Tag Archives: portland

Portland, Astoria, and the Oregon Coast

Whenever I travel north I check the weather and try and pack accordingly. Somehow I always end up with sandals and sundresses and have to borrow clothes from everyone I know. Lucky for me, I know a lot of people in Oregon that can both lend me clothes and somehow put up with all my whining. The same people drive me around the city and the countryside, build forts for me to relax in, and lounge around spas with me.  It’s no wonder why it’s hard to come home. I planned my trip to Oregon by way of New York thinking that surely ten days would be enough time. It never is. My first food stop, as usual, was the flavor spot for a dutch taco, for those uninitiated that breakfast sausage and maple cream folded into a perfect waffle.


Also as usual we finished the waffle and immediately wanted another one because they are so damn delicious but instead we headed over to pick up another friend for our trip to the Oregon Coast. Leesha wasn’t quite ready yet so Hannah and I waited for a nearby bar to open and came in with the other Tuesday morning regulars.

the open sign as a lie AT FIRST

After the beautiful drive and seeing the sights of the coast in the laziest way possible we made it to the Ft. George Brewery in Astoria for some much needed drinking. It was, after all, really cold out.

The best part about drinking at a brewery is you can just say, “one of each please” and you can try it all. “One of each” actually became a theme later in the week with food as well. After drinking we wandered around Astoria a little more.

The shops all closed at 5 so we really had no choice but to head to another bar, this time on the docks where I could keep my eyes peeled on the water searching for whales. When a sea creature finally did breach I yelled “a walrus” but later learned that Oregon is not in the actual arctic and it was indeed a sea lion.

Since I was sharing pics on Instagram I kept getting tips on other places to go and we got to see the goonies house.
And while we were up there we could hear the barking of more sea lions below and I soon found myself breaking onto private property with two random little girls to come and take this shot.

It was amazing.

The next day, I spent a long time laying in bed looking at the weather outside, too scared to get out of bed. Watching Joanna’s Instagramming made me want to check out Junior’s cafe and my friend Claire picked me up and we went..

We had an awesome sassy waitress and I definitely enjoyed the Vegan potatoes with vegetables and tofu sauce. And toast with marionberry jam. I love that every single place in Portland has homemade jam and secret aardvark sauce. Also, I learned that all servers in the state of Oregon are happy to tell you what is vegan and gluten free. Even if you don’t ask, they intuit that you are omitting dairy products and suddenly say, “hey that bread has milk products in it”. Here you can’t even ask about bread at places like Whole Foods without getting the ole “girl you be crazy” eyes.

After filling up on an excessive amount of food and coffee Claire and I headed to the Loyly spa for some much needed heat and lounging about. It was here that I decided I needed to open an inexpensive lounging spa in Austin, but what would be the hot weather equivalent of a good steam? A fancy walk in freezer? Super cold cucumber misters? I have to figure the details out, I can promise there will be hammocks and a swim-up bar. Loyly was lovely, vegan friendly and, I think 15 dollars to hang out in the steam room, the dry sauna, the showers, and the lounging area. Masks and massages were extra. I was able to raise my core temperature enough to make it through the day.

Later that night my Vida Vegan week unofficially started when I met Jojo, Randi, and Mandi at Portobello where we ate pretty much everything on the entire menu.

Everything was amazing, I love their gnocchi 

But the potato pizza might have been my favorite. Or the beet tartare. Or the salted caramel sundae with homemade coconut whip and toasted pine nuts. It’s hard to say.

So that’s my pre-con fun, stay tuned and be amazed by all the things I ate in the following days. I still can’t believe it.

Camp Swisher and another trip to Portland OR

My multiple trips to Portland have gotten almost ridiculous. People say things to me like “Oh I forget that you don’t live here” and “Will you be back for…?” and “You missed Star Trek in the Park?”. I never get tired of the Northwest though, my friends, the trees, the rain and the sausage stuffed waffles, the chicken fried tempeh, and of course the donuts. Oh, I ate so many donuts. 

I tried some places I’ve never been to before. I absolutely loved the Kung Pao Tofu and the Braised Spicy Ginger Eggplant at Lucky Strike and will go back next time to try more. Their tofu custard had these lovely little roasted soy nuts but otherwise was a total bust. Down the street I also got to try the El Beardo Scramble at Jam on Hawthorne. I had never been there before and I loved it. God those hashbrowns, the red pepper sauce, and the homeade JAM! The best part was the service, I think I had the most vegan friendly server in my history of being vegan. She just asked every question you could ever fathom. It made me so happy. She even let me add olives. And gave me a vegan english muffin with earth balance. It was breakfast bliss. 

I tried a little cart called Sonny Bowl downtown and had such a Portland ibowl: rice, barbecued soy curls, yams, kale with tahini sauce, and chow mein noodles. I wish I could go back in time clean up the sauce on the side of that bowl though. It’s just not worth photoshopping. Then I’d get to eat it again too, blogging makes me so hungry you guys.

 

While downtown I got to see all kinds of different art and I finally got to go to Ground Kontrol. They had a Star Trek TNG pinball game!!! We were so excited to play but the game just wanted to steal our money. The guy came to fix it and then he got so sucked in we didn’t even get a chance to have at it. We just watched him for a while and then went to find another one! I felt like a little kid. 

Another place that I finally got to check out was the Sweet Hereafter, a super styley vegan bar is southeast. I loved my pretzels with noochy sauce. They made me want to try everything on the food side of the menu. On the other side, I was a not a fan of the gigantic cocktail which feels weird to even type! What the hell? It just wasn’t mixed right, maybe if I’d been drinking all day it would have been better but that’s not much of a recommendation, tasty cocktails if you are wasted!  I’m sure it was a fluke.

 

After spending the weekend freezing my Texas ass off on the coast all I wanted for my last day was to get back to town, soak in warm water at the Kennedy school and get some delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. This time I tried Got Pho on Sandy blvd and it was tasty enough to completely satisfy my craving. The broth wasn’t anything special but once I got all the toppings and condiments mixed in I was slurping like crazy. The best part was the fried garlic and roasted peanuts for a topping. And also the totally compostable coconut water. The perfect spot for the hungover. 

And why was I hungover you may ask? Well the truth is I didn’t just go to Portland to stuff myself silly but actually went to see two of my most favorite people in the universe tie the knot during a camping wedding on the coast. I’d never been to the Oregon coast before and it was stunning, it almost looked like Hawaii.

A much colder version of Hawaii. My friends spared no expense and paid such attention to detail that we were totally overwhelmed with love all weekend. After taking a boat to the island campsite we all got flashlights, and Camp Swisher T-Shirts and souvenir pint glasses and walked through the sand to get to our cabins before the first of many meals. 
It was summer camp to the point that Friday night we had a talent show so Dan & I worked on our Biz Markie megamix for the first part of the evening which ended up going over really well. There were toasts and songs and s’mores and they even had sweet and sara marshmallows which I’d never had before but now will get every time I go camping. The next day the ceremony was right on the beach and it was just perfect. Then we went for more drinking and toasting and of course it was super vegan friendly because even though I was the only vegan there my friends are the shit. Plus look at them!!! They are the cutest.

I might have over did it on the wine just a tad. I was not a late night super star this time but I just had the best time. I was all set to move back to the northwest and open a vegan breakfast taco stand. Then we landed in Austin and I felt that sultry September air embrace me and I knew I could never leave forever. But I’ll think about you Portland every day. I love you all and your doughnuts.

 

Mt. Hood

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I had the most beautiful flight to Portland, it was amazing. Then I landed here and went directly to bonfires with singing & fireworks. And I got to wear a hoodie for the first time in months. Happy happy happy to be in the Pacific Northwest.

Portland: Hungry Tiger Too

I have officially been writing about all the great food that I ate in Portland for longer than I was there! I promise I’ll be back to the regularly scheduled program soon.  It has been a summer of travel posts. Hungry Tiger Too was one of my most favorites because although I have been hearing about fried tofu and waffles for a long time I have never gotten to try it until this trip. It was better than my wildest dreams; truly as if an angel from the southern part of heaven came down and delivered it to this strange quasi bar in Portland. The crusty crispy outside of the tofu was perfectly seasoned and flavored and topped with maple syrup and bottomed with a perfect wafflle it was truly a glorius gluttenous meal, especially when you consider that this was second breakfast and along side a full serving biscuits and gravy.and a Tofuffalo SaladLucky for me I was sharing with more wonderful friends and didn’t have to eat all of this myself! Although I ate more than my share of tofu, sorry ladies! I couldn’t stop!

 

 

 

Portland: Mee Sen Thai

One thing I love about Portland is that everything is really cute. In the places I have lived my favorite Thai restaurants are usually hole-in-the-wall shacky-type places with sometimes questionable service. In Portland they certainly have that style of restaurant but then they also have super adorable Thai places like Mee Sen which is, what, shabby chic? Do people even say that anymore? There must be a better descriptor! The point is, I couldn’t get over how cute everything was.  I loved the reused whisky bottle with tin cups they brought for water .Really, the whole reason we picked this place was because they have delightful tamarind sours and after a girly day of hanging out at the community spa it seemed like the perfect finish. We decided to order several courses to share because Portland is all about communal experiences. We started with the fried tofu, which was just like your favorite hippy: crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the middle.

Before we knew what was happening our Tofu Larb came out just as our dry soup was put on the table. It was an onslaught of tofu!The Tom Yum (dry) was my favorite part of the meal since I am a sucker for peanuts, noodles, and fried things in general. We also got the Pad See Eww, which is always a favorite of mine and was perfectly acceptable here. I love a wide noodle. Actually I learned Mee Sen means “Have Noodle” but it also means “have a connection/good friends” so we were happy to mee sen at Mee Sen, a delightful meal shared with two of my favorite ladies.

 

 

 

Portland: Aladdin’s Cafe

One of my favorite parts about visiting big cities is eating food from cultures that are underrepresented in Austin. On this trip to Portland I was really excited to go back to Al Amir and have their magnificent eggplant and vegan baklava again, but alas it wasn’t to be. Luckily the city is packed with Lebanese restaurants and my loving and wonderful hosts Hannah and Ryan picked up take out from Aladdin’s Cafe for us to enjoy at home.

We decided to share all of the vegetarian appetizers so we had a tray full of the usual Falafel, Homous, Baba Ghanouj, Grape Leaves, and even got some extra pita as well. Everything aside from the underbaked pita bread was top notch. I thought the homous was deliciously smooth and creamy, and as always I wanted more falafel. We also tried the deep fried vegetables, which had cauliflower and carrots and then two dishes I had never had before. The Mehumara, described on the menu as “a blend of walnuts, toasted bread, garlic, onions, pomegranate, jalapeno and extra virgin olive oil.” It was not quite what I expected, a little bit sweet and sour, but I think it was my favorite part of the meal. We also had the Foul Mudamas which were fava beans cooked with garlic and onions and perhaps something smoky too, it had a very unique flavor.

We were unable to eat everything but we gave it our best shot! Actually that could describe my entire trip to Portland.

 

Portland: The Homegrown Smoker

It baffles my mind every time I think about the fact that Portland has a vegan barbecue trailer and we, in Austin Texas, do not. It makes me want to quit my job and buy a giant smoker. We all know that that is not going to happen, I am staying in the AC, not tending to a fire all day. So someone please open one, I promise I’ll go every day.

And if you do open one it is probably a good idea to do a barbecued soy curl mac and cheese wrap. I often have these two items on the same plate but never before have I had them in wrap form! Trailers are great!

They also had coconut battered deep fried oreos, Fu’fish Po’ Boys and all sorts of other barbecued madness. Last year I went and got STFU puppies. Clearly, the folks behind the Homegrown Smoker are creative geniuses and it is time someone in Austin ripped them off.