Tag Archives: restaurant

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Fatsquatch [Portland]

It’s always exciting when you hear about a new vegan place in Portland.  Especially with what seems like so many deciding to close their doors.

So yesterday, on a whim I ended up pointing the truck toward SE Belmont, and dropping in on Fatsquatch PDX.

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The cart is nestled in a small pod on Belmont (Belmont Street Eats), and if you didn’t know it was there, you could possibly walk right past it.  But once in the narrow little alleyway it opens up, with Fatsquatch lurking in the back like its namesake.  Don’t expect covered eating at this pod, however. I had to eat in the truck.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Fatsquatch [Portland]

Restaurant Review: No Bones Beach Club PDX

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.

Bigly tremendous.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: No Bones Beach Club PDX

Restaurant Review: Lovin’ Spoonfuls [Tucson]

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.

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Once inside, there is a really nice seating area with a dessert case, small retail section, and some information on animal rights and activism.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Lovin’ Spoonfuls [Tucson]

Restaurant Review: VeganBurg [San Francisco]

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.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: VeganBurg [San Francisco]

Restaurant Review: Next Level Burger [Bend]

UPDATED 9/14/15!  We returned to NLB for an amazing breakfast!  See the new content below!

When it comes to vegan fast food, us vegans miss out on three key elements of the fast food culture:

1. We don’t camp out weeks in advance of an opening.  And, while I would never be one of the schmucks in a $20 Coleman tent sleeping on a sidewalk outside some vegan Chick-Fil-A, the concept of it is appealing.  I mean, how committed do you need to be to artery-clogging, fat soaked food to actually sleep outside for a week?  That is true, foodie commitment.

Camping in the winter for a week. For fried chicken.

2.  We can’t just have a greasy, bad-for-you burger experience.  Most vegan burgers I have seen are typically some malted oregano-kale infused, carrot fiber burger, promising all kinds of health claims. Sometimes, I just want to eat something bad for me too.

3. We don’t have a vegan fast food mecca that beckons us to make multi-mile journeys off major interstates.   We need a vegan In-and-Out kinda place.

So when I heard there was a new vegan burger joint in Bend, I had a chance to do a little of all three.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Next Level Burger [Bend]

Restaurant Review: Gracias Madre [San Francisco]

Vegan mexican food is really nothing special.  I can get an amazing burrito with beans, rice, lettuce and tomatoes (provided the beans are lard free and the rice has no chicken stock).

This guy was all business.

But a fully authentic Mexican vegan experience?  Now that is something awesome.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Gracias Madre [San Francisco]

Restaurant Review: Pingala [Burlington]

I have been complaining about Burlington’s vegan scene for a while now, with only a few places (like Stone Soup) offering anything substantial.

So when I heard about Pingala in the Chace Mills at Winooski, I was really excited to check them out.

Their location is pretty awesome, right on the banks of the Winooski River at the falls.  While the idea of a nice outdoor spot sounded nice, the mercury was hovering around 15 degrees.  So we elected to sit inside.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Pingala [Burlington]

Restaurant Review: Moncai Vegan [San Diego]

San Diego has a pretty decent vegan scene, and Moncai Vegan is a cornerstone.  The nice thing about it, is that it contrasts to the “fast food” nature of other pillars, such as Evolution and Veggie Grill.

Moncai Vegan is more of a take your time and relax kinda place.

A funky/eclectic design felt a little cold at first, but I soon settled in.

While a small space, it is setup very well with about six or seven tables.  The ambiance is a bit austere, but the warm service combined with the scent of fresh baked goodies more than makes up for it. They have an awesome display case filled with donuts , cinnamon buns, and other baked goodies.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Moncai Vegan [San Diego]

Restaurant Review: Root [Boston]

There is a little village outside Boston (right off the Pike) that should be on all vegans’ travel plans – Allston.  Similar to Portland’s vegan mini mall, there is a corner at a major intersection with a vegan chinese food restaurant, vegan ice cream shop, and the newest member – Root.

Root occupies the space that used to feature Peace O’ Pie, one of my staple vegan establishments in Boston.  But they occupy it well, offering something new to the scene.

The branding and space design is beautiful and a respite from the urban environment of Allston.

The menu, while relatively limited to six “big bites” options, is diverse and a great reflection of the spirit of Root. Continue reading Restaurant Review: Root [Boston]