The Portland 100

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I saw this fun list/survey on Get Sconed and thought it might be fun (the ones in bold I have eaten, and the crossed out ones I don’t want to eat). I’d love to see other people do this for their cities too!!! And it is quite apparent that I still have a lot of food exploring to do in Portland!

1. Fries with spicy tofu sauce at Dots
2. $1 Corndog from Hungry Tiger Too
3. Chick-o-Stick doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts
4. Tiramisu from Portobello
5. Vegan Mulita from Gorditos or Gorditos II
6. Nanotear Ham and Cheeze sandwich from Tube
7. Milkshake from Sip
8. Gnocchi from Portobello
9. Caramel Nut Bar from Sweetpea Baking Co.
10. Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus
11. Local cherry tomatoes from a farmers market
12. Dong Po Tofu from Bay Leaf
13. Jerked chickun from Assase Ital
14. A Big Big Lunch Special from an Indian cart
15. Soy latte made with Stumptown espresso
16. A crappy tofu scramble
17. Cornmeal pizza from Dovi Vive.
18. Weeping Tiger sandwich from Bye & Bye
19. Bye & Bye or Floor Punch from Bye & Bye
20. A Bowl meal from a cart
21. vegan nutella from freddy’s hazelnuts
22. soy curls in bulk from food fight or proper eats
23. buffalo wings from Vita
24. the weekday vegan pancakes from Laurelthirst
25. Maple vegan sausage waffle from flavourspot
26. Drunken noodles with pepper steak from Thai Food Cafe
27. Macnocheeto from Homegrown Smoker
28. Veggie platter from an Ethiopian restaurant
29. Blackberries picked from a public place
30. Baba Ganouj from Ya Hala
31. Coconut Mashed Yams from Papa G’s
32. Butternut Squash Wontons from Hungry Tiger Too
33. Vegan slice from Bella Faccia
34. Apple pie from Whiffies – does Pumpkin count?
35. Chili dog from Zach’s Shack
36. Vegan poutine from Potato Champion
37. Missionary Chocolate Truffle
38. Apron Activists 4-Course Dinner
39. Hot Wok at New Seasons
40. Che Guevara Burrito from Laughing Planet
41. Bryan’s Bowl from Por Que No?
42. Pad Thai from Pad Thai Kitchen
43. Cupcake from a stand at Last Thursday
44. The Giant Pancake at Hungry Tiger Too
45. TLP from Red & Black Cafe
46. Cornmeal tempeh plate from Proper Eats
47. Tofu Po Boy at Palm State Gumbo
48. Maple Walnut Scone from Back to Eden
49. Vegan Mezza platter from a Lebanese restaurant
50. Crispy eggplant from Fujin
51. Lemongrass Tofu Sticks from Van Hanh
52. Tofu Salad Bun at Pho PDX
53. Cocktail made with local liquor
54. Biscuits and Gravy from Paradox
55. Smoky soy curls from Homegrown Smoker
56. Field Roast sausage
57. Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce
58. Toddbot’s Triangles
59. Local microbrew
60. Hot Lips soda
61. Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushroom Marsala from The Farm Cafe
62. had a picnic in Laurelhurst Park
63. burrito from Shelley’s Honkin Huge Burritos
64. Eggplant tibs from Bete Lukas
65. Tator Tots before noon or after midnight
66. Lone Ranger from Chaos Cafe
67. Sunday brunch at Sweetpea!
68. Tofu at a BBQ place (for example Derby Mustard Sauce Tofu at Russel Street BBQ)
69. Mint Fava Falafel at Nightlight Lounge
70. An unexciting hummus plate at a bar.
71. Vegan meatball sub from Aalto Lounge
72. Koi Fusion spicy tofu tacos
73. Veggie dog from the Vegi dog stand
74. Sesame chicken from a vegetarian chinese restaurant
75. Bagel with Bacun Scallion cream cheese from Sweetpea
76. Vegan savoury crepe
77. Veggie kibbeh
78. Club Vegan at Backspace
79. ice cream sundae from Back to Eden
80. Raw fudge from Blossoming Lotus
81. Tempeh reuben
82. Pause vegan burger
83. vegan ribs
84. something baked with local marionberries
85. Veggie bento box
86. Dave’s Killer Bread
87. Higher Taste Buzzitos
88. Thai food that the server swears is vegan, but you taste fish sauce.
89. Elephant ear from the Saturday Market
90. Dovetail sticky bun
91. savoury pie from Nicholas restaurant
92. Salad rolls from the Just Thai cart
93. Vegan torta from Gorditos II
94. Nutritional yeast on your popcorn at a movie theater
95. Vegan grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese Grill
96. Pasilla burrito from El Nutri
97. Something from the vegetarian menu at Andina
98. Vegan Steak and Cheese from D.C. Vegetarian
99. Dragon Noodles at Red & Black Cafe
100. Falafel from Wolf & Bears

Food Carting

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I am quite lucky to have an hour for lunch during my workday. I am also quite lucky because Tim rides his bike to meet me for lunch nearly every day – his visits make the lameness of a desk job a hazy smear, at least for a little while! We usually pack yummy lunches and sit in the park to eat and do crossword puzzles. But there are days when we just want to treat ourselves (or we are simply out of food at home) to a purchased lunch. Earlier this week we walked to an area a few blocks from my office full of food carts, a few with vegan goodness!!! We decided on a place called DC Vegetarian, an all vegetarian food cart with plenty of vegan options. I ordered a vegan Italian sub and Tim ordered a vegan Steak & Cheese sub. While we waited for our food, other folks were placing orders and collecting orders and it was awesome to hear that every person had ordered vegan!!! Right on!

DC Veg 3

My sub sandwich came on a lovely grilled roll that was fresh, soft, chewy, and crispy all at once. It was filled with vegan meats and cheeses, spicy mustard, mayo, lettuce and avocado. Admittedly, I rarely eat vegan deli slices or cheeses, so this was a special treat. It reminded me of “Sub Night” from my childhood – my family would put a bunch of sub rolls, filling, and condiments out on the table and we would each assemble and toast our own subs for dinner. Happy memories!!! I enjoyed my HUGE and well-priced ($5.25) sammie very much, even though I ate the whole thing and had a small tummy upset later… Greedy lunch snarfer.

DC Veg 2

Tim’s sub was amazing! It was filled with house seitan that had been doused in what we think was Yumm Sauce (a crazy good sauce used at Cafe Yumm and also sold in select grocery stores, maybe Whole Foods?) and perhaps some other goodness, plus grilled peppers and onions.

DC Veg 1

With so many old and new vegan-friendly food carts (thanks for compiling the list Jess!) popping up all over Portland, it’s easy to scoff at packed lunches, but in all honesty, I love homemade food much better. It’s fun to eat out and have others cook for you, but Tim and I always make those special occasions so it doesn’t become habit. With that being said, I would definitely go back to DC Vegetarian when I want a warm, filling sammie on my lunch hour that won’t bust my wallet (just my tummy).

Tips Here, Tips There

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This post is dedicated to tips on food budgeting and reducing our impact on the environment.

Food Budgeting:

I am very, very meticulous about how I spend money and manage my finances. I also love grocery shopping, cooking, and baking (and eating, obviously!). But it can be difficult not to overspend on groceries, especially when you don’t have a plan or a shopping list ahead of time. When Tim and I first moved to Portland, we lived off a very small combined income and I budgeted our groceries to around $40 per week. It wasn’t easy, but we managed. Over the years our cooking abilities have grown and so have our lifestyles (we went vegan together just over three years ago). The cost of food has increased, the economy is a messy rollercoaster of nonsense, and we are both severly underpaid in our careers. Yet, we still manage to eat the most wonderful meals every week without stressing over funds. How? Several years ago Tim came up with the best plan for budgeting our grocery expenses (and I am sure many other people do this as well): We sit down together the same night each week with a stack of cookbooks and choose seven meals to have for dinner over the next week. We write down each recipe and include the cookbook and page number and then clip the list to the refrigerator for reference. Then we build our grocery list around those meals and add to the list any staples we might need like milk, apples, toilet paper, etc. Using this method ensures that we use the numerous cookbooks we have and buy only what we really need at the store. We shop at a few different places so I also code our list so we know what to purchase at each store. That might sound nerdy and overly organized, but it really works. Planning ahead makes a huge difference!!! And, because we aren’t tossing stuff willy-nilly into our cart, we can buy organic produce and special treats. Sometimes we do fall victim to the “that’s not on the list but I want it” situation, and that’s OK – I don’t want to live too strictly!!! But overall this method has worked for us for the last five years, at least.

Reducing Our Impact on the Environment:

There are a million and one ways to reduce our impact on the environment (check out a previous post on the subject here) yet our planet is suffering more and more every day. Here are a handful of my favorite tips (food-related) for treading lightly (I know many of you already do these things, but its still fun to share):

1. Use canvas/cloth/fabric shopping bags instead of plastic. Not only are they roomier than plastic, but they  have nice straps so that you can carry them over your shoulders. They are prettier, last longer (sturdier!!) and can be washed. Most importantly, they don’t end up in landfills or as litter on the street like plastic bags do. If you want more information on how terrible plastic bags are for the environment visit this website (you can purchase reusable bags from the site as well). Or, check out Jessica’s post on how she made her own bags from old t-shirts!!! Crafty, crafty!!!

2. Stop using plastic produce bags at the grocery store. Tim and I made a bunch of our own bulk food and produce bags last year.  You can also buy some pretty nifty bags online if you aren’t a sewer. Here are two of my favorites: Qwerty O and Kootsac. I understand that not all grocery stores will allow customers to use their own produce bags, but I’ve never had any troubles. If you shop at co-ops or other local stores, you could try bringing in clean containers for purchasing liquid bulk items like agave or maple syrup. Lots of places will even let you bring in jars to fill with dry bulk goods. Just make sure to tare the weight of the container first!!!

3. Reuse  packaging. When Tim and I buy packaged cereal, we save the inner sleeve and use it to store raisins or other dried fruits. We will also wrap sammies in them for packable lunches. The cardboard box becomes scratch paper or packing material for mailing gifts. Bread bags become a way to store kale or carrots in the fridge. You get the idea. We try really hard to avoid plastic packaging, but it isn’t always possible. Just do the best you can.

4. Buy foods in bulk. This tip is a combination of the last two tips. If you buy in bulk, you save money and eliminate wasteful packaging. Plus, there is such a great variety of bulk foods – it’s so much fun to cruise down bulk food aisles!!!

5. Save veggie scraps (ends of carrots, tops of onions, leafy celery bits, mushroom stems, etc) in a container in your freezer. When your container is full, you can make veggie broth! I don’t do this enough, but I should!

6. Buy local, seasonal, and organic whenever possible. I know this is a tough one, but it is incredibly rewarding. Shop at farmers markets! Buying locally means less fuel wasted in transfer = less pollution. You are also supporting local farmers which is mighty nice! When you buy what is in season, you get yummy, fresh, happy produce!!!

Those are my favorite tips! What are some of yours?