Unless you know me in real life, you probably don’t know that I used to be in a some-what successful ska-punk band in college. We never got signed or made a whole lot of money, but we did go on a few tours, including one to the United Kingdom, and we had a whole lot of fun. I’m in a different band now, and I never really thought I would go on tour again because we’re “adults” with “jobs” and “responsibilities”. A band that we are friends with from Florida, Morningbell, contacted us a while back, asking if we would be interested in going on an eight day west coast tour with them. We would provide and haul the gear, and they would do all the hard work of booking the tour and making arrangements. The answer was yes! It was a different kind of tour, because we were actually at home for three days in the middle as opposed to being gone the whole time.
The thing about tour is, you’re in it together. You obviously spend a lot of time in the van, but you also spend a surprising amount of time just waiting around, and you have to kind of go with the flow. My goal on the trip was to eat as much delicious vegan food as possible without being a pain to anyone else. I have a lot of pictures, so I’m gonna split this into two posts.
I prepared for tour by stocking up on some snacks and breakfast items, so that I would only really have to worry about finding lunch and dinner each day. Apples, fruit leather, cheddar crackers, emergen-c and stevia, english muffins, split pea soup, bananas, kale chips, pumpernickel pretzels, a pro bar, bragg’s-roasted almonds, and a few kinds of nut butter. The paper grocery bag that held my food became known as my feedbag, as in “hey guys, can you see if there’s a banana in my feedbag?”. I also took a bunch of big bottles of water so that I wouldn’t have to buy small bottles at gas stations, and we may have stashed a few bottles of two buck chuck.
I tried the “kool ranch” kale chips on the way down to LA. They didn’t taste particularly ranchey, but did have those undertones of garlic and onion, and were very tasty. The whole bag only had 200 calories, and I could only manage to get through half of the bag as an afternoon snack. Filling!
I was hoping to eat at either Veggie Grill or Real Food Daily before our show in LA, as both were relatively close to the venue. What I learned quickly is that in LA, “relatively close” means count on 45 minutes in traffic, so sadly I didn’t get to either. We stopped at a grocery store and I got what I could.
The next morning, I grabbed a soy latte from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a chain which seemed to be all over LA.
For breakfast, I tried the maple almond butter on an english muffin. This stuff is the business. Seriously, if all almond butter tasted like this I would eat it constantly. Also, I learned that english muffins are hard to fork split without a fork.
Our lunch stop that day was at a stereotypical highway-side fast food mecca, and my choices came down to Subway or Taco Bell. The veggies at Subway sounded really good, but so did the protein of a Taco Bell bean burrito, so I did what any normal person would do and got both. No pictures, but the sandwich was possibly the best Subway I’ve ever had, due to the addition of avocado.
Upon arrival in San Jose we had about an hour until load in, so we checked out the Vietnamese place across the street. On tour, you often have to eat what is close and easy.
Luckily, they had a few vegetarian dishes and I chose the tofu stir fry. It wasn’t the most amazing stir fry every, but it was a warm and welcome addition to my tummy.
The next morning was Saturday, and I had to go in to work. Well, they didn’t make me go, but there were some things I really wanted to take care of before I was gone for a whole ‘nother week, so I went in for a few hours. As a reward for being dutiful, I treated myself to brunch at The Donut Farm.
Tofu scramble with spinach, mushrooms, herbs and green onion, hash browns and sourdough with house-made “butter”. Sadly, they were out of the Dave’s Killer Bread they usually have, so I had to settle for sourdough. My quest for Dave’s Killer Bread will continue in part II.
Apple fritter and coffee with coconut creamer. I think I like Ronald’s apple fritters a little better, but really, if we’re ranking vegan apple fritters we’re splitting hairs.
I didn’t want to buy any groceries the two days we were at home, so it was mostly burritos and Chinese, which isn’t worth reporting since I eat them all the time!
The next day, we were fortunate enough to play a show at the Russian River Brewpub in Santa Rosa.
According to Barnivore, the beers brewed at the brewpub aren’t vegan, but the beers in bottles which are brewed off-site are. So, bottled beer it was! This redemption blond ale was really light and tasty.
Their online menu didn’t list a vegan pizza, but the in-store menu did. This is “Mary’s Vegan Pizza”, which had spinach, artichoke, green pepper and olives. It was a good pizza, but it really could have used a pop of flavor, like something spicy or sun-dried tomatoes or something. Nevertheless, I’m not complaining any time I find something labeled vegan on a menu.
That’s all for today! I’ll be back soon with part II, in which we went north to Portland and Seattle.