Whew, still trying to settle back into the grind after our amazing Vegan Alaskan Cruise. We got home late Saturday night and have been busy cleaning, spending time with family, shopping, and working since. So, I am still catching up with the pictures and events from it and slowly getting back into the swing of things with recipes. One of the cruise stops was Sitka, Alaska where we did the Bike and Hike shore excursion with the vegan group. It was an early excursion at 8 AM, but a gorgeous one that started with a bus ride to a bike rental location, then biking with a group for a few miles to the Sawmill Cove Loop Trail System where we hiked and learned about the Alaskan Rain Forest from our guide.
The weather was perfect, slightly overcast, not raining which is rare for the area, and cool.
We checked out the local greenery, snapped pics, and took in the beautiful sights and smells of nature.
Hard to tell, but this slug was over 6 inches long!
Bear bread which bears do not actually eat, they just gnaw on it.
And there were a few beautiful waterfalls.
Sitka is a great port in Alaska because the town is very close, lots of great shops and historic locations in a short walking distance. We had some time to explore the shopping area after our excursion before heading back to the ship.
I was on a mission to find cute souvenirs for family and ended up with locally made vegan pine soaps and wooden ornaments that weren’t too pricey.
We found great views of the town and ship.
When we left port, we cruised through a storm and were treated to a gorgeous rainbow.
The next day we pulled into Ketchikan, Alaska and this was the only non-rainy picture I snapped from the ship.
Apparently people like to buy pricey jewelry on cruises because most of the shops in the shopping town area were fine jewelry shops. I wasn’t too interested in spending that much money in a new area, but a lot of it was pretty.
As soon as we got off the ship for our rain forest and raptor center tour, it started raining and hard. Apparently that’s normal for the area where our tour guide said it rains usually 80% of the time and it was cool touring a rain forest in the pouring rain. Thank goodness these stylish plastic ponchos were provided!
But the down pouring rain made it a little difficult to get pictures.
We were back on the ship by the afternoon to try local pumpkin ale.
And attend the meet and greet with the fabulous Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Kitchen.
She talked about her life, history as a vegan, her new book – The Homemade Vegan Kitchen, and past vegan ventures in the US and Japan. She’s a truly fascinating chef with amazing ambition and so fun and down-to-earth to just hang out with. She had an hour for her meet and greet, but opted to only take part of it so surprise guest speaker Howard Lyman could inspire us!
As in that celebrity Oprah guest and author of The Mad Cowboy! Turns out he and his wife were just part of the vegan cruise guests along to enjoy the vacation and he graciously delivered an amazing speech about the lawsuit drama, his fascinating life, and what he’s learned about animal agriculture and the environmental damage it’s doing. What a treat listening to him speak, such an inspirational and entertaining man. Keep checking The Vegan Zombie’s blog and YouTube channel because they got a great video of Howard’s speech that you won’t want to miss.
We were treated to Fran Costigan’s Meet and Greet next and poor Fran admitted that she can’t compete with Howard.
But she was very entertaining and funny about her transition into veganism and how it impacted her career as a pastry chef. She also provided a lot of insight on promoting vegan recipes and mastering creating vegan desserts so amazing, most won’t know the animal products are missing.
We had about an hour break before heading to the Culinary Arts Center of the ship for Miyoko’s kitchen demonstration.
And it was awesome! Seeing Miyoko in action in the kitchen is something else! In under an hour, she whipped up 4 amazing recipes from scratch including pancakes, fresh pasta from scratch with just a food processor, mushroom pasta sauce, and an amazing cashew-based salad dressing. And even tossed pancakes into the audience for sampling all while rocking a evening dress for the formal dinner shortly afterwards. Impressive!
And dinner was impressive too, we started with the Black Metal Chefs tofu spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce.
A Caesar salad with Miyoko’s cashew dressing.
And the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s crispy tofu with rice and veggies.
And pasta shells with Miyoko’s mushroom sauce.
With a communal plate of veggies for the table to share.
And Fran’s chocolate pudding to wrap up the meal.
Did I mention a lot of eating is done on cruises? It was all divine!
Friday, our last full day on the ship, was action packed. After hitting the gym in the morning, we headed to The Vegan Zombie’s kitchen demonstration.
Chris and Jon are very entertaining together and prepared a great, hearty, winter potato stew that I will be recreating as soon as the temps start cooling here.
Then we got the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s kitchen demonstration in full makeup and background music which he wrote and produced – wow.
Also very entertaining, he created the crispy fried tofu and peanut spring roll recipes for us that were included in the previous nights dinner. His style of presentation mixed with heavy metal and custom spiked kitchenware was fabulously entertaining, constantly cracking up the audience like this.
Friday evening we pulled into Victoria, BC and the weather was perfect.
And getting off the ship and into Victoria was fast and easy.
Hubby and I just explored the area on foot this time checking out Fisherman’s Wharf and the cute little floating tiny houses.
The local bar scene.
And local entertainment.
By the time it got dark and the local places were packed with Friday night crowds, we headed back to the ship for a late dinner in the formal dinning room with spicy spring rolls.
Stuffed peppers with Mexican rice.
And tasty spicy pasta.
And reminisced about what a great week it’s been and how sad we were to be leaving the ship early the next morning. Such a great vacation for new great friends, new scenery, amazing food, inspirational vegan celebrities, and fun activities. We did make it to the ship’s dance club late one evening to find over half of the dancers were also in the vegan group, hehe. And a vegan from our group won the ship’s Dancing with the Stars contest for the week – wow. This vacation offered so many options to make it your own spending time with large groups of people or enjoying quieter times. Eating as much as possible and/or making it as active as possible with hiking and biking excursions. I would recommend it for any vegan looking to meet new vegans and have a great vacation.