Three Meals in Three States
Like I mentioned in my previous post, Portland is Vegan Heaven. The level of vegan eats available, both from all-vegan establishments and omni eateries, is truly daunting. Hours of operations helped me decided on Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store, a outlet of sorts for Grain God Bob that serves up vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Having to make it to Montana by the evening, I needed an early breakfast if I was going to fit in lunch and dinner and a cupcake stop! An early riser still on New York time, I was at Bob’s before 7 am, basking in the glutinous offerings.
The stock was impressive but I was disappointed flours were not at all discounted.
You don’t bring me flours anymore.
Breakfast: Vegan French Toast, thickly cut 10-grain bread with maple syrup. So fresh and delicious.. but I needed some Earth Balance. Thanks, Bob.
Across the street is Dave’s Killer Bread company store. Dave makes chemical-free bread that locals love. Which is great because his backstory is inspirational, his high quality breads are a labor of pure love and he’s got an adorable logo. You need more than that?
Okay, how about this?
So unlike Oregon, I feel like I have better represented vegan offerings in Washington state, though more specifically Seattle. But not Eastern Washington, which just so happens to be in the way of my reaching Montana. After a gorgeous ride through Mt. Hood territory, I followed the Columbia River east to Oregon’s border, all green and lush and coniferous… to the very boring and brown 395 to Spokane. But first, Richland and their vegan cupcake option at Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro.
It was a Strawberry Shortcake that was vegan today. And it was a yummy couple of bites, however… with Voodoo doughnut, maple syrup and now a cupcake, I was nauseous from all the sugar.
So I couldn’t even look at the bakery case at Boots Bakery & Lounge, an all-vegan spot in an adorable area of Spokane, Washington. The Spokane I knew 15 years ago looked nothing like this.
I could, however, load up on a medley of saltiness and veggie-based delight. I chose three spoon drops from their deli case, including a lemon rice pilaf (I need some acidity!), mac & cheese, and a tofu scramble. The nuked up plate helped balance out my poor tongue. But I secretly wanted 3 spoonfuls of mac & cheese. It was that earthy kind of mac that tastes kind of nostalgic. In fact, the scramble tasted kind of 90’s vegan too. Food flavors are similar to songs in a way, they hold constellations of memories packed up and folded and stored inside them… and the associated love gets credited to the flavor, and not all the stuff we connected to it. Just like songs. This I was thinking of in my many hours of driving–that songs are dresser drawers that hold memories. That you tuck it all in there and say, “That’s a good song.” But it’s really a million other things.
Okay finally, Missoula, Montana. I made it into this small college town with the plan of getting a good night’s sleep after dinner. But here I sit rambling on about songs and flavors still. So let’s talk about Montana. For dinner, Iron Horse Brew Pub. Why? Because they offer housemade tempeh substitution on any of their sandwiches. Yeah.
The tremendously tall Tempeh Sandwich was stacked with greens, sprouts, and cucumber. The thin strips of tempeh, whose texture was spot-on, needed a bit of a stronger marinade… and needed to make up a larger percentage of the sandwich innards. But this was a very welcome dinner after a day of sweet gluttony.
Here is a close-up of the delicious imbalanced ratio.