YAY! I think I have a new favorite restaurant! Well, to add to my always-growing list of favorite restaurants.
Last night Joe and I went to happy hour at Radio Room and had drinks with some of his work friends. Actually, Joe had drinks, I, thanks to my anti-parasite diet, downed an entire wine bottle full of water. Mmmm... I really had no interest in getting food at Radio Room; while they do indicate their menu items that are vegan and gluten free, there are only 2 that are both and one has tomato...I wasn't about to have edamame as a meal.
So I decided it was time to try a new place. Not that I don't love frequenting Vege Thai and Blossoming Lotus (and I do...I just had Vege Thai the other night), but there are SO MANY vegan places in Portland that I need to discover! I ended up deciding on Proper Eats Cafe in North Portland....an area of town that I was previously unfamiliar with....
BEST DECISION EVER!
Oh my stars this place is so cool! They use all organic and vegan ingredients in their stuff, indicate items on the menu that are gluten free, AND they don't add cane sugar to anything!! There were actually multiple items on the menu that I could eat...and as I'm sure you know I don't usually get much of a choice at most places. Even Blossoming Lotus is tricky thanks to my tomato and corn allergies.
We started with drinks, house-made Kombucha (=LOVE) for me and cabernet for Joe...definitely best kombucha I've ever had. A lot of the store-bought stuff is a little too tangy, this had the perfect balance of bite and flavor. Just goes to show that anything homemade is always better!
The salad menu was unreal...I'm such a dang salad fiend lately there was no way I was leaving without trying at least one. Tough choice too because they ALL sounded amazing! I ended up going with the sea salad, which was raw sauerkraut, carrots, beets, avocado, cucumber, and kalamata olives on a bed of mixed greens with a cashew-nori dressing that seriously tasted exactly like sushi. It was even better than in sounded! Joe got a caesar salad (vegan of course!) that had their house-made tempeh on it and the usual caesar staples. It was a little fishy, despite the lack of real fish in the dressing, but according to Joe (who is a carnivore by the way), the tempeh made it all worth it.
The main course menu consists of sandwiches and wraps (bowls for us gluten free folk), and entrees with an international flare. Tacos, masala (indian dish), asian noodles, shepherd's pie, you name it. Raw fajitas anyone? I was immediately drawn to the Pesto and Veggie Wrap/Bowl... steamed veggies, red and yellow quinoa, and house-made tempeh (my stomach is growling just thinking about it), topped with avocado and arugula-hazelnut pesto (which they totally sell in-store, heck YES!). And once again, it was even better than it sounded. Soooo much flavor and from all veggies and grains! It's amazing how delicous simplicity can be. Joe ordered the "NoPo" Burrito, which included steamed veggies, salsa, tofu, beans and rice, topped with guac and corn-pumpkin seed relish. He made a point to tell me to share his review on the blog... he LOVED it. Which I love...I'm just one step closer to convincing him to eat that way all the time :). I tried a little bite and I was impressed as well...it honestly tasted like a more flavorful version of my once-upon-a-time order at Taco Del Mar. It is, of course, about 10 steps up from good ole TDM however, you just can't beat fresh, organic ingredients.
I never get dessert, nor do I really crave it anymore, but I HAD to get some here. I mean, they had like 7 or 8 different variations of vegan, sugar free chocolate: bars, truffles, fudge, hemp-butter cups...hello! It's like my dream! I had a hell of a time picking one out, but I ended up going with the hempseed butter cups. It's just been too long since I've had a reese's. Definitely a good choice for me, but milk-chocolate lovers beware, it is definitely dark chocolate to the core. Unfortunately, that party-in-my-mouth lasted only moments, I smashed those real fast. Thank God for vegan chocolate.
Aside from freaking delicious food, Proper Eats also offers retail items, including organic (and mostly local!) produce, cooking sauces (like my Thai and True curry pastes!), tofu, and other convenience items (natural toothpaste and local hand-made soaps!). They even sell a lot of their house-made sauces, plus that amazing raw tempeh! Do you know how hard it is to find raw tempeh? Freaking impossible now that everything and it's mom is pasteurized. My favorite part was this shelf of all sorts of flyers and business cards for health and vegan-related businesses and events. I spent forever looking at everything! I sneakily left behind a few of my business cards while Joe stood guard (not sure what their policy is on that).
I don't think its even a question that I'm going to become a regular at this place. How I haven't heard about it until now blows my mind. I'd honestly recommend this to anyone who likes food, vegan or not. There's totally something for everyone and everything tastes amazing! What's not to love?
Live free my friends,