What I Ate Wednesday: Portland Edition

June 11th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


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.

photo (43)
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).

photo (44)
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.

  • http://coconutandberries.com/ coconutandberries

    Wowza, you did eat all the food!! Portland certainly looks like it lives up to its name as vegan foodie heaven. One day I’ll make it over there :)
    I don’t think I could pick a favourite but the Portobello meal is calling out to me…oh and all that scrummy fresh juice.

  • France Stiles

    Wow! I wish I lived somewhere that had so many vegan/vegetarian food choices! Love it!!

  • http://vegmomof4.blogspot.com/ April

    Drooling over all those noms! What a delicious week :)

  • lysette

    Next time I’m in Portland that ginger juice is first on my list!

  • http://www.thevegancookiefairy.com/ The Vegan Cookie Fairy

    Wow, so much beautiful food! I wish we had places like these in the UK. But maybe i’ll be part of the food revolution in this country and then we’ll have fantastic vegan restaurants and cafés on every street corner here :)

  • http://www.carrieonvegan.com/ Carrie @ Carrieonvegan

    Sayward! We are vegan food soul sistas. Your eats are scarily similar to mine in Portland. I even got the Wellness shot at Prasad, although I didn’t get the apple slice (which is probably why I practically cried after taking it). Your photos are amazing! :)

  • gretchen keller

    Oops. Didn’t heed warning. Read on empty stomach. Now drooling and grumbling. Sigh….. :)

  • http://luminousvegans.wordpress.com/ luminousvegans

    Salted caramel hot fudge sundae…holy crap! No words, except that I want that right now. I wish we had stopped there during our stay.

  • http://dresseduplikealady.com/ Cammila

    Oh my goodness! I always say I feel overwhelmed by the scrumptious imagery of your What I Ate Wednesdays, but now I feel like the girl who cried wolf. Or cried…food? Or something? I’m having delightful sensory overload.

    Oh, and as a side note: I posted about my plant based diet last week, and about 1/4 through writing it I honestly thought “Wow, I don’t know how Sayward does this without swearing.”

    Seriously, there’s a lot of swearing in my post. Total tl;dr for fellow busy mom who already knows this shiz, but if you wanna laugh at my foul language it’s here: http://www.dresseduplikealady.com/2013/06/what-i-eat.html

  • Deirdre

    So that’s just a lot of plates of amazing. I tell ya, if I had access to THAT much healthy, green, real food- not made by my own hand, I’d think I would eat until I passed out.

  • Sarah C.

    So, for the last week or whatever, I (and surely all other non-attendees) have been drooling over shots of Portland/VVC food, but I’m telling you what – it’s those cocktails that are KILLING ME. I want them all (maybe not at the same time, though). I think those are exactly the ones I would have ordered (ok, not having seen the menu, but still – all the flavors I love; I mean, tequila and aperol w/oj and a sugar/salt rim?!!?! I’m totally going to try to make this myself.

  • skeptk_vegan

    Drooling. Just drooling.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, you’re welcome! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Mmm, we have similar taste in cocktails! I was so impressed with everything that I tried. You should definitely recreate the tequila/Aperol one. It was amazing!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It was pretty spectacular. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh man, it’s so funny that you say that. i edit out a LOT of swearing – I have a moth like a drunken sailor in real life – and especially when I’m writing about nutrition I find myself cursing a ton, haha.

    I loved your post! I was going to comment but now I’m thinking an email is more in order . . .

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I want it all the time. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I MISS YOU that is all.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh my god Carrie, that shot without the chaser must have been brutal! And yay for food soul sistas, great tummies think alike!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Be the change! <3

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It’s really intense and really really good.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Yup, the deliciousest. ;-)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I know, I was so spoiled when I lived there and I never really realized it. I mean, SoCal isn’t even that bad, but Portland is on a whole other level.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It does live up. And exceeds. Portland has AMAZING vegan food, and in ridiculous quantities. =D

  • NicT

    Oh.Em.Gee. I think my brain just exploded from all the fantastic food you had there! Everything I looked at I thought “I want that. NOW”.
    Thanks for sharing! Now I know what to refer to when I head down there next (from Vancouver, B.C.).

  • http://wayfaringchocolate.com Hannah

    I am absolutely fascinated by your Portobello experience; Lisa, Angela and I all ordered the cauliflower dish too, but it was plated such that it looked like a completely different dish! Plus, was your panisse that flat pancake-esque thing? Ours came like croquettes! Definitely delicious, though. And wahey, I didn’t realise there was a Kure cart as well as the bar! I think we ordered the same juice there, and also the wellness shot at Prasad (so good). Also, I need that Three Liars drink. Also, access to Divine Pie weekly. Also, I’m writing this from Gena’s apartment. Hurrah for vegan awesomeness! Aaaaand that’s the end of my discombobulated ruminations on your food porn post. ;)

  • Cara

    Hi Sayward,
    Thanks for your very entertaining blog! One thing I’d like to suggest because it hurts me to see the disposable cups in the pictures is that you consider taking at least a small reusable cup with you everywhere. I know from reading your blog that you’re very environmentally conscious- so am I. I carry in my purse an aluminum straw, a plastic cup, a cloth napkin & a fork. If I know I’m going somewhere with disposable plates, I carry a bag with a plate – usually I’m with others, so I take plates, utensils, glasses & napkins for everyone. It’s really not that difficult once you make it a habit.

    Thanks for considering this.


  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, I love this comment! Discombobulated ruminations welcome anytime Hannah! =D

  • Sharon (BigCityVegan)

    Hey Sayward, I wish I was back in Portland with all these pics of the food I ate and some of the ones I didn’t get too. I guess that just means I need to visit again. It was so great to see you! :) Sharon

  • Martha

    You should know this: I bookmarked this page to look at when I need some inspiration. I return to it regularly and torture my hungry self with it. ;)

  • Pingback: Cucumber Hummus Dip (Hummus-Tzatziki Fusion) | the taste space - steam, bake, boil, shake!