Coffee with my sister on my very first morning in P-town.
So a few weeks back, I spent an entire week in Portland for the Vida Vegan Con
bloggers conference. I’d had all sorts of plans for adventuring while I was there, and then I got totally sick instead. But hey, even sick people have to eat! And I did.
Oh, how I did . . .
This may be my most epic food post ever. Warning: ridiculous amount of food porn ahead. Proceed with caution if operating under the influence of an empty stomach.My first day in town was as soggy as a true Portland spring should be. I spent the entire day (a Tuesday) holed up in a coffee shop working – save for a trip back to my sister’s to make this wrap with hummus, mushrooms, avocado, spinach, and tomato-basil baked tofu. It was awesome. So was the hail storm.
That night I kicked off my Portland dining-out experience with a huge bang. I had dinner reservations with my friends Libby and Taylor, and it really doesn’t get much better than Portobello Vegan Trattoria.
The Portobello cocktail/mocktail menu is seriously legit. Not to be missed, ya hear? This was the Coral Reef: house made lime-infused tequila, Aperol, and orange juice with a sea salt/sugar rim.
The cheese plate that we didn’t order – it was sent to our table by someone special. Thanks, someone. ♥
Artisan vegan cheeses served with quince paste and gluten-free bread. From left to
right: smoked cashew cheese with peppercorns (my fave), cashew chèvre with fresh herbs, and a creamy tofu marbled cheese. This vegan cheese plate was the best I’ve ever had!
Libs and I split a simple salad that was served with fresh herbs and edible spring flowers. So lovely.
For my main I got the Cauliflower Steak a la Plancha: served on a bed of chickpea panissa with red & green chimichurri sauces, and topped with griddled fennel. The fennel (pink in the picture, almost looked like shrimp?) was like no fennel I’ve ever tasted and was the star of the evening for me.
Libby ordered this amazing Roasted Cauliflower Pizza with harissa marinara on a cornmeal crust.
And Taylor opted for the Portobello Roast with sautéed greens and roasted garlic cashew cream over sundried tomato polenta.
The Salty Dog: New Deal Gin 33, grapefruit & lemon juices, elderflower syrup, with jurassic sea salt.
And dessert? Well, we had to get the Salted Caramel Hot Fudge Sundae
: house made salted caramel ice cream topped with hot fudge, coconut whipped cream, and a caramel drizzle. With roasted pine nuts.
Going . . .
. . . going . . .
. . . GONE. Best meal ever!
The next morning (er, late morning) (which was a Wednesday) I ventured out on a walk in search of brunch. I found the Kure Cart! Green juice!
Back at Libby’s for a working brunch: carrot-kale-beet-ginger-lemon juice, Pixie Retreat RAWR mock BLT, and a Missionary Chocolate (my very favorite local P-town chocolates) salted caramel truffle.
For dinner that evening I had plans to meet up with some girlfriends at the Bye & Bye, an all-vegan bar, for dinner. This was the night that my friend Joanna, also in town for the conference, had – unbeknownst to me – invited a bunch of friends to the Bye & Bye. And a bunch of those friends were mutual friends! So it just turned into a big ol’ reunion party and it was flipping fantastic.
Three Liars: house infused cucumber gin, lime juice, and sugar. Served up.
The Eastern Bowl: brown rice, steamed broccoli, and nooch-encrusted tofu with a slightly spicy peanut sauce. I get it every. dang. time.
Jacqueline and I split a piece of raw cheesecake. Because obviously. Mango / coconut / raspberry layers.
The next day (Thursday) Libby and I went out to lunch at Los Gorditos. It’s not fancy or pretentious, but it’s probably my favorite restaurant in all of P-town. Just amazing Mexican food, street-style.
Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of angels singing.
Heaven on a plate. The soy curl fajita “bowl” (served with corn tortillas). I swear to god they put CRACK in their refried beans! (also, sometimes Waits still asks me, “Am I made out of burritos?” because I used to tell him that I built him out of Los Gorditos. Ha!)
That night was the official unofficial conference meet ‘n greet at the White Owl Social Club, which I wrote about here
. It ended up being the peak of my head cold, too, and so I was back home early to rest up for the start of VVC the next day.
Friday morning, first day of VVC. I was nervous as all get out, because I was speaking on the first panel. But Joanna, Emily, and I found the downtown Kure location for a perfectly perfect breakfast of green juice and oatmeal. Can you tell I was stoked!?
Cucumber-celery-spinach-kale-parsley-lemon-ginger juice, plus organic oatmeal with coconut sugar, vanilla hemp milk, and vanilla VEGA protein, topped with banana, gala apples, chopped hazelnuts, goji berries, cinnamon, and coconut suger. HELLOOOOOO?!
I spent the rest of the day nibbling on sponsor samples, and then by the time it was over, I was SO exhausted I turned down every dinner invitation. I caught a ride to Hawethorne, grabbed some takeout pho, and walked back to the house where I was staying. I ate alone in introverted peace (haha) in my room, didn’t take any pictures, and then hit the sack HARD.
Breakfast on Saturday morning was provided by the conference – a “Portland Restaurant Showcase”. You can see on my plate (starting from the cup on the upper right) Meatloaf Benedict from A.N.D. Cafe, two kinds of raw pies from Divine Pie (I used to get these every Saturday at the Portland FarMar), Barbecue Jackfruit and Greens from White Owl Social Club, and on the small plate a Panissa from Portobello. Plus coffee, natch (I drink it on vacation).
The conference lunch was a “build a bowl” buffet (and I’m sorry for the iPhone pic). But do you see that epic awesomeness? I don’t even know what’s going on here . . . maybe quinoa, grilled tofu, tempeh bacon, and raw walnut meat, all smothered in Teese nacho cheese sauce (AMAZING) and salsa, accompanied by fresh greens, shredded carrots, hummus, and hemp seeds. I think that white goop at the bottom was this amazing garlic sauce. Yeah, it was an epic lunch.
Saturday night was the Galarama, but before then I had a dinner date with Gena at Prasad. I started with this wellness shot of pure ginger + echinacea with a sprinkle of cayenne. They serve it with an apple chaser because DAY-UM, that’s a spicy beast.
I ordered the Shiva Salad: rice noodles tossed in tamarind peanut sauce with shredded dark greens, spinach, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, pickled beets, cabbage & peanuts. The food was good, but the company and conversation was even better.
Afterwards we hit up the Galarama, which I wrote all about here
Breakfast at the conference on Sunday was a lovely array of hot foods, cereals, plus toppings and fruit. I think you’re looking at (starting from the top right) potato hash with ketchup and nooch, fresh fruit, coconut peanut butter (YUM), multi-grain gluten-free hot cereal with hemp seeds and maple syrup, and chia pudding. Awesome.
Our final lunch that day was another buffet. Let’s see, I did (starting at top right) a big pile of greens with shredded carrots and raw taco meat, with vinaigrette, some roasted veggies with hummus, in the middle there are some beans covered in more of that delectable nacho cheese, and then some baked tofu on gluten free bread.
For my last night in Portland I ate dinner with my friend Jo at the fantastic Canteen – last on my “must-eat” list. It was a beautiful evening and we got to sit outside.
I ordered my all-time favorite, the Portland Bowl, which is quinoa, black beans, baked maple tempeh, NW Sauce, kale, carrots, and chopped Oregon hazelnuts. You don’t know how good a bowl can be until you’ve tasted this bowl! Oh yeah, plus I got a side of kimchi.
And that’s how I got ‘er done. I went to Portland and I ate ALL THE THINGS. It was divine.