Veganism and Portland go hand in hand. From the physical presence of the four-store mini mall that houses Herbivore Clothing Company’s retail location, Sweetpea Baking Company, Scapegoat Tattoo parlor, and Food Fight! Vegan Grocery to one of the country’s most outgoing, outspoken, and creative veg communities, Portland reigns veganly supreme.
Taco truck fare might be ubiquitous in places like New York City or Los Angeles, but no town boasts more vegan trucks than Portland. More than 50 carts offer vegan options, and there’s a cart for just about any cuisine imaginable. Los Gorditos has the Mexican food market locked up, Asaase Ital Palace takes care of hungry Rastas, the all-vegan Native Bowl prepares barbecued tofu bowls with fresh veggies and creative sauces, and Sonny Bowl serves up saucy lunches. Portland boasts one thing that few if any other cities can: a vegan food writer for its major online newspaper, The Oregonian. Grant Butler recorded his journey from omnivore food writer to vegan initiate for The Oregonian, which has drawn national attention.
Try Vegan PDX recently put on the first ever Vegan Iron Chef competition, which pitted top veg chefs against each other in culinary battle. (The secret ingredient? Chocolate. The victor? Qausu AsaaseYaa of Asaase Ital Palace.) The group organizes Try Veg Week annually, and has capped off the week-long festival of veg-friendly events with a vegan prom for the last two years. Websites and blogs like vegportland.com, stumptownvegans.com, and getsconedpdx.com keep tabs on new restaurants, which is no easy feat in this veggie-fueled town. Chances to connect with fellow cruelty-free crusaders abound at the many conferences held throughout the year, including the Let Live Conference, the Animal Law Conference, and Portland VegFest.
Number of vegan restaurants: 20
Favorite local find: Vegan white Russians at all-vegan bar the Bye and Bye. Is there anything better?
Why living here rocks: Foodies who want to get local can pick their own produce on conveniently located Sauvie Island.