My final day in Portland, and I was looking forward to some brunch. Before brunch I needed a snack. Please do not judge me. There were things I had to eat up. I really should hide this part of my trip, but here it is.
Don't judge me!! *hides* Well, I had to eat these or they wouldn't get eaten. One was a vegan twinkie I had bought in Seattle that was getting a bit too smooshed from frequent travel. I've never had an actual Twinkie before, but to be honest I don't think I would miss them. Fakey-tasting cake with fakey-tasting-super-sweet cream. Sorry America, if I am dissing one of your great cultural food experiences, but there it is. The other part of my pre-brunch snack was a Rice Dream Ice-Cream Sandwich. This I liked! It was creamy but not too sweet.
Poor K had been sick during the trip, and had spent the night before coughing and getting not much sleep, so I headed out to brunch on my own with plans to meet up with them later. I hopped on a bus (by this point I was super awesome at getting around PDX on their awesome, cheap, reliable public transport - are you listening Brisbane??) and headed out.
On the way to the bus stop, I discovered and awesome store that sells vintage toys, and I could see some first generation My Little Ponies inside. Now, I love My Little Ponies. I have a collection of the first generation ponies. But the store was closed! Oh, how my heart did wail and weep in devastation. I have had dreams about finding thrift stores full of My Little Ponies, and now here was my dream so close to coming true, but denied! Woes! I took my shattered little heart off and tried to console it at this place.
I had heard so much about brunch at Blossoming Lotus, and their day or brunch had arrived, so I was there. I ummed and ahhed at the menu for a bit, before making my final decision.
This is the Lotus Benedict. The website seems to have a lunch menu instead of the brunch menu, so I will try and describe it as I can remember. An biscuit sliced in two (tasted like a nice scone, actually!), with maple-baked seitan (or something similar), tomato, steamed kale, homefries and a butternut hollondaise sauce. This was delicious and filling, and exactly what I needed after so many sweet breakfasts! I much prefer a savoury start to my day. Yum! One thing I had really wanted to get from here, but didn't in the end, was the peanut butter banana smoothie. I mean, it sounds amazing, right? But I was feeling pretty full and all that sugar for breakfast had made my stomach a teeny bit touchy, so I did did not. I am sure I can make a PB banana smoothie here in my kitchen, once the price of bananas drops down to at least pretend to be affordable!
After brunch I made my way back into town, going through a shopping centre with its own ice rink on my way to the MAX. I MAXed back in to go to the Portland Saturday Market, which is also open on Sunday. And meandered around until I was able to meet up with K and Toby.
Someone was walking their miniature pony! I went bought a necklace for a friend's birthday and looked at some cool cat toys that I couldn't buy because they all contained catnip (customs in Australia does not like dried herbs) and then met up with my PDX vegan buddies. A new Voodoo Doughnuts had just opened up near the markets (their soft opening), and the line out was huge. Honestly, PDXers are mad for donuts!
K hadn't eaten, and we couldn't find much in the way of vegan g/f food at the markets, so we went wandering. We had hoped that the Sonny Bowl food cart would be open, but no luck, so we ended up back at Prasad. I was still full from brunch, so I just ordered a peppermint iced tea. Refreshing!
I felt that I could not leave PDX without experiencing the Bye and Bye, a vegan pub. K and Toby were up for the trip (especially given that it would put us in close proximity to a little place called heaven), so off we went.
I ordered the Weeping Tiger sandwich - tofu cutlets, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno, Sriracha and Vegeaise - after someone on the PPK said that this sandwich completes them. I confess, I got the chili stuff on the side so I could have just add a bit and have a wimpy, not so weepy, lunch. Remember that time I ate ice-cream and twinkies for breakfast? My stomach sure did. This was really nice, though I am not sure it completed my life, but I did enjoy it. Whatever they did to the tofu cutlets was delicious! It came with a choice of sides, so I chose some collards to try, as I hadn't yet had the chance to try these magical vegetables that do not seem to exist in Australia. They were nice, but I still like kale the best!
Toby ordered the Meatball Sub, which was also really nice. I would probably consider this above the sandwich next time. Noms!
K was still a bit full, and was saving room for heaven, so she snacked on some chips and salsa.
Toby also ordered a vegan white russian, because he could and he had to. There are lots of cocktails there, including vegan bloody marys and their signature Bye and Bye, which is pink and served in gigantic mason jars. Given that I haven't had a drink for over a year, I am pretty sure one of those would slay me, so I stuck to some water. There were lots of people enjoying a Sunday afternoon cocktail, though. It was a great atmosphere!
But not as good an atmosphere as heaven. *sigh* Toby went off to look at music or drink coffee or something... who could know when K and I had in our sights the most magical of places - Back To Eden Bakery. Have I mentioned that this place is seriously like a magical wonderland? I want to live there. I could eat croissants and cake and cookies and ice cream every day!
Last time I showed you loads of photos of their sweeties. Here are some photos of their savouries in the case.
K ordered a beautiful looking gluten free Hazelnut and Strawberry (I think?) cupcake, and also enjoyed a berry flavoured milk shake.
I had this gorgeous Strawberry Vanilla Tart. It was perfect. The pastry was just right, not at all gluggy or thick. The custard was smooth and creamy, and the strawberries were not to sweet and not too tart. It was heavenly! If I could marry a shop, I would marry Back To Eden. Seriously. I am so sad I didn't get to eat more there, and I never got to have a banana split! Oh, the humanity!
After our eating, we went back into town. K and I took a walk through downtown Portland. I wanted to see the Portlandia statue. We followed the directions on our map, but couldn't find her. We asked locals where she was and they didn't know. Eventually, we found her.
She was up above, looking down from a building! Our hearts skipped a beat, as from that angle she is kind of terrifying. Like she's about to swoop down and carry you off to somewhere not nice. I can totally imagine parents in PDX telling their kids to be good or Portlandia will come and get you! Once the initial shock wore off, she was pretty impressive though!
We had hoped to find some stores that K wanted to look in, but the maps seemed to lie to us and we could not find them. We ended up wandering around the streets a bit. There were lots of very cool statues and sculptures.
Predictably, I really liked the statues of critters, like these sweet little deer.
Afterwards, we split up and I went into Powells Books. This place is amazing and huge and has possibly every book ever. And cute stationary to boot! I had already spent some time exploring in here, as it was just down the road from our hotel, but today I had the intention to buy. I carefully selected some new vegan cookbooks to add to my collection - Heart Vegan Meals For Monster Appetites and Vegan Desserts. I am bummed I did not remember to get American Vegan Kitchen! I did feel pretty cool though, because I had a lot of the cookbooks that were there already. Vegan cookbook addicts unite!
I met up with K and Toby again to go out for dinner (K had already snacked on some g/d goodness from Wholefoods) at Sizzle Pie. This is an omni place with vegan options, that sells pizza by the slice. A friend had raved and raved about it, telling me to get there as soon as I arrived in Portland. I got there, though it was my last stop.
I got a slice each of the two vegan pizza's available in the cabinet. There was the special, which seemed to be some sort of cashew cheeze with onion, spinach and some sort of faux meat, and also the pepperoni and cheeze (Daiya), cutely named Thunder and Lightning. I definitely likes this one the best.
The slices were HUGE. Here is a demonstration, see the size of the slice compared to the size of my head. Americans like their pizzas gigantic! (Also note that I am actually wearing one of my three My Little Pony t-shirts, thus making the inability to buy vintage My Little Ponies even more tragic).
After dinner, with bulging bellies, we strolled across the Burnside bridge to get back to the south west, where our hotel was. It was a lovely walk. During our stay, we named each of Portland's four quadrants. SE was Serious Eats, home of Hungry Tiger Too, the mini-mall, Portobello, Gorditos, Potato Champion and so many others. NE became Nice Eats, Nothing Else, home of Native Bowl, Ruby Dragon, Bye and Bye, Vita Cafe, Back to Eden and Dovetail among others. SW, where our hotel, Home Grown Smoker and Prasad were located, was So Weird... I am not sure why. And the NW was No Where, because we had no reason to go there ever!
On the way back across the bridge from Serious Eats to So Weird, I noticed this nifty Portland sign for the first time. It kind of reminds me of a christmas reindeer. I am going to blow this photo up and make it the first page of the Portland section of my scrapbook.
Once back at the hotel, I had some serious packing to do as I was leaving at stupid o'clock in the morning for San Francisco. K and Toby came for moral support, peppermint tea and an ice-cream party! K and I had wanted to have an ice-cream party for some time. It ended up just being two flavours, the Cherry Nirvana that I had previously bought and also some Hazelnut Fudge from Luna and Larry's that K brought along. The second was definitely the winner. So delicious!
Eventually I bid K and Toby goodnight to get some sleep before the final leg of my journey. I am so thankful that I had these two awesome people to travel and eat my way around Portland with! Thank you!!
K and Toby have also blogged about their experiences on this day, as well as the two other days the spent in Portland afterwards, here and here.
So, final thoughts on Portland? The food is amazing, though I really found that was all there was to do. I loved Seattle more. I do want to go back to Portland for a couple of days though, so I can finally get the Macnocheeto Burrito from Home Grown Smoker, get another Mississippi Bowl from Native Bowl, get dinner at Portobello and spend an entire day, from open to close, at Back To Eden eating everything that they have! Oh, and buy My Little Ponies, of course!