Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Vegan’

Nutshell Restaurant Has Closed

November 16, 2008 3 comments
Where Will Bigfoot Eat Now

Where Will Bigfoot Eat Now

It comes as little surprise the news that Nutshell Vegan Restaurant has closed. In September I wrote the piece In A Nutshell – They’re Screwed that took a look at how Nutshell had gone from Portland darling to a restaurant precariously on the edge of the “Portland Restaurant Dead Pool”.

That hypothesis became a reality this week when Nutshell threw in the towel and closed their doors.  Perhaps the final nail in Nutshell’s coffin came from Alison Hallett who wrote a sharp criticism of Nutshell in the Portland Mercury review: Cracked Up – Nutshell’s Unsuccessful Revisioning.

Nutshell’s closing is either vindication for chef Sean Coryell (who left the sinking ship) or a sharp condemnation of the owners of Tabla (who also run Ten01, a restaurant which had its own near death experience last year).

To be fair 2008 has proven to be one of the toughest years for Portland restaurants yet.  With a growing list of restaurants closing because of the brutal economy including: Rocket, Kalga Cafe, Banh Cuon Tan Dinh, Genoa, and Carboni’s, the BBQ/wood-fire pizza. We expect at least five more Portland restaurants to join this list befor the year’s end. So if there’s a local Portland restaurant you don’t want to see added to the list, I highly recommend you make sure you dine there a few times before the end of the year, it does really matter.

Categories: Food, Vegan Tags: , ,

Sip – One of Portland's Best Food Carts

November 11, 2008 7 comments
Sip's Owner Brian Serving Amazing Stuff

Sip at People's Food Coop

Despite our sometimes inclimate weather, Portland has a pretty phenomenal food cart scene. While many focus on fairly traditional food cart fair, a handful have unique offerings and are destinations for more than just a main meal.

Of all these food carts Sip is my absolute favorite. Located in the courtyard of the People’s Food Coop (3029 SE 21st Ave), Sip is a small airstream trailer transformed into one of the best fresh juice bars in the entire city. Opened at the start of the summer, Sip made its name by offering devilshly delicious vegan milkshakes, so rich and tasty that even non-vegans could be seen licking their cups. In addition to its indulgent delights, Sip also offers a nice range of fresh and organic juices and smoothies.  On a recent trip I had a tropical green smoothie which is by far the single best smoothie I’ve ever had, anywhere.

With the turn of seasons Sip transitioned its offerings away from milkshakes and on more wintery offerings including hot soups and specialty drinks like milled cider, chai and hot coco. Recent soups have included Thai Red Curry, Vegan “Beef” Stew and Potato Leek.

Sip is a prime example of perfect simplicity, it’s the kind of place you can go, order anything, and know that it’s going to be fresh, organic and delicious.  There are rumblings that Sip’s owner is looking to expand and open a cafe in Portland, an extremely exciting prospect.

Here’s a copy of Sip’s Menu. Some extremely yummy drinks from one of my favorite Portland Food Cart:

Sip Portland Menu

Sip Portland Menu

Categories: Food Tags: , ,

Nutshell Restaurant in Portland is Screwed

September 1, 2008 No comments

Even Bigfood Would Be Bummed

Even Bigfood Would Be Bummed

The restaurant started out of a simple proposition – create a unique place which served gourmet food that used fresh local and natural ingredients and didn’t have any animal products. The words VEGAN weren’t plastered across the sign or on the menu. The food was just Vegan by nature. The restaurant had its roots in a series of very successful Vegan family dinners run by then Tabla chef Sean Coryell. Coryell went to great lengths to produce intricate and flavorful dishes using a wide range of exotic ingredients. Speaking with Sean at those family dinners you’d hear his absolute passion for the food.

Coryell enthusiasm fueled a nearly year long effort to build Nutshell. Opened in late 2007 and located on North Williams, Nutshell won raves from the Veg community and even won over some hardened omnivorous Portland foodies. But no sooner had it opened than the signs began to show that things were not well behind the scenes. An ever changing menu and constant experimentation by Coreyell and almost manic fascination with expanding the restaurant to Tokyo, Hawaii… “global man” created an environment where food could be extremely hit or miss.

Coryell’s departure from Nutshell marked a significant change. The menu with a thousand revolving dishes was simplified down to just a handful, the portions cut back significantly and although the restaurant was built with an open kitchen as its centerpiece the men and women in the kitchen made it perfectly clear they were all about business.

This week Nutshell made another turn. With rumors circulating about its demise and increasing complaints about the food and service Nutshell added butter, eggs and cheese to just about every dish on the menu (There’s even an egg on their pizza). With a bad taste already in their mouth this move infuriated the Vegan community and signaled another clear step towards the end of this once beloved eating establishment.

So what went wrong? Were Coryell’s eyes too big for the patron’s stomach? Did the Tabla team bungle things behind the scenes as they did with the Ten 01 opening? Or is it too much to thing Portland can sustain a gourmet vegan restaurant? (or even a Vegan Strip Club?) I think Portland can absolutely sustain Vegan restaurants, even a gourmet one, but like all restaurants they need to be well run. Just because something is Vegan doesn’t mean it’s going to be an immediate success and adding eggs to your plates doesn’t mean you’ll stay afloat. I’ll be surprised if Nutshell didn’t shutter its doors by the end of the year or completely reinvent itself (ala Ten 01).

Categories: Food, Vegan Tags: , ,

Laughing Planet – Good Solid Eats

August 13, 2008 No comments

laughingplanet I met my friend David Walker today at Laughing Planet on Belmont for lunch. I’ve been to the restaurant many times but today as we were finishing up our lunch it struck me how much I enjoy eating there and just how consistently dependable it is.

What makes Laughing Planet works so well is that they’ve got a very simple concept – healthy bowls and burritos with lots of options. Being Vegan I appreciate just how many vegan friendly choices they have on the menu, and with a fair share of meated options it’s an easy choice when meeting a friend whose omnivorous. I also like that you can add tofu or tempeh to any of their options. Although I’m Vegan I can’t say I have much love for tofu. It’s “OK” and if prepared right I can enjoy it. I enjoy the tangy almost nutty taste of tempeh much more and always feel more full than when scarfing down tofu. I’m also a fan of seitan and it’s various ‘fake meat’ forms.

Its easy not to appreciate some of the good things in life, especially places we visit on a regular basis. They fade into the fabric of things and so it’s nice to just stop for a moment and say… Wow, this place is really something…I’m glad its here!

Categories: Food Tags: , ,