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.”
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.
Spending a week in Philly has been an awesome chance to get out and check the vegan scene. So far it has been an awesome experience.
Shortly after landing at PHL, I hit the road and had dinner at Hip City Veg on South 40th.
The spot was super nice, and had seats in the huge front window for epic people watching. I arrived later in the day, even after dinner, so the place was pretty empty.
The next challenge was to choose something from the menu. It isn’t a super expansive menu, but there was a decent variety of things. After hearing rave reviews of the Disco Chickin Sandwich, I ordered one up. I added a side of sweet potato fries, and the mysterious black bean dip.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s always exciting when you hear about a new vegan place in Portland. Especially with what seems like so many deciding to close their doors.
So yesterday, on a whim I ended up pointing the truck toward SE Belmont, and dropping in on Fatsquatch PDX.
The cart is nestled in a small pod on Belmont (Belmont Street Eats), and if you didn’t know it was there, you could possibly walk right past it. But once in the narrow little alleyway it opens up, with Fatsquatch lurking in the back like its namesake. Don’t expect covered eating at this pod, however. I had to eat in the truck.
Traveling to Alaska as a vegan can be pretty daunting. There is hope though, in the sparsely populated vegan options on menus at places like Bear’s Tooth, Middleway Cafe and others. But you can also get sick of them pretty quickly.
So I decided to join some friends recently on a downtown crawl.
The brewery is located in the old Snow Goose space, and they have done an amazing job with the design. I would have taken more photos, but it was Iditarod weekend and the place was absolutely PACKED. To the gills. So apologies for that (you can find some photos on their website).
Trigger warning: This post contains more superlatives than a Donald Trump speech.
It is often said in religious circles that “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” The vegan scene has had a few doors closing as of late, with Portland staples like Portobello shutting their doors. But, the vegan heavens soon burst open a giant window upon us all. And it is tremendous.
When you think of a cold, New England city like Boston, the image of ice cream probably isn’t the first thing in your mind. When you realize it is a 100% vegan ice cream shop, it seems even further from reality. But I am not complaining! FoMu ice cream is an amazing little shop with multiple locations around Boston.
FoMu is located in the little vegan paradise of Allston, right at the craziness that is Union Square. Many vegan establishments have come and gone here, so I am happy to see FoMu sticking around for a while.