Before my husband and I traveled up to Salem, I wanted to be prepared with, well, everything. I'm a Virgo with anxiety, after all! But, in particular, prepared to get my grub on. I imagine there's so many sea food places since it's up the coast, and finding vegan food would be a difficult task. So, I Googled and mapped out different locations and the distance from our hotels.
The first thing we did after we got settled was swing by the nearest Whole Foods, which was about 10-15 minutes from the hotel, so I could grab some essentials. I bought pumpkin hand soap, since our hotel only had bar soap. Plus some snacks, and I swung by their salad bar to get a huge salad. We had just drive 6 hours and I was HANGRY. Hangry, a mix between hungry and angry, is a real thing. I'm living proof of that, just ask my husband!
I got this amazing salad which was: spring mix, shredded carrots, shredded beets, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed bell peppers, cucumbers, grilled zucchini, grilled squash with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on top drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I also got a scoop of vegan mashed sweet potatoes on the side. I loved this salad so much I actually went back and got another one a day later. It was so good!
Since I was on vacation, I decided to live a little and grabbed some Zevia Ginger Root Beer, vegan blueberry muffins, bananas, strawberries and kiwis, Kashi Fire Roasted Veggie crackers, some delicious packaged vegan brownie, and a few other essentials.
I don't drink soda. When I used to though, I loved ginger ale and root beer so this was the best of both worlds. This is a clear soda so there's no artificial colors. And, it's sugar free since it's sweetened with Stevia and monk fruit. The flavors are authentic as well. Stevia isn't my favorite, since I feel it leaves a weird aftertaste, but overall I liked the soda. It's not something I'll be drinking every day, but it's nice to have a little flavor with lunch or dinner every now and again! They weren't cheap, but hey, when in Salem right?!
My favorite of my snacks though was this packaged brownie. Holy cannoli. It's Greyson's Bakery Vegan Fudge Brownie. It was SO GOOD! It was super moist and rich, decadent, super chocolately, and overall amazing. I devoured it. And went back and bought more my second trip to Whole Foods. They were 2 for $3, and I was like well I don't mind if I do!
Our hotel had continental breakfast, which didn't do much good to me other than the fruit, but it saved us money on my husband eating out every morning so that worked. Bonus was that they had free coffee and tea 24/7! They had both chamomile and sleepy time tea, and I had several cups each day.
When we got to Salem, it was awe inspiring. But, I'm gonna save of those spooky details for another post.
For $20 parking each time, we weren't leaving and coming back so I could eat. I knew I had to find something in Salem to eat. One of the places on my list was Life Alive. They're vegetarian but 90% of their menu is vegan or can be made vegan. I have a simple palette, and the menu looked intense. All sorts of stuff I had no faith in liking. They had hummus and then also PB&J wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and they were up my alley. But I was too hungry for that. I needed food, like real food. I decided to be daring and ordered The Alchemist.
I was reluctant but most of the ingredients I liked separately, so I figured it was worth a shot to try them together. The only thing I was super unsure of was the Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce, so I got that on the side. It was sweet corn, shredded carrots, sprouted legumes, kale, sun sprouts, and sesame seeds over a bed of quinoa. I also got a side of squash and Granny Smith Apple. Can I just tell you it was BEYOND delicious?! I even liked the sauce so much I used the whole side of it. And I was full literally the rest of the day. I ate at like 2pm and wasn't hungry until breakfast the next morning. I actually went there again the next day and got the same thing because I liked it so much! You can get full bowls, half size bowls, or in a wrap. I went with a full bowl one day and a half the next day. Even the half was incredibly filling. Currently they're in Massachusetts only but my hope is that they expand to like, right next door to my apartment.
Also in the spooky town of Salem is a place called Jodi Bee Bakes, which is an all vegetarian cafe with many vegan options. I got myself an Apple Cinnamon cupcake one day that had real Granny Smith Apple chunks inside of it, and was delicious! Then, I stopped there one morning for breakfast and got a vegan Cinnamon Raisin bagel with vegan butter and a cup of vegan hot chocolate which was amazing! I got the small afraid I wouldn't finish it but really I needed a large because it was so good. It was super cold there too, it rained a lot and was really windy, and that hot bagel and hot chocolate totally warmed me up!
The last place I ate was a place called True Bistro in Somerville MA. It's an upscale vegan restaurant, very similar to Vedge in Philly. The funny thing was our waiter was asking us where we're from and we said outside the Philly area and he's like "Oh you guys have Vedge!" That goes to show how popular and well known that place is! Don't tell Vedge, but honestly I liked True Bistro better! It was a little more relaxed than Vedge, yet it still maintained that upscale classy vibe. Kevin forgot his button up shirt for dinner when we left, and was wearing a Halloween hoodie and I was concerned they wouldn't seat us. But they were totally cool with it! They even had all Halloween music playing! This was our anniversary dinner. I didn't wanna just go to a regular place for that, and True Bistro sounded perfect!
The food was delicious! They started you off with some olive oil and fresh baked rolls. If we're being honest, bread is like my favorite thing ever, so I was excited. The rolls were sour dough and they were still hot when they came out. I got a ginger ale and Kevin got a hard cider, both were tasty. Kevin, of course, ordered French Fries and that was it lol. They had a fancy dipping sauce which he got on the side and barely touched it. The fries were perfectly crispy, I almost ate them all myself. To be fair, I am a potato junkie, so I don't have much willpower if potatoes are around.
I ordered a soup, which was perfect considering we had just walked around for 4 hours in the cold windy rain doing tours. It was a Pumpkin Apple Squash with Cinnamon Croutons and some French Bread slices for dipping. The soup was SO good! It was thick and filling, and it tasted exactly how it sounded, but it had a little spicy kick to it as well. It was absolutely delicious. We then split a dessert which was Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream. First of all, this dessert was WOW! I never cared much for ice cream, even vegan ice cream. This ice cream was SO GOOD! Kevin was blown away by how much he liked it and he's an ice cream connoisseur. The waiter said they get their ice cram from a place called FuMu which I am SO DISAPPOINTED we didn't get to visit. They use coconut milk as their base, and make vegan Choco Tacos and ice cream sandwiches and all sorts of other amazing treats that I wanted to try. Also, they're in Massachusetts only but I hope they open a location on the other side of my apartment. The banana bread itself was warm and fresh, soft with a bit of a chew, and delicious! True Bistro was my favorite and if we ever visit again, we'll be stopping there for dinner and dessert for sure!
That about sums up the food for my vacation! I was pleasantly surprised by the options they had for vegans! Salem and its surrounding areas was as tasty as it was spooky. Now if only those places could open up down here..