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).
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 find that a lot of the issues surrounding animal rights nowadays are pretty polarizing. On one side, we have organizations like PETA that grab headlines with crazy stunts. On the other hand, we have people like Ted Nugent screaming about how many animals he mercilessly slayed.
I find that the vegans are preaching to the vegan choir, and the hunting, consumptive users are preaching to Ted Nugent.
And, with that scenario, it is impossible to make any progress.
Johnathan Safran Foer, in his book Eating Animals laid out an extraordinary story about a vegan that helped build a slaughterhouse. Basically this vegan wanted the ability to help build and design an ethical(ish) slaughterhouse. This viewpoint is similar to my personal objective on hunting.
1. Global Veganism just ain’t happenin.
Do I wish that tomorrow, the World would be vegan? Yes. Absolutely. We would very quickly improve a lot of the health issues we all face, as well as make inroads on curing hunger, and potentially reverse climate change, as well as countless other benefits.
But we all know that just about will not happen. So, once we can accept that, we need to ask ourselves the next question.
If the World isn’t vegan, what is the next best moral position?
Waaay back in the day when I used to live in Alaska, the thought of surviving as a vegan was faint. This is, after all the place we decided to be at least vegetarian and that was hard enough.
When I returned to Los Anchorage a few months ago (and as a vegan this time), I was really impressed with just how much easier it was.
I mean, the Mooses’ Tooth lets you bring your own Daiya!
One of my friends suggested I check out the Middle Way Cafe, located in a strip mall sandwiched between anchor stores REI and Title Wave Books.
I was blown away by how vegan friendly they really were.
And, of course I ate there every day for a week.
One morning for breakfast I had the Huevos Rancheros with the vegan sub for blackened tofu and vegan sour cream. It was a great meal, but needed something. Maybe some soyrizo?
Another morning I raced over there in the sub zero temps for some VEGAN PANCAKES. Yep. They are in caps because they are awesome. Real maple syrup, vegan butter and fruit. A perfect normal breakfast.
They had a ton of other vegan options including a breakfast burrito and “Colours Tofu Snack” which is described on the menu as “A crunchy patty of beets, carrots, zucchinis, and leeks on a bed of home fries and ranchero sauce topped with blackened tofu, scallions and vegan sour cream.” Never had it, but will be next on my list.
I am so happy to see a place like this in Anchorage – and the fact it was been there for so long, and that the vegan options continue to grow.