It’s a crisp winter day when I pull up to The Peaceful Palate food truck off Shelton-McMurphey Boulevard. I’m feeling like comfort food, so I opt for the tofu scramble. Add vegan tempeh bacon? I don’t mind if I do.
These days it’s really not hard to eat well and maintain a plant-based diet if you live in Lane County, and Chasen Bienvenue’s The Peaceful Palate is a delicious and ethical addition to Eugene’s tasty food options.
The Peaceful Palate’s distinctive vintage red truck sits in a small, landscaped section of the Hummingbird Wholesale parking lot, near the Mahonia Building, which houses a slew of environmental nonprofits. Bienvenue’s vegan, zero-waste venture fits right in with these groups dedicated to a better planet.
The truck, an old Forest Service vehicle from North Dakota, was originally repurposed as a vegan ice-cream truck, making for a smooth transition to its current organic food truck status, Bienvenue says. Bienvenue, a self-described animal rights advocate, is the chef, owner and sole staffer of The Peaceful Palate.
The Peaceful Palate is not just a food truck, it’s part of what Bienvenue hopes will become a better way of life for the planet. He explains, “The food truck is but a medium for starting a cultural revolution and reducing suffering. Globally, 70 billion animals are raised and killed for food every year. That’s about 10 times the human population.”
The Peaceful Palate’s menu reflects Bienvenue’s focus on ethics and sustainability it has raw options such as the collard date wrap and a green smoothie created with a housemade coconut/cashew milk. I’ll admit I’m personally a casual semi-vegetarian who eats eggs and even fish, so I can attest the tofu scramble will satisfy vegans as well as those who have not (yet) embraced a plant-based diet.
On that note, The Peaceful Palate offers the Beyond Burger with vegan cashew cheese. The Beyond Burger has been touted by my meat-eating friends as a gateway to a veggie diet. While some of us aren’t that into meat, for others it’s a difficult transition and the Beyond Burger can help with that.
“We are seeing the physical impact that animal agriculture has on our environment every day,” Bienvenue says. He says that we see this in the rising cost of potable water, fossil fuels, food, both animal and plant based, as well as “the disappearance of crucial pollinators, extinction of thousands of species and extreme weather.”
After eating while sitting on a sunny bench near the truck, nothing is thrown away — plates, cutlery and napkins are all compostable. And in keeping with his ethics and zero-waste policy, Bienvenue says he is “personally handing out leftovers at the end of the day to various homeless camps and donating food to Food Not Bombs about once a week.”
For those interested in more statistics about how eating meat harms the planet, Bienvenue recommends cowspiracy.com/facts. The Peaceful Palate is at 150 Shelton-McMurphey Boulevard. Hours are 11 am to 5:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday-Monday. Find it online at Facebook.com/thepeacefulpalatefoodtruck or call 541-514-6661. The Peaceful Palate also does mobile catering.