If you follow us on any of the social media we put to use—the big three (for us) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—we’d like to go ahead and make a public apology for last week. We’ll readily admit, we used and abused our social media outlets—especially the latter photo-sharing service—posting shots of the massive, massive amounts of food we ate at all of the great, vegan-friendly establishments we found along the way as we made our way up the Pacific northwest coast. It’s a problem, one that we hope to address in a healthy, sustainable manner, with the help of our friends and family.
Seriously—one of our friends back in New York has even created a #TakeThatTroyAndKatie hashtag on Instagram in competitive retaliation of our somewhat embarrassedly non-stop stream of amazing west coast vegan food.
It’s an issue. We’re working on it.
…but in the meantime we thought we recap our week in food last week as we traveled with friends up from Portland, Oregon, making our way to the quiet little town of Chehalis, Washington just south of Olympia for our friend, Patricks’s wedding.
Clearly a hipster capital like Portland’s got you covered with the vegan thing, but we thought we’d share some other, less known finds along with our favorites in PDX. We’ve obviously got a lot more exploring to do, but here’s what we’ve got so far.
Click on the map below to skip down to each of the four sections.
Though Portland shares a lot of the meat fetishization with its spiritual sister city and our former home, Brooklyn, it’s also largely populated by a densely packed, forward-thinking, young demographic, which is usually a green light for some good vegan hotspots. We didn’t even come close to scratching the surface of what this lovely city has to offer the kinder eaters out there (there’s evidently a great Pan-Asian place with a stellar vegan menu that’s housed on the top floor of a high-rise and looks like very clean spaceship…but that seemed less than baby friendly and we wanted to hang with our tiniest traveling companion, Winston), but here’s what we did get to:
Really superb, really enormous vegan pizzas downtown at Sizzle Pie, a very NYC-feeling joint offering freshly made full vegan pies and pre-made vegan slices that are regularly available (there were three out when we arrived). Below, our cilantro pesto, ‘not-feta’ cheese pizza with jalapeños, red onion, and roasted garlic; the Vegan Angel of Doom, with pineapple and shaved almonds; and the Green Reaper, a vegan breakfast pizza (genius!).
Next up, Deschutes Brewery, a locally minded craft brewery founded in 1988 in Bend, Oregon, with a gigantic brew pub in the Pear District. The brewery’s totally vegan-freindly in the beer department—as they state via Barnivore, “We stay away from any animal bi-products and all of our ingredients are natural. We primarily use water, hops, yeast & malted barley in our brews.” We were actually introduced to them at this past Vegan Beer Fest earlier this year. Besides the stellar beer, they’ve also got some nice vegan snacks on their menu, like the brown sugar beer roasted nuts and fire-roasted fava beans with black truffle salt, both pictured below. Beer-wise, I’d recommend any IPA lovers try the Inversion IPA (6.7% ABV), a piney American Northwest-style India pale ale, also pictured below.
Then, the first hotel we stayed at in Portland, the very awesome Kennedy School—an old 1915 elementary school and community center that was converted into a super-quirky hotel by the McMenamins empire—was walking distance to the highly recommended Vita Cafe, where we enjoyed breakfast two days in a row. The place has a nice, laid-back hippie vibe that reminded us of our favorite college diner, The Little Grill. We got Country Comfort (a gigantic plate of biscuits, gravy, spiced potatoes, tofu, and tempeh bacon); Huevos Rancheros (tofu, corn tortillas, spiced beans, salsa, guacamole, and vegan sour cream); and then corn cakes done two different ways—one day Thai-style, with sliced bananas, ginger, cilantro, and coconut syrup, one day Mexican-style with corn, roasted peppers, salsa, guar, and vegan sour cream. We were then promptly rolled back to the hotel after eating.
Lastly, we hit up ‘vegan row’ in Buckman—home to Food Fight! Vegan Grocery, cruelty-free clothing house Herbivore, and Sweetpea Baking Company, a 100% vegan bakery, where we enjoyed our first bagels since leaving New York (everything with plain spread for Katie; onion with chipotle spread for me), devoured a peanut butter + chocolate Charlie Brown, and admired a vegan cinnamon roll from afar, all pictured below.
So, give us a few months to recover and burn all of that off and we’ll check out the rest of what Portland has to offer.
A couple hours north and west of Portland is the impossibly charming port town of Astoria, OR, which we wrote up in detail yesterday.
The town definitely has some nice, vegan-friendly coffee shops (like über-cute Street 14 Coffee) and likely more to offer vegans, but we immediately zeroed in on, yes, another brewery. What can I say? They like their coffee + beer up there. When in Rome….
Fort George Brewery is another pretty vegan-friendly (they do a milk stout and their Nut Red Ale evidently isn’t vegan) and they serve a really amazing house-made veggie burger that’s vegan if you get it on the focaccia (made at the bakery right next door), pictured below topped with a roasted Anaheim pepper and served with their veggie chili and superb Cavatica Stout (8.8% ABV). The chips and salsa are actually really nice too.
Again, we highly recommend visiting Astoria. Were it not for the lack of sun and supposedly constant rain, we’d have packed the car and dog and cat and been headed north already.
Just over the Colombia River and up the shore from Astoria, Oregon stands Long Beach, Washington. We didn’t explore the town that much, but we did really enjoy the restaurant atop our hotel, Adrift, The Pickled Fish. They did a great job with ultra-local fare, serving some great salads, like the already vegan Kale Salad with fresh strawberries, shaved fennel, radishes, sunflowers, and a dijon-cider dressing and a Roasted Beet salad that’s great and vegan sans the cheese (both below). One of their wood-fired pizzas, the mushroom, can be down without the dairy too and is absolutely loaded with local mushrooms, including some of the best chanterelles I’ve ever had (picture below, with a pizza-loving Winston). They also did a really great flour-less vegan chocolate cake topped with cashew cheese when we were there served in a ‘lil Mason jar and it was totally ta die fah, as they say.
Finally, Centralia—a cute small town just north of the farm where our friends held their wedding totally surprised us with some of the best-tasting, most authentic Thai food any of us had had in a long time. We stopped in at aptly named Thai Dish for what we expected to be a quick, mediocre meal just before the wedding; unfortunately/fortunately, it was neither quick nor mediocre.
When we lunched there, the staff topped out at one very kind, very overworked server/chef who prepared each dish one at a time, but the authenticity and delectability of each dish was jaw-dropping. We’re seriously still talking about the food after getting back to LA. What’s more, they’re really vegan-freindly, asking if you want egg in dishes that normally come with and knowing not to include fish sauce or shrimp paste in dishes made vegan (that can get tricky sometimes with Thai food). Final tip besides giving yourself plenty of time for the meal—they’re not kidding when they say ‘spicy’, man. Something to keep in mind.
Below, a massive plate of their vegan pad thai.
We also heard that the tiny noodle shop, South Pacific Bistro, in nearby Chehalis and the little taqueria up the street from the park to the west are both good and vegan-friendly. So, if you ever find yourself in Chehalis….
Again, we’ve clearly got a ton more exploring to do in the Pacific northwest, but, after last week’s finds, we welcome the challenge.