Restaurant Review: Sweet Alchemy [Vermont]

Growing up in Vermont, most places I considered “vegan” were stereotypical hippie joints – local co-ops bathed in patchouli oil, incense, and Birkenstock footprints.  And, while many places in the Green Mountain State still resemble those icons, the vegan scene in Vermont is changing.

On a recent trip home, we pulled our car into a non-descript parking lot in Essex.  The property is shared with a nursery/greenhouse. A small sign over a beautiful deck read “Sweet Alchemy Bakery and Cafe.”

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From the outside on this chilly Winter day, so far the experience was quintessential Vermont – from the rolling frozen hills in the distance, to the barn-esque design of Sweet Alchemy.  Once inside, the warm, sweet smells of a talented baker completed the experience.

Their menu, while expansive, still seemed to lean toward a healthier side of vaganism, far from the deep fryers that dot the Pacific Northwest, dipping fake chicken and oreos into grease.

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The baked goods case had some great looking things, from maple-glazed pumpkin rolls to muffins, and scones.  It was a good sign of a healthy business that many items were sold out by the time we showed up for lunch.

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The hard part was choosing a menu item that would both warm me up, and give me some sustenance.  I had been traveling quite a bit, and frankly, wanted to pig out a little.

I ended up choosing the BFG (BF Goodrich!?) burger, and talked my mom into sharing her “Mac N Trees.”  It was a tough choice, given a menu with entries like “Super tuber tacos,” “Real Deal Enchiladas,” and “Savory herb waffles.”

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The burger was really good, and a solid choice for lunch.  Once it was presented, I realized this was certainly one of those healthy vegan places.  Not that it was a bad thing –  at all.  But it did make me realize that the super fatty places I have come to expect have changed veganism away from its earlier healthy days.  So, it must be true that as veganism expands across the mainstream, it somehow also becomes generally unhealthier.

The burger was full of housemade goodness, serving it on toasted bread slices was a little odd (pretzel bun, anyone?) and contributed to a little dryness.  The thick-cut fresh tomatoes helped out a lot in this area.

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My mom (a local Vermonter) has been going to Sweet Alchemy for quite a while.  One trip in particular, she sent me this synopsis:

“My friends had the Creamed Butternut Soup. They said it was delicious!! Chet said it was the best soup he’s ever had! They are not vegan but are willing to venture out and tempt their palate. I had a delicious Banana Walnut Muffin with an Iced Americano. Everything is vegan. Amazing flavors!!!”

Back to this trip, I plunged my fork into a bowl of hearty Mac and Trees…and it was amazing!  The crumbled nuts sprinkled on top balanced it so well.  The healthy yet hearty “cheese” was phenomenal, and of course the broccoli (trees) rounded it all out.

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The facility was super nice, with a huge outdoor seating area, that huge deck, and big, bright windows surrounded by old books.  There was a nice coffee bar off to the side.  I could envision myself watching a Vermont blizzard blow, reading a book and enjoying some of that coffee.

I will be going back to Sweet Alchemy every time I go back home.  You should check it out too!

Sweet Alchemy is located at Lang Farm on Rt.15 in Essex, VT.

Lots of Changes at Offroad Vegan!

I have taken a little breather from writing new content for the blog.

A large part of that is due, in part to….wait for it….selling my Jeep!  That’s right, I sold my Wrangler.

A lot of people asked me why.  Basically it was a combination of things.  Primarily, I was just a little bored with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Wranglers.  And I will have another one.  But for now, I wanted something different.

Second, I was bored with rocks.  I have done the Rubicon 3 times, Moab 3 times, and countless trips in Oregon and Washington.  I want to try overlanding and exploring with the family, not just bouncing off rocks.

And last, I want to learn something new.  I have worked on my Jeeps for many years, and want to learn something new.  In addition to overlanding, I want to try a new vehicle, a new platform, and even a new brand.

Continue reading Lots of Changes at Offroad Vegan!

What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

Well, here we are yet again.   Staring down the harsh reality of yet another madman killing many people for no reason.  The videos I have seen, show it was in fact a massacre.

And, yet again, the media and the majority have shifted focus away from the madman himself, and put the responsibility of the event on the weapon – and the millions of Americans that own the same exact rifle.  Myself included.

Even on NPR this morning, people were barking the familiar rhetoric of gun control, and passing “tougher” laws to prevent these shootings from happening.

Want the reality?  You will never be able to pass ANY law that will prohibit these events.  They will continue to happen.  There are two primary reasons for this.

Continue reading What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

My Take on the Impossible Foods Burgergate

Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers.  I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.

However we all left stunned.  I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.

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So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.

Continue reading My Take on the Impossible Foods Burgergate

Advisory: Failing Radiator Fans in Jeep JKs

My Jeep had been sitting in the garage for maybe a week.  So I decided to start it up one day, and was greeted with a new chime, and the dreaded Check Engine Light.

I ran my diagnostics through the Bully Dog, and the result was surprising – it returned codes for P0113 – Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit High, and P0480 – Fan 1 Control Circuit.

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I forced the fan on via the Bully Dog, and nada.  As a friend of mine recently replaced his fan assembly, I figured I was also looking at a $120 bill and 10 minutes of work.  Well I was wrong.  He has the 3.8l.  The new fan (OEM replacement) is a whopping $500 and very hard to find in stock.

With my wedding approaching (and the Jeep playing a key role in it) I was desperate to find out what was happening.

Continue reading Advisory: Failing Radiator Fans in Jeep JKs

Restaurant Review – Subia’s [Jersey City]

On a recent trip to New Jersey, I had already assumed the vegan scene was gonna be rough.  As I plied the townhome lined streets of Jersey City, visions of pasta and “steamed veggies” began to swirl in my head. Then, something caught my eye. The word “vegan” painted on the side of a red brick building.

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The building was unassuming, and like many homegrown vegan places, relied on chalkboards and an array of health foods to greet customers.  This was vintage veganism and it was grand.

Continue reading Restaurant Review – Subia’s [Jersey City]

ADVISORY: 3.6L Pentastar Oil Assembly Explosion!

Ok, well maybe an explosion is a strong statement.

Anyway, I just had a crazy thing happen to me while changing my oil.  And, after a quick scan of the web, this is a relatively new issue now that many of the 3.6l Pentastar engines are aging.  This issue seems to only affect model years 2012-2013. 

As with all my oil changes, I left the oil filter cap off while the oil drained.  I was actually in the process of attaching the new o-ring to the cap, and pulling the new filter from the box when BANG!  The sound of a gunshot echoed in the shop.  On the floor was a long plastic piece, and a large spring rolling around.  Oil was sprayed on the fenders, under hood, and the floor.

Continue reading ADVISORY: 3.6L Pentastar Oil Assembly Explosion!

Restaurant Review: Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza [Portland]

Vegan pizza is easy to find.

But good vegan pizza is very hard to find.

There are some places in Portland that try hard and have good options.  But when we recently stopped into Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza in SE Portland we were blown away.

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The place is a really rad sports bar with plenty of street parking.  The space was clean and well laid out.  There were tons of big screens for watching sports games and other events.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza [Portland]

Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative.  While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.

I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others.  That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far.  It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.

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That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.

Continue reading Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

Restaurant Review: Blackwater Bar [Portland]

Today we ventured down Broadway in Portland, looking for a spot for some lunch goodness.  The only problem?  I wanted something new.  I remembered hearing about Blackwater Bar in Portland, an all-vegan bar.

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Blackwater is a punk-rock themed bar, that teeters on the edge of dive status for me.  Once you walk in, the space is on the dark side (not sure if deliberate for the punk theme) and has a good mix of booths and chairs with tables.  The place is pretty good size, with a full sized stage for live music shows, a bar in the back, a couple of pinball machines, and ample seating.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Blackwater Bar [Portland]

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