On a Wednesday in early spring, I met my friend for morning coffee at our university Starbucks. Lindsay and I meet up often and have wonderful talks. One of our favorite topics is traveling. On this particular day, we were talking about how we would love to go Portland, Oregon, and eat all the delicious vegan food there (it’s pretty much a vegan mecca for those of you that don’t know)! Spontaneously, we decided to buy plane tickets for Portland while still at Starbucks! For the next couple of months, we researched all of the best vegan restaurants in Portland and planned out where we wanted to go! So here’s what we did/saw/ate!
We arrived in Portland in mid-morning. After checking into our Airbnb, we headed to a near-by restaurant, Paradox Café, where we grabbed our first vegan meal! We got the Country Comfort breakfast, the Pesto Benedict, and a chocolate/almond pancake!
After eating, we looked around in some of the vintage shops and slowly moseyed over to the Vegan Mini Mall. There’s a vegan tattoo shop, grocery store, clothing store, and bakery all on one block! Sadly, only the grocery store, Food Fight, was open (spoiler alert: we went back for the others). We bought a bunch of snacks like vegan “beef” jerky, candy bars, oat bars, mac n cheese, gravy packets, and lots of other crazy veganized food!
Later that evening, we headed to Portobello, a super nice Italian restaurant.
We shared the Vtopia cheese plate as a starter. The waitress told us that people have eaten the entire cheese plate before realizing that they were in a vegan restaurant and that they had just chowed down on some vegan cheese. It was RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. Like indescribable. Crazy. Good. Uncheese. Cheese.
Lindsay had the mushroom/walnut ravioli.
I had the cauliflower/spinach manicotti.
For dessert, we shared the crème brulee and tiramisu. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip. It was just so amazing to me that we could have cheesy, creamy, and SUPER delicious food with no milk, cheese, or butter involved. But lookie here, you can!
This day was completely devoted to seeing the nature of Oregon, and boy, it didn’t disappoint! After a little hitch in getting the rental car (I was a derp and locked the keys in the car as soon as they were handed to me), we were off!
Munching on bananas and Food Fight snacks, we drove east.
The drive was absolutely beautiful. The Columbia River flowed to our left, and huge cliffs filled with evergreens towered to our right. We made pit stops at Horsetail and Multnomah Falls on the way. Completely breathtaking.
We then traveled to the town of Mount Hood, where you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helens, and Mt. Rainier all from one spot. I’m from the Appalachia region of Tennessee, so I’m used to mountains, but not mountains like this. They were huge!!! They all felt so close, but as you keep driving, they keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger until you realize that you weren’t very close at all. We stopped to get some Oregon-made Kombucha and take pretty pictures in a flower field right outside of the park.
We entered the park and stopped by Lake Laurence to take some more pictures and admire the view. Before heading out, we walked along a trail shaded by evergreens for a while.
On our way out of Mount Hood, we stopped by Mother’s Marketplace and Organic Deli and got some sandwiches and chips for the road. This is the Tofurkey sandwich. This tasted so much like real meat that I felt like I was doing something wrong. LOL.
We drove back west, through Portland, and headed to Astoria, a small town on the coast of northwest Oregon. We drove down the coast, stopping at beaches along the way. Cannon Beach was definitely the stand out.
We arrived back in Portland at 10 pm. Since we had been snacking all day, we decided to hit up The Sudra for a real meal. One interesting thing about Portland is how late the restaurants stay open. Perhaps it’s because I live in a small town, but all of the restaurants here are closed by 10 pm (That doesn’t really affect me too much, though. I’m a granny that likes to eat by 6 pm and be asleep by 9 or 10 pm.) The Sudra serves delicious vegan Indian food. The environment of the place was great: classy, half indoor/ half outdoor, with a little bit of a food truck feel. We had the Chickpea Cutlet plate and the Chickenless Tikka Masala Bowl, with sides of cilantro-garlic chapatti and kale infused dosa. So good.
Friday morning we headed to A.N.D. Café for the Pumpkin Cheesecake Waffle, the Feast Waffle (waffle stuffed with sausage, hashbrowns & mozzarella topped with country gravy and herb tofu), and a side of biscuits and gravy. Once again, it’s possible to have filling country food without the animal products. (I ate so much that I felt sick after. Whoops.)
We headed back to the mini mall and stopped by Sweet Pea for an Almond Croissant. All vegan, once again.
Then, we went into Herbivore for some fun, vegan fashion. They offer witty vegan shirts, stickers, and buttons, books, jewelry, vegan leather bags, and cruelty free beauty products. Check out the Herbivore tank. 🙂
After that, we headed downtown to shop around. We spent forever in the biggest book store west of the Mississippi, Powell’s. We got some pizza at Sizzle: a slice of Spiral Tap (creamy caramelized onion spread, marinara, and nutritional yeast) and Let Us Play Your Party (mushrooms, spinach, black olives, white onions, and not-a-ricotta). Check out how huge these slices were.
Next stop: Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. Petunia’s looks like an old fashioned pie shop, with a pink interior, pies on stands, and women wearing pretty dresses. We were slightly confused when we went in. I was wondering if we were in the right vegan pie shop until we saw in little letters at the bottom of a sign, “BEST DARN BAKED GOODS YOU WILL EVER HAVE. They happen to be gluten free and vegan.” They weren’t kidding. I had the raspberry/cherry pie. I was so excited to eat this that I took a huge bite before Lindsay reminded me that I was taking pictures of my food. It was ridiculously good.
We got some coffee and stopped in one of the parks to read some of our new books. After a while, we headed to Vtopia, the same place that made the cheeses from Portobello. Vtopia’s cheeses are sold and used in restaurants all over Portland, and for very good reason. THEY ARE SO GOOD. At this point, I’ve been vegan for 9 months. I remember what cheese tastes like. This tastes like cheese. The shop and deli offers sandwiches (like a mac n cheese grilled cheese WHA?!), cheese plates, and a variety of mac n cheeses.
Side story: Some of my friends in high school gave me the nickname “Cheese.” That’s how serious I am about cheese. Mac n cheese is my all time favorite food. If I can give up cheese, anyone can.
We both pigged out on mac n cheese. I ate mine entirely too quickly.
Then, we went to get some boba tea at Fat Straw. I had pineapple coconut milk tea with tapioca pearls and mango jellies (soaked coconut pieces).
Our last day was dedicated to eating and checking out the cute local stores. We had breakfast at Vita Café. I had the daily special: home fries topped with mixed garlicky veggies, house made “turkey” tofu, and onions. Lindsay had a sweet corn cake and herb bread topped with gravy.
We walked up and down Alberta Street, which has local clothing, jewelry, craft, art, food, and pet shops until we were hungry (well, hungry enough), and then headed to Back to Eden.
This was one of the places I was most excited about. The all vegan bakery has donuts, cinnamon rolls, cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, ice cream, tarts, quiches, salads, muffins, pies, coffee, and ice cream. I got a summer veggie tart and corn chowder for lunch, and chocolate cheesecake for dessert.
Remember how much I love cheese? I feel the same way about cheesecake, my favorite dessert. Who needs dairy when you can make this ridiculous piece of cake art without it???
More walking around just to get hungry, and then we headed south to the Hawthorne District and ate at Harlow for our last meal in Portland. We had a matcha latte and a marionberry chia lemonade to drink, and mac n cheese, the Jackfruit Plate (bbq jackfruit, slaw, jalapeño cornbread, pasta salad, and pickled veggies), and Endless Summer (zucchini noodles with avocado pesto, carrots, arugula, tomatoes, and pistachio parmesan). After eating rich and filling foods for the previous few days, this was just the fresh and light dinner we needed.
It was an awesome trip. We couldn’t leave Portland without more of that boba tea, though. 😉