After travelling for three weeks in America this year if there’s one thing I learnt that sets that country apart is its food. American food is on a whole other level. On every corner there’s something delicious to try that it’s practically impossible not to put weight. I mean, some of the food is just unimaginable anywhere else. Take for example, the ‘pie shake‘. Literally a HUGE slice of sweet pie (like cheesecake but bigger) which is then blended with 2 scoops ice cream and milk. Sounds tempting right? Regardless of its nutritional value, food is an essential part of the ‘American experience’. Here’s a look at just some of the ‘typical’ American foods (and surprisingly, all vegetarian) I tried and would recommend tasting while visiting the U.S. I’m sure there’s many more though… what others would you add to the list?
Mmm… the humble bagel. I put away a few while in America, there are just so many varieties to choose from! You can be a bit of a sell-out and grab one from Starbucks (I admit it, I did) but there are stores completely dedicated to the things like Noah’s New York Bagel (choc chip with peanut butter pictured above – delish). If you want to go for the ‘healthy’ option, you can also get them at Wholefoods.
So with a boyfriend that has a penchant for anything sweet but who also doesn’t eat eggs, we were on the hunt for the best vegan doughnuts around. My favourite were some tasty ones from Doughnut Plant in New York (I got for the ‘cake’ over ‘yeast’ option any day) but I think he may have liked the selection from Voodoo Doughnut more and as the photo above shows, one, or two, weren’t even enough. We got our voodoo fix from the shop in Eugene but they are originally from Portland, where they are practically famous. We saw the queue as we passed through town and it was legit out the door.
3 & 4. Grits & Biscuit
So this bowl of mush is actually a Southern speciality called grits, that I can only best describe as a porridge of maize. Fun fact – it is loved by many Americans but not me unfortunately. Recommended by a friend for brunch, this plate of ‘white’ foods also features an omelette and what’s called a biscuit, which is quite similar to what Australians or Brits know as scones. We got this at Brendas Meat and Three, which is quite a popular brunch spot in San Francisco but as you could probably tell by the name, not really intended for vegetarians.
5. New York Slice Pizza
So you’ve done the rooftop bar thing in New York, downed a few cocktails while watching the sun go down over the Manhattan skyline… now what’s left to do? Grab your group of friends and find the closest pizza shop that’s what. But if you’re like me and your pals are made up of strict veggos plus the random lactose intolerant friend, do not despair. I can tell you a damn good vegan pizza place. It’s only a hole in the wall but speaking from personal experience, Screamer’s pizzeria is the stuff of dreams. And if you think your life just couldn’t get any better, it is right next door to the BEST vegan ice creamery, Van Leeuwen. It’s a match made in meat-free/dairy-free heaven.
Being vegetarian doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on eating a burger, like a true ‘merican. Though if I’m honest I don’t even really like burgers and only eat them on special occasions like if I’m hungover, but I did and it was delicious. The mouth-watering specimen above is straight from Haigh & Ashy’s VeganBurg that boasts to be the world’s first 100% plant-based burger joint. They also do some mean “chicken” tenders with ranch sauce.
Burritos, enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas…. the list goes on. I held out to eat Mexican until I made it to to San Francisco because of its reputation for quality Mexican food and it didn’t disappoint. Actually, once I started it was hard to stop and all of a sudden it seem like everyday I was eating some form of Mexican food! If you’re ever in San Fran they say the best Mexican food can be found in the mission district. Just to compare, I also tried Taco Bell for the first time – fitting right in with the locals after a night out on the town.