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 Post subject: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 10:25 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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Hey Montana folks. We are going to be heading to your fine state this week. We will be staying in the Billings area for half of our trip. We are going to stay at Chico Hot Springs for a couple of nights. We also plan on visiting Yellowstone a couple of days. I know there is a great grocery store in Billings, but was wondering if there are some awesome vegan friendly eateries along our path?

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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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I’ve been lurking around here for awhile, but as a Montanan, I felt compelled to reply to this! Even though there are a lot of great vegan friendly places in Montana, I don’t know of many along that route. There are plenty of good grocery stores though, so packing a cooler with your own foods would be a good idea. I’ve spent time in that area, but I don’t live there, so there may also be other places I don’t know about. There’s a Compassionate Cooks podcast episode about Colleen’s visit to Yellowstone that might be a good resource for information too.

For grocery stores, the Good Earth Market in Billings and the Bozeman Co-op are both awesome. I think there’s also a natural foods store in Livingston, but I haven’t been there myself. Most of the regular grocery stores will probably have a good selection of produce and some basic vegan staple items. Bozeman is also the home of "We Can't Say It's Cheese", so it's available in a lot of grocery stores around this area - if you can't get it in your area, it's worth trying out. The Hickory Spread with crackers is a great snack!

In Livingston, the 2nd Street Bistro serves gourmet pizza (and other things) with a focus on local foods. They’re only open for dinner and it’s a good idea to make a reservation there, so you could mention that you’re interested in a vegan meal when you call, just to make sure they’re ready to serve you something delicious.

If you end up travelling down to Red Lodge, Café Regis is awesome for breakfast and lunch. They make a point of saying they’re happy to accommodate special dietary needs and they have several vegan options on their menu.

Chico Hot Springs is a wonderful place to stay – the Paradise Valley is beautiful! Soaking in the hot springs is great too - they've got a poolside bar with live music a few nights a week which is really fun! Unfortunately, Chico's menus are pretty heavy on steaks and that sort of thing – so definitely call ahead and see what they can prepare for you. I’ve gotten “off the menu” meals there before - but it may depend on how busy they are and that sort of thing.

In Yellowstone, you’ll find some basic vegan options (veggie sandwiches and snacks), but this is where having a well stocked cooler would come in handy. Yellowstone (especially this time of year before the crowds arrive) is an incredible place – so enjoy! If you’re travelling in from Gardiner like it sounds like you’ll be doing, stopping for a swim in the Boiling River is really fun! Welcome to Montana and I hope you have a great trip!!


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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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There's also a vegan potluck group in Livingston (google "Live and Let Livingston" to find them). It looks like there's a Bozeman potluck on June 9th and a Livingston potluck on June 10th - so if the timing works out, maybe you could meet up with them. Or you could also try contacting them to see if they have any recommendations for the area.


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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Hey bigsky. I just saw your post. We had a wonderful time. We did find lots of veggie options and even had a kitchen in one of our cabins which made me crazy happy. Yellowstone was so beautiful. When I have some time, I will post some pics. It was awesome! I love Good Earth. They have great selection and such nice people working there. Thanks for all of the suggestions!

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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:41 am 
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Because Bob Barker Told Me To
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Hi all,

Wondering if there are any updates to this thread? We're in Billings now looking for food, and then will head to Thermopolis, WY, then the east side of Yellowstone, then Livingston. Any Billings/Livingston recommendations are very welcome!

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:37 am 
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Yellowstone is basically my favorite spot on the planet. please put me in your luggage. i am begging.

that area of the country is not vegan friendly at all. i cant speak to the specific towns you are visiting but when we were in WY i basically ate PBJ picnics. we went to Albertsons grocery store and bought a cheap foam cooler and food for the week while we were in Yellowstone.

in Yellowstone at the food places there is a hummus wrap but be careful the one i got at Old Faithful was totally fine and then another place they put SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE in it. what the fizzle. not only was it not advertised as such who the fork puts cheddar cheese in hummus????

they were super nice though and remade the sandwich for me when i asked if there was cheese in it and offered to let me keep the first one free as well but even my omni husband didnt dig the idea of cheddar cheese and hummus

HAVE FUN.

omg i love Yellowstone PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:15 pm 
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I'm farther west so can't recommend actual restaurants, but when we were in Yellowstone we mostly ate out of a cooler and over the fire. I did eat at one of the restaurants once and they had gardein on the menu as a substitute to put on their salads instead of chicken. I think I noticed that at a few of the restaurants though we came well stocked and only ate at one. It's not much (they didn't seem to know how to actually season the gardein so it was very bland) but it was a nice gesture.

Also, it doesn't look like you'll be heading to Bozeman, but it you do by chance the Whistle Pig is an amazing Korean restaurant! They have several vegan options and it's some of the best food I've had since moving to Montana.

Yellowstone is a wonder of the world and I hope you have a great time. Be prepared for hordes of people but don't let it detract from the magic of the place.

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 Post subject: Re: [Montana] Where to eat in Billings area
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:50 pm 
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The other year Bozeman had a pizza place called Cosmic Pizza and they can substitute with Daiya at no extra charge. Kind of weird though cause the employees there all call it soy cheese even though there's no soy like the bag says. Both the dough and the sauce were vegan unlike most of the other pizza places in the area. I have no experience with Whistle Pig but "I Ho's" Korean restaurant is fantastic (by mid-west standards) for vegan food. You can very clearly communicate about the fact that you want vegan food on your plate and feel 100% confident that what shows up is what you've asked for. Order wisely from the Japanese place on main street but other than them and I Ho's I suggest avoid all of the Asian food places. Everyone always thinks "oh I'll just ask some questions at this Thai restaurant". Don't bother, save your time.

As far as Livingston goes, your best bet is to talk to the lady who runs the Livingston vegan potlock. Bonnie has an art store you can visit named Mordam Art (more damn art) and you can pet cats too! She should know the latest going on in Livingston and probably have a suggestion on what to get where.

Butte has the Humming Bird Cafe which has quite a charming interior. Very clear and clean menu so you know what is vegan. Great place to go if you have one or more omni's with you. Humming Bird uses grass fed chemical free meat yadda yadda that stuff. I've been in there several times and seen Isa's cupakes by the register. Those vegan cupcakes ARE taking over the world!

Missoula and Billings both have a Hu Hot within easy access to the highway. Make your selections carefully since most of the sauces aren't vegan but the company does seem to do a very good job of making that info easily available and both have the cleanest grills I've ever seen during peak meal times. That was several years ago though so it may have changed.

------

There's a preconceived notion that there is no vegan food to be had, or that it's really really hard to find it, out in the mid-west. And while that belief has correctly been earned, it is quickly eroding within small regions and communities. There are pockets of extremely progressive thinking and ethical eating popping up. It's quite surprising. Montana is very small and the ratio of vegan or vegan-friendly places, options, even people, it's amazing. But it's because the state is so small that you get snapped rudely back to reality sometimes by people who are quite simply just stuck in the past. It was a tough place for me to be vegan when I first moved there and I lived there for over a decade. By the time that I left, I could see the change which had taken effect and I'm told is still happening.

It might sound strange but I strongly encourage anyone who is going on vacation to Yellowstone or Glacer to time their trips so they can visit one or more of the monthly vegan potlucks which are now all networked together and have been running for years and years. The national parks are amazing but so is witnessing the change which is happening in what was previously thought to be one of the most un-veganfriendly places in the country. And the locals always have great suggestions for terrific little hikes and walks off the beaten path if you give yourself the immensely rewarding time to explore.


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