Unforgettable vegan soul food


reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

This past June, I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Portland at Blossoming Lotus. For my birthday, my hubby and I made last-minute plans for a friend to watch the pets and drove up to Portland on Saturday. Because it was my birthday weekend, hubby let me do whatever I wanted and gamely went along without complaining. I was able to attend a bit of the Let Live Conference, but mostly I just wanted to hang out with my best friend (and he’s not into conferences and crowds). After checking into the University Place Hotel near PSU for a ridiculously good price due to Let Live, and filling up on vegan food cart fare, we made our way over to check out the vegan mini mall for the first time. Later, we decided to forgo the overcrowded Portobello, and after getting lost a few times, we found our way to Blossoming Lotus in the NE. (I’ve tried to go to Portobello every time I’ve gone to Portland, and something always thwarts my efforts, but I will prevail one of these days!)

It was a Saturday night, but we didn’t have to wait long. Blossoming Lotus is fine dining—candles and tablecloths—but at the same time comfortable and unpretentious. It manages to feel both spacious and cozy (if I remember right, there are high ceilings and big windows). Our waiter was very friendly and patiently explained all of the options and let us know his favorites. I remember feeling so pleased to be in a nice restaurant where I didn’t have to comb the menu for something that could be made vegan, and where I didn’t have to ask about hidden ingredients like chicken broth or dairy. Everything on the menu was vegan by default, and much of it was raw. All of it was fantastic.

My husband ordered the Live Sampler, with so many new tastes, and we shared an order of Live Nachos. These nachos were some of the best nachos I’ve every had: “spiced tomato & walnut chips, zucchini tahini nacho cheese and ground walnut chorizo, topped with onion, tomato, cilantro, scallion, cashew sour cream and avocado ranch, served with a lime wedge.” For my main course, I had the 4 Cheese Lasagna, which was was truly delicious. I believe they make all their own cheeses there, including “herbed tofu ricotta, roasted garlic & squash mozzarella, and sesame parmesan… topped with cashew cream.” For desert, there was raw cheesecake. (It was good, but I couldn’t get over the fact that it smelled so much like coconut that it reminded me of suntan lotion.) All in all it was a long, lovely birthday dinner, full of great food and excellent company. I’ve been back several times since—on almost every trip to Portland—bringing along friends or business acquaintances. My other favorite dish there is the BBQ Tempeh Platter. If feels great to eat so well and at the same time use my food dollars to vote against cruelty.

On your next trip to Portland, make sure not to miss this great little restaurant. And Powell’s, of course. We spent several hours there the next day.

Honorable mention for best meal of the year: Vegan Thanksgiving.

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