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2011 Roundup: Extreme Vegan Eating in the US, Canada & Mexico

2011

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012! I can’t believe how fast 2011 went. In contrast to 2010, last year I felt very much like I was rooted in Ottawa. But looking back at my photos I’m realizing I did get out of town quite a bit.

Halfway through 2011 I stopped making time for blogging (see my new baby, Vegan Cuts), and forgot to tell you about some of the fun places I went and delicious food I devoured. So how about we play catch up with a photo roundup of Vegan Backpacker’s adventures in 2011…

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Guest Post: Vegan Road Trip USA

Road trip!

Road trip!

This guest post is by Mandi Hoffman, a vegan blogger and activist hailing from sunny Portland, Oregon. She runs Chicvegan.com, a website for ethical ladies who want to do good deeds while looking hot and feeling fabulous.

Driving across country can be fun – especially when you can have all types of food adventures on your way! My boyfriend and I recently made the long trek from Portland, OR to Charlotte, NC. Admittedly, I did not do much planning for this trip. It came as an unexpected surprise and I hardly had time to get my shoes on before embarking on the journey, let alone strategically plan every stop. As a vegan, this was a bad idea. Since our trip was a rushed one, we had to grab things to eat at whatever place was open during the time we happened to be passing through. While we ended up discovering some truly great places, we missed out on an abundance of others.

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Vegan Road Trip to New York City

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A few weeks ago John and I rented a car and drove to New York City with some friends. Oh boy did we take advantage of having three days to eat our hearts out! Last year we spent a week in New York and made a good dent in the vegan food scene, but didn’t even come close to trying all the hot spots. There are just so many vegan joints and more are popping up all the time, like Champs Family Bakery (176 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211) which opened since we last visited. We ventured across the bridge and met up with some friends to feast on a sugary selection of Champs’ baked goods including cinnamon buns (best ever!), bear claws, donuts and cheesecake brownies.

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Vegan Samples Galore at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

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Last weekend John and I drove to New York City with some friends to check out the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and explore more of the local vegan restaurant and bakery scene. We visited NYC in April 2010 but didn’t get close to trying all of the popular vegan spots.

Last Sunday we woke up early and headed to Veg Fest where we spent the day talking to all of the lovely food and drink vendors, listening to presentations by vegan superstars, and chatting with other vegans.

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Vegan on a Business Trip: Washington, DC

Odwalla Smoothie for Breakfast in YOW Airport

Odwalla Smoothie for Breakfast in YOW Airport

Last week I spent three days in Washington for work. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I squeezed in so much (food) during the visit. John and I headed to the airport super early on Wednesday morning. Not having had a chance, or the appetite, to eat breakfast, I picked up an Odwalla smoothie after we cleared security. It’s awesome to see these smoothies are widely available in Canadian and US airports.  They make for a great breakfast or snack.

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Say Aloha to Vegan Options in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii

This guest post was written by Sally Tinker Smith, a vegetable gardener who is very much in love with her husband and the sweet simplicity of their life. She blogs about her garden, vegan food and her travels at Home Sweet Orange.

As soon as I breathe in the moist, rich smell of fresh air, my body begins to unfold and adjust to island-time.  I live in San Diego, so beautiful beaches are not the main draw, it’s the amazing tropical fruit that brings me back to the Hawaiian islands.

Having been to Kauai, one of Hawaii’s islands, many times, we decided to explore Maui this time around.  A comedy of errors surrounding our condo reservation led us away from the pavement of Kihei, and up to the rainy and gorgeous north side of Maui.  There’s a lot to love about Haiku, one of Maui’s most beautiful communities.

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A Very Merry Vegan Holiday Season for Chocolate Lovers

Sidecar For Pigs Peace

Late July Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

Pardon me as I interrupt our usual programming to bring you a post that’s a little less about travel, and more about just how awesome it is to be vegan this holiday season.

Once upon a time, many years ago, it was “hard” to be vegan. I have never known such a time. I started my vegan journey four years ago and have always had access to all of the staples I needed (vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds), as well as vegan alternatives to milk, cheese, meat and candy. In recent years, the selection has only gotten better. After spending some time in Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington, I discovered that local vegans are spoiled with choices, even when it comes to holiday treats.

I know the festive goodies I’m about to share aren’t available all around the world, but we do have some amazing online vegan stores that ship far and wide to bring vegan products to people who don’t live near well stocked supermarkets, health food stores and restaurants. If this includes you, be sure to check out Viva Granola, an online vegan store that ships worldwide, Vegan Essentials and Cosmo’s Vegan Shopee.

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Flying Vegan with Virgin Atlantic from Newark to London Heathrow

The Market Grab-N-Go

The Market Grab-N-Go at Newark Airport

It was hard to leave New York. Saying goodbye to our new friends and all of the fabulous food wasn’t easy. I headed to the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey a little sad but ready for the next part of our trip to begin. Before taking off, I had a chance to scope out the food offerings and was delighted to see a giant sign that included the word VEGAN. At The Market, in the terminal B food court, before you pass the security checkpoint, there are a small selection of vegan-friendly snacks.

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NYC Local Recommends Union Square Farmer’s Market and Rainbow Falafel

Union Square Farmers' Market

Union Square Market, New York

One of the best things about Couch Surfing is getting a local’s perspective on the best places to visit and, of course, eat. The first Couch Surfing host we stayed with, Daniel, encouraged us to checkout the Union Square Farmer’s Market and join him for lunch at Rainbow Falafel, which is just around the corner. We took his advice and were glad we had a chance to experience these local favourites.

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Shopping at Whole Foods on a Vegan Backpacker Budget

Whole Foods Vegan Shelf

Vegan Section at Whole Foods, Union Square, New York

I know most people think of Whole Foods as being an expensive place to shop. It can be, depending on what you buy, but there are definitely some deals and splurge-worthy items. I think they have a great selection of vegan products and do an excellent job of labeling vegan items in their bakery and buffet sections. While in New York, we visited the Union Square Whole Foods several times, picking up snacks and lunches to go, all without blowing our budget.

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