Traveling to Alaska as a vegan can be pretty daunting. There is hope though, in the sparsely populated vegan options on menus at places like Bear’s Tooth, Middleway Cafe and others. But you can also get sick of them pretty quickly.
So I decided to join some friends recently on a downtown crawl.
The brewery is located in the old Snow Goose space, and they have done an amazing job with the design. I would have taken more photos, but it was Iditarod weekend and the place was absolutely PACKED. To the gills. So apologies for that (you can find some photos on their website).
I grabbed an IPA (Solstice) and it was actually a GREAT IPA. Not to bash on Alaskan breweries, but I have become a bit of a Portland beer snob. I was impressed with their beers overall and look forward to more when I go back there.
As I was sipping my solstice IPA, I decided to crack open the menu and see what misery was about to unfold before me. However, I WAS SHOCKED!!!! My non-vegan friends mocked my vegan enthusiasm. Buffalo cauli! Avocado fries!? BEYOND MEAT BURGERS!? Daiya!? What the what!!?? I was in a little frozen vegan paradise in the 907.
I kept scouring the menu for the little icons. Which, by the way were “vegetarian,” so be sure to clarify with you server (who, by the way was knowledgeable about vegan items, which was nice).
So I ordered the buffalo cauliflower (duh) and decided on the basic burger with the beyond meat Beast Burger. I was going to consider the pizza with Daiya (called the Vegan Tundra) but I had pizza the night before.
The cauliflower was good – my non-vegan friends liked it too (to my dismay) but be warned, it isn’t served like it is in most Portland places. It comes with the side of buffalo and you pour it over everything. Not bad, just different.
The burger arrived not too long after and it was really good. Basic, but good. I mean it’s a frickin BEAST BURGER in Anchorage. I was loving it. The fries it came with were awesome as well.
The service was super positive also. Friendly servers, accurate orders, and prompt service. It was nice that one of the managers swung by to check in. I thanked him for the vegan options.
If you are headed to Alaska, be sure to make a stop at 49th State Brewing Company!
Trigger warning: This post contains more superlatives than a Donald Trump speech.
It is often said in religious circles that “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” The vegan scene has had a few doors closing as of late, with Portland staples like Portobello shutting their doors. But, the vegan heavens soon burst open a giant window upon us all. And it is tremendous.
We weren’t sure that they were even open, and after some internet sleuthing we decided to just drive by. We saw the glowing OPEN sign, high-fived, and parked with a quickness.
Walking into the No Bones Beach Club, the decor was a great mix of Waikiki dive bar, and Pier 1 imports. The bamboo, tiki masks, and surfing elements reassured you this was, in fact, a tiki bar first and vegan joint second. There was no mention anywhere of it’s vegan roots which I get, and actually appreciate.
The bar was front and center with TVs, a pretty large seating area, and more seating upstairs. The place is spacious, well designed (I love the colorful sheetmetal wall), and open. Upstairs they have a small “Tiki Hut” that is available to rent for a small fee and is the only reservable spot.
The service was super warm and made us feel comfortable. Even though we caught them on a soft open, they seemed experienced, knowledgeable, and at home. They happily accommodated our 18 month old with a cool pineapple sippy cup and a high chair.
The first choices were on cocktails and I asked our server to just surprise me. She inquired about my love for mojitos and I happily confirmed. Kristin ordered the Beach Thyme which was a coconut-based tropical drink. I have never had a mojito in Cuba, but certainly many in various tropical spots (think Hawaii, Singapore, and of course Florida). I have to put this mojito right up there with one of the best. The mint was great, the sugar not overpowering, and it was just a great drink. The Beach Thyme was also really good, albeit a bit different with the coconut milk base. As far as a winter tropical drink goes, it was perfect.
Next came the appetizers. The Buffalo Cauliflower “wings” (quotes are mine) were absolutely amazing, as was the ranch on the side. Perfect amount of heat (which for me is minimal), and tremendously fried to crispy perfection.
The nachos were a great surprise and I have to tell you, some of the best I have had. The cashew cheese is ridiculous, and the chips themselves seemed almost like won ton wrappers…in strips. Hard to describe, but amazing to stuff in your face. Some may appreciate the fresh jalapenos, but this New England-born kid kept them on a side plate, lest they drop a seed somewhere unexpectedly.
The last app we sampled were the Eggplant Fries. Like a bad vegan, I hate eggplant but the fry I did have was perfectly fried and had a great flavor (as did the side of poblano ranch). These all came home for later.
I was so overcome with the immature excitement of a new vegan establishment of this caliber, I forgot to consider the menu for my actual lunch. No, we had not yet ordered lunch. Yes, I was being an absolute fat ass. Anyway, continuing.
Kristin ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, with crab cake made of parsnips – f’ing PARSNIPS! I popped on the Mango and Blueberry stuffed French Toast (I know this is a shocker, but I held the jalapeno syrup and went with good ol’ fashioned maple syrup).
I know some may think I am being over the top here, but I honestly mean this. Like to the core of my being. This was, hands down, the absolute best french toast I have ever had in my entire life. Period. It was absolute perfection. I’d write about the fluffy bread, the delicious fruit, and all the other stuff, but I am just going to leave it at that. It was just that good. Period. Done.
The crab cake Benedict came out and was presented beautifully. The garnishes, color, and overall design of this plate was impressive. When I was able to finally taste it (I admit I was a little leery of parsnip-based crab), it literally blew me away. As far as a savory dish is concerned it was awesome. I think the word “stupid” came out my mouth. It was that good. I actually ran out of positive words and ended up repurposing negative words. It was like infinity had wrapped back on itself. The food was stupid good.
I also think it’s awesome they choose smaller non-profits and feature one each month, sharing a percentage of sales with that organization.
So in conclusion….
So I need to say something here after our experience today. When I think about the cool decor, the awesome service, and the stupid food….No Bones beach Club is THE best vegan food right now in Portland. And I don’t just make claims like that. It really is. Absolutely without a doubt.
You need to go there right now. Order some amazing drinks, toss back some buffalo cauli, and just soak up the awesomeness of the place.
It’s tremendous. No bones about it.
Find No Bones Beach Club PDX at 3928 N Mississppi, Portland, OR 97227
When you think of a cold, New England city like Boston, the image of ice cream probably isn’t the first thing in your mind. When you realize it is a 100% vegan ice cream shop, it seems even further from reality. But I am not complaining! FoMu ice cream is an amazing little shop with multiple locations around Boston.
FoMu is located in the little vegan paradise of Allston, right at the craziness that is Union Square. Many vegan establishments have come and gone here, so I am happy to see FoMu sticking around for a while.
I have never liked cheese. Only as a slice on a cheeseburger, or on a plain pizza. All the fancy cheeses just grossed me out. The thought of moldy, fermented cow milk was never anything I really wanted to try.
But now, as a vegan, I am really excited to try out all these new cheeses! They are not gross at all, and, ironically I’m learning all about different cheese now that I am vegan.
What does all this have to do with Vtopia? Well, for starters, it is Portland’s first all vegan cheese shop. For seconders (is that a thing?) they have an incredible deli that let’s you try all their cheeses in their glory.
Kristin and I pointed the Jeep at Vtopia, and headed to NW Portland for some lunch.
One of my favorite things when traveling for work is to hit up the ol’ Happy Cow app and see where fate and GPS lead me. Tonight they both conspired to land me in Capitol Hill in Seattle, off bustling Broadway, and to the steps of Highline Bar.
When it comes to vegan sin food, look no further than a steaming chinese buffet to quench your carby-starchy-salty cravings. And, no two Chinese vegan joints are ever created equal. There are upscale locations and, well, downscale too. Which was honestly what I expected as we pointed the Jeep to Portland’s “felony flats” to try out a new Chinese place. And boy was I wrong.
Yuan Su is located in a large building at the corner of 112th and Powell with ample parking. Once inside the huge wooden doors, the place is well lit, clean, and very spacious. I was surprised to see a stage there, but figured it was just part of the building’s history.
The service was warm and humble and quickly brought us water, house soup, and discussed the new business. As we pored over the immense menu (I honestly do not know how they can sustain such a huge menu) we decided on some options.
On a recent trip to Arizona, I checked out the Happy Cow app to help me find some local vegan restaurants and was stoked to see a place called Lovin’ Spoonfuls. After reading a few reviews I decided to head over and check it out.
The location is simple, but nice, nestled into a strip mall off Campbell Avenue. Parking was simple, and I found a spot right in front. They have a nice covered outdoor seating area and on this cool evening, I decided to eat out front.
Once inside, there is a really nice seating area with a dessert case, small retail section, and some information on animal rights and activism.
When I used to travel to Singapore, I always made sure to stop at VeganBurg – a country-wide vegan burger joint that prided itself on healthy vegan options.
So when I heard their first (and only) US location was in the heart of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, I knew I needed to go.
While the menu options seemed little lighter than I remember, the space itself was really nice, clean, and bright. I ordered the “Cracked Mayo” burger with seaweed fries (not as hippy as they sound, I promise), and Kristin ordered the Smoked Franks with a side of fries. Landen went with the standard – Chicken Tenders.
Way back in the day, I was a defense contractor and one of my projects was located in Twentynine Palms, California. At that time I was vegetarian, and we didn’t have fancy apps like Happy Cow to show us the way. We had to ask people.
One person told me way back then about a place in Joshua Tree (JT) called Crossroads Cafe. From that moment on in 2005, I would drive each morning from 29P to JT for their delicious espresso and vegetarian breakfast.