Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Portland: Part Deux

CH and I recently got back from Portland, OR (it was our second trip there in less than a year!), and I'm pretty sure that Portlanders are doing just about everything right. They have good food, delicious coffee, nice weather, beautiful scenery, laid-back attitudes...

I could go on and on.

However, since my love affair with Portland isn't likely to end anytime soon, I suppose the least I can do is try to share it with all of you!

Since CH and I are serious bagel lovers, stopping at Kettleman Bagel Company (twice!) was a no-brainer for us. All of their bagels are vegan, and are boiled/flavored to perfection. Plus, the coolest part is that they even offer Toffutti cream cheese - or hummus - as vegan toppers. CH and I liked their bagels so much that we splurged and bought a baker's dozen to take home with us! We tried the onion, garlic, pumpernickel, "everything," rye, and jalapeno bagels. And guess, what? The traditional onion bagel won hands-down.

One of our near-Portland stops was the famous Bob's Red Mill.

As I think I've mentioned before, I'm obsessed with grocery stores, farmers' markets, and the like. Thus, it's probably not surprising that this place turned me into a hyperventilating mess. (CH was quite impressed, too.)

The Mill was packed with all of the great Bob's products that you can find in your local store - multiplied by 100! There were aisles and aisles of grains, dried beans, flours, seeds, gluten-free items, breads, cereals, and more. They even had a restaurant and - my favorite! - a file cabinet full of free recipes for customers to take.

One of the many places that we revisited on our trip was Alameda, a brewery that offers both delicious beer and great vegetarian food. My favorite thing on the menu is the veggie "Harvest Burger," which is made from the left-over grains used during Alameda's beer brewing process. Clearly, it's the most delicious "recycling" scheme going.

Another one of our stops was at Hopworks Urban Brewery, because - honestly - what's a trip to Portland without a few beers? The brewery is fairly new (it was under construction last time we were in town), and it offers a wide variety of drinks and locally-sourced pub grub. Hopworks also claims to be powered by 100% renewable energy, and it brews/serves only organic beers. Very cool.

on tap, an ode to our President: the Obamanable Winter Ale

French fries have been one of my vices since I was a little girl. And although I've all but given the fast-food version of them up, I'm still a sucker for fresh fries, whether they come from my very own oven or the Illinois State Fair.

Thus, imagine my delight when CH and I discovered Potato Champion, which is a late-night food cart stationed in downtown Portland. They offer small- and large-sized french fry cones, as well as french fries topped with (vegan!) poutine (aka: cheese curds and gravy). Potato Champion also stocks a variety of interesting sauces/dips for your fries, such as rosemary truffle ketchup and Dijon mustard.

CH had the vegan poutine (not my cup of tea, but he loved it), and I had a large cone of the regular fries with plain old ketchup. Our verdict: best french fries ever. Seriously.

Next on our list was Kitchen Kaboodle, which is practically an Oregon institution. (It also happens to be one of the places we revisited from our last trip - I just can't resist a good kitchen store!)

Anyway, Kitchen Kaboodle is a fantastic store that's packed with a variety of pots and pans, beautiful glasses and dishes, cool cooking gadgets, attractive table accessories, high-quality bakeware, and lots more.

Our favorite find during this visit was the "Gurgle Pot," which is a jug that's shaped like a fish and makes an amazing "gurgling" sound when you pour water out of it. Something about the jug was completely mesmerizing, although you probably have to hear it for yourself to understand why. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite brave enough to buy it and risk breaking it on the plane ride home, so it looks like I'll be coveting that fish for awhile...

One of the last places that we visited was St. Cupcake - just one of the many bakeries in Portland that creates vegan desserts.

When CH and I stopped in, the place was completely packed with tons of screaming little kids, there was no seating available, and the cupcake line was practically snaking out the door. Frankly, it didn't look good. Luckily, however, we decided to stay and fight the good fight, and were handsomely rewarded with some very tasty cupcakes. (FYI: The flat-topped vanilla cupcake is the vegan one.)

Still can't get enough of Portland?

It'll make you wanna run right out and by a plane ticket,
if you're not already lucky enough to live there, that is!


  1. BOB'S RED MILL!!! They make the best gluten-free flour mix :-)

  2. okay i am crazy jealous!

    i cannot wait to land myself there and munch me some great food...oh yea i read about potato champion on Jess's her page.

    this is a great site too by my friend Megan...

  3. GASP! I didn't know there was a Bob's Red Mill actual STORE!!! I am so so freakin' jealous!!!

  4. I love it!! I'm always whining that I want to go to Portland, I've never been!

  5. Not only does this make me want to book a plane ticket right me, but it also makes me want to pack all my bags and move to Portland, like, tomorrow! :) I think it was the "good food, delicious coffee, nice weather, beautiful scenery, laid-back attitudes" description that won me over, before the food even did, of course. I'm a sucker for delish coffee and vegan food.

    Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you in your Portland adventure! The flat-topped cupcake is weird and cute and the same time. These perfect bagels sound intriguing as well!

  6. Wow, I really need to get to Portland. Looks like you had a wonderful trip! Those fries look amazing!

  7. Portland looks like a carnival of delights! As Tina Fey would say, "I want to go to there!"

  8. I'm so jealous! I'm dying to go to portland to discover all of its vegan goodness. The mil store sounds awesome, and cupcakes...YUM!!

  9. Ok ~ Serously I want to go to Portland now! It sounds like you had an amazing time and you got to see so many cool places. I want the bagels, the veg burger, the fries and look at all that frosting on the vegan cupcake ~ YUM! Thanks for sharing....I might just have to request we drive up that way :D

  10. As an Irish person living in New Zealand the chances of me getting to Portland are slim. However, reading this article has certain added Portland to my "places I want to visit" list! It just sounds wonderful... I'm also thinking that the Portland Tourism Board (if such a thing exists) should pay you some sort of commission for this blog entry :)

  11. I hope I can take a trip to Portland this year. I would love to spend hours at Kitchen Kaboodle and Bob's Red Mill.

  12. Ive heard so many good things about portland, but never been. Love all your pictures!

  13. What a fun trip! We only live about 3.5 hours from Portland but have only made it over there twice in 5 years just because with the kids, it is a looooong drive and an overnight stay. The Bob's Red Mill tour would be so fun. And those vegan cupcakes look so good!

  14. This post is making me insanely jealous! I want to go to Bobs Red Mill! (Sadly I doubt I'll ever even make it across the ocean :( )

  15. I LOVE going to foodie shops. I've never heard of poutine or gurgle pots but I want them both! Portland sounds like quite the foodie mecca :)

  16. Just found your blog and I love it. Great posts and pics.

  17. I'm so hungry now! what an amazing post. I'm sure I would spend hours in Bob's red mill.

    I'm only 4 hours away from Portland, but have never been as a vegan (since 2001). I keep slobbering over people's posts. I will go this year!

  18. Is your hair still short like in your pic?
    I love short styles and my hair is short as well.
    It's not very common to see girls with short pixie cuts.

  19. oh my're such a sweetheart....i am glad u enjoy my pics ....i just snap n shoot or whatever they call it....

    i wanna see your baby pics! email it to me! lol

    you're a cutie yourself i know foh shure!


  20. Thanks for visiting my blog. Just stopped by to return the blog love. I love that red coat you're wearing in front of Bob's.

  21. what a fun post! i LOVE grocery stores and farmer's markets too--everytime my husband and i travel, we always make it a point to visit local spots. i've blogged about nyc's greenmarket, seattle's pike place and the central market in athens, greece. they're my faves :)

    and i gotta say, i'm SO JEALOUS you went to the bob's red mill store. i love love love their products.

    sounds like you had a blast. i'd love to visit portland someday!

  22. i had no idea bob's red mill was an actual store in oregon! looks like you had a blast, i'm definitely going to have to add portland to my list of places to visit! thank you for sharing your trip :)

  23. Great Portland post! I live in Portland, and I actually worked at Kitchen Kaboodle for about three years. It's such a great local store. It was nice to read your praises on the KK. Isn't Bob's the best? It's hard to leave all those bulk aisles behind; it reminds me of how difficult it is to stop picking berries in the summertime...

  24. now i want to go to portland !
    : p

  25. I have to admit, I love my hometown, Portland, Oregon! I have traveled all over the country and have not found as many food options as there seems to be in Portland. In fact, I feel spoiled and it's hard to travel and not have rice lattes and vegan, sugar-free options!

    It looks like you chose some really great places to visit. I LOVE Bob's Red Mill. It's a fascinating place to visit and buy gigantic-sized bags of grains.

    Probably my most favorite aspect of P-town is all of the surrounding beauty-lakes, rivers, mountains, ocean beaches, gorge, waterfalls, etc. There is NEVER a lack of things to do here. Also, FYI, we have an extinct volcano at a city park in city limits-Mt. Tabor!

    Did you happen upon VooDoo Doughnuts? Vegan options with crazy toppings and not-so-vegan options like maple bars with bacon. I could go on and on.

  26. my girlfriend stumbled across your blog this week and we were just tickled. we are also in "chicagoland" and have just returned from portland! we were in love with the area (especially after a visit to the organic beer festival last saturday). i enjoyed reading your insights since we didn't spend much time in the SE quadrant. also, extremely jealous of the bob's red mill store. good post :)


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