ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Ridgecrest (aka: the middle of nowhere)

Ridgecrest?  Where’s that?  It’s in the middle of the desert north of the Lancaster/Palmdale area.  Chances are, it won’t be your destination, but you might pass through one day.  Minus being in the middle of nowhere, it actually is a pretty quaint town.

My mom, sister, and I stopped for lunch to visit a relative on our road trip.  Ridgecrest doesn’t have a lot to offer vegans, but we can still find things at certain types of restaurants (Asian being fairly easy for vegans).  Miso Sushi seemed like a great place for us to find at least an avocado roll, but we actually found quite a bit more.

We all opted for the special that includes your choice of 2 items ($12.95) or 3 items ($14.95) from a list of foods (they have a vegetarian section).  Our first item was the Tofu-Avocado Salad which was so good!  The tofu was so perfectly fried.  I asked the waitress if any of these items used any egg or dairy and she tried to ask the chefs in back.  While she was pretty sure there was no egg used, she said the chefs only spoke Spanish so there was a chance there was a mis-communication.  From what I’ve seen in other Japanese restaurants, I don’t see a lot of egg being used on the tempura-style tofu, so I took my chances.  If you’re more conservative in your vegan eating, you might want to learn some Spanish before ordering this.

Miso Sushi Tofu-Avocado Salad

Tofu-Avocado Salad

The second item was some Agedashi Tofu.  Again, I asked about the egg in the batter around the tofu, but didn’t ask about the sauce (dumb, dumb).  I didn’t even think to ask if there was anything in it, but have read Japanese restaurants might make it with fish dashi.  If it is, you can always just opt to use soy sauce.  I wouldn’t order this one again, though, so the sauce is no longer my concern.  I thought the batter was a little gummy (not like the tofu in the salad).

Miso Sushi Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu

And our third item was an Avocado Roll.  This is your standard roll, but was really good.  I love it when the avocado is so soft and creamy!  Yum!

Miso Sushi Avocado Roll

Avocado Roll

My sister didn’t want the avocado roll and instead got the Seaweed Salad.  I didn’t try this, but she said she liked it.

Miso Sushi Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

For lunch, this was a lot of food (even for dinner!).  If passing through Ridgecrest, definitely hit up Miso Sushi.  “But I’m staying in Southern California and never going to these random places!!”  Well, this is the last post in the mini-road trip series.  Thanks for reading! I’ll get back to local stuff in the next post.

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ROAD TRIP: Vegan Goodness in Sacramento

Let me begin this post by saying that there will be VEGAN DONUTS today!  And not just one place will have them.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Good.

Now let me explain how I got to the first set of vegan donuts in Sacramento.  As you may recall, I had just witnessed the beautiful wedding ceremony of my cousin with my mom and sister.  On our return trip to Southern California, we stopped in Sacramento for the night (it’s a very charming city, by the way).  Because my sister was craving pasta we just had to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  I like the Old Spaghetti Factory, but when I’m in a new place, I want to try something I’ve never had before.  One can get Old Spaghetti Factory any ol’ day in Southern California.  There are quite a few vegan options here and most Old Spaghetti Factories have renovated old train stations to make it a very lovely dining experience.  I didn’t snap any photos, because there are lots of resources already out there for vegan dining at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  See lists here and here.

Ok, ok, “When are we getting to the vegan donuts?!!” you ask.

After dinner, we stopped by the Sacramento Whole Foods to get dessert – and that’s where I spotted them waiting for me in the bakery section.  These gems are the creation of Posh Bakery – a wholesale only bakery in the Sacramento area.  The donuts were good.  It was late at night and they had been sitting all day, so they got to be a little dry – I still ate them, though.  The Blueberry Donut was my favorite.  It held its moisture the best, whereas the Chocolate-Nut Donut and Sugar Donut didn’t.  I also got a Whole Foods Chocolate Cupcake which was actually pretty disgusting, so don’t get it.

Whole Foods Sacramento Donuts

Whole Foods Cupcake and Posh Bakery Donuts

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ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Tahoe/Reno

Welcome back to my mini road trip to Lake Tahoe for my cousin’s wedding.  What can a vegan get around Lake Tahoe?  I didn’t see much, but might have missed some things.

Besides wedding food, my mom, sister, and I only ate one meal in South Lake Tahoe.  We went to Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe.     All in all, I liked Sprouts.  My sister wasn’t that hungry, so she got some Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole and a side of Beans.  Their guacamole was really good.  The chips, salsa, and beans were just that – tasty, but not much to say.

Sprouts Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

Sprouts Beans

Beans

My mom and I both got the same thing: their Couscous and Hummus Burrito ($6.95).  It came with soup or salad, so we got it with their soup of the day – Tomato Florentine.  I thought this soup was delicious!  One of the best tomato soups I’ve had.   As for the burrito, I got it without cucumbers and loved it.  Basically, it’s just a burrito with couscous and hummus (hence the name).  They topped it with this tahini spread, which I didn’t like and scraped off.  Otherwise, I think I might make this at home – seems easy enough.  I also wanted to try their Tempeh Burger, but found out they switched out their tempeh for some generic non-vegan Gardenburger – bummer.

Sprouts Coucous & Hummus Burrito

Couscous & Hummus Burrito

After a few hours of sightseeing, we went to our hotel in Reno (Tahoe has limited nice hotel availability- sorry Motel 6, I’m a snob).  Reno may be a larger city, but that doesn’t mean there is vegan food aplenty!  The one place that seemed to cater most to vegans was the vegetarian restaurant Pneumatic Diner.  I have to say, this was one of the weirdest restaurant spaces I have ever seen.  It certainly wasn’t ADA compliant, because you had to enter and go up a strange set of stairs, then around the corner to the entrance.  If you accidentally went down the wrong hallway, I think you would have ended up at the doorstep of someone’s apartment.  So weird.

Pneumatic Diner

Pneumatic Diner

Upon looking at the menu, it seemed to be very egg and cheese based – not good for vegans.  My mom went with the Oatmeal and it came out watery and bland (just look at how disgusting it looks in the picture!).  She ended up adding a ton of sugar and cinnamon to make it more palatable.

Pneumatic Diner Oatmeal

Oatmeal

I found out that they can substitute a vegan base in their scrambled eggs, so I got a Vegan Scramble with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Cheese.  The base turned out to be potatoes (c’mon, where’s the tofu?!) and their vegan cheese turned out to be a large scoop of nutritional yeast.  While I wouldn’t go here and order this again, it was a decent breakfast in a not so vegan-friendly town.

Pneumatic Diner Vegan Scramble

Vegan Scramble

And of course I had to try their dessert.  They had some pie and some cookies.  I went with a Cranberry Pear Pie that was way to tart and still needed to bake the peaches a bit more (in my opinion).

Pneumatic Diner Cranberry Peach Pie

Cranberry Peach Pie

Oh and we also got a Falafel Sandwich to-go for my sister who was chilling at the hotel.  She ate it later that day and told me it was good (I suggest going with this sandwich should you venture to this diner).

Pneumatic Diner Falafel Sandwich

Falafel Sandwich

The next morning, we didn’t head out to Pneumatic Diner again and instead went to grab some snacks at Whole Foods.  I love supporting local businesses, but if you’re a vegan looking for good food in Reno – just hit up the Whole Foods.  The Blueberry Muffin was a tasty morning treat, as were the two chicken salads we got: Tarragon Chicken Salad and   Sonoma Chicken Salad.  These were delicious and prepared with the newest fake meat – Beyond Meat.  Beyond Meat is only available at Whole foods in the Pacific Northwest and in NorCal, but I wished they supplied the SoCal locations!  So good!  My mom enjoyed a Vegan Coffee drink by Dr. Chao Foods.   And I also enjoyed an afternoon snack of Whole Foods Spring Rolls and an Apple Streusel Pie by Sweet Earth.

Whole Foods Reno Goodies

Whole Foods Reno Goodies

Phew!  For an area that doesn’t have a lot to offer vegans, that was a lot to say!  If you know of other places with good vegan food in this area, please comment below.  If any travelers stumble upon this blog post, I hope my review (and your comments) help!  Good luck.

ROAD TRIP: Vegan in Mammoth Lakes, CA (plus bonus cookie link!!)

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll probably have remembered I just went on a road trip to Oklahoma City for my cousin’s wedding.  Well, my mom and I (and a sister) were at it again and went on a road trip to Lake Tahoe for another cousin’s wedding.  Lake Tahoe is not too far from Southern California, but we wanted to make it a mini vacation, so we decided to have a few stops along the way.

Mammoth Lakes is a hot spot for skiing (so I’ve been told), but also is a great place for summer outdoor fun.  We weren’t there too long, but I did have a chance to notice plenty of bike and hike paths around the town.  And since Mammoth is full of nature loving individuals, it didn’t surprise me that there were a few spots for vegan food.

Our first stop was a place to get some snacks.  Sierra Sundance Whole Foods is an awesome little health foods market.  They had a great selection of vegan foods for snacking or preparing a meal in that cabin you’ve rented.  Being in a small car with three women, we weren’t thinking “healthy snacks,” so we stocked up on some comforting sugary sweets.  They even carried a local company’s vegan cookie!

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Sierra Sundance Whole Foods Goodies

Speaking of that local cookie company – we passed Mimi’s Cookie Bar’s storefront on our way to our hotel and had to stop to see what other vegan selections they had.

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mimi’s Cookie Bar

This cookie bar is really cute and they have both non-vegan and vegan goodies.  We got some of their daily vegan cookies and their one and only vegan ice cream.  The Mocha Almond Fudge Cookie (I believe was gluten free) was a bit dry, but had a good flavor.  The Coconut-Lime Ice Cream was just ok – sort of gummy.  The Apple-Cinnamon Cookies (from Sierra Sundance) were also getting a bit dry from sitting on the shelf, but would be fantastic fresh.  And the Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies were some of the best cookies I’ve ever had (gluten free or not)!!  We went back and got more of these cookies.

****Seriously, you have to try these cookies – and lucky for you, they are running a deal on Fab.com that allows you to do just that!  But hurry – this deal is only on for another 6 days!!  Go get them. Now.****

Mimi's Cookie Bar

Mocha Almond Fudge, GF PB Chocolate Chip, Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

And finally, on our way out of Mammoth the next day, we stopped to get a breakfast burrito at Stellar Brew & Deli.

Stellar Brew Coffee

Stellar Brew

The Breakfast Burrito ($5.50) was full of carrots, potatoes, bell pepper, and vegan sausage.  I thought it was a bit spicy, but good.  I also had wished they used some tofu and no bell peppers (yuck!).  It did give me that wholesome breakfast feeling so I could face the day of driving.

Stellar Brew Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Stay tuned for more from my vegan road trip, including stops in Ridgecrest, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento!