Sitting at the Chaco Canyon Cafe this morning, listening to the Beach Boys and watching the rain come down, I've arrived at the conclusion that January is essentially a month-long version of Monday. Christmas "vacation," like so many weekends, is exhausting, hectic, and full of poor decision-making, particularly where dietary issues are concerned. Assuming vacation survival, one typically wakes in January at the bitter intersection of exhaustion and ambition: Many great plans are laid. Very little energy is left to execute them.
Best gluten-free symbol. Ever.
This is undeniably due in large part to the ridiculous nature of the holiday diet. Most holiday fare consists of more sugar and more rich food that our poor bodies can even begin to process. For the few, the proud who managed to get through Christmas without falling off the health-food train . . . I (secretly hate and) commend you. But for the rest of us, January is time to get back to a relative state of health. In the interest of which I have a breakfast suggestion for you.
Located on the corner of 50th and 12th in the University District, Chaco Canyon caters to the vegan, raw-food, and food-sensitive populations of the college neighborhood. I am not vegan, and I frankly don't get the raw-food craze, yet I am consistently drawn to restaurants that serve vegan and raw foods for two basic, critical reasons: 1.) No eggs. 2.) Available ingredient lists.
On the extensive list of common food sensitivities, eggs are a major player. And because any word in an ingredient list containing "egg," the prefix "ovo," the sneaky "albumin," or the apparently innocuous "livetin" contains egg, I've found it both simpler and quicker to just choose foods that say "vegan." Specialty restaurants such as Chaco Canyon (although vegetarian, not vegan) help eliminate allergens I have to search the ingredient lists for before I can order.
Chaco Canyon, aware that many of its customers are stuck in the Allergic to Food boat, provides for this by keeping all recipes in an organized folder right by the register. Recipes for any items unique to the day are handwritten and made available as well. And the staff will readily and happily hand over the folder, recipe cards, or any other information you request.
This morning's breakfast consists of gluten-free "morning glory" muffins and an almond milk (Stumptown) latte. It's an excellent start to the day. But Chaco Canyon also offers a few heartier breakfast options, such as oatmeal (subbing rice or quinoa if desired) and tofu scramble. Or lighter options, such as their fresh-juice menu. In the afternoons, they serve vegan sandwiches and rice bowls. And in the evening, local, organic beer and wine are a great end-of-day option.
April of this year will see a second Chaco Canyon location open in West Seattle, where it was voted in by the community.