Viva La Vegan!

WEDNESDAY 23rd: Portland, OR & Blossoming Lotus

I had organised the blue Super Shuttle to pick me up from my hotel in Beverly Hills and drive me to the airport for my flight at 13:25 to Portland, OR.  I got picked up at 10:15 and we only had one couple to pick up en route.  Waiting at the LA airport is not fun at all.  There's no good food places, just the regular unhealthy, fat-ladded, rubbish that is everywhere nowadays.  Why don't we have more choices than 4 similar "restaurants"?  So I thought I would wander around the airport for awhile as I like to do that, but there wasn't much of an area to wander around in.  So I ended up giving a few friends in the US a call, chatted to a lovely family from Eugene and uploaded and edited my photos from LA.

My flight left at 13:25 and I arrived in Portland, Oregon at 15:40 and the weather was beautiful! My shuttle bus driver had said that it was raining in Portland on the trip to the airport and I was very impressed that the weather had cleared for me!  My good friend, Imber and her husband Mark picked me up and we headed to Blossoming Lotus for a late lunch/early dinner.


We started off with Live Nachos US$9: spiced tomato & walnut chips, seasonal squash nacho cheese and taco crumbles topped with tomato, onion, cilantro (coriander), scallion (spring onion ), cashew sour cream and avocado goddess sauce.  This is a simply DIVINE dish!


The above is the Oregon mushroom special that Mark & Imber shared.  I had the Four Cheese Lasagna (below): layers of fresh seasonal vegetable marinara, semolina noodles, herbed tofu ricotta, roasted garlic & squash mozzarella, and sesame parmesan, served on a bed of steamed kale, topped with lemon-basil cashew cream US$14 Yum!


THURSDAY: Red & Black Cafe and Bold Native

We had a late lunch/early dinner at The Red & Black Cafe after Imber finished work.  Imber & Mark both had the Black Dragon Noodles: wheat noodles, zesty peanut sauce, carrots. cilantro (coriander), sesame and lime US$5 and I had The Insurrectionist sandwich: house-made tempeh tuna salad, herbed veganaise, lettuce chiffonade (long thin strips) and shredded carrots US$6.25  Mark and I had a cupcake each as well (US$2.50 each) but I forgot to take a photo ;(


This place has a very grassroots, community, anti-establishment feel and the prices are great.  They were out of a lot of additional items on the menu which wasn't good.  Take someone here if you are on a budget, if you want to browse their great selection of books and if you or your meal date have eclectic taste.


After dinner we attending a viewing for Bold Native at the Portland University as part of the Let Live conference.  This movie was ten years in the making, Denis Henry Hennelly & Casey Suchan answered questions afterwards along with a few cast members.  This is a film that was created to inspire and create discussion, and is aimed mostly at an audience who already have some idea of animal rights and the Animal Liberation Front, though it's in an easily-digestible format so that those who know not much about either can can go along with the film and hopefully find out more in the process.  It's great to see some well-known vegan and animal rights people in the film and was great to see Nik Tyler & Erin in the film who I had interviewed a couple of days ago!

FRIDAY: Imber's birthday dinner at Portobello & Let Live launch


Imber, Mark & I headed to Portobello where the lovely Jackson met us, he's travelling around the West Coast of the USA on his motorbike at present so it was great to see him!   This is Imber's favourite restaurant thus a fitting place to take her on her birthday!  Imber and Mark ordered chao cheese, apple, grapes and baguette as an entree (above) US$9


I love the above photo I took of the handmade linguine I had US$7 (half serve) which consisted of Red Pepper linguine, zucchini and corona beans.  Jackson had Arraviata pizza (below) that had vegan sausage on it.  Mark & Imber ordered the ravioli.  They also made me a great beet mocktail, very sweet but great!


For dessert the birthday girl had a sundae: vanilla coconut bliss ice cream, chocolate sauce, hazelnuts and cherries US$6 Jackson had an Apple tart with Streusel topping (flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt & butter) and vanilla coconut bliss ice cream US$7 and I had an immensely divine Raw Chocolate Tart US$12:


We were meant to get to the Let Live conference talk earlier but hadn't ordered our desserts until after Andy Stepanian's talk was on so we only caught a bit of the Spelling Bee.  Not my thing at all, but there were a heap of people enjoying themselves.

SATURDAY: Let Live conference & Portobello

Today was the real start of the Portland Let Live conference at Portland University.  There was around 30 tables of all different Animal Rights groups. I made some great contacts, networked a lot and made some great new vegan friends! As I had a stall for Viva la Vegan! I didn't get to attend some of the great talks available throughout the day, but had a wander around the room and managed to check out the Farmers Markets downstairs for a bit when Jackson was looking after my stall.  The Farmers Markets are great with quite a few vegan options (I had a dhal curry from one of the vendors) there were bands and musicians playing, great fresh produce and a lot of people gathering around in the sun!

We went to Portobello for dinner, in what most people thought was meant to be more of a standing, sociable occasion, but instead it was exactly the same as the night before, though a lot busier. At least there were some new options on the menu including Mark's pizza US$9 and my first taste of Daiya cheese:


Imber and I both had the lasagne and I had Strawberry cheesecake for dessert US$6, though we were all disappointed when the raw chocolate tart I'd had the night before wasn't available...



Portobello is meant to always be busy with many people waiting for a table for hours.  They've actually just moved into a bigger place as well! We didn't have to wait too long to get out table or meals but if you come after 7pm you will most likely have to wait for awhile - some people have waited for 2 hours!

SUNDAY: Let Live conference & Bye and Bye Bar

Sunday was the last day of the Let Live conference which was a great networking experience.    The focus of the weekend was on creative activism and there seems to be a huge activism network in Portland. It's so great to meet people you've heard about or been friends with on FaceBook or MySpace for years!  I did a few interviews with some of my new friends:

The wonderful Christopher Greenslate who with his partner released the book, On a Dollar a Day, about their experiences on living on US$1 a day.  Christopher and his partner Kerri Leonard are both social justice teachers and Christopher has a lot to say about his book, veganism and other social justice issues such as the Falling Whistles campaign for peace.

Then I interviewed Rex Ray who runs Vegan Threat: podcasts on veganism and how to get more active with promoting veganism.  Rex also has a button making business and I look forward to seeing him and Alex when I head to Seattle in a couple of weeks! Rex also interviewed me for his website.

Another great Seattle couple I met were  Kirby Johnson & Anika Ledhe who run Lions Share Industries, a clothing company based in Seattle.  Kirby and I had a great chat and I ran out of time to interview Anika but hope to when I see them in Seattle as Anika runs a great Seattle blog: Vegan Score.

Last but not least, I also interviewed Daniel Tudor who is part of Sparrow Media a group consisting of Andy Stepanian (SHAQ7), Danielle Thompson (Galapagus Preservation Society) and Daniel who are a promotion company focused on using creativity in its many forms to promote social, environmental, political and animal rights issues.

See here for all the above INTERVIEWS.

Mark, Imber and I went to Bye & Bye vegan bar around 22:00 for dinner as the official closer to the Let Live conference.  We all had these HUGE mocktails, served in a jar of all things:


I ordered a simple brown rice, tofu and collared greens meal, Mark & Imber both had sandwiches.



We were very tired when we went home for the night after our big weekend at the Let Live conference.

USA_Adventures_CoverMy USA Adventures - the Book by Leigh-Chantelle (ISBN 978-0-9808484-2-7) is now available to purchase in paperback on Amazon US & Amazon UK, Barnes & NobleEspresso Book Machine and other online retailers. Wholesale info for Retail Stores, Libraries, Colleges, Schools, Universities: Ingram Books.
See HERE for more information.
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