Portland postcard: Wish you were (eating) here

Incredible Hulk at Sip. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

J and I spent a couple days in Portland, Oregon earlier this week and had some fun food adventures with a little help from Yelp, happenstance, and local friends (a big shout out to C & D!) Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Vegan chipotle tempeh burrito at El Nutri-Taco: From their extensive vegan/veggie selection (meat options also available), J and I both ordered this fantastic burrito with a kicky punch of heat. Here’s the description: “Spicy organic chipotle tempeh (homemade), red & green bell peppers, fresh jalapeños, grilled onions, salsa fresca, [Daiya] cheese, avocado, & chipotle aioli—$7.00”
  • Incredible Hulk at Sip: I was nursing a cold so I wanted some nutrition; what better way than a delicious organic smoothie: “kale, spinach, apple, lemon, ginger, agave, & ice,” $3.95 for my small, or $5.50 for a large. The flavors perfectly complimented one another!
  • Columbus IPA at The Mash Tun: We were already a little full from our binging, with dessert still to come, so J and I split the Monday special, a Boilermaker. I drank the whisky while J enjoyed a 12 oz. glass of their Columbus IPA, which he found to be very quaffable and remarkably similar to Ale Asylum’s Hopalicious.
  • Oregon Bounty at Salt & Straw: I went locavore with my ice cream selection. In honor of the upcoming (and pricey!) series of Feast Portland events, this local ice-cream maker created a flavor featuring five Oregon specialties: “It all starts off with a salted chocolate ice cream using Portland’s Woodblock Chocolate and salt from Jacobsen’s Sea Salt. Next comes a ribbon of TouVelle buttercream made with cheese from Southern Oregon’s Rogue Creamery, combined with a handful of Willamette Valley Hazelnuts from Freddy Guys that have been candied in Pendleton Whiskey from Hood River.”
  • Drinking vinegar at Pok Pok: Lunch here was tasty, but the most interesting thing was my beverage. From a wide range of flavors, I selected ginger drinking vinegar, which was right up my alley. Their website describes this as “a delicious and refreshing drink with a nice tartness coming from the vinegar and concentrated flavors of fruit, vegetable and aromatics. Here at Pok Pok, we have been serving these vinegars since 2005, both diluted with soda water as a soft drink [which is how I had it] and at full strength as a mixer in several of our house cocktails. Som is handcrafted in Portland using natural flavoring, organic cane sugar and quality natural vinegars.”
  • Pizza and more at Ken’s Artisan Pizza: We met up with some Madison friends who are now Portlandians for a great dinner; we started with a salad featuring local ingredients and the oven-roasted vegetable plate, and then we split the margherita & arugula pizza and the fennel sausage pizza. Yum.
  • Sour beers at Cascade Brewing Barrel House: After dinner we made our way to this must-visit destination for fans of sour brews. None of us liked the smokey Saison Fumé, but the Kriek was delicious, the Elderberry (from the limited reserve taps) was lovely, and the honey ginger lime vibrant and refreshing. Non-sours were on tap, too, and J liked both Diesels (#1 and #2).
  • Potato skillet at Detour Cafe: This friendly, scruffy place served up a fantastic vegan breakfast; to oven-roasted organic potatoes, I added baby spinach, veggie sausage, fresh and flavorful tomato, and (what turned out to be a heaping scoop of) diced avocado. It was served with a toasted slice of tasty, house-made, cardamom country white bread.
  • Shelly’s Vegan Wrap from Elephants Delicatessen at PDX: J and I split what might be the best airport food I’ve ever had. A spinach-wheat tortilla was stuffed with kale, cabbage, sugar peas, hazelnuts, broccoli, apple, grapes, and a light dressing. They cater and have locations elsewhere in town, but I will be seeking out Shelly’s Vegan Wrap from Elephants every time we’re in the Portland airport.

Oregon Bounty (left) and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper (right) at Salt & Straw. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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