George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Newburyport Challenge

My job takes me all over the Eastern Seaboard and for this weekend it has brought me to where the shoreline of Massachusetts meets New Hampshire: Newburyport. This beach town, which hosted the first US Coast Guard station, is known for it’s copious amounts of seafood. Restaurants billboards bleed announcements of Lobster and Steaks. I knew coming to the salt dusted streets of this quaint fisherman’s paradise would be a task for a vegan. Taking a page out of the Tea Party (1770’s Tea tax rebellion posse, not Sarah Palin’s contingent), the idea of rebellion is rooted in Newburyport.

First act of rebellion, not staying in your standard chain hotel. My boss really didn’t appreciate this.

So my boss and I headed to downtown Newburyport and after asking some locals of where to go to get a good inexpensive meal, they suggested the Grog. We ignored them because there was no outside seating. So instead we ended up at Not Your Average Joes. They had a huge patio for outside seating and with the ocean breeze and the cooling evening air, it was perfect. The food was average though. However, not being a particularly vegan friendly place, the server was pretty attentive to my culinary restrictions. Once he knew that I wouldn’t eat any animal products, he went to the kitchen to relay the message to the chef, and came back to me with a chef’s challenge: Anything on the menu can be alter to be vegan, except for the veggie burger because that’s already pre-made and has dairy in it.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone eating a lettuce sandwich and right then and there I decided, why yes, I will have the Chicken Thai Lettuce Wraps for my meal but please hold the chicken. Well it came out moments later and instead of chicken there appeared to be julienned peppers, oranges, peanuts, onions, snow peas, and banana peppers sitting delicately in a lettuce bowl. It was light and refreshing and I enjoyed it.

Three little lettuce leaves sitting in a row…

After having a relaxing dinner at Not Your Average Joes, we wandered across the street to grab some homemade gelato. If there’s homemade frozen treats there’s always homemade sorbet. Well low and behold there was! So I ordered the lemon sorbet and it was so tart and delicious. And the servings are massive. I had one scoop and it was very impressive in size.

Evening cap of lemon sorbet. My vegan go-to dessert.

Overall the Newburyport Challenge has been relatively easy. If we were to eat at the Grog, they had a number of dishes that could be made vegan. There’s a little sandwich shop, The Purple Onion, which is vegan and vegetarian friendly. So vegans looking for some beach time, think about Newburyport, the restaurants can accommodate you. Plus there’s some great vegan places here and a few juice shops too.

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