It has been over 2 years since I posted restaurant recommendations and there have been many new additions. Here is an updated list of some of my favorites (and only one that I haven’t tried). I know I am missing a lot because I keep sticking to my favorites. Please let me know which ones you like and I can add them to the list!
AND Café– This small restaurant on Burnside boasts a great brunch menu! It has always been busy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get their website menu to work (maybe they could use my design services!) but it is definitely worth visiting.
Blossoming Lotus– This tiny little restaurant off Broadway on 15th in Irvington has fresh, delicious vegan food (both raw and cooked) beautifully presented. Lunch is the best. Can get crowded, put your name on the list and get there early. My favorite: The bibimbap bowl! I really like their nachos and pizza, and beet salad. If you want an introduction to “raw” food, this will make you love it.
Canteen– LOVE! This casual little boxy place on 28th and Stark has amazing juices and bowls. My favorite is the Portland Bowl. Their quinoa confetti salad is amazing too. If I could just figure out their sauces, I might start cooking again. My mom likes me to take her here and she gets the Southern Bowl which I believe could fool most meat-eaters, and she marvels at the plethora of tattoos of all the clientele and staff.
Farm Spirit– I have not been here yet, but it is prix fixé 14 course vegan menu, with top chefs. I will report back once I have tried it, but it also has been chosen a top new restaurant. This is quite a feat in meat-loving Portland with so many new restaurants.
Harlow– This is a sister restaurant to Prasad. It has a great location on Hawthorne Avenue. At first I was a little put off by the long line to order and that the tables could be rather scarce at busy times. But, then I tried their food. It was so good! I just make sure to go at either a slower time, or just be patient. I have heard their brunch is amazing. My favorite is the Adobe Bowl. I am sure I would have more favorites, but I keep ordering that one. If only I could learn the secret of their delicious smoky tempeh.
Harvest at the Bindery– This is a cool new “rustic chic” restaurant on Sandy in NE with delicious vegan menu that everyone will love. In fact, it was a 2015 Best New Restaurant pick from Travel Portland (along with my next pick). I’ve eaten there at least three times, each time was delicious. My favorite is the Trumpet Mushroom platter. The cornbread with hazelnut butter that they give you before your meal would also qualify as my favorite.
Next Level Burger– I have already written a whole post on them. I was that excited about a vegan fast food restaurant. The kids LOVE this place. Next time I go, I am definitely trying a salad. Last time we went, my daughter had their grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup, there is more than just burgers here.
Paradox Café– This place (and logo) looks like it has been around since the 70s. Located on funky Belmont Street, it has a diner feel. My daughter always gets their special Mac n’ Cheese with garlic, and I usually get the tempeh sandwich or Belmont Bundle. This would be a good place to get a Vegan Benedict. The kids are really into their food but it is not my top choice. Last time I went, they did not take credit cards.
Portabello– Only have been here once, but it was pretty divine. A little spot on Division near 11th that you really should make reservations for. Otherwise, get there early to get a table or it will be an hour wait. There is a beer place next door, so you could hang out. We went there for date night and I can’t remember specifically what we ordered, but it was amazing. Seeing how busy these places are, I am surprised there aren’t more of them!
Sweet Hereafter– This funky bar on Belmont is worth going to strictly for their signature cocktail served in a mason jar. They have some yummy bistro food like a tofu bahn mi, and really good buffalo “chicken” sandwich made of soy curls. If you want to go the healthy route, there are bowls too. It is a mix of hipsters and not-so-hipsters (like myself). It’s not a romantic, talking type of bar- the music is really loud and you’ve got table mates, but I do like their drinks! You can’t beat their signature drink served in a big mason jar.
The Sudra– Indian food always has great vegan options., but this place is ALL vegan. They have a great Happy Hour where we were able to try a wide variety of their dishes. All of them were very good, with an inventive drink menu. Patio seating on 23rd and Glisan.
Veggie Grill– So, I don’t actually eat in downtown Portland much. I like staying on the Eastside. I’ve been to the Veggie Grill a few times, and have found it to be a good fast-food chain restaurant. It wouldn’t be a good choice for a date night, but it has a lot of plant-meat options for those craving burgers, as well as huge, yummy kale salads.
Vita Café– This is a great, inexpensive place to go when you are in a mixed group with omnivores. They have mostly veg options and kids eat free from 5-7pm for only $1. They have a nice drink menu, and serve a lot of comfort foods like “chicken-fried steak” made with tempeh. It has a nice location on Alberta Street.
So, I haven’t posted for awhile since we were in Hawaii for about a week, and then the holidays. A lot to catch up on.
But first, I need to post a recipe. We went to an after-holiday party tonight (such a great concept), and I needed to bring something to share. We haven’t done a lot of grocery shopping since our trip, and family was in town, so there wasn’t time to plan and cook anything elaborate. Pinterest to the rescue. I found this delicious recipe that only needed a few ingredients and was very easy.
I got more compliments on this dessert than I ever have before. A few people asked for the recipe, so here it is:
You do need to freeze it, so don’t eat it straight out of the Vitamix like you will think about doing. I wasn’t sure about just freezing it on a plate, but it worked out pretty well on parchment paper. My fudge looked a lot different than the photo- a very dark black color (and I left out the nuts). I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa which is the change that makes it my signature recipe. (-;
The recipe mentions adding dried fruit, peppermint extract, or coconut so you can play around with this and make it your own.
This week in Paris, world leaders are working out an agreement for how to deal with climate change at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21). The fact that this exists, and this is such an enormous effort might cause most of us to believe that this is a serious issue.
However, there are still many who doubt that climate change is real. Mostly in the United States. Despite the fact that 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that global warming is real and greatly contributed to by man-made causes. I chose NASA as the source for this, and they have a comprehensive website to pursue.
Climate change is the term used normally instead of global warming, despite the overall warming trend, because there will be more extreme and unpredictable weather. Scientists use data and their extensive education to come to their proof, not individual days or personal thoughts.
Let’s say despite these facts and statistics, you are not believing it. You think it is a big hoax. I get it. It is hard to look 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. We seem to focus on whatever the immediate threat may be, ignoring the biggest one. Sadly, if we don’t heed the alarm now, there will be nothing that can be done as these effects take time and stay in our atmosphere. Also, politics have played into this and turned it into a partisan issue. What could be less partisan and more unifying to us than protecting our children’s futures and our planet?
Still not buying it? Think this is just part of nature? We are going to need to switch from using fossil fuels and use clean energy anyway at some point because WE ARE GOING TO RUN OUT. This is a finite resource built up over millions of years that we are burning through at a record pace. We absolutely need to mitigate climate change to survive, and we need to do it as quickly as possible. There is no going back, we can only slow down the forces happening. We may be fated to extinction, but most of us would like that to happen later rather than sooner. Many of the older people who don’t believe in this change will not be around to deal with the outcome regardless.
Possibly you do actually believe this is happening, but you don’t want to think about it. It would be much more pleasant to just enjoy life without a thought for the future. Also, you may think there isn’t anything to even be done about it.
The reason this blog focuses so much on environmental reasons to eat less meat is because while we don’t individually have the power to make policy changes, we do have the power to lighten our carbon footprint and affect one of the major issues in climate change: animal agriculture.
Every day, three times a day, we regular citizens vote for our future. What we eat affects the rain forests and the oceans. It seems so easy to think of these faraway places as unconnected, but the truth is that we are absolutely linked. When glaciers melt in Antarctica, cities in the US will be flooded. Bee populations are dying, which are critical to pollination of our food supply.
Cowspiracy is a very compelling film to learn about the impact animal agriculture (especially beef) has on our planet, and why this truth is hidden from us.
In the end, it is always about money and power. If we continue our way of life, the only ones who profit are the huge corporations who are using our land and our oceans without consequences, dictate our government and use billions of dollars to influence consumers.
What do I have to gain, what do we individuals have to gain? If Deniers are right and there is no such thing as climate change, and animal agriculture is not destroying the planet. Great! No harm done, except those of us who were concerned feel silly. And I would LOVE to be wrong.
If Deniers are wrong, climate change will cause more droughts, more floods, more wars, devastation to the economy, and huge costs to us all. Worst of all, we will all become extinct. It is happening with the animals, and we share their world. We will also be extinct. The earth will adjust as it always does, but it doesn’t need us. And all the money in the world will not help, unless you can find another life-sustaining planet.
Here is a quick way to put the debate to rest. Deniers, show me proof that increasing population and their demands on the planet won’t be an issue.
It may be unpopular to bring awareness to this issue, however not only animals, but my own children are the ones who will be dealing with this, so I am not going to stop.
Deniers, if you can’t be part of a solution, at least get out of the way.
We’re already into the first week of December, and in just a few weeks, 2015 will be over. Even if you don’t agree with the idea of making resolutions, January 1, 2016 is a great time to start some new habits or just have a clean slate to start the next half of this decade.
I would like to propose doing a 22 or 30 day veg challenge to kick off the new year!
After being open to the ideas of changing my diet from my daughter and watching Forks over Knives, I decided to try eating a plant-based diet for 30 days in February 2012. I went back and looked to see if I could find a blog post about it, but it happened while I was focusing on doing daily food sketches. Beginning February 1, my sketches show that I stopped eating meat.
After my 30 day trial period, I just kept going. And the reason I kept going was because it wasn’t that hard, and I felt really good. I did this without any support from having vegan friends or being in a vegan community (although I was fortunate that my husband and kids were open to this). For the longest time, I worried that I would just slip off the wagon as so many do. However, I now consider myself vegan since February 2012, despite some small vegetarian slips, since my definition is having intention, philosophy and doing one’s best.
The reason I think it worked for me are these things:
1) I educated myself about how to eat plant-based. Watching Forks over Knives helped, and then I followed it up with a trip to Herbivore and chose the 30 day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This became my guide. It is too easy to get lost without having information about nutrition, recipe ideas, and suggestions for eating out, etc. Being vegan isn’t easy, and it isn’t hard… it is a change and requires some thought. When we first got our electric car I felt the same way about having to think about it differently to make sure it stayed charged. I am so used to gas cars and how that works. Now, I don’t have to think about it, I’m used to it. I take an iron and B12 supplement, and am thriving.
2) I had more than one reason to keep going. If I had only been following the diet for health reasons, it would have been easy to slip in animal products here and there, or worry I wasn’t getting enough nutrients. I finally allowed myself to see the cruelty animals have long-suffered once I stopped eating them. From there, it was easy to see the effect animal agriculture has on our planet, and my children’s future. That is not something I am going to forget.
3) I didn’t focus on perfection. If I had worried that I had eaten one cookie that may have had some egg in it, the challenge would have been too daunting. Do your best, always, to make good choices and have the least impact. I haven’t always even been comfortable calling myself vegan because I am not perfect and also wanted to avoid being stereotyped. Don’t get hung up on labels.
4) My palate changed. Taste buds change after 2 weeks, you have to try it to see. Vegetables and fruits taste even more amazing! I use less salt, sugar and fat and have found so many new foods I had never tried such as tempeh and seitan. Animal meat and eggs no longer look or taste appealing, and I have found some “clean protein” plant meats that I enjoy. I never thought I could give up cheese or milk (luckily dark chocolate is vegan). I now love my soy milk. As for cheese… that may be the hardest one for some people, but the new nut cheeses are amazing. Don’t think of the plant-based foods as needing to be exactly the same as animal-based foods and they can be delicious in their own right- try a coconut milk shake and you will see what I mean.
5) I tried to keep things in perspective. I didn’t come to these ideas overnight or by someone preaching to me. Although people know where I stand, I don’t create controversy with my friends and family. I want people to feel comfortable coming to me if they have questions and not feel judged. I stay vegan because it was my decision, and it resonates with what I believe in. That has been the best part of changing what I eat. Feeling in alignment with what I have always valued: peace and compassion.
It has been an interesting and life-changing experience over the last few years. I have had some strange Matrix-like moments, where it felt like I was seeing the world with new eyes. There have been centuries of cultural and historical meaning woven into what we eat, let alone billions of advertising dollars. It sometimes felt like swimming against a school of fish, which is not a role I relish. We don’t live in a world of around 3.7 billion people as we did when I was born, population has already doubled in my lifetime! Doesn’t it only make sense that we can’t continue to live as if our resources are unlimited? I absolutely believe that we can have a better future for our children, cleaner air, fight against wildlife extinction, less drought, less wars, less starvation (as we use our land and water more efficiently to feed people instead of farm animals), less cruelty to animals and better health if we make some changes. We can’t afford to look away any longer.
I hope you will give veg a try. And, I would be happy to help in whatever way that I can if you need a veg buddy. There are so many resources online, and great local communities with support like our Portland-based NW Veg. We all have the power to make this change three times every day, and honestly it has never been easier to find delicious plant-based food.
Instead of resolutions, try a New Year’s Revolution!