More Than Just Vacation Photos: Sayward’s Definitive “Must-Eat” Portland Vegan Dining Guide, Part II

May 1st, 2014 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health


Oh, Portland.

Marching onward! Part I is here, and today I bring you Part II of our whirlwind vegan Portlandstravaganza, in which we ate all of my very most favorite things! Remember, this is by no means a comprehensive collection of Portland’s vegan eateries. Oh no, this is the condensed version, only the handful that made the DO NOT MISS list. So once again – bookmark it, Pin it, hold onto it in whatever way you can. Because if you ever visit Portland, I promise that you’ll want it!

Day Three:

On the morning of day 3 we woke up at Libby’s house, and enjoyed a cup of coffee while playing with the adorable little Miss Evelyn. Alas, we couldn’t stay long – we had lots to do that day! Today was THE day, in fact. The whole reason we were in Portland at all. Jeremy’s favorite band was playing! And on his birthday weekend, no less!

So we were staying with Kate and Nathan that night, and our first order of business was to get our luggage to their place. Libs was nice enough to let us borrow her car, and I insisted that we swing by People’s Co Op (still a member!) on our way across town. No better way to start the day, I say!


The Sip cart sits out front of the co op, offering juices, smoothies, hot beverages, and soups.

Greens for me, beets for him. Always.

And we split this raw BLT for brekkies. Locally made, these “l’il grubbers” are sold all over town. If you ever get a chance, you gotta give ‘em a try!

With our tummies temporarily sated, we were able to run our errands, drop off our luggage, and deliver the car back to Libby’s. From there we said our final goodbye to Libby and Taylor (the goodbyes were starting already??! worst part of traveling) and started off walking towards our lunch destination.

Which was actually quite a bit farther away than we realized. But luckily, Portland has a most excellent public transportation system.


Bus shenanigans ensued!

Thank you, Portland, for being so badass with your social infrastructure.

The bus delivered us right to the doorstep of our lunch destination – probably my absolute number one favorite meal in all of Portland. It ain’t fancy, and it ain’t too pretty to look at, and it certainly ain’t health food. But, well, its soul food. Food for my soul, anyway (and I’d argue for Waits’s as well, since it’s most of what I ate when I was pregnant, and I used to joke that little Waits Rebhal was literally built out of burritos). That’s right: Taqueria Los Gorditos.

I insisted that Jeremy order the soy curl fajita burrito (add vegan sour cream). Again, he was skeptical (when will that boy learn to trust me??). A burrito? he asked. Shouldn’t I try something more exciting, like the sopes or something?

I insisted, even as he reminded me that he was a bit of a burrito connoisseur, and had incredibly, impossibly high standards.

So what do you think happened?

WELL DUH! Jeremy declared this to be the best burrito he’d ever eaten at anywhere, ever, in his whole life, for realsies. Told ya so.

For my gluten-free self I ordered almost the exact same thing, the soy curl fajita platter, add extra vegan sour cream. It comes with fresh corn tortillas for self-constructed tacos and it is out. of. this. world.

This is my “dying meal”, y’all. I heart this food so hard.

After lunch we had another walk lined up, this time over to a playground in the cute little Clinton district. This was sort of my old ‘hood, and this park was one of me and Waitsy’s favorite parks, where we used to meet up with my dear friend Jo and her family for picnics and play dates.

Just like today!

Honestly, it was hard to hang out with Jo. I was basically working not to break down and cry the entire time.

I love this lady so damn much. She was my rock before and during my separation, and my vegan mama confidant, and the one who would share her homemade soy-free tempeh and homemade raw snack packs with Waits and I, who was always down for berry picking when we were restless, always down to walk and talk and keep walking and talking as long as I needed, and who would wink and pour a little whiskey in my coffee on those especially difficult days.

And it’s hard to move away. Hard with life and families and so much going on, so hard to keep in touch. I love you Jo!

It was a beautiful day, perfect for the park. So great to catch up, however brief, and to see her beautiful children so incredibly grown-up. Geeze.

Maceo was especially fond of Jeremy.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we had to say our goodbyes (too soon!)

We grabbed some coffee and wandered around on Hawthorne some more . . .

. . . before heading back to Kate’s to get ready for the show.

But of course, before the show, dinner!

Now Portland is no stranger to Thai food – in fact I think there are approximately 19.4 Thai restaurants per square city mile, and I’m sure if you asked 10 vegans for their favorite, you’d get 10 different answers.

So here’s mine: Pad Thai Kitchen on SE Belmont.

I only have crappy cell phone pics which do not do this delicious meal any justice, and for that I truly apologize. At least the company was spectacular! We were joined by Miss Kate and her man Nathan, and we were able to – last minute once again – hook up with one Miss Kitty Bee, fellow blogger, soon-to-be cookbook author, and all-around vegan extraordinaire!


Vegan Thai iced tea and delicious tofu salad rolls with peanut sauce.

All the foods. Feeding frenzy!

Out front with Miss Kitty. Yes, I am a giant. It’s kind of crazy.

After dinner it was, of course, time for the show. Jeremy was so excited he was practically vibrating! The Afghan Whigs are his favorite band and have been for like, over 20 years. Since he was a wee 20-something back in college. He’s seen them countless times but oh, hey, they broke up nearly 15 years ago. He’s been following their solo projects ever since, but always dreamed they’d reunite. When we first got together and were sharing all our music love, and especially after we saw Tom Waits and Amanda Palmer together last year, he kept saying “I’m so sad you’ll never get to see The Afghan Whigs with me!

And then, all of a sudden and out of the blue, they announced a reunion, a new album, and a tour. Bam!

So here we were.

Image 248Image 261

Awful grainy cell pics in awful light, many apologies. The Doug Fir is a gorgeous bar/venue, by the way, and worth checking out if you get a chance. They have vegan-friendly happy hour specials every day.

We don’t have any pics from inside the show, but it was freaking awesome and I was SO happy to be able to experience Jeremy’s favorite band in the flesh, alongside him. The Whigs played a solid 2-hour set and afterwards we were amped, so we called a cab and booked it over to The White Owl Social Club. White Owl is one of my favorite Portland bars . . . maybe my favorite. It’s hip yet unpretentious, big and fun and mellow and they play great music. Plus photobooth! Also, it’s not an all vegan bar, but it’s SUPER vegan friendly. Like, think vegan mac ‘n cheese, shepherd’s pie, and cheesy beet burgers. YES.

We maybe might have finished off the night with an order of jalapeño garlic cheese fries . . .


I’m gonna go ahead and say that the night was officially a success.

Day Four:

Sadness! Our fourth and final little half-day in P-town. We slept in, and awoke to an empty house. Kate and Nathan were at work and for the first time of our entire trip, the notorious Portland grey skies were looming overhead. Sadness.

But oh well, we were determined to make the best of our final hours. We ventured out for coffee and stumbled across a Barista location – hands down my favorite cup of coffee in p-town. Serendipity!


Valrhona mochas. This is a rare treat, and if you should get the opportunity, it’s one that should be seized. Mightily.

We spent an hour or so wandering the northwest – a part of town we hadn’t yet experienced on our trip. I’m a dirty southeast kinda girl, truth be told, but it was fun poking around in the fancy boutiques and antique shops on NW 23rd. Back at Kate’s we polished off the Thai food from the night before (breakfast leftovers for the win!), showered, and packed up our bags for the last time. From there we caught a cab across the river, to the vegan mini mall for a few last treasures (gluten-free sandwich cookie, I’m looking at you!). By then it was nearing lunchtime, and we were ready for our final Portland meal.

Canteen, here we come!


Dining al fresco at Canteen: all the local Portland hot sauces, ready and waiting.

Just a fifteen or so block walk up from the mini mall is Canteen, a relatively new little restaurant run by the same folks who operate the Sip cart out front of People’s Co Op. Canteen is simple food, mostly salads and bowls. But, it’s consistently been some of the best fresh food I’ve ever had.

A perfect healthy cap to a perfectly decadent weekend.


We started with juices. As always: green for me, beet for him. ♥

For me, the Portland Bowl: quinoa/black beans/baked maple tempeh/nw sauce/kale/carrots/chopped oregon hazelnuts, plus I added avocado and kimchi. YES.

For Jeremy, the Southern Bowl: bbq soy curls/collard greens/black eyed peas/brown rice/carrot & cabbage slaw/cashew ranch/green onions, plus he added avocado. Perfection.

We ate.

We caught a cab to the airport.

And just like that it was over.

Round one, that is. Because Jeremy and I vowed that we will be saving our miles, saving our pennies, and making regular trips up to this delightful vegan wonderland they call Portland, Oregon. Because there were SO many people I didn’t get to see, and SO many things we didn’t get to eat, and SO many awesome adventures waiting to be had. You hear that Portland? We’ll meet again soon!


♥ ♥ ♥

  • veganinbrighton

    Well after reading this post I’m feeling the need to go back to Portland as soon as possible! I want to hang out with Kittee, eat the Portland Bowl from Canteen and get down with some cheese fries at WOSC!

  • Lynn

    *sigh* Wanderlust! Looks like an awesome trip!

  • lysette

    Whoa, The Afghan Whigs! I’ve got to dust off my box of cassettes. It’s bizarre how I forget about bands I use to listen to with so much intensity but soon as I hear a old song, time and place cease to exist.
    Funny I didn’t run into you in Portland. I was there for the HP Lovecraft Film Fest and pretty much hit all the same places – and ate mostly the same things :)

  • Cara

    Sayward- Glad you had such a great trip. One question: do you keep a cup with you so you don’t have to keep getting new ones? I noticed a lot of plastic cups in pics & wondered if they were new each time or reused (straws, too). I assume they’ll recycle everything in Portland, but because I know you’re concerned with consumption, I was curious. I find it helpful to keep a non-disposable plastic cup in my purse so I can avoid using new ones (aluminum straw, fork & cloth napkin, too).

  • Courtney Bliss

    Where’s the “Like” button? ;) I wish my hubby was more amenable to traveling. : sigh :

  • theveganchickpea

    geezzzzzzzzz. i want everything. thai food is my death bed food, so i think i’d choose that meal over the others. but that burrito/tacos OMIGOSH.

  • stephie137

    This is perfect timing, you don’t even know. I’m planning my first trip to Portland (to eat all the vegan things) right now. I will be doing all of this come September. Tonight I’m gonna settle in with a glass of wine and absorb all of this. You ROCK!

    Any of these places not kid friendly? I’m taking the baby with me on my gastro tour.

  • Liv Reiners

    I love it!! Thanks for the recap.

  • stephie137

    Ok, I wrote that before I read the post. It’s pretty clear which would be for kids, and not. I can totally work all of that. If only there was a way to get a tattoo at Scapegoat… ;)

    Thanks again!

  • Deirdre

    Mega, mega, mega nom!

  • Kendra

    Ahhh….I want all of that food!! I can’t wait to visit Portland some day and have a vegansporgasborg!!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I know, I posted this post and was already dreaming and scheming about how to get back! You could eat something different every meal for a month and never repeat. That place is seriously amazing.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Wanderlust is good! Keeps the fire under you. ;-)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I don’t know how I missed them the first time around! But i know what you mean, I love (re)discovering the old bands I used to love, and that flood of memories that all comes back. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    At home I do, I carry a metal water bottle, and at school, a large glass mason jar or travel mug for coffee/tea. On this vacation I did not, but I didn’t like the amount of plastic cups I had to use. I need to find a cup that’s collapsable, something that I can carry around in my purse that won’t take up too much room or be too heavy. Any recs?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hey, that’s what besties are for!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It’s all so good. So, so good. *drool*

  • Sayward Rebhal

    In Portland, all the bars are required by law to serve food (AWESOME), so all the bars are kid friendly(ish) until either 8 or 10. So, almost all places are kid-friendly! Yay Portland!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    No prob lady, I love providing the reference material!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, MEGA NOM

  • Sayward Rebhal

    You will love it, it is the happiest vegan place on earth! =D

  • Cara

    I haven’t found a collapsible cup; I just got a plastic cup from a thrift store. I stuff the nylon carry bag I always have into it (to use the space) & keep it in my purse. It comes in handy– not only for drinks, but also for leftovers. I wonder if you could even get a collapsible cup large enough. Most are quite small.
    Good luck!

  • tamara

    Uhhhhh we are officially food soulmates–Los Gorditos soy curl burrito or plate allll the way. As soon as I saw the top of the photo I knew. I think about moving out of Portland a lot lately (my heart aches for home in the southeast), but I know I will miss those damn burritos so bad. Haha.

    Everything else here is great. <3 Canteen <3 White Owl. I live just a few blocks away from Pad Thai Kitchen but haven't tried it yet; I'll make a note! Thanks for sharing!