The Oregon coast is beautiful, has some great hiking, and somehow makes people enjoy being drenched in a cold rain. It’s also got a ton of seafood. As a vegetarian of seven years, there are two things I miss from my former days of eating food with a face: spam and fish. Yes, spam. Live in Hawaii for five years as a child and don’t want to eat spam musubi three meals a day, every day. I dares ya.
Anyway, as hard as it is to be tempted by fishy treats, there are some pretty awesome vegetarian options for food. If you’re vegan, you are very strong, and I applaud your ability to spurn cheese’s titillating advances. You also won’t be able to take advantage of my first suggestion: dairy heaven, the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
Wind-blown curly hair, don't care... because look what I've got! Aw, Tillamook ice cream...
You’re saying, Michelle, come on, you can’t have cheese and ice cream for a meal. Why, yes, I can. If my digestive system revolts and I get extra belly cushion, so be it. The cheese factory is currently in the process of building a new visitors center, which is set to be completed in 2018. However, you can still enjoy all the artery-clogging goodness Tillamook has to offer at a temporary visitors center until then.
As a vegetarian, you’re probably aware that many cheeses are not, in fact, vegetarian. We need to make sure that the rennet used is not from animals. Fortunately, most Tillamook cheeses steer clear of animal rennet. They even put it on the package labels. It’s adorable and makes me love them even more. When you visit the factory, there are so many cheeses that you wish you, too, were a cow and had multiple compartments in your stomach. You don’t even have to buy all of the cheeses. There are free samples, too! I’m the thrifty tripper, so heck yes. It will help your pocket book as you only spend several hundred dollars on tiny Tillamoos.
You can also eat the best ice cream not made by someone named Ben or Jerry. There are a wide variety of flavors and delicious cones. It’s a good thing there’s a lot of hiking nearby because you’re going to need to walk for about three months nonstop to burn the calories.
To have actual healthy meals, (blech) you can check out Thai Bay in Lincoln City. I only had it once, but I still dream about their tofu curry. The flavor was amazing, and I knew the dish was much better for my digestion than the 17 pounds of cheese I ate in Tillamook a few days prior. I think vegetables aspire to be included in their veggie egg rolls, too. You can get both the curry and those eggrolls for under 20 dollars with a solid tip. And you should give them a solid tip. They’ve performed magic tricks for your taste buds.
Tofu curry from Thai Bay... proving that tofu is more than just weird mushy white stuff for weird herbivores
So when you head over to the Oregon coast to get rained on and bring back pounds of sand in your car, be sure to make stops at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and Thai Bay. Your extended waistline will be worth it.