Everything you have heard about Portland being a vegan Mecca is entirely true. I grew up in Kansas City, and although we did have one vegetarian and one vegan restaurant, it was still the Midwest and one of the barbeque capitals of the nation. That was about it. And although any city of decent size – especially those on the coasts – is going to have a lot of vegan options and vegans, period, just because they have large populations…Portland is different. I moved here at the end of August for college and I'm falling more in love with it by the day. It’s not weird to be vegan here. Did you read that? It’s not weird to be vegan here. We have a vegan minimall, multiple vegan bakeries, a vegan grocery, a vegan bike shop, vegan salons, vegan tattoo parlors, a few farm sanctuaries close by, vegan doughnuts, vegan everything. It’s so nice not worrying about going to a random restaurant, just knowing that they will know what vegan is and, other than chain restaurants, are going to be able to provide for you.
My favorite things I’ve done in Portland so far:
Met Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Yes, of Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon, and Vegan Brunch fame. She was at VegFest a few weeks ago and made a total fangirl out of me. Now I want chocolate beer waffles…
Speaking of food, we have that, too. Things I have eaten here: a club sandwich with housemade fake turkey, guacamole, and two layers of sandwich (Vita), a doughnut shaped like a penis (Voodoo), a salad with perfectly-cooked tempeh and just-spicy-enough Thai peanut dressing (Paradox), a fried coconut crème pie (Whiffies), cheese made of sunflower seeds – not mindblowing, but something I’d never seen before (Papa G’s). Come prepared to either ride your bike or get fat.
Veganism is just normal here. At home whenever I would see someone in a ‘VEGAN’ t-shirt, I already knew them, and if the v-word was on a menu, it was only at the vegetarian restaurant. Here I have gotten used to seeing random people with vegan-message clothing/stickers/etc. and banners that say ‘VEGANS WELCOME’ around. This can’t be unique to Portland, but still. It’s nice.
Another thing about Portland is that so many people here are transplants who heard of our city’s glory and migrated, so everyone is welcoming because they know what it’s like to be new. And we have public transportation that works, and trees and mountains and waterfalls, and a great literary community, and naked bike rides, and lots of pretty people doing cool things, and a bookstore that takes up an entire city block, and....
If you want to come here, you should. It’s amazing.