First, let me say that I commend you on choosing a lifestyle that incorporates a respect for all creatures. Whether you are choosing a diet for health or ethical reason, you have made a decision that is admirable but I understand can be challenging. Your family may not understand and eating while traveling may be difficult. Fortunately, within the last 3 years, the hospitality business has moved in the direction of being more flexible with dietary choices. There definitely are more options for vegans today then there were 2 years ago. I personally am impressed with the items available in the grocery stores. Buying the pre-made food is easy but, I am always concerned with sugar and salt in the pre-made items. To do vegan correct there are so many fine lines that should not be crossed. Sugar, flour, baking sodas, and additives all need to be scrutinized before using. Many products are filtered though animal bones and other animal products. If a food has been processed, that food needs to be questioned.
Since eating vegan does not incorporate the standard combining agents such as eggs and milk, a cook or baker needs to know a little about science. The science used to make items combine in baking is very interesting and I encourage anyone that enjoys baking, even if you are not a vegan, try to bake vegan. Baking vegan helps the baker see ingredients differently and to grow in creativity.
Since I appreciate all that is vegan, I have comprised a list of items that might help you while you are in Camden Maine on vacation. This list will grow over time because I am sure I will stumble upon new things in the community.
Vegan Travel Lodging Choice:
Camden Windward House Bed and Breakfast. This Bed and Breakfast not only has a great location but also has a menu selection breakfast. The menu has Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free options. Jesse Bifulco, with the help of his wife, has become very knowledgeable about vegan breakfast recipes. One of their specials includes a Vegan French Toast with Orange Rum Bananas, and yes, before you ask, good news they use Captain Morgan Rum and it is Vegan Friendly!! In addition to the wonderful breakfast specials the Camden Windward House has a house Green Smoothie, here is the Windward House Green Smoothie Recipe . Green Smoothies are a great way to get your daily intake of greens. The Bifulco’s have come up with a nice blend of greens and fruit. They also do some nice vegan cookies, if you let them know that you are vegan I am sure they will have some available. Here is the Windward House Vegan Friendly commitment.
Eating out Vegan while in Camden Maine. – I can guarantee that the Windward House B&B has strict vegan rules, I can not guarantee that the rest of the establishments are as strict.
– The Bagel Café in downtown Camden Maine has a selection of bagels with tofu cream cheese, I personally like the maple walnut tofu spread.
– French and Brawn Market in downtown Camden Maine has vegan dumplings and other cold vegan takeout food in the back of the store in the refrigerator section.
– Fresh Restaurant has wonderful Hummus and Pita Appetizer as well as a mushroom wonton appetizer. Fresh also has a delightful lentil burger, vegetarian risotto and salad options. (Closed January and February 2016)
– Long Grain is a Asian-flare restaurant. There are many noodle, vegetable, tofu and salad options. (Be careful of things traditionally made with fish broth – nam pla)
– Zoot Coffee from time to time has a very nice had a vegan quiche
– The Camden Deli has fantastic views of the harbor and a nice selection of vegetarian sandwiches and a delightful vegetarian soup. They do not have any specific Vegan items on the menu but you can order any of the vegetarian sandwiches without the mayo or cheese and they would be a nice lunch option.
Camden Smoothie Shack – Located in downtown Camden Maine, this great food truck has some nice light lunch options. A nice Vegan wrap with hummus and a side drink of mixed juices and protein mix makes for a fast and easy Vegan lunch.
*New to my list 2016. Cafe Miranda!
Cafe Miranda – They are in downtown Rockland, about 15 minutes from downtown Camden. It is a fun place. Portions are very big, you can split on entree,Cafe Miranda has a very long menu. Be patient and skim through it. Most of it is meat based, but they do have some nice options. Black Bean Tacos, Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles, 50mph tomatoes,Tofu groce, Old thing califlower,Stirfry, tofu Jerry, Jalunkies, tofu burgers,white/black bean soup.
– Hannaford’s Supermarket in Rockport Maine can be supplemental to your daily choices. Go into Hannaford’s, which is right over the Camden border, south, and stock up on several vegan items. This Hannaford’s is well stocked with Vegan snacks. I personally like the Organic Vegan Brownies.
–Having a drink while in Camden – The Camden Windward House sells a nice White Vegan wine. If you are a guest there, you might want to treat yourself to the Windward House Vegan Romance Package. Here is a link to the Vegan Romance Package. Beer an Wine are not vegan unless the package says so. In wines and beers, organic and sustainable is not the same as vegan. I highly doubt that you will find the one vegan wine that Windward House sells on any menu in Camden Maine. Your best bet when drinking vegan is to go with straight alcohol or specifically chosen mixed drinks. There are some nice vodka mix drinks ( I am from Maine and suggest the local Cold River Vodka): http://www.mainedistilleries.com/cold-river-blueberry-vodka-recipes.html You can pick your battle with a rum and coke and gin and tonic. I personally have a problem with High fructose corn syrup, but it is from corn, not animals. I guess the High Fructose Corn Syrup debate will be for another post.
– Farmer’s Markets in Camden Maine – Going to a local farmer’s market is a good way to familiarize yourself with the names of the local farms. Sometimes it is not practical to buy lots of fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market. Things at farmers markets are usually very gritty and need to be washed very well and then refrigerated. If you have a summer house, this is great, but if you are in a local hotel, not so great. It is important to see the names of the farms so when you go into a local restaurant you can ask if they use those farms or you might recognize a name on a menu item. The Farmer’s Market in Camden Maine is 2 times a week, Wednesday and Saturday.
Did you know that Heiwa tofu was first started in Camden Maine? Now this small family company is making local soy milk. Both products can be purchased in French and Brawn.
Outside of Camden Maine.
1. Belfast Co-op
2. Rockland Co-op
3. Fresh off the Farm – Rockport Maine
4. Gothic restaurant in Belfast, usually has vegan options
5. Chase’s Daily in Belfast – Vegetarian.
6. The Juice Cellar in Belfast
7. Traveling from Portland Maine? Stop in Whole Foods on your way up to Camden.
Some more healthy Vegan Travel Tips:
1. Your commitment to respecting all life should be extended into your choice of lodging, try choosing an establishment that has made a commitment to be green.
2. Bring a water bottle with you so you can refill through the day. I also like to bring a thermos mug, so I can fill up on coffee or tea when it is available.
3. Stay someplace that is walking distance to all the activities. Less time in the car, the better.
I hope this helps and I promise to update as I find new things.