Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oregon Part Two: Friends, Food, and Footwear

On Sunday morning we packed up, said good-bye to Cannon Beach, and headed back to Portland. After a lengthy check-in process at the Hotel Vintage Plaza (great location and nice rooms but I wouldn't stay there again) we were off to meet up with some friends who live in town. However, there was one stop I needed to make along the way.

You see, I have been in love with Form and Fauna shoes ever since being introduced to them by Swanky Veg. Lucky me, my husband gave me a hand-made gift certificate for a pair on my birthday. He had tried to locate some in San Francisco to no avail, but found two stores in Portland that carried them. I heard that one of these stores, Olio, was having a local designer rummage sale while I was in town, so I knew I was in for a good shopping experience. When we arrived at the store, I was so distracted by all the pretty clothes that I almost forgot my objective. That is, until I spotted out of the corner of my eye the cutest shoes on earth. And right next to them? The hottest shoes on earth. Since I am both cute and hot (and both were majorly on sale!) I decided I needed two pairs that day. Ladies, these shoes - aside from being adorable - are so well-made, so recycled, so cruelty-free, so dang terrific, that I get happy just looking at them in my closet. I hope that F&F keep on expanding and that everyone can have some on their tootsies soon.

With shoes in hand, we finally met up with our friends and had a lovely time catching up before heading to dinner at Nutshell. I had been thoroughly looking forward to eating here ever since I heard about their bread/olive oil/salt bar. Turns out it's not so much a bar as a service. When you sit down at your table, there is a checklist and a pencil. You can pick from foccacia or naan, 5 or 6 different olive oils, and about a million (ok, maybe 20) different salts. We went for both types of bread, 2 different oils, and three salts. People, I would have been content just eating this all night. The breads were fresh and delicious, the olive oils smooth and buttery, and the salts were outrageous. My favorite was a really smokey gray salt, but the Hawaiian black salt was a close second. Eventually we ran out of this holy trinity of food and had to move on, but I recommend Nutshell based on this part of the meal alone.

Next up, I had the Mizuna Greens salad - a heaping pile of greens for only $5. Not too shabby, and quite delicious. Not to mention I just feel better with lots of greens in me. My entree was the pizza. I had to take the close-up shot because it was the freshness of the ingredients that really came through. I loved it.... but I must say that one of my friends had the Jamaican platter and it looked really fun. She let me try the "Marley Family Drink" that it comes with and it was fantastic, unlike anything I've ever had before. Next time I'm there, it'll be my choice.

Quite full and happy, we all took a stroll around the block to walk it off. As were were talking, my friend informed me of a new all-vegan bar in Portland. It didn't take long before we were belly-up at the Bye and Bye. I really like this place, you guys. From the deep red walls, to the long beer list and unpretentious attitude, it's a winner. Top it all off with an all-vegan menu (see photo), and well, I'm smitten. Unfortunately, we were all too full to eat anything, but my organic IPA was delicious, and both of my friends swear that the "meatball" sandwich is the best vegan thing in Portland. Time to start planning my next trip!

We finally called it a night, with plans to meet up for lunch the next day at Blossoming Lotus Cafe. After some sleep and a quick session in the hotel gym, hubby and I (after another lengthy wait at check-out) hit the town. We stopped at Whole Foods for some Synergy, and before we knew it, it was lunch time. Blossoming Lotus is both a vegan restaurant and yoga studio which gives it a very serene atmosphere. I was pretty hungry, and totally forgot to take pictures while we were there though, so you'll have to use your imagination to picture my "Lebanese Salad" with kalamata olives and tofu feta, and my husband's big giant burrito with cashew cheese. Talk about hitting the spot. I knew I wouldn't be eating again until we were home in San Francisco, so I also had a cup of the sweet and refreshing strawberry soft serve. Everyday BL has a special flavor of vegan soft serve ice cream, and man is it good.

After lunch, I was debating whether or not to go back to Whole Foods to get some Mighty-O Donuts. I've always wanted to try these Seattle-based treats since you can't get them in San Francisco, but my stomach won out and I passed. However, all the talk of donuts caused my friend to insist that we at least stop by Voo-Doo Doughnut to see the place. It's not an all-vegan donut shop, but they do have some creative vegan (and even more creative non-vegan) donuts going on. Seeing the shop itself is worth the visit as it's not lacking for character, but even if I had wanted a donut, the line was out the door, and we had a plane to catch.

So, while there were no donuts for me this trip, it was still a sweet trip to Oregon, and it left me relaxed and ready for summer. Our next trip is to Florida, but I have vegan foodie friends coming to stay soon, so stay tuned for plenty more San Francisco dining experiences (supplemented by my faves of course) in the near future. For now, it's just good to be home.


jo said...

wow! LOVE the shoes!

Sky said...

Yeah, me too. :) They alone were worth the trip!