Back-log: Portland Vegan Dining: Food Carts, Portobello Brunch, Hungry Tiger Too & even more Native Foods

Something crazy happened last month. I was fairly busy, fell off my budget a bit (which is ridiculous with my month off adventure fast approaching) and managed to participate in food cart regularity for the first time in what felt like years, not to mention sit down for brunch more than once.

Super Creamy Ota Tofu Frittata from the new brunch at Portobello

(Nothing has ever made me want a side of garlic bread more in my life)

From opening weekend: the Heirloom Blood Mary & Mimosa

See that locally made Picklopolois Green Jalapeno Sauce? It’s your new best friend.

Both times I’ve visited, my dining companions have ordered the Chanterelle Homefries with parsley pesto. How I’ve resisted, I have no idea.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Root beer & Rum Waffle with Maple Syrup- macerated Peaches

Pad Kee Mow with Tofu & Vegetables from Ploy Thai

Indeed, there’s a new Thai cart in my life (farewell, Just Thai), Ploy Thai: Ping Yang Kang Street Food. I quickly became a regular visitor telling myself I’m supposed to up my heat tolerance before arriving in Bangkok, okay? Plus, they’re hip to the definition of “vegan” while maintaining flavor. They add serranos to their noodles for heat!

Pad Eggplant with wonderful, freshly fried Ota tofu

Sometimes, you just want beans for lunch. Vegetarian Combo of saucey black beans, white rice, tostones & pineapple at El Cubo de Cuba on SW 5th & Oak. 

Here’s a story…..What lays below is a yellow curry, Pokemon-inspired unicorn horn from the fabled UniCart. I’m not incredibly sure how it’s been developing. As per the website, it’s now “vegan with meat options”, and I hear it’s half fried chicken now? Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open and nose held in hope, because the proprietor’s cooking had style – and originality.

My friend Melissa and I enjoyed lunch-for-brunch at the Hungry Tiger Too this week, who recently “streamlined” their lengthy vegan and omni menus – and as I’ve seen with my own eyes, added glorious floats with Chicago Soy Dairy soft serve.

I ordered the BLTeaser with hand cut fries (oh tots, life’s not the same without you!)

While she went for the Nachos with house nutritional yeast sauce, which truly made this happy hour-for-brunch, in addition to my hot pint of Bloody Mary.

Lastly, my fellow Vida Vegan Con organizers and myself took a dinner-time field trip last night to Native Foods. Best. Night. Ever.

This marks my third visit to the Portland area’s Native Foods, and I’m now half-considering braving the far out bus route and being really, really nice to my friends with cars. Breaking Dawn is surely playing at the Bridgeport Theater, hint hint, Karla!

Janessa, keeping it real.

We shared an order of the Native Chicken Wings, because they’re flaky, tender and impossible NOT to order. We went with buffalo, ranch and chipotle cream (Janessa is so ordering savvy!) 

I had thinly sliced seitan on the brain (who doesn’t? the gluten-free? they totally do) and looking to try something new, asked myself, “What would my friend Katie in Bellingham order?”, and went with the Chicago Dip Aus Jus with pickled “giardiniera extraordinaire” with a side of the lemony lentil soup of the day. It was tasty, yet exhausting!

Speaking of ass-kicking sandwiches, Janessa ordered the special of the day: the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with FRIED PICKLE CHIPS. Holy moly.

Michele ordered something that’s been at the top of my to-try list: the Chicken Run (Ranch) Burger.

If your food take more than it seems 10-12 minutes at Native Foods, you get a comped dessert!

Here’s the Rose Petal Good Luck Cupcake and my immediate preference, the Peanut Butter Parfait.

Native Foods Weekend

The Flavorvegan contemplates the menu.

Earlier this week, after an enjoyable stint as a vegan trolley tour guide, I was out at a very vegan-friendly restaurant for dinner, and I couldn’t bring myself to order anything. It’s as if my entire menu-ordering mindset had shifted over the weekend at the soft opening for Native Foods Cafe. I’ve lived in Portland for years, was I only now…spoiled? I suddenly didn’t see the point in ordering a tempeh sandwich elsewhere. It’s as if the word Tofuffalo no longer meant anything to me. Where was my side of seasoned sweet potato fries? Why didn’t this restaurant have a crunchy kale salad when I wanted one? Where was my peanut butter parfait to conveniently take home and eat for lunch the next day? Which brings me to my main point: Why isn’t there a MAX line that leads directly to Native Foods’ front freaking door?

With the news of Native Foods’ expansion into the Pacific Northwest came ridiculous excitement (seriously, nearly every day from my friend Chelsea H, a former devotee of their Costa Mesa locale)

I believe they call this 'gushing' over a meal. In a good way.

and an almost as ridiculous upset as to why it wasn’t downtown. I mean, I get it – I certainly support suburbanites and westsiders eating vegan, and one time I went to a sneak preview of a Bridesmaids in that terrifying mall village and Native Foods would have been part of that wonderful evening had it existed, but my selfish, freckled fingers are crossed that one of their in-development locations will be a little more within the metro area! A little birdy says that one of the coming-for-us Veggie Grills sure is. Hint, hint, Tanya!

I’ve posted a bunch of photos from the soft opening here (and dude, I did not brazenly carry my little pink camera to the plating window – I’m not that type of blogger, but I will use my friend’s great photos), and while I returned last night for the official opening, I don’t have more to show besides Chelsea’s smile over a macrobiotic tempeh bowl and the confirmation that the Soul Bowl was as good as I remembered, circa 2009.

Soul Bowl, circa 2009. Costa Mesa, CA

During the soft opening visit, where all attendees’ meals were complimentary – and multi-course (!!!), my group spent our time waiting for a table stressing out over the menu, calling dibs, making certain that someone ordered the nachos, and working on our ordering arrangement. Ordering was just a tad easier last night, since we spent the car ride there distracting ourselves from the guilt of driving by reading the menu.

Some more photos from the soft opening…

The staff handed out samples of their steaming vegan chai for those in line. Liz was really, really grateful.

If I wasn't holding my Our Hen House bag, I simply could not have posed for this rare photo.

There was more than one point someone at my table moaned (myself included).

I know, right? Get the ranch for dipping. Now.

Native Cheese, I heart you. Possible cashew allergy be damned.

Again, full food porning from the soft opening over here on Stumptown Vegans. Now, can I get a sneak preview pass to a film I actually want to see already?