Alix and I went to Portland for the very first time less than two weeks ago. We spent the time biking, drinking coffee, tasting local beers/ales and of course we had a mission to go to as many vegan friendly restaurants & cafes as possible. How the heck do you cover this 4 day extravaganza? Well I’ve decided to separate it into 4 monumental posts 1 for each day we were in Portland. We were given the Holy Grail of lists to awesome vegan hangs in Portland from our friends over at Quarrygirl So as soon as we got off the airplane we knew exactly where to go. Vita Cafe for breakfast. It was one of the top picks of Foodeater and Quarrygirl. And wow we were impressed, we ended up hitting Vita cafe three times in four days. But of course very, very first you have to get Stumptown coffee :)
Real cups. Real espresso, real coffee, free refills on coffee. It’s 2010 not 1980 I hate drinking from disposable cups, what a waste indeed. Hint… Hint… (Starstrucks) It’s not like we don’t have Intelligentsia which is so f’n good. But have you seen the lines? You walk into Stumptown and you get that Intelligentsia level of quality and a seat to go with it. And the atmosphere, so many restaurants and cafes just have a lovely, elegant but relaxed atmosphere in Portland.
Here is the exterior of Vita Cafe. It’s located in the Alberta Arts district. Several of our all time favorite Portland vegan places like Back to Eden and The Bye and Bye are all located on Alberta St and within walking distance of each other.
SLOPPY BISCUIT SANDWICH $8 fried tofu, faux turkey, cheese, & gravy between a vegan biscuit served with potatoes. WOW! This sandwich was insane.
“CHICKEN” FRIED STEAK $8.50 batter dipped deep fried organic tempeh, potatoes. This country fried steak was also insanely good.
I think our waitress was unaware of how excited we were to eat as much vegan gravy as humanly possible. She kept warning us on how much gravy we were ordering. She helped us out though because we ordered about half as much food as we wanted to per her request. And as you can see we had way more than enough. And luckily we were able to save some room for later. P.S. Secret Aardvark Sauce from Oregon is awesome.
Posting signage is on the rise.
You have to bring this kitty cat reminder when you travel so you’ll always have your cat close to you. And my sister Amy made one of these for Alix and one for me. Aww…
Water is easily accessible in Portland. Very cool if you’re biking and walking all over the city as we were.
Victorian style houses everywhere ↑ and cool cars too ↓
Okay we are now at the vegan strip mall. Love this place. We are currently going into Food Fight for the very first time. We had to get a few tiny treats like vegan peanut butter cups. We came back here again and again and again…
There are bike racks everywhere in Portland. It just makes you want to ride your bike everywhere which we did. Also everyone was really nice to us in Portland. Even random people would chase us down the street asking to borrow our phones. But for real, people were really nice. Especially the bus drivers. I was shocked. They said hello, thank you, good bye had conversations with the passengers. From the streets of Los Angeles where bus drivers often just want to run you over on your bicycle this was a cool contrast.
And we secretly went into Sweetpea bakery after eating little treats from Food Fight. But don’t tell anyone because um… But we just had to, we had never been before.
Okay, we weren’t messing around on this trip. We checked into the Ace Hotel and walked a few blocks down the street to VooDoo doughnut. I randomly saw VooDoo Doughnut on Man vs Food a few months back which by the way is a show I had never seen before so it was completely by chance but it majorly inspired me to want Vegan VooDoo’s. It actually inspired me so much that I accidentally binged at Ronald’s too. VooDoo doughnuts have a large variety of vegan flavors but we were smart and only got 2 each.
$5 dollar buckets. This is a crazy amount of donuts. Beware. Probably best to get these if A. Your drunk & B. Riding around on bikes with tons of people, or C. Out of your mind. Which I reassure you there is an exceptional amount of weirdness in Portland hence the “Keep Portland Weird!” bumper stickers.
Oh yeah there was a crazy huge line too.
McMinnville Cream: Raised yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream with maple frosting on top and two eyeballs and a mustache!
Portland Cream: Raised yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream with chocolate on the top and two eyeballs! Yum, Yum, Yum…
The donuts are very good and crazy like a crazy donut should be. But definitely not something I’d want to eat on a regular basis. I usually like to feel pretty decent after I eat food. I ate about one and a half donuts total and felt completely fine afterward. Anyways I didn’t want to spoil my appetite because later that night we were going to none other than Portobello for a very fancy dinner.
We got to Portobello earlier than our reservation and do make a reservation because other people were waiting for 2 hrs just to get a table at this highly sought after restaurant which just recently reopened in their brand new location about a week earlier. When you want the best this is where you go. But before you go in why not head over to The Beer Mongers next door for a few friendly local taps. That’s what we did and you can even get Portobello pizza or vegan mexican food delivered to your table at The Beer Mongers. But for us we were just trying out some local taps, patiently waiting for our reservation. And as many of you know I had a very special ring in my pocket, and this definitely seemed like a possible location to pop the question. I knew I would ask Alix in Portland but the exact logistics would be left to well…
Appetizer #01 Chao Cheese, Apple Mostarda, Baguette.
Appetizer #02 Meatball & Flame Grape Brochettes. Mmm… I’m making myself so hungry looking at this stuff. The photos speak for themselves all the food was delicious.
Entree #01 Smoked Tomato Sausage and Cheese ravioli, Tomato-Basil Sauce, Cashew Besciamela. This was miraculous, I’m going to sound repetitive later but this was the best ravioli I have had. It was a really special, full flavored dish. With all the subtleties you would expect from such a dining experience. Oh and did I mention they have a full bar now as well.
Entree #02 lemon-Herb Gnocchi, Asparagus, Sugar Snaps, Cauliflower Vellutata. Okay by far the best Gnocchi in the world. Hands down. I’m sobbing and crying I want this dish to melt in my mouth again. It’s so delicate and delicious and mouth watering. The food at Portobello is absolutely incredible. I’ve never had anything like it.
Even though this was the dining experience that many vegans would kill for. It still wasn’t the perfect mood and tone to reveal this precious ring I’m so eagerly excited to present. Yes the dinner was intimate and romantic. But I knew I’d make a scene in such a place so we needed something a bit more private. A place where we would feel like we were completely in our own little world but I also wanted to be somewhere in public. Could I make this type of environment happen? Well I thought yes at the time. And it definitely seemed like we were heading in that direction. Especially considering that we had both been chatting about how we entered a euphoric, dream like state of mind (without drugs mind you).
Where the heck are we at now you might ask? Well none other than the prom bike ride of course. I mean the starting point was less than a mile from Portobello and the ride started 30 minutes after we were done with dinner. Besides what’s the point of eating all day if you don’t use the food as energy. We ran into several friends from L.A. who were visting for Pedalpalooza, luckily we hit up a few of the events ourselves. I think we all know Portland is a fun, cool place to be in the summer.
Portland Day 01 is the most monumental post ever on Little Vegan Planet but wait till day 02. Because something crazy happens in Portland :) but wait theres more Day 03 & 04 coming soon to. hehe