When the show goes on the road, you either stay behind and watch forlornly at all the pictures being posted OR you book a flight and get your butt to Portland! The Vegan Power Rangers Crew and I loaded up and shipped out.
Some of the crew was even able to take a few extra days and sadly, I became the one watching forlornly at their posts; wishing I had bought a ticket for a day earlier.
With that being said, I managed to push forward and make it one of the best damn Traveling Vegan trips to date!
Now, get ready for an onslaught of droolworthy pictures, beautiful foliage shots, the all vegan grocery store and much much more!
Welcome to my first trip to Portland!
Before even getting to Portland a few of us mapped out specific places we wanted to hit outside of the festival. Two big ones on my list were A.N.D Cafe and Vtopia Cheese Shop.
The day of Beerfest, Plant Based Fat Kid and Beet X Beet joined me on a lovely Fall walk to A.N.D Cafe.
We decided to go bright and early to secure a table sans lines and overcrowding.
We timed it perfectly and achieved our goal. We ordered two dishes; A decadent, rich, perfectly fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Waffle and a savory Mushroom Melt. It's all about the sweet and savory, right?
That Mushroom Melt. It was one of my favorite items on the entire trip!
Pieces of mushroom and spinach WITHIN the batter of the waffle! Genius and excellent. To add, that herb tofu scramble was one of the best I've ever had.
If I could transport one restaurant to LA, it might have to be A.N.D. Cafe.
From there we headed to Voodoo Donuts since it was on the route to the venue.
During our walk, the wonderful release of leaving "the city" (Los Angeles) finally took me and the vibes of Portland enclosed. I was now fully immersed. The light breeze of Fall, the slower pace of the city and even cherishing the sheer fact I was walking to different locations brought back memories of New York. Not so much Manhattan, but more so Astoria–where I lived while I worked in New York.
In LA we sometimes forget the beauty that surrounds us. We get lost in the comings and goings, the commuting and our own personal daily angst’s.
It was nice to take a weekend break.
NEXT STOP: VOODOO DONUTS
There you have it. A doughnut! Or donut; whichever you prefer.
Glad to have ventured and tried, but can I say I've had better? It was just aight.
After our morning shenanigans, we were ready for
Second order of business (after staking claim) was getting to as many vendors as possible before general admission passed the threshold.
First Up: FOOD
This was delicious! The bread was perfectly toasted and the flavors outstanding!
Left: Buffalo 666-shredded buffalo jackfruit, daiya cheese, onions, scallions, vegan ranch and wing sauce
Right: Spiral Tap (my favorite of the two)-caramelized onion base with tomato sauce and nutritional yeast.
I know above I said I am not a huge donut fan. I am not, BUT I will make an exception for an exceptional donut ESPECIALLY when it’s a fancy cake donut that’s more reminiscent of a cake IN A donut form then a traditional donut.
This Apple Pie Donut did just that. It was delicious, moist, textured and cakey.
Ooey gooey mac and cheese with coconut bacon, kale chips and fresh spinach.
This looks insanely appetizing, right?! And it was. I really enjoyed this dish, BUT it didn’t knock my socks off like some proclaimed. The sauce was thick and creamy which is a big plus for me, but I felt it was lacking in a standout flavor. The other ingredients carried the dish, but the mac and cheese by itself fell flat. Again, my own personal opinion here. I’m never opposed to giving any mac and cheese another shot.
The Grilled Cheese Truck is always a classic at vegan festivals. No matter how many times I’ve had it, it doesn’t seem like a real festival until I get one. This time I was able to try the Chick’n and Waffle Grilled Chao Cheese. A first for me! IT WAS DELICIOUS. I barely used the maple syrup because I couldn’t stop eating it. I also had to eat fast because Vegan Food Share was creepn’ around.
Plant Food for People
Having an LA favorite make a trek up to Portland so my stumptown buddies could enjoy what us LA’ers get to do on a daily was very gratifying. I love LOVE having others experience eats that I deem craveable. Plant Food For People’s jackfruit is marinated for hours upon hours with a special seasoning blend and then made into carnitas style tacos with different slaws, sauces and salsas. They also offer other jackfruit menu items like the Torta, mulita (pictured above) and sometimes nachos!
Another LA favorite that made the trek was Charlie’s Brownie’s! These scrumptious bite sized brownies are decadent, rich, moist and beyond craveable. Anytime I can get my hands on some, you bet I do!
Second Up: KOMBUCHA
SOMA Evolutionary Refreshment and Kombucha
This year the kombucha game was STRONG. Kombucha Hunter did a hell of a job procuring over 11 kombucha vendors!
I myself am not a beer drinker (not since my lost college years) and I was very very grateful for the alternative option. I not only enjoyed re-trying tried and true favorites like Health-Ade, Brew Dr. and GT’s, but also oodles of Portland brands. My favorite was a bold Colloidal Silver Kombucha by SOMA. Colloidal Silver on it’s own has many health and immunity boosting benefits; BUT THEN combine it with a valuable digestive aid like kombucha and you have yourself one hell of a powerhouse combo! Sadly, at the moment, they won’t be selling in California. I’m hoping they will change their minds in the future, but I respect why they choose not too.
Another favorite was Humm. Their flavors were robust and not overly sweet. While speaking with the rep I found out I’ll be seeing them hit the California market even more then they have been.
What a phenomenal time! I had warm reunions with ones who have fled LA (three friends this year alone have moved to Portland), I enjoyed Portland’s finest treats, I spent time with dear friends who came from near and far and I finally met face to face Instagram friends who I now consider just friends and not “instagram friends”.
Plant Based Fat Kid and I knew the festival was just one aspect of our day.
Many many more adventures were to be had.
We began our 45 min trek (the perfect way to include fitness into our Day O’Eating) to Vtopia Cheese Shop. Actually, pretty much any chance we got; we walked.
When we arrived at Vtopia Cheese Shop, we may have fist pumped.
In the past I have conversed with Mark and Amber (sweet sweet owners) when it related to VWS events and/or shipping some delicious cheeses to friends, so I was very happy to finally meet them both in person AND to finally eat at Vtopia.
Plant Based Fat Kid and I ordered the 5-cheese platter
We chose; Vtopian’s Peppercorn, Caramelized Onion, Cranberry Brie, Chive and Dill and Punk Rawk’sOriginal Cashew. The 5-cheese plate comes with kalamata olives, grapes, crackers, house made tapenades and preserves.
Oh man! We could of used extra help on this. It was plentiful! Defreaknlious, but a ton of cheeses. Go big or go home right? In the end, we enjoyed trying each and every option multiple times and indulging in a traditional pastime.
Cheese plates date way back in my family. It may even be one of my earliest memories with my father. He loved setting up a well curated cheese plate on the outside table while listening to music and watching the dogs play. I’m positively beside myself that I can recreate that feeling with a plethora of vegan cheeses.
We also decided there was no way we could leave Vtopia without trying a panini. We ordered the New Bacon Camambert.
Remember how I said earlier that the best thing I had on my trip was the Mushroom Melt Waffle from A.N.D Cafe? Well, this came in at #2. This was everything I hoped it would. I don’t indulge in panini’s, sandwiches and/or seitan very often, so this was an extra special treat. The Bacon Camembert had everything! The cheese melted beautifully, the seitan bacon was perfectly flavored and added the necessary texture, the arugula and tomato added an element of lightness while the housemade mayo and dijon sealed the zing deal.
After leaving cloud 9 we walked our way to Departure.
I know, you must be thinking “HOW??”
We are impressive, determined creatures. When there is a will, there is a way. Share, share share. We shared our way through the day.
When we arrived at Departure (very under dressed) we were seated outside on the patio. This allowed us to finally take in the Portland skyline from the top of The Nines Hotel. It was breathtaking. Simple and breathtaking–no overcrowding of twinkling lights here.
The vegan menu looked fantastic and I’d love to go back, but for that evening we chose one sushi roll to split. We were there to try, not to over indulge. We were torn between two rolls, so we asked the waiter to surprise us!
He chose the crowd favorite: Sweet Potato Tempura with spinach, ginger and spicy miso. It was very tasty. Not too spicy–just enough heat.
Next Stop: Meeting up with part of the gang at Hungry Tiger for some pool, drinks and you know, tater tots and corndogs.
Hello to childhood! I never had corn dogs in the house. It was always a treat to get them at friends. So here’s to my adolescence!
Seitan Biscuits and Gravy and a side order of their infamous hash brown casserole.
Both dishes were delicious, savory and filling. This was a quality brunch with a fantastic group of friends. I’m beyond grateful we were able to sneak it in at the end our short Portland trip.
We had a few hours left in Portland after brunch and I really wanted to check out the vegan mall where four vegan shops in a row call home.
One very unique fine was the refrigerator O'cheese. All hail vegan cheeses!
They had many of my favorites as well as a few I’ve never come across. Ahmazing!
I also found the perfect tote.
When it came to Sweet Pea I purchased a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie to take back for my flight home. Did it make it onto the flight? I can neither confirm nor deny.
I believe there is a reason you need to indulge every now and then (or for a weekend straight). Being able to give yourself the freedom to try different restaurants, different dishes, different chefs interpretations is a way of keeping the balance. Sure, I probably shouldn’t have indulged as much as I did on gluten items, but it was a spontaneous choice I made at the time. I left knowing I engrossed myself, I walked a ton, I bonded and I LIVED. I set up my Portland trip knowing the shift I had to make when I returned. Come Monday morning I knew what had to be done. Detoxing and balancing. This doesn’t work for everyone and at different points in my life this doesn’t always work for me, but this time I look back at my Portland trip with no regrets.
That's a wrap Portland!