Tag Archives: pdx eats

restaurant füd and the giveaway!

5 Nov

Wow, so the first week of Vegan MoFo is rolling to a close. So far, so good! There has been lots of amazing food to look at and I’m discovering so many new-to-me blogs! That’s what it’s all about, right?

So, restaurant posts seem like a bit of a cop-out. Which they are. But, if you want someone’s opinion on a restaurant, it’s really nice to read blog reviews, right? Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures, as my camera on my phone is less-than-spectacular.

First stop is Dick’s Kitchen, in SE Portland. This is a newer restaurant that has cropped up in the space next to Laughing Planet, a space that is owned and operated by Laughing Planet, but has cycled through four different eating establishments in the past 4 years. It’s got a mod-retro diner feel and specializes in burgers. I’m usually pretty “meh” about that sort of thing, but a friend mentioned that they serve vegan milkshakes. Veggie burgers, fries AND vegan milkshakes? Okay, I had to go.

the aforementioned crappy cell phone pic.

I had a tempeh burger with BBQ sauce, some fries and a chocolate milkshake, which was made with Coconut Bliss, an extra special treat. I wasn’t entirely won over, but I will go back and try something else on their menu. My particular meal was good, but not overwhelmingly so, although I love the fact that they make everything from scratch. Any by everything, I mean everything. Ketchup, pickles, BBQ sauce, etc. Very cool.

Although this makes me come back to a point that I’ve often wondered: is it possible to get a vegan milkshake that’s actually thick? Like straining-to-suck-through-the-straw thick? They are always so runny and smoothie-like. Sip does a pretty good job, but when I see vegan milkshakes on the menu, I am often let down.

Moving on to other noms: Back to Eden. If you’re a Portlander, BtE is now a Portland staple, fa ormer wholesale bakery turned NE Portland bakeshop/cafe. We stopped in for a bite on Halloween night and ended up with these beauties.

A gluten-free chocolate cupcake with orange cream frosting. One of the things I love about their buttercream (a thing I am notoriously picky about) is that it’s just right. Not crunchy with an overkill of sugary sweetness, but not bland, leaving an oil slick in your mouth (I’m talking to you, Saint Cupcake). Smooth and sweet, the way buttercream should be.

A butterscotch pudding tart. Don’t you love the little chocolate spider’s web? This was phenomenal and had Jim and I fork sparring for the last bite. Yum.

And now, for the Vegan MoFo week 1 giveaway winner! Each week I’m picking a random post and giving away a random prize to a random commentor. This week I happened to pick the post that has the prize in it: the garlic post! The winner is, none other than our lovely, preggers Leigh! Leigh, you pick whether you want the rubber peeler or the Zoom and it’s yours, baby mama.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you here next week for more MoFo!

i love you, alberta

8 Oct

No, Alberta is not a person (although I work with someone by that name, so that could be weird). Alberta is a street in NE Portland and it’s quickly becoming one of the tastiest streets in town.

Homegrown Smoker is the vegan BBQ foodcart that opened a couple of months ago. They used to be 4 blocks down the street from their new location at 27th and Alberta. The new location seems better equipped for Portland weather and even has a heated eating tent. Excellent.

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There is food that is good and then there is food laced with addictive flavors and textures and plain old comforting goodness. This falls into the latter category. There are four different protein choices including chorizo, tofu steaks, tempeh ribs and soy curls. In this platter most people pick two small portions of two different proteins, but I went with all soy curls. If we all have a predestined fate in life, being smoked and slathered with BBQ sauce is the destiny of a soy curl. In this form it is truly at it’s full potential. Oh momma, these things are amazing! On the side, maple BBQ beans and mac no cheese. The beans are good, reliably tasty beans. The mac no cheese isn’t like gourmet mac ‘n cheese, but there’s just something good and noochy about it. Must. Eat. More.

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You’d think I haven’t been food blogging for 4 years. I didn’t turn the cornbread around so you could see the inside of it! Darn, now I’ll have to go back. The sacrifices I make for this blog… Seriously, though, this is a gluten-free cornbread that has pretty flecks of flax in it. That’s fun to say, flex of flax. Now, I haven’t had much Southern cooking in my life and am very much naive to the art of cornbread, but this cornbread rocks. The texture, moisture, flavor, it’s all there. I never even thought I cared much about cornbread, until I started craving theirs. Add the sweet mint tea on the side… serious food heaven.

After you’ve stuffed yourself with smoked goodness, a mere four blocks away is Back to Eden, the new vegan bakery in town. A four block walk is exercise, right? That means it’s time for dessert.

Back to Eden is about as pretty a place as it gets. Decorated in 1930s farm house chic, the colors are warm and inviting, the decor is sharp with attention to detail and aside from the bakery items, they have all sorts of goodies to buy. Locally made jams, aprons, cards, a section of vegan cookbooks, and fun baking supplies, like fancy sprinkles fill the shelves. Plus they have, you know, the baked goods. They also have soft serve in TWO different flavors, which means… wait for it…. TWIST ice cream!

shown here with caramel sauce

shown here with caramel sauce

They carry Temptation soft serve, which you can get with a variety of topping/sauce combos or as a milkshake! And there are a variety of baked goods available each day, from breakfasty scones to decadent cakes and tarts. They have lots of gluten-free options, too.

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A strawberry filled chocolate cupcake. When I read the sign for it, I thought it said “strawberry fields cupcake” and I got all sorts of Beatles-excited… I was wrong, but I still needed the cupcake to calm me down. Even the frosting had a pronounced strawberry flavor that was amazing.

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A pumpkin whoopie pie. Soft, moist cookie outer and spiced creamy inner filling… Devilishly good. So devilish, in fact, that an evil kitteh couldn’t keep her mouth off of the pumpkin cookie part.

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Who knew bad kittehs liked pumpkin?

So this is my ode to Alberta Street, with new attractions motivating me to leave the SE bubble for things other than concerts.

book tour of portland

18 Feb

Nope, not that kind of book tour. Not yet, at least. I took some time off of work last week and early this week to work on the book. I have a hard time focusing in the house, as I am easily distracted when there are other things to fiddle with, so I figured getting out of the house would be a good idea.

Last Friday I had an eye doctor’s appointment and after having my pupils dilated I figured I wouldn’t be very successful at typing, so I stopped to grab breakfast at Paradox Cafe. Paradox was the first place Jim and I ate when we came to Portland the first time. They have remodeled and expanded since then and so long as I brace myself for the stink of bleach on their water cups (?) I always have a great meal there.

I always enter with good intentions, but order the exact same thing- French toast! Their French toast is made on thick slices of Texas toast which are chewy and substantial, just the way French Toast should be! Being the day before Valentine’s Day, they were offering a special sweetheart’s French toast, topped with a berry compote, bananas and walnuts. Being the fickle maple syrup consumer that I am, I opted for the special, along with a side of their delicious tofu and my favorite raspberry-apple juice.

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They marinate their tofu in some magical marinade and then grill it. It’s very simple, but delicious.

Once I was seeing more clearly, I wandered down the block and across the street to Opposable Thumb, a gallery and cafe, to get some tea and spend some time with my trusty (and crusty) kitchen notebook and the old laptop.

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They have a very nice space, open and modern and it was a great place to hipster watch and put in a few solid hours of work.

For Valentine’s Day Jim and I went to another spot on the same street. It’s actually our favorite date spot, a bar called The Blue Monk. They have a jazz theme and lots of blue lighting. They also have a lounge downstairs with live music, but Jim and I tend to hang out upstairs. It’s a comfortable spot with friendly staff and a couple of vegan meal options. Having a couple of vegan options in Portland doesn’t impress most, but it’s the quality of their vegan options. Jim and I come back again and again for their Coconut Curry Polenta, which is one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. This time Jim went with the polenta, I got the Saffron Risotto and we split. And I forgot to bring the camera! But if you live in Portland or visit it, I highly recommend swinging by there for some amazing food. They also clearly label the vegan items on their menu. They have some killer bruschetta as well.

On Monday I had classes. I’m normally not able to hang out on campus during the day, so I miss out of the joys of student life, like listening to freshman boys reenact scenes from the Family Guy where they pretend they are pooping or loud-mouthed activists shouting about God and the end of times out on the park blocks. The upside was that I was able to try out some of the food at the student union.

There is a fake Mexican food place in the food court area and after a brief perusal of my options, I decided to get a burrito. The burrito had black beans, sauteed portabella mushrooms, lettuce, pico and fresh guac. I purchased a fruit bowl on the side.

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It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either and with Chipotle two blocks up the street, I will probably head over there when I want fake Mexican, but it’s nice to know there are options.

That evening yo tengo un examen de espanol. I’m only in 102, so forgive the lack of past tense, we’re just not there yet. East met West with my pre-class soy-based coffee bubble tea. Yum.

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I love tapioca, so I can drink bubble tea daily. I always forget how full I feel after drinking it, it’s like a snack and beverage all in one!

Today was my last day off before heading back to reality. Jim needed to work on my car, so he took it with him to work, and I laid low and hung out around the house working on the book and some homework. With the opportunity to be at home all day, I continued to tweak my Pain au Chocolat recipe. C’est délicieux! Flaky, buttery and with just the right amount of chocolate, after many not-quite-right attempts I think I have it down.

Pain au Chocolat

Pain au Chocolat

Can you believe we are over half way through February? It’s insanity! I hope you are all having a great month, even though it’s quickly escaping us!

a day in the life…*

13 Jan

I’m sorry to do this. I know that vegans in Portland always talk about all of the food and restaurants that we have here and I’m sure it gets old, but I just have to.

When I first started at my job there wasn’t much of anything in the immediate area for a quick lunch or snack. Well, there is Old Wives Tales, but you couldn’t pay me to eat there. A few months ago Los Gorditos, the lovely Mexican taqueria on 50th and Division in SE Portland, opened up an all-vegan taqueria about a 1/2 mile from my work! Horray! Today I went with the friend to enjoy the goodness of the truck.

Los Gorditos es muy bueno

Los Gorditos es muy bueno

This is the tostada, a toasted tortilla piled high with beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion and cilantro.

Fajita Burrito

Fajita Burrito

The fajita burrito. The picture does not do this justice. Beans, rice, sauteed onions, green bell peppers, cilantro and soy curls. It looks like a lot of beige, I know, but it’s una fiesta en la boca. Every individual ingredient at Gorditos tastes intoxicatingly good, from the rice to the soy curls (what do they do to them? they are so good!). Combined together, it’s a force to be reckoned with!

A co-worker and friend of mine often goes on walks during her lunch. A couple of weeks ago she came back from a walk and said, “You never told me about that vegan bakery down the street.”

“Uh, what vegan bakery?”

“Black Sheep.”

My eyes about fell out of my head. Black Sheep is a local vegan bakery that wholesales their goods around town. About 1 1/2- 2 years ago they opened up a little retail shop in SE that has a sandwich of the day, bagels, coffee and baked goods. Well, unbeknowst to me about 6 months ago they renovated some space in their actual kitchen space and opened up a larger location with more food. About 2 blocks from my work. And I didn’t know about it for 6 months.

Needless to say, they now know me. I am in there more than I want to admit, especially with all of the baking I’ve been doing. I can’t help it, they are my favorite local bakery and at this location they also have chocolates! They have biscuits and gravy, a build-you-own sandwich option, salads and soups, vegan vegan vegan! They do offer some omni options, as this location is in a business district, but I’d say it’s 90% vegan.

Black Sheep Cuppers

Black Sheep Cuppers

Black Sheep Chocolates

Black Sheep Chocolates

This friend that I had lunch with, Ximena, has her own tattoo shop in Portland. She’s vegetarian and all of the supplies that she uses are vegan. This weekend they are doing a special at their shop. Free tattoos on Saturday- but it’s showing your Oregon pride, of course.

medsticker

If you want to have Oregon become a part of your anatomy, head down to Skeleton Key Tattoo this Saturday, the 17th, from 11-8. First come, first serve!

In addition to being a bad-ass ink-slinging artist, she cranks out some 1″ buttons in her spare time.

Behold, the nomnomnom cat trio in 1″ form!

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Sorry the pic’s not so great, it was hard to get them with the least amount of glare possible.

I am going to give away 5 sets of these nomnomnom buttons to 5 random commenters! So leave your comments between now and Friday night and I will randomly select 5 names. US residents only, sorry folks.

Happy noming!

* A Day in the Life is one of the ultimate Beatles songs and is easily in my top 5 if I could only pick five. Just thinking of it makes my heart happy. *sigh*