Happy Herbivore Blog

Yellowstone National Park

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

Hey Boo-Boo! Let's Go Get Some [Vegan] Picnic Baskets! When Scott & I decided to drive across the country, the one place we both agreed we had to go (even if it was dead smack in the middle of tourist season) was Yellowstone National Park. Having recently traveled to Yosemite, we were anxious to see how the parks compared (plus we just love nature!) scaleddscn7505 The most known sight in Yellowstone is Old Faithful and following suit, it was our primary destination. I wasn't sure what to expect with respect to a geyser. Sure I'd studied them in science class but I didn't know with any kind of specificity what was going to happen. At best, I thought water might squirt out of the ground much like the fountains at the Bellagio do... but I was, of course, wrong. The water gushes intensely and it sounds like an ocean is around you... then the water immediately turns to steam and vanishes before your eyes... almost instantly. It's incredible. We were able to catch a few seconds on video and I'll try to upload that later.

old faithfulOld Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

As for the wildlife, there were out and smiling for the camera! Not only did we see a Road Runner (which, btw looks absolutely nothing like the cartoon -- I mean we're talking NO resemblance here), but just steps into the park we were able to see a family of herbivores grazing. (More photos on flickr).

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However, I was hoping as hard as I could that I'd see a Moose or Bison up close and thankfully, my wish was granted! Just as we were about to head out of the park, we walked past lone bison standing nearby. If you check out the additional photos on flickr, you'll see I have some rather up-close photos. I was actually that close to the Bison -- no zoom needed. His strikingly friendly nature made me all the more sad that people kill these beautiful creatures for their meat. :(

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Yellowstone is an enormous, spacious place --- far bigger than I ever imagined. The views along the edges of the lake brought me an inner peace I've only dreamed to find. Just look at that view! (& yes that is snow!)

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On the downside, Yellowstone has acres upon acres of forest devestation. For the last 40 minutes of our drive out of the park, all we could see was dead trees -- their greyish, slim sillouttes extending for miles in the distance. While I understand wildfire is a natural part to most eco-systems an whether it was done by nature (lightning) or man (controlled fires) I am sure it was necessary, but it doesn't shake the sad and empty feeling one feels when faced with millions and millions of dead trees.

Montana is for vegans

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

After leaving Portland, we drove through Washington and Idaho, calling it a night in Montana. Let me just say that I am in love with Missoula, MT and plan to live there someday. Not only is Missoula nestled in the most stunning landscape I've ever seen, the town is progressive and exceptionally vegan-friendly. There are roughly 9 different restaurants that offer vegan fare (even more that cater to vegetarians) including a bakery that offers vegan treats daily plus a vegan birthday cake by order. The locals we talked to were excited to hear we were vegan and talked at length about the vegan food in town and how good it was (& how often they personally ate it even as omni's.) Needless to say, I was in a little slice of my own heaven and considering staying put right there in Missoula, MT. Since we arrived in Missoula so late on a Sunday, the restaurants were closed or closing, so we danced off to the grocery store, The Good Food Store, which puts Whole Foods to shame. Like most grocery stores, Good Food has a bakery, salad bar and deli area. From the pre-made food section, there were roughly 15 vegan options out of a total 20. We sampled 6 different offerings for dinner that night and then went back for a few new items the next day. (More photos on flickr).

scaleddscn7377Southwest Millet, BBQ Baked Tofu & Potato Salad

The bakery section also had an entire wall of vegan goodies from brownies, to scones to breads and muffins and they were only $1 each. (More photos on Flickr). Scott & I took the opportunity to stock up on vegan baked goods to help us through the long drive ahead. I really liked the brownie, blueberry cake slice and the raspberry bar -- all about $1 in price! What a value!!

scaleddscn7394Just some of the freshly baked Vegan goodies. Many only $1.00

We had visited a Whole Foods in Washington, just across the river from Portland, and while the staff was friendly and helpful the vegan options were few and far between... all they had was a muffin (which Scott ate, I settled on fruit) plus typical stuff like Amy's Pizza, but that doesn't really jive when you're in a car without a kitchen... On the plus side, the Washington WF did have Dave's Killer Bread which we've been dying to try for ages and its even more amazing than I imagined. This bread *is* killer!

scaleddscn7420Tofu Salad (from Good Food) on Dave's Killer Bread

Now for the Montana picture show! My photogragphy (often from inside our car) does it no justice! I wanted to take picture the enture 6 hours we were in the car but you just can't. Montana is one of those places where you just need to go there and suck it all in. It's absolutely stunning. p.s. There are many more photos on flickr! scaleddscn7427scaleddscn7430scaleddscn7437scaleddscn7441

Vegan fun in Portland!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

Portland, by reputation, is synonymous with vegan. That's what first attracted us to Portland 2.5 years ago. Scott & I were living in Boston back then but were looking for a new home on the West Coast. We traveled to and checked out San Fran, Seattle and Portland because we'd heard those cities were vegan-friendly. Unfortunately, I was newly vegan at the time and completely unaware of happycow and other online veg sites. Thus, we were at the mercy of luck, popping into any random restaurant or cafe and hoping they had something vegan to offer. While appreciative that just about every place we tried in Portland had at least 1 vegan option on the menu, nothing we ate was spectacular. Worse still, the one 100% vegan restaurant we went to was expensive and pretty bad (and it has since closed). Needless to say, I was wondering if I would ever have a meal that left me speechless ever again.

Thankfully, I continued on with my vegan journey, learned to cook delicious meals at home and have enjoyed many wonderful vegan meals at vegan and non-vegan restaurants since (for photos of awesome food I've eaten in the last 2.5 years, visit this flickr group).

Anyway, these experiences only made me more excited to come back to Portland and have a second chance to sample the vegan food and vegan restaurants I've heard so much about.

Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards for us. Our first night here, we had planned to dine at the famous Portebello with Meg. We arrived with youthful excitement but were turned away. Even though it was before 6 p.m. and every single table, inside and out, was painfully empty, they wouldn't seat us because we didn't have a reservation.  Sad.

The next day, July 4th, was Scott's marathon! It was his first marathon and he did great! 4 hours and 5 minutes! It was also brutally hot -- in the 80's -- so kudos for Scott for still doing so well!

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After the marathon all we could both do was talk about all the vegan food we planned to eat. However, because life can be so cruel sometimes, EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED. No joke. I placed calls to eight vegan restaurants and every one was closed - all day! Even Food FightGrocery and Herbivore had the day off. It was heart-breaking. Thankfully, I'd heard about the Hungry Tiger Too, a pub that offered an entire vegan menu (in addition to their omni menu) and they were open. In fact, they were the only place open so we ate both lunch and dinner there. While not the healthiest of choices, the food is amazing and it's vegan soul food done right. Here are two of the five dishes we shared (the rest are on flickr):

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Eggplant Chimichanga

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$1 vegan corndogs

We were hoping to dig in on some awesome vegan brunch or breakfast before leaving town Sunday morning, but every place serving breakfast opened around 10am. Since we needed to be the on the road by 11, we left with our tails between our legs.

On the plus side, we went to Voodoo Doughnuts. a lot. The last time we were in Portland there were only about six vegan choices and now the entire menu -- of some 20+ donuts -- is available to vegans. This is very good but so very bad, too. I think I managed to eat 3 the entire time I was in Portland. oink oink. (More food porn on flickr).

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Old Dirty Bastard (Chocolate, Oreos & PB) Ugh, yeah.

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Grape Ape (I picked it because there were too many choices and it matched my shirt)