Archive for October, 2011

Portland, Oregon: Off The Griddle

October 25th, 2011

Off The Griddle - Portland, Oregon

After going through all of the notes I made on our trip to Portland and all of the food pictures I took, as well as the non-food pictures, I’ve come to realize that I could be writing a post a day. I don’t have the time to write a post a day and that would have me wriiting about Portland up until my next Portland trip. I’m not going to do that so I’m going to touch on a few of the highlights of the food portion of our trip and maybe a conglomeration post with a few tidbits of what’s left over with the pictures that are left.

I am a veggie burger lover. I will make one at home on occasion and always skip the frozen ones opting for fresh. If you’re looking locally in Nashville for a decent one in a restaurant you could always go with J. Alexander’s which makes a pretty good one.  However, in Portland I encountered the best veggie burger I’ve ever had in a restaurant. For lunch one day we searched out Off The Griddle, a small food cart on the corner of SE 50th and SE Division. Serving nothing but veggie burgers, both vegan and vegetarian choices, you knew they had to have it down and would serve up a killer burger. No disappointments. All of Off The Griddle’s burgers are mostly organic, homemade and served on Dave’s Killer Bread. Dave’s Killer Bread is another anomaly of amazing food goodness but I’ll try to give you more on that later. The cart is also solar-powered. Solar-powered, homemade, mostly organic and vegan. How can you possibly beat that? Make the best veggie burger you’ll ever eat.

We ordered the Smoky Bleu Burger, topped with tempeh bacon, spinach, onion and a vegan bleu cheese sauce that was so close to bleu cheese that it had me questioning it’s vegan authenticity. Our second choice was the daily special, a Pumpkin Curry Falafel Burger. This one had the usual inclusions, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and sweet pickles but also a great tasting curry coconut tahini sauce that made the burger perfect. Both burgers were, of course, vegan and had great texture. They weren’t mushy and didn’t fall apart. These could be the perfect vegan veggie burgers.

 

Off The Griddle - Smoky Bleu Burger

Smokey Bleu Burger

 

Off The Griddle - Pumpkin Curry Falafel Burger

Pumpkin Curry Falafel Burger

 

There’s ample seating available in the food cart pod so you don’t have to search our a place to sit on the street or walk with your food. These tasty burgers are prepared fresh to order so grab a seat and wait for the most amazing veggie burger you’ll ever encounter.

If I could get to Off The Griddle right now I would. If I could have the veggie burger perfection that I found at Off The Griddle right now I would. However, that would be a 2,351 mile trip and I don’t have enough time during lunch to get there and back. Next trip to Portland, though, it’s on!

Walk up and order the best veggie burger you'll ever eat. The special the day we visited was the Pumpkin Curry Falafel Burger. Whatever it is the day you visit it's sure to be delicious.

 

Off The Griddle Menu - Portland, Oregon

Vegan and vegetarian veggie burger choices galore. Time to get your veggie burger eats on!

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Portland, Oregon: Homegrown Smoker

October 20th, 2011
Homegrown Smoker

Homegrown Smoker Food Cart in Portland, Oregon

Food carts! In Portland they’re everywhere. 6×12 (or somewhere in that general area) portable trailers fitted with small kitchens and setup in empty lots around the city. You’ll find just about any cuisine you’re in the mood for: Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, burgers, pizza, coffee bars and juice bars and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. One we searched out and really enjoyed was Homegrown Smoker.

You’ll find Homegrown Smoker in a food cart pod at SW 4th and SW Hall at Portland State University. The menu is completely vegan and filled with barbecued and smoky goodness. It was hard to choose from the menu. So many delicious sounding choices. There’s the SloSmoMoFo: BBQ soy curls which are chunks of seitan in a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, and chipotle slaw on a grilled bun. A Macnocheeto: vegan mac and cheese, baked beans, grilled peppers and onions, BBQ sauce, vegan cheese sauce and a choice of those soy curls or vegan chipotle sausage wrapped in a tortilla. We settled on the Smoked Chili Pie: A bag of Fritos corn chips opened and inside poured smoky chili, cabbage, onions, chipotle aioli, Daiya cheese and the vegan NoCheese sauce. It looks very subdued but that’s one bag of a filling lunch. We also picked the Loafaroni, my favorite of the two. Two thick-cut pieces of smoky vegan meatloaf topped with Mac & NoCheese and covered in BBQ sauce and NoCheese sauce on a grilled bun. That’s right, ON A BUN! It’s a sandwich! How can you possibly go wrong with vegan mac & cheese on a bun? It’s served with one side so spicy baked beans worked perfectly. Did I mention it is ON A BUN?

Everything on the menu at Homegrown Smoker is 100% vegan. When you’re faced with so many vegan choices in a city like Portland, Oregon and then most all of them are 100% vegan you have to pick and choose wisely. Choosing Homegrown Smoker won’t be a bad decision.

Loafaroni

Loafaroni: Smoky Vegan Meatloaf, Vegan Mac & Cheese, BBQ sauce and vegan cheese sauce ON A BUN!

 

Homegrown Smoker - Smoked Chili Pie

Smoked Chili Pie

 

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall Portland, Oregon

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall

 

Homegrown Smoker Menu

Homegrown Smoker Menu

 

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Portland, Oregon: Voodoo Doughnuts

October 19th, 2011

Voodoo Doughnuts Sign

So many restaurants in Portland and so little time for a vegan foodie. Sweets always top the list.

If you are driving down 3rd Avenue and see a line wrapped around a building then most likely you are driving past Voodoo Doughnuts. It seems Nashville likes to form a line for pancakes and Portland for doughnuts.

Although Voodoo Doughnuts is not completely vegan they do have a good selection of vegan doughnuts. Choices range from the glazed fried, devil’s food sprinkled to raspberry jelly filled and maple cream filled. Prices range from $1.25 to $1.95 each.  We made four different visits to Voodoo Doughnuts and tried different choices each time. Our selections were cotton candy sprinkled, maple frosted maple filled, chocolate frosted cream filled, devil’s food sprinkled and the signature Voodoo Doll, a voodoo doll shaped doughnut that is chocolate frosted and raspberry jelly filled complete with a pretzel pin for  sticking. All of the doughnuts were good though nothing absolutely spectacular.  It’s clearly a novelty sell apparent by the not-so-subtle double entendres that litter the signage in the shop. Buy a dozen, or in this case 13 and they will come in a nice pink box emblazoned with what must be Voodoo Doughnut’s signature: “Good things come in pink boxes.” Of course, if you feel the need to go for the not subtle at all route choose the Cock and Balls doughnut, a chocolate covered doughnut shaped like, well… You can even buy a pair of frilly panties printed with “The Magic Is In The Hole” or, as before, “Good Things Come In Pink Boxes”.

Voodoo Doughnuts Menu

Voodoo Doughnuts Menu (click to enlarge)

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Menu

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Menu (click to enlarge)

I won’t say I didn’t enjoy Voodoo Doughnuts. It’s nice to grab a jelly filled in the morning and walk half a block to Stumptown to enjoy it with a fresh cup of great coffee but after a couple doughnuts, vegan or not, you quickly realize that you’re just eating a doughnut. However, if you love a vegan doughnut, don’t have the chance to bake or fry up your own, and crave some vegan sweetness then Voodoo Doughnuts is your place.

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Doughnuts

Vegan Doughnuts!

 

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Doughnuts

More vegan doughnuts.

 

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Doughnuts

Even more vegan doughnuts!

 

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Doughnuts

Still more vegan doughnuts.

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Maple Filled

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Maple Filled

 

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Cotton Candy Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Cotton Candy Doughnut

 

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Devil's Food With Sprinkles

Voodoo Doughnuts Vegan Devil's Food With Sprinkles

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The Traveling Vegan

October 18th, 2011

Travel: a favorite pastime of a vegan foodie. We don’t get to do it as often as we like but when we do I like to write about it. As the name of this site implies I write about Nashville area vegan and vegetarian scene. I do this as much as possible but when we travel I like to pass along tips on the places our journeys take us. In doing so you’ll find posts here devoted to other cities. I think Nashville has a great food scene and although it could use a nudge in the vegan direction there’s plenty here for a vegan foodie to get excited about. Sometimes you just need to liven up the party and see what the world has to offer your belly and when we go off on one of our excursions I’ll write about it. I think you’ll find these posts informative and may inspire you to get out of the nest.  In the coming days you’ll find a series of articles on our most recent trip to Portland, Oregon. I hope you enjoy them and I hope they inspire you to visit what truly is a Vegan Mecca.

This is not an attempt to ignore what the title of the site is. Nashveggie just likes to get out. Who doesn’t?

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A Vegan Foodie’s Journey: Portland Day 0.5

October 13th, 2011

If you are a regular reader of this site then you are aware how much we enjoy traveling. Couple that with our love of food and you’ll find some great vacations we’ve taken. This fall we decided to take off to Portland in search of what makes the city receive the nickname “Vegan Mecca”.  Our journey has just begun and we’ve only been here for an evening after arriving mid-afternoon. We have one dinner down and it wasn’t easy deciding where to go. With so many choices making the decision comes down to what places might be the ones you definitely don’t want to miss. After tossing a few choices around we decided upon Vita Cafe. The menu looked very appetizing and had selections that were sure to be filling. After a day flying and spending nearly four hours in McCarran Airport, the most unhealthy airport for food choices in the US, healthy and filling were top priority.

We took our time looking over the menu and after Mrs. Nashveggie decided on the very inviting ‘Chicken’ Fried Steak I saw the specials board and BBQ Platter written on it in big chalk letters. BBQ Tempeh with homemade BBQ sauce, white beans, kale and corn sounded perfect for a filling dinner. The kid ordered from the kid’s menu and we discovered that all kid’s entrees were only $1 with a regular entree. Cheap dinner for a picky kid. Can’t beat that. She picked the Mac & Vegan Cheese being the macaroni lover she is.

The BBQ Platter was extremely tasty and so much food. The sauce was a sweet smoky sauce but not spicy. A little unique tasting. Veggies were fresh. Just what I wanted. The “Chicken” Fried Steak was a large slab of tempeh breaded served over a large pile of mashed potatoes and covered with almond gravy. Also, a very good and very filling platter of food. The kid’s mac and cheese was a bowl full of macaroni covered in a slightly spicy cheese mixture of nutritional yeast and earth balance. She loved it. Nearly the same I make for her at home.

Driving around on our first evening it was clear to see why Portland is considered the Vegan’s Paradise. There vegan are vegan restaurants everywhere. These next week is going to be a busy one. I might gain a few pounds.

These pictures aren’t the best. I didn’t have my new camera with me at dinner. The pictures I post from now on will be much better.

Vita Cafe - Portland

A dim view of the interior of Vita Cafe.

Specials - Vita Cafe

The Special! BBQ Platter

"Chicken" Fried Steak

Vita Cafe - "Chicken" Fried Steak

 

Vita Cafe - BBQ Platter

Vita Cafe - BBQ Platter

 

Vita Cafe - Kid's Vegan Mac & "Cheese"

Vita Cafe - Kid's Vegan Mac & "Cheese"

 

Vegan Red Velvet Cake from Sweetpea Bakery

Vegan Red Velvet Cake from Sweetpea Bakery

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