For an entire week, I forgave cooking (with one exception of steaming some greens) while I traveled to Oregon for a bit of a spring break. My family decided to reunite for my grandparents' 60th anniversary to show our love and support and, of course, to have a good time! For the first half of the week, I spent my time in the beach town of Newport, which is quaint and serene. After that, my immediate family and I stayed in Portland city proper, where I proceeded to die and reappear in vegan heaven!
Not only is the atmosphere of Portland very hip and relaxed, but its food scene is trendy, adventurous and all-encompassing. You would be hard-pressed to find an establishment that did not have any vegan or at least vegetarian fare. Every neighborhood had its own personality and its own local restaurant scene to match. We tried to get a taste of everything we could, but there is only so much room in your schedule and your stomach. I'm going to highlight some places I went to that I would highly recommend to anyone who visits the city. There are so many other places I want to go...next time. ;)
There was a full breakfast/brunch menu which I took full advantage of. As a vegan living on the East Coast (with the exception of NYC), it's difficult to find decent breakfast or brunch options while dining out. Harlow delivered. They had a great selection of scrambles available with tofu or eggs over rice or quinoa. YUM. They also had house made granola, chia pudding, and pancakes. Needless to say...
These are lemon quinoa pancakes with cashew cream and strawberry compote. They were thin, crispy, not too sweet, and oh so tasty! I also got some house made ginger tea to go with...it was spicy and woke me the hell up!
Whole Foods Market PDX
If you're in need of groceries or a quick bite to eat, take a moment to visit Whole Foods in Portland. The store is beautiful and currently under renovation, which promises more beauty! There is an upstairs cafe, which I've never seen before in a WFM. It was a nice little spot to grab a coffee or fresh pressed juice. The vegan options were pretty good. I happened to spot vegan raspberry rugelach in their tea cookie case, which felt like I had found a rare gem. I had to have. I also bought a Brew Dr. Kombucha, which is a local brand of...you guessed it, kombucha! This is one of my favorite beverages on the planet.
I got yet another amazing breakfast at Mother's Bistro, a pretty well-known restaurant in the Pearl District of Portland. There were plenty of people packed in there on a weekday morning, which is a good sign. I was pleased to see that there was a hearty tofu scramble on the menu. The plate was too hefty for my stomach, but it certainly tempted me to overeat! There's a ton of flavor in this dish from the fresh veggies. The tofu was cooked well, too. I accompanied my meal with a pot of gun powder tea. Perfection.
If you're craving something sweet and cheeky, definitely stop into Voodoo Doughnuts. They've got a huge selection of freshly made doughnuts with attitudes and personalities of their own! Click on the link to their website to see their...creative offerings. =P
They have a good amount of vegan choices, both raised and cake doughnuts to satisfy anyone. I got a simple cake doughnut with chocolate glaze. Even when I could eat conventional doughnuts, I went for the plain cake variety with cinnamon or glaze. I never really got into the raised doughnut scene. This was quite delicious, though. It had a nice texture and a warming mix of spices running through it...mmm!
Our trip would not have been complete without some form of Japanese cuisine. My cousin recommended Biwa, a basement restaurant in a more industrial area of Portland. There were more warehouses and suppliers in this part of town. Biwa is almost hidden, which gives it an "exclusive" appeal.
The food is homestyle Japanese like ramen, grilled mochi, onigiri, and other restaurant staples like sashimi.
There are many items on the menu that can be prepared vegan by request. I loved their small tapas-like portion sizes. We all ordered a few things and then shared with each other. I also found a wonderful drink called a kombucha-hai, which is a shochu cocktail with...you guessed it again, kombucha! I can't get enough, I swear...
My last location is one that I do not have any photos of (sadly!). When we happened upon Sizzle Pie, I was sans camera, which is a terrible state to be in while traveling. My bad.
That didn't stop me from enjoying some of the best vegan pizza I ever hoped to encounter outside of New Jersey/New York! Sizzle Pie is doing something right! Their crust is thin, crispy, and well-seasoned. Actually, the entire pie was seasoned well. There was not one ingredient that was anything close to bland. My pie had vegan ricotta, artichoke, broccoli, spinach, and garlic. Oh goodness.
My mom was on the moon when she saw they offered gluten free crust. To her delight, the crust was amazing. She never has high expectations for gluten free pizza crust since it can be hit or miss in restaurants. But, like I said, Sizzle is doing something, or many things right. Bless 'em!
Before I left Portland, I was fortunate enough to score a vegan wrap at the PDX airport. Oregon even caters to vegans when they're leaving! I will truly miss this awesome city. I'm glad I could enjoy the culture even for a short stretch of time. I'm already planning my trip back in my head! Perhaps next time I'll visit a food truck...or five.
Until next time! ^_^
It's been a while since I have enjoyed a real spring break. Having been out of school for about three years now (Yikes...I'm old), I feel the idea of a spring break is a myth from the past. The last time I traveled anywhere around this time of year was exactly five years ago. My Dad and I went to Washington state to visit my grandparents and then went to Portland on a day trip to see my aunt and cousin. I always hold a special place in my heart for this area.
The scenery is nothing like the East coast. The water is rougher, the trees are more wild and expressive, and the land is craggy and jagged. Mountains watch over the land like gods. Everything is truly breathtaking.
Right at this moment I'm on the edge of the water in Newport, Oregon. It is unlike any beach town I have ever been to. The coastline is full of cliffs and rocks, which are more appealing to me than sand...call me crazy. The plants here also seem like they belong in a Japanese wood block print...they look twisted and alive!
For the next week, I will diligently document my travels through pictures. I have it in my plans to visit some new vegan food establishments once my family and I head to Portland in a few days. I'm preparing myself for many a food coma. Off I go!
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.