We brake for cupcakes

If anyone says the words “vegan cupcakes” they will have my immediate attention. I love cake but being a vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs leaves few options when ordering desserts out. So I get excited when anyone offers a vegan dessert option. (I do need to give a shout out to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. If you are making your own at home, this is the place to start.)

On a recent trip to the Capital Mall, we noticed the vegan cupcakes sign at Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes. To be honest, I always look, but I am usually disappointed. So it only took about 2 seconds to decide that lunch was going to start with dessert. We ordered a chocolate cupcake with white frosting and raspberry topping to split. It’s hard to describe how I feel about chocolate cake so let’s just say that I really, really like chocolate cake. It was delicious.

Founded in 2012 by Olympia’s own Rachel Young, Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes now has multiple locations. After appearing on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in fall 2013, she opened her first storefront in downtown Olympia near the Farmer’s Market.

In addition to a wide variety of cupcake choices, Mystical Cupcakes makes cakes including vegan, guilt-free and paleo. You can even order a paleo wedding cake! Something for everyone. 🙂

You had me at vegan cupcakes. <3

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: It was another beautiful day in Olympia, sunny and warm with highs in the 60s. Totally spoiled!

Vic’s Pizza

Vic's Nina PizzaWe tried Vic’s Pizza at their Westside location and all we can say is yum! Always good when you can add another pizza to the dining out options. We bought the Nina Pizza vegan style with pesto, spinach, tomatoes and Texmex sauce, which is their vegan cheese alternative. I am a vegetarian so I do eat cheese occasionally, but I go vegan whenever possible. (A bonus for me is that it’s cashew free.) The pizza was delicious. Most vegan pizzas leave something to be desired IMO but this one was delicious and I didn’t miss the cheese.

Locally owned and operated since 1999, Vic’s has something for everyone. Need gluten-free and vegan? Vic’s has you covered. Most gluten-free pizza crusts are made with egg but Vic’s gluten-free crust is vegan, too.

The staff were helpful and friendly and made a couple of first-timers into future regulars. The restaurant was hopping and had a good vibe.

Visit Vic’s at either of their two locations:
Westside: 233 Division St NW Olympia WA 98502, 360-943-8044
Wildwood:  2822 Capitol Blvd S Olympia, WA 98501, 360-688-1234

Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 11 am – 9 pm and Sun.: Noon – 7 pm

How about a nice pizza pie?

Love,
Oly



Today’s weather was darn near perfect. It warmed up to about 60°F. It was warm and sunny and I feel like all of Olympia was out soaking it up.

Coffee and More Coffee

We visited the Cafe Au Lait Oly coffee stand near Target In Olympia and ordered our standard order, Americano for me and Chai Latte for my better half.

Let me say first of all that the baristas working at Cafe Au Lait Oly are SUPER NICE. Wow. So friendly. They even put whipped cream on my Americano no questions asked. My better half liked that they steamed the almond milk for his Chai. They were very busy so it’s obviously a popular spot. Two drive-up windows and the friendliest service I’ve ever had ordering coffee.

Seriously. Plus, a great cup of coffee.

Location: 2925 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 791-3537

Hours: Mon – Fri: 5:30 am – 7 pm, Sat – Sun: 7 am – 6 pm

Go get your cafe au lait love!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Chilly this morning and in the low 30s. The sun came out and we had blue skies on our lunchtime dog walk.

I heart coffee

There are a number of coffee shops and stands around Olympia and I have resolved to try as many as possible on my 365-day discovery of Olympia. I decided to start my coffee stand exploration with the neighborhood coffee stand, Steamboat Island Coffee. I was not disappointed! In fact, I wish we had stopped there sooner It has two drive-up windows which honestly is an amazing design for a drive-up place. We walked up because we had Mr. Barky with us. The guys working were super nice. I got a very good American and my better half got a chai. They even gave us a dog cookie for Mr. Barky. (He liked it very much and he is picky about treats.) Something for everyone!!

Location: 3403 Steamboat Island Road Northwest, Olympia, WA 98502

Hours: 6 am – 6 pm, Monday-Friday, 7 am – 6 pm on Saturday and 7 am – 4 pm on Sunday.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: No rain! Highs in the 50s. It’s 56°F at about 4 pm. G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S!

Yummy food ahead

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I love Vietnamese food. When I was a student at ASU, there was a great little place near campus. I could have eaten there every day. So I was happy to try Da Nang Restaurant on 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia. They have an extensive vegetarian menu and can make things vegan. We had a hum bao appetizer, a steamed bun that was fluffy white and filled with vegetables and tofu. I have never had this type of dumpling before–it was very good.

We shared the Tofu Phở and the Mock Chicken Stir Fry with Ginger. Everything was very fresh and the stirfry was flavorful without being heavy. I love Phở and am always excited to find a vegetarian version. As leftovers the next day, everything was just as good.

The fortune cookies, sadly, are not vegetarian but we enjoyed the fortunes nonetheless.

Good service and fast, nice interior. About $16.00 per person + tip. We are definitely going to be repeat customers.

Address: 116 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 534-9200

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 am-11 pm, Sunday Noon-10pm (always a good idea to call to confirm hours)

Ăn ngon miệng nhé!

Love,
Oly

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Today’s weather: Might have been wishful thinking but it felt like spring today. Temps in the 50s again and no rain. It was great. 🙂

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Get thee to the Farmers Market!

Farmers Market

It’s Groundhog Day (Marmota monax) and you may be wondering if there are any groundhogs in Washington. From this range map it looks like we might have some in the upper northeast corner of the state but none in the Olympia area. And yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his dreaded shadow so 6 more weeks of winter according to lore. Yay. I am going to don my “Wake me when winter is over” hoodie and grumble a little today.

Where were we? Ah, yes! The Olympia Farmers Market. If you ask anyone in Olympia about places to go here, they will mention the Farmers Market.

The Farmer’s Market is a large indoor/outdoor market that is going into its 43rd year. There are farm vendors, artisan foods, crafts and entertainment. The website has a lot of information about the vendors and you get a good idea of the breadth of offerings. It’s huge and it may take you a couple of times through to see everything. It’s a great place to walk through and you will certainly find something to delight you.

My favorite thing from the Farmers Market so far is the Kiwi Berries. I had visions of putting them on salads but I think we just ate them all right out of the container.

And if your brother wants you to pick up some apples, better get some details because the number of varieties is a tiny bit overwhelming in the fine state of Washington. 🙂

Located at 700 Capitol Way N in downtown Olympia. (360) 352-9096

Hours: Open every Saturday through March, 10 am-3 pm and then Thursday-Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm, April to October. There’s plenty of parking. Don’t forget to visit the demonstration garden on the east end of the market.

Spring is coming — it might just be taking the scenic route.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: more rain: surprise, surprise. But! It cleared up in the afternoon with temps over 50. Woohoo!


A special shoutout for Groundhog Day (affiliate link). Buy the movie and resolve to make a fresh start every day, even when it feels like the same thing over and over again.

King Solomon’s Reef

Yummy potato gems

We went to King Solomon’s Reef diner with an out-of-town guest and they had something for everyone including the vegetarians who lean toward the vegan end of the spectrum. It’s a quirky place but the service was friendly and we felt right at home. (Some readers of this blog might like to point out that I am also a little quirky. Guilty as charged; I am a vernacular girl.)

I had the “Chicken-Fried” Tofu Burger. They pretty much had me at tofu. I am one of those apparently rare individuals who really like tofu and I am always up for a new take on my long-time love. My better half had the Buffalo Tempeh and our guest had the Monte Carlo. We all had pie for dessert. If you are a vegetarian, desserts can be few and far between. But King Solomon’s has vegan pie, people! More than one! Choices!

Fun fact: While we were ordering we learned that our octogenarian guest had never had tater tots, one of the sides offered with his sandwich. How do you describe a tater tot to someone who has never had one? Tasty fried nuggets of potato deliciousness?

I did a little research and learned that Tater Tots is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida. Ore-Ida’s founders created Tater Tots in 1953 as a way to use up all the extra pieces of potato. According to Wikipedia, Americans eat 70 million pounds of potato gems per year.

Please, for the love of diner food, please don’t wait until you are in your 80s to try tots. You may not like them, but they might be your new favorite side dish.

Located in downtown Olympia at 212 4th Avenue E, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 742-3199
King Solomon’s Reef is open every day, 8am-3am; always a good idea to call ahead on holidays.

Love,
Oly

PS Check out the Olympia Downtown Associations guide to shopping and dining.

PPS I support the Wikimedia Foundation and I encourage everyone to do the same. From their site: “The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property.”


Today’s weather: A little colder today, highs in the 30s the couple times that I checked. Drizzly rain on all three dog walks. The Evergreen State is also the Evergloom State sometimes. Just keepin’ it real.

What’s a Haggen?

Groceries

When I first moved to Olympia, I noticed Haggen and thought, “What’s that?”

Located off the Black Lake Boulevard exit off the 101 at the corner of Cooper Point Road, Haggen is a family-owned 24-hour grocery store with 15 locations in Washington. Haggen has a large produce section, pharmacy, floral, food to go, nursery and more.

If you live in the Olympia area, you’ll receive a Haggen’s flier with the weekly bundle of inserts delivered with your mail. Check out the coupons–we have found more than one deal on things we buy.

The number one thing we buy is Zevia, a zero-calorie soda made with stevia. They also have a good selection of vegan and vegetarian brands that we like including Amy’s and Gardein.

I bought a few really nice looking plants there last summer. They all did well in my yard and the prices were good. Most Haggen stores also sell Christmas trees.

Haggen’s Chef Express offers ready to heat and ready to eat foods. Check out their recipes on their blog.

Haggen is also a ballot drop off location and there’s a library book drop-off bin inside for the Timberland Regional Libraries (in the front of the store just past the customer service counter).

Location: 1313 Cooper Point Road Northwest, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 754-1428. Typically, they are open 24 hours but they have reduced hours for some holidays. Check their website or call for details.

Happy shopping!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: On the cold side today and rainy this morning, overcast most of the rest of the day. I did wear sunglasses on the second dog walk because I am stubborn like that. 40°F at 4:30 p.m. but the dampness makes it feel colder, I guess. For me, there’s a big difference between 46/47°F and “feels like 39°F.”

Joe Knows

Hibiscus frame

After a particularly dark period of my life when I lived in lands without Trader Joes, it became a permanent fixture on my “must-have list” for any new home. Trader Joe’s is the first store that I went to when I arrived in Olympia. Actually, I think we went to Trader Joe’s before we even saw our new house.

What I love about Trader Joe’s:

  • Lots of vegetarian and vegan options including desserts
  • Great prices
  • Good produce
  • Naan
  • Good coffee
  • Flowers and plants
  • So much dark chocolate goodness

We do the majority of our regular shopping here so we have learned their inventory and we’ve probably had almost every vegetarian thing that they sell. In December, I stockpile Wintry Blend coffee and peppermint green tea. Can’t get enough of either one. There’s always coffee brewing so you can taste a new variety before you buy. They also have samples and more than once, I have bought the whole shebang. And there are a lot of Trader Joe’s dinner hacks that are just a Google search away. 

If you like fresh flowers, it’s only a mini splurge at TJs. I have an orchid from Trader Joe’s that I have had for three years and it’s moved with me twice! It’s fierce. I definitely recommend their orchids.

Trader Joe’s is on the west side of Olympia, 1530 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia, WA 98502. Hours: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.. (360) 352-7440.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather was actually pretty nice. I saw the sun. No rain, highs in the mid to upper 40s. No complaints!

Produce year round at Jay’s

Jay's Farmstand in Olympia

Jay's Farmstand in OlympiaJay’s Farmstand is a great place to pick up a wide variety of produce including many locally grown and organic items as well as other locally made food items. On our recent trip, we picked up bananas, delicata squash, tomatoes, peppers, a cucumber, sometimes-hard-to-find jicama and a sweet potato large enough to feed a family of four for about $10. It’s covered and the majority of produce is inside; everything outside is under awnings.

There’s an incredible variety packed into a small space and we found everything that we were looking for, even in January.

Location and hours: 4315 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502
Open daily 7 am–7 pm but it’s always a good idea to call: (360) 489-0295

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Today’s high looks like 54°F. It’s 39°F at about 5 am. Looks like it’s going to be a bit colder later in the week with highs in the mid-40s and rain, rain, rain every freaking day.