Tag Archives: portland

Restaurant Review: Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza [Portland]

Vegan pizza is easy to find.

But good vegan pizza is very hard to find.

There are some places in Portland that try hard and have good options.  But when we recently stopped into Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza in SE Portland we were blown away.

35006794260_2a227319ab

The place is a really rad sports bar with plenty of street parking.  The space was clean and well laid out.  There were tons of big screens for watching sports games and other events.

35006804370_883a035a4b

We sat down and ordered a bunch of different things.

For starters we got the vegan wings in Pineapple BBQ.  They are the type with the fake bone/sugar cane slice in the middle.  The sauce was AMAZING and the wings were cooked just right.  I typically hate these wings at other places as they seem too chewy.  But here, they are cooked right.

34551006734_60475a8264

We also ordered the vegan cheesy bread.  What I thought was awesome is that they will blend Follow Your Heart and Daiya cheeses so you get the best of both worlds.  I opted for this blend and it was great.

34550994954_0d3dc139bd

With the cheesy bread we also got marinara sauce and a sample of the new red pepper dipping sauce which was really good.  It worked with everything we ordered.

The pizza we opted for was the BBQ chicken. I modded it with no onions or peppers (I know, vegan sacrilege), but I added broccoli.

This was probably the best vegan pizza I have had in a long time, if ever.  The crust is that perfect sweet spot of crispy-yet-doughy, and the sauces, vegan chicken, and broc were perfect.  It was almost too good, as this fatty vegan ate almost the whole medium (I didn’t have breakfast in preparation for the trip BTW).

35264261361_5c95ff6fb5

I washed this down with a pint of my new favorite IPA – Vicious Mosquito from Sunriver brewing.  It’s a great IPA and I was stoked to see them with it on tap.

Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative.  While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.

I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others.  That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far.  It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.

IMG_20170520_105451_980 (1).jpg

That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.

And yet, as I read another story of extremists plowing into, and stabbing innocent citizens, I cannot help but feel that the justification for a legally armed public is louder now than perhaps ever.

Concealed carry used to be based on individual protection.  Individual safety.  Someone is breaking into my home – or attempting to carjack me and my family.

But now, it seems that the radicals amidst us also call for an immediate need to protect not just us individually, but also the society we have built and hold dear.

Now before my more liberal friends start yelling, and complaining that “more guns don’t mean more safety,” I want you to think about one thing.  When you call the police, all you are doing is asking someone with a gun to show up and save you.  That is all.

You are requesting a gunman to come handle a situation and bring their gun.

When you realize the average police response time is 10 minutes, the issue becomes clearer.  Ten minutes is an ETERNITY when someone is stabbing people on the sidewalk , on the MAX, or at the Louvre.  Or a night club.  Or a movie theater.  Ad nauseum.

The issue is no longer about protecting just yourself.  It is now about protecting the members of society around you. Protecting our ultimate investment – society.

Last week in Portland, there was a racially-inspired stabbing attack that killed 2 men and injured a third.  They were standing up for a couple of women on the train, as a man was verbally bullying them.

I often ask myself why there was not a single concealed carrier aboard that MAX train.  I also think about how the outcome could have been radically different.  Chances are we would have one injured victim, and one dead criminal.  If concealed carry lacked the social stigmas perpetuated in the media and especially in liberal cities like Portland, we might have had a much different outcome on that train.

An armed public also has a strong side effect.  When open and concealed carry is more accepted (and not demonized), criminals are never sure who is armed and who is not.  That single fact has a lot of weight in how and where attacks happen.  Most shooting events occur in gun free zones.  Don’t think that is not by accident.  Criminals want to limit the chances of any armed resistance.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, from the 1950’s through July 10th of 2016, 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones, with just 1.6 percent occurring where citizens are allowed to have firearms with them.

Let that sink in.

It is probably also part of why we are seeing these terror attacks happening in cities where public gun ownership is very restricted or even outright illegal.  In the London terror attack yesterday, a police officer had to go after one of the terrorists with a baton – even they are unable to defend society.  Pure insanity.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 10.44.43 AM.png

 

I wish we lived in a harmonious World where weapons were not needed on a daily basis.  However that is simply not reality.  As we see more and more liberal groups, minority groups, and others arming up one thing is clear – people do not feel safe.  They do not trust their baton-wielding governments to protect them.

I encourage all my friends to consider getting a concealed carry permit and actually becoming part of the solution.  Standing up for a crumbling reality and actively preventing more of the same when it comes to these terror events.

 

Restaurant Review: Blackwater Bar [Portland]

Today we ventured down Broadway in Portland, looking for a spot for some lunch goodness.  The only problem?  I wanted something new.  I remembered hearing about Blackwater Bar in Portland, an all-vegan bar.

33823675100_5becaaae2f

Blackwater is a punk-rock themed bar, that teeters on the edge of dive status for me.  Once you walk in, the space is on the dark side (not sure if deliberate for the punk theme) and has a good mix of booths and chairs with tables.  The place is pretty good size, with a full sized stage for live music shows, a bar in the back, a couple of pinball machines, and ample seating.

34077141731_cb4c9a9a4a

Today a screen was showing Discovery Channel documentaries so we all watched lions take down Giraffes and other nature shows.  We rooted for the giraffes.

34167025176_349a71433c

Once we sat down we were really excited about the menu.

It was all what I call traditional bar food. Which is probably higher on the unhealthy scale, and also higher on the good taste scale.

33823677120_6debdef801

We saw items like Mozzarella bites, burgers, chili cheese fries, pretzels, nachos and wings.  There were salads but they were at the bottom, and clearly not the prime focus of the place.

The service was really friendly and punctual.  I ordered an IPA on tap (from Breakside), and Kristin wanted a greyhound.

I decided on the traditional burger which included a house made patty (I heard great things about their burgers), Chao cheese, burger sauce, lettuce, and tomato.  I also ordered some mozzarella bites to try.  These also featured a house made mozzarella.

Kristin ended up with the Western Burger which included BBQ sauce, the same patty, burger sauce, fried onions, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

34167029136_06934df66f

The mozz bites came out first and looked really good. They came with a small cup of marinara sauce.  I was really excited to try these as I have a lot of respect for a place that makes their own vegan mozzarella.  However I think fans of the cheesy sticks may feel a little bummed about these.  The cheese was a little “gritty” and lacked substance in my opinion.  They fell apart in the marinara.  I do think though they are on the right track and will perfect these little fried balls soon.

The burgers soon followed.

34167026616_8b567af1a5

Mine was a perfect specimen of a vegan pub burger. The house made patty was amazing and it had a little crunch on the outside which was great.  They seemed to have also cracked the code on how to get Chao to melt onto a patty.  The burger sauce lent a great flavor to the burger also.

34167028526_d128201955

The Western was beautiful as well.   The patty was basted in BBQ sauce and had a ton of flavor.  The fries were crispy and some of the best I have had from a vegan joint.

In the end, our food was really good.  We weren’t able to finish our meals and most of them came home.

Minors are also allowed in the bar but not past the clearly marked zones near the actual bar.

34050365622_38d4052913

While Blackwater Bar is not a place you’ll be taking Grandma (unless she is a punk rocker), we will definitely be going back and spending more time there!

835 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232

 

Restaurant Review: Southern Fried Vegan [Portland]

Well, today it happened.  I finally made the trek to Southern Fried Vegan (SFV) in Portland.  I saw the posts of bountiful buffets, and instagrams of beautiful sammiches.  And today I finally went.

And today I was really bummed.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Southern Fried Vegan [Portland]

Restaurant Review: Vtopia [Portland]

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.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Vtopia [Portland]

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Yuan Su Vegetarian [Portland]

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.

Continue reading RESTAURANT REVIEW: Yuan Su Vegetarian [Portland]

My Experience with Uber and why it rocks!

I know this post isn’t directly related to Jeeping, or even veganism for that matter (I did have a vegan driver once).  But it is an issue that has been in the Portland-area circles, as the city decides how to “handle” ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The first time I used Uber was during a business trip to San Diego.  I took a cab ride from the airport to the hotel, for a whopping $37 (it was like 4 miles).  What is even worse, was the driver’s attitude about accepting my corporate AMEX card (“you don’t have any cash?” he pestered).  As he was grumbling about swiping my card, he didn’t even help me with my bags from the trunk.  As he sped away, I just about swore off taxis.

On the other end of the spectrum, on my return trip to the same airport from the same hotel, the cost was just over $11.  And the courteous driver offered me complimentary water, set the music to whatever I wanted, and was incredibly polite and conversational.

Continue reading My Experience with Uber and why it rocks!

Restaurant Review: Sweetpea Baking Co. [Portland]

Believe it or not, we have so many vegan establishments in Portland that it is still a possibility to explore new ones.  And this is exactly what happened to me recently when visiting Sweetpea Baking Company in SE Portland.

I had been there before, but usually only to pick up a special order cake, or for a coffee emergency.

But today I visited with the intention of actually exploring the place – starting with one of their ginormous cinnamon buns.  And what a place to start! Continue reading Restaurant Review: Sweetpea Baking Co. [Portland]

Restaurant Review: Native Foods Cafe [Portland]

In my opinion, there are two titans of the vegan “fast/casual” restaurant market:  Veggie Grill and Native Foods.

Fortunately for us vegans, they both take a different approach on their food so we truly get to enjoy the strengths of each.

Bright and light, the interiors of NFC are always inviting.

Veggie Grill uses purchased meat analogs where Native Foods makes all their own stuff.  Both options are great, but with Native Foods you can enjoy food that you just can’t make at home.  Another plus?   Native Foods has ventured further inland than VG, with locations in places like Boulder, Washington D.C., and Chicago.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Native Foods Cafe [Portland]

Restaurant Review: Brass Tacks [Portland]

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.

Their meatballs bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they’re better than yours.

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.

Hmmm Dovetail must be operating under a secret bunker somewhere in Alberta. How are they still making cookies!?

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.

4 vegan items and 4 meat!? WE TIE!

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.

Velveeta Underground, sans Velveeta. Or ground.

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.

Not sure who Lou or Neil are, but how do you get your own cup at this place?

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.

I still make the choo-choo noise every time I eat.

Next time you are craving a great, hearty lunch that is relatively inexpensive and delicious, hit up Brass Tacks.

A beacon or a warning?