In a recent poll by VegNews magazine, 42% of the respondents replied that they thought Portland was the most vegan-friendly city. While I was spending my days at Lewis & Clark Law School studying about laws pertaining to Farmed Animals, I also made time to explore the city a bit with some friends. Here are some new Portland faves of my own to share with you.
- Portobello Trattoria
More than one Portland friend extolled this restaurant as THE place to check out while in town. So my first Saturday night in town, my friend Nicole and I headed there for dinner. Start off with the White Truffle Mushroom & Nut Pate, or the Beet Tartare with cashew cheese and baguette — so good! I have a personal rule that whenever I’m at a restaurant that offers some variation of spinach salad on the menu it’s an automatic order for me, so I went with a half order of the spinach & strawberry salad, and a half order of the risotto croquettes with roasted nectarines, which was amazing. Roasted nectarines and I will be arranging a second date in the near future. I also sampled Nicole’s half-orders of thyme-potato gnocchi (pan-fried dumplings) in cashew creme, and her eggplant ravioli in a delicious pistachio-cilantro pesto sauce.
- Blossoming Lotus
Something about the vibe of this place immediately reminded me of Angelica Kitchenin NYC, so I instantly felt at home. I almost went with the Green Goddess Bowl — steamed greens, sprouts, and mixed greens with avocado ranch and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette, topped with sesame seeds, and served with quinoa. Also tempting: the BBQ Tempeh Platter, with tempeh and red onions sauteed in “a rich, smoky, house-made whiskey ginger barbeque sauce, spicy butternut and black bean chili and spicy cornbread, served with a mixed green salad with sweet ginger dressing.” Ultimately, I went with one of the day’s specials, fantastic Pesto Wraps stuffed with yummy goodness like roasted mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. My friend and fellow AZ Law classmate Jennie ordered the spicy butternut & black bean chili quesadilla — a whole wheat tortilla with ground walnut chorizo, zucchini tahini nacho cheese, scallion, avocado ranch and roasted red pepper sour cream served with blue corn chips.
- The Bye and Bye
A vegan lounge with a a terrific happy hour and hipster vibe. I love the rolled-up garage doors, the cement bar, and the jukebox. First things first, try the namesake drink that has peach-infused vodka, peach-infused bourbon, cranberry, and lemon. Tart and sweet, served up in a mason jar. Delicious and perfect for summertime! To eat, I ordered three “sides”: brussel sprouts, brown rice, and spicy black-eyed peas. However, some of my friends went with more typical bar fare, like chili dogs and “meatball” subs.
- Natural Selection
This is a restaurant relatively new to the Portland scene and getting rave reviews. You can get a 4-course prix fixe for $35, or order a la carte. My friend Laura and I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine over two courses: she started with the White Corn Soup with parsnip, lemongrass, and fennel; and I opted for a salad of field greens with beets (a multi-colored medley, raw and roasted) and orange slices. For the main course, Laura chose the Carrot and Asparagus Succotash that came with beluga lentils, while I decided to try the Peas & Morel Risotta with braised fennel, pearl onions, and mushroom jus.
This one’s a not-quite-so-recent find. When I’m in town for the annual Animal Law Conference, I stay downtown at The Parmount Hotel, and right across the street I discovered a place that makes a fantastic spicy bean burger (hold the cheese and chipotle, please!). People rave about the french fries made with white truffle oil. But — even better! — you must must must try the coconut milk oatmeal for breakfast that comes with slices of organic, local fresh fruit. I’m not a “morning” person, nor am I a breakfast person unless it’s a bagel close to noon, but I have to say this oatmeal really is insanely delicious. update 2012: Violetta’s has closed, and now at this location is Elephants in the Park. I didn’t have a chance to eat here, but there’s a vegan burger on the menu.
- Sweet Lemon Vegan Bistro (To Go!)
Although there is a restaurant location, I grabbed a “Very Curry” Wrap, packaged fresh, at Food Fight! vegan grocery to have for lunch the next day. An inexpensive (even if you go to the bistro) and tasty option in you’re visiting P-land.
- Veggie Grill and Native Foods
Two fantastic vegan places now with locations n Portland. The VG is located right in downtown, which makes it an absolute must whenever I’m in town. The All Hail Kale Salad is a favorite.
To be continued…
SO much to love about Portland, I needed to make this a two-part post! Check back with me tomorrow to hear about places in the city to satisfy the sweet tooth, Good Sweets in Portland.