PDX: Day 1
It is no secret that I love Portland. Love. It.
It’s so much like Vancouver with its cooler climate, luscious green trees, and laid back vibe. Except it’s way cooler than Vancouver. People here seem to get things done, and if that means having a ping-pong tourney at Cartopia in the rain, then that’s what they do. Vancouver’s close to my heart, but if only it could be a little less flaky and a little bit more groovy.
This time we decided to travel by plane. Yes, it’s kinda crazy we took a plane since Portland’s not really that far away. But when faced with a 10+ hour bus ride again, the 52 minute plane ride seemed really attractive. Even if it meant sitting outside our departure gate at 6:30 a.m.
When we arrived at the airport, it seemed that we were the first ones to arrive at the baggage carousel. I jokingly commented that everyone else must have gotten lost. After all, there were almost 80 other people on our plane with us. And Portland’s airport is not that big. As we waited for the carousel to churn out our luggage, we wandered around, bought some light rail passes and waited. Then I spied two lonely looking bags, very much like our bags, sitting at the end of the carousel. Turns out we were the ones who were a little “lost”. And the only ones who weren’t transferring to a plane bound for Vegas.
Vegas, shemgas. Portland’s where it’s at. It’s the vegan mothership, yo.
A 30 minute ride on the Max line, a check-in at the hotel room, and then we were on our way to the Backspace Cafe. It’s a little nerdy, a little punk, and a little hipster all rolled into one, with plenty of vegan love thrown into the mix.
We had a lunchtime feast with vegan meatball and ham & cheese sammies. My sammie came with a delicious tomato-basil pasta salad, which means it must be some kinda good salad ’cause I am not a big fan of pasta salad anything. And good it was, with a creamy tomato sauce, fresh diced tomatoes, and fresh torn basil. Mmmm!
We spent the afternoon perusing Powell’s city of books (yep, it’s that big, and awesome too), foregoing Voodoo Donuts for a cute slice of vegan carrot cake from Powell’s cafe (and a rice milk mocha, which was pretty darn good).
Portland seems to have rice milk as an option at pretty much any place that also serves soy milk. A very few places even have oat and/or hemp milk too. The brand of rice milk they use here – one that doesn’t curdle when it’s added to hot liquids – is the Pacific brand. Whole Paycheque, er, Whole Foods in Vancouver carries Pacific’s almond milk. Why can’t they also carry this rice milk too? Then perhaps a lot more places than just Continental Coffee on Commercial Drive would offer rice milk in addition soy for those of us who like our brews cow-free.
After a bit of wandering around and checking out the Saturday Market near the Skidmore Fountain, we decided it was time for dinner. Where were we headed? Cartopia, of course!
Cartopia is a fine collection of food carts gathered in a small parking lot next to Tiny’s Cafe at SW Hawthorn and SW 12th Avenue. Of the six carts there, five of them offer decent vegan options. And we dove right in, ordering a 12″ marinated tomato pizza with mozarella Follow Your Heart vegan cheese from Pyro Pizza, a double vegan poutine from Potato Champion (also with Follow Your Heart cheese) and two desert pies from Whiffies fried pie cart – one peanut butter creme with chocolate chips and one apple. It sounds like a lot of food, but we walked away two very pleased vegans.
We’re ending the day watching the rather gruesome movie “House of Wax” on MTV in our hotel room.
Tomorrow we’re gonna start the day right with some brunch at Sweetpea Bakery, then next door to Herbivore and FoodFight. Maybe say hello to some lovely chickens we met in someone’s front yard last year.
After that, who knows what kind of badness we’ll get up to?