Wednesday, May 12, 2010

(Portland) vegan airport guide

Today I leave the land of ironic hipster mullets for the land of sincere ones, so what better time to post about eating vegan in the airport than while I'm actually in one? This post is primarily about the Portland airport, but as there are a lot of chains here that are in a lot of other airports as well, hopefully this can be helpful to you regardless of where you're flying.

PDX may be in Portland, but it is still an airport, not a promised land of vegan delights. Here are your best bets:
Jamba Juice was my saving grace this morning. In addition to a wide array of vegan smoothies (my favorite is the Five Fruit Frenzy), they have oatmeal made with soymilk (but the brown sugar crumbles contain milk, so order without). You can also get hot chocolate with soymilk, a wrap with hummus and quinoa and veggies, and an apple cinnamon pretzel. Their website is very helpful as it has an entire section listing everything on their menu that is vegan.
Flying Elephant Delicatessen is a recent addition to PDX. Other than the usual chips, fruit salad, etc. they have a sandwich with vegan cream cheese (WTF? In an airport?), eggplant, and arugula. They also sell Kettleman's bagels, if you don't mind a dry bagel. (Why do they only sell vegan cream cheese on the sandwich?)
Riverfront Cafe has hummus and pita!
Quizno's has a veggie sub that is vegan when you order it on white or wheat with no cheese and no dressing.
Big Town Hero has multiple veggie subs, including one with avocado, that are vegan if you order without various dairy nonsense.
Wendy's French fries are vegan.
Pizzicato's airport menu drops the v-word. You can order any of their pizzas without cheese, and they also have hummus and foccacia and peanut sauce.
I know Good Dog Bad Dog has a veggie sausage, but I don't know if it's vegan. Ask. Anyone reading this know one way or the other?

That's PDX. The key to being vegan in an airport, or anywhere, is being crafty (if you have time). All things considered, pack your own food if you can. A Luna bar or pack of trail mix doesn't take up much space in a bag, doesn't go bad, and can be the most delicious food on earth when you're tired and jet-lagged and starving. But beyond that, you might often be surprised. For example, Denver's airport sells Nana's vegan cookies (in the nondescript Hudson News places), Newark has a few little natural-themed kiosks with Odwalla bars and Naked juices and the like, Minneapolis has an Asian place with tofu noodle soup, Seattle has a cafe (Kathy Casey Dish D'Lish) with a couscous dish. Those are all just off the top of my head, and all were surprises to me. You never know what you might find, and often a quick Google search of the airport(s) you'll be at can lead you to a list of restaurants there, which, combined with the powers of the interwebs, can give you a head start on finding vegan food. Happy travels!


  1. Aah, this would have been very useful last year, when I traveled out of PDX. Are these places before you go through security or after? All I remember finding where some enormous( expensive and calorific) cookies in a magazine/newspaper shop. And I really wanted to find something too, because it was a eleven hour flight and then a ten hour layover I was heading onto. Oh well, at least there was a miniature Powell's.

  2. Hi Medimusi! Sorry for the delay in response - I've been traveling a lot this summer and haven't always had reliable Internet. Some of these places are before security (Jamba Juice and Flying Elephant, off the top of my head) and some (Pizzicato, Big Town Hero) are after. How did you survive twenty-one hours on a cookie?! That sounds horrible. I hope your next plane trip can be more bearable. The rule of thumb is ask, if you have time - you never know what happy surprises you might find!