There was a study (er, an article I saw on the internet, so it MUST be true) that there is a certain color of red that instinctively makes humans hungry.
Think about one fast food brand that does not have this same red in it: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., In ‘N Out, etc.
It just so happens that the vegan meatballs at Brass Tacks are the EXACT same red. That must be the reason I am drooling like a Pavlov dog each time I walk into the place.
Brass Tacks is in a non-descript building facing Vancouver at Fremont. The interior is austere and a bit cold, attributed mostly to the huge glass windows along the front that make for great people watching.
While BT is very accommodating and knowledgeable about veganism, they do serve meat, so keep an eye out on the menu.
But what a menu.
What the menu lacks in quantity (there are 4 options + 1 special), Brass Tacks makes up for in quality. The white bean meatballs are housemade, and they are some of the best I have ever had. The housemade “ham” is also amazing.
I have yet to try the Salamigeddon, as the word “spicy” scares off this New Englandah. Their new Curry Chicken Salad will be my next choice for sure. But those meatballs are just amazing and I find it hard to order anything else.
Melanie tried the Velveeta Underground along with the potato salad, claiming to love both. The sammy looked really good, but paled in the sloppy beauty of my meatball sub. I tried the potato salad and it was good, but I am not a huge potato salad fan, so take my criticism with a grain of salt. Or paprika, as there was a metric ton of it on the salad.
Brass Tacks is an in-and-out place with not much in the way of comfort. But that is part of the allure of the joint. It’s utilitarian yet the kraft paper tray liners harken back to a 1940s lunch bell place, where lunch was scarfed and you went back to riveting the bridge together before your 20 mile uphill walk back home to milk the cows.
And that is why Brass Tacks will be on my fav lunch spot list along with the Veggie Grills, Homegrowns, and DC Veg’s of the world. They offer enough difference to make it awesome. In Portland, no two lunches are ever created equal.
Next time you are craving a great, hearty lunch that is relatively inexpensive and delicious, hit up Brass Tacks.