Category: On travel

Vegan dining in Ashland

By Midge Raymond,

Updated! Louie’s is more vegan friendly than ever! Below this original article, check out what’s new at Louie’s … 

We love dining out in Ashland, though as vegans it can be tricky, even in this progressive little town. Yet this afternoon we rediscovered Louie’s, with its veg-friendly new menu and an organic-mint mojito (it was five o’clock somewhere).


We sat in a shady spot by the creek, which was lovely even on a 90+ degree afternoon, and enjoyed Thai Peanut Wraps, with both regular fries and sweet-potato wafflettes. Other vegetarian- and vegan-friendly items (which we’ll be returning soon to try) include the rest of the artisan wraps (all of which can be made veg or vegan), the gourmet sandwiches (again, all of which can be made with organic tofu), and the black-bean chili (we’ll wait until autumn for this one).


Louie’s is right on the Plaza, and by the time we left, its air-conditioned bar and restaurant was packed and overflowing. Even on such on a hot day, the creekside seating was lovely and filling to capacity as well.

Those who love sports are likely already very familiar with Louie’s, which lately has been a major hub for World Cup viewers. Tuesday night is Trivia Night and Wednesday is Bingo Night (with half-priced beverages).

But we’re especially thrilled to see Louie’s making its menu such a veg-friendly one…between these delicious offerings and and the mojitos, you’ll know where to find us when we’re not at Ashland Creek Press HQ.


May 2017 update: Louie’s has always been one of the most veg-friendly restaurants in town, and on our most recent visit we were delighted to see these colorful menus that make browsing and ordering so much easier.

Not only does Louie’s have an extensive vegetarian menu but they offer a “vegan cheat sheet” as well.

We loved this, as it not only makes clear what items can be easily be made vegan, but it makes it a lot easier to ask; thanks to this cheat sheet, the staff knows exactly what to expect, and you don’t have to feel as if you’re asking too much by excluding whatever non-vegan item might be in a vegetarian dish.

In fact, thanks to this ingenious cheat sheet, I was inspired to sample something new: the Mediterranean wrap (which I may not have ordered in the past for fear of having to ask to hold the feta cheese and the pesto), and it was delicious. We also had the Thai tofu canoes, and of course the kettle chips and fries are delicious staples here.

We look forward to returning to go through the entire vegan cheat sheet and try every last dish. It is easy to see why Louie’s is always packed with happy people…it’s one of those rare and wonderful restaurants that considers its customer’s needs and meets them.

Vegan dining in Friday Harbor

By Midge Raymond,

San Juan Island is one of my favorite places to be in the world, mostly because of the stunning scenery and wildlife: windswept ocean vistas, rocky black-sand beaches, bald eagles, red foxes…the list goes on and on.

Almost as glorious as all the beauty and wildlife was to find a restaurant and wine bar that epitomizes all that San Juan Island is about. Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar is not only lovely and delicious but its all-vegan menu and Northwest wines show that this local business is serious about its appreciation of the environment it calls home.

Let’s get to the wine first. Owner Mike Sharadin is also owner and winemaker of Northwest Totem Cellars, a small, family-owned winery producing hand-crafted wines in Woodinville, Washington. The wine list at the cafe features a variety of local wines, available by the bottle, glass, or flight — but Mike had me at the Northwest Totem’s Sangiovese, which was delicious and happened to pair very well with the pizzas I was having. Beer lovers: there are lots of local beers on the menu as well.

As for the menu — I only wish I’d been able to try everything on it (already looking forward to my next visit). If you stop in for a beer or a glass of wine, you might try the spiced bar nuts, pretzels with savory mustards, or truffle oil popcorn. Small plates include bruschetta, hummus, spanikopita, and a vegan charcuterie platter with mushroom pate, herbed tofu cheese, olives, and French country bread.

The larger plates include the most delicious vegan pizzas I’ve had. I tried the pesto and the supreme, both amazing: crisp, cheesy, wonderfully spiced, and somehow light and filling at the same time — in other words, just perfect. Other larger plates include a pesto “chicken” sandwich, pasta of the day, and a Szechwan Sizzle.

All this, and vegan cheesecake, too.

Next time you’re in Friday Harbor, don’t miss Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar. It’s right in the center of town, at 135 Second Street), and a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re in the mood for a drink and a nibble or a meal and a bottle of good wine.

Even better, Mike’s is one of those few amazing places that actually walks the walk — a restaurant that reflects the beauty of its surroundings in its philosophy of food and wine.


PDX is helping to keep plastic bottles in check

By Midge Raymond,

I loved being in the Portland, Oregon, airport last week and being able to refill my aluminum water bottle at this handy fountain.


As most of us who carry our own bottles know, it can be rather messy to refill them at normal drinking fountains (and, having to be held at those awkward angles, they never seem to fill all the way, do they?).

This is the first time I’ve seen one of these nifty fountains (I know, I don’t get out much), but I hope to see many, many more in the future. Among the best things about it is seeing the real impact of using one’s own water bottle as opposed to buying yet another plastic one…


  Category: On nature, On travel
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A view from the top of Soda Mountain

By John Yunker,

From Soda Mt. to Mt. Shasta

Living in Ashland, Oregon, we’re spoiled with nature.

We have deer and foxes and the occasional bear all within city limits. And you can escape people in about twenty minutes by simply lacing up a pair of sneakers and walking up into the hills.

But occasionally it’s nice to get in a car and really get out of town. Which we did last weekend. We hiked via the Pacific Crest Trail to the top of Soda Mountain (about 6,000 feet) and were gifted with this view south into California and Mt. Shasta.

The Soda Mountain Wilderness Area is one of the newest protected areas in these parts. And we plan to return.

Celebrate Earth Day & win free books!

By Midge Raymond,

For Earth Day, Ashland Creek Press is offering an eco-fiction sampler and book giveaway.


Simply email Ashland Creek Press at editors [at] ashlandcreekpress [dot] com, on or before April 22, using the subject line EARTH DAY, and you’ll receive a copy of our Eco-Fiction Sampler, which features excerpts of six works of environmental fiction.

You’ll also be entered to win a copy of one of the six eco-fiction titles from the sampler — we’re giving away one environmentally friendly e-book and one paperback (printed on paper from Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified sourcing), so please mention your preference in your email.

When you enter the giveaway, you’ll be added to our mailing list, from which you can unsubscribe at any time (and your info will never be shared).

For more about Ashland Creek Press, click here. For more about our environmental literature, click here.

Happy Earth Day!