Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 Spots for Cool Vegan Treats on the North Oregon Coast

Hug Point State Park on the Oregon Coast
Hug Point State Park on the Oregon Coast
With lots of sunshine forecast for the Oregon coast this week and next, what better way to celebrate than with a lazy day on the beach… feet in the sand, dogs by my side, a good book and cool vegan treat in hand… oh, I can hardly wait. If you’re headed that way, too, or more specifically to the northern stretch of coastline between Astoria and Nehalem, then let me save you some trouble by telling you exactly where to go to find those treats:

Frite & Scoop [Astoria] 

175 14th Street #150, Astoria in the 14th Street Pilot Station

Conveniently located on the Astoria Riverwalk, and just steps away from where the sea lions congregate under the trestles, sits a small-batch ice cream shop called Frite & Scoop. Flavors change regularly, and generally include one or two vegan options. The day’s selection is posted everyday at noon on the store’s Facebook page; however, you’ll need to inquire within to confirm which of those flavors are vegan.

Open Thursday through Saturday from noon ‘til 8pm and Sunday and Monday from noon ‘til 7pm.

Bridgewater Bistro [Astoria]

20 Basin Street in Astoria

Planted at the foot of the Astoria-Megler Bridge with a wonderful view of the Columbia River, you’ll find Bridgewater Bistro, which offers vegan lunch and dinner options, vegan sorbet for dessert (try the Mango Coconut Lime), and a lovely, relaxing atmosphere, to boot.

Open ‘til 9pm Sunday through Thursday and on Saturday and Sunday until 9:30pm.

Sea Star Gelato [Seaside]

8 N. Columbia Street in Seaside

vegan sorbet from Sea Star Gelato in Seaside Oregon
Berry Lemon Sorbetto from Sea Star Gelato
If you’re looking for a wider selection to choose from and/or closer proximity to the beach, head to Sea Star Gelato in Seaside, where six to seven clearly marked “dairy free” sorbettos are made fresh each day. Some of the frequently offered favorites include Berry Lemon, Blood Orange Lemon, Fresh Pear, Watermelon Mint, and Chocolate Cashew. Or, if you have a special flavor in mind (like hazelnut, pistachio, peanut butter, or perhaps a favorite fruit combo), simply leave a message via the shop’s Facebook page the evening before, or really early on the morning of, and the owner says he will do his best to make it happen.

Open weekdays from noon ‘til 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.

Cannon Beach Café [Cannon Beach]

1116 South Hemlock Street in Cannon Beach

Is any trip to these parts complete without a visit to Cannon Beach? Whether you’re bound for Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park, or Hug Point (my personal favorite), plan a stop at the Cannon Beach Café, which in addition to vegan fruit sorbet offers one heck of a sweet potato burger.

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 5pm to 9pm for dinner.

Buttercup [Nehalem]

35915 Highway 101 North in Nehalem

Nestled among the antique shops lining Highway 101 in the quaint village of Nehalem sits a sweet little gem called Buttercup, where the list of revolving flavors has included such vegan treats as Cherry-Chocolate Sorbet, Strawberry-Basil Sorbet, Summer Sangria Sorbet, Rhubarb Ginger Sorbet, Passion Fruit Lime Sorbet, Lemon Violet Sorbet, Coconut Pistachio, and Almond Milk Mint Chocolate Shard, all of which can be paired with a specialty vegan cone. For today’s list, check the shop's website or Facebook page.

Open Wednesday through Monday from 11:30am until 6pm.

Know of any other great spots that offer cool vegan treats on the Oregon Coast? Post ‘em in the comments!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Vegan Beers: Oregon Edition

What??! Beer isn’t vegan?! 

It’s true, many beers aren’t considered animal-product-free—even those that don’t contain any honey, lactose or other animal-sourced ingredients—because of the products brew masters often use to process, filter and clarify the beer. These can include things like gelatin, egg whites, or isinglass, which comes from fish bladders.

Fortunately, not all brewers engage in such practices, and the good news is that many of those who do not are based right here in Oregon (see, I told you Oregon is cool!). So, vegan peeps, the next time you’re in the mood for a cold one, do yourself a favor and stick to one of these brands (listed alphabetically):

Please note (#1): Some of these brands may also create varietals containing honey (which is sometimes featured in the varietal’s name, but not always), lactose (which is milk sugar), or lactobacillus (which is a brewers bacteria used to make sour ales and is sometimes used in yogurt form**) to achieve certain flavors or textures, so it’s still a good idea to check, especially if it’s “creamy” or "sour."

When in doubt and the bartender isn’t quite sure, you can always do a quick search on or try one of these apps to be in the know on the go.

PLEASE NOTE (#2): Honey malt is vegan**, so no need to worry if that shows up in the list of ingredients.

PLEASE NOTE (#3): Even those verified as vegan may still include refined sugar.

* Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene, and Bridgeport Brewing in Portland were also recently recognized by Vinepair for their environmentally-friendly operations… double bonus!

** Special thanks to McMenamins for these tips!

Know of any other vegan-friendly Oregon brews? Post ‘em in the comments!