis. For dessert they are serving up Peach Berliners: fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar, with grilled peaches and bourbon peach coulis.

Hello. You had me at bourbon.  Oh, and also Chilled Cucumber Soup.

The prix fixe dinner is available Thursday through Sunday evening, 5 pm to close.

BridgePort BrewPub

1313 NW Marshall

No reservations necessary, just swing on by!

The BrewPub is running an already-popular special throughout the weekend. The Portland’s Garden dish is local zucchini stuffed with fire-roasted corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, basil, lime, ancho chili, and miso bbq sauce, and topped with cumin roasted kale chips. (I repeat: cumin roasted kale chips. Holler.) This special will run Thursday night through Sunday, 5 pm until close.

Note: The BrewPub sold out of the Zucchini Garden special on Thursday night, so get on it, kiddos!

Both the BrewPub and the Ale House provide vegan dishes on their menu all the time; check out the online menu for seasonal specialties.

Risky Cinnamon Earthquakes (Guest Post)

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We are thrilled to present a lovely and inspiring guest post from one of your and one of our favorite vegan cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero.

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My first morning in cool green summertime Portland and I’m sinking a dainty fork into the glistening swirls of a cinnamon bun from Dovetail bakery, sipping iced coffee spiked with coconut creamer, and browsing Facebook on my clunky phone. A sweet morning ritual to kick off the exciting week ahead of the first ever Vida Vegan blogger gathering.

But…there’s been a earthquake. An earthquake rippling through my home city of NYC and some neighboring Eastern states. With me on the earthquake-notorious yet calm West coast and my beloved, rock-steady East Coast quivering it’s difficult to understand what’s actually happening, but there’s a soaring flock of comments swarming through my online social networks making each tremble all the more personal. It’s equally alarming and comforting. Yet somehow it makes me excited to live in the world today that despite something as scary as earthquake (for many East Coasters this is the first ever they’ll recall experiencing one), I can feel instantly connected to both to real-life friends and folks I’ve never met in the flesh.
Originally this guest post for the Vida Vegan Conference was going to concern taming blog monsters, those boogies that bother even the most dedicated among us. After this morning’s literal long-distance shake-up I’m thinking about how something truly monstrous, like an earthquake, can spring us into action and help us get past those inner demons of self-doubt and hyper-criticism that can freeze us from making blog posts with heart.

Coming to the first ever Vida Vegan Conference, I fought my own self-doubts (too far away, too much work left at home, what will I talk about?), but I’m so glad that the urge to bridge the distance with the Internet vegan tribe won in the end. We’ve gathered as a community in real life, an extension of what we do all year round as people connected by technology. We’re a small slice of a tiny but growing group with a tight focus–vegan blogs. How many of you attending told your friends, family, co-workers, and total strangers “I’m attending a vegan blogger conference!” What looks did you get in return? Perhaps ones of surprise, intrigue, a little confusion; but as vegans we’re used to that by now, right? Very likely they’ll be asking you even more questions when you get home, because it’s uncommon, adventure-loving folks like you who grab that rare chance to meet their peers beyond the blog post.
My presentation Sunday morning has a crazy title “There’s a DRAGON in my tempeh taco,” and it’s about putting more story into your blog posts. But secretly it’s about putting more YOU into your blog posts. And that’s risky. But risks can reward us in ways far more meaningful that just sitting around and wishing good things would happen. With life being as unpredictable as it is, it’s more crucial than ever to take these kind of valuable risks, be it with your writing or traveling or meeting new people.

I’m relieved that everyone back home is safe (some lucky ones didn’t even notice), and it’s thrilling to see the excitement bubbling even before the convention kicks off. No doubt we’ll have stories to take back to our hopefully steady and sound homes. Just make certain to take time after to relax, relish your own local species of luscious vegan pastry and fuel your next post with the power of risks taken, rewards earned. and life lived well.

Terry Hope Romero’s latest co-authored (with Isa Chandra Moskowitz) baking adventure Vegan Pie in the Sky comes out October 2011. Visit Terry at veganlatina.com.