Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Thai Bistro

My friend and I made plan to go to Pho Van, and it was closed on Monday. Both of us were super pissed. Its lunch time, I've got 1 hour for lunch break from work. What to do!? We walked by My Thai Bistro, only a block away. The restaurant is small, maybe just enough to seat 20 people. The atmosphere is sophiscated with a lot of vintage indochina decorative arts and sculptures. We got a pot of hot green tea. The lunch specials range from $5-$9 (vegetarian - seafood). The dinner menu looks more expensive, ranging from $8-$12, and they have a special deep fried section... hm... I wasn't sure if that's healthy. Maybe its fine but naming a part of your menu "deep fried", isn't very eye pleasing.
For lunch special they start off with a serving of soup. I got the coconut soup, sweet and savory. So I got the pumpkin yellow tofu curry, super tasty! Maybe I was really hungry, but it was good. I loved it. Just enough food to keep me full until end of the day. My coworker got chicken pad thai. He said its really good, not too sweet and not too spicy. A well balanced savory dish. We'll definitely come back to try for more.

Yellow Pumpkin Curry with Tofu

vegetarian/vegan friendly, thai. Daily 11am-10pm
3500 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214

Monday, November 17, 2008

Opposable Thumb Gallery + Cafe

Opposable Thumb is more of a cafe than a gallery. The place is split into two sections. One side with more crowded space like a cafe, a wall of blackboard written with the menu. Very very cute. (from the photo above) The other side of the cafe is spaced out with couches and magazines for you to read and chill. A lot of cute hipsters and indie locals come here to use the wifi and enjoying a cup of joe. The smoked tomato soup is really good. Not very sour but a bit spicy. The bread side is really soft and crunchy. The jicama salad is really good. I love it. Soft boiled with salt and vinegar. The cous cous salad is not bad. Definitely a bit too blend. $6 for both salad, $3 for a cup of soup. And its all vegan! Excellent! They also have bagel, pastry, coffee, and gelato!!!! Very nice.

Jicama Salad & Cous Cous Salad

Smoked Tomato Soup

vegan, cafe, gallery, salad. Daily 9am-10pm (11pm on Friday/Saturday)
3312 SE Belmont St. Portland, OR 97214

Number 1 Bento (korean food cart)

Oh Portland, I hope the food cart trend never goes away. I can't believe a Korean food cart just opened over the late summer. It started off as a corn cob bbq food stand, but I guess that didn't go way. So the Korean ladies that run it decided to run a korean bento food cart. Korean cuisine is usually meat based. Such as Kalbi (pork chop), Bugolgi (bbq beef rib), and of course, tofu. Bibimbop is basically a bowl of white rice, bedded with vegetables from spinach, mushroom, bean sprouts, and pickled relish and some tofu (usually served with meat). The lady who runs the cart is also really friendly. Everytime I eat there she always give me a generous serving of soup, or yam noodle salad, and sometimes hot tea. Bibimbop goes for $5.50 The most expensive item on the menu is $6. California rolls go for $4. Not too shabby. I just wish they have more vegetarian and vegan dishes aside from tofu.

PS: Most dishes come with a side of Kimchi.

Vegetarian Bibimbop

Vegan/vegetarian friendly, korean, food cart. Weekly 11am-3pm
SW 10th and SW Alder St. Portland, OR 97205

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Give Pizza A Chance

All pizza is hand made on the spot with home ingredients. As a vegetarian, I love it, half of the menu is vegetarian! And few vegan options. There's a vegan calzone which I heard is very filling and tasty. The vegan eggplant pizza was too sour. I like their goat cheese with spinach pizza, so tasty!!!! The bbq tofu was pretty good too. Though my favourite part is the home made soda. I love and possibly addicted to their cucumber lime soda. It is probably the best soda I've ever had in years. And I don't drink soda, I haven't had coke or sprite since high school. $2 for a drink and $3-3.50 for a slice, not too shabby.
PS: I saw a French mom ordering the pizza with her son, and they were loving the mushroom cheese, it was so cute.

Cucumber Lime Soda

Vegan Eggplant Pizza

Vegan friendly, pizza, food cart. Weekly 11am-3pm
SW 5th St & Stark St. Portland, OR 97202

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mini Vegan Fig Blueberry Walnut Pie (recipe)

I was going through my LA Times news clipping of recipes from last year when I was still a college student, and there are so many recipes that are too good to be forgotten. I saw a recipe for a mix berry mini pie. I wanted to make it vegan, and I had to do something with my ripping figs in the fridge. So I took action. I played around the recipe and finally got it right the third time. Here's to share the discovery.

(makes 5 pies)

  • 2 cups of unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup of vegan shortening or Earth Balanced Margarine
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk or rice milk
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or agave nectar
  • a dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup of walnut pieces
  • 1/3 cup of blueberry
  • about six to eight riped figs

    In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, mix it quickly. Then add vegan shortening or margarine in the bowl, mix it with the pastry cutter. Cut and mix until the shortening/margarine is brittled into the flour into little pebbles. Add the soy milk and stir until the pastry is soft and forms into a large dough (add more milk if the dough is too dry, if you add too much just add another 1/4 cup of flour). Once the dough is formed into a large sphere shape, wrap it with plastic wrapper and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    Heat up the oven at 350.F Degrees. Cut the figs into cross pieces. Get another bowl and mix the fruits, nuts, sugar, and syrup/nectar together. Mix it well until it becomes a tart jam. Take the dough out! Spread some flour on a clean platform, scoop a handfull of dough on the table and flatten it your hand or a clean glass bottle. Try to flatten the dough into a flat circular shape (about 0.5cm inch or less thick). Pour 1 tbsp of the jam mixture onto the center of the dough, fold the dough towards the center forming a sun shape, but leaving the jam revealed a bit in the center.
    Spread some canola oil on the baking sheet, lay the pie on top and bake it for about 12-15 minutes. Check every 5 minutes to make sure you don't over bake it. Until the crust is baked golden brown.

    PS: I should've post this earlier, now the fig season is about to be over.
  • Thursday, October 16, 2008

    S'Nice (NYC)

    This is one of my new favourite places to eat lunch in New York City. It is probably the big portion of the food and the cute environment. Who could complain? Maybe the small bathroom. The sesame chicken wrap is so delicious, large, cut in half, side salad, delicious! Really really good sesame sauce. I love it. The buffalo chicken wrap is alright, a bit too spicy, and would've better in a sandwich instead of wrap. The smoked tempeh wrap is clean, fresh, and deliciously stuffed with tomato and sprouts with spicy vegannaise. $8.75 each! CASH ONLY THOUGH. The mango and cider shake is good, what a great idea? apple cider with mango! Yum! And the vegan raspberry bunt cake is really good too. The $4 side of smoked garlic broccoli, really really amazing. I love vegetables! They steamed and baked it to perfection. Soft and crunchy. Their mate latte is probably the best I've ever had, and you get to use as much as agave nectar you want. Sugar high? without the fat.
    The place is setup like a cafe with a lot of wooden crates, tables, brown stone, and a small patio in the back. A lot of cute indie vegan boys work there too, reminds me of portland.
    REMEMBER, cash only. ENJOY!

    Mango Cider Smoothie & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

    Sesame Chicken Wrap

    Spicy Avocado Tempeh Wrap

    Buffalo Chicken Wrap

    Mate Latte

    vegan, sandwich, salad, lunch, cafe. Daily 8am-10pm
    45 8th Ave New York, NY 10014

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Curly's Lunch (NYC)

    I actually met Curly and talked to him. He asked me about the Portland vegan scene too. The waitress was really cute, I think she was being "extra friendly" with me. The food is good! They have the best vegan cake in downtown Manhattan. Get the mango cake or the red velvet cake. I also got their salsa bowl, that was mighty delicious and hearty. My friend got the vegan buffalo chicken sandwich, very spicy and satisfying. Really tasted like chicken, to my memory. The soy meat in the Tostada is so GOOD! The curly fries are just delicious, and you can pick vegan or real cheese. I say.... real cheese, hahaha, fattier. Another friend got the vegan chicken sandwich, now that was probably the best. This is one of my favourite eatery in New York. So good!

    Vegan Tostada

    Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

    Cheese Curly Fries

    Mango Cake

    vegan, Mexican, American, diner.
    328 E 14th St. (between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003

    Tarallucci e Vino (NYC)

    So bring your fancy mom and dad, with their boat shoes and knitted swedish sweater, 'cause you are going to Tarallucci e Vino. This is one of those nice laid back cafe with the Hampton upper class feel. I went there with a friend and we just wanted something to hold us off until dinner. We got the cookie platter $7 with two mini chocolate truffle muffins, two pignoli cookies (which are probably the best we both ever had, it was so soft and chewy and the almond paste just burst in your mouth), and two chocolate covered macaroons. $3 for the expresso, and $4 for the americano. My friend who is a local tried to take a photo of the cookies for her blog... got whispered yelled at by the waiter, "sorry, no photos." Made me laughed but whatever.
    PS: I heard dinner is good here too. But can be pricy.



    vegetarian friendly, dessert, tea, coffee, bar.
    15 E 18th St. New York, NY 10079

    Lan Cafe (NYC)

    Stupid me, I didn't get the vegan pho. Somehow I scanned through the menu and completely forgot the soup/noodle section. My friend and I got the Seitan Lemongrass Vermicelli and the Seitan Ginger Casserole. The vermicelli is bedded with BBQ seitan and layers of bean sprouts and cilantro. Really good! Clean and fresh. $8.75 Though, the Seitan Ginger Casserole comes in a small portion in a clay oven pot and a side of white rice. The casserole sauce is so thick and spicy I had a hard time swallowing it down my stomach. The rice made it easier, but the rice bowl is tiny. It wasn't enough to mix with the sauce. Really tasty ginger sauce though. $9.75 Kinda expensive for the small meal. The place is also very small, run like a mom and pop's place... and I think mom is the chef and pop is the waiter. cute!

    Lemongrass Grilled Soy Beef Vermicelli

    Seitan Casserole

    vegan, Vietnamese.
    342 E 6th Street New York, NY 10003

    Clinton Street Bakery Company (NYC)

    This is a really cute place to eat brunch or lunch. I would say avoid the weekend 3 hour wait, and just get up early and go get breakfast. There's no wait on the weekdays. The bakery is famous for their pancakes, "wild maine blueberry pancakes". I thought they were pretty good, really fluffy, heavy and rich with butter and egg, but I wouldn't say they were amazing. $12 for three slices of pancakes, overpriced. Their biscuits, $2 each with home made rasberry jam, super good. Again, very fluffy, heavy and rich with egg and butter, also served warm. If you are in a hurry I recommend the blueberry muffins. They are so sweet almost tasted like a dessert. I still think the best blueberry pancakes or muffins or scones are from Portland, Oregon. Oregon known for its organic berry farms.
    PS: Bring cash! No plastic.
    Blueberry Muffin

    Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes

    Scrambled Egg with Hash and Biscuit

    Homemade Raspberry Jam

    vegetarian friendly, breakfast/brunch, biscuit.
    4 Clinton St (between Avenue B & Houston St) New York, NY 10002

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Moxie RX

    After my previous two harsh reviews I think its safer for me to rate a brunch place. Now, Moxie RX, possibly the cutest food cart I've ever eaten at in the entire world. Hm... I might have said that about every other food cart in Portland. Moxie RX is in a super cute chromed trailer, surrounded by beautiful garden flowers and vegetation. Plenty of patio sitting for the nice outdoor. The two ladies who runs the cart are also super nice. They keep apologizing to me as they continue to tell me "we are out of that, and out of this..." I was sad but happy with Green and Egg. Its a medium bowl of salad with an egg (usually with lox hidden under it). Sprinkled with crystal salt, spices, grilled lemongrass, and mushroom. YUM!!!!!! The egg is fried, and I love how the york is spread all over the salad. Their juices are also very very good. Any of them is good! I won't be bias. I also recommend getting their little cookies and pastry goods. The only thing I remember is the Italian pine nut cookie. CRAZY GOOD! I haven't had such delicious pine nut cookie since Little Italy in Manhattan.
    Their hours are really weird, so I would check them out in the morning. They did mention that they reduce their hour to weekends only once winter kicks in.

    Green and Egg

    vegetarian friendly, food cart, juice bar, salad.
    N Mississippi Ave at N Shaver St. Portland, OR 97253

    Caffe Mingo

    I live in the area and I never find the interest to eat at Caffe Mingo. It just looks like a typical tourist playground. Though the new bar they opened up next door called Bar Mingo seems to have more potential. So I went here only 'cause a friend just moved into town, and she really likes Italian food. We already went to Justa Pasta, and I didn't want to drive (and she doesn't bike). Serrato is too expensive and Caffe Mingo is our next option. The menu is really extensive, from risotto to rigatoni, all sort of Italian dishes you can think of. I think they also had personal pizza. The salad seems to be interesting. The waiter brings a plate of bread with olive oil and olive. Great! So far so good. I told him I'm vegetarian and he instantly recommended the side entree noodle plate, which all range from $8-10. I asked if I can add vegetables, he said of course, some cherry tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, mushroom, and cheese. The noodle was okay, the portion is fair, steamy hot vegetables. A bit way too greasy for my taste bud. Guess how much it is? $18! It was $8 to get vegetables add on. I think it might have been $5 to add chicken. When did vegetables become more expensive than meat? My friend who was munching down a meat dish seems to like it a lot more than I did like the place. I guess Caffe Mingo is not a place for vegan or vegetarian.

    Linguini Noodle with Vegetables

    vegetarian option, Italian. Daily 5pm-10pm
    807 NW 21st Ave. Portland, OR 97209

    Red and Black Cafe

    I always get confused by calling it Black and Red. The cafe is located right around the corner of the "mini-vegan" mall on SE 12th and SE Stark. It is in a large red house, with few patio sittings outside. Recently the owner planted vegetation on the sidewalk. I hope they don't serve the salad from that garden since there are constant coming traffic. Hm.... dust in my salad. Anyways, two things I had and always get is the Dragon Salad and the Dragon Noodle, both on the price range of $6-7. Which is cheap for enormous amount of food! I always share the noodle dish with a friend, the salad is probably bigger. Since I couldn't even finish half of it. The noodle bowl is simple yellow udon noodle with sesame oil, cilantro, peanut, peanut sauce, and some broccoli and tofu. Very simple and straight forward. A bit spicy. I wouldn't say its fantastic, it fills the stomach. The Dragon Salad is served on a giant plate, spread with cooked brown rice, greens, minced peanut, and olive oil/vinegar dressing. The dressing is very very thin, could use more! It tasted blend and boring. I keep stealing my boyfriend's peanut sauce from his noodle bowl to mix in with the salad. The people who works there are really nice and friendly. The cafe also serves up coffee and chai. I wish they have a juicer or smoothie or something!

    Dragon Salad

    Dragon Noodle

    vegan/vegetarian, cafe, deli. Daily 8am-11pm
    400 SE 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97214

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Helser's on Alberta

    Helser's is a great example of fancy Portland brunch eating. Of course, a place like this good the line is super long. I would try to make it there at 9am before everyone else shows up. A even better news is that Helser's has the early bird special from 7am-9am, where everything is $4.50, about half price off from the regular menu. So! Helser's is famous for its homemade crumpets, options like Cheddar, blueberry, butter, ...etc. whatever is in season and in stock! You can take a pack home and make your own breakfast meal. Or else, stay at Helser's and have a delicious Egg Benedict, which is stacked with spinach, mushroom, egg, and Holliander sauce. Now, let me warn you, the dish comes with TWO of the wonder crumpet egg stack and a side of hashbrown. A lot for $8.25! The Crumpet Egg Sandwich is smaller, and my boyfriend had to exchange the bacon for vege sausage patty. Which the waitress happily made that change for him. Oh yeah, since Fig is in season so we got a bunch of them as a side. The side fruit is always available depend on what's locally in season. Like I said, this place is really popular so I would try to get there before 9am, the wait is about 20 minutes on the weekend. During the weekday it is not that busy.

    Egg Benedict

    Crumpet and Egg Sandwich

    vegetarian option, breakfast/brunch, crumpet. Daily 7am-3pm
    1538 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR 97211

    Flavour Spot

    So Flavor Spot is probably one of the best cheap brunch destination in Portland. Its a simple waffle food cart. $4-5 can get you a waffle with some sort of fantastic filling. The sweet fillings are like Nutella, banana, peanut butter, whip cream, lemon curd, maple butter, strawberry, jam, ...etc. The savory fillings are bacon, sausages, vegetarian and vegan sausages. SO GOOD! My favourite would be the vegan sausage with maple butter wrapped with a tasty vegan waffle, that's about $5.50 The waffle spot also serve coffee, water, juice, ...etc. So just sit back on the patio and enjoy your breakfast.

    PS: Even though the line can be long, but it is really fast service.
    PSS: There are two spots in North Portland.

    Vegan Sausage and Maple Butter

    vegan friendly, waffles, breakfast, weekday 7am-3pm, weekend 8am-3pm
    NE Fremont St & N Mississippi Ave
    or 2310 N Lombard St. Portland, OR.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Van Hanh

    What do you get when you have a group of Buddhist nuns that can cook? A really really tasty cheap vegan restaurant. Everything here is very authentic peasant food. You will not find your typical Pho dish here. My friend who is Vietnamese, he claims that everything is very authentic, so are the dishes. The egg rolls are delicious. Its fried and filled with tofu, vermicelli, mushrooms, and vegetables. So delicious! $2.99 for four spring rolls. WOW! CHEAP! Moving on to the entrees. I highly recommend the bird nest chow mein with soy proteins and bok choy. YUM! I just love crispy noodles. Pretty much anything you get here is gonna be good. Everything is either vegetarian or vegan, just don't get anything that says "egg". My personal favourite is the fish tofu. Shredded tofu wrapped with seaweed, deep fried, how great is that??? The only downside I have with this place is the environment and the service. The nuns who are the cook and the waitress, are either neutral or unfriendly. They hardly ever smile at all or at anyone. The environment of the restaurant is in a house and smells really stale. If its a nice day I would sit outside and eat at the patio, facing the on coming traffic near the highway... not nice at all.

    Vegan Fish Noodle Soup

    Vegan Fish Tofu

    Vegan and vegetarian, Vietnamese, 11am-9pm
    8446 SE Division St. Portland, OR 97255

    Julia's Russian Food Cart

    Okay, everyone, Russian food, very meaty and tasty. But every once in a while Julia, who runs the fantastic Russian food cart, she cooks up some tasty vegetarian treat. The one thing she has always available is the Potato Pirogi. Its flour wrapped potato, cheese, and butter. Aside from the Pirogi she makes the vegetarian cabbage roll every once in a while. Its rice with mushroom and paprika wrapped with cabbage, boiled to perfection with some tomato sauce and sour cream. YUM! It goes really well with some spicy sauce on the side. I just love it. Before I turn vegetarian I love Russian food. I just wish there are more vegan or vegetarian options.

    Vegetarian Cabbage Roll

    vegetarian friendly, Russian, 11am - 2pm
    SW 10th and SW Alder St. Portland, OR 97205

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Vita Cafe

    Vita Cafe is one of the basic vegan only restaurants in the northeast Alberta district in Portland. Vita Cafe feels like a hippie run diner that serves your basic needs from vegan fried chicken to vegan mushroom strognoff. Though, nothing spectacular. The fried chicken is actually tempeh with golden crust that tasted alright. Its kinda missing the savory spicy kick. The mushroom strognoff is quite tasty, but still lack the herb or the spices. The fries are good, crispy! The vegan caesar salad tastes just like a real caesar salad. The dessert are also available from vegan fruit pies to vegan white cakes and chocolate mousse cake. I think they only bake the pies there. The cakes are from sweet pea and other local vegan pastry shops. All with a fair price from $4.50 to $5.50 I also have a problem with Vita... some of the waiters smell. Like they haven't taken a shower for two days. But this only happened once out of three trips. They also close early (10pm) for a diner based restaurant.

    Vegan Fried Chicken

    Vegan Caesar Salad

    vegan friendly, brunch/breakfast, 9am-10pm
    3024 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR 97211

    Juniors Cafe

    Juniors Cafe probably has one of the best potato hash in town. The vegan potato hash is probably the best in the world for a vegan hash. Delicious! Crazy delicious. The spicy tofu sauce is just what you want on a weekend morning after a late night party. Along on top with mushroom, scallion, tomatoes, and delicious vegetables. Of course, I love egg so I asked eggs to go on top along with a side of toast (only $2 extra, wow!) The vegan hash dish is $7.99 A giant dish! I barely finished it. Also, try their vegan french toast, it is better than a real french toast.

    Vegan Potato Hash

    vegan friendly, brunch/breakfast, 8am-2pm
    1742 SE 12th Ave. Portland, OR 97214

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    The Farm Cafe

    I'll have to say, after a day hanging out at Mount Hood, this is a great place to dine to end the day. The Farm Cafe is located in a small house on the East Burnside. A tucked away romantic restaurant serves organic meat dishes and fantastic vegetarian and vegan dishes. A perfect place for a parent visit or a special date. Though the wait at The Farm is about 1 hour, but I think its totally worth it. Get the mushroom appetizer and the roasted garlic with bread, both delicious basic vegan dishes. The entrees are even better. The salads are mostly vegetarian and can be made vegan. There is always a vegan or vegetarian soup. The main dishes are where the action is. The vegetarian risotto is so good. Baked with vegetables from tomatoes to two types of cheese. The tofu marsala is fantastic, the only constant vegan dish. Soft fried tofu with marsala sauce and roasted mushrooms with herbs. The menu changes all the time, so keep an eye out for that dish of the week.

    Vegetarian Risotto (special)

    Goat Cheese Salad with caper dressing

    Vegan friendly, European, American, 5pm-11pm
    10 SE 7th Ave. Portland, Oregon

    PAPA G's

    The previous owner of Daily Grind organic grocery recently closed down his large vegan friendly market. Now he's moved to the SE Division area and opened up a small deli called PAPA G's. PAPA G's is setup like Veganopolis. Cafeteria styled salad bar with food by the pound or portion package. Everything is vegan! I would say the best thing of PAPA G's is the mushroom strongnoff and the mushroom gravy on spelt biscuit. They change the hot food all the time. Everything goes by pound unless you order the small and large meal. Small meal go with $5.99 for an entree with a side. Large meal go for $7.99 for two entree with a side. So get your BBQ tofu or curried kale and a side of rice or ginger gravy with biscuit. YUM!

    Curried vegetables with mushroom strongnoff and mushroom gravy on spelt biscuit

    Vegan deli, salad bar, 11am-11pm
    2314 SE Division in Portland, Oregon

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    The Sugar Cube

    The Sugar Cube just opened up two weeks ago and its been thriving as the new hip pastry cart stop in Portland. I personally love it. Its new, great baked goods, very cute looking, and a growing menu of cafe items. I've only tried two cupcakes so far. If you feel manly and macho, get the Guiness Stout Ginger Cupcake. Yeah, doesn't it sound great? 'cause it is! if you feel fruity, I suggest either the Rhubarb Coffee Cake or the yum yum Almond with lemon curd cupcake. Now, I don't think there's anything vegan yet... the cafe is new so maybe vegan stuff will start showing up if more people demand it. The owner Kristen Jensen is very nice and friendly. She won't bite you.

    Cupcake in the making

    Almond Cupcake with Lemon Curd & Cherry on top

    Dessert, Smoothie, Bakery, weekly 10am-3pm (not set yet)
    901 SW Alder St. Portland, OR 97205