Restaurant Review: Evolution [San Diego]

I’ll be honest.  From time to time I miss the ability to go grab a bag of fried, cheesy, meaty food from a fast food joint.  And, while there are plenty of vegan places that try to fill this niche,  have never found one that did it perfectly.

Until today.

Inside this greasy bag is amazing vegan eats.

When I found out I was heading to San Diego, I knew I’d also haveta make a beeline for Evolution.  Evolution’s tag line is simple “Delicious Vegan Fast Food. “

The building is located in an easy location nicely situated next to Balboa Park and seemed to have ample parking (I walked there).  It was nice to see a drive up window, proving that vegans should also be allowed the occasional lazy fast food experience.

The drive thru window at Evolution.

The outdoor seating area, while a bit sparse was nice, and provided a shady spot to eat out of the sun.  Service was brisk and friendly.

I ordered at the register where they also had a nice selection of grab and go foods, desserts, and drinks.  I picked up an organic Blue Sky organic soda to go with my lunch.  The decision was tough, between the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, but at the staff’s recommendation I went with the Buffalo.

Lots of grab and go options if you don’t have time to stay.

What was most exciting for me?  Honestly it was the greasy bag that reminded me of lunch at Ronnie’s (a legendary, non-vegan greasy spoon lunch spot in Auburn MA my family would frequent).   Inside the bag was an awesome white bag of fries, the buffalo chicken sandwich, and ketchup.  It was brilliant.  Taking the fast food theme even further, a voice squawked over the intercom when my order was ready to be picked up at the counter.

I opened the bag, and the strong smell of Buffalo indicated I made the right choice.   This sandwich was absolutely amazing.  The “chick’n,” while similar to Gardein seemed housemade and had a great texture and flavor.  The soft bun was also super good.

Messy, saucy, chick’ny goodness.

The fries, made fresh from Kennebec potatoes were cooked to perfection and had just the right salt.

Perfect fries.

I had to save some room for the chocolate shake I ordered.  Made with housemade ice cream, it was not too heavy but perfectly sweet.

Chocolate shake was perfect!

The best part of this meal was that I didn’t leave in a food coma.  While I definitely treated myself to some good ol’ vegan junk food, I still felt good enough to walk the 2 miles back to the hotel.

I still have about four days left in San Diego, so I know I will be back to Evolution!

Product Install: Evo Long Arm Upgrade Kit

One of the last major upgrades I needed to make to my Jeep was a proper lift.  I have been happily running the Teraflex 2.5″ “Budget Boost” but we all know those do not offer the benefits of a real lift.

So I recently ordered the Evo Long Arm upgrade kit and 4 Evo spec King coilovers for my suspension.

The install is cutely referred to as “bolt on” but there is very little bolt on about this.  You will spend countless hours grinding off stock frame parts and drilling new holes.  No instructions are provided (none as in ZERO, NADA) so you will also spend a good amount of time with puzzle pieces and counting hardware parts to see what bolts go where.   Finally, you will be able to bolt on the brackets.

Continue reading Product Install: Evo Long Arm Upgrade Kit

The Great Illusion: On Glass Windows & Slaughterhouses

Let me start this off with me saying I was a meat eater.

I remember going to a wholesale club in Massachusetts, where there were ham steaks (big ones, too) on a sort of tape.  They were vacuum sealed and perforated between each one.  They came off a huge spool in a cardboard box.  Once you had the quantity you wanted, you simply tore off the last one, and tossed them in your cart.

It was only later that I realized those pig slices were probably like some sort of cross-section of the same animal.  At least for 4 or 5 of the steaks.  It was actually really gross.

I bring this up, as it was probably my first epiphany about what I am actually eating.  Growing up, we are told that meat is an important part of your diet, and that beef is “what’s for dinner.”  Of course I didn’t stop eating meat because of that realization, but it was the first of many small moments that finally ended with me being vegan.

Which image do you think more closely aligns with reality?

The meat and dairy industries spend immense budgets on establishing the “black box” approach to meat.  Their labels have pastoral farm imagery, and catchy phrases like “Smithfield Farms” and even extensive rebranding efforts on the names of cuts.  This is, of course a huge lie being fed to Americans.  There is no “farm” in the  animal industrial complex.  The days of the local farmer, humanely raising and caring for livestock are sadly close to an end.

Continue reading The Great Illusion: On Glass Windows & Slaughterhouses

Restaurant Review: Red Lentil Cafe [Boston]

On a recent trip back to Boston, I was lucky enough to stop by the Red Lentil Cafe in Watertown.  The restaurant was popular and highly rated on HappyCow so I parked on Auburn Street, and headed in for dinner.

The space was very bright, clean, and well laid out.  I was happily surprised at how busy it was.  The tables were set up mostly for couples which lent a nice ambiance to the place, and the bright colors complimented the friendly service.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Red Lentil Cafe [Boston]

Trail Review: Sand Lake Recreation Area

I have always heard about this mythical place called Sand Lake, but never really wanted to go there.  Maybe it’s the name.  A lake of sand doesn’t necessarily sound appealing.  But when I had an invite from a couple of Jeep friends to camp for the weekend, I took the chance.

Sand Lake is a recreation area just South of Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.  Getting there is a cinch and it is nice to pass Brown’s Camp should the desire for another type of wheeling strike you on your way home.

I headed toward “Derrick Road” where I would eventually meet my friends and set up camp.  The road ends at the camp area, a small sandy (surprise!) enclave of trees with primitive campsites, fire rings, and pit toilets.  The end of the camp area is basically the entrance to the recreation area.

My campsite at Sand Lake.

Once my friends arrived, we aired down and headed out to explore this expansive play area.

Continue reading Trail Review: Sand Lake Recreation Area

Trail Review: The Rubicon Trail Part 1 [California]

August, 2014, Day 1

The Rubicon is not just an offroad trail, snaking through the Sierra wilderness of Northern California.  It is also a river in Italy.  More importantly, the saying “crossing the Rubicon” is a direct reference to when Caesar’s army crossed this treacherous river, knowing they could never go back.  It is now a reference to a point of no return.

And, while there many points along the Rubicon trail that seem like a point of no return, the metaphor is larger than that.  The Rubicon is more of a pilgrimage (pardon the oft cliche’d jeeping phrase) for people that are looking to challenge themselves and their Jeeps, spend quality time with great friends, and experience some of the most beautiful wilderness this country has to offer.

As far as the offroad community is concerned, spending time on the Rubicon Trail is a spiritual experience.

So, it is, actually a point of no return.

 

Continue reading Trail Review: The Rubicon Trail Part 1 [California]

Trail Recipe: Spaghetti with Meatish Sauce

You’d be amazed how many calories you burn when wheeling.  Yes, you are sitting down quite a bit.  However, you are constantly climbing in and out of your Jeep to scout obstacles, running ahead for that photo, scrambling up hills with winch lines, etc etc.

So it is important to eat well.

On the Rubicon trail earlier this month, I decided to use some Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and Field Roast Italian sausages to whip up a sauce so meaty, it would make Ted Nugent blush (disclaimer: He’s an a$$h*#! and I can’t stand him).

Beauty shot of fake meat awesomeness. Photo (c) Jason Martin.

Anyway, even though this is a simple recipe, it bears writing as it is super easy, delicious, and will be the envy of your camp.  Trust me.

Continue reading Trail Recipe: Spaghetti with Meatish Sauce

Trail Review: Gold Lake 4×4 [California]

On our way to the Rubicon trail this past August, I was looking for a camping spot where we could break up the drive a bit, and also enjoy some camping.

After a bit of Googling, I found out about the Gold Lake OHV trail in Plumas National Forest, in California.  I plotted the coordinates into my GPS, and our small group of rag tag Jeepers soon departed from Oregon.

The trail is well signed.

The trail was easy to find, after a long climb into the mountains.  After following the signs, we met the trail head.  We all decided to air down (even though it is a short trail) however the number of people that were passing us combined with the fact the campground can fill up quickly led us to abandon the air down and get to the campground.

Continue reading Trail Review: Gold Lake 4×4 [California]

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