Vegan on the Cape

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Especially all of the folks who traveled to Portland, Oregon for Vida Vegan Con.  It’s hard to express how jealous I am, especially after catching up on ~100 recap blog posts about all of the great food and great personalities that were there.  I want to go so badly!!!  Not because I’m some great blogger, but I feel like I could learn a TON from all the other bloggers who are so much more prolific and talented than I.

So then I got to thinking that if it were held on the East Coast next year I would try really hard to go.  And that of course led to, “Well, obviously they would have it in New York or D.C. or even Asheville.  Definitely not Boston though.  This place sucks for vegans.”

That kind of thinking isn’t constructive, of course, and moreover it’s not entirely true.  There are some solid veg and veg-friendly establishments in and around Boston, including some newcomers (like the Walnut Grille in Newton).  I can’t overlook these, especially considering that I provide information about them right on my own blog.

But there’s also the all-too-familiar experience of perusing scores of online menus only to find that these are virtually identical at 98% of establishments (read: steak tips, fish and chips, wings, chicken parm, burger, buffalo burger, bacon cheeseburger, onion-rings-plus-some-other-fried-crap-on-a-burger).  [This is obviously an exaggeration, but not by much.]  Your luck typically will not improve the further you travel outside the city.  This is what makes me feel like my city could never measure up to places like Portland.

What’s with all the doom and gloom?

Basically I’m just setting up for the upswing, which is a big reveal about all of the wonderful vegan food I accidentally found this past weekend…ON CAPE COD!

It started on Friday when H and I sought out a lunch spot in Hyannis after spending some time in the JFK Museum and Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame.  Directly across the street is a place called Schooner’s.  They had a nice and really affordable lunch menu so we went right in.  I got the Falafel appetizer and it was gigantic!  And quite tasty.  The tahini sauce was particularly delightful, and the salad was nice and fresh.

Schooner's Falafel

Now, I know that an omni place having a falafel or hummus appetizer isn’t exactly earth-shattering.  But as I had expected a very seafood-heavy menu I was impressed not only with the availability of veggie options but by the quality with which I was rewarded.

After we ate lunch, we walked around town a little and discovered that there is actually a vegetarian/vegan cafe called Green Lotus right on Main Street!  Apparently it just opened on March 29, 2013!  My dumb ass of course hadn’t bothered checking HappyCow because I just assumed that there wouldn’t be any veggie establishments.  You see what happens when you assume?!

Anyway, I couldn’t not give them some business, so I got Vegan Chowder to take out.

Memorial Day 005

It was sort of weird, but oddly tasty. Creamy and rich without being heavy.  It had giant chunks of oyster mushrooms to mimic clams, which I found highly amusing.  Apparently they have entered it in Chowderfest this year, which is a bold and wonderful thing for them to do.

Memorial Day 006

Green Lotus also had an awesome-looking sandwich menu and there is no doubt that I will go back to try it.  I really hope this place takes off!!!

The biggest surprise of all came on Sunday afternoon.  After H and I went for a long bike ride through Chatham and Harwich, we were starving and stopped at a place we know in South Chatham called the Box Office Cafe.  We had only ever been in once before late at night but their outstanding beer selection made an impression.  I knew it was mainly a pizza place so I figured I’d order some cheeseless and go from there.

So here’s how it went down.  H and I sit at the bar.  I open the menu to the “create-your-own” pizza area and something immediately jumps out at me: “Substitute Daiya – $3.”  I exclaim, “You guys have Daiya?!”  The bartender says, “Oh yeah, we have a whole vegan menu!  Look on the next page.”  I die.

I ended up ordering the vegan Alexander the Great, which is essentially a buffalo chicken sandwich.

Memorial Day 007

This sandwich was spicy and delightful.  There is nothing else to say.  Next time I want to try the True Romance!

And, while I have really and truly been trying (and largely, outside of the holiday weekend, succeeding!) to eat clean, whole foods, knowing that this place is an option for me going forward is absolutely wonderful.  It’s like Peace o’ Pie never closed but just did like other Bostonians do and retired and moved across the Sagamore bridge.

So, in closing, I offer that 1) it was a splendid Memorial Day weekend, and 2) Boston and/or Cape Cod & the Islands (already a key vacation destination for folks all over the world) would be a wonderful place to hold a vegan blogging conference.  Just sayin’…

P.S. – Totally unrelated but I can’t get enough of this:

Memorial Day 001

Sabra Greek Olive hummus.  I can’t even.

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The Bright Side

I don’t like to get into too much personal biz on this rather public blog but feel like I need to let people know that my recent absence can really only be explained by saying that it’s just been a really weird month. I can pinpoint the start of the weirdness pretty exactly to April 15th, the day of the marathon bombings.  But the last week and a half in particular has been just a crazy roller coaster of crap.

I missed the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Saturday and I’m super-depressed about it.  I think it’s such a brilliant concept and I was so excited to be a part of it, but life sort of got in the way.  Even though I was one of the shameful no-shows, I encourage others to visit the Potluck and check out some of the rockstar blogs that actually followed through with sharing their amazing recipes and stunning photography.  If I’m not blacklisted for life, I might try again to get in on the next one.

I’ve been trying really hard to look on the bright side of all things and just take really good care of myself, and my husband of course.  Summer is coming and I am very much looking forward to the relaxed attitude that falls over New England this time of year, to just enjoy the time I have with my family and friends and make really delicious and nourishing food for us all.

April-May 005

Recently I have been experimenting a little with my eating.  I’m trying to focus really hard on whole, unprocessed foods and balancing my diet a little better overall. It’s not always possible and it’s definitely not always easy. But I’m also trying not to be so hard on myself when my diet isn’t “perfect” or as “clean” as I’d ideally like it to be.

For our relay race two weekends ago, I made a huge batch of Winter Spice and Brown Sugar Granola (click for recipe) by PureWow.  I added dried cranberries for a little extra somethin’-somethin’.

Winter Spice Granola

This came out unbelievably delicious and smelled like heaven while it was baking. It’s sugary, yes, but highly satisfying and a little goes a long way.  And it certainly was great running fuel.  Highly, highly recommended (but be warned; it seriously makes a ton).

For dinners I’ve been all about the beans and greens. This time of year in general I find that I crave leafy green vegetables, and this is never something I feel guilty about eating!

This is Hottie Black Eyed Peas  (click for recipe) from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I added like a metric ton of hot sauce to the recipe after it was done because it just tasted so darn good with the black eyed peas.

Hottie Beans n Greens

I’ve also been enjoying Warm & Spicy Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms over Brown Rice (click for recipe) by Maria Guadagno of The Bombshell Blueprint.

Kale

I LOVE this recipe.  It is delicious and spicy, even as cold leftovers, which is fortunate because the recipe makes enough for three [large] meals! Just make sure you open some windows and put on your oven blower, if you have one, to avoid getting a blast of cayenne pepper to the face while this cooks.

Finally, there’s good old-fashioned Black Bean Burgers (click for recipe) served up with a side of greens, in this case sauteed collards.  The burger recipe is by Urban Vegan.  I also made roasted sweet potato wedges to have on the side.  And there was ketchup, obvi.

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Black Bean Burger

Sweet Potato Wedges

H was also a big fan of the patties.  I’m totally sold because they are so ridiculously easy to make, so his approval means they will be making frequent appearances on our lunch and dinner plates going forward.

So there you have it.  Look on the bright side and eat great food, and life is good.

Nantucket