The Vita Caf퀌�

Vita Caf� on N.E. Alberta offers a great selection ofmeatless dishes. This hip little eatery is bright and friendly andone of the few places in Portland that specializes in tasty vegantreats.

I am a carnivore. I really love meat. I really, really do. Ijust thought I’d lay that out there now. So reviewing a place thatprides itself on its meatless creations is risky business, but I’lldo my best.

I have eaten at Vita Caf� on a few occasions and reallyenjoyed it. They have some wonderful choices on their large menuand they even serve breakfast all day. They use all organic andlocal produce, tempeh, tofu, organic grains, free-range eggs andhormone free meats. Also, all of their breads, sauces and dessertsare dairy- and egg-free. All of this combined produces a healthyand tasty eating experience that few other restaurants in town cancompete with.

Breakfast is my favorite meal and, at Vita, you’ll have a numberof choices that will not disappoint. The Thai Corn Cakes withginger, topped with cilantro, fresh bananas and coconut syrup arevery good, and the Country Comfort (listed as a “hugeplate-o-food”), consisting of two scrambled eggs, tofu or tempehserved with one piece of sausage or bacon, potatoes and a biscuitwith almond gravy is sure to leave you satisfied.

For lunch, Vita offers a long list of savory salads, sandwiches,burgers, and “modern meals.” Salads range from the cold Asiannoodle with buckwheat soba noodles and fresh veggies tossed with atasty Asian marinade and topped with peanuts, to the pesto saladwith cold rotelli pasta tossed with fresh veggies and Vita’s veganpesto.

The sandwiches include such vegan delights as the Tofurky withlettuce, tomato and orange-cranberry sauce on sourdough and thetempeh Rueben with tempeh, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and vegan sauceon rye. I really like tofurky; it tastes kind of like turkey andit’s more fun to pronounce. Vita also offers a few real burgers forlunch as well. Yes, they are prepared with real beef. Surprising?Perhaps. But delicious? Definitely. Get a basic burger with cheeseon a toasted wheat bun. It’s incredible. It really is.

As I just mentioned, I really enjoyed the cheeseburger. I mustadmit that the burger seemed even better because I was begging mybuddy for bites. Why? Because I ordered the faux chicken friedsteak. This dish, consisting of deep-fried, batter-dipped tempehwith mashed potatoes, was smothered in Vita’s almond gravy. Andgoddamnit I’m sorry, but it tasted like cardboard. I was forced todo something I never, ever do. I put ketchup on it. I had to. Iguess that I just believe that once you’ve had real chicken-friedsteak, you can’t even pretend that a tempeh fried “steak” cancompare. It was so bland, so, so bland. And starchy, I mean comeon: tempeh and mashed potatoes. I felt like I was in a world devoidof color, I was surrounded by grayness. I wonder if this is how youvegans feel. I hope not.

Other than that, well I really like the Vita. It’s a wonderfulplace that caters to all diets and does so exceptionally well.Except, of course when it comes to chicken-fried steak. But, as Imentioned, Vita has a ton of really great dishes, so get out thereand put the Vita cafe in your mouth.

Cafe Vita

3204 N.E. Alberta