Okay, so here’s the deal. I am a meat lover. If I had a dating profile it would read something like, “Single white female. Fond of fried foods, steaks, and lattes.” My friends do not recognize me without a cup of coffee in my hand and do not attempt conversation until I’ve downed some caffeine. Well, you get the picture.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far in my travels, it’s that you have to be ready for anything. The gypsy lifestyle does not cater to preferences or comfort. You learn to be adventurous and enjoy experiencing (and tasting) the unfamiliar. Sometimes this means eating whatever is available, and sometimes it means just trying what’s available because it’s going to be bang-up awesome and you wouldn’t want to miss it. So naturally, as life goes, I was faced with a situation where I had to reevaluate my eating habits.
I took the train from Washington to Oregon to visit a yogi friend of mine who lives in Portland. I had previously met him when he came down to Vegas to teach flying yoga workshops a few months earlier and we developed a fast friendship. Besides yoga, massage, and spiritual well-being, Billy also happens to be fond of raw foods, vegetarianism, and organic eats. I knew I was in for a change in grub but I wasn’t fully prepared for what was in store.
He wanted to take me down to Alberta Street to check out this new vegan bakery, Back to Eden. “I’ve only been here once before but I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality of their food. I think you’ll like it.”
I inwardly balked at this statement. My previous experiences with vegan food had left me sour and I’m convinced butter makes everything better. But I trusted Billy’s judgement (for the moment) and was willing to give anything a try once. Worst case scenario I’d make him stop by the Starbucks I’d scoped out a few blocks away.
He ordered these peanut butter and seed bars that reminded me bird food. He watched me carefully as I broke off a piece to eat. I tried to dissect the ingredients, wondering if this was really meant for human consumption, but eventually gave up and popped it in my mouth.
Have you ever tasted something so delicious that it makes you see colors? Yeah, neither had I. Until this peanut butter bar. Surprised me too.
I literally could not get enough of these tasty morsels. I even had a dream that night about buying out the store and taking boxes of bars back to Vegas with me. It became a quick addiction. I made Billy take me back so I could indulge again and again.
After such a positive experience I let Billy pick the restaurants for the remainder of my stay. My diet consisted of coconut milk soups, fruit and ginger smoothies, organic salads, and goji berries with cashew butter. The worst part? I liked it. I was pretty sure I was coming down with something.
Am I a reformed carnivore? Well, no, but I am facing a dilemma. This Back to Eden bakery has changed my preconceived notions about vegan food standards. And now crazy things are happening; I’m craving vegetables and herbal tea over coffee and carbs.
Oh Portland, what have you done to me?