Monday, 29 July 2013

Olympia and Cannon Beach

When we were looking into places to stop on our way from Seattle to Portland Olympia was top of my list. So much of the music I love came out of Olympia in the 90's and visiting the place that Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney hailed from was something I wasn't gonna miss.

Our first stop was obviously Sleater-Kinney Road!

We checked out the Happy Cow app as soon as we got hungry and we decided on Saigon Rendezvous, partly because Olympia's one veg place is closed Mon - Thurs and partly because it had a couple of good reviews and we do love a good plate of mock meat!

To start with we ordered the Vegetarian Teriyaki Beef on a Stick. We were slightly underwhelmed by the presentation of this dish as we'd imagined the skewers to be on a plate drenched in sauce but they were tasty nonetheless and the strange fire gel thing the skewers surrounded was quite fun!

I opted for the Vegetarian Almond Chicken main course because two of the reviewers on Happy Cow said that it was awesome. I love it when reviewers mention specific dishes, it really helps reduce my ordering anxiety and I hate getting it wrong when I'm only going to be visiting a place once.

The reviews steered me right and this dish was fantastic. It came with a side of steamed white rice and the deep fried mock chicken was covered with loads of perfectly thick flavourful sauce.  Nick ordered a cashew tofu and vegetable dish which wasn't bad, if you aren't into deep fried food I would say that it's a good bet but Nick is and he spent the majority of the meal swapping bits of his broccoli for my chicken. At least it wasn't bell pepper, that is not a swap I'd have been down with!

After lunch we swung by Oly Vegan, Olympia's very own all vegan store. Unfortunately even though we wanted to love this place we were unimpressed by their product range and later on a little annoyed by their prices.

We really wanted to support this indie vegan store so despite the sparse selection of products we grabbed a copy of Veg News and some Dandies and went on our way. As our trip went on we realised that $8 is not even remotely close to the $4-something Dandies seem to sell for everywhere else (including the Oly Food Co-op) and it left us feeling a little ripped off.

I was much happier with our post lakeside stroll and our visit to the zine section of Olympia's library!

We sat there reading zine's and using the wifi for ages and nobody hassled us, it was lovely. I love libraries!

On the way out of Oly we hit the Olympia Food Co-op and Trader Joe's to stock up on fun treats for out little beach cottage. At the co-op we grabbed some baked goods, I chose a Poppyseed and Blueberry Muffin and Nick picked up a Cinnamon Roll.

We also got some of these cookies.

I'd seen these around before but neither of us had ever tried them. The verdict? Yum! Surprisingly the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut was both of our favourites.

We also bought some Dave's Killer Bread, Gardein tenders, Tofurky tempeh, Veganaise, Amy's mac 'n Cheese, Earth Balance and some delicious breakfast treats.

From Trader Joe's we picked up this delicious selection to keep us going. The TJ's Maple Leaf Cookies are a definite favourite of ours and the Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels have become my absolute favourite way to get chocolate into my system. Nick prefers the Dark Chocolate Truffle chocolate and we both looooooved the Cinnamon Rolls.

Of course we stopped off a few more times on our way to Cannon Beach to check out a national park and a couple of look out points.

We also stopped at the Astoria Food Co-op, we'd already stocked up on food because we weren't sure how big or vegan friendly this place would be but it was stuffed full of vegan goodies & if you're heading to Cannon Beach this would be a great place to buy supplies to see you through the weekend.

Once we arrived at the little beachside cottage we'd rented we made a pretty epic lazy person dinner of Daiya mac 'n cheese and Gardein Crispy Tenders with Veganaise and root beer on the side. It wouldn't be a trip to America if I didn't have root beer with almost every meal!

The next morning I went for a run on the beach. Now if you know me at all you know that I hate to run, I'm much happier working out indoors, but I couldn't pass up the chance to run somewhere this beautiful and unsurprisingly the cottage didn't have a gym. My main beef with running is that it's too hard on my hips and knees but running on the wet sand was actually pleasant, if only Brighton beach had sand. There were also SO MANY dogs at the beach which was pretty rad!

Anyway whilst I was out Nick cooked breakfast with some of the goodies we gathered from TJ's and the Olympia Food Co-op.

This was such a good breakfast. Seriously I find it crazy awesome that there are waffles and cinnamon rolls that you can just buy and mould / heat / serve in America. It really is a vegan wonderland!

Over the next day or two there were multiple TLT's on Dave's Killer Bread with Tofurky Sesame Garlic Tempeh (love!), avocado, tomato and Veganaise.

I could really do with one of these right now actually!

We also explored the town (and giggled about the separate Republican / Democrat benches outside of the store...we never saw anyone on the Republican bench!), hung out together and read books at the cottage, went for long walks on the beach, and watched the sun set every evening.

It was super lovely to spend some time together outside of the big cities we'd planned our trip around. Even when you're taking deliberate cafe breaks and time out to chill in parks big cities can be so frantic - especially when you're trying to cram all of the things into a short space of time! I'm glad that we always plan these more mellow sections into our travels and for two people with serious smart phone issues it's always nice to be somewhere with no internet connection at all!


  1. That's the beach from the Goonies isn't it? Awesome. Looks like a beautiful part of the north west.

  2. Olympia is where I went to school in the 90s!!! Memories! I love it there so much! There is an artesian well downtown that you have to stop at if you ever pass through again.

  3. Awesome!! I wish we had time to stop in Oly Vegan as it looks pretty rad! We just had bad timing when it came to visiting there. Love the Astoria beach scene. That is totally the three rocks from Goonies...woot! I must go there, it looks beautiful.

  4. I'm so jealous! It has always been my dream to visit the PNW, and especially Olympia. I'm a huge S-K and Bikini Kill fan too. How cool that the library has a zine collection!! day I will make it out there, and hopefully eat some of the delicious food too.

  5. The library has a zine section?! SWOON!

  6. Oh man, I didn't realize that Trader Joe's cinnamon rolls in a can were vegan! This is dangerous information...

  7. I love that I clicked on your blog and there are recent posts about Oregon & Washington! You so inspire me to head to Oympia soon, I've barely spent any time there !

  8. So jealous of your trip. Looks like you picked up some great foodie buys too! I can't wait to do my own US tour.

  9. I'm sooooo hoping that we make it that way next year! That almond chicken blows my mind, that was always my favorite chinese dish pregan and I've yet to find a restuarant that makes it. I'm a big fan of the ABC cookies, I think I brought back 8 different kinds when I went to the states, the peanut butter one was my fav. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that TJ's opens a store in Canada some day, that place has so many amazing products.

  10. What a great post! I also didn't know that TJs had vegan cinnamon rolls in a can. Uh oh! :) all your various eats look super yums, but I most of all wanted to say that I totally agree about putting some non-city quiet time into travels. It feels so good to be somewhere smaller, less rushed, with fewer crowds and and traffic lights. Then you can charge up for your next big city!

    I cant wait for your California visit!!!

  11. I love this post! I live in Portland, and grew up on the Oregon coast, and love how you captured so many of my favorite things from this area. The Astoria Food Co-op is fantastic. As a busy student, there are times when I live off of that mac-n-cheese you pictured. And before I had to give up gluten, Dave's Killer Bread was a staple. Glad you enjoyed the coast, and the photo at Sleater-Kinney road is priceless!

  12. I am really hoping to go back in time to before I heard you say Trader Joe's chocolate covered pretzels are vegan.

  13. Cinnamon roll in a can! We need these in the UK :)

  14. I am seeing so many familiar items :) it looks like you are ready to be a Portlandian! :) Glad that you dropped by Trader Joe's, it is a very convenient shop with affordable products and on the go! Where are you at now? I'll be in Spain this month!

  15. Oh, wow, Jojo! That is awesome. I always love your travel posts. I think that teriyaki on a stick is hilarious.

  16. I hope you're having an amazing time, because I really love reading about it (it's reminding me that it's been too long since I last visited that area.)

    I really liked Cannon Beach. But probably mostly because of the goonies factor! ha ha ha. :D


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