The day after VidaVeganCon was strange. The weather changed; Portland took on the rainy grey demeanor it is known for. I had only planned to stay until Sunday night, leaving for New Orleans (by bus), but strange weather conditions (in the east – re: hurricane Irene) made that unlikely and just an all around bad idea. But instead of busing it back to Toronto, I opted to fly, since I was missing both my human and my feline friend(s) at home.
The extra day gave me a great opportunity to stay at Hawthorne Hostel, a place I’ve always been curious about. A friend, Ainslie of Everyone Is Vegan, was also staying there that night, so it was all around perfect. I packed up my things (oh so much swag), said bye bye to Mimi (the cat I was sharing a futon with, and pictured above) and used the heck out of the Trimet system.
Hawthorne hostel is in a great location (3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR). Close enough to walk to downtown Portland (or a 15 minute bus ride), bus service right outside, and near multiple vegan food and drink places. Plus they very ecologically conscious, with an eco-roof, which helps to soak up rain for their rainwater system (which they use to provide water for their toilets), and use eco-friendly cleaning products. Plus they have free bagels and a cute hostel cat named Sherba (she was not interested in being photographed).
We walked over to the Sweet Hereafter (3326 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR), a vegan bar from the same folks as the Bye and Bye. Vegan bar… it just still doesn’t seem possible, but it’s Portland, so there it is. I was pulled in with the promise of mason jar sized long islandish iced teas (aka “The Hereafter”) and giant sandwiches. They promised, and they delivered. And here is where I deliver an blurry flash-less photo of my Buffalo Sub.
The next day, I took a look at my bag of (amazingly great) swag, and realized that I wouldn’t be able to take my Food for Lover’s Queso in my carry on, so I did the most obvious thing. I bought some tortilla chips and had the best breakfast ever (and ate an entire jar of Queso.)
It’s pretty good, which might be saying something, considering I’m in the 3% of vegans that doesn’t generally like nutritional yeast. I had tried a bit from the Food for Lover’s folks at the convention, in order to decide whether I would keep my jar or give it away. One bite, and I thought, huh, this is actually nice, and put it in the keep pile (with everything else).
If I was at home, I would have poured a bit in a sauce pan and heated it, but my available option was the microwave. Two minutes and it was ready to go in my mouth. Rich, creamy and just spicy enough to have a kick, but not overpowering. I’m not sure how they managed to make a fat free product that doesn’t taste like liquefied cardboard, but they made it happen.
Food for Lover’s Queso is slowly making its way into Canada, appearing at Karmavore (in Vancouver/New Westminster, BC) Panacea in Toronto does not seem to have it yet, but the Food for Lovers folks said it was coming soon. I’d love to pick up another jar and share it with friends – mostly because I’m curious to see what they’d think. On the bright side, it is orderable online from a variety of retailers.
I wandered from the Hostel for one last visit to the Vegan Strip Mall on Stark. My preflight traditional trip over to Sweetpea Bakery (1205 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR), was quick, uneventful and cookie-less. I was too full of queso and tortilla chips to want to eat anything, but I regret regret regret not taking a sandwich for the road. One last Portlandian cup of Stumptown coffee and I was ready to go. (But by the way, all Lit Espresso Bar locations in Toronto serve Stumptown Coffee.)
My next post is probably going to be about airports, and how much fun they are. (jk… I mean how they are not fun at all)