Category Archives: Laughing Planet Cafe (Portland)

Oregon! Part 1

The boyfriend and I had an amazing time in Oregon over Labor Day Weekend!  We flew into Bend, a little ski town about a 3 hour drive from Portland, where we visited friends, strolled about in the fall-y weather, and drank many, many barrel-aged craft beers at the Little Woody Beer Festival.  It was so awesome to be in cool weather–it felt wonderfully autumnal.  Although waking up in the morning to find it’s literally 40 degrees outside was a little scary, as the warmest clothing I had with me was a hoodie.  See–here I am freezing:

There a lot of cool places in Bend but my most exciting find is what is now my favorite bookstore in the world (yes, I say that even after visiting Powell’s in Portland the very next day.)  Between the Covers is a tiny, sun-soaked shop with a well-curated selection of books and, more importantly, classic candy.  They also have the most gorgeous pup welcoming guests at the entrance.

While we had divine meals at McKay Cottage and Jackson’s Corner, the highlight of my eats in Bend was the unbelievably creamy Blueberry Lavender smoothie I picked up at Mother’s Juice Cafe.  I never would have thought to incorporate lavender into a smoothie, but since I’ve been home I have been recreating the recipe often!

Our time in Bend was way too short.  I could have easily passed the whole week ambling along the river by day and sampling the zillions of local microbrews by night.  But alas, Portland was calling, so we hopped in a rental car and took off.

Here’s a cloudy view of Mt. Hood on the pretty drive:

We ended up getting into Portland pretty late, so we checked into Hotel Monaco and then booked it to the only restaurant on my list of places to eat that was open: Laughing Planet Cafe.  This mini-chain, with locations all over Oregon, has a menu that is right up my alley: the ingredients are unprocessed and tend to be sourced locally (although it’s not vegetarian so some of those locally sourced foodstuffs are meats.)  I ordered the “Soylent Green” which the menu describes as “shitake barley-quinoa pilaf, steamed chard, broccoli, and organic tempeh.”  One can choose between a cilantro pesto or a shitake mushroom sauce to top it all off. I went with the mushroom and am happy I did because it really made the dish.  The pilaf itself was really well done–it had the perfect chewy texture.

All mixed up:

Boyfriend had a basic burrito that was really good.  Laughing Planet is the kind of place that I think I would eat at all the time if I lived in Oregon.  It’s a great place to get healthy, inventive meals for low prices.  With that said, if you are just visiting Portland, you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to eat at Laughing Planet, as there are so many other vegan and vegetarian places you should hit.  But if you happen to be hungry and there is one nearby, it’s definitely worth checking out.  Personally, I’m eying the Thai-Me-Up Burrito–complete with pico de gallo AND peanut sauce– for my next trip.

The next morning, we woke up and hopped on bikes provided by our lovely hotel.  I adored our hotel, by the way.  Our room was beautiful and the location was ideal.  We walked, rode our bikes, or took public transportation easily to every place we went.  If you are looking for accomdations in PDX, I highly recommend Hotel Monaco.

We rode over the Williamette river to Sweet Pea Baking Company, situated in the famous all-vegan strip mall, complete with vegan bakery, clothing shop, grocery store, and tattoo parlor:

I thought a selection from Sweetpea’s fine loose leaf tea selection with a cinnamon roll would be the perfect breakfast.

Unfortunately the cinnamon roll was a tad stale.  It was really dry and tough.  I think it had probably been sitting out for a long time.  However, this didn’t seem to bug me all that much judging by the after pic:

BF ordered “The Katie John Rainboots” which was your typical chickpea-based mock tuna sandwich.

While I didn’t have the best baked good at Sweetpea, I will definitely give it another shot when I make it back to Portland, if only because it’s so bright and cheery (and animal product-free, woo!) in there I couldn’t not go back, even if just for a cup of tea.

That concludes the first part of my Oregon trip.  Stay tuned for part two which includes outings to Voodoo Doughnut and Vita Cafe, among other deliciousness!