Monday, June 24, 2013

Vegan in the Middle of Nowhere hits the road!

Where has the time gone? I haven't written a new post in what seems like ages! I've been doing a lot of work, driving and traveling for work and leisure.

After two tremendously busy summer seasons, I've made it a goal to hit the places I've wanted to visit since I've moved out West, and some even before that!

Vegan in the Middle of Nowhere has been hitting the road the past few weekends and I've been wanting to share my adventures on the blog, because of course I needed to eat and finding vegan-friendly options along the way is just part of the fun.

Last month, on May 19, I completed my second half-marathon in Portland, Oregon and this post is a collection of eats, running photos and odds and ends to get my mini-travel series launched.

Sit back, grab a vegan cocktail and travel along with me as I explore some new places, meet some new faces or have Dodger in the backseat of my new ride wondering when the next treat stop is!

First we made a stop in Wallace, Idaho. It is an interesting funky little place...
The places featured in this Portland post include:
• Hopworks Urban Brewery
• Homegrown Smoker (and the North Portland food cart pod at the Mississippi Marketplace)
• Dovetail Bakery
• Good 'ol Trader Joe's
• Voodoo Doughnut

Hopworks Urban Brewery
This was our first stop on our Portland adventure and we got there hungry and ready for a beer after more than 12 hours in the car from Montana. We stopped at the location on SE Powell Boulevard and there's also the Hopworks Bike Bar on N. Williams Avenue. This place was the best! I followed the arrow leading me to the pub and ordered the HUB Lager off of the HUGE list of beer options. See below! For dinner, I ordered the Tofu Po Boy, which the menu describes as "grilled marinated tofu and Creole sauce, layered with lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, onion and cabbage mix." The sandwich is also served on a grilled Italian roll brushed with garlic oil. And, at $9.50, I described the Tofu Po Boy as HUGE, affordable and delicious with just the right amount of spice.

Homegrown Smoker (and the North Portland food cart pod at the Mississippi Marketplace)
Another great part of Portland is the chances I had to meet up with old college friends. My friend Renee has gotten married to her husband Zach, had their adorable daughter Madeline and just moved from Rhode Island all the way to Issaquah, Washington! Her tiny family made the three-hour drive down to Portland to meet me for lunch! I scouted out a place that had a selection of dining options and came up with the North Portland food cart pod at the Mississippi Marketplace. I could have spent an entire day walking up and down Mississippi Avenue amongst the bright orange poppies, on-and-off-again rain and city views. After some deliberation, because there are several vegan options at the 10 carts that make up the food cart pod, I settled on the Homegrown Smoker. I am so happy I chose to eat at this green food cart with smells of BBQ and sweet corn bread wafting out of it. Here, I ordered the side sampler place and for $7 I got another large plate of food. I went with a double order of mac-nocheese (this was so, so, so, so good! If you go to Portland, please try this dish!), stewed greens, chipotle coleslaw and a piece of cornbread that comes along with the sampler plate. Renee, Zach, Madeline and me sat under the tent in plastic chairs, ate and caught up about the last four or five years.
On a side note, does anyone else dip their vegan mac & cheese in ketchup? I love it.

Dovetail Bakery
We made a short stop at Dovetail Bakery later that afternoon and because we arrived later in the day, the selection was kind of limited. I was pretty happy with my trail mix cookie though. It was chewy and full of dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Yum! Next time I want to try a cinnamon roll though.

Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon - Portland
The night before the race, we stopped at Trader Joe's to grab a quick dinner. I stuck with a simple meal of Trader Joe's strawberry soy yogurt and pb&j with bananas for added potassium, because my stomach has issues before long runs, especially before a half-marathon. I thought by sticking with what I know, my stomach wouldn't freak out as much.

We finished, but I didn't end up drinking my finish line beer because of my upset stomach issues.

Voodoo Doughnut
We finished off our Sunday fun day in Portland with a trip to Voodoo Doughnut! I don't even really like doughnuts all that much and can't even remember the last time I ate a doughnut. I think it may have even been before I started a vegan lifestyle more than 10 years ago! But, after running 13.1 miles, vegan doughnuts sounded so tempting. We earned our doughnuts! We ended up going to Voodoo Doughnut Too because the line at the original location was out the door and down the street. The line at Voodoo Too was limited to the parking lot when we pulled up. Let the photos below do all the talking and take you on a tasty doughnut trip through heaven. It's true my friends, good things come in pink boxes!

We headed back to Montana bright and early Monday morning, so we enjoyed a home-cooked meal with some Portland folks for dinner on Sunday night.

Stay tuned to see the next stop on the road for Vegan in the Middle of Nowhere!