Anniversary Weekend, Portland ME: Part 3

We had a pretty quiet night on Saturday, after our relaxing soak and dinner at Whole Foods we went back to our room where we enjoyed a few yummy vegan chocolates from Whole Foods. We split a Health Crunch and A Chocolate Salted Caramel Cup both of which were delicious.

We headed home on Sunday morning but not before stopping in at Whole Foods for an iced coffee and bagel with cream cheese.

After we ate our breakfast we spent a good 45 minutes roaming the aisles of the store picking up a number of goodies such as donut peaches, kale, apricots and coconut milk yogurt. Luckily I brought our cooler bag which I filled with ice from the hotel so that we could get some refrigerated items to bring home with us. Once we finally got on the road we decided to stop in York, ME at Stonewall Kitchen so that we could try all the hot sauce, jam and mustards that they have there, who doesn’t love free samples? The place was insanely busy and there were tons of rude people who kept pushing and shoving so the hubz and I made this a quick trip and got out of there before we were trampled.

From there we headed to Kittery ME to visit the outlets. We also picked up lunch for the road which we ate in Kittery after our disappointing trip to the outlets there. When did the Kittery outlets become so horrible?

After Kittery we decided to take the “scenic” way home and headed on Route 4 to Concord and to our delight we spotted Redhook Ale Brewery and decided to stop in and take a tour. When we arrived we had about an hour to wait before the next tour was to occur and since we were in no rush we decided to wait and get a sampler of their beer to try. We also had some chips and salsa because I only finished half my salad and I knew without a little food in my belly all that beer was going to have quiet the effect on me.

I finished all of the IPA and ESB but only took a few sips of the Slim Chance doesn’t exist it’s now the Blonde, the seasonal and the limited release (oatmeal stout).  I also snacked on some chips but tried not to eat too many.

Finally the hour passed and it was time for our tour, which we almost didn’t stay for.  We are glad we stayed though because for only $1 each we had a very informative tour and received a Redhook tasting glass as well as 4+ samples. It is one of the best tour deals I’ve ever seen.

We finished our trip in Concord NH where we stopped at Boloco to get something to eat for dinner.  I was excited to see that Boloco has bowls instead of wraps now (I know my husband said it’s been like that for awhile), anyways I was pumped and decided to get a Goloco Bowl.  Goloco is basically putting whatever you want in a bowl or wrap; for mine I had brown rice, organic tofu, fajita veggies, cucumber, corn salsa, tomatoes, scallions, balsamic and black bean hummus.  The hubby got a wrap and we shared an unsweetened ice tea.

We had the best time in Portland – great city and I can’t wait to go back again.

Anniversary Weekend In Portland ME: Part 2

After our “wild” night out on the town in Portland we decided that we needed to get some veggies in our systems,  so we went to Whole Foods. This would start our day of eating entirely from Whole Foods. As soon as I saw the 2 different kale salads, I was in heaven.

I quickly devoured this entire bowl of goodies which consisted of 2 types of kale salad, vegan chicken salad, tuscan pasta salad, snow peas and a little bean salad. There was also a piece of sweet potato that I didn’t like, so after a nibble it went into hubby’s bowl.

The Hubby and I also shared a Vita CoCo Coconut Water.

Once we filled our bellies it was time to head out to do something active and since I had heard great things about the various trails around Portland we decided to try one out.  We chose the Fore River Sanctuary Trail which lead us to f Jewell Falls, Portland ‘s only natural waterfall.

After our  2.5 mile walk we were hot and in need of some iced coffee and a shot of wheat grass from……WHOLE FOODS- this would be trip 2 of the day.  While we were there we decided that we would head to Freeport to do a little outlet shopping and visit L.L. Bean so we picked up some lunch for our trip. For our lunch we each had a donut peach and shared vegan chicken salad, a multigrain roll and a salad of kale, red cabbage, pasta salad and a few other treats

Freeport was fun and we really enjoyed L.L. Bean which was filled with every camping item that we could ever want …and never need.  Neil also enjoyed a nap in one of the tents.

After his nap at L.L. Bean it was time to head back to the hotel for a real nap in our bed before we headed out for the evening. This evening was a little, well more like a lot more low key than our first night in Portland.  We made last minute reservations at Soakology a wonderful foot sanctuary and teahouse.  I unfortunately couldn’t take any photos during our soak which was the most relaxing thing that either of us had done in a long time.  I did a peppermint soak and the hubz did a Maine Woods which had spruce in it and he was in heaven.

While you sit in huge comfy chairs with your feel in giant bowls of warm water the soakologist provides you with a warm neck wrap.  We sipped on some tea and relaxed while having our water warmed up ever 15 minutes for about an hour.  We had the most relaxing time and after that we headed out for a walk and then dinner at ….take a guess…

Whole Foods!

I know what you are probably thinking, aren’t there any good vegan friendly restaurants in Portland? Yes, there are a number of great vegan friendly restaurants in Portland however for our trip we had one pricey night out and decided to keep things less expensive and enjoyed the convenience of Whole Foods. If you are looking for some good vegan options that aren’t Whole Foods I suggest: Green Elephant (vegetarian, but mostly vegan), Mesa Verde (Mexican, with some vegan options), Silly’s (pubish food, tons of vegan options), Wild Burrito (vegan-friendly), Bintliff’s American Cafe (vegan-friendly w/vegan brunch options), Aurora Provisions (vegan-friendly with local tempeh and tofu and vegan desserts); there are also a number of vegan-friendly Indian and Thai restaurants in the area as well.

Guest Post- Ich bin Veganerin: An American Vegan in Germany

Hi Bloggies! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the photos from the Hubz and I’s honeymoon.  We are currently in Portland, Maine for our 2nd wedding anniversary and since I am not sure how much time I will have for blogging I’ve invited my good Twitter friend and new blogger Megan to be a guest on my blog.  Hope you enjoy her wonderful post!


Ich bin Veganerin: An American Vegan in Germany
By Megan Eaton

In my 24 years, I have traveled throughout the US and Canada, and visited the Bahamas, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, France, and Portugal. Other languages and cultures define my life, one in particular: 11 years ago I began taking German.  Since then I have traveled throughout and studied in German, completed a BA and most of an MA in German Studies, and taught German to university students. Speaking and working with the German language is, it seems, what I was meant to do. I currently teach at a middle/high school in Germany. I am also a vegan.

What is remarkable about my veganism in Germany is that I first became a vegan after I moved here. Nothing particular about Germany prompted my change in lifestyle; my reasons were ethical and health-inspired, reasons that transcend national borders. In fact, my decision to become vegan was all the more shocking to my friends and family simply because it’s Germany. You know, wurst (1500 kinds, according to Wikipedia), schnitzel, cheese, hollandaise sauce, and the omnipresent bakeries offering more custardy, honey-glazed, egg-washed goodness than you can shake a carrot stick at. I heard a lot of ‘It is going to be impossible!’ and, at the beginning, I also operated in that mindset.

It’s true, the concept of veganism hasn’t made its way as far into mainstream German culture as it has in the United States, but being vegan here is far from impossible. It’s actually impossibly easy and has given me a unique point of entry into every day life.

Vegan staples are easily available in Germany, groceries are cheap, and organics are everywhere. The two main drugstore chains, Rossmann and DM, have extremely low-priced in-house organic brands. When I go pick up dish soap or paper towels, I can also buy a huge bag of organic oats, almond butter, maple syrup, pizza crust mix, vegan tortellini, chocolate bars, spelt flour, apple-mango sauce, and soy milk. It’s a dream come true! DM has this organic grocery section as well as a mind-blowing in-house natural bodycare brand. So while I’m getting all that other random organic food, I can also pick from several cheap, quality, and clearly-labeled (!) vegan body washes, shampoos, face masks, and hand soaps.

Rossmann and DM are literally EVERYWHERE and the vegan snacks and pure fruit juices are lifesavers when faced with a 45-minute commute on an empty stomach.

Cooking for and taking care of yourself is only one part of a vegan lifestyle, though. Staying home alone is nice, but you need friends too.  Making new friends is difficult anyways, especially the older we get, but in a foreign country in a foreign language it’s even more of a challenge. When I became vegan, I was new here.  I wanted to meet new people and I wanted to meet other vegans.  I did a search for ‘vegan’ on MeinVZ, which is a German version of Facebook, and found a potluck in my city. I signed up, baked some cookies, showed up and instantly had a new, like-minded group of young people to hang out with. I have even hosted my own vegan food and game night for German vegans from the area!

The Spread at My Vegan Dinner

MeinVZ has an extremely active and welcoming vegan community with lively forums, frequent meet-ups all over the country, vegan couchsurfing, and information about demonstrations and other events.  It may be partly because Germany is so much smaller than the US, but I could never imagine this type of a forum being so far-reaching and well connected at home.  Everyone knows everyone and people travel far and wide to hang out and be awesome vegans together.  It’s pretty great, and all it takes is the (admittedly scary) first step of saying, Hi! Is anyone signed up to bring cookies yet?

Possibly my favorite part of my vegan Euro-trip has been discovering parts of cities that I might never have gone to if I weren’t vegan.  A few months ago, I went with a friend to try a new restaurant with a partially-vegan menu (Pizza! Gyros! Cheeseburgers!).

The restaurant, now a favorite of mine, is just three blocks past my grocery store, down a street I’d never seen that is lined with cute shops, a natural foods store, and ends in a market square.  Similarly, our local upscale vegetarian café is located across town in a lovely neighborhood I probably never would have visited.  Now I ride my bike up there when I’m looking for a gift, meeting up with a friend for coffee, or craving a tempeh sandwich with sundried tomato pesto.

In Paris last December I shared a meal with the amazing family who runs The Gentle Gourmet B&B on a side street behind the Arc du Triomphe.  Before dinner my girlfriends and I met up for a glass of red wine at a neighborhood bar and sat under heaters on the patio.  The place was nothing special and yet completely magical, less than a mile away from the Christmas madness on the Champs-Elysees. In Lisbon I became a regular at Celeira Dieta, the natural foods store, and had daily picnics centered around to-die-for seitan empanadas.

In Porto, a city I really didn’t like, my veganism led me to a funky student neighborhood and a dreamy natural foods store and café that saved the trip for me.

When I visit Berlin, an unfathomable treasure trove of vegan riches, trying new restaurants and visiting old favorites helps me keep each trip fresh and introduce my friends to awesome veg food.

Are you a vegan planning a trip or move to Europe? Here are my tips, which I live daily.

1) First and foremost, use the internet to your advantage! Your first stop should be for a listings and reviews of veg*n restaurants and natural foods stores. Make sure to write down the names and addresses of places you want to visit, and find and mark them on your map before you go!

Facebook is also a great resource, as there are many groups for vegans in particular areas. You may also be able to find meet-ups this way! If you speak the language of the place you are going, see if they have their own social networking sites.

2) Get a guidebook. I usually use Lonely Planet; they mark vegetarian and vegan restaurants with a very clear V and seem to be making a good effort to include as many as they can. Note, however, that the restaurants may always change their opening hours or even close after publication. Usually, these restaurants are also listed on Happy Cow, but it’s nice to have a description and address at hand, bundled with all your other travel information.

3) Be prepared! Before you leave, look up the words for the foods/ingredients you do not eat and write them down. Even better, learn how to say them! But definitely write them down and study them briefly so you can recognize them on menus and ingredients lists.

4) Persevere. Sometimes when I’m traveling alone, I get so tired or have such a bad day that the thought of going back out with my map to look for a restaurant or store just seems impossible. But I usually push through and am glad that I did. This past March I spent 8 day backpacking in Portugal by myself. My final stop was Porto, and by the time I got there, I was exhausted and cranky, the weather was terrible, and I didn’t like the city. All I wanted to do was sit in my room and figure out how quickly I could get out of there, but my stomach and my mind needed good food, so I put on my raincoat, grabbed my book, and struck back out in to the wet gray streets of Porto. The restaurant, Nakité, was there where it said, it was open, and I had the best vegan meal I have ever had in a restaurant, hands down.  Olive-marinated tofu on a bed of caramelized onions with a thick crunchy topping.

This, sometimes, is the curse of the vegan. You can’t – you won’t – just go and scarf down the first available food you find. But we should be used to this by now, and the rewards are vast.

5) Finally, most importantly, put yourself out there and be adventurous. All the information you collect isn’t worth anything unless you use it! Talk to people, find other vegans, and visit new places off the beaten path. There aren’t very many vegans on the Earth and we need to work together to share our tips, our food, our experiences, and our cities.

In a way, being vegan abroad is really no different from being vegan anywhere else.  Vegans are a minority who learn to live a certain way within the prevailing food and lifestyle culture. When I move back to the United States in six weeks, it will be my first time being a vegan in America.  It will be both a comforting homecoming and a culture shock as I enter foreign food environment. But I am a vegan, and I am ready.

“Vegans are sexier”