bomb diggity bakery, cause for paws, eating local, food politics, local sprouts cafe, ME, vegan portland

Saturday Night at Local Sprouts

Local Spouts isn’t for those who belly grumble over the terms “local” or “sustainable.” It’s not for those who like to keep their plates and their politics separate. They, as you can see from the wall painting in the cafe, wear their commitment to the community, and those that provide their food, proudly.

The space, filled with art, ‘Zines, community fliers, t-shirts, teas and other local wares is so engaging that I felt a smidge over stimulated (in a good way) when we first walked in.  I had never more than looked in the windows once or twice and now that I was fully inside, I wondered what had stopped me from venturing further. Honestly, I had my own (wrongfully) preconceived notions that it’s food was comprised of mostly vegan ‘lot’ food and that just doesn’t really do it for me unless The Missus and I are strolling down Shakedown. Can I just say how horribly wrong and ignorant I was?

Our first trip down to 649 Congress Street was for a night of music and fundraising for Cause for Paws (A HUGE amount of thanks to Figa Restaurant and Sweet Marguerites for their donations!). It was a beautiful evening of friends and food and the space was filled with so much love that it spilled out onto Congress. While musicians, like local Rockabilly master Sean Mencher and His Rhythm Kings, filled the space with music, we filled our bellies with simple, creative food from the kitchen.

The Missus ordered the fish tacos.  The plate, loaded with a generous portion of beans, rice, slaw, salsa and seared fish, looked fresh and beautiful. Truthfully, I didn’t snag anything more than a bite of her pancake like tortillas (which we both thought were a bit odd in texture)  but she seemed to enjoy everything on top of them.  I could hardly pull myself away from my own plate to steal any more bites from hers. She also enjoyed an Allagash White, one of many locally produced brews and beverages available and served in mason jars. Actually, our group may have used every single jelly jar in the joint. There was a lot of celebrating. 
But, I digress.

I chose the Peanut Tofu, with seasonal vegetables, and the flavors of the dish could have easily stood next to those from some of the best Thai restaurants in town. The noodles were well coated, but not drowned, in a slightly spicy, tangy peanut sauce. The vegetables (broccoli, carrot, cabbage, scallion, red onion and pea shoots) were abundant and perfectly crisp and the tofu had a nice crisp crust on the outside that prevented it from breaking down when tossed with the noodles and added a nice layer of flavor.  The portions of each were so large that we easily made two meals out of the leftovers, making it a ridiculously good deal on top of a wonderful meal in a fun, comfortable environment.

The staff was kind, patient and attentive amongst the organized chaos that we created at the counter and the weeds we threw the kitchen into.  They were more than helpful in asking if we needed anything while setting up and didn’t rush us out when we kept them past closing. They made us feel like every member of our group, even those of us who were there for the first time, was part of their cozy cooperative family. And it’s that vibe, but more so the food, that will bring us back again and again.

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cause for paws, charitable giving, for a greater cause, helping friends in need

Cause for Paws

Just a year after “walking home” on the Appalachian Trail in 2000, Micah began having trouble with his vision and tingling in his hands and feet.   Soon after he was given a diagnosis…Multiple Sclerosis.  The last decade has brought on many challenges-Micah uses a wheelchair 95% of the time due to lack of strength and balance.  His sudden tremors and diminished feeling in his hands cause him to drop things.  His eyesight comes and goes, making him dependent on others for transportation.

No bones about it, MS really does suck.  But because of MS, Micah was partnered with his first service dog, a furry angel named Wiley.  Wiley did so many helpful things for Micah like opening doors, picking up dropped objects, carrying the groceries, turning on lights, pulling his chair, and fetching various items. MS is a tough disease, and having Wiley around helped tremendously not only physically, but mentally as well.  She had the ability to brighten anyone’s day with a nudge of her nose or a wag of her tail.

Wiley passed away suddenly almost two years ago, and while no dog could replace her, we are ready to start a new partnership.  Micah has been accepted as a client with Massachusetts based training organization NEADS   While the true cost of raising a service dog is over $20,000, clients are expected to contribute $9500. That’s where you all come in!  Contributions of any size  will help to bring a new service dog home and provide a sense of  independence and security that comes with having a furry sidekick to call your own

Thank you all for your support!

Tanya and Micah


Every day I saw Wiley at work with Micah.  Her eyes and ears were always trained on him, waiting for him to need her. Even if she had fallen asleep, she was on her feet the second she heard her name. Food would drop right under her nose and she wouldn’t budge, not unless Micah told her it was alright. She was there by his side at every moment.  When we would visit them at home, if she wasn’t right by his side, then she chasing after sticks or various stuffed animals that she had strewn across the house and lawn.  She was so full of energy that she would end up tiring YOU out playing fetch.  But, again, the second she heard Micah’s voice, she was back at his side, waiting for a command. She lived for him and made life, with his diagnosis, eons more manageable.

She was a damn good dog.

Micah’s need for a service dog didn’t disappear after Wiley passed away and the cost, as you have read, is not a small one. I am asking anyone that reads this to please consider donating a few dollars or, if you have tangible goods, make a donation to their auction to help offset their costs of bringing home a new service dog for Micah.

All information about their financial goals, auction donations, information about an upcoming fundraiser in Cambridge, MA, can all be found at their website: Cause for Paws.