Girls Beach Getaway in Long Beach, WA

Last year, I went on a mini vacation with a couple of gals that I work with.  On Facebook, a memory presented as a reminder of the fun we had.  Last year, we went to Lincoln City.  This year, my friend scoured Groupon for deals, and she found a place in Long Beach, WA.  She found a condo that we each would pay $75 for 2 nights.  It had a kitchen, indoor pool, hot tub and sauna. The condo was a little on the old side, but it was alright.  We carpooled from my friend’s place in St. Helens, OR.  We took a little break in Astoria.

Once we checked into our room, I really needed a nap.  I had worked 12 hours the previous night and only slept for a couple of hours before heading out for our trip.  My 2 friends went shopping and unbeknownst to me, they went and checked out the indoor hot tub and sauna.  When they got back to the room, they were ready to go to dinner, so off we went to the Pickled Fish. This restaurant is located on the 3rd floor of Adrift Hotel.  They were very nice.  Their menu denotes which menu items are gluten-free or vegan.  I ended up ordering way too much food.  I got the pickle plate to share.

And I got their salad, which was really delicious!

And their spring vegetable risotto was terrific!

By the time we got back to our room, I was in a food coma!  We got a movie to rent from Redbox, Manchester by the Sea.  I know this won a couple of Grammy’s, but my friends and I found this to be pretty boring.  I kept dozing off.

The next morning, my friend prepared brunch.  It was really sweet of her.  She did a potato and veggie dish.  We also had toast and coffee.  She also made eggs and sausages for the 2 of them.  Brunch was fantastic!

After brunch, we went for a walk on the beach.  We really lucked out!  It was supposed to rain the whole time, but it was just overcast.  After our walk, we went into town and did some shopping.  Afterwards, we had massages scheduled.  I really need to make it a point to get more massages!  When we got back to our room, we got ready to go for a soak in the hot tub…felt wonderful!

Next morning, we were on our own for breakfast.  I had leftover potato/veggie dish, and I made a sandwich of Tofurky deli meat and Chao cheese.  I also had leftovers from the pickle plate.  I had bought a non-dairy creamer that was really delicious!  I normally don’t drink coffee in the morning, so this was a nice indulgence.

This was such a wonderful trip with the gals!

Proper Eats

I’ve heard many good things about Proper Eats in the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland.  I’ve been intending to dine here for several years, but it’s an effort for me to make it to St. Johns.  It’s a quaint neighborhood, but the traffic has been getting worse over the years.  Plus, I have to drive over Germantown Road to get to St. Johns, and I just don’t relish the thought of driving this windy road.  I learned that Proper Eats is set to close on April 29th, so I needed to make a bigger effort to check this place out before they close.

I do enjoy seeing the St. Johns bridge, I think it’s one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve seen.  And it brought memories of the last time I was visiting Cathedral Park at the base of St. Johns bridge.  Here’s a photo I took of a one of the last performances of Trek in the Park: The Trouble with Trebbles, back in August of 2013.  You can see the bridge in the background!

Here’s my granddaughter posing with cast members and trebbles!

 

Here’s a photo of the bridge that I grabbed off the internet.

The traffic is very congested going into St. Johns.  It makes me nervous to be on a bridge for any length of time.  Next challenge was to find street parking near the restaurant.  I parked a little ways from the restaurant, I lucked out after circling around a bit, and was able to just pull up behind a car, but not too close.  I wanted to make sure I had room to get out if a car parked behind me.

I entered the market part of the business.  There were deli cases filled with scrumptious looking desserts, but I need to make a bigger effort to not eat dessert.  I headed towards the back, where I could see diners.  I asked to see if it was seat yourself, and it was.  After the waitress asked me if I knew what I wanted to order, I asked for her recommendation, since everything on the menu looked good.  Her favorite was the Cornmeal Tempeh plate, which I ended up ordering.

Cornmeal Tempeh Plate- pan fried and cornmeal breaded tempeh, quinoa and pinto beans, served over sauteed greens. Topped with tofu cilantro sour cream and corn pumpkin seed relish.

I really enjoyed this dish, and the tofu cilantro sour cream really made this  outstanding!

I decided to order the House Smoothie for the road. So refreshing!

So glad I could make it out here!  And of course, when I got back to my car, the car behind me was pretty close!  I had to do the back and forth thing for several minutes till I was able to navigate back onto the road without nicking any vehicles!

No Bones Beach Club

I’ve heard this place is good…from so many people! I was planning on a happy hour with friends on a Friday, and I could not find parking nearby. It was cold and windy and I did not want to walk very far. Needless to say, I was very disappointed to miss out. Well, I’ve been doing vegan girls night with a friend, and she chose No Bones Beach Club. I had to park on Skidmore and walk, since I suck at parallel parking! But I was determined to make it this time!

I was greeted warmly when I entered the restaurant, and quickly located my friend. The tiki bar decor gave it a fun vibe. The waitress took my drink order right away. I ordered a pina colada, and was perfect in taste…though it was not in one of those large cocktail glasses that I am accustomed to when on vacation. I couldn’t decide on which food item to order, everything looked so good on the menu. I kept changing my mind, but finally settled on the Crispy Stuffed Poblano Pepper….it was a great choice! The cheese was so melty! My friend ordered the Sesame Crunch salad, and she really enjoyed it. Portion size was really big, so she took half home for lunch the next day. We shared dessert, a brownie bar with dark chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and drizzle of caramel…very decadent. We’ve already discussed coming back again to try other things on the menu!

My friend’s Sesame Crunch salad!

Crispy Stuffed Poblano Pepper

The dessert we shared!

2017 Portland Dining Month: Harvest at the Bindery

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to try Harvest at the Bindery for Portland Dining Month!  I met with my sister and a couple other friends.  I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant.  It gives the atmosphere that makes a special occasion feel special, but not over the top fancy.

We were seated promptly, even though I was 15 minutes early for our reservation.  I made reservations for 5 people, but one was not able to make it, and the hostess said that was totally fine.  We ordered cocktails while waiting for one more of our party to join us.  As soon as she arrived, we all decidedly ordered the 3 course for $29 menu.

For our first course: Smoked kohlrabi carpaccio, made with thinly sliced sections and a delicate vinaigrette

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We received cornbread muffins with hazelnut butter with our meal:

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Our second course: Sweet potato cake dressed in a pesto of nori and kale, topped with glazed kabocha squash, miso preserved burdock root and black radish, finished with sesame crusted shallots

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Our third course: Beet-infused handmade gnocchi pasta with marinated grilled portobello mushroom, toasted farro, crisped sage and spring micro greens

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We received complimentary cheesecake at the end of our meal.

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At first, I thought the serving size was small, and I thought I would still would be hungry.  But the portion sizes were just right, and I left at the end of the night feeling satisfied and not stuffed.  Perfect!

El Nutritaco

I haven’t had a chimichanga since I became vegan…I really miss these deep fried packages of tasty morsels!  Although the thought of meat really makes me ill!  I was talking to a co-worker who happened to be vegan as well.  She was telling me about a place that serves vegan chimichangas that have soy curls as the protein option.  I then saw another friend post on Facebook their love of soy curls, so I commented on her post about El Nutritaco having chimichangas with soy curls.  We promptly made a lunch date!

El Nutritaco is located on Alberta Street, and I’ve driven past it numerous times in the past, with hardly a glance in that direction.  This is a small, unassuming place.  Counter service.  My co-worker suggested the Verde Chimichanga with chipotle soy curls and a side of vegan sour cream.  I forgot to get my side of sour cream, but it did come with guacamole and pico de gallo. Honestly, this didn’t come close to the chimichangas of my past…but I did enjoy it immensely!  I would definitely go back!

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Yellow Llama

I am always interested in restaurants that are in the town that I live in.  If I can stay close to home and enjoy good vegan food, that’s awesome!  Yelp kept telling me that there was a hot new restaurant in my area.  The Yellow Llama is a Peruvian restaurant in the Forest Grove area.  So when I saw the Yellow Llama had vegetarian offerings, I called to see if they were vegan as well.  The person who answered the phone assured me that there were indeed vegan dishes.

After conducting some errands, I was a little on the hungry side.  I convinced the person I was with to check out the Yellow Llama.  We were greeted warmly upon entering the establishment.  Soon after being seated, one of the owners approached us and asked if we had any dietary concerns.  I told her that I was vegan and my dining companion was vegetarian.  So she pointed out which dishes were vegan or could be veganized.  I chose the Arroz/Quinoa Chaufa which is a Peruvian fried rice dish.  Very flavorful!

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My companion ordered the Quinoa salad and a Long Island iced tea.  He enjoyed both!

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The owner checked on us many times, and even mentioned an upcoming menu addition that could be veganized.  I really look forward to checking it out in the near future!

Heart Bar

I’ve decided that Wednesdays were going to be my cheat day.  Although, this week seemed to be cheat day everyday!  So many fun and delicious places to discover or re-visit.  I chose Heart Bar in SE Portland.  This space used to be the fabulous Portobello restaurant.  From what I understand, the restaurant is owned by the folks that own Sudra.  I love Sudra!  I heard that this would be an all vegan bar with bar type food.  On this particular Wednesday, a group called No Vegan Left Behind was planning an event.  I asked a friend if she would be interested in going, and she accepted my invitation.

When I got there, she was sitting at a table apart from the group.  I only recognized one face in the group, so I was OK with sitting separate from the group.  This gave us an opportunity to catch up.  Except the sound level was really high so it was difficult to hold a conversation.  Once the music started it was even more difficult, and when karaoke started, impossible!

But the food was good, and I might try to go back during a quieter time.

I ordered the BBQ Chickpea Chop sandwich with a side salad.  It was very tasty.

My friend got the Chickpea Chops with mashed cauliflower potatoes and gravy…she gave me a taste, and I had wished I got that instead.

We got a couple of appetizers to share.

Black eye pea fritter

green chili fries fondue

 

2017 Portland Dining Month: Blossoming Lotus

I’ve been tweaking my diet and eating habits to be more healthy.  I’ve been making good progress! More on that later…I promise!  But, I’ve given myself a cheat day…and that day is Wednesday.  But wait, today’s not Wednesday. What gives??  So I had a rare evening off on a Tuesday.  My sister and I rarely get evenings off together.  I called and asked if she was available for dinner, and lucky for me, she was!

Portland Dining month is upon us.  I looked to see which vegan restaurants were offering the 3 course meal for $29.   Blossoming Lotus was on the list, and I love this restaurant!  The service was friendly and prompt. The food is to die for! If you are in the Portland area, you definitely should go!

The Portland Dining Month menu for Blossoming Lotus gave 2 options for each of the courses.  So my sister and I decided to get all of it.  She would eat half of the dish, I would eat half of the dish, and then we would switch.  Great way to try it all!

For our first course, my sister got the Tandoori Cauliflower Blossom with mint cilantro chutney.  We both really loved this, especially the mint cilantro chutney!

I received the Tangerines & Blood Oranges salad: shaved radishes, fennel & rutabaga, chili-lime almonds & spicy mandarin mojo. This was my favorite of the night!

For our 2nd course, my sister got the Roasted Broccolini & Sunchokes: cumin-spiced chickpea fritter, meyer lemon tahini, roasted garlic, harissa vinaigrette.  This was probably my least favorite.  The broccolini was a little on the tough side.  I loved the sunchokes and the sauces though!

I received the Wild Mushroom Risotto: melted leeks, spring greens, hazelnut parmesan, truffled crema.  I especially enjoyed the wild mushrooms!

For dessert, they said they were all out of Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Hazelnut Praline Caramel, but subbing the Tiramisu.  Can’t go wrong with tiramisu!

My sister got the Tiramisu.  So good!

I was presented with the  Lemon Trifle: Lemon chia custard, lemon poppy seed cake, oatmeal streusel.  I really liked this one better than the tiramisu…but both desserts were divine!

This was a lovely evening of catching up with my sister, enjoying the great food that Portland had to offer.

Of Roots and Blooms

I love Facebook and Instagram.  I follow vegan posts and find out about all cool things to do with the vegan community! I had been seeing amazing photos of food prepared by Of Roots and Blooms, and vowed that I would one day make my way out to one of their pop up events.  I saw that they were doing a pop up at a place called Bottles in NE Portland.  I posted on my Facebook to see if anyone wanted to join me, and a vegan friend said the menu looked amazing, and we made plans to meet at Bottles at 7.

Cute little space, the outdoor patio looked inviting, but a little crowded.  We sat inside, the door was open and we had a nice breeze blowing in.  We ordered at the counter.  I got the lime coconut kombucha, and it was so good!  I ordered the Mac & Cheese with cashew cheese sauce, cavatappi pasta, baby spinach, toasted breadcrumbs, crumbled kale chips….it was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had, vegan or not!! My dining companion ordered the same, but she also got Side of Heirloom Tomatoes with Avocado & Basil Vinaigrette, and the flavor really popped! We both got the dessert Lemon Cherry Trifle with pound cake, lemon curd, cherries, and whipped cream….so yummy!

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Gene Baur’s 30th Anniversary Tour

To be honest, I didn’t know who Gene Baur is.  A fellow vegan had messaged me to see if I wanted to attend an event that she saw listed on a social website.  I checked out the event, and from what I could see, it looked interesting.  I went to a bookstore and looked for his books.  What was weird is I did find a book by Gene Bauer about flora.  It was located close to where the other Gene’s book would have been, but alas, I could not find any by the guest speaker I was to go listen to.

I listened to Gene speak of his beginnings, selling vegan hot dogs at Grateful Dead concerts out of his van.  Profits went to fund animal rescues.  He spoke of some of the atrocities that he has witnessed and documented of factory farms and slaughter houses. I remember seeing footage of such occurrences, and wonder if maybe they were recorded by Gene.  That is the beginning of my personal  journey.  He is now president of Farm Sanctuary located in California and New York.   In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller.  He had his current book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, And Feeling Better Everyday, available for purchase and signing copies.  I really wished I had enough cash to purchase a copy.  I had $20, and the book was $30.  He would have taken a check, but I didn’t have my checkbook with me.  There was another author at the event, but I didn’t realize there was someone else that was speaking, so I ignored him.  How rude of me!

Well, I scurried to the front of the seating, to make sure I had an unobstructed view of the guest speaker.    I really enjoyed listening to Gene speak.  He did it with grace and a sense of humor.  Plus, he is easy on the eyes.  Next to speak was Alex Lockwood, the author that i ignored. He was from the U.K. and had a sexy accent.  He spoke of how he came into animal advocacy.  He was also a very good speaker.  Gene had to leave after a Q&A to catch a plane.  Alex stayed around to answer more questions.  Afterwards, he sold his book, “A Pig in Thin Air” and signed them.  He also was gracious enough to chat with the folks that came out for the lecture.  I ended up buying a book and talking with him a bit.

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