Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vegan Eating in Yosemite!

Just got back from a week in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite... We brought a lot of food with us, and also checked out some of the vegan options up there.

Most days we'd head out for a little hike, bring along a lunch, and then enjoy our lunch and a few hours reading and playing in the water. Here's a typical lunch for me: baked tofu sandwich, some almonds and dried apricots, and a Luna Bar. Mmmm, those sandwiches always taste like the best thing I've ever eaten...

For dinners, we ate lots of veggie burgers! We brought along Amy's Bistro Burgers from home, and cooked them over the campfire. You can see I burnt this one a little, but it was still delicious. Especially when served in my special cow bowl!

For dessert, I brought along all the supplies to make vegan S'Mores!!! YUM! I don't have any idea how many years it had been since I'd eaten a s'more. Man, they are GOOOOD. I brought Terra Nostra rice milk chocolate, Dandies marshmallows, and graham crackers.

You can see that the Dandies roasted up beautifully! Golden, bubbly, caramelized, gooey... scrumptious!

The finished product! mmmmm. How delightful it is to have such great tasting vegan options that our whole family could enjoy these together. I'm pretty sure it was my little nephew's 1st time eating s'mores, so that was super special. :)

The Tuolumne Meadows Store has a pretty surprising amount of vegan options - lots of Lightlife products (Gimmee Lean sausage, hot dogs, fakin bacon), 4 kinds of Wildwood Baked Tofu, soy milk, countless hummus varieties, lots of good vegan snacks (Veggie Booty, rice crackers...), Alternative Baking Company cookies... Overall, I was really impressed with their offerings.

They even had two flavors of Tofutti cuties!! Yeah! My grandparents used to enjoy a frozen treat after a long hike, so we bought a package of these cuties and scarfed them down in loving memory...

One thing the Tuolumne Meadows store DOESN'T carry: veggie burgers, or vegan buns. In fact, they also don't carry any vegan wheat bread. So, luckily my dad was coming up a few days later and he brought along more veggie burgers. When we ran out of our hamburger buns from home, we switched over to sourdough bread! Not quite traditional, but still delicious after a day on the trail.

One night we ate the Tuolumne Lodge... which is famous amongst our family for its dismal vegan offerings. This restaurant is right there where the tent cabins are, but is run by a company called "Delaware North." The offerings are *really* pricey, and there is almost nothing vegan. My brother and his son got hamburgers, while the other 7 of us ordered baked potatoes. Some people ordered the "mixed vegetables" ($3) and got a HALF an ear of steamed corn. Lame. The baked potatoes were good, but it took an entire hour for us to be served. We were joking that they had to run out and plant some more potatoes. Overall, it wasn't a very satisfactory experience for us vegans. They bring loads of rolls, but they are clearly not vegan, so the 5 vegans in our group didn't indulge. The one good thing worth mentioning was the delicious salad they served: fresh baby greens, a FEW artichoke hearts & cherry tomatoes, and a nice balsamic dressing. They used to use a cream dressing, so we were all happy for this new vegan dressing. The salad was very good, and served family style. After we finished off the first huge bowl, they brought us another, which was also devoured. So, that was definitely the highlight of eating at the Lodge.

On my last day there, my two aunts and I hiked from Tenaya Lake to Cloud's Rest - 15 miles! This was a hike that my grandpa did when he was 85 years old!!!! We were hiking in his memory, which was inspiring and poignant. So amazing. It was a long, beautiful, and demanding hike. We saw SO many beautiful creatures and wildflowers and vistas along the way. I was so happy to reach the top and dig into my sandwich. Off on the left you can see Half Dome, and Yosemite Valley stretching below.

Up on top of Cloud's Rest was a friendly and inquisitive little Golden Mantle Squirrel, who clearly has scored food off people in the past. I caught this super cute little picture of him leaping from one rock to another...

And this cutie one of him peeking up over the edge of the summit. Sooooo cute.


  1. I'd love to be camping right now instead of packing up the house for our upcoming move. Ugh. Love the photo of the sandwich in front of the river. What a gorgeous place to vacation.

  2. Wow that looks like an amazing trip.I wish we had toffuti cuties over here. Those squirrel pictures are great, especially the jumping one - so cute!

  3. What a beautiful trip! I love the squirrel pics. :-) I can't wait to try a vegan s'more one of these days...just have to find those Dandies.

  4. Anonymous7:11 AM

    I'm glad you liked the Dandies! I will be sure to tell my boss =)

  5. This looks like an incredible trip in one of my favorite places on earh! Good food, good times :)

  6. Your trip sounds amazing! I haven't been out to Yosemite yet. That's awesome that the store carries all those great vegan supplies, you can't even get most of them at Safeway!

  7. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Wow, that hike sounds amazing -- Congrats on completing it! Great to hear that there are plenty of options at the store there, though that is so surprising that there are no burgers. Good to know, as I would way rather have a burger than veggie dogs for camping.

    --jen e.

  8. Cute squirrel!!! And aren't those Dandies Ricemilk Choco Smores the bestest?! We had the same thing at Veganstock this past weekend. So, so tasty! I could go for another one right now...unfortunately I do not have Dandies or a campfire in my office. Sigh.

  9. What a wonderful trip! I'm glad you got to indulge in Dandies marshmallows too. They really are the best I've tried!

  10. Anonymous5:13 AM

    Looks like so much fun!
    Love those squirrel pics :)

  11. Great post, Amey. I love that you hiked in memory of your grandfather. And I love that you made smores at the campfire!

    That potato looked very sad.

  12. Anonymous6:14 PM

    Great pictures! It looks like you had a really nice trip. I am jealous of your campfire s'mores! I haven't had one of those since I was little.

  13. I really wish I could visit the Yosemite park one day! Especially now that I know about all the vegan food options.

  14. Oh how I miss Yosemite! I love the picture of the hamburger on the cow plate... and the s'mores... and the leapin' squirrel!

  15. How much fun to go camping in Yosemite! It's so beautiful their. This is one of our favorite places to camp, although the Sequoia's hold a special place in our heart. Great food and the smore's, yum!

  16. Looks like fun, despite the dismal vegan options at the restaurant!

  17. I'm so excited about the vegan marshmallows. I have to blog about this!!!!

  18. Thanks for this great post! we are heading to yosemite in a few weeks and your post is SO helpful!


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