Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Frankie & Jo’s

May 2, 2017

Seattle is one of the few places in America you can be successful while describing your ice cream parlor as “A plant-based ice cream shop,” which is Frankie & Jo’s self-descriptor. It’s also one of the few places you can get away with charging $12 for a pint. Yet both times I’ve visited there’s been a substantial line (even in this cold, rainy Seattle so-called spring).

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With unique flavors like chocolate-tahini, gingered golden milk, and salty caramel ash, it’s easy to be intrigued – and the friendly folks that work there will happily let you sample away.  I liked the chocolate tahini, with the sesame paste providing both texture and flavor, but to get the full experience I got the “Date Shake” with “Moon Goo” topping.

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The Date Shake flavor was made with coconut milk, dates, and maple syrup and, though not as creamy as dairy ice cream, satisfied my sweet tooth well enough. Moon Goo is their version of caramel sauce, and I had to admit that a little went a long way in terms of flavor and and sweetness.  I’m still partial to Bluebird when it comes to Capitol Hill ice cream, but I wouldn’t say no to another mini-scoop plus Moon Goo!

Market Treats… Again!

August 3, 2016

It’s market season in Seattle and once again, my goal is to visit each and every one. It’s a great way to explore small, artisan bakers and dessert makers, and on my recent trip to the West Seattle market I found tiny Shambala Bakery, specializing in vegan and gluten-free desserts. Now, I’m not a huge fan of either category, but I have friends who are so I bought a few items for them:

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That’s a banana muffin and a lemon sugar cookie – both vegan and gluten-free. I missed the wheat more than the dairy – both seemed on the gritty side to me. But my vegan and gluten-free friends said both were really good.  Next up was the South Lake Union Saturday Market, where I found Macadons – Macarons by Donna. The fun part of this macaron stand was that they sell ice cream sandwiches (macaron style, naturally). I got the lychee:

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Mild and sweet, it was an interesting twist on the typical macaron – but I got some of those too:

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Let me take a minute to talk about the durian flavor – the yellow cookie on the left. As most folks know, the durian is a foul-smelling tropical fruit – not your typical macaron flavor (they are packaged separately to avoid contaminating the flavors of the other macarons). Honestly, I took a bite and threw the rest out – I was happy to try it but it wasn’t for me. Much friendlier to the palate was the tutti fruity (red) flavor, the nutella (brown) flavor, and the oreo (grey) flavor. But all (minus the durian) were excellent and recommended.

Sugar Plum

November 2, 2015

In “my” little stretch of Capitol Hill – 15th Ave E – there are now multiple places to buy (non-chain) freshly baked goods (Bakery Nouveau, Wandering Goose, and Ada’s are my favorites) including recently-opened Sugar Plum. Sugar Plum, part of the Plum restaurant collection, specializes in vegan desserts along with some gluten-free options. The interior is super cute but is strictly a take-away establishment:

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The baking is done offsite but you can tell a lot of care goes into their work. The girl at the counter was friendly and patient as I took my time choosing – I was hoping they made their own ice cream but when I learned it was just Coconut Bliss I opted for an Oreo brownie and a pumpkin mini-pie. The brownie was okay but the pumpkin pie was a winner:

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It had a nutty (albeit non-buttery) streusel topping and the filling was rich and flavorful without the baby food puree texture so many store-bought pies seem to have. The crust was fine for being of the non-butter variety, and I loved the cute addition of the chocolate leaf and little paper squirrel!

 

Brown Sugar Baking Company

July 13, 2015

I’m mostly a gluten-full, dairy-and-nut-lover, but I was excited to try Brown Sugar Baking Company a couple weekends ago at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market. I was impressed at how many baked goods these folks are able to make vegan and gluten-free – not easy with cookies, cakes, and pies!

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I was happy with my first choice, a mixed berry gallete. While it was certainly different from the butter & flour versions I’m used to, I would say it was still pretty good. It was neither gummy or powdery and was the right amount of sweetness. I was a little less enthused about the cookie, probably because I’ve been eating so many flour-full cookies lately and this one tasted a little strange.

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I’m thinking a chocolate chip cookie without eggs, butter, and especially flour is just a different beast altogether, and this is probably one of the better ones out there. So, while vegan/gluten-free isn’t really my lifestyle, I’d recommend this bakery to anyone looking for an allergen-free dessert!

Violet Sweet Shop

May 9, 2013

My weekend “chores” included checking out the new Violet Sweet Shop over by Laurelhearst, newly opened on 45th. The bakery is all-vegan (which is why I counted it as a chore rather than a pleasure) and I tried hard not to be prejudiced, especially since it was so darn cute inside:

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The people working there were also super friendly, so I really wanted to like them. The problem was despite the cuteness, and the friendliness, the desserts were still vegan.  And it’s hard to make a very good cupcake, shortbread, or mousse without eggs, butter, or cream.  But they tried. Everthing did LOOK good, and I ended up getting a couple items including a peanut butter mousse dessert cup and a lemon cupcake (I couldn’t bear the thought of a shortbread cookie made without butter, so I had to pass on that one):

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Predicably, I was disappointed with both. The texture of the peanut butter cup was watery and didn’t hold together. The lemon cupcake tasted more like a muffin than a cake and the “frosting” was, again, watery. Maybe if you’re a vegan your tastebuds adjust, but frankly, I need my butter and eggs.

 

The Flying Apron

August 29, 2011

If there’s gonna be a gluten-free, vegan, organic bakery, Fremont seems a good place to put it. The Flying Apron therefore fits right into the neighborhood, providing Seattle-ites with one of their only decent gluten-free, vegan bakery options. Now, if you’re like me (loving all things butter and flour), a place like The Flying Apron may not be first on your list (as it wasn’t for me). But, since the gluten-free craze seems to be expanding, it helps to know about good options in case you have to feed folks who are vegan or gluten-intolerant, as I did a few weeks ago.

Amazingly, I was able to nab a parking spot right in front of the store (they also have a location in Redmond). The space itself is sunny (at least on this particular summer day), spacious, and welcoming. They show local art on the walls and participate in the Fremont Art Walk. The owners seem dedicated to providing quality baked goods to people with dietary restrictions, and I was astounded at the variety:

The cookies, doughnuts, cakes, etc seemed to go on and on, and each item was labeled with a full list of ingredients. I asked one of the workers to help me choose a few items, and together we came up with three: the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie, a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, and a lemon poppyseed muffin.

I thought the cookie was easily the best of the three. Peanut butter is my second-favorite fat (after butter), and I didn’t notice the absence of regular flour. The texture was crunchy and crumbly, and worked for me.  The other two items didn’t please me quite as much. The muffin tasted rubbery and chewy, and the cupcake lacked the proper texture (although the icing was fine). I think it’s just very difficult to make cake and muffin batter without using “real” flour. My friend, who is gluten-intolerant, told me these were some of the best desserts she had ever had since going gluten-free, and I believe her. If you have dietary restrictions, The Flying Apron is a great option for dessert. Otherwise, I suggest sticking to wheat, butter, and eggs.