And the Runners Up Are…

I recently had the pleasure of writing the VegEscape column in the May/June issue of VegNews Magazine, which highlighted several vegan eateries and activities in the Seattle area.

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With only two pages and a very tight word count, the establishments featured in the article were by no means an exhaustive list, and I’ve been wanting to create a longer list of options ever since the piece came out.  In case you want to delve deeper into Seattle’s veg offerings, I present a few more spots for your consideration (also not an exhaustive list!).  These are in no particular order, but know that the first few were in and out of various drafts of the article and just barely didn’t make it in.  All are worth exploring!

Araya’s Place – Founded in the 1980s, Araya’s has mastered the art of vegan Thai food.  There are several locations to choose from, each with its own distinct personality.  While the menu is delightful, Araya’s is justifiably famous for its lunch buffet.  There are healthy options, like brown rice, soups, salads, and steamed veggies, as well as more decadent fare, such as noodles, fried rice, stir fried veggies, and crispy spring rolls.  Whatever you’re in the mood for, it’s all delicious and all you can eat.  If you have the will power to do so, save a little room for the Black Sticky Rice Pudding dessert.  Served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.  http://www.arayasplace.com

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I love, love, love Mighty-O Donuts!  So many flavors, so much deliciousness.  They make dense, cakey donuts (yay!) as well as yeasted donuts (also yay!) and there’s undoubtedly a flavor or five that will make your heart sing.  They have beloved standbys (try the Donut King, a vanilla-glazed chocolate donut topped with coconut, or the perfect cinnamon sugar) or one of their seasonal flavors (the blueberry they have going right now is delish).  While donuts aren’t exactly health food, you can feel good about eating treats that are organic, GMO-free, and contain no trans fats.  You can find them at their four locations around town as well as in various markets and cafes.  http://www.mightyo.com

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If you find yourself in Redmond, be sure to stop in at Teapot Vegetarian House which, despite the name, is actually 100% vegan.  In fact, Teapot is so tasty that you may want to make a special trip over just to eat there.  The crispy Goldfingers appetizer is like a battered chicken strip, but it’s somehow made from compressed mushroom stalks.  It’s crave-worthy and I order it every time I go.  I also cannot recommend the soups highly enough.  Whether it’s the perfect hot and sour, the delightful sizzling rice, the savory won ton, or the spicy Laksa, you can’t go wrong if you’re availing yourself of one of their soups.  As if the food wasn’t reason enough to go, the proprietors are lovely people, and their kind, gentle spirits make the experience even better.  Let them recommend a pot of tea to go with your meal and you won’t be sorry.  teapotvegetarianhouse.com

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El Chupacabra is a festive restaurant serving up hearty Mexican food and cocktails in a colorful setting (think Day of the Dead-inspired decor and a loud jukebox).  While not a vegan establishment, they are able to veganize just about everything on the menu, substituting in vegan chicken, steak, cheese, and sour cream.  My favorite is the veggie burrito served wet style with a side of sour cream, but I will concede that the chimichanga with “mock green chicken” is fairly mind-blowing, with its crispy-flakey wrap full of creamy deliciousness.  Pop a few quarters into the jukebox, sit back, and get ready to have a very full belly.  http://www.elchupacabraseattle.com

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Sizzle Pie in Capitol Hill always offers three vegan pizzas by the slice in their case, along with a host of vegan menu items.  There are two crisp, tasty vegan salads:  the Rabbits with ranch dressing and “bacon” bits and the Caligula, a vegan Caesar.  The salads can either be ordered alone or as part of a slice-and-salad combo.  As for the pizza, options abound, but my fave is the Buffalo 666, which comes with Buffalo jackfruit shreds, cheese, and two kinds of sauces (a spicy wing sauce and a cooling ranch).  Warning:  the place can be a bit loud and tends to feature somewhat aggressive metal on the playlist.  If that doesn’t sound fun, the tables outside can be a little quieter.  http://www.sizzlepie.com

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If you’re looking for healthier options, head to Chaco Canyon for some tasty, old-school hippie food (I mean this as a compliment).  My favorite option is building my own bowl with brown rice, baked tofu, greens, and tahini, but the crowd favorite is undoubtedly the artichoke melt, with its creamy artichoke pate sandwiched between Macrina sourdough bread and just the right amount of crunch from cucumber slices and sprouts.  Round out your meal with a fresh juice or an elixir and you’ll be well-fueled for whatever your day holds.  http://www.chacocanyoncafe.com

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Because there’s no such thing as too much pizza (right?), next up we’ve got Razzis Pizzeria, a place that caters to folks who may have trouble finding food at typical restaurants.  That includes vegans, of course, but they also have an extensive gluten-free menu, if that’s a concern for you.  Just ask for the vegan menu and settle in for a nice, long read – it’s extensive!  There’s cheesy garlic bread and mozzarella sticks to start, tons of salads and baked pastas, and my favorite:  the Stay-Cay pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple.  If you oppose the use of pineapple on pizza, fear not!  There are countless options that will make you happy.  http://www.razzispizza.com

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Seattle institution Cafe Flora has been feeding hungry vegans and vegetarians since 1991 and they are still going strong.  The place itself is spacious and inviting, with different rooms to choose from.  You can feel like you’re eating outside year-round in the plant-filled atrium, dine in the main room surrounded by colorful art, or eat outside on the patio during summer.  There’s some seriously tasty food happening here and you’ll be happy no matter when you come, but I think Cafe Flora’s strongest suit is their brunch.  First, they have vegan cinnamon rolls!  Let me repeat:  vegan cinnamon rolls!!  And then there’s the hearty Southern Platter with biscuits and gravy, scrambled tofu, and smoky collards.  SO good.  And if you find yourself with some time to spend at Sea-Tac, check out Cafe Flora’s new sibling, Floret, which they describe as located in the “main terminal at the intersection of Concourses A and B next to the Delta Lounge.”    cafeflora.com

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Bamboo Garden Vegetarian Cuisine ran into some trouble a bit ago when it was discovered that they were using non-vegan mock meats (containing milk products in them) in dishes that customers thought were vegan.  People were understandably upset.  This prompted them to rework their menus and ordering systems.  They now have a separate vegan menu, so ask for that if you go; and when you order, be sure to specify that you want whatever it is you ordered to be vegan.  That should do the trick.  Given their location near the Seattle Center and SIFF, I sometimes pop in to this unassuming spot for food before or after events if I’m feeling burned out on the Armory.  If you’re quite hungry, I recommend asking to see the lunch specials menu (which I’ve ordered at dinner, too) and seeing what catches your eye.  For me, it’s generally the combo with sweet and sour chicken, fried rice or chow mein, green veggies, and a cup of corn chowder.  http://www.bamboo-garden.co

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Feeling a little bloated from all of that pizza and greasy Chinese food?  Head to Jujubeet Cafe for some light, clean, delicious fare.  They are known for their fresh juices, and you’re sure to find one that appeals to you from their abundant options.  If not, they’ll custom blend whatever you want.  Need something a little heartier?  Try a smoothie.  My personal favorite is the Cacao Wow, a creamy blend of almond milk, almond butter, raw cacao, banana, and vanilla protein powder.  If you’d rather chew something, they’ve got you covered there as well, with sandwiches, wraps, bowls, and a scrumptious cheese plate.  Hot tip:  if you’re fighting off a cold, their tiny bottled elixirs are fabulously intense blasts of immune-supporting magic.  Note that everything here is vegan except that they use honey in some things.  Keep an eye out for that.   jujubeet.com

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Plum Bistro in Capitol Hill is part of vegan chef Makini Howell’s flavorful vegan empire, which includes the Plum Bistro cookbook, Plum Pantry at the Armory, Sugar Plum (soft serve ice cream!) in a different part of Capitol Hill, Plum Burgers (a food truck), and Plum Chopped (a salad bar take-out spot next to the bistro).  Plum Bistro was the original jewel, opened in 2009, and it’s still a popular spot.  The menu changes with the seasons, but you can always look forward to their world-famous “Mac n Yease,” a spicy cajun take on mac and cheese (note that it’s extremely rich and probably a good idea to share with your table mates).  Everything here packs a flavor punch, including the inventive desserts.  (no website that I could find)

Next Level Burger is a casual joint nestled within the Whole Foods Market in Roosevelt.  They will build you a burger to fit your preferences, with choices of patty (they have house-made mushroom/quinoa and black bean/veggie patties, as well as Beyond Meat), toppings (you name it, it’s probably here, including a combo with tempeh bacon, blue cheese, and bbq sauce!), and buns (regular and gluten-free).  Their “Animal” burger was recently featured in VegNews Magazine as one of the best burgers in the country.  I haven’t tackled it yet, but if you’re up for it, we’re talking two sausage style patties, tempeh bacon, crinkle cut fries (yes, on the burger, not on the side), sauteed onion, Swiss or cheddar cheese, and your choice of special or bbq sauce.  Whew, I’m kind of full just writing that!  Where I think Next Level really shines, though, is with their shakes, which are as varied as their burger options.  Ranging from simple vanilla to concoctions loaded with chunks and drizzles, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth.  http://www.nextlevelburger.com

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Kati Thai is relatively new to the Seattle vegan scene.  I’ve only visited once, but I thought it was pretty tasty.  I will definitely go back further exploration.  The delicate, crispy appetizers were the highlight for me.  kativeganthai.com

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Looking for something to eat over in Kirkland?  You have two excellent options.  First, there’s HB Bev Co (aka Healthy Bonez), a take-out spot for the best Acai bowl in the Pacific Northwest.  Order it without honey (they will sub Bee Free Honee if you would like) and feel free to add a drizzle of peanut butter if it sounds as good to you as it always does to me.  They also have juices and other bowls, but once I had a taste of that Acai bowl, I never ordered anything else (and I’m not typically a person who gets in such a rut).  Pro tip:  get the app and order ahead – the lines get long!  hbbev.co

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My other favorite Kirkland option is Cafe Happy, a tiny restaurant downtown.  Although they have a table inside, I recommend taking your food to go and heading to the waterfront a block away for a picnic.  Don’t miss their steamed soy meat buns (I think I could live on these buns alone!), which pair nicely with a bubble tea.  A couple of menu items are not vegan, but the staff can help you find the right thing, so just ask if you’re confused.  https://m.facebook.com/Cafe-Happy-119008831443318/

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If life takes you to Everett, you’ve got two great options there as well.  I’m a big fan of Cafe Wylde, which offers flavorful, healthy food in a clean, bright space.  Personal faves include the smokey avocado dip, the jackfruit tacos, and the raw desserts.

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We recently discovered Curries in Everett, and we were blown away.  It’s the best Indian food we’ve had in the PNW.  Seriously.  The place is immaculate, the staff helpful, and the vegan items clearly marked on the menu.  We tried all of the vegan appetizers, and they were all delicious, but the Veggie Pakoras stood out – perfectly crispy on the outside, velvety on the inside.  Angels sang.  We also had the Aloo Gobhi and Dal Tarka, and each dish was perfectly cooked with distinctive spices and personalities.  Can’t wait to go back.  http://curriesineverett.com/

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I probably don’t need to point this out, but we’re lucky to have three Veggie Grill locations in the area, with one an easy walk from the Convention Center if you need sustenance while at an event there.  The seasonal menus are always worth checking out, the menu staples have stood the test of time (Santa Fe Crispy Chicken, anyone?), and now they’re featuring the new Just Egg in a breakfast burrito!  Heading there to try it soon.  http://www.veggiegrill.com

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We are also fortunate to have a wonderful co-op chain, PCC Community Market, with locations scattered around the area.  In addition to all of the grocery items and personal care products you could possibly need, PCC has wonderful delis and salad bars which make for excellent take-out options.  http://www.pccmarkets.com

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On the higher end of the price spectrum is Harvest Beat, a restaurant that some people absolutely love (as evidenced by the fact that one reader of my article vociferously complained about its omission) while others, not so much.  I wanted to love it (a multi-course, special occasion prix fixe vegan spot sounds great), but after dining there during the research for my piece, I’m in that latter camp, unfortunately.  I adore the mission of Harvest Beat and how consciously they strive to create a special experience for everyone in their orbit.  They clearly care about what they’re doing and how they source their ingredients.  Unfortunately, I had a very uneven dining experience.  The first course was exquisite, the next course was okay, and the main course (an unsuccessfully breaded slimy mushroom cutlet) was inedible.  Dessert ended back in the positive column.  By the time you add in beverages, this meal tops out at over $100 per person.  At that price point, I expect better than what I experienced, which is why I didn’t include it in the article.  However, as I noted, it has many ardent proponents and glowing reviews, so check it out for yourself if you feel so inclined.  Perhaps I visited on an off night?  At the very least, you’ll be supporting some nice people.  http://www.harvestbeat.com/

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Finally, I’m including an establishment that I’ve been wanting to visit but haven’t made it into yet, Georgetown Liquor Company.  This place is 21 and over, and since I’m often traveling with a minor in tow, it just hasn’t happened yet.  An eclectic, hearty menu awaits.  Will I order mini corn dogs?  Or nachos?  A ham sandwich with chipotle aioli?  A grilled cheese with Brie, Mozzarella and Gouda?  Only time will tell!   georgetownliquorco.com

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If you live in the Seattle area or are coming to visit, I hope you find this list helpful and full of tasty treasures.  If you have any favorites that I didn’t include, please comment below and spread the word!  There are new vegan and veg-friendly restaurants opening all of the time (I just heard about Celest Cafe and can’t wait to try it!), and the more people who frequent those places, the more this trend will continue.

Enjoy!  xo

 

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Bee Free Honee

I’m here today to recommend a product that’s new to me.  If it’s not new to you, why didn’t you tell me about it?!?

I was shopping at Vegan Haven in Seattle the other day, and the person in front of me in line was going on about how delicious the Bee Free Honee is, and the woman at the register was agreeing whole-heartedly.  Although my cart was already quite full, I zipped back out and grabbed a bottle.  I’m so glad that I did.

In my pre-vegan days, I enjoyed quite a few things that included honey, such as honey on biscuits with butter, honey in lemon or ginger tea, and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  As my way of living and eating evolved, I dropped the honey and resigned myself to eschewing those former favorites.  Of course I tried substitutes (agave can get pretty close in certain things), but nothing’s quite like honey.  Until now.  This stuff truly scratches that itch for me.  Here’s a bit of info:

http://beefreehonee.com/

And here’s the first thing I did with it.  Yep, a peanut butter and “honey” sandwich:

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Whatever you do with it, I hope you like it as much as I do.

Enjoy!  xo

Sliders!

Queenie and I recently tested out a few new (to us, anyway) slider options that we found in the freezer section at Whole Foods.  They were easy and tasty enough to recommend to you.

First, Beyond Meat’s “Beastly Sliders” (a smaller version of their equally successful Beast Burger) couldn’t be easier or more pleasant.  Good flavor, nice consistency… what’s not to love?  And for those of you concerned with such matters, they are gluten-free and soy-free.  While they would be excellent grilled, we just quickly heated them up on the stove top and ate them sans bun with a little ketchup.  Yum!

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Next up, the “Crispy Chick’n Sliders” from Gardein.  I didn’t realize at first that these came with buns!  I thought we were just getting the patties.  It’s pretty fun to have a complete little sandwich in there.  All you need to do is heat in the oven (the buns get inserted for the last couple of minutes) and top with your favorite burger toppings.  I wasn’t in the mood for bread, so Queenie took these for a test drive on her own, topping simply with mayo.  She said the buns were perfect – fluffy inside, just crisped perfectly on the outside – and she really enjoyed the patties’ taste and texture as well.

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We’ll definitely be having more of both of these again!  I’m thinking Beastly Sliders with pretzel bread…

Enjoy!  xo

Pizza Rolls!

Gene Baur is a wonderful ambassador for all things vegan and compassionate.  Queenie and I had the good fortune to see him speak recently, and I picked up his latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, at the event.  I expected the book to be a wonderful glimpse into life at Farm Sanctuary (it is) and to present compelling reasons to make more compassionate choices in our day-to-day lives (it does), but I didn’t really have any expectations about the recipe portion of the book, which is a collection of recipes from guest contributors.  Happily, it’s fantastic also!  So far, I’ve made three recipes – Sesame Soba Noodles with Collard Greens and Tempeh Croutons, Gardein Bolognese, and Pizza Buns – and all three have been scrumptious.

Queenie and I renamed the Pizza Buns, calling them Pizza Rolls instead (because their appearance resembles cinnamon rolls, and you roll them up), but whatever you call them, they’re yummy.  They’re also absurdly easy.  In fact, it’s more of a concept (a genius concept!) than a recipe, courtesy of Wendy Matthews, the education and outreach manager at Farm Sanctuary.  You basically take pizza dough (we used the pre-made pizza dough ball from Trader Joe’s), roll it into a rectangle shape, top it with whatever you want, roll it up into a log, and then slice into individual portions.  You pop those into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake roughly like you would a pizza (about 10 to 15 minutes at 450).  The result is fun and tasty.

Queenie and I have been on a Gilmore Girls marathon lately, and these were the perfect accompaniment to a couple of episodes.  (They eat a lot of junk food and would love these.)  Queenie’s are on the right.  She kept it simple, opting for sauce, herbs and cheese (we used Trader Joe’s vegan mozzarella shreds, but any cheese you like will work fine).  On the left, to her base I added mushrooms and black olives.

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The possibilities are endless…

Enjoy!  xo

Vegan Cheese Plate

Queenie and I had fun putting together a cheese platter recently, the goal of which was to sample some of the vegan cheeses we hadn’t yet tried.  It was quite festive and tasty, and I wanted to share our impressions.  Here are the brands we explored:

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Cheese-wise, we tried Kite Hill’s almond-based Soft Truffle Dill & Chive, Treeline’s Herb Garlic Soft French Style, Heidi Ho’s Black Lava Ne Chevre, and two of the new slices by Follow Your Heart, specifically American and Provolone.  Our accompaniments were various kinds of crackers, apple slices, fig spread, olives and cornichons.  Once it was arranged, our plates looked like this:

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The results:  my favorite cheese by far was the Treeline Herb Garlic.  In the photo above, it’s the middle dollop, below the white triangle of cheese (the Kite Hill) and above the one with the black stripe running through it (the Heidi Ho).  It had a terrific spreadable consistency and a delicious flavor and mouth feel.  This cashew-based cheese is not subtle.  It packs a wallop of flavor!  But if you appreciate a hit of garlicky, herbaceous yumminess, you’ll probably like this, too.  We enjoyed it on crackers and on the apple slices.  Yum.  I definitely want to try more Treeline cheese.  Their link:

http://www.treelinecheese.com/

I liked the cashew-based Heidi Ho Ne Chevre (aka “no goat”) quite a bit.  The Black Lava is a type of salt, and it adds a lot of visual interest, along with the hazelnuts that are in that black stripe.  Queenie noted that the after taste of this one is reminiscent of the flavor profile of Dr. Cow nut cheeses, so if you’ve tried those, you’ll have a sense of this one.  Not everyone likes that vibe (Mr. Man included), but I do so it worked for me.  Also, Heidi Ho’s line includes a fantastic range of jarred melty cheeses (“Chia Cheeze”) that are perfect for dipping and nachos, etc.  Definitely a brand to get to know if you don’t already.

http://www.heidiho.com/

I have to say that the Kite Hill cheese we sampled was a bit disappointing for me (Queenie liked it a little better than I did).  Kite Hill is a line of almond-based cheeses developed by Tal Ronnen, and I’ve tried a range of them at Crossroads in Los Angeles.  I enjoyed those very much, so I’m not sure what happened here.  For me, it was a consistency thing.  It says “soft” right in the title, but that made me think of either something spreadable or something like a triple cream, but that wasn’t the case.  It held its form when cut, which I guess made me think it would have a different mouth feel than it did.  It was squishy and funky to me.  I didn’t go back for seconds on that one.  I will try other Kite Hills because of my respect for its creator.  Will let you know how that goes.

http://www.kite-hill.com/

Finally, we played around with the Follow Your Heart slices, which I’ve been hearing a lot about.  It’s not often that you can take a vegan cheese slice right out of the package and eat it happily.  These are pretty successful.  Slap some on a cracker with a bit of fig spread on top and you’re talking deliciousness.  The rumor is that they make divine grilled cheese sandwiches, which is how I’ll play with them next.

Enjoy!  xo

Product Review: Earth Balance Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips

If you’re looking for a healthy snack option, keep looking as this is most definitely not it.  But if you’re looking for a thoroughly satisfying vegan version of an old standby snack food, these will scratch that itch.  I figure if you’re going to eat some junk food, this junk is considerably preferable to its non-vegan counterparts, given that it’s GMO-free and cruelty-free, for starters.

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These chips are excellent.  Nice and crunchy, with a good ratio of the densely folded variety (I like those).  And somehow, perhaps with a magic wand, the sour cream and onion flavor is legit.  With a nice blast of salt and grease, these are finger-licking good.  And only to be consumed once in a while!

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Enjoy!  xo

 

Product Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box!

I was asked to review the Vegan Cuts Snack Box, which I was quite happy to do.  I had heard about Vegan Cuts but hadn’t checked them out yet.  I am so glad that I did.  They can count me as a new loyal customer!

First, in case you have no idea what Vegan Cuts is, let’s start with the basics.  Vegan Cuts is a company that offers monthly deliveries of vegan products that have been carefully selected for your enjoyment.  For $19.95, you receive a box of goodies, delivered right to your door.  You can opt for the Snack Box, which I received, or the Beauty Box, which I haven’t played with personally but which looks great on the website.  More on that in a moment.  The $19.95 includes shipping – yay.

The point of both of these boxes appears to be to turn people on to great products that they might not otherwise have been exposed to yet.  As a long-time vegan who loves to eat, I was quite amazed that out of the nine products I received, I had only heard of one!  It was great to be able to sample those products and add them to my list of items I want to keep in rotation around here.  And while most of them are likely to be readily available at your local veg-friendly grocer, Vegan Cuts also stocks a wide variety of them on their website in full-size portions.  I was happy to see this, as it would be a bummer to fall in love with something and then not be able to find it!

Before we dive into the contents of the box, I want to share with you something that has very much impressed me about my Vegan Cuts experience:  the customer service is phenomenal!  Before the box shipped, I received an email from Jill and John, the founders, informing me that it was coming and that they’d made a substitution.  They also sent out an email clarifying a packaging mistake that Harvest Snaps, the manufacturer behind one of the products, had made.  While the product is vegan, Harvest Snaps had mistakenly noted “Contains Milk” on the packaging.  Jill and John very kindly assured their customers that there is, in fact, no milk in the product.  Great communication.  I was even more impressed, however, when I hopped on the website to poke around.  I was on for a few minutes when a chat box opened up.  It was the aforementioned John, asking if I needed any assistance.  Cool!  He was super friendly and fun to chat with, and in fact I did have a question.  I had noticed that all of the items in my box were palm oil-free, which made me very happy, but I wondered if that was a coincidence or a policy, so I asked him.  I’m thrilled to report that ALL of their products are ALWAYS palm oil-free!!!!  Awesome.

So what did the November box contain?

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There were nine products in sample-sized portions, along with a complete list of the box’s contents and a couple of coupons.  It was a nice mix of sweet…

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… and savory…

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… plus some tea…

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… and some useful info.

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First, the sweet!  I cannot believe I’ve gone this far in my life without knowing about Michy’s cookies!!!!  Oh my.  The sample cookie was the “Pumpkin Eater,” a pumpkin spice cookie with chocolate chips.  It was absolutely divine, reminiscent of a delicious, home-made cookie, assuming whoever is making them in your home is a baking genius.  The consistency was moist as opposed to crispy, along the lines of Uncle Eddie’s cookies but WITHOUT THE PALM OIL!!!  I popped onto the Michy’s website and saw a variety of mouth-watering flavors, including cookies and brownies galore.  I will be trying them all.  http://michysfoods.com/

See those crumbs at the bottom of the bag?  They were too good to toss.  I fished them out and ate them, too.  Yes, I’m serious.  It was that good.

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Queenie and I both sampled the Barbara’s Organic Snackimals Cereal in Vanilla Blast, and we both gave it a thumbs up.  I tried it straight out of the bag, and it was tasty and crispy and not cloyingly sweet.  Then Queenie had a bowl of it to see how it held up with soy milk on it.  She loved the taste and said it stayed nice and crispy right to the last bite.  We don’t eat too many sugary cereals around here, but Queenie would be very pleased if I would bring home a box of Snackimals one of these days.  Added bonus:  cute animals on the packaging.

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On the healthier end of the sweet spectrum:  the Chocolate Coconut Bliss bar by Raw Revolution.  Consisting of just a few ingredients, this was a wonderfully pure and simple bar that reminded me of the raw cacao truffles I sometimes make.  I will be keeping one of these in my bag at all times!  Delish.

At first glance, I thought the ChickPz “Premium Roasted Chickpea Snacks” by Nutty Bean Co. were in the savory category, which is where I photographed them initially.  Call me crazy, but roasted chickpeas sound savory to me.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that the flavor is “Cinnamon Crunch,” and a review of the ingredients showed them to be squarely in the sweet camp (cane juice, vanilla, etc.).  I must confess that I was a little nervous to try these, as it sounds like a strange combination.  I am happy to report, however, that these crunchy goodies completely won me over.  They pack a nice cinnamon punch, being heavily coated with the spice, and have a really nice crunch to them.  A very pleasant surprise that I’m quite sure I would never have tried on my own.

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Finally, the one item in the box with which I was familiar:  the Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates caramel bite.  I have enjoyed Sjaak’s on many occasions and can recommend them whole-heartedly.  In fact, the caramel bite is Queenie’s very favorite of their flavors, so please don’t tell her that I ate it before she could get her hands on it.  Solely for research purposes, of course.

And now, on to the savory (all of which were gluten-free)…

First, our minds and taste buds were blown by the Snapea Crisps Black Pepper crisps.  Yeehaw!  If you like the original Snapea Crisps (which we do), I predict you will LOVE these.  They have the same fun consistency, but they have a wonderful savory kick from the black pepper that is just perfect.  Warning:  they are wildly addictive.

The MixtBag Yellow & Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from RW Garcia were quite tasty.  The yellow chips were nice and dense, while the blue chips were light and lovely.  Both were perfectly salted.  While they would be great with salsa, guacamole or hummus, I devoured the whole bag by itself!

The Multiseed Crackers from Crunchmaster were super crunchy, as billed.  I loved the ratio of sesame seeds, which was high, giving it a nice flavor.

The final entry in the savory category was the Cracked Pepper Baked Lentil Chips from Mediterranean Snacks.  They had a nice crispness and would be great for dipping, as I don’t think they’d break off in the dip.  They had a nice after-taste and are also gluten-free.  For pure snacking, though, we preferred the Snapeas, which are hard to top.

Finally, we enjoyed the Stash Spice Dragon Red Chai Tea.  Naturally herbal (no caffeine), this tea has a beautiful red color from the rooibos tea.  It is nicely spiced without being overpowering.  Perfect on an autumn or winter morning!

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As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed my Vegan Cuts Snack Box experience.  The treats were tasty, and it was fun discovering so many new bits of yumminess.  And I really want to check out the Beauty Box!  I poked around on the website, and every month, subscribers to the Beauty Box receive at least $40 worth of products to sample in trial sizes, for only $19.95.  Pretty cool!  And all of the full-sized products are available for purchase on the site.

The people who make up the Vegan Cuts team are fantastic, making it a company I’m happy to support.  I encourage you to check it out, too, and can’t help thinking that not only will you enjoy it, but its snack or beauty boxes would make fantastic gifts for your friends and family!  http://vegancuts.com/

Enjoy!  xo