We have just returned from a trip to Oregon and I thought I would put a roundup of the food I bought, ate and enjoyed or didn’t enjoy in case anyone is interested.
Airport food is pretty bad for vegans, there was some very plain looking vegetable stir-fry and that was about it at Newark besides a stand selling Lara Bars which I tried and wasn’t hugely fond of, Cliff bars on the otherhand were really nice and had some great flavours.
We flew with Continental and their food was rather hit and miss, they only do one vegetarian meal which is a ‘strict’ vegetarian apparently, but they gave me salad dressing that I couldn’t eat and another of our meals consisted of a tiny tiny roll with one slice of cucumber and one slice of tomato on it served with a salad. The dinner meal on the way to the States was lovely, we had a vegan cheeseburger, a salad with dressing I could eat, some fruit and a vegan cookie. All our other meals (including breakfast on the way back on the first plane!) was curry, the breakfast curry came with a bagel on the side, very oddly, some of the Indian food was nice and some not so. On the second plane from Newark to Manchester we were told that there wasn’t a special breakfast offered and everyone had pastries around me, like it was so hard to stick a bagel on a plane… Overall I ate, but DH who’s not a curry fan didn’t eat so well (and he’s vegetarian so not so hard to cater for). They didn’t even offer us crisps with our tiny rolls even though everyone else was having them, and plain salted crisps at that which we could have both eaten.
Our first hotel was the White Eagle and it didn’t come with meals included but they did give us coffee in the morning and even made up a special pot of decaf for us as they only put out the regular stuff normally. We did eat dinner there one night as we were too tired to go elsewhere and the only thing on the menu I could have was the fries and a burrito which they made for me without all the cream and cheese. It was a pretty nice meal but I always feel a little annoyed at not having a choice of what I want to eat. There were 2 vegetarian burgers on the menu but neither of them were vegan.
We had a lovely breakfast at the Blossoming Lotus which is also open for dinners (we looked one night but didn’t fancy anything on their menu). All of their food is vegan and it’s really nice and very reasonably priced. DH had oatmeal which was wonderful and I had a huge breakfast burrito that had tofu in it and lots of beans. We both had tea with our meals. It was really enjoyable and we would both go back again.
Our favourite lunch spot was Veganopolis though. We went there twice and could have happily visited again, it’s very friendly and really reasonably priced. The first time I had a Tofurky Melt which was to die for and DH had a grilled cheese with motzerella which he found a bit rich. The second time DH had a hotdog which disappeared in a heartbeat and a chocolate chip cookie and I had a BLT, which I realised later didn’t actually have any L on it, but it did have grilled onions which were fabulous. We had a nice conversation with the male owner (I never did catch his name) and great lunches. They also do cooked food that is charged by weight, so you pile up your plate with what you think you need and then pay just for that amount which I think is a wonderful idea!
We went to Voodoo Doughnut one morning for breakfast and neither of us were impressed with the fare. The doughnuts were heavy and a bit hard and they repeated on us both all day which was icky. Reading their website you’d think they had all kinds of amazing products to try but we found the selection pretty tame and dull, I can’t see a repeat visit when there are so many other places to get wonderful vegan baked goods.
We visited Vita on NE Alberta for lunch one day. This isn’t a vegan or even vegetarian restaurant but there were plenty of choices on the menu. I had a fabulous huge bowl of nachos, DH had grilled cheese (with real rather than vegan cheese) and a small portion of fries that it took 3 of us to eat! They had some rather nice rootbeer as well.
Also visited on NE Alberta but on a different day was Bella Faccia for pizza. DH had the cheese pizza and wolfed it down and I had the vegan pizza which was some wonderful stuff. Be warned that their rootbeer had honey in it which I didn’t read until I’d opened the bottle so the stuff went to waste. If you go before 6pm it’s happy hour and the pizza is $1 off per slice which makes it $1.55 (or thereabouts) which is an amazing deal.
We visited the Food Fight grocery which was smaller than I thought it would be but I still managed to spend $60 in there (mind you I did buy a bag for $12 and the Vegan Cupcakes book for $15). I picked up a range of stuff that I can’t find over here and am enjoying using it all!
Mother Marketplace in Hood River does some lovely vegan food for lunch. Dh had a burger (you pick which one you’d like from the fridge and heat it in the toaster oven) and I had some yummy roasted vegetable pizza. I never thought I would eat sweet potato, regular potato and aubergine on a pizza but it was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed. Again I came away with a bag of goodies too which is great!
In Eugene we found an organic grocery called Sundance Natural Foods which is a supermarket that also serves hot and cold food to take away. There was pasta, soup and chilli but I opted for a huge lovely salad with vegan ranch dressing and croutons on it, it was fabulous. DH bought some bread and mock ham and had a sandwich out of that and he didn’t fancy anything else and we both had a lovely vegan cookie. Again, I came away with a bag full of stuff, my suitcase was quite overweight by the time we went home!
We stopped one night for some tofu from Bui Natural Tofu and had it in the car. I think you’re supposed to cook it with other stuff but it was very nice on it’s own, we had one lot of onion and one of lemongrass and a portion of peanut rice which was fabulous. The meal was incredibly cheap as well, I could see this being somewhere to visit weekly to stock up on tofu for the weeks meals.
We stayed at Edgefield as well which is part of the same chain as the White Eagle. One restaurant there has the same menu as the White Eagle and their posher restaurant didn’t have anything at all that I could eat. At breakfast the next day I had hash browns with toast as that was the only vegan option I could find.
Our hotel at the coast had breakfast included and had some cereal I could have eaten if I’d wanted it (I took some milk with me for my coffee anyway) and bagels that were vegan.
I visited several Safeway’s and a Trader Joe’s whilst there as well and saw quite a range of vegan foods that you don’t get over here. These are just a few of the differences that I can recall.
Soya milk (which is called Soy milk in the States), doesn’t curdle in coffee, which never ceased to amuse me as you can’t use it in coffee over here. I was also amazed at the range of soya milks available and the soya creamer that you can get, we have a limited range of companies offering soya milk here and the only creamer I have found comes in tiny containers and costs the earth.
The range of mock meats is far bigger in the States than in England. We import a small range of stuff but there is so much we are missing out on, I wish there was somewhere to get these products at a reasonable price.
Decaf coffee isn’t the norm in Oregon and I was looked at like I was a freak when I asked for it. When you do find it the stuff is pretty damn good though, I came home with a bag of coffee that was roasted in Portland and I’m already addicted to it.
Cheese seems to be considered a vegetable. Our last night we ended up at the airport looking for food and I ordered a roasted vegetable hoagie with no cheese. The server repeated no cheese to me and I wandered off to pick out a salad. On my second bite back at the hotel I thought that it tasted odd so opened it up to find that he had put both cheeses on the sandwich. I admit that I was so tired and hungry and had paid so much for it that I peeled it off and ate it anyway which I wouldn’t normally do but desperate times call for desperate measures. At Newark I thought I would have a vegetable wrap, but on closer inspection found that the cheese in the so called vegetable wrap made up a larger amount of the filling than the vegetables themselves did.
We couldn’t find anything to say whether cheese that DH was having was vegetarian cheese or not, it doesn’t seem to be as big a distinction as it is over here. Also things weren’t marked vegetarian, whether that’s because of the cheese not being vegetarian or just a general lack of marking I don’t know.
Food at the Rose Garden Arena wasn’t for vegans, there was a gardenburger on the menu and fries but that was about it. I took a risk and had onion rings and some popcorn, I have no idea whether either of these items were vegan or not but I’d not had dinner and was starving.
I think that’s it, I will post again if I remember anything else. I would say that Portland is good for vegans though, I didn’t try a huge range of restaurants but there are enough Indian and Chinese places that