One of the best things about this year's VidaVeganCon
was that I brought my awesome Mom along with me!! It was so fun!
We arrived a day early, and stayed on a extra day after the conference, so that we could also have a little time together in Portland to hang out and visit some family and friends.
With my Momsie at the Galarama
I was really touched by how warm and welcoming everyone at the conference was to my mom. Everyone was just totally awesome and kind and inviting, and a few people even said "I wish I could bring my mom to a vegan conference with me!" (a couple other people actually did! - Hi Hannah!)
My mom isn't vegan, but she is totally down with the program. She is definitely the #1 fan of my blog. She subscribes by email and reads every post I write, and she usually even leaves comments. We always joke that she is my agent, because she is always enthusiastically spreading the word about my blog. I think she enjoyed seeing me in my element, and meeting so many of my bloggie/interwebz friends -- and it was really nice for me to share this part of my life with her!
Here she is, fashioning a podium for our
Vegan Battle Royale game show
out of cardboard boxes and packing tape
She is very resourceful!
|My mom had lots of fun going around to the different vendors and checking out their goodies. In fact, I think she tried more treats and scored more samples than I did! Here she is, beaming happily after her very first time trying kale chips! A momentous occasion!|
Of course, I didn't just death march her through the whole weekend - I showed her a good time too! I took her around to many of Portand's hottest vegan spots for some top notch vegan eating.
Our very first night in town, we went out to Portobello (I made the reservation months ahead of time!). We went with our cousin and one of my best friends (from Junior High and High School) - both of whom live in Portland. It was really wonderful to see them both, and neither of them had been to Portobello before, so that was especially fun.
On Sunday, after the conference was over, we reconnected with our cousin and my pal for an early dinner at Canteen. Everyone's been talking about this spot, and after a weekend of serious indulgence I was more than ready for some wholesome nutrition. I ordered the Portland Bowl: quinoa, black beans, tempeh, carrots and kale, and a delicious sauce. It really hit the spot!
My mom was happy because she got the BBQ bowl with tempeh. She really loves tempeh, but (alas!) my dad is not a fan at all. So, in his absence, she could happily have a dinner full of tempeh!
this is a crazy doodle of me, in Heaven,
with floating pancakes and pieces of french toast.
Dovetail Bakery!Dovetail, my A#1 favorite vegan bakery. Oh, how I dream of Dovetail. Dovetail was my first stop when we landed, and I also stocked up again before leaving town. I bought a bunch of scones and some muffins to take home with me. We even bumped into Nicole and Dan from Upton's Seitan who were also stocking up on goodies for their flight. Great minds think alike!
After a fun day of poking around the Pearl District... we had time for one last dinner together - and after consulting with my various vegan pals, I herded my gang over to PDX's new hot spot: Departure. It was a totally great experience!
This place is a total trip! It's up on the very top of a big, tall building in downtown Portland. You take the elevator to the 15th floor, and when you step out of the elevator, you are in a long space age tunnel-like hallway lit up with pink lights and mirrors. It is a really fun place to goof off!
just a few of the many dishes we tried and loved!
But once you emerge from the dark tunnel, you enter the restaurant/lounge area which is spacious and modern and awash in natural light - with gorgeous views of the whole of Portland. It's a really lovely space.
Plus - let's talk about the real issues here - the food was totally dynamite! Departure isn't a vegan restaurant, but they do have a whole separate vegan menu, with 22 items on it. The dishes are served tapas-style, with the idea that everyone will share and have a few bites. We ordered and ordered and ordered, and in the end we tried 11 dishes AND a dessert. We were all really impressed with the food: great flavor, beautiful presentation, ample options, generous servings, fresh ingredients... I could go on and on. This was food I wouldn't (couldn't??) make for myself at home and it was just glorious to revel in so many flavors and textures that were lovingly assembled and presented. I absolutely cannot wait to get back here some day. Soon!
With our bellies stuffed full of deliciousness,
and our suitcases all packed full of goodies, we headed off to the airport.
There was still one last adventure awaiting us!!!
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, checked our bags, and went through security with no problemos. What's this? A Starbuck's? Let's get a coffee and relax before our flight.
Or, rather: Let's get a coffee and start checking emails and Facebooking on our fancy little iPads until we miss our flight!! That is what happened, friends. For realz. In all my years of travel, I have never made such a rookie mistake. After a few minutes of totally uncool flustered distress, I realized that the only option was to suck it up and laugh at myself! I was just having so much fun looking at everyone's VVC pictures on Facebook - look at the trouble it caused me! ha ha.
The fellow at the gate was very kind and understanding, but he just couldn't open the doors for us (even though the plane was still sitting right there!!). However, he could put us on standby for the next flight. Yay! However, the next flight was at 6 am the following day. Boo! Ha ha, we really got ourselves in a pickle!
(I love this picture)
The next morning (at 5 a.m.!!!) we returned to the scene of the crime.
We needed our coffee more than ever, but this time we knew better than to linger there - we took our coffees straight to the gate! Lesson learned, my friends. Lucky for us, we had our stash of scones from Dovetail Bakery, so even our 5 am breakfast was pretty damned classy. Only in Portland!