Tag Archives: PDX

A Tribute to Portland Food Trucks

It goes without saying that the food in Portland left an indelible mark on me. But there were two vegan food trucks in particular whose taste I constantly craved when we left – The Native Bowl and Homegrown Smoker.  Here is my tribute to these two kick-ass Portland food trucks who inspired a creamy mac and cheese barbecue bowl revolution in my kitchen.


This bowl is a combination of The Native Bowl’s Mississippi Bowl and Homegrown Smoker’s Macnocheeto and is simple to put together. First, start off with your favorite vegan mac and cheese. I used Isa’s Chipotle mac and cheese recipe which is now my go-to mac and cheese recipe.


Next, put a layer of barbecue soy shreds, curls or even tempeh on top.  I used these soy shreds which I pick up at my local Asian market. To prepare them, I soaked the dry soy shreds in water for about 20 minutes to soften, squeezed the water out and then pan-fried them up with a liberal dousing of barbecue sauce.


On top of that goes a layer of your favorite cole slaw. I made a quick sweet and tangy coleslaw by combining a bag of pre-cut cole slaw mix with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, sugar, a little olive oil and salt and pepper.


Next, add a generous handful of chopped green onions.


Then drizzle on some ranch dressing. I used Isa’s Sanctuary Dip recipe, but store bought also works. Or leave out the ranch dressing altogether if it’s not your jam (this is what Neal did).



And finally, dig in. You can stir it all up and make a beautiful mess or carefully dig through the layers like a geological surveyor. It tastes good either way!  I’ve made several variations of this bowl swapping the barbecue soy shreds for sweet baked beans and the mac and cheese for rice.

Fine Dining in PDX

Ever eat food so good that it made you close your eyes with every bite? Or made you dig deep to find that last empty reserve in your stomach so you could eat all the goodness that lay before you? This happened to us a lot in PDX, but embarrassingly noticeably so at The Blossoming Lotus and Departure.

Though Blossoming Lotus is an all vegan restaurant, I had no trouble picking out what I wanted. Neal wanted it too. No way were we both gonna order the same thing at a new restaurant. So instead I went with the “Carribean Phyllo Roulade”- sweet potato mash and jerked seasonal veggies wrapped in phyllo dough and served with a carrot Habanero sauce and mixed greens with a pickled onion and hazelnut vinaigrette.

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And Neal ordered the lasagna off the specials which was seitan bolognese, cashew basil cream, heirloom tomato, sorrel pesto and olive.  I know the food is beyond delicious when I end up closing my eyes and moaning in pleasure with each bite and I don’t even care that other patrons think we’re doing kinky food stuff. Throw in some picture-taking while muttering, “oh yeah baby” under my breath…hello crazy lady!

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We made room for dessert and got the raw cheesecake a la mode with the soft serve flavor of the day, orange creamsicle. More blissed out moans of pleasure.

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Though Departure is not a vegan restaurant it offers a complete vegan menu as well as a gluten-free menu (many non-vegan restaurants in PDX do this).  This restaurant is located directly downtown on the top floor of a hotel giving fabulous views of the city. Enh, are ya sure we’re dressed for this? Yes, hoodies and sneaks are a-ok.

Up first, dim sum! And because I love buns, we got two! “Steamed Onion-Ginger Buns” with a maple chili glaze (gobbled up before a pic of the inside was taken)

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and “BBQ Tempeh Buns” filled with Korean bbq sauce and spicy slaw. I wonder if they can freeze these and mail them to me so I can have them for breakfast.

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Next, we had the “Grilled Shiitake Roll” with scallions, avocado, butter lettuce and carrot sauce,IMG_0748 _Snapseed

and “Sweet Potato Tempura Roll” with spinach, ginger and spicy miso. I love that, one, I got to eat tempura because tempura usually has eggs in it and two, that these rolls broke out of the normal vegan humdrum of avocado and cucumber rolls.IMG_0749 _Snapseed

And for dessert, a “Departure Banana Split” with banana tempura, cherry compote, miso butterscotch and peanut brittle ice cream. Let the eye closing and pleasure moaning commence, onlookers be damned.

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Get Your Dilly on with this Mediterranean Inspired Bowl

One thing I learned from our recent PDX trip, is that it’s all about the bowl. And the bowl is all about the sauce. Since the sweltering summertime heat and humidity is back in the ATL, I wanted to make a bowl that could be eaten cold or at room temperature. This bowl combines fresh Mediterranean inspired summery herbs and crisp, cool veggies with a creamy dill sauce.IMG_5537 _Snapseed

The recipe is based on this bulgur dish and this cashew cheese recipe. It’s super easy but requires some inactive “down” time like refrigeration and soaking, so planning ahead is essential. I got about 2-3 bowls out of this recipe with some sauce leftover.IMG_5595 _Snapseed

Mediterranean Bowl

The Base:

  • 1 cup of bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup of boiling veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onions (about 2 stalks/bulbs)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1-2 packed tbs of chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup of halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cucumbers
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

The Sauce:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup packed dill and flat leaf parsley (50/50 ratio)  + 1/4 cup chopped dill to stir in at the end
  • 2 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of water (read directions, you may need less)


  • dates
  • chopped green onions
First make the base,
  1. Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour in the boiling veggie broth. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 30 minutes or so until bulgur absorbs broth.
  2. After the bulgur is cooked, dump in the rest of the ingredients and mix everything really well.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Now make the sauce,
  1. In a small blender (I used my magic bullet) or food processor, pulse the garlic and salt.
  2. Add the cashews and blend until powdery/pasty.
  3. Add the 1/4 cup of packed herbs, the lemon juice and only half of the water. Blend.
  4. Slowly add more water and continue to blend until the sauce reaches desired consistency. I ended up using almost all of the water.
  5. By hand, stir in the 1/4 cup chopped dill. Add more fresh dill if you wanna. Get dilly with it.
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  1. Give the bulgur one more good stir and then pile some up in a bowl.
  2. I happened to have a batch of Terry Hope Romero’s steamed seitan, so I added that on top of the bulgur. It’s not necessary.
  3. Pour a generous amount of sauce all over.
  4. Top with 1-2 chopped dates and a generous amount of chopped green onions.
  5. Then stir it all up. It got kinda messy, but that’s the fun part about bowls. For me at least!

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I had leftover dill sauce from this recipe. It’s a great dip for crackers or veggies like roasted parsnips which The Cozy Vegan uses as her own dill sauce dipping vessel. Or just get your dilly on by dipping your finger in it and eating it that way.