Thursday, 25 August 2011

USA 2011: Portland Part 4

The next day dawned with plans for meeting up with K and Toby to explore the North East quadrant of PDX, which seemed to have a trillion vegan places there. Alberta Street was in our sights.

A girl needs some fuel before she goes exploring, though! Putting aside my usual dislike of sweets for breakfast (hey, I was on holiday), I ate one and a half doughnuts. The first doughnut was chocolate with chocolate cereal puffs on it, it was actually not as sweet as I was concerned it would be. The next doughnut was chocolate with icing and some sort of orange sweet stuff on it. They were OK doughnuts, but I don't really see why one would choose a chocolate doughnut when you could have a normal one instead.

Our first stop was Queen Bee Creations, a beautiful shop that creates their own all vegan bags and wallets. I bought a really cute bag (except in mine the flap is grey and the birds are pink and purple) and K bought a wallet. I love my Queen Bee bag, I use it all the time now!

While we were shopping, Toby went off to get some coffee. As we went off to find him, we found Lodekka, an awesome vintage shop in a double decker bus. I found a super cute summer dress that I am very happy with, and a nifty necklace.

Our first food stop was the food cart collection at Mississippi and Skidmore. As we walked up, I saw this lovely kitty. Even just basking in the gaze of a cat for a few seconds was kitty contact I would take. Must. Have. Kitties.

The Ruby Dragon is an all-vegan food card that serves a variety of breakfast and main dishes.

I was compelled to try out some Griddle Cakes. Cornmealy pancakey goodness. I was a fan! They were very filling!!

K was keen to try out their gleegan pancakes, complete with berries, nuts and chocolate chips! These are quinoa pancakes, and you could definitely feel the quinoa in the texture. They were good, but the Hungry Tiger Too pancake is much more the authentic pancake you would expect.

I also tried out Native Bowl, the food cart of Julie Hasson.

I had the Mississippi Bowl. Peppercorn ranch, BBQ Soy Curls,two kinds of BBQ sauce, house coleslaw, scallions and jasmine rice. It was AMAZING! So delicious. I wish I could have this all the time.

There was also a sushi cart there, The Sushi Tree, and Toby arranged some vegan and g/f sushi to try. There was tofu and umeboshi types. Both were good, but I do love me some umeboshi!

One of the things we were worried about was what else to do when in PDX other than to eat vegan fuds. Someone had mentioned to walk up Mississippi and then down Alberta for cool things. They lied. It was a long, long, long walk, that was essentially pretty boring for the vast majority. We did pass this awesome veggie garden. KALE! I wants it.

One of the first places on Alberta St we stumbled across was The Bye and Bye, the famous vegan pub. We went in, but were so full still that we soon had to walk out again (don't worry, stay tuned for part five!). At least at this point on Alberta there were some interesting little shops along the way that we enjoyed.

Finally we reached our next destination - Back To Eden Bakery. Back To Eden is something special, something magical, and something that everyone should get the chance to experience. Back To Eden is like entering a wonderland. It is everything you would hope and dream a vegan bakery and ice cream shop could be. Let me demonstrate.

The beautiful menu board.

The amazing display cases, packed full of beautiful and delicious food. Oh goodness, it makes me weep to look at it!

K and I both had a root beer float. Another vegan blogger/twitterer who had recently been to the US had raved about them, so it had to be done. A float is kind of like a spider. Except instead of just a dollop of ice cream, she filled most of the glass with delicious vegan soft serve! Oh so good. But oh so filling! It turns out that root beer is OK in small doses, thankfully Toby was there to drink the rest of the root beer in my bottle. I also really should not drink fizzy drinks, and was a bit uncomfortable in my stomach afterwards. But worth it for the experience!

Even though I was full from food carting (and not yet realising the magnitude of the float), I could not resist getting this Rosewater Sugar Cookie. It is pink and it sparkles! It was lovely, so delicately flavoured. I love it so.

The good thing about Back To Eden is that they have lots of g/f options as well. K got this chocolate almond toffee bar. They also have some savoury options. Toby had a quiche, but no photo, I'm afraid.

Afterwards we strolled a few blocks down to Dovetail Bakery, the third of Portland's three vegan bakeries that we visited. We were full. There was some nice looking stuff in the case (not much g/f, though), so all we could manage was some tea. Here is a crappy, blurry photo of a delightful Lavender and Rose White Tea. I should have got something to takeaway.

After this, we managed to coordinate ourselves on public transport (thanks to Google Maps) to get back to Mississippi Street, where Toby was keen to check out a music store. K and I spent the time wandering in and out or some cute vintage and other quirky shops.

We also came across Ruby Jewel Scoops, an ice cream shop that has some vegan sorbet flavours. They had Pineapple Ginger and Salted Lime when we were there. I was super keen on the salted lime, even though K had a taste test of pineapple ginger and said it was good. This is the salted lime. Should have taste tested first, and then got the other one. It was just... not. The lime was so astringent it kind of took a layer of skin off your tongue, and there was not much salted flavour in there. K and I shared this scoop (the single scoops in the US are really about three scoops crammed into a little cup - huge), but couldn't finish it.

For dinner it was back on the bus and back out to Alberta Street to try Vita Cafe. Be careful, because there is also a coffee shop called Cafe Vita on the same street, so it might get confusing if you are meeting people there and none of you have been there before!

Toby started with some Thai Coconut Soup. It was served with some onion bread, which I tried a bit of and it was amazing!

K and I shared a starter of Buffalo Things. The buffalo was at perfect heat level here, and these were amazing little crispy tofu strips with fantastic flavour.

To satisfy my need for fresh vegetables, I had a small sized Green Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing. The salad was large and fresh, though the dressing was a bit sweeter than I was expecting.

For my main I tried their 'Mac and Cheese', which is actually spiral pasta. I got it with the optional extras of tempeh and broccoli. The cheeze sauce was fairly disappointing, very thin and not very cheezy. Thankfully there was a nooch shaker on the table for liberal sprinkling.

Toby ordered the Savoury Seitan Stew, he was happy that it had some beer in it. And IPA... that means something. I tried a little bit and it was warming goodness.

K had a tough decision between 'Chicken' Fried Steak or 'Fish' and Chips. Ultimately the fried steak won out.

At this point we were feeling pretty full given our day of gluttony. But K mentioned she had seen some salted caramel vegan g/f truffles in the case, and she coerced me into having one. Totally against my will. It was delicious! A little odd, because the salted part seemed to be salt sprinkled on top, but once it was all smooshed up in your mouth the flavours mingled into bliss.

After all that I came home to have some peppermint tea to soothe my belly. And a cream filled doughnut. This was pretty delicious, I must say. Nom.

And then I watched some trashy TV and fell into a food coma.

K and Toby also had a food coma. See more photos and stories from the day on their blog.


  1. OMG Susan - what a blast reading about your USA adventures. I just sat and read all of them right in a row. It's so fun to see not only your adventures but your observations of America. It made me laugh to read about our accents and our triple-scoop single scoops, as well as our aversion to kettles (which I can only excuse as we are a coffee-loving nation).

    More than ever I now want to go out to PDX and I'm kind of kicking myself for not thinking to "take away" one extra of all the delightful things I ate in San Fran. Speaking of which, I can't wait for the "final installment" of this tale to read more about YOUR adventures in SF.

  2. I have just come to the conclusion that I must do an American food safari. I'll probabaly gain a billion kg but that's ok! It sounds amazing.

    Also, I always thought collards were silverbeet...but I'm probably wrong!