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?