Of Roots and Blooms Vegan Food

Of Roots and Blooms recently made an announcement that they are working on two cookbooks and unspecified future projects TBD so if you haven’t been before, it’s only a few weeks before they are changing their schedule. Up until end of September they will pop up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont, and up to end of August they will finish popping up Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. After that, who knows what will happen: apparently not even owners Nick and Carina, who only share that they don’t have anything solid except knowing “this while operation is about to morph into a new incarnation and life phase”

So hurry in now to try some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had! Here’s a look at some example greatness Of Roots and Blooms vegan food I’ve been able to enjoy to entice you to try it, and that vegan food isn’t all raw or dry food – it can be luxuriously rich too in the right hands.

This grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart.
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart. Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their grilled cheese with cashew fromage fort, cheddar, spinach, toasted levain and side of chips reminds me when I first fell in love with them as a Cheese Plate cart.

And just as you would expect, this mac and cheese is so rich and creamy that you can barely tell it’s not real cheese but vegan cheese. This is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination’s Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives.
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination's Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their IPA Mac and Cheese, made with Culmination's Phaedrus IPA and topped with rushed pretzels and chives

One of the things that really impresses me though beyond that is how incredible and inventive they are at creating vegan adoptions of East Coast seafood, like New England clam chowder, shrimp scampi, clammy linguine, meatball or cheesesteak sandwiches. This is their surprisingly evocative of the sea but vegan and so velvety Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Oyster Stew with cashew potato cream and oyster mushrooms, served with oyster crackers

Or how about when they made Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas.

Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Lobster Ravioli with vegan lobster meat, chives and almond ricotta stuffed into red bell pepper pasta with tomato saffron cream sauce with Calabrian chilies and almond ricotta topped with arugula and peas

Don’t miss out on desserts either – which can varry to mousse to cheesecake and more. This is the Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce
Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce Of Roots and Blooms pops up every Wednesday at Bottles on Fremont and Sundays at Culmination Brewing offering rotating vegan delights. This Of Roots and Blooms vegan food example is their Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake with rhubarb sauce

You can follow OfRootsandBlooms on Instagram to see what will be their menu of the week – they change every week. As mentioned, they are at noon to 8 pm at Culmination Brewery (2117 NE Oregon) until end of August and Wednesday at 3-10 PM at Bottles (5015 NE Fremont) until end of September and after that it’s unclear.

Have you heard of Of Roots and Blooms vegan food before, what do you think of some of the dishes they offer, what would you try?

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Aviv PDX

As I included in my Eater PDX round up of pop up restaurants, Aviv PDX is a new entry to the 2017 Portland scene, run with chefs Tal Caspi (Gonzo Falafel and Hummus food truck) and Sanjay Chandrasekaran (Sudra) collaborating together while front of the house is managed by Suzanne Prinsen (Little Bird, Biwa). Together, they offer traditional and twists on familiar and unfamiliar Israeli dishes, all completely vegan. At first their plan was to get to a biweekly popup basis at Sanjay’s Heart Bar on 1125 SE Division Street. However last week they announced they are turning Aviv PDX into the restaurant replacing Heart Bar, which opens May 3 and is open seven days a week 11AM – 10PM. Here’s a look at when they were initially popping up and I attended their second seating of the evening at 8PM.

Setup of Aviv PDX Pop up at Heart Bar Setup of Aviv PDX Pop up at Heart Bar

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December Dinner at Farm Spirit

On December 16, we decided to celebrate our dating anniversary (hey, fair to celebrate both the dating and wedding anniversary right, especially if you dated a while before you got married, right…) at one of our favorite restaurants in Portland, and definitely the best vegan restaurant we’ve ever been to Farm Spirit. We opted for the later 7:45 seating instead of the earlier Friday seating which was a more convenient time for us to get there after work and because for the slightly higher price there may be additional courses at this grand tasting dinner.
Farm Spirit Wine Reserve Wine Flight, Wine Flight, or Housemade Beverage Flight - purchase before you arrive when making your reservations, or when you arrive, or order a la carte Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from.
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What to Order at Basilisk PDX

There’s 3 things to know here about Basilisk. Order the Fried Chicken, Fried Tofu, and Dan Dan Fries.
Basilisk Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken thigh and house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage and special sauce that needs a knife stabbed through the middle to keep it together

One, their fried chicken sandwich is off the hook and has like two huge pieces stacked on top of each other, which I like eating one by itself and the other in the sandwich, perfect. Also, I am forced to do that because I can’t unhinge my jaw to take a bite when it’s double stacked chicken that is so super crispy on the outside. This Basilisk Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried boneless chicken thigh and house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage, and special sauce needs a knife stabbed through the middle to keep it together.
Basilisk Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken thigh and house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage and special sauce that needs a knife stabbed through the middle to keep it together Basilisk Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken thigh and house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage and special sauce that needs a knife stabbed through the middle to keep it together

Two, the fried tofu sandwich with fried super firm tofu, house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage and special sauce. This is the vegetarian version of the fried chicken sandwich and on some days where I’m trying to be a little healthier, I would intentionally choose this over the fried chicken sandwich. If you’ve had fried tofu in Thai restaurants where it’s crispy on the outside but soft on the inside (usually served ins mall squares and rectangles), that is what this fried tofu sandwich’s tofu is like, but super super sized!
Basilisk vegetarian fried tofu sandwich with fried super firm tofu, house pickled cucumbers, shredded cabbage and special sauce

Three, the vegan Dan Dan fries, a large bowl of hand cut fries covered in peanut sauce, chili oil, baby dill pickles, crushed peanuts, green onions, cilantro and lime. Enough to share for two to four, every fry is crispy (clearly an area of frying expertise at Basilisk) even when doused with all this dan dan on top!
Basilisk vegan Dan Dan fries, Dan Dan fries, a large bowl of hand cut fries covered in peanut sauce, chili oil, baby dill pickles, crushed peanuts, green onions, cilantro and lime

I mean theoretically yes, there are other things on the menu. They have a hot chicken plate where they add Nashville style Basilisk hot sauce over that fried chicken ad add Texas Toast, and you can get versions of green salad vegetarian or topped with the fried chicken or a healthier poached chicken breast. You can also get your sides of fries plain instead of dan dan style, or get mac salad or cabbage slaw. But the three I named before… those are the best things on the menu.

If you had to get something else, it would be one or two of the things I already mentioned as the 3 things you need to know… and then wrap it up with their dessert offering of their Kool Aid ice cream in a cone or cup. The Kool Aid flavor rotates. The fact that it’s Kool Aid flavor fits perfectly into the hip vibe here.
Inside of Basilisk Portland Inside of Basilisk Portland
Inside of Basilisk PortlandInside of Basilisk Portland
Basilisk PDX interior Basilisk PDX interior Basilisk PDX Business Card Holder Basilisk PDX Tip Jar

After you order at the counter, you will get a numbered table card for them to deliver the food. You bus the dishes afterwards to to a counter area a bit farther down from where their register and kitchen is, where there are water and rubber tubs with a sign reassuring you can put the trays and plates and silverware all together.
Basilisk PDX Basilisk PDX - where you bus your dishes

Basilisk is part of The Zipper concept, which offers multiple microrestaurants that each have their small restaurant space and also a larger shared common dining area. If you wanted, you could go around ordering from multiple vendors at the Zipper and gather a meal of fried chicken, falfafel, pizza and more.

Basilisk is open Monday – Sunday 11 AM – 10 PM at 820 NE 27th Avenue in
Portland.

What would you order at Basilisk? Where is your favorite fried chicken sandwich in Portland?

Basilisk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Farm Spirit Vegan Restaurant

I visited Farm Spirit Vegan Restaurant last year as part of my September Dinner celebrating my wedding anniversary with F. Then earlier this month we went for a second visit to see what magic they could pull in terms of their artistic presentation and locally sourced all completely vegan celebration of flavors during a winter season.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Also, we were celebrating a belated Valentine’s and dating anniversary. I don’t see why once you get married you wouldn’t celebrate both the dating anniversary and wedding anniversary, right? For Valentine’s we stayed in on the actual day and made fondue at home because it’s just too crowded and it’s more expensive to dine out – so we make this “Valentine’s Date Night” on a day after the actual holiday instead.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Although Farm Spirit has a set spot that they use, they operate as a pop up restaurant where you purchase tickets to your dinner before you go from their website for either Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening  – there is only one seating per day. Your online reservation will be to one of their Tasting Menu chef’s choice dinner courses for $75. The tickets prices listed already include a gratuity, so after paying for your reservation you only need to show up and enjoy! The courses are all vegan, and by request can be prepared gluten free too with advance notice. Some dishes do contain nuts.

Additionally, you can choose to buy a supplement of a beverage pairing of 6 total glasses to go with dinner that is either non-alcoholic ($27) or wine pairings($38). You can purchase this when you make your dinner reservations, or wait until you arrive and see the menu for the evening to choose, or purchase each glass a la carte.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

The logistics of service will change in April. They plan to have more seatings per night, starting at 5:15pm and going as late as 8:30pm by not seating all their 14 seats at once. When I return again to see their spring line up I’ll have to let you know how that is!

Even when they change their seatings, I expect they will continue their gorgeous presentation, vigilance to fine dining service with changing out of silverware and attentiveness to filling your beverage and making sure you want for nothing. But there’s no pretense here, In fact it is the exact opposite –  still very laid back as they might sing or dance a little to the music streaming, and they don’t mind and in fact encourage if you use your hands to eat, lick the sauce from the plate, and maybe when serving dessert serve themself a little bit of ice cream too.

When you arrive, you will look for your seats labeled with your last name,  all the seats are part of a chef’s counter so you can see them plating the next courses and speak freely with them on how they were inspired or created their dish.
Farm Spirit - a February dinner at their location at 1414 SE Morrison St, Portland

Then, the parade of colors begins… we were welcomed first with warm homemade bread with local olive oil as we waited for the other guests to arrive. Did you know you can get locally made olive oil in Portland from Oregon Olive Mill? At the end of the meal, we saw Chef Tim preparing the rolls for the dinner the next evening as our dinner service was ending so they would have time to rise – so your bread truly is made fresh that day that you are served it.
Greeted with homemade warm bread when seated at Farm Spirit while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive at the single seating that evening. This will change in April when they go to multiple seatings, but maybe the bread will still be the welcome dish! Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, Chef Tim preparning the homemade rolls to rise for tomorrow's dinner

Head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spirit staff we’ll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Tim, and Chef Taylor.
February 2016 Farm Spirit Dinner night - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Tim, and Chef Taylor The motley crew of Farm Spirit PDX - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Taylor, and Chef Tim (left to right) The motley crew of Farm Spirit PDX - head Chef Aaron Adams introduces everyone on the Farm Spiritstaff we'll be seeing this night, including himself, Chef Ricardo, Chef Taylor, and Chef Tim (left to right)

Now the dinner courses:

We selected the Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing, where there is one glass paired with every 2-3 courses. That started with Lemon and Thyme Kefir.
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lemon and Thyme Kefir Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lemon and Thyme Kefir

Bouquet with filbert yogurt to snack, a dish we were encouraged to eat with our hands by holding the little bouquet and dipping it by not being provided silverware. I wiped the yogurt off the plate with my fingers til nothing was left.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Bouquet with filbert yogurt to snack

As always, it’s fascinating watching the plating magic happen and their exquisite eye to detail – and the tease of seeing the next dish be created before your eyes and aromas of the next course after that being prepared!
Farm Spirit - careful plating that you can watch and you can talk to the chefs with questions as you sit at a chef's counter Farm Spirit - careful plating that you can watch and you can talk to the chefs with questions as you sit at a chef's counter

Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Warm smoked beets and preserved wild blackberries with fir, petite greens, and buckwheat

The next beverage pouring was Anise spiced Apple Juice
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Anise spiced Apple Juice Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Anise spiced Apple Juice

Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Arugula raab, smoked walnut milk, raw croutons, herb stems, and itty bitty kale chips

We were all wiping the plate clean of this rich next dish of Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot – porcini jus, I was so impressed how melt in your mouth and flavorful this is without having to resort to the normal butter and cream or lots of garlic which are the usual supporting players.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot - porcini jus Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Smoked potato puree, charred leeks, potato chips, ash, and black shallot - porcini jus

Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil. This beauty took a while to compose, and it was fascinating how they sealed those pretty little leaves into “ravioli”. It’s dishes like this that show off how just because food is vegan doesn’t mean it can’t be bold without having to resort to a lot of spices – here fermentation to produce the kvass (a fermented liquid).
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Swiss chard stuffed like ravioli with cultured filbert, vegetal kvass, and parsley oil

Next up for the drink pairing on the housemade non alcoholic side was Ginger Beer
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Ginger Beer Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Ginger Beer

When we saw the carrot course of Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs coming up F and I were bracing ourselves because it was our least favorite dish from our last dinner in September, but this time we really enjoyed it – the herbal flavor was dialed back from our initial experience.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Roasted carrots with burdock puree and herbs

Next Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing – Earl Grey Kombucha
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Earl Grey Kombucha

Sunchoke (pureed flesh and crispy skins), watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree was my least favorite of the night, if I had to choose from. I’ve enjoyed many a crispy sunchoke whether it be fried or baked and these didn’t measure up to the memory of those. I didn’t mind the watercress or the sunflower puree – but the sunchoke didn’t seem to get elevated in any way I could discern, which seemed like a missed opportunity when they were hitting it out of the ballpark with all the other dishes.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Sunchoke pureed flesh and crispy skins, watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Sunchoke (pureed flesh and crispy skins, watercress pudding and fermented sunflower seed puree

Wild winter shroom, parsnip puree, turnip rapini, black garlic, and texture of roots
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Wild winter shroom, parsnip puree, turnip rapini, black garlic, and texture of roots

The most pretty beverage of the evening, Lingonberry Sage Rejuvelac
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Lingonberry Sage Rejuvelac

At first, F saw how the little bruschetta like next course featuring pickled red onion and mustard seed sounded plain, and that as a non-onion lover he wouldn’t enjoy it. Thankfully, when we actually tried the course of Tim’s Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac, pickled red onion, and mustard seed, my hunch that Chef Tim’s homemade Volkornbrot bread would easily be able to stand up to such strong sounding flavors proved to be right. If I had to go on a diet of just bread and water, I would definitely pick Volkornbrot because it’s so hearty and filling packed with grains and seeds that’s healthy but also packed with chewy texture and flavors. If you haven’t had it before, I recommend visiting one of my favorite artisan bakeries in town, Fressen that specializes in German style bread. Anyway, when it comes to vegan bread though Tim’s Volkornbrot is the best vegan bread period I’ve ever had.
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Tim's Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac, pickled red onion, and mustard seed Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is Tim's Volkornbrot with puree of filbers soured in rejuvelac

Now we are getting to the last and final home stretch, the 2 dessert courses, and the final housemade beverage pairing of Sarsaparilla Kefir
Farm Spirit Non Alcoholic Housemade Beverage Pairing - Sarsaparilla Kefir

Fred’s favorite dessert of the two dessert courses was this Chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the one of two final courses of dessert, here A chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the one of two final courses of dessert, here A chewy and soft apple with chestnut and rosemary

However I throw my vote to possibly the healthiest dessert I’ve ever enjoyed, the Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the last course and our 2nd dessert, here Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, this is the last course and our 2nd dessert, here Pumpkin seed ice cream, butternut, caramel, pumpkin seed milk, and granola

At the end of the meal, Chef Ricardo takes your order for final beverage service to end the meal (included with the meal so regardless of whether you had any wine or housemade beverage pairing). Thoughtfully, you get 4 choices, 2 coffees (caffeinated and decaffeinated, and you can get evaporated cane juice and/or hazelnut milk) or 2 teas (I went with the oolong here).
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end you have choice of coffee or tea, and there are caffeinated and uncaffeinated options as well Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end you have choice of coffee or tea, and there are caffeinated and uncaffeinated options as well

And sweetly, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to go that you can enjoy while thinking back on your wonderful meal during breakfast the next morning
Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to have for breakfast the next morning Farm Spirit Dinner in February 2016 - all vegan fine dining, at the end they send you home with a little baked good to have for breakfast the next morning

If you’re married, do you celebrate your dating anniversary? And whether you are independent or partnered, do any of the courses we had that night call out to you that you’d want to try?

 

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