Friday, October 30, 2009

Semi-Recent Vegan Eating in Spokane, WA

This past summer, I found myself in Spokane, WA twice for work. During both trips, the #1 most satisfying meal I had was the Bistro Tofu Scramble from Huckleberry's Natural Market.

Bistro Tofu Scramble

At $6.49, it's a hot plate of scrambled Small Planet tofu, zucchini, bell peppers, yellow squash and mushrooms that takes its flavor from the vegetables themselves and soy sauce. And it comes with house potatoes (or toast or non-vegan blueberry pancake) and a coffee.
I reached for the hot sauce sparingly. With the soy sauce, it reminds me of the scrambles I used to make when I first went vegan and was scared of spices. On my first trip, I was super hungry as I trekked up the big hill from downtown, and couldn't imagine anything tastier than this plate in front of me.
Plus, the corner cafe is part of a natural grocery store, so that rules. I picked up Small Planet spicy tofu dip, crackers, fruit, granola, and other goods from the marketplace - and a bottle of NW Marionberry daiquiri mix for my sister in New York.

My second favorite place to eat in Spokane is PF Chang's. Yeah, I admitted it! On the last day of my first trip there, I was walking downtown and craving Chinese food, looked up, and there it was. When pressed for time and not in the mood for another modified entree somewhere, PF's is there for ya, for better or worse. It's a chain, you know what to expect, and they're pretty dang vegan friendly.

Szechuan Asparagus

This spicy asparagus was pretty good! You know, for assumably non-local asparagus, from a chain.

Side note 1 about PF Chang's: I did my share of research into their vegan options writing a Stumptown Vegans review, and the only ingredient that the company cannot confirm is vegan-friendly is sugar, so make your own decision there. If you go to every restaurant you visit and ask them about their sugar sourcing, I thank you and would like to see a web guide for this! Really.

Side note 2 about PF Chang's: I was totally served a cockroach in my Ma Po Tofu at their Long Island, NY location a few years ago, and it took a long time before I considered visiting them again, let alone ordering that dish. Which was tragic, because I really like it.

Coconut Curry Tofu

I had a couple entrees from PF's on my visit in September, it was two blocks from my hotel! I'm usually a fan of this light curry dish, but the only thing doing it for me here was the tofu and sugar snap peas.

Number 3 on my list of Spokane picks is an actual vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurant!

Mizuna is an upscale establishment located downtown in a brick building. I actually dined out on their patio area, which is a very clean alleyway next to the restaurant. It was so nice and calm! It almost felt like I was on a movie set, it was a touch surreal. The menu was very much Northwest, with a lot of talk of local produce and organic elements. While there was a note about most of their menu being able available vegan (it's largely vegetarian), I did notice that a lot of dishes co-starred cheese, for example, and sometimes it makes a vegan sad to pay the same price and not get a heaping pile of nuts in return.

This was one of the few entirely vegan options on the menu, it's from the appetizers section -

Flatbread with roasted potatoes, rosemary, greens, roasted garlic and caramelized onions.

The bread was freshly baked, tender and slightly sweet and two slices made me so happy.
The roasted potatoes were simply great. A shining example of simply the best ingredients.

I also had a salad from Mizuna - I recall most of the salads on the menu had cheese in them. This one had a really pleasant maple & red wine dressing, walnuts, greens, lovely roasted red beets & subtracted the cheese. And the side of baguette? So good & hearty.

Roasted Beet Salad

The cozy alleyway where I dined at Mizuna:

They have a couple dishes with Field Roast, and there's fantastic sounding braised homemade seitan on their dinner menu. The dinner prices were a tad steep for me, so I went for lunch, and I would certainly dine here again.

Other places of interest:

A few minutes' walk up the hill from Huckleberry's, Picabu Bistro had two or three vegan friendly entrees. I remember there was a cilantro happy green curry with Small Planet tofu (I swear I saw that same item on a few menus around downtown) and I went with the falafel wrap.
I actually asked if there was cilantro, was told no, but there was. I picked around it. The fries, pita and the pepperocinis strips were good! I remember they had local beers on tap and a 'famous' vegan cheesecake. The staff was really helpful, despite the cilantro issue, and the place had a comfortable, small restaurant vibe.

Falafel from Picabu

Burritos & Beer

I can't find my photos, but I recommend checking out Neato Burrito & the adjoining Baby Bar. They're across from the beautiful, historic Davenport Hotel and open late into the night. Neato doesn't have vegan on the menu, but walk them through it & you'll have yourself what would be a mediocre burrito - but with the addition of spicy, crumbled Small Planet tofu it steps up a bit.
Baby Bar is an astoundingly tiny bar, with a casual mix, decent prices & a very hipster jukebox. It's possibly my favorite thing about know, because it was reminiscent of Portland.


I was in town for work, so that means long days & drinking coffee and trying to avoid Starbucks. I've been to two local coffeeshops in Spokane - Brews Brothers and Thomas Hammer. Brews was more comfortable to lounge in, and the quality was okay, nothing notable. I was really amused the day I overheard a political candidate saying really, really amusing generically positive statements to another person about his campaign.
The young barista at Thomas Hammer made an awful latte. And I splurged on vanilla - yet it wasn't sweet at all. Evan, just look at it...

Thomas Hammer Vanilla Latte

And some Spokane pics:

...and that's what I've experienced in Spokane, WA.

If you know the area - what did I miss? Any tips?

P.S. Mizuna, I'm sorry I put PF's ahead of you.
Add another fancy vegan option and you have the spot.


Sarah said...

great pics! and yes, i can't imagine what evan would do if someone gave him a coffee like that!!

the scramble is like a rainbow - gorgeous!

Whitney @ Lettuce Love said...

Mizuna looks like a restaurant in Europe. Good eats ;)

vijita said...

Awesome! Spokane looks charming. I went to an Ani difranco concert there a million years ago, but I don't remember it at all. The prairies rule!

vijita said...

Wait...don't you hate burritos?

Shache said...

Lived in Spokane for three years. Miuna still my favorite restaurant even after moving back to the east coast. Unfortunately, because of economic reasons they started serving meat and fish sometime in 2005 I think, but before that they were totally vegan. My favorite was their roasted vegetable sandwich. Yum!

audrey o' texas toast. said...

Vegan in spokane is hard. We've just been getting wind of the gluten-free movement, and progress is being made, but the vegan front is going very slowly. Huckleberry's is an oasis.
However, Lazy Bones barbeque has popped up a decent vegan menu, and Rocket Market up on 43rd has good vegan cupcakes that my friend's mom makes. Bennedito's pizza, up on 14th, is tasty and they can do cheeseless. Also, there's an organic cafe, One World, that's very eco-friendly and varied, including veganly options.
Also, at Huck's they sell Small Planet Savory-Baked Sundried Tomato Basil tofu, which is beyond belief amazing, and if I could eat nothing else for the rest of my life I really wouldn't care. And it comes in the package already cooked. You can just rip off the plastic and go at it. Again, just make sure it's Savory-Baked.
But yeah. Slow progress.
As far as coffee goes, I'm sorry about your Thomas Hammer experience. They really are not that great. Good coffee can be found at a much better local chain, Rocket Bakery. Most locations sell Amazing Vegan Cookies, and make a decent soy latte. Empyrean is good too; and nightly live music worth hearing.
Hope this helps!

Katy Rose said...

I am a vegetarian so I have some more options on what to eat at some places but a friend of mine who used to work at PJ Chang's warned me to be careful there because while she was there they cooked just about everything in fish oil. I don't know if this is still true but it might be worth it to ask them. I myself have never been there.

earn quick money said...

Great post. The vegan there are like Filipino foods. They are veggies and oh so delicious.

san monitoring said...

I find these very delicious and palatable. Would love to eat vegan food.

credit card said...

They look awesome and delicious.

kate micaela said...

One of my favorite food. Vegetables. How about a grill?

小小彬 said...


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