|This is a pretty good place to look.|
To try and put this in perspective, for every one 'exciting' vegan product in Australian supermarkets (by which I mean packaged / prepared vegan foods, rather than natural products like fruit/vegetables/grains) there are perhaps 25 in U.K. supermarkets. In the U.S., I'm going to estimate the count at 100. It is dazzling, dizzying, and a little overwhelming.
In some ways, this array of choice actually helps to keep my excitement in check. Given my tendencies to supermarket over-excitement, this is not a bad thing. There is no way I can sample all of the exciting and/or vegan products on offer, and so I'm able to traverse stores without feeling compelled to throw everything I like the look of into my basket. It is more relaxing to know that I can't have it all and to therefore not try.
With that said, there is still plenty of excitement to be had.
|My new non-dairy best friends.|
On our first day, we saw the Whole Foods near us (pictured above - enormous) but decided to leave it for a day when we'd be rested enough to do it justice. That worked out very well, because not only did I go with the benefit of sleep, Mr Bite sensibly sent me off solo while he stayed home with the TV. This allowed me to travel every aisle in peace, and saved him the trauma of a wife making noises of delight in the health food, cereal, and freezer sections.
Our first supermarket was thus a Safeway, chosen purely because it was around the corner from us. That provided the peanut butter Cheerios, Almond Dream ice cream bites and snack products shown in my last post, a selection that also included my first pack of Graham Crackers. I had previously believed them to be a bit like U.K. Digestive biscuits, but that belief was completely misguided. I would describe them instead as a cross between Australian Nice and Milk Arrowroot biscuits - with a twist of cracker thrown in (at least based on the single cinnamon flavoured pack I've tried). (For my American readers, our biscuits are your cookies, and our crackers are savoury.)
|Spaghetti squash (bottom right)!|
I know spaghetti squash is commonplace to many of you, but it isn't available in Western Australia and I have long desired to experience the magic of a vegetable that turns into spaghetti-like strands.
It didn't disappoint. I had it on our first night with chilli pinto beans and baby carrots, and whilst the taste was akin to regular varieties of squash, the texture was quite magical.
|Spaghetti squash, cooked.|
Mr Bite had a baked potato of enormous proportions on that night, with tuna and cheese. I appreciate this dinner may seem like a boring entry to American food, but it was perfect ahead of collapsing into a real bed for the first time in 3 days.
Sweetgreen was on my list of D.C. eateries I had to visit, and whilst I had half expected to dine there solo (I wasn't sure if their menu was ideally suited to Mr B), we ended up visiting on a day when lunch was extremely late and I told Mr Bite he would just have to make do. I'm nice like that. I ordered him a wrap with salad, avocado, cheese and egg, and for myself, selected the spicy sabzi salad bowl.
|Sweetgreen's spicy sabzi salad.|
It has, to quote, "organic baby spinach, shredded kale, spicy quinoa, spicy broccoli carrots, raw beets, basil, sprouts and roasted tofu with a carrot chilli vinaigrette and a squeeze of sriracha".
It was excellent. Spicy, and absolutely excellent. To my delight, Mr Bite also enjoyed his wrap, so I may even fit a repeat visit in before we leave the country.
When I did visit Whole Foods, that was excellent too. Realising there was only so much I could justify buying when we have to pack up and move on this weekend, I contended myself with browsing the non-dairy milks (soy, almond, coconut, hemp, mixed nut milks, sweetened, unsweetened, flavoured), non-dairy ice creams (soy, almond, coconut, bars, tubs, somanyflavours) and non-dairy yoghuts (soy, coconut) without buying. Oh, okay, without buying much. I did purchase the two items below.
You may remember that earlier this year, I tried Coyo's plain coconut milk yoghurt in Australia, for the hefty price tag of $13 per 400g. I didn't particularly like it, finding it to lack characteristic yoghurt tang. The above tub of So Delicious plain coconut milk yoghurt was, I think, about $1.50 for 170g - and I loved it. It actually tasted of yoghurt. I'm yet to try the almond milk caramel latte but also have high hopes for that.
I also showed remarkable restraint in the cereal, health food, and chocolate sections (again - if you can't buy it all, it is somehow easier!), aided in part by extreme prices for some otherwise appealing items. I'm sure last time I was in America food seemed cheap, but most things (coconut yoghurt and similar products aside) now seem similar in price to Australia. In Whole Foods, prices can rise sharply and 'cheap' is not a word that comes to mind.
I did buy a peanut butter Lara bar, a Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cup, some other chocolate blocks that I'll review at a later stage, as well as the cereal snacks below. I do apologise for the quality of some of these photos, our holiday apartment is wonderful but does have sub-optimal lighting!
I also bought provisions for our second self-catering dinner, in the form of tortillas, salad, and vegan barbecue 'chicken wings'. I had to choose between the wings, an array of veggie burgers, vegan fish fillets, and various vegan sausages, so it was a tough choice to settle on these. In the end, their small package was the deciding factor because we really didn't need a multi-pack of the other options on offer. The wings were novel, very barbecue-y, and very like chicken in their texture.
What about eating out? In addition to Sweetgreen, we've enjoyed lunch at the Corner Bakery Cafe, which seems to be a nation-wide chain. They have a diverse menu with plenty of vegetarian options, and I enjoyed a 'trio' deal with a small cup of veggie soup (tomato and basil) and two small side salads (edamame salad and fruit salad). Mr B had a more straightforward roast veggie sandwich.
|Rice's ginger stir fried tofu and vegetables with rice.|
On that note, I shall end this very full post and ask you - what is your favourite American food (or want-to-try food), regardless of whether you live here or not? And, how do you cope when presented with more food options than you can possible try?!