Back in 2009, we raved like it was 1986 about Portobello restaurant in Portland. Back then, it was a sort-of popup affair, taking over the space of a small east-side coffee shop after hours, and opening its doors to hungry patrons who usually had to book way in advance. Although our experience was stellar, we’d heard that other visitors had suffered from long waits, and the restaurant had a propensity to run out of some food items early on in the evening.
Clearly, there was a supply and demand mismatch so something had to happen. In mid-2010 we were delighted to hear that Portobello had graduated from the intimate coffee shop and had moved into a proper space of its own, with a high-budget build-out, new chefs and a much larger staff.
It was, then, with some trepidation that we made reservations to visit the “new” Portobello on a recent trip to Portland. After all, would its newfound influx of cash and staff affect its food? Would its new location lack the atmosphere of the old one? Would the gnocchi be as chewy and the bread be as crispy as before?
Well, to cut a long story slightly less long we were even more delighted with the new Portobello than we were with the old one. Yes, in many ways it’s like eating at a different restaurant, but the owners have clearly maintained what’s good about the original concept and expanded it into a broader, more capable offering that moves it several notches higher in the all-vegan fine dining league table.
The new location is in a modern strip mall in a faintly industrial area much further south than before. Across the street is a machine tool shop, and in the same parking lot is a large beer store, as well as an acupuncture clinic. Even for typically diverse PDX, this is quite varietal.
Of course, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but the inside is what counts. It seems that no expense has been spared to create a wonderful dining experience. Dark woods, steel and concrete and floral designs come together perfectly to create an ambience somewhere between a casual cafe and upscale restaurant…Tags: burger, gnocchi, italian, oregon, pdx, pizza, portland
the hungry tiger too in portland has to be one of my favorite places on earth. not only is it a bar with a pretty good craft beer selection, but it’s a full on restaurant as well with a separate vegan menu and the best biscuits and gravy known to man. why, oh why can’t we have somewhere like this in los angeles?
we’ve been fans of hungry tiger too for a couple years now, and make it a point to eat there on every trip to portland. imagine how delighted we were on our recent visit, to learn from friends that the already giant menu had expanded to include even more vegan options! we headed over for what turned out to be one of the best brunches in recent memory. check it out:Tags: biscuits, breakfast, brunch, gravy, pdx, portland, waffles
that’s right. it’s sunday, which means sweetpea baking in portland is holding its weekly all you can eat vegan buffet…and today is biscuits and gravy day!
there is a whole lot of good food to eat in pdx, and if you are there on a weekend, make sure to put sweetpea’s sunday brunch buffet at the top of your list. it’s ten bucks for all you can eat, and it’s absolutely fantastic. it starts at 9am, and be sure to get there early because it gets crowded pretty quickly.Tags: all you can eat, biscuits, brunch, buffet, pdx, portland
here at quarrygirl.com, we are always on the hunt for the latest and greatest vegan pizza. “normal” pizza is the very last thing we gave up as vegetarians, so finding a good substitute is a quest that’s very near to our hearts. our latest pizza breakthrough was a big one, and it took place at sizzle pie in portland.
although sizzle pie is an omnivorous establishment, their vegan options are plentiful, creative, and even sold by the slice! on top of that, it’s honestly some of the best pizza i’ve ever had. in a city with an overwhelming amount of vegan-friendly restaurants, we went to sizzle pie TWICE during our recent 4 day PDX trip. that should tell you how much we enjoyed the place.
on our first visit, we just stopped by for a couple slices each at 4 bucks a pop. sizzle pie has something for all vegan pizza lovers: they’ve got daiya for fake cheese fans, creamy spreads made from cashews or caramelized onions, nutritional yeast covered pies, and a cilantro pepitas pesto topping. the menu items all have fun names as well—we went with a slice of “let us play your party” (pictured in the center above) which came with house red sauce, mushrooms, spinach, black olives, white onions and not-a-ricotta. plus 3 slices of “spiral tap”…
the vegan slices were incredible! the spiral tap especially with its rich spread, topped off with tangy tomato sauce and creamy nooch. another thing i loved about this pizza is that the slices were massive, thin, and proper. you know, you could fold them in half. respect…
our next visit to sizzle pie was even better. this time we got a couple slices and a normal pie to share.Tags: pdx, pizza, portland
there’s an old 80’s pop song that says heaven is a place on earth—and if that’s the truth, then it must be referring to portland. the city is a sylvan paradise with more vegan restaurants than i could eat at in a lifetime, and a brewery on almost every corner.
the food options are so plentiful, they can actually be a bit overwhelming…so trust me on this one: all vegans visiting portland must eat at homegrown smoker.
the small vegan soul food cart in the university district keeps limited lunch hours, but it’s worth planning your trip around. the menu is massive (click here to peep it) with all kinds of crazy creations like a mac and cheese burrito, chili cheese fries, and smoked “loafaroni”.
Tags: food cart, macaroni & cheese, pdx, portland, soul food
we just got back from a long weekend in portland, and naturally we made an effort to eat as much awesome vegan food as possible. we only had 4 days, so i knew we couldn’t get to everything…but i think we did a pretty respectable job. shortly after we arrived in pdx, we ran into janessa from epicurious vegan, and she implored us to check out the city’s newest vegan-friendly sandwich shop: brass tacks.
located in northeast portland, brass tacks is owned by 3 lovely ladies who strive to create an environment where omnivores, vegans, and gluten-free folks all feel comfortable. although the restaurant does offer real meat, over half of the sandwich menu is vegan and all condiments, salads, and soups are completely animal-free. what makes brass tacks extremely special though, is that the vegan meats and sauces are all made in house from scratch—inventive stuff like agave smoked “ham”, cashew-based gouda, and white bean meatballs. there are four vegan sandwiches to choose from, as well as a “build your own” option where you can go crazy piling on the faux meats and vegetables.
my husband and i split the vegan “salame!”, a sandwich packed with spicy seitan, tomato jam, aioli, yellow mustard, pepperoncinis, lettuce, tomato and red onion. fantastic! everything about this sandwich was top notch—the french roll from local bakery fleur de lis was fresh and crunchy, the tomato jam was tangy and flavorful, and all the vegetables were cool and crisp. though the best component, by far, was the homemade salami.
thinly sliced and perfectly seasoned, it was so reminiscent of real deli meat, and better than any store-bought brand.Tags: pdx, portland, sandwiches, seitan
chaos cafe is a great little spot in portland to grab a simple, tasty vegan breakfast. the casual restaurant is entirely vegetarian, has a sweet coffee bar, and opens everyday at 9am. we got there around that time and had the place to ourselves. chaos is exactly what i expected the pacific northwest to be like, i could have easily spent hours there. plus, the food was great!
we split a couple of entrees, starting with the vegan version of the big bang. this thing came with marinated tofu, mixed vegetables (including broccoli, onion, and tomato), toast, and a side of breakfast potatoes. everything was delicious, from the deeply flavorful tofu to the crispy vegetables and bite sized taters. i think it’s actually pretty hard to find a decent tofu scramble in restaurants, and this one definitely passed the test. the tofu was cubed and chunky, not all mushed together with tons of nutritional yeast.
even though it was only 9 in the morning, chaos was rockin’ the entire lunch menu, so we decided to split a bowl. have i mentioned before how much i LOVE BOWLS?! and bowls are everywhere in portland! man, if i lived up there, i’d eat a bowl at least everyday. anyways, the way the bowls work at chaos is: you get to customize everything from your grain, to your vegetables, to your sauce. we went with brown rice, black beans, steamed greens, broccoli, mushrooms, and salsa. SO GOOD. everything was on point, but the salsa really made this dish. it was thick and extra tomatoey, with a little bit of spice. i would order this bowl again, and again, and again.
inside, chaos cafe is quite lovely. it’s brightly lit with comfy seats and funky decor. our waitress was friendly, the service was quick, and the coffee was good. all around, a great little place! <3
chaos cafeTags: bowls, breakfast, pdx, portland
2620 SE Powell Blvd
Portland Oregon 97202
Open Mon-Thur 9am-9pm
Portland, Oregon is an is insanely vegan-friendly city. It is therefore perhaps the best place for West Coast and Midwest vegans to go on vacation for a long weekend, and is an especially good place to get away from the dry heat of a Southern California summer. It’s worth noting that just about every restaurant has several vegan options on the menu and there’s a big emphasis here on sustainability, environmental responsibility and liberal, yet fiscally responsible politics. A vegan heaven, right?
Right on. So, it was with glee that, on our recent visit, we discovered the Hopworks Urban Brewery (or HUB as they like to be called) which not only uses no animal products in the manufacture of its beer, but also has a very, very vegan-friendly menu including a vegan cheese offering on its vegan NY-style pizzas. This, to me, is heaven.Tags: beer, pdx, pizza, portland
when i tried the new tofurky frozen pizza at natural products expo west a few months ago, it was seriously love at first bite. covered in stretchy daiya cheese and plump pepperoni bits, it was the best frozen pizza i’d ever tasted.
imagine my excitement then, when i got a letter from tofurky advertising their new pizza line, along with a coupon to get one for free. the only problem is, i couldn’t find a store in LA selling the pizzas yet. i had no choice but to hop on a plane and head up to the cutting edge food fight grocery in portland, oregon.Tags: daiya, pdx, pizza, portland, tofurky
Situated on a quiet street next to a coffee shop in Southeast Portland, Hungry Tiger Too looks at first glance like any other neighborhood bar. However, in addition to the usual bar accoutrements of beer, fries and TVs, Hungry Tiger Too has a HUGE vegan menu, serving an array of awesome animal-free bar food morning, noon and night.
On our recent trip to PDX we grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered a beer and started to scan the vegan section of the menu. As usual in Portland, though, we were torn between so many amazing menu items that we over-ordered, somewhat and ended up spending way more time there than we expected to. Anywhere else, this would have been a problem, but Hungry Tiger Too is just so wonderful that we were delighted to eat and drink the afternoon away within its hallowed walls.
First up was the vegan quesadilla appetizer: a super rendition of the popular Mexican-influenced dish. Liberal helpings of tomatoes, onions, spinach, cilantro and vegan cheese filled up our vegan bellies in no time, so we were forced to have another beer while waiting to order our main dish.
Well, one beer became two, then three after we played some pinball and goofed around in the photo booth. Next up were main courses, the Montecore Burger, and Home Made Biscuits and Gravy.
Let’s get this out right now: The burgers on the menu are all based on the ubiquitous vegan Boca Burger, which at first had me thinking “WTF? I can make one of these at home!”. Well, I could (and I tried, see later) but it couldn’t be anywhere near this tasty. The Montecore was a fusion of zesty garlic, spicy jalapeno and an smooth sauteed mushroom/onion topping that was to die for.
Add in some fresh trimmings (tomato, lettuce and onions), and this was one hearty vegan burger. Throw in the included side of incredible vegan potato salad, and for only $8.75 you have one of the most delicious and best value meals I’ve ever eaten.
As we were already full after the quesadilla we ordered the Biscuits and Gravy as a kinda side for the burger (at only $4, how big could it possibly be?). Very big is the answer. Very tasty too.
Creamy vegan mushroom and sausage sauce, smothering two crispy and moist biscuits was a winning combination.
After another beer, and another, we were finally able to finish all the food, and stagger out of the bar to our hotel.
Later on in the evening, the reality of our experience hit us: We’d just enjoyed a great afternoon in a real bar with awesome beers and completely filling, decadent cruelty-free food.
I can tell you this: After buying and cooking a bunch of Boca Burgers from Coscto, I’ve never come close to approximating the taste of that awesome burger. If I lived in Portland, I’d probably visit Hungry Tiger Too at least once, or twice a day week.
Awesome bar, awesome staff, awesome beers, awesome food. DUUUH?! Vegans: Go there now.
Hungry Tiger Too
207 SE 12th Ave Portland, OR 97214
Tags: alcohol, bars, beer, beer, burger, oregon, pdx, portland, quesadilla
On face value, The Mash Tun in the Alberta Arts district of Portland, OR, is a fairly typical brewpub. It has a couple of niceties, including a patio to enjoy the few days of summer that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, as well as a roomy atmosphere with comfortable tables, and ample bar seating. Throw in free wi-fi, a dart board, a full-size pool table, multiple TVs for watching sports, some home-brewed beers as well as a few guest taps and I’ll be there. As indeed I was one summer’s day this year.
While I must admit that going to bars with a bunch of friends to watch the game isn’t my thing, I can see how awesome The Mash Tun would be do just that. With an ample selection of beers on tap (many of them vegan), and a menu with its own vegan section things start to get interesting!
On our sunny Sunday afternoon, we settled into bar seats in front of the TV, ordered some great beer and started to eat our way through the vegan section of the menu, starting with the Vegan Tempeh Things — tempeh “wings” in spicy sauce with dip and salad. Perfectly hot, perfectly crunchy and with a cool dip, these were gone in about 20 seconds. And I’m not joking.
Next up, we ordered the Baked Red Lentil Puree, an interesting combination of seasoned lentils with green onions and pita wedges for scooping. In texture this was kinda like eating hummus and pita, but with a much more tangy flavor. This dish is a perfect companion to the “wings”, providing some cool respite from the fiery sauce.
For our main dish we deliberated between the two vegan burgers on offer — both home made and very appetizing in description. In the end we went for the Mash Tun Veggie Burger, a complex set of textures and flavors perfectly seasoned on a tasty bun with very fresh salad.
By the end of our afternoon, we were full of vegan food, great beer and had watched most of a game on the TV before we had to leave and head back to the airport for our return flight to LA. The Mash Tun is a great place to go with omni friends, as you can enjoy everything a real bar has to offer, while pigging out on some very tasty vegan facsimiles of bar food.
Pop open your laptop to jump on the free wi-fi, shoot some pool, throw some darts and watch the game (not at the same time, of course). The Mash Tun provides just about everything you’d want in a typical PDX low-key environment. It might not be the best vegan food on the planet, and the home-brewed beer probably needs some work on the taste front, but you won’t be disappointed at all.
We’ll definitely be back to The Mash Tun next time we’re fortunate enough to visit the PDX!
The Mash Tun BrewpubTags: alcohol, beer, beer, burger, mash tun, oregon, pdx, portland, wings
2204 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
If somebody would have told me that some of the best Italian food I’d ever eat would be both vegan and served in a coffee shop, I’d have thought they were nuts. Fact is, Portobello in Portland has some of the most scrumptious Italian food anywhere, is entirely vegan and somehow transforms a space that is a coffee shop by day into an intimate and upscale Italian Trattoria of the highest order by night.
The only advice you need before a visit is to call ahead and ensure you have a reservation. The tiny restaurant seats very few people, fills up almost as soon as it opens and stays full until it closes. So what’s the big deal? Why so popular? Simple answer: THE FOOD.
Portobello’s compact menu (just twelve dishes on the evening we went there) is clearly focussed on doing a few things right rather than trying to be all things to all people. What the menu lacks in choice it certainly makes up for in diversity, freshness and portion sizes (many dishes are available in a half order so you can share and sample as much as you like). With the smiliest, friendliest service you’ll find, a great vegan wine selection and rich vegan deserts you are in for a throughly pleasurable evening.
The menu is split into two main sections: “To Share” – appetizers and finger food that you can distribute around your table and “To Hoard”, aptly named because the main dishes are so good you’ll want to keep them all for yourself.
To start with we ordered the “Little T Slab with Olive Oil”. As it had the word “Little” in its name and was only $3.50 we figured we’d need something else as well, so we decided to get the “Artichoke-Mushroom Crostata”. Only when a huge amount of food arrived at our table did we find out that “Little T” was the name of the bakery that baked the amazing Focaccia, and not an indicator of the size of the bread portion being anything BUT little! Also, the Crostata (soft pastry cup filled to the brim with spicy mushrooms, artichokes and creamy sauce) was more than big enough to share.
Along with the food we ordered a bottle of wine from a small independent winery called Hip Chicks Do Wine. I can’t vouch for their hipness, but I CAN vouch for the fact that they Do Wine really well. The ’06 Cabernet we ordered was incredibly tasty and the perfect compliment for the wonderful food we were about to eat.
For the main course we spent a good deal of time debating what order, as everything on the menu looked so amazing. In the end, after two hearty appetizers and an anticipation of desert looming, we opted to go for two half orders: the Portobello Steak with Polenta and the Potato Gnocchi with Spicy Ragu. We were throughly blown away with the taste and texture of both dishes. Portobello and Polenta are individually terribly difficult to prepare, and uniting them in one dish did, I’m sure, present a major challenge to the chef, who clearly knows what he or she is doing. The greens were just this side of crunchy and the red wine sauce was a perfect balance of tangy and smooth. What an amazing dish this was.
Another challenging Italian dish to prepare is gnocchi, especially large pieces as with this dish. I don’t know how this was cooked, but the gnocchi was slightly crispy on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside. The ragu was heavenly – again no idea what was in there, but a deep tomatoey spiciness delivered the perfect compliment to the starchy gnocchi.
Did somebody say desert? We’d heard that the deserts at Portobello were excellent, so we ordered the Tiramisu — always my favorite Italian desert as a vegetarian. In common with everything else we’d eaten the tiramisu was excellent. Soft and sweet with an impeccably creamy texture and smooth brandy-infused spongy cake makes this the best vegan tiramisu I’ve eaten, and I’m becoming quite a connoisseur, I think!
We ended the evening replete with some of the best Italian food we’d ever eaten and are counting the days to until our next visit to Portland so we can rush back to Portobello for a Liitle T, some Hip Chicks and Tiramisu. YUM!
Finally, I’ve heard that Portobello has a habit of running out of certain food items later in the evening. I guess there’s only so much Gnocci you can make in the kitchen of a coffee shop. If you have your heart set on a particular menu item, get an early reservation so you can be sure to get what you want.
PortobelloTags: gnocchi, italian, pdx, portland
2001 SE 11th Avenue