Saturday, September 25, 2010

Portobello Vegan Trattoria--best vegan restaurant ever!

I had heard nothing but good things about Portobello Vegan Trattoria in Portland, Oregon, and I couldn't wait to try it. Vegan Italian food? And most of it is made from scratch with local, all natural ingredients? Sounds like heaven to me! My husband and I spent some time in Portland in June but we happened to be there while the restaurant was in the process of moving to a new location, so it wasn't open. :( We decided to take another overnight trip to PDX, and one of the main reasons we wanted to do so was to go to eat at Portobello.

Oh my GAWD it was worth the trip. Here's my story/review:

On Twitter, I had received advice that I should get to the restaurant as early as possible to make sure I could get a table. We arrived a few minutes after they opened at 5:30. The parking lot was teensy, and there were no spots. We circled around the block, and by the time we got back there was an open spot. (Score!)

There was a little line, but we got a table right away. It's a pretty small place, there's not that many tables. After being seated, we looked at the menu and everything sounded jaw-droppingly delicious. As two vegans who are used to ordering plain fries and salads at restaurants half the time, it was astounding all of the amazing vegan dishes they had to offer.

We finally settled on the White Truffle Mushroom Pâté with Accoutrements as our appetizer. It was incredibly savory. A flavor explosion! The pickles that were served with it were great, and the bread was super fresh, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, just like a baguette should be.

We ordered drinks as well, but it took them quite a while to get them to us--probably 15 or 20 minutes. We paused eating like, "um, where's our drinks?" They finally came, though, and our server was really apologetic. They were worth the wait, they've got a really skilled mixologist there. I had a "Limeaide" and it was tart and summery. I could've drank about seven of them, it was one of those drinks that didn't taste strong at all, but sort of is. The dangerous/fun kind! :)

For the main course I ordered Pan Crisped Potato Gnocchi with Sauteed Summer Squashes, Hot Peppers, and Tomato Basil Sauce.

The potatoes inside of the pasta were seasoned perfectly. So was the sauce. I wanted to lick my plate! The hot peppers added a bit of a spicy kick, but it wasn't overpowering, it was just right. They were cooked to perfection, as well, they weren't slimy and overcooked, or too firm. Right in the middle. I got the full serving (they offer half servings) and it was quite a bit of food. Not like the big dishes served at Italian places back east, but it was definitely larger than I expected it to be.

The hubs and I split the gnocchi, and we also split the pizza he got. I had heard really good things about their pizza, so we had to try it. He got the "Heirloom Pie" It had marinara, heirloom squash and tomatoes, basil, and cashew cream on it.

I can't BELIEVE how good it was. It was like, the pizza to end all pizzas. I'm not sure if they cook it in a brick oven, but it kind of tasted like it. The crust was amazing, I've never had tasted a pizza crust that's simultaneously crispy and chewy like that. It wasn't gross or oily at all, and there was just the right amount of their cashew cream on it. The squash was sliced super thin, and it flattened against the crust when it was cooked. So. Fucking. Good. We saved some of it because I wanted to leave room for dessert.

I had heard they have Tiramisu, which is one of the things I've really missed since turning vegan. It used to be one of my favorite desserts, but I hadn't had it in years. We had a terrible time deciding what to get off the dessert menu. Check it out...

I was like, "Tiramisu, baby!" and promised my husband I'd split it with him. He had a hard time deciding what to get. The waitress let me know that the Warm Peach Tart was sold out, but they had baked Warm Blueberry Tarts that morning and that they looked delicious. We decided to get that. It came with a little scoop of Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss on top, that quickly got melty since the tart was waaaaarm. Mmmmmm. The crust was super flaky and buttery. How did they do that!?!! There was crumbly crumbles on top, too. My goodness.

The tiramisu was great, but different than traditional tiramisu, or at least what I remember as tiramisu. The creamy "cheese" part felt silky and sensual on my tongue! The cake part was rather fluffy, and the swirl of chocolate sauce on it was a nice touch. I'd definitely order it again. (and again, and again...) We ordered some dark, strong french press coffee with them, and it complemented both desserts perfectly. They gave free refills as well, which was nice.

We left feeling super satisfied. This is the best vegan restaurant ever! I can't wait to go back to Portland again--this is just one of the amazing restaurants there. Stay tuned for more blogs about tasty PDX adventures.