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.
Not sure if you heard, but this past week our corner of the World got slammed with a pretty good winter storm. We wanted to make something super hearty and easy to reheat in the event we lost power. We never did (fortunately) but now we have a huge pot (not kidding, this recipe will feed 10+ people) of this amazing chowder!
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.
I have been stalling on any additional upgrades for my axles, as I ponder the upgrade to one tons. So until then, and aside from the current build, I am trying not to upgrade anything. So when my rig developed a weird squeaking (believed to be a bent shaft), friends suggested I replace my stock shafts with another set of stock ones a buddy had laying around.
We all know the stock JK headlights are an embarrassment. So one of the first things I did was replace them with the infamous (and oft used) Trucklite LED headlights. But as the technology has improved in the space, I never thought to see what else might be on the market, or what the improvements could be.
I remember when I lived in Alaska and was a meat eater. The whole concept of “veganism” was an odd one – a stereotype of skinny, pasty, punk kids sitting in a drum circle eating lettuce and gravel. They were angry at the world,and irrational. I never took the time to meet or understand vegans, so my irrational vice held. That is of course, until I gave away all the meat and fish in my freezer and became an Alaskan vegan myself.
Well, it finally happened. I was able to sink my teeth into the newest, and possibly most anticipated vegan food item in a long time. Beyond Meat has been releasing their new product, the Beyond Burger in limited Whole Foods stores across the country (yet to be found in the PNW, sadly).
But Veggie Grill worked out a special deal with Beyond Meat and have included it in their new Winter Menu. We made a bee line for the closest VG (downtown Portland) and raced in from the car.
First things first, the second I walked into the place it smelled different. Veggie Grill never really had a “smell” (Like Subway, Burger King, or Abercrombie). But now, they did. It literally smelled like a Burger King in there. I wasn’t, and am still not, sure it is a good thing.
About fourteen and a half years ago (almost to the date) I turned my Jeep around in the middle of a busy Boulder, Colorado intersection. It was a literal U-Turn in the purest sense of the word. As I floored my Jeep, I raced back hoping he was still there. This little brown chocolate lab mix, at the time, named MacGuyver. He was at the Boulder Humane Society and we thought it was best to “wait” after meeting this sweet little pup. Five minutes after leaving the lot and we were headed back to pick him up. So fast, and deep was the connection with this truly beautiful spirit.
After a quick rename to Cooper (aptly after a Cooper Tires sign after leaving the humane society the second time, with the dog in the Jeep) he was home and making himself a permanent part of my life.
I have never liked cheese. Only as a slice on a cheeseburger, or on a plain pizza. All the fancy cheeses just grossed me out. The thought of moldy, fermented cow milk was never anything I really wanted to try.
But now, as a vegan, I am really excited to try out all these new cheeses! They are not gross at all, and, ironically I’m learning all about different cheese now that I am vegan.
What does all this have to do with Vtopia? Well, for starters, it is Portland’s first all vegan cheese shop. For seconders (is that a thing?) they have an incredible deli that let’s you try all their cheeses in their glory.
Kristin and I pointed the Jeep at Vtopia, and headed to NW Portland for some lunch.