Geez. As if I needed any more reasons why Salem, a.k.a. "So-lame," keeps disappointing my health-conscious, vegetarian, organic, ethnic-food loving self.
Need evidence that plant-based eating has gone mainstream? You'll find it at Bridgeport Village, where this outpost of a small California chain of vegan restaurants opened in November, smack in the middle of the suburban shopping center's busiest crossroad. The vibe is family friendly, as is the accessible menu of salads, small pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, along with comforting dishes like chili cheese fries, Buffalo wings and nachos. All the food is made to order, and many dishes feature "Native Meats," which are made out of plant-based proteins like tempeh, seitan and chicken and bacon substitutes made out of such things as soy, wheat and pea protein. It may sound like a science experiment at first, but the hearty flavors and textures should convince even die-hard omnivores.
It looks great.
There's nothing like it here in Salem, Oregon's capital city, with a population of 150,000, 99% of whom apparently live for Subway, pizza joints, and the Olive Garden, or we'd have at least one restaurant like Native Foods, or Cafe Yumm.
Yeah, the Oregonian is right: plant-based eating has gone mainstream. But Salem residents will sit on the banks of the vegan/vegetarian river for as long as possible, gorging on double decker cheeseburgers.
Every week the Salem Statesman Journal, our local newspaper, reports in the Living section about restaurant news: openings, closings, renovations, and such.
My wife and I find it horribly depressing. There's rarely any news about eateries outside of the Salem tradition -- high calorie, unhealthy, uncreative, meat-focused. Hopefully this will change someday. For now, we'll just have to dream of the Native Foods vegan Rockin' Moroccan Bowl.
Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl
Your choice of tofu or Native Chicken marinated in our homemade Moroccan sauce with grilled veggies and quinoa. Topped with currants and toasted almonds. Chef Tanya gets the tofu version every time! 9.95
I will too. When I escape from Salem and make it to Bridgeport Village.