Restaurant Review: Root [Boston]

There is a little village outside Boston (right off the Pike) that should be on all vegans’ travel plans – Allston.  Similar to Portland’s vegan mini mall, there is a corner at a major intersection with a vegan chinese food restaurant, vegan ice cream shop, and the newest member – Root.

Root occupies the space that used to feature Peace O’ Pie, one of my staple vegan establishments in Boston.  But they occupy it well, offering something new to the scene.

The branding and space design is beautiful and a respite from the urban environment of Allston.

The menu, while relatively limited to six “big bites” options, is diverse and a great reflection of the spirit of Root. Continue reading Restaurant Review: Root [Boston]

Why am I Vegan? Part 1: The Animals.

Food is a weird thing.

When you really boil it down (no pun intended), the point of food is to act as nourishment for our bodies.  Somewhere along the line, the importance of food changed into more of a social and even ideological undertaking.  What a luxury.









I consider the ability to be vegan a highly privileged option.  A lot of people in this World barely have enough to eat, and yet vegans can determine what they want to eat on an ideological level.  Let me say that again.

We actually have the luxury of turning down certain foods because we don’t agree with how it was raised/what it is/where it comes from/how it is cooked/etc.

So I make this choice with a great deal of appreciation for the circumstances in my life that let me make these decisions. Continue reading Why am I Vegan? Part 1: The Animals.

Trail Report: Cline Butte Trail #34 [Oregon]

It is not every day you get to pull into an Off Road Vehicle area for the first time.  But this morning, we did just that as we decided to visit the Cline Buttes Recreation Area, sandwiched between Redmond and Sisters, Oregon on Rt. 126.

Checking out the maps at the trailhead.

Central Oregon’s drier weather is a welcome change to the recent rain we have been having, and the sandy surfaces of Cline Butte was a nice contrast to the mud at Tillamook State Forest.

Cline Butte was a VERY well organized, and well signed area with plenty of amenities.  Forest Management at TSF could learn a thing or two about how to properly run (and sign, and map, etc) an ORV area.  We did not get lost once, due in large part to the awesome maps and very well signed network of trails.

The trails are meticulously marked.

After airing down, Jesse, Chris, Melanie and I chatted at Barr North staging area to decide what areas to hit.  We warmed up in the open play area (which ended up a giant dump pit full of spent shells, glass, burned wood, etc) and quickly left, making our way to trail 34 – the most difficult trail in the park.

Warming up on some ledges.

We decided to warm up on a couple of ledges on the outer rim of the open play area.  With Chris’ expert spotting, both Jesse and I made it up some of the more technical spots.

Then we moved onto trail #34.

The nice part about this trail is that the difficulty seems to progress as you get further into the trail.  The beginning sections are a bit boring, but soon you are encountering more ledges, loose rocks, and challenging terrain.

Trail 34 gets progressively harder.

The sun came out and we broke for lunch about half way into the trail.  Lunch was Tofurky sandwiches, Earth Balance popcorn and gatorades.

Melanie making sandwiches for lunch.

After our break, the wheeling became really rocky.  Many obstacles had multiple options and bypasses.


One of the many drops.

Toward the end of the trail is a large ledge on the right side of the trail.  There is an obvious route up the ledge between two harder options (the easy option is the one with the small pine tree in the center).

The challenging ledge. Click to enlarge.

If we had more time, I would have attempted  the more difficult option on this ledge, to the right of the option pictured above.  To the left of above is the most (triple black IMO) difficult option which is probably not doable by very many Jeeps.

About a half mile after the ledge above, we met up with trail #37 which took us straight to the parking area to air up and cruise out.

Overall, Cline Butte was a great change of scenery from TSF.  We were not really challenged to the max, but there were some spots that tested our skills.  Unfortunately, this was the toughest trail here, so next time will be the same, or some of the simpler trails.

It looks like camping is permitted in the staging area.

Restaurant Review: Sweetpea Baking Co. [Portland]

Believe it or not, we have so many vegan establishments in Portland that it is still a possibility to explore new ones.  And this is exactly what happened to me recently when visiting Sweetpea Baking Company in SE Portland.

I had been there before, but usually only to pick up a special order cake, or for a coffee emergency.

But today I visited with the intention of actually exploring the place – starting with one of their ginormous cinnamon buns.  And what a place to start! Continue reading Restaurant Review: Sweetpea Baking Co. [Portland]

Trail Report: Cedar Tree [Oregon]

Of all the trails sprawled throughout Tillamook State Forest, Cedar Tree is one of my favorites. No, it is not as technical or advanced as Firebreak Five, or as perilous as Airplane Hill or Can Opener.  But for a scenic trail that winds through beautiful forest with just enough challenge to keep you guessing, it is the best.

Quick fill up and snacks at Chevron.

As with most Jeeping trips, our day began relatively early, meeting up with our buddy Rob at the North Plains Chevron station.  I swear these small businesses survive on the dollars brought in from all these pre-TSF offroad trips. Continue reading Trail Report: Cedar Tree [Oregon]