Bloomington bake shop Rainbow Bakery has a dazzling array of vegan treats

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By: Crystal Hallwood

Crystal Hallwood/Vegan at the Bend

It’s official. My oldest daughter will be a freshman at Indiana University Bloomington this fall.

Last week we did freshman orientation. It was a stressful couple of days jam packed with campus info, living info, registration for classes and plenty of advice—join clubs (but not too many clubs), be social, be studious, make life long friends, choose a career and explore earning potential. No pressure, right?

Equally important to the immersion into IU, for me, was to get a culinary grip on vegan friendly places for my daughter to visit when she is missing home, wants to go out and about, or is simply tired of dining hall options. So, I went on a mission.

You may recall I was in Bloomington earlier this year and stumbled on to Upland Brewing, The Laughing Planet, Soma and The Owlery — all great vegan friendly places. But hardly all that Bloomington has to offer.

Right downtown, just across from campus, we found the Bloomington Bagel company and had a tasty bagel with peanut butter and jelly and grabbed a coffee with soy.

We strolled toward her future dorm and found a smaller and closer Soma (a local coffee house with vegan muffins and the like) — which made my daughter very happy.

We got the lay of the land, but wanted to branch a bit further into the community. We stumbled across Bloomingfoods, a small co-op with a great selection of vegan options ranging from prepared and packaged to frozen, fresh and baked. This will be a great option for those days when she is missing the Purple Porch or even a certain slightly larger Mishawaka store.

The real highlight of this trip came when my daughter found Rainbow Bakery. It is a couple miles from her dorm, still in the downtown area and absolutely adorable. It is a fully vegan bakery.

By mid afternoon, when we visited, there were few options left. When I was done, they were nearly cleaned out. They have donuts (I got six), they have cupcakes (I got four) and pasties (one).

For those of you not familiar with pasties, they are popular in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but have a long history in England (and I am certain other countries, too). It’s, in essence, a hand-held pot pie full of last night’s supper. In other words, portable yumminess.

We also had a sparkling water and a dry soda. Literally, everything was a tasty treat. Total bill: $31. Happiness factor: 100!

What a great little gem this place is. Now, if I can only arrange for personal delivery to her dorm…

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