road trip!

Although it feels as though the busy summer semester just ended, the fall semester has already begun! But before it did, I took a break from all things school and work to take a little road trip with my mom! I’ll be applying to dietetic internships this year, so I wanted to check out a few programs to help me figure out where I wanted to rank each program on my application. The destination cities? Denver, Portland, and Seattle! Yes, the internships were important, but I was really excited about the amazing FOOD! And you can bet there was a lot of it 🙂

In Denver, I was finally able to return to The Mellow Mushroom – home of the most delicious veggie pizza I’ve ever eaten. We decided to branch out and try the Caesar and the Mellowterranean this time around. Both were good, but the Mega Veggie is still my absolute favorite. We also ate at Ling and Louie’s….another chain but it was one we had never seen before and it sounded good. We were STARVING when we got there because we had been walking non-stop all day, so we got the chicken lettuce wraps to start off with. I was super excited to see that they only use all-natural, antibiotic-free chicken! With this information, I decided on the Monsoon Chicken and Shrimp. I’m not usually a shrimp fan, but I decided to go for it and this was great!

“blackened chicken and tender shrimp wok’d in our signature peanut-red curry sauce with fresh pineapple, mango, broccoli, bell peppers, and green onions”

Next stop: Portland! But first, many sandwiches in the car…and several food deserts! What is a food desert you ask? “Any area in the industrialised world where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain.” Finally, in the middle of the brown abyss of the food/actual desert, we stumbled upon something green!

At long last, we arrived in Portland! We were in town for less than 24 hours, so I wanted to make sure we at least made it to the food carts!

We were starving by the time we made it downtown and many of the carts are closed at dinner, so we were scrambling all over to find ones that were open and then make a decision! After much deliberation and about 20 minutes staring at a menu, I decided on the mixed vegetables from Real Taste of India.

Ok. It may not look incredibly pretty, but it was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was a TON of food and only $6!! I’m just kicking myself for not getting a piece of naan bread for another DOLLAR! Oh well…guess I’ll just have to go back 😉

The next day before leaving Portland, I insisted on 2 very important stops: Great Harvest Bread Co. (for some AMAZING oatmeal bread) and VooDoo Doughnuts. I decided I needed to sample 1 cake doughnut and 1 yeast doughnut, but which ones?! I ended up with the chocolate peanut cake doughnut:

and “the dirt” yeast doughnut:

These provided me with dessert for a few nights! I think the yeast doughnut was my favorite 🙂

Next up was Seattle! Let me just start by saying that the campus I was visiting (Bastyr University) has a WHOLE FOODS CAFETERIA!! Could it be any more perfect?! Of course we had to check it out…and of course then I had to get lunch there 🙂 It. was. INCREDIBLE. I would eat this meal again and again and again.

I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to get 🙂 Container #1 = (hidden) quinoa salad, TONS of roasted veggies, and a sample of the curried lentil soup.

Container #2 – the most amazing vegetable soup I have ever eaten. Not even kidding. There were HUGE pieces of tender veggies and the flavor was just out of this world.

The quinoa salad contained red quinoa, chickpeas, and some veggies. Something also seemed to be pickled…perhaps the onion? Sadly, I was so excited that I ate quite fast and didn’t take the time to figure out exactly what was in everything 😦

Later that night, we took a ferry to Bainbridge Island and decided to grab dinner while we were there. We browsed the streets and read a few menus before stumbling upon San Carlos…2 minutes before their tapas happy hour ended. SOLD! After looking at the prices of the regular menu, we decided the $5-$7 tapas selections were probably miniscule and ordered 4 to share. Yeah….one each would have been plenty. But it was awesome to try so many great dishes!!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Tostaditas

Baby San Carlos Nachos with Pork Loin, Santa Fe Sauce, Guacamole, and Sour Cream

Seared Pork Carnitas with Mango Baja Slaw

Smoked Chicken Roll-ups with Santa Fe Sauce

My plate of samples! 🙂

What an incredible Mexican feast! The tortillas for the roll-ups and pork carnitas were so tender and chewy. The pork was tender with a nice crispiness on the outside. The smoky flavor of the chicken roll-ups was perfect and the Santa Fe sauce added an awesome creaminess that almost made them melt in your mouth. YUM!

For another dinner, we popped into The Pike Brewing Company. We were both craving burgers and I was happy to see they served sustainable beef! Although the veggie burger looked very enticing, I couldn’t turn down a sustainable beef burger. I went with the Broken Arrow: “Over 1/3 lb. of succulent local, sustainable beef covered with Pike
ale-braised onions, sharp white cheddar; and mayonnaise on a toasted artisan bun. Sliced tomato, market fresh lettuce and red onion on the side”. I had a serious craving for some guacamole though, so I swapped out the mayo for a side of guac and got a side of steamed veggies. Delish!

On our last day of relaxation in Seattle, we explored Pike Place Market!

So many fresh, homegrown, handmade products…

…not to mention some decadent looking baked goods! Can I shop here every day?!

We decided the best option for lunch was another sampling…on a more realistic scale this time 🙂 From the Three Girls Bakery, we ordered 2 sandwich halves to split – The Northwestern (salmon + cucumber + red onion + capers + lemon dill sauce? on sourdough)…

…and the Mediterranean (hummus, onion, tomato, artichoke hearts grilled on kalamata olive bread)

1/4 of each sandwich for each of us! We also got some chowder from another restaurant. I got the Manhattan clam chowder – a tomato based chowder that was quite delicious!

And that was our trip…in food! Are you still with me?? 🙂 Everything we ate was so good. Even our sandwiches in the car because they were on delicious Great Harvest bread 🙂 I think the 4,000+ miles and multiple days in the car were totally worth it if only for the amazing food 🙂

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