I recently spent a few days in southern Oregon, attending to some family business. I'm sure I've mentioned before just how NOT vegan-friendly it is down there. Apparently, those southerners also don't understand food intolerances, either. Case in point: My sister and I went to Waldo's, a bar on the main drag downtown, for lunch. They have the same menu as the Japanese restaurant next door, so I felt that I would be able to find something for my palate. I asked the bartender for hummus with no pita bread and more red peppers instead. He thought I said NO red peppers and more pita bread (what?) and gave me the strangest look when I corrected him and said I wanted MORE red peppers, and NO bread. Then, I added to the mess by asking for plain white rice. It wasn't on the menu, and I think I shook him up pretty badly with that one. THEN, to top it all off, I ordered HOT WATER WITH LEMON. You would have thought I was straight out of the looney bin with this food order! He even said that he never got orders like this and he was having a hard time keeping it straight. Seriously?
The highlight of the trip, however, was my new favorite grocery store, Market of Choice. It's based in Eugene, and there are two locations in the Portland vicinity, but they are both so far away that I've never tried them out. Because I've had such great luck with MoC four times now in the past two months, I will definitely make an effort to visit one of the locations here. They are a cheaper version of Whole Foods while having the local feel of New Seasons. Their gluten-free items are very well-marked, and for the most part, their staff is extremely helpful and friendly.