I’m back from another USA roadtrip – I’m now up to 46 out of 50 states which is deliriously exciting – and after visiting America’s largest state Alaska (more on this later) and sleeping inside the world’s biggest beagle (yes you read that right!) I spent a few days eating as much as I possibly could in Portland, Oregon. It was fun. A lot of fun. My jeans were, quite literally, splitting at the seams by the end of the trip but I don’t regret a damn thing.
Portland is such a fun place to visit – a city peppered with bridges, filled with breweries, hip coffee shops and surrounded by woods, mountains and waterfalls. It is a veggie nirvana boasting hundreds of listings on Happy Cow, a vegan barbecue joint and vegan strip-joints. There are seemingly cute puppies being walked on every sidewalk, brightly coloured murals and bikes in abundance. Whilst every place has its downsides, and the rampant homelessness in the city is upsetting, Portland is one of the places I’d like to live in America if I could.
Here’s where I ate and what I did. SPOILER: I didn’t eat a bad thing in Portland! I couldn’t get to every place I wanted to visit including Home Grown Smoker, Doe’s Doughnuts, the giant Paul Bunyan statue or any Farmer’s Markets but this just gives me a great excuse to go back…
Blue Star Doughnuts
Location: Several around Portland including at PDX airport.
Price: $10 for two doughnuts and a tip
Good for: Very friendly, lovely décor and really sophisticated, fancy flavours.
Bad for: Slightly expensive and the doughnuts we tried were the ‘cakey’ ones rather than lighter airy doughnuts I prefer.
Although it wasn’t the snazziest-looking doughnut on offer I had read reviews about how good Blue Star‘s Orange Olive Oil ‘nut is, couldn’t resist and am delighted with my choice. Sweet but not overpowering, the cakey doughnut was still fairly light, and had a lovely smooth silky orange tang. The powdered sugar was soft and delicious. Would eat again.
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Location: I visited 2333 NE Glisan Street but there’s also one at N Lombard Street.
Price: $29 for two lunches + tip
Good for: Lovely sunny patio, delicious food and fast service.
Bad for: Can’t fault this place at all.
With a sweet spot on a sunny patio, quick service and mouth-watering Indian-inspired dishes to choose from, my husband Josh and I both… ordered a chickenless tikka masala. I know I know, but the heart wants what the heart wants! The portion size was spot on, the crunchy onions and peppers absolutely delicious and the cashew sauce rich and creamy. Josh – who is not vegan – didn’t love the “chicken” pieces but I thought they were tender and tasty. I would come back to The Sudra again and again as, as well as lovely looking cocktails, they have Tofu ‘Paneer’ and Kale Samosa and Jackfruit Vindaloo on the menu. A great place!
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Wiz Bang Bar
Location: inside Pine Street Market, 126 SW 2nd Avenue.
Price: $5 including a tip
Good for: I was served by the sweetest, friendliest lady. Good value.
Bad for: Only one option for vegans and the non-vegan toppings looked really fun.
I stopped by Pine Street Market to grab a soft-serve for ice-cream wizards Salt and Straw at their Wiz Bang Bar spin-off. I ordered a Roasted Strawberry Coconut and wasn’t disappointed. Light, creamy and delicious. Perfect for the sultry heat we were enjoying.
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No Bones Beach Club
Location: 3928 N Mississippi Avenue.
Price: $55 for two meals + two drinks + tip
Good for: Flavoursome food, fun location, proceeds donated to charity, nice tiki vibe.
Bad for: Slight wait to get served but worth it!
Located on the very fun Mississippi Avenue No Bones Beach Club combines two of my favourite things: tiki cocktails and delicious vegan food. HUZZAH! We shared some curried cashew nuts, a big bowl of the NW Nachos and some Beer Battered Avocado Tacos. It was all very good – the avo tacos being the highlight for both of us and we also both loved the cashew & smoked poblano queso and the cilantro crema on the nachos. Highly recommend.
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Location: 22 SW 3rd Avenue.
Price: $6 for 2 doughnuts including a tip
Good for: Fast and friendly service, surprisingly cheap doughnuts.
Bad for: The doughnuts are big and PACKED with sugar so potentially overwhelming!
During this trip I went to Voodoo Doughnuts a couple of times. Despite the tumultuous sugar-highs the doughnuts provoked I just couldn’t quit this place. Bright, gaudy, ridiculous, sweet, fluffy, greasy. Everything I want a doughnut to be. They have a really large selection of vegan-friendly doughnuts and should you wish you can even buy a coffin’s worth of ‘nuts. Keep Portland Weird!
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Location: 926 W Burnside Street.
Price: a few dollars a slice.
Good for: Delicious pizzas, lots of locations, long opening hours.
Bad for: Slightly chaotic service.
You know when you eat something and it is so extraordinarily delicious it gives you pause. Like, how DARE YOU. Well, that was Sizzle Pie’s ‘Spiral Tap’ pizza. I was expecting it to be ok but hot-dang it was incredible. It sounded rather humble: house red sauce and creamy caramelised onion spread with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, but that simplicity belied a taste sensation. Sizzle Pie serves vegan, veggie and meaty pies/slices, is open until 4am at the weekends and is a lot of fun. A great place to go with mates pre/post/during a session.
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Location: 508 SW Taylor Street.
Price: $40 for two meals including a tip.
Good for: Gorgeous food, wonderful service, great prices.
Bad for: Nothing, this place was a gem.
I’ve been following Veggie Grill on Instagram for a while and was excited to try it and a Beyond Meat burger for the first time. Firstly, every single member of staff here was a delight: friendly, helpful and fun to talk to. Josh and I each got a free soda because we mentioned that it was our first time visiting a Veggie Grill and then we ordered a Lucky Star Burger, a Chargrilled Street Corn Bowl and a B-Wing Salad. The burger was sensational – a lovely not-too-large patty with gooey gouda and blue cheese within a chewy pretzel bun. The salad was just what I needed after aforementioned doughtnut-overload and the corn bowl – sweetcorn with chipotle mayo, parmesan and Mexican spices – was the kind of thing I could eat endlessly, being creamy and sweet and comforting. The décor was bright and fun and the service fast. I would be thrilled if a Veggie Grill opened in London, it’s such a great place.
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Location: 1126 SE Division Street.
Price: $20 lunch for 1 person, with a side-salad, including a tip.
Good for: One of the best salads I’ve ever eaten, friendly service, nice meal-deal.
Bad for: Nothing, I love this place.
OK, so whilst I had a really tasty slice of pizza and bowl of sumptuous ice cream I could never have predicted that a salad – A SALAD – would be the stand-out dish at Virtuous Pie. And that Josh, upon trying a bite of mine would order his own even though he was having lunch elsewhere. It was that good a salad, the Kale Caesar, featuring: kale, garlic croutons, bacon bits, parmesan and a tahini Caesar dressing. The Ultraviolet pizza I tried (topped with walnut + arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, oven dried tomatoes, kale, caramelized onion and pine nuts) was also splendid. Virtuous Pie was beautiful inside and had loads of delicious-looking options. I would return here in a heartbeat. Good job you guys!
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Wailua Shave Ice
Location: 1022 W Burnside Street.
Price: $15 for two including a tip
Good for: Lots of clearly-marked vegan options, lovely service, nice flavours.
Bad for: The shave ice was HUGE. Would be nice to buy a cheaper/smaller one.
If you read my posts about my trip last year to Hawaii you’ll see that I had a holiday romance with Shave Ice. I could not get enough of it. So I was thrilled when I learnt that I could rekindle the relationship in Portland. Wailua is located real close to Powell’s City of Books in a neat lil shop. The staff at Wailua were all young and really sweet, the menu was very clearly marked about what was vegan-friendly and then the VERY huge shave ices were tasty. Yay!
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White Owl Social Club
Location: 1305 SE 8th Avenue.
Price: $14 per burger (comes with shoestring fries and sauces).
Good for: Great patio, strong drinks, delicious food, fast service.
Bad for: No WiFi.
With a dive-bar kinda feel and a huge sunny patio filled with happy people and happy dogs, the White Owl Social Club would be an excellent place to hang out on a bright afternoon and I know this, because it’s exactly what we did. We ordered strong drinks and the Impossible Burger and it was utterly delicious. They also serve a vegan beet burger that has an impressive reputation. Furthermore the reaction to the introduction of the Impossible Burger was so good they decided to eliminate beef and lamb from their menu entirely. Woo!
A note on burgers: having had a Beyond Meat burger the day before I went to White Owl Social Club for one of their Impossible Burgers I was in a perfect place to compare the two. And ya know I like them both! I think the Impossible Burger maybe edges it slightly and tastes/looks more “meaty” but they’re both really tasty meat-dupes and I love that they are helping more of us choose veggie options more often.
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Location: 219 SW 9th Avenue.
Price: $24 for a drink + main + dessert + tip.
Good for: Incredible food, nice décor, outside seating.
Bad for: I don’t have a bad word to say about this place!
For my last lunch in Portland I had been planning on getting another Beyond Burger at the Belmont Fermentorium, but I felt all-burgered-out and decided to drop by the Thai Peacock a few blocks from my hotel. I really fancied Khao Niew Ma-Muang (mango and sticky coconut rice) and a final trip into Whole Foods and Powell’s too, which it’s very close to, so it seemed perfect. I ordered the Evil Jungle Noodle and woooow it was stunning. This is the kind of meal I’d eat every week if I could. Thin rice noodles, tofu, veggies and a red curry peanut sauce. Spicy, creamy, crunchy and everything I want in a lunch. The mango coconut rice I’d been hankering after was everything I could have wished for too. This was a genuinely flawless meal and I would recommend v. highly.
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I picked up provisions at Whole Foods – including delicious Vegan Curried Chicken and some Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter, as well as stopping by Zupan’s Market for a Stumptown iced coffee. I also had a lovely Iced Lavender Oat Milk Latte at 40lbs Coffee Shop which was top-notch. One of my favourite shops was Food Fight! Grocery – an all-vegan store which sells cupboard groceries, candy, frozen and chilled food, stickers, cleaning stuff and soft-serve ice-cream. It’s so friendly and rad.
I stayed in two Kimpton hotels on this trip – the Hotel Monaco and Hotel Vintage. Both are close to one another and very centrally located, and both are human and dog-friendly, serve delicious coffee in their lobbies and have excellent wine hours. Neither are super cheap (especially the eye-watering prices for parking) but both were very comfortable and sociable. Monaco has a maximalist furnishings – clashing carpets, bold prints and luxurious bird-themed (put a bird on it!) wallpaper galore. The Vintage is wine-themed and more subdued décor-wise, with fancy lighting and swanky armchairs. I would recommend both hotels not least as the dog-friendly policy means bumping into lots of well-behaved and very cute pups during your stay.
Last time I was in Portland, six years ago on my honeymoon roadtrip, after a night at the Hotel Monaco, I spent a night at Kennedy School. Run by McMenamins it’s perfect for any of you who have ever wanted to sleep in an elementary school or fell asleep in class! It’s in Northeast Portland, has a homey, relaxed feel, a soaking pool, movie theatre, brewery and several bars. It’s cute.
If Portland offered me the chance to eat a tonne of vegan food it was beer heaven for Josh, my craft-beer lovin’ husband. As such we visited a lot of really fun bars and breweries. My favourite were probably Great Notion, Rogue and Deschutes. I also liked Cascade Barrel House, The Belmont Fermentorium and Bailey’s Taproom.
Friends of the blog/me (hello!) will know that I love a Tiki Bar. This time round I got to swing by Hale Pele. It was great! The dark and Polynesian décor was on point, the cocktails were strong and in the case of the Jet Pilot quite literally ON FIRE and the hourly tropical storm a brilliant surprise. It’s fun, friendly and also has veg-friendly food.
If you like big books and cannot lie then you will LOVE Powell’s City of Books. It is the biggest bookstore in the world, home to over a million books. It is very easy to get lost in and impossible not to find something you love. As well as mountains of great things to read (I rushed to the true crime section, obvs) the gifts and trinkets it sells are out of this world and I have some lovely new socks and patches to show for it. A gorgeous place to spend time and dollars.
If you’ve spent too much money on books/doughnuts then the International Rose Test Garden is free to visit and totally joyous. It exhibits over 10,000 rose plants and I loved walking around in the sunshine, sipping an iced Stumptown coffee, and trying to sniff as many of them as I possibly could. Dreamy.
And there we have it! Three days in Portland, all of which were sunny, relaxed and delicious. Did I miss YOUR favourite spot in Portland? Where should I go next time I find myself in Rose City?!