A Vegan Tourist’s Guide to Portland, Oregon
Our cheese-loving selves have a hard time thinking about ever going vegan. But we do appreciate and admire our friends who jump on the Soy Train Express. One challenge that many vegan travelers share is knowing where to get good grub when in a new place. The great thing about eating vegan (and also vegetarian) is that those restaurants that cater to you are typically going to be socially-conscious and locally-owned. We are happy to publish this post on vegan offerings in Portland, Oregon by a new Mindful Traveler contributer Nancy Harder. This stuff looks so good it might just make us put down our Coffee Heath Bar ice cream, if only temporarily.
Portland, Oregon is a creative class mecca. The city is socially and environmentally conscious, artistically progressive, hipster-heavy, and casual. It’s also vegan nirvana.
While I can find alternatives and get creative in my native North Carolina, my recent trip to Portland proved inspirational for vegan cuisine. (OK, it also made me pout when I returned home, spoiled from the delicious food.)
Here’s a guide to some of Portland’s veg offerings:
Voodoo Doughnut: Voodoo Doughnut is a cult institution in Portland. The small bakery, darkly decorated with voodoo dolls and obituaries, is open 24/7. Lines snake around the building, even at 3pm. The wait is worth it; half the selections are vegan.
Sweet Pea Baking Company: Located in the SE, this 100% vegan bakery offers bakery and lunch selections. They even have a Sunday vegan brunch. Try the Charlie Browns: layered chocolate, peanut butter, and granola goodness. The bakery is also in a vegan mini-mall, so after stuffing your face you can do some mindful shopping.
Blossoming Lotus: Blossoming Lotus has two locations. I tried the Pearl location (inside Yoga Pearl studio) and went back the very next day. Foodies and vegans happily co-exist in this 100% vegan restaurant. Many of the selections are raw items too. They had the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. I still dream about one of their specials: Jerk tempeh tacos with veggies, avocado sauce, and cashew cream dipper.
Homegrown Smoker: Located in a food cart in Alberta, Homegrown Smoker is a 100% vegan barbeque joint. Score! Smoked tempeh ribs, vegan sausage, mac no cheese, smoked soy curls, jalapeño-molasses corn bread, and sweet tea provides a great example of how chronic vegan cuisine can be.
Vege Thai: While this all-vegan Thai restaurant is visually bare bones, the food is awesome. It’s rare to find Asian food cooked without fish sauce. Here, you can order everything from the egg rolls to curries without guilt.
Portobello Vegan Trattoria: This Mediterranean restaurant works closely with local farmers for a 100% vegan, seasonal menu. This is not the Olive Garden with dishes like Butternut Cappellacci
(Fresh pasta stuffed with roast butternut squash, served with hazelnuts, sage, and cashew cream sauce.)
Living Room Theaters: Drink a libation or three and enjoy decadent chocolate vegan truffles while catching an indie movie in this cinema near Powell’s Books. To top it off, the seats at the Living Room Theaters are plush sofas.
Celebrating vegan cuisine is the most powerful veg movement activism. Portland’s offerings prove that plant-based eating can be sumptuous, experimental, and conscious.
Nancy Harder is a freelance writer, photographer and musician with an affinity for holistic health and observing different cultures. When not capturing paradigms and reflections through different mediums, she is searching the globe for the best vegan cuisine. She is currently an intern at the Matador Network and a travel blogger for her site, nancythegnomette.com. She is also founder of the yoga/meditation social networking site, Kungaroo.ning.com.