I’m definitely still in vacation mode–this was probably one of the most relaxing trips we’ve been on. After an 8 to 9 hour drive, we arrived in Kelly, Wyoming in the beautiful Tetons National Park. We stayed in Budge’s Slide Lake Cabins just outside Kelly and about 20 minutes north of Jackson Hole.
This was absolutely a great location for us—secluded, close to Jackson Hole, and not far at all from both the Tetons National Park and Yellowstone. The Gros Ventre River flows out of Slide Lake as well and a short trek along the lake gave us a spectacular view of the Tetons:
Since the cabins are located right on the lake, we spent lots of time lounging around on the patio taking in the sun, watching the kayakers, and reading.
Currently, I’m reading The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard:
Having access to a full kitchen was really great—it saved us some money and we didn’t have to drive into Jackson for every meal. I was able to make a few things ahead of time like granola, vegan ranch dressing, tofu spread, and the filling for lasagna. We arrived around 6:30, so we went with easy spaghetti for dinner.
(View from the kitchen)
The next morning I went for a run along the lake and then had a breakfast of granola and English muffins with peanut butter. Another morning, I also made a tofu scramble with some tempeh bacon I made ahead of time. With some Tofutti sour cream in a warmed tortilla, it was delicious, especially when you need something to stick to your ribs for a big day of hiking. We decided to go to Jenny Lake, only about a half hour drive from the cabin and a must see when visiting the Tetons. We made this trek before about 3 years ago and knew what to expect. The most popular hike is fairly easy and after 2 miles, you’ll come to the Cascade Falls:
By the time we got here, it was time for a snack. Lara bars are a yummy vegan energy bar that I love. My mom, her friend, and The 6th Grader took the ferry back to the trail head ($6.50/person one-way). The Husband and I made the hike back and met them for a picnic along the lake–which is right at the base of the Tetons.
We packed a picnic of Boca “chicken” wraps, fruit, and chips. It was so relaxing and a great place to relax after the hike.
Other dinners at the cabin: Grilled veggie burgers and I made lasagna. We also had an appetizer night serving the tofu spread, Can’t Say it’s Cheese spread, avocado bruschetta, salad and rice.
The Husband, being the manly-man he is, grilled a Smart Dog over a campfire and said it was quite delicious.
The next day we decided to drive north about an hour to the south entrance of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Lake where he started with a lakeside picnic.
We packed bagels with Tofutti cream cheese, avocado, and tomato. They were fresh and delicious and perfect for a picnic.
After a warm and sunny picnic, we braved the roads with hundreds of others to visit the other amazing sights of Yellowstone: Old Faithful, Midway Geyser, Biscuit Basin, and the Fountain Mud Pots.
OK…On to Jackson Hole—what you’re all probably more interested than my family photos. So I was pretty apprehensive about finding vegan options in a place that is surrounded by cattle and buffalo.
(Who’d want to eat this cute guy)?!
I was looking on my iphone for vegan options in Jackson, particularly, Harvest Natural Foods Cafe, which is vegetarian, but in the meantime, we came across Lotus Cafe, just a block from the town square on a quiet street.
It was around 1pm and were able to score a patio table in some shade (actually, they let us move a table into the shade). It didn’t appear to be air conditioned inside, so it proved to be cooler on the patio. We were really impressed with the many vegetarian/vegan options on the menu–it was so hard to decide. I opted for the Thai Curry Bowl with tofu for $12.99.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get one bite of it. After finding about 5 bugs in in, I took it back. I was told that the greens were fresh from the farm that morning and probably did not get rinsed well. They are an organic cafe, so it’s to be expected, but I sure the hell didn’t want it in my meal. They were very apologetic about it and I decided to order the same thing The Husband got: The Aztec Enchiladas for $12.99. They are corn tortillas stuffed with quinoa and served with enchilada sauce and avocados, lentils, and steamed kale.
I believe it was also served with creme fraiche but I obviously didn’t use any. Anyhow, I had to wait again for a my meal and while The Husband loved the enchiladas, I wasn’t as moved as he was. They were good, but not great. I didn’t like the lentils and the kale tasted funny. I would definitely like to try making my own quinoa stuffed enchiladas because they were good. I was hoping they were comp me my meal but, they didn’t. Oh well. I certainly would eat at Lotus Cafe again–they have lots of other vegan options that I would love to try.
For our last night, we wanted to have dinner in Jackson. I looked through a Jackson Hole 2010 Dining Guide that was in the cabin. We picked Nani’s Cucina Italiana:
What drew me in was that on their advertisement in the dining guide, they accommodate to various dietary needs, including veganism. I was ecstatic. Since we were also with two nonvegans, there were options for everyone. We sat on the patio that faced the quiet street, just off of the town square.
It was certainly on the pricey side, but we figured since it was our last night and this was only our 2nd restaurant meal of the trip, we could splurge. The Husband and 6th Grader ordered regular spaghetti, each for $13.99.
They both loved it. They said it was amazing, so I guess that means spaghetti at home will be a disappointment. My mom went vegetarian with fresh linguine with pistachio cream sauce for $18 and said it was outstanding. For my meal, I went pasta-less. For vegetarians/vegans, Nani’s offers an entree for $19 where you can choose from three of the following: roasted tomatoes or potatoes, soft polenta, grilled zucchini, peas sautéed with onion, chard sautéed with pine nuts & raisins, sautéed oyster mushrooms, vegetable & chickpea salad, sautéed broccolletti, or braised green beans. I went with the roasted potatoes, sauteed oyster mushrooms, and the chard sauteed with pine nuts and raisins.
I was blown away. This was by far one of the BEST restaurant meals I have had in a long time. The flavors of everything was fresh and savory. The chard was amazing. It was the perfect amount for one meal, but I would have loved to have had leftovers. Oh my gosh, it was amazing. Everyone loved their meals and agreed that it was the perfect place for a farewell dinner—or any dinner for that matter.
The 6th Grader’s dessert stomach was of course empty, so he ordered the sorbet sampler:
He loved it and after a taste test of each, I wish I had ordered my own. Overall, it was a fabulous choice for dinner and is clearly a popular place, as it was getting packed as we were leaving. I highly recommend Nani’s for the food and great service.
According to the dining guide, there are other places offering vegan/vegetarian options. A previous guest of the cabin wrote in the guest book that Jackson Lake Lodge, about a half hour north of Kelly, had lots of vegetarian/vegan options and the place overall, has been highly rated.
Other places worth looking into: Betty Rock Cafe, Bon Appe Thai, Chinatown Restaurant, or Ocean City Chinese Bistro. We also found Jackson Whole Grocer, a natural and organic grocery store that everything we could possibly need as vegans.
It was an amazing vacation, especially since my mom had never seen the Tetons or been to Yellowstone, so it was great to share this with her. Anyway, hope I haven’t bored you to pieces with my trip photos and food ramblings.