PAWS Magazine

Issue 41, Spring 1999

Who says vegetarian food has to be bland?

Dining out the animal-friendly way - it's really easy to find a great vegetarian or vegan meal in the Seattle area. Some restaurants, like Capitol Hill's Teapot Restaurant (whose sinfully decadent sorbet dessert is pictured here), are almost completely vegan. But almost all restaurants have some animal-friendly option on their menu. Here are a few favorite eating spots of PAWS staffers. And - if you have a favorite Puget Sound eating spot that serves a tasty vegetarian dish, email us at pawsnews@paws.org and we will include your mini-review on our web site.

And, if a home-cooked meal is more your speed, try Robbin Peterson's vegan risotto recipe. Five out of five staffers agree: it's awesome.

Teapot / Capitol Hill

125 15th Avenue East, Seattle (206) 325-1010

by Mike Jones, Advocacy Campaign Coordinator

Every vegetarian has faced it: agreeing to a friend’s choice of unfamiliar restaurant, and finding that vegetarian options number two, one, or none. The Teapot Vegetarian House offers the opposite conundrum: with the exception of the fortune cookies and some desserts, everything is vegan.

The Teapot has retained familiar entrée names from its years as the Mandarin, a Chinese restaurant. All that is added are quotation marks to such popular items as Almond Fried "Chicken" and Mandarin Crispy "Beef." A vegetarian who drags a carnivorous friend into this vegetarian eatery can be confident that the friend will find several "meaty" entrees, with soy products and the wizardry of the Teapot chefs serving as a more than adequate substitute for flesh.

The Teapot was quiet during a recent weeknight visit, with a table for four readily available. Appetizers were forsaken so additional entrees could be sampled. The fine Almond Fried "Chicken" offered an excellent sauce but suffered only slightly from a certain squishiness. A heaping plate of Phad See Eew, rice noodles stir fried with brown sauce with a vegetable medley, may have been the least appealing of our dishes; still, it was savored and eagerly boxed for take-home. Mushu Vegetables were accompanied by a ritual that replicates mushu pork: mushu sauce is spooned onto slender wrappers, which are then loaded with veggies and raised to the mouth like a delightfully sloppy burrito.

The lone detraction from this Teapot experience was the accidentally forgotten delivery of a Tsing-Tao. The beer wasn’t missed; its absence left more room for wonderful food and made for a more clear-headed reviewer.

Carmelita / Greenwood

7314 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle (206) 706-7703

By Leslie McDonald, Events Coordinator

When I take friends to Carmelita, I don’t even mention that it’s vegetarian. The food is so unique and creative that no one notices anyway. I’m tempted to stare at my dinner for a few minutes because it is so beautifully presented-but then my nostrils get the better of me and I dig in. The best part about it is that Carmelita is Seattle-casual-nice enough to bring out-of-town guests but easy enough to stop by after work with some friends. It’s vegetarian gourmet without the snobbery, and their prices are definitely affordable. Their menu changes so often that I can always count on being able to try something I had never before imagined.

El Greco / Capitol Hill

219 Broadway East (206) 328-4604

By Erika Sweet, Development Assistant

One of my favorite restaurants is El Greco, a Mediterranean restaurant on Capitol Hill. The relaxed, bistro-like atmosphere, friendly prompt service and outstanding food make eating there a delight, whether for brunch, lunch or dinner. Vegetarians will have no trouble finding something they’ll love at El Greco, and there are vegan options, although they are more limited.

El Greco’s guiding principle is to use the freshest ingredients in simple but imaginative dishes, prepared with care and precision. The large number of regulars (myself included) attest to the excellence and reliability of their kitchen.

Vegetarian selections abound at lunchtime. Try the smooth, flavorful hummus, served with warm, chewy and delicious pita, or the Sautéed Crisp Penne (my favorite). The dinner menu also includes a number of vegetarian dishes. Mushroom Ragout with Semolina Gnocchi, a wild mushroom stew with greens and roasted tomatoes, served with two large semolina cakes was savory, rich and satisfying.

Suni’s Pizza / Lynnwood

15620 Hwy 99, Lynnwood (425) 743-5400

By Mike Jones, Advocacy Department

At first I was taken aback by the listing of "mouse cake" on the menu, until our friendly server informed me that the new menu at Suni’s has a couple of typos. I haven’t tried their mousse cake, but I have tried and enjoyed many other items offered at Suni’s.

The staff of Suni’s is extraordinarily sensitive to the tastes and needs of vegetarians and vegans. The servers checked to see if we ate cheese, let alone meat, and didn’t blink when we ordered cheese-free pizza. The garden burgers may be a bit garden variety, but they are augmented by Suni’s outstanding French fries and a couple of complimentary onion rings, fried in vegetable oil.

Boasting the funkiest atmosphere in Lynnwood, Suni’s is highly recommended and a regular hangout of PAWS staffers. Ask to sit in the PAWS booth

! Royal India / Kirkland

9714 Juanita Drive, Kirkland (425) 820-2303

by Deb Handrich, PAWS Office Manager

I have been a vegetarian for many years and I have always felt fortunate that my very favorite food is Indian food because most Indian restaurants have a large selection of vegetarian entrees. My favorite local Indian restaurant, Royal India in Kirkland, has a great selection of vegetarian choices. I always start with a special bread; there are ten choices but my favorites are either vegetable naan or spinach naan. There are seven vegetarian entrées, but five of their other entrees can also be ordered vegetarian so the variety is great. My very favorite entrées are the Saag Masala Aloo, which is creamed spinach with potatoes and herbs over basmati rice and Royal Mughlai Biryani with vegetables, which is a classic mughlai dish with curry, basmati rice, cashew nuts and raisins. The atmosphere is spacious; white table cloths and chandelier lighting with Indian music playing softly in the background.

Bamboo Garden / Seattle Center

364 Roy St. Seattle (206) 282-6616

By Denise Kuhn, Offsite Adoption Coordinator

It’s quite a shock to actually sit down to a full vegan menu (all meat, poultry and seafood menu items at Bamboo Garden are made from vegetarian protein products and are 100% vegetarian. Only the fortune cookies contain egg whites). There are just so many wonderful items to choose from. The Hot and Sour Soup is tangy and sweet—a perfect compliment to the veggie-filled pot stickers. The Lemon "chicken" entrée is to die for. The vegetable protein product used in this delicious dish is 100% vegetarian. It is then deep fried and lightly covered in a lemon graze. So tangy. So chickeny. So vegan.

You can expect to pay about $30 for a full meal for two at Bamboo Garden. It’s well worth it. Even after stuffing our faces with Lemon "Chicken," Veggie Fried Rice and appetizers, my dining companion and I still had food left over for lunch the next day. Bamboo Garden is a vegetarian and vegan-lovers paradise. So many different foods cooked in a variety of ways—and best of all—it’s all vegan!

Taco Time

By Robbin Peterson, PAWS Development Director

Vegetarianism isn’t always easy is you love fast food. Burgers and fried chicken are the usual fare at drive-thrus, and sometimes even the fries are fried in lard. Not so at Taco Time!

I have lunch at Taco Time at least once a week, and my favorite is the #4 value meal. It includes two crisp tacos with beans (no meat), one medium mexi-fries and a medium soft drink for only $3.49. The tacos are filled with lard-free refried beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese. I add hot sauce. Mexi-fries are like tater-tots, and are really good dipped in hot sauce.

Also available on the menu are veggie soft tacos and veggie wraps. And I really appreciate that I have never been accidentally given the wrong, meat filled, item. They even have special "veggie" stickers for the vegetarian items so you know which is which in the bag or on the tray.



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