Eat right

The culinary world is a veritable minefield of artery-hardening junk and even with best intentions and intestinal fortitude in tow it’s more than possible to wander down the sordid road of empty calories.

The culinary world is a veritable minefield of artery-hardening junk and even with best intentions and intestinal fortitude in tow it’s more than possible to wander down the sordid road of empty calories.

However, your hometown has seen this dilemma coming from a mile away and prepared accordingly, offering the following oases of health to save you from the corroding influence of transitive fats.

Blossoming Lotus
925 N.W. Davis
Daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A hotspot on the vegan restaurant circuit, Blossoming Lotus sets itself apart from other contenders (Vita Café, Junior’s, Paradox) by offering vegan food that’s actually healthy. (What do you expect from a restaurant that’s attached to a yoga studio?) 

Whereas other restaurants are known for their vegan “fried chicken” and other imitation tofu products, Blossoming Lotus departs from processed soy in favor of dishes such as quinoa with peanut sauce. Trailblazer Channing Frye is reputedly a fan (can a professional basketball player afford to eat unhealthy food?), and their soft serve vegan ice cream is, according to many, the best in town.

Their “nachos” can tell you more about the restaurant than a Vanguard review, though—they come with flax crackers, cashew cream, cashew “cheese”, avocados and tomatoes. There’s also a focus on “raw,” or “living” foods, but it’s not obvious or overwhelming. This might be the one place in Portland where you can order granola and not feel like a hippie. 

Chaos Café 
2620 S.E. Powell Blvd.
Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Another raw/vegan food restaurant, Chaos Café has a remarkable selection of juices, sandwiches and entrees. The juices are totally healthy—fruits and vegetables are used to great effect (beet and celery are sometimes featured), and sandwiches include the Cascade, which is marinated grilled tempeh with lettuce, tomato, onion and seasonal pesto on sourdough. Locally made kombucha and vegan cookies are another attraction.

Farm Café
10 S.E. Seventh Ave.
Daily, 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The Farm has made a name for itself by capturing Portland’s culinary zeitgeist. Located in a restored Victorian vacation home, the restaurant is tucked away on Burnside, and is a welcome refuge from the neon lights. The folks at The Farm use local, organic ingredients to create their upscale, but unpretentious, Northwest inspired menu.

Some standbys include herb-crusted tofu with mushrooms Marsala, and the Farmhouse cheese ball (a blend of 3 cheeses, rolled in toasted hazelnuts). Seafood comes with roasted vegetables, an arugula salad comes with pears, candied walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. Although the menu varies seasonally and specials change weekly, Farm continually offers a variety of inventive dishes that will satisfy omnivores and vegans alike.

Khun Pic’s Bahn Thai
3429 S.E. Belmont St.
Daily, 6 p.m.—9 p.m.
In a city flooded with Thai restaurants, Khun Pic’s is easy to miss – mostly because it’s literally in someone’s house. Nestled in a gated bamboo garden on Belmont Street, this restaurant is a true mom-and-pop operation, serving diners in the living room of Khun Pic’s home. 

Khun Pic serves a predictable, but impeccable, menu of Thai standbys, made from scratch in the kitchen. Her husband is the lone server, and sometimes diners can hear their children in the house’s living areas. Khun Pic’s is a healthy choice because of the freshness of their ingredients, and the ease of communication with the kitchen.  Dishes can be easily made low-sodium, vegan or vegetarian, and the server knows the dishes intimately. This is homemade, fresh Thai food, with no preservatives or artificial flavors.

Old Wive’s Tales
1300 E. Burnside St.
Sun.–Thurs. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Another vegan friendly restaurant with an exceptional seafood menu, Old Wive’s Tales has been around since the 1980s.

Although the inside kind of looks like a fast food joint at the airport, it boasts one of the best salad bars in Portland – every item is labeled with information about its ingredients. There are many healthy soups on the menu, and great sandwiches and burritos. Their BLT comes with four strips of bacon, and their “Indian burrito” is a wheat tortilla that comes stuffed with brown rice, red lentil dal, olives, tomatoes, chutney and sour cream.  Other menu items include clam chowder and tempeh sloppy joes.




Laughing Planet (multiple locations)
The Whole Bowl (multiple locations)
Down to Earth Café
The Energy Bar
Chef Naoko Bento Café