One of the best parts about spending the last month and a half along the west coast is just how darn easy it’s been to eat. Even in the small town of Fort Bragg, California, people tend to know what you mean when you say the word “vegan”. Coming from Saskatchewan (the land of farmers), that’s been a real treat.
For anyone who might end up in Fort Bragg one day, all of the restaurants I went to, even the ones that are clearly not vegan in any way, have been incredibly accommodating and knowledgeable, which leads me to believe that most of the restaurants in the town, far beyond the list here, would have something on the menu that you could easily modify.
Cafe One was one of the first restaurants I went to in Fort Bragg, because it’s fairly well-known for being vegan-friendly and organic. Indeed they were, and their menu had a ton of offerings including some breakfast items like tofu scrambles, but I was in the mood for noodles. The ambiance was kind of surprising – very 50’s diner-like – so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the food.
Well one thing that was immediately obvious to me is that they didn’t skimp on the portions. My plate arrived piping-hot and loaded with veggies, noodles, ‘fu and crunchy coleslaw. The flavor was on the bland side and the soba noodles were overcooked, but it was nothing the hot sauce at the table couldn’t remedy.
As I was waiting at my table, I casually glanced at the dessert menu, not getting my hopes up because vegan dessert is kind of a rarity. But lo and behold, they had vegan pie, as well as soy ice cream! I didn’t have any room in my stomach but I needed to get the strawberry-rhubarb pie, especially because my blogging peeps keep posting all these gorgeous pie shots and I’m feeling all pie-starved. And it tasted great! Not even remotely healthy, of course, but sometimes you just gotta eat pie.
To my knowledge, Cafe One doesn’t have a website, but they’re located at 753 North Main Street in Fort Bragg, CA and I promise you there are plenty of vegan menu selections. It’s a little on the pricey side, but I found that most restaurants here are a tad pricey.
The locals that I talked to all encouraged me to check out Headland’s Coffeehouse, which is apparently the coffee shop all the cool kids go to. They have live music every single night, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I was happy to discover a few vegan options on their menu, including a selection of packaged vegan cookies! The cookies were of the “super healthy gluten-free this and that” variety, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.
One of Headland’s vegan offerings is a giant bean and rice burrito…and I mean giant. That thing was like the size of a book, but I wasn’t complaining, and polished it off with glee. As far as burritos are concerned, it was good, but if I were to make it, there would be vegetables inside. I love rice and beans…but veggies make a nice flavor and texture contrast.
I also took some African Samosas home with me, which you can buy individually. Of course I had to spill the sauce right before taking the photo – it was obviously thin and a little runny, and I like me some chunky chutney, but the flavor was good.
Headlands is a great little spot and I would totally recommend everyone go there. Their website can be found here, which also has their full menu and a list of their live music. They’re open 7-10 most nights, with the exception of Sunday when they’re open from 7-7. Check ’em out at 120 E Laurel St, right downtown where all the awesome shops are.
The Company Bar
The Company Bar is located in the same building that my school is, and is a great little place to go for drinks and snacks. They even have couches! And the best hummus I’ve ever had in my life! Their menu has several vegetarian options, but I checked with the staff and they weren’t vegan (pesto had parmesan, etc). They were super friendly and helpful about finding something on the menu, though, and the pita was vegan and AWESOME, so I was a happy gal. Pita, hummus and beer make a great team.
The company bar can be found at 303 North Main Street (in The Company Store). Check it!
La Playa Mexican Restaurant
La Playa is a small, unassuming restaurant where you can enjoy authentic, homestyle Mexican food and beer. It’s one of several Mexican restaurants in the town of Fort Bragg, but I decided to go to this one for two reasons – one, it’s very close to the school, and two, th website claimed to be vegan-friendly.
When I sat down and began settling in, they brought me a dish of chips and salsa. Yay! The salsa was quite thin, but luckily it was flavorful and fresh.
I ordered the veggie burrito, mentioning that I was vegan, and is everything in this burrito fine for me? I was assured that it was. I then asked for some guacamole, to which the kind server replied, “You can have guacamole or avocado slices – we do put cream in our guacamole.
“Thank you for telling me,” I said. This is why it’s important to mention being vegan when you go out to a restaurant! Some things that you assume are always vegan (guacamole!) are sometimes not.
This was a perfectly good burrito – not the best I’ve had, but it was hearty and I’d eat it again, especially for the fair price and their consideration of my veganism. It was also a big, filling portion and I was stuffed when I left. La Playa can be found at 542 N. Main St.
What I found was a cheap and hella delicious tostada, which is basically a giant chip with all the taco fixins. There were other things on the menu that could have been modified to be vegan, and the servers were knowledgeable, polite and helpful. I definitely ate this tostada a second time. It was just so full of flavor and spice!
They appear to be without a website, but they exist on 120 S. Main Street and I highly recommend them. It’s not a classy dining experience, but it is delicious.
I was informed by some locals that right across the street from my school was a place that sold super-yummy pizzas, and they understood the concept of vegan. What I got was (not surprisingly) super friendly and fast service, a big pizza with a hefty amount of olives (hurray!), and a great crust which was simultaneously crispy and tender. I was only sad that I discovered this place near the very end of my visit, or I would have gone back and tried other types.
You can check out their website or visit their store at 120 West Redwood Avenue.