Magnificent Portland hosted the 2013 VVC this past May 24th-26th and I had a most fortunate opportunity to be among the festivities..
I have never had so much contentment on a plane; the turbulence provided a weird form of excitement. I ended up sitting next to an awesome lil ol’ lady who just turned 95. There was a short layover in Denver, CO and just seeing the mountains in the distance was breathtaking. I want to be surrounded by such beauty all the time. From my connection in CO I sat next to a couple who retired in Portland and own three acres of land and live a sweet ass life. I’m sure they worked hard to get there, my goal as I get up there in age…
Upon arrival in Portland, I took the MAX redline straight to downtown. Portland’s pub. trans. system is incredible. It can take you from the airport straight in the heart of downtown for $2.50. And there are trolleys and buses constantly running, such a nice twist from FL. I’m such a fan of being able to walk everywhere too. It’s an automatic stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Downtown was rainy and cold, but excellent nevertheless. I was expecting 44 degrees to be intolerable (Floridian speaking) but it was beautiful out with a slight drizzle, nothing too bothersome.
I wandered around downtown, tried to get lost but I figured out my way pretty easily. I find it particularly fun to find myself amid a new and exciting city. I stumbled across familiar and new stores alike, tons of shops featuring local artists, great food selections, as well as unique brewhouses.
There was a Whole Foods in walking distance :) of course I had to go visit. They offered local wild strawberries for $2.99/lb that were ridiculously wonderful. They are so weird looking it’s perfect; strawberries with long stems, odd shaped bodies, and juicy textures. Even Portland’s almond butter is so much more awesome and crunchy..Ya!
I ate at Freshii for lunch..Had a brown rice teriyaki bowl with broccoli, carrots, chickpeas, cucumber, scallions, and brown rice. Super yum.
I visited Prasad for dinner and have to say it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Portland, or in America in general. Got the Dragon bowl. Kale, quinoa, avocado, sea vegetables, this place is speakin’ my language grr.
The White Owl Social Club hosted the unofficial VVC meet n’ greet, which was supa fun. This lil place was pretty sweet and had a fabulousssssss selection of craft brews, half off too yeah! This started the meet up and acquaintances of awesome peeps. A superb VVC attendee bought me a Ruination IPA (Stone Brewing Co.), which was delightful and then I opted for the OmegaTex Triple IPA (Fort George Brewery). Some sick IPAs if I do say so mahself.
I met up with a lovely lady who was accompanying me to the Doug Fir Lounge later on to see Sea Wolf. We wandered over to Canteen, where I got the Portland Bowl. quinoa, black beans, baked maple tempeh, NW sauce, kale, carrots, hazelnuts. Divine I do say indeed!! Oregon hazelnuts make any dish superb.
After slightly getting lost we made our way to Doug Fir, which was such an awesome and intimate venue..Looked like a log cabin inside. They stamp “bff” and cats on your wrists ha. Sea Wolf put on a swell show. I would love to see all artists at this venue…
First official day of conference, registered and acquired the awesome swag bag and met a crap ton of swell peeps. Swag bag consisted of a plethora of fabulous items. My favorites were the kombucha starter kit, Boodha Body Butter and chapstick, Hail Marry Macaroons, and the various little samples and goodies that will keep me satisfied for months.
Ended up at Prasad again for dinnah :)..I could eat this stuff all day long.
The first day of the spectacular breakfast array, showcasing nine of Portland’s delightful eats.
During the breakfast, the lovely folks over at Portobello announced an arm wrestle challenge for a free cocktail..Hell yeah was I down. I obviously beat the chef with my powerful biceps and was wellfully rewarded a delicious cocktail.
I decided to skip a bit of the conference after breakfast to walk outside and what a beautiful day it was! The rain subsided and I was able to see how gorgeous Portland really is.. High 60’s and sunny, surrounded by trees and parks…I stumbled across the farmer’s market, which happened to be one of the most beautiful sites. I was in heaven with all the kale, mushrooms, lavender, local raw honey, miles and miles of fresh local produce and friendly faces. It was magnificant and I’m glad I was able to even experience such an event. I headed back toward the conference for the amazing food buffet (quinoa, greens, legumes, hemp seeds, tofu, etc.) and then met this awesome gal, Nirel, and we decided to head back to the farmer’s market before it closed after lunch. I purchased some gorgeous raw local honey, sweet strawberries, and scored some local truffle salt, which is probably one of my favorite smells in the entire world. I literally sat in my room and smelled this little bag several times >.<
Not a huge flower person, but these have to be the most magnificent flowers I have laid my eyes on…Black Iris
I can’t believe this goes on every weekend. I am mesmerized by the beauty that lies in every corner of portland.
The honey is art!
Upon returning to the conference, more (coconut milk) ice cream was being served…Coconut Bliss was offering ice cream samples and likewise Peanut Butter & Co. with their fabulous array of peanut butter concoctions, so while you wait in line to eat SO Delicious, you can satisfy your sweet tooth in several ways. I didn’t feel worthy of this! So much food all the time, I wanted to donate some to the starving people out there. I definitely felt privileged, but I can’t help to think of all those who are hungry out in le world…
Speaking of Coconut Bliss, they have one of the best vegan ice creams I’ve had. Their flavors are so unique and addicting. I love how SO Delicious offers sugar-free options too..It’s nice to have that choice when you’re overloading with le sugars all day long. Pb& Co’s peanut butter is divine as well. The white chocolate is probably my favorite, but their pb with spicy spices definitely ranks up there as well..Would be awesome in a thai type stir-fry or something of the like.
After the first-world gluttony, I met up with Jason Das from Supervegan for some major tech help with me blog. Things shall be changing a bit..In time though, I’ve barely been having time lately to update me blog mer :/
Following the end of the conference, I headed over to Scapegoat Tattoo, which showcases some of the most talented tat artists I have seen. I have much respect for Aaron Dubois’s work. Glad I got to meet him before I had to head out; I shall definitely be returning sometime for a sick grizzly bear tattoo (perhaps). I then headed on to Portobello to savor that cocktail I so rightfully earned. I ordered the Hibernator, which had bourbon, walnut liqueur, and orange bitters and was delicious. I wandered and found myself in another tattoo shop and started chatted to the lovely ladies who were chilling there and then decided I should leave before the bourbon started to influence a tattoo design :P.
I wanted to venture on to Hawthorne, but alas I had to study for anataomy/physio. II test that was approaching. Probably a good thing as it was getting late and I have a tendency for desiring to explore and getting lost…I like to be immersed in new surroundings not knowing where the hell I am. Excites me..
Last day of classes, time goes by particularly fast…
I attended a helpful advanced photography lecture and picked up some tips on home lighting and DIY props.
I then meandered to a recipe creation class afterward, but I just couldn’t sit still in a classroom knowing that I was in PORTLAND and my vacation was coming to an end :(. Just walking up and down downtown portland, seeing the trees made me so happy. The weather was always gorgeous and I felt so at home here. It’s so much friendlier in Portland, people actually say hi to you when you pass them on the streets (well most of them, but it’s a step up from the 1% back in FL)..Just conversing with strangers made me feel at ease. The city exudes a welcoming sensation and I’m so fortunate for having been granted this opportunity to explore the opposite side of the country. I feel the NW has a place for me in the future for sure :)..
I found my way to a park and explored along the river..The majority of the park had been taken over by Portland’s Rose Festival..Whirls of a ferris wheel, toasty, sugary smells of funnel cake wafting through the air and other standard american traditions I am not super partial too :P..As I ventured on beyond the celebrations, I discovered a more vacant field with spectacular view of the bridge and casual sailboat trails..
I headed back as lunchtime was approaching :D..Today’s lunch was a sandwich bar but I opted for the lettuce and collard wraps with raw walnut meat, tofu, veggies, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds. More ice-cream was offered by SO Delicious..I felt too spoiled.
There was one class I didn’t attend, but was discussing the concepts afterward with some peeps. Veganism + body image + judgment. Does being vegan mean skinny? Healthy? Pale? Perfect body? Is veganism the ideal diet? Is there even an ideal diet? Why do humans always enjoy labeling, esp. when it comes down to dietary choices? Does it provide a sense of security and comfort? Humans tend to gravitate toward comfort and misunderstand comfort..Familiarity is comforting, but is it happiness? Does knowing you are safe and secure mean more than the unknown and potential for something greater?
Or something worse?
But what if that “worse” thing leads you to something so awesome, you can’t even grasp in your present, secure state?
I digress completely, but I don’t think it’s necessary to label our dietary choices. Whether you have a reason or not, eat what you want and do it happily. I eat supa healthy and I would love if others are interested in doing so as well, but really I never judge another for their diet. Dudes, I really don’t care what you eat! My diet is my life, likewise you + the food you’re consuming. I really dislike how there’s that superficial barrier of people thinking that they’re better than others for being “vegan” or only eating organic. It’s bullshit. Eating is how we fuel ourselves and if ya wanna go through life eating fruits and veggies or pizza and bacon, well hell who am I to judge. I want to become a Registered Dietitian to assist those who seek out their own path toward health and improved well being, but I accept everyone regardless of their dietary choices. I acknowledge that this is my passion and I have much to learn, so for me to judge another based off of what they consume, well I just think that would be contradictory in appreciatin’ all that this world has to offer.
Okkkk steering back on track to the conference, unexpectedly I wound up winning 6 months of cereal from Attune foods!! Super psyched. 12 boxes of cereal, damn…Now I definitely feel even more spoiled. I feel beyond lucky, what is this.
Along with the rest of my luck (can’t forget how I was one of the two very fortunate VVC attendees to earn a free ticket to the conference! Thanks again awesome VVC peeps) I snagged some chia seeds from Bob’s Red Mill!! So perfect because I was just about out at home…
My last day in Portland. I know I shall already miss being able to walk to Whole Foods every day, the locally brewed kombucha, and watching the rain drops eat each other on my window sill while I peer out into the wondrous streets of downtown Portland.
It still feels so surreal to be here. I don’t want to leave quite yet, but I am ready as I have no doubts that I will return to this beautiful city…
Random views from Portland’s exploring..
Fireworks from the window’s view