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Vegan Restaurant Dweeb #2

April 22, 2010

Hello Readers! Long time, no post. Sorry about that, but no promises that I’ll be any more timely in the future.

First I must promptly apologize to Pho 999 Vietnamese Restaurant for the inversion of the numerical part of their name, infamous “666”, to state the obvious. I hope my little gaff didn’t scare off any evangelical Christian business for them, nor attract any curious teenage Satanists! Anyway, they have a good vegan soup on the menu, so please consider paying them a visit to offset my error. (Of course, it’s always best to specify “no eggs please” at Asian restaurants.)

Last time I neglected to give prices, which I think it would be good to do, for the more frugal and bargain conscious among you. I hope to do this in the future, but I don’t always think to ask for a receipt. When I have, and I remember, I will try to give the price I paid for each meal.

Also, sometimes my reviews may be a bit sketchy, partly because it may have been a while since I last visted a place, and my memory isn’t that great. But I do want to at least mention all the places I’ve tried.

Imperial Chinese Cuisine
212 N. Main, Colfax

I visited this on my very first day in Washington, on my way to my new home, from California. The waitress here was very friendly and cheerful, but I’m afraid the “stir fry” I got may have been one of the worst I’ve ever gotten at a Chinese restaurant. It wasn’t much more than a bunch of vegetables boiled in water with salt and pepper. There didn’t seem to be anything distinctively Chinese about them. I’m considering trying it again. Maybe they were just having a bad day. I’m half-considering giving them another try.

China Buffet
1883, 1st St., Cheney
Buffet: $7.60

My brother, a vegetarian, recommended this place when I first moved here. I’m afraid I’ve been pretty disappointed by it. First, the young Chinese waiter, almost seemed to have a half-wounded, half-disgusted expression on his face when I asked about his vegetarian selection. (I use “vegetarian” rather than vegan in most places, to avoid total confusion.)

The vegetable chow mein of course is suspect, because Chinese noodles are usually made with eggs. So I had to skip that.

There was a mainly broccoli stir-fry, but not much else, except white rice, tater tots and some iceberg lettuce. Maybe a few other things.

There was lots of puddings, and donuts and other ovo-lacto sweets, but that’s not vegan and much too sugary anyway.

I stopped in for a second time with the strategy of ordering from the menu rather than their buffet, but the same young man, again wounded and put-out, said they were out of what I wanted to order from there, so had to settle for the limited buffet items again.

I got the impression as a vegan I was a nuisance, so I’ve pretty much given up on this place.

Suchada’s Thai Cuisine
1020, S. Grand Ave., Pullman

I don’t know if this was the best Thai I’ve ever had, but it was at least decent. (“Decent” Thai is pretty good). The waiter, though a little nervous because he didn’t speak or understand English very well, was friendly and supportive of my vegan requests.

I ate here on one of my several trips to Pullman to get my Washington Driver’s License. It took several because I never seemed to have the right documents.

Thai Ginger
300 S. Grand Ave., Pullman
Price: $7.50

I usually don’t pay as much attention as I should to what I order and forget it soon after, but I believe the selection I got here involved something called “Thai black pepper sauce”. It’s a very distinctive Thai flavor I remember getting once in Seattle back in the mid 80’s. Very, very tasty. Oddly, this restaurant doesn’t seem to be listed in the phone book. I found it just driving by.

Linnies Thai Cuisine
2526 E. 29th, Spokane

I found the food at the 29th Avenue location a bit better than the one downtown, though the latter was pretty good too. Though delicious as Thai food usually is, I’m not sure if it’s quite worth the greater price.

Pho Van
1212 N. Hamilton, Spokane

These people were very accomadating, friendly and tolerant, but their menu apparently wasn’t very adaptable to veganism. They were very generous, maybe overly, with the white rice, but there weren’t many vegetables at all. (It was sort of a “vegetable fried rice” dish, with lots of beans sprouts, cilantro and corn, among other ingredients. I was very careful to specify “no eggs”.)


Taco Time
4750 W. Division St., Spokane
Numerous other locations

I remember very fondly the times I ordered bean burritos in Federal Way and Seattle in the early 80’s, back in my vegetarian days. They were so huge and delicious. I love good Mexican food, and before I started being more strict in my veganism, would sometimes visit a few good Mexican restraurants I know of.

About last summer, I called Taco Time to inquire about their tortillas and beans. Although they told me their tortillas are free of lard and dairy (presumably vegan), they do put cheese in their refriend beans. So, all hope is lost, as far as ever being able to eat at Taco Time again. This probably goes for most or all Mexican restaurants, unless there are any that explicitly offer vegan options.

Panda Express
808 W. Main Ave., Spokane
6 other Spokane locations

I see PE around often on my occasional trips to Spokane, and have been curious about them. I finally got around to calling them, and they told me they do have vegan selections, and that their noodles do NOT have eggs. The girl I spoke to seemed a little defense about it.

I was still a little skeptical that her claim was accurate (paranoid me), so I checked their website which says that cannot guarantee that their food is vegetarian or gluten-free due the fact that they “share equipment” (presumably this refers to cookware). This brings up a slightly worrisome issue for vegan restaurant junkies like me. Do other meat-serving restaurants with vegetarian or vegan selections on their menu use seperate cookware for them? Frankly, I’ve never thought that, or if I have, barely. I would feel awkwardly “fussy” asking about it, and frankly, don’t intend to. Does this significantly compromise my veganism? I’m not terribly concerned about it, but maybe I should be. Maybe it’s something I’ll need to consider.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 11:49 am

    Thank you, James. I had no idea about the cheese in the beans at Taco Time. How disappointing! Concerning shared cooking equipment for meat and veggies, I know Mizuna in Spokane uses dedicated equipment and space for all of their veggie meals, but I’m sure most restaurants don’t go through the trouble. In this case, unless you’re dealing with an allergy, it might be best not to ask unless you choose to only support businesses dedicated to this level of veg-friendliness.

  2. jaxy permalink
    June 2, 2010 6:40 pm

    I’ve found that Taco Time will custom build veggie burritos (which are usually discounted on Wednesdays in Spokane btw). I’m lactose intolerant and my digestive system isn’t especially fond of refried beans. They’ve accommodated me statewide when I’ve requested black beans in place of the refried beans, no cheese or sour cream, and extra sunflower seeds. I throw on some salsa from their salsa bar and I’m good to go. Hope this helps.

  3. jamesndawson permalink
    June 4, 2010 1:06 pm

    It does! Thank you! I think I’ll try the TT in Colfax as well.

  4. October 25, 2010 9:24 am

    ” they do put cheese in their refriend beans” Not sure where you heard this from but it is completely false! I appreciate what you’re doing here but look into the facts before write please!

  5. October 25, 2010 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the info. I was told by somebody at the head office that they did put cheese in their refried beans. They connected me with a person they said would know that information, and I trusted them, I think reasonably. Prior to that, I’d e-mailed Taco Time with the same question, but never heard back from them. So I did make an effort.

    Maybe the people who should know official policy don’t. Maybe managers and workers at various locations don’t know about it, or ignore it. There are many possibilities I suppose.

    This forum isn’t a professional journal. I think it’s best to go ahead share our best knowledge, and through discussion with others, move toward more accuracy, rather than withholding it until it meets strict journalistic standards.

    I went to Taco Time in downtown Spokane, and they seemed a little confused and hesitant about what veganism was. I had to do a lot of explaining. I did order a burrito from them, and I don’t rule it out in the future, but I’m a little hesitant to, because all the explanation was a bit of a rigmarole. Also, it was a lot scimpier than the humungous ones I used to get in Seattle and Federal Way.

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