Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Search for Vegan Food in Bangor: Bagel Central

Bangor, Maine's third-largest city, hasn't experienced the culinary renaissance that in the last decade has transformed Portland into a foodie destination and is now sweeping up the coast to Rockland. Tastes tend toward meat and potatoes in this old lumber town. The pickings are slim for vegans, decent for vegetarians.

Tom at Bangor Vegetarian Network has a helpful run-down of vegan and vegetarian options at most restaurants in the area. I've written about Bahaar Pakistani and Taste of India, both of which are great for vegans, as well as Giacomo's, which I love for its coffee and atmosphere, if not its deli counter.

Another downtown option is Bagel Central, a popular bakery/cafe with vaulted ceilings and a lively atmosphere, located alongside the Kenduskeag Stream. Besides their fluffy, bready bagels, Bagel Central serves omelets, pancakes, and oatmeal, as well as soups and sandwiches for lunch. Vegetarians can find plenty to eat. Unfortunately, with the exception of the plain water and sesame water bagels, the breads contain egg. Vegan cream cheese, peanut butter, and jam are available, though I've been known to bring Earth Balance margarine in my purse.

At lunchtime, Bagel Central offers a rotating selection of soups which are often vegetarian or vegan. In winter, these tend toward hearty vegetable barley, chickpea stew, and chili, with a spicy, chunky gazpacho available in summer. There's often hummus in the deli case, which I substitute for cheese when ordering The Brady Gang, a towering vegetable sandwich fit for a lumberjack.

We visit Bagel Central a few times a month, to gaze out the giant windows and eat ourselves into a carbohydrate stupor. I give it two chickpeas. Vegans can eat, but choices are limited. If Bagel Central offered a vegan wheat bagel and natural (non-hydrogenated) peanut butter, I'd go for breakfast more often.

4 comments:

  1. I'm having gazpacho for lunch today, but I soooo wish I had a fresh, hot bagel to eat with it. Damn.

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  2. Oh no, only two garbanzos!

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  3. This is crazy, but I don't think I've had a bagel since I went vegan! *gasp*

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  4. bagel central has MANY vegan choices now. Please check back. They also have 4 0r 5 vegan bagels.

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