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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Sabra Greek Olive hummus.  I can’t even.

Going to the Dogs

Please forgive my absence; the last week and half was chock-full with my family in town for my graduation from law school, a weekend on Cape Cod with them and with H’s family, and then with the beginning of my bar review course today.

Bar review: the reason my summer is over before it even started.  For the next eight weeks, I will be spending about twelve hours a day doing nothing but enduring, to quote my friend K, “the most boring kind of hell imaginable.”  The downsides are numerous and obvious, but there are upsides too.  One of them is that I’ll actually have a real, predictable schedule for the first time in three years.  While stress-filled and tedious, it will allow me to fit in time to work out as well as to cook and eat great meals.  So, though I won’t be able to blog as often as I have done in the last couple of months, I will be posting.  In other words, I’m not going on hiatus, just blogging a little less until the bar is over.

After that, it’s time to plan a shotgun October wedding.  But that’s a story for another time… 🙂

The title of my post refers to some of the stuff I ate this past weekend while I was celebrating graduation, and not caring particularly about my waistline.

Thursday night, my brother J was in town, and H and I took him to one of our favorite bars to have a beer and play Big Buck Safari (not a very vegan game, I guess…but fun, and no real animals get hurt!).  After that, we headed down the block to Spike’s Junkyard Dogs for some late-night eats.  Oh, Spike’s.  What can I say?  It is a greasy spot that serves every kind of crap imaginable on top of a hot dog.  BUT…they do veggie dogs! Which makes me extremely happy!!!

This is what I got on Thursday:
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The one on the right is their classic “Junkyard Dog”: mustard, tomato, pickle, hot pepper rings, and chopped scallions.  I can’t recall the name of the one on the left, and it’s not on their regular menu, but as you can see, it had mustard, BBQ sauce, and a pickle on it.   Delicious.  The options for vegan toppings at Spike’s are way more limited than the ones they have for omnivores, but it’s still a great spot to go with a mixed crowd (or even all vegetarians!) because they actually care enough to include options for non-meat eaters.  Thumbs up, Spike’s.

My second helping of veggie dogs occurred unexpectedly on Sunday.  H and I were out on the Cape, and we drove to the beach where we got engaged last August to show it to my parents.  After that, my parents left to head back to New Jersey, while H and I headed back into town.  We took a scenic route, hoping to find a spot to grab some lunch.  Along Route 28 in Dennisport, I suddenly spotted this sign from the car:
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H said, “We’re going there!”

“There” ended up being a restaurant called Corinne’s Place.
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Cute little restaurant all decorated with old-fashioned gas station memorabilia.  It sounds weird, I know, but I think the place used to be a gas station back in the day so it was actually very charming.  And, like Spike’s, they serve vegan hot dogs!!! Here is what I got:
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One of them was just a veggie dog with veggie chili on top (their chili and baked beans are vegetarian!) and the other had onions, red relish, BBQ sauce, and sauerkraut, and I added a little bit of green relish after taking the picture.  DELICIOUS!  A little different from the texture I’m used to (i.e., Smart Dogs or Spike’s), but really good.  I’m definitely going back to this place.  There is not much in the way of vegan fare on the Cape, so I want to support a business that is branching out!