restaurants / travel

Birthday Dinner at Om Cafe & How to Pack Vegan on a Family Trip

Happy belated Independence Day! I spent the national holiday in Northern Michigan with my other half and his family and friends. And, wouldn’t you know it, my birthday was this weekend, as well. ‘Merica! With us being the only two vegans in a 7-person party, we had to prepare for a few days being around animal products and having food available for quick meals.
As is our budding tradition, my guy took me to Om Cafe in Traverse City for my celebratory birthday meal. Having visited the establishment last year and fallen in love with its modern, yet rustic and reused decor, I was psyched to return.

Taking a brief hiatus from my CrossFit challenge to eat whole, unprocessed foods (and only whole, unprocessed foods), I threw caution to the wind and enjoyed an adult beverage. In the foreground is a pineapple lemongrass mojito (YUM) and papaya nectar gimlet (ALSO YUM).

Here you see the Greek Plate: roasted red peppers, beets and garlic, cashew cheese, cornichons, olives, chickpeas, lentil walnut pate, peperoncini and rice crackers. If you are in the area, there is no reason NOT to stop by and get this appetizer, even if it’s the only thing you order. It’s that good.

My guy opted for the Macrobiotic “Long Life” Plate: seasonal vegetables, brown rice, adzuki beans, sautéed tofu, and tahini onion gravy. This got two thumbs up!

I chose the same dish I had ordered the previous year, the Cremini Mushroom Burger: mushroom, walnut, and brown rice blend burger with Daiya cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, garlic aoli and a side salad. The garlicky-ranch dressing for this salad was out-of-this-world flavorful!

So, there you have it. When it’s available (and wallet-friendly), please do try to patronize local eateries who make admirable efforts to include vegan options. Yet, when traveling, it’s also important to have other foods and snacks on hand to make sure a vegan doesn’t go hungry. Here’s what I brought with me on the trip:


  • Sweet potatoes for baking/microwaving
  • Can of Amy’s chili
  • Bag of roasted, unsalted pistachios
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Pomegranate-flavored cashews
  • Brown rice cakes
  • Protein bars and protein powder
  • Bags of measured oats & chia seeds (for my overnight oats!) + bags of measured protein powder, peanut butter powder, cacao nibs, and goji berries to add into the oats in the morning.

Perishable, packed in a cooler and stored in the fridge/freezer:

  • Almond milk for overnight oats
  • Carrots and sliced green peppers
  • Hummus
  • Frozen veggie burgers
  • Portions of brown rice & lentils in a garlicky dressing
What are your favorite foods and snacks to pack for a road trip/vacation?

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