So apprently Portland, ME is a very VGFriendly place. I had the pleasure of visiting Maine for a week this summer with three of my favorite people in the world and I quickly discovered that although the state is known for it’s seafood, there are abundant options for gluten-free vegans. From a shop-off at Trader Joe’s (oh Trader Joe’s!) to a repeat trip to Silly’s, a quirky diner that highlights vegan and gluten free options on its extensive menu, I found myself eating around the clock.
One of our more hilarious dining experiences occurred when we stopped by a spot called Kama Souptra at the Public Market in downtown Portland. This little soup shop has an array of vegan options, kindly marked on their menu, and a really cool program for regulars: you can buy your own bowl! For $30 you get your own beautiful hand-made bowl and $1 off every bowl of soup you order for the next year. Considering how good their soup was, this seems like quite a good deal. I went with the Bouktouf, a chilled zucchini soup, with a side of gluten free bread which I was assured was also vegan. As I sat with my friends devouring the soup, we all remarked that this was the most fluffy, crusty gluten-free bread imaginable…or was it?! Ten minutes later the cashier from Kama Souptra came over to our table. “You wanted gluten-free bread, didn’t you?” he asked. When I confirmed his suspicion he apologized profusely for giving us glutinous bread. Greatly relieved to hear that I am not serious allergic to gluten, he gave us a free gluten free roll and said that if I came back on another day and said I was “Miss New Orleans” I could get a free bowl of soup!
I was stoked! That’s when my friends informed me that Mr. Souptra had clearly been hitting on me. I guess my straight-dar is a little out of order. I was promptly re-named Miss New Orleans as we headed out into the rainy August afternoon with full bellies and a few belly laughs.
For a simple Bouktouf recipe visit The Splendid Table. I pretty much followed this recipe except I left out the cilantro and used tomato sauce in a jar instead of tomato paste because I am avoiding cans. Unfortunately I realized too late that Whole Foods store brand tomato sauce has Parmesan in it, so by all means use a different kind of tomato sauce!