Category: Vegan


Vegan dining in Ashland, Oregon

By Midge Raymond,

Many local restaurants are making great improvements in its vegan dining options. For one, the all-vegan food truck Two Peas is at the Growers Market in Ashland (as well as at other Rogue Valley locations), and Louie’s continues to add yummy additions to its vegetarian menu and its “vegan cheat sheet.”

One of our most fun discoveries in Ashland of late was seeing the Impossible Burger on the bistro menu at Alchemy. (Note that this entire meal is vegan, as it should be; the Impossible Burger is on another local Ashland menu, but the bun is not vegan, which rather defeats the purpose of ordering a burger.)

The Impossible Burger is known by vegans for, well, being vegan — and it’s known among non-vegans for being the closest thing to a “real” burger; it has all the flavor, all the texture, and none of the cholesterol, fat, hormones, toxins, and animal cruelty involved in producing meat. Best of all: It’s truly delicious.

We’ve had the Impossible Burger before, and it was terrific — but the way Alchemy serves up this plant-based burger is truly delectable. It comes with the pommes frites piled onto the burger itself, and the whole thing is smothered with vegan cheese and sauce that is creamy and spicy and delicious.

It’s thrilling to see this amazing dish at one of Ashland’s most popular restaurants, as it shows a commitment to the vegans who are both local and visiting, and it will also help show the omnivores out there just how good plant-based food really is. In fact, we returned within a week just to enjoy this meal again, and it was served up slightly differently (but was every bit as delicious).

Unfortunately, foie gras is still on Alchemy’s main dinner menu, which is a shame, as this is likely to keep a number of vegans from even walking through the door. We do hope, though, that those who visit Alchemy try this vegan burger and make it even more popular, so that perhaps one day Alchemy will see the interest in delicious food that is cruelty free — which is better for their customers, for the animals, and for the planet.

Vegan dining in Salt Lake City

By Midge Raymond,

We were thrilled with a recent visit to Salt Lake City, not only because we got to eat at the delicious Vertical Diner but because we learned that this all-vegan restaurant is one of many in Salt Lake. Check out the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, and keep an eye out in town for its Veg Dining Guide for more vegan options.

Of course, Vertical Diner should be a stop on your journey; it’s delicious comfort food. We began with Buffalo Tigers, fried tofu in a spicy buffalo sauce, served with celery and carrot sticks and vegan ranch sauce. (This appetizer was so good it disappeared before we could take photos.)

Breakfast is served all day, and among the delectable options is La Mesa, a gigantic meal of potatoes, black beans, rice, tofu scramble, and grilled peppers and onions. Everything is covered with vegan cheese, sprinkled with sour cream, and topped with guacamole.

 

 

Another breakfast plate, The Avalanche, comprises two pancakes with tofu scramble and fries, with a choice of breakfast sausage or tempeh bacon.

For those who love gravy, look no further than the American Diner, which is a bowl of hand-cut fries (or mashed potatoes) and fried tofu “tigers” smothered with gravy.

A meal at Vertical Diner will provide you with more food than you could possibly need, but (in the interest of research, of course), afterwards we went to the Monkey Wrench, a glorious all-vegan ice cream shop, which also serves coffee and tea.

All the bakery items, even the ice-cream cone, are vegan, and flavors range from rocky road to pecan to mint chip, which I finally settled on after tasting just about every other flavor. There are also a lot of vegan toppings available.

Of note: This ice-cream shop is right next to the Bolt Cutter, another all-vegan restaurant, best known for its giant nacho plates. It also serves gourmet street tacos and other Central American dishes and has a wide selection of tequilas, mezcals, beer, and craft cocktails. We didn’t have time to visit, but it’s at the top of our list for next time…

Again, check out UARC and the Veg Dining Guide for more places that are not only vegan but that are UARC partners.

 

Vegan dining in Melbourne: Madame K’s

By Midge Raymond,

In the vegan haven of Melbourne, the neighborhood of Fitzroy, we discovered Madame K’s Vegetarian (you’ll also find in Melbourne Smith & Deli and Smith & Daughters, Matcha Mylkbar, Lord of the Fries, and so many more vegan options).

This Asian restaurant is all vegetarian and there are a lot of fake meats on the menu, as well as veg dishes for those who don’t like faux meat dishes. Important note for wine drinkers: You need to bring your own wine! Fortunately, there are a number of bottle shops and wine shops nearby.

For an appetizer we had chive dumplings, which are pan fried and stuffed with chives. They were so amazing we could’ve had another couple of orders and called it a night. 

But we went on to order a main dish: tofu with red curry. This dish comprised stir-fried crispy tofu with red curry, red pepper (called capsicum in Australia), and chilis, and it comes with jasmine or brown rice.

This too was very good (but not quite as delicious as the dumplings!). There are many more vegan options on Madame K’s menu, and we look forward to visiting again to sample more of them.

  Category: On travel, Vegan
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Vegan dining at Ashland’s Growers Market

By Midge Raymond,

The Rogue Valley Growers Market is in Ashland on Tuesdays, and thanks to the fact that the Two Peas Food Truck is here also, this means that for one half-day a week, Ashland has a vegan restaurant. (And, with any luck, either the city will finally approve food trucks in town, or maybe Two Peas will open a restaurant. We can hope!)

Two Peas is a much-needed addition not only to the growers market but especially to Ashland, which overall is quite vegan-challlenged when it comes to restaurants (most have only one or two vegan items available). This food truck is 100 percent organic and vegan, and makes a point of being zero waste; they use compostable containers, napkins, and forks. On the day we visited, the entire menu was also gluten-free.

Two Peas offers a wide and interesting variety of items, from waffles to spring rolls to tikka masala and falafel waffles. Because they are focused on using local foods, their menu probably will change depending on seasons and availability.

We opted for breakfast and tried the Breakfast Tacos. One order is three tacos, so we were able to try both options: the sausage and potatoes with kraut, greens, and chipotle cream, and also the tofu scramble with roasted veggies, pickled onion, greens, and creamy pesto.

It was a gigantic plate of food, and while the corn tortillas are tiny under all of the rest, all together they make the perfect meal. The vegan sausage, made from rice and oats, is spiced beautifully, and the potatoes were crispy little nuggets. The chipotle cream was spicy and delicious.

We liked the tofu scramble slightly more; the pesto sauce was great with the salad greens, and the tofu scramble was absolutely wonderful: savory, full of flavor, perfectly cooked. The Breakfast Plate might have to be next on our list of what to try when we return.

Two Peas is also in Medford on Thursdays; check their schedule here. We can’t wait to return next week to make our way down the menu…most of all, we’re thrilled to have an all-vegan menu right here in town, and especially to see them doing so well, based on how busy they were.

  Category: Ashland news, Vegan
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Happy Earth Day!

By Midge Raymond,

It’s been nearly 40 years since the first Earth Day, and unfortunately we’ve recently taken a lot more steps backward than forward.

Still, we humans have taken a lot of great steps forward since the 1970s. There’s a lot to celebrate about our planet, and so many ways to help it survive and thrive. We founded Ashland Creek Press to raise environmental awareness through literature … this combines two of our passions: stories and taking care of our planet. There are myriad ways to help out the planet, and to make every day Earth Day in your own life.

  • Immerse yourself in environmental literature! We love books like Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior and Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Ann Pancake’s Strange As This Weather Has Been — each is a stunning work of eco-lit, each in such a different way. Naturally, we also love every one of our Ashland Creek Press titles, from eco-fiction to veg lit to books about animals.
  • Watch movies. A few environmental films that are interesting, important, and well worth watching: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, What the Health, Forks Over Knives, If a Tree Falls, An Inconvenient Truth and An Inconvenient Sequel … the list goes on, but this is a great start.
  • Take action. Clean up a beach or a park; step up your recycling; plant a new tree, bike or walk instead of driving; eat vegan for a month (or more) … there are so many small changes we can make that become regular habits and definitely make a difference.
  • Get political. Of course, don’t neglect to vote for candidates that believe in climate change and want to do something about it — but you can also write letters, sign petitions, march, and otherwise make your opinions known…every voice does matter.
  • Get kids involved. It’s clear that today’s young people are the ones who are going to change the world, and they’re realizing they need to do this for their own survival. Help them out, whether it’s by giving them books about environmental issues, spending time with them outside, volunteering with a nonprofit to clean a beach or maintain a hiking trail, or taking them to an animal sanctuary. Show them what’s at stake being out in nature.
  • Support organizations that do good work. From conservation to animal rescue to protecting the oceans, there are a lot of great organizations that need support to do what they do. Be sure to investigate nonprofits carefully to be sure your money is used wisely and that the organization is truly environmental (you might watch Cowspiracy before making donations). Here are a few organizations we feel are worthy of our support via the Ashland Creek Press Foundation.

We wish you all a very happy Earth Day, and here’s to much more progress to celebrate in years to come!