This is the continuation of my epic food journey in Portland.

Portobello Vegan Trattoria

After hearing so much talk at Vida Vegan Con about how amazing Portobello was and how difficult it was to get in, I thought I would try my luck at a reservation for one at the bar.  I did, in fact, manage to get an online booking for the following evening and noticed that the next reservation for one was three days away, so I considered myself lucky that I had the opportunity to try their food while I was in Portland.

I decided to splurge on the tasting menu, which included an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.  Given that I had been snacking on samples and buffets at Vida Vegan Con all day, this was probably not the wisest choice.  Well, you only live once, and it was worth it!

I started with the Giardinera salad, which had fennel, cauliflower, and beets marinated with thyme, with a Moscatel vinaigrette dressing.  To drink, I had a Bella mocktail, which was made with gewϋrtztraminer juice (a grape juice based on a wine), mint, and soda water.  Both the salad and drink were light and refreshing.
For the next course, I chose the gnocchi with spring vegetables (snap peas, pea vines, and asparagus) in a parsley sauce.  The gnocchi had been recommended to me earlier that day, and this dish was a lovely mix of textures and flavours.
For the third course, I chose the cauliflower steak with chickpea panissa (a lightly fried morsel which remains creamy on the inside).  These were accompanied by caramelized fennel and chimichurri sauce.
At this point, I asked the server if the meals from the tasting menu were full sized or smaller than just the regular meals alone.  I wondered if I had just eaten three full-sized meals!  She replied that they were about two thirds the size; not to worry, I had only eaten about two meals.  She asked if I would like some time to breathe before she brought my dessert, to which I appreciatively responded in the affirmative.

The tiramisu was my dessert of choice.  It was exquisite, and I did somehow manage to eat the entire thing.
Note that their menu changes every few days based on what is in season and available from their local farmers, so you may not find these exact dishes depending on when you go.

Veggie Grill

I received a complimentary meal from Veggie Grill, which is a chain fast food joint that is entirely vegan.  They use Gardein blends that are exclusive to them.  I had a "crab" cake burger with spiced tartar sauce and a side of sweet potato fries with a chipotle ranch sauce.  I had never tried a vegan mock seafood before, and this was a good one to try without being overwhelmingly fishy (seafood was never something that I actually missed), and it seemed to be a higher quality of fast food.  I think that if there was a Veggie Grill or similar in North Vancouver, I would visit often.

Sweetpea Baking Co.

On my last day in Portland, I went straight to Sweetpea Baking Co. to try their breakfast.  I had biscuits with gravy, spinach, tomato, and fried tofu.  This was a really fulfilling meal and one that I think I will try to replicate.  I was also pleased that they offer hazelnut milk as one of their milk options.
Sweetpea is part of the vegan mini-mall, but the rest of the stores were closed when I visited.  I will definitely check them out next time I am in Portland.

Yes, Portland has other attractions besides food...

I can't end my Portland post without recommending the elegant Japanese Gardens.  It is a very calming and beautiful space, so definitely make time for a visit when in Portland!

If you missed my first post, it is here:  Vegan Eats in Portland, Part 1.

05/31/2013 11:21am

Excellent reviews! Everything looks and sounds so delicious. You could make a living doing PR for these places, and your descriptions are very eye and stomach-appealing. Thank you for sharing your delicious culinary adventures!


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