Oregon Expedition: Saturday Market, Falafel, and Burgers
If you're in Portland on a weekend, the Saturday Market is a good way to start your day. It runs both Saturdays and Sundays and features a ton of crafts artists from the Oregon and Washington regions. What we mostly saw were a ton of jewelry stands, photography and paintings, soaps, and wood crafts. But there was a ton of stuff, great for creative gift shopping. And don't forget...the food trucks! It was a cool spot right along the river, and it took us about 45 minutes to casually stroll through it all. Apparently we came during the not-so-busy month of October, so maybe the market is a bit bigger later on. It was pretty large though, and if you want to get authentic stuff from the crafters that actually made it, not too bad of a price. The soaps and teas, as well as foods were especially reasonably priced.
Now, for the food spots of the day. Today was our last day, and we wanted to go out with a bang. what better way than with falafel, burgers, and donuts?
Don't hate- I KNOW I said I'd do a different place every day, but Harlow is just so good, and was right by our Airbnb spot! So Harlow it was; we just had smoothies this morning. They're smoothies are truly authentic in their flavor and have the perfect balance of feeling super healthful but still fancy-pancy and flavorful. ;)
Aviv is an Israeli cuisine based restaurant with 100% plant-based meals. So without a question, we had to try the falafel bowl. We had a donut-date at Sweet Pea Baking Co directly after, so in an effort to save room for snack time, we only ordered one bowl. I was still super stuffed though! Obviously, as chickpea-based falafels are high in protein, but the bowl was a generous serving of four falafels and the usually fries/chips/veggie/hummus bit. It was delicious. I was a little salty because apparently during brunch they didn't serve the falafel in the sandwich-style pita bread, but it was awesome as was. (FYI- There are a bunch a cool shops in this plaza that are worth checking out after eating.)
We heard rave about Doe Donuts and their super-decadent donut flavors and creative mixes. But it closes in the afternoon, so we missed it! Is it sad we were both legitimately upset about this lol? Luckily we found Portland's first all-vegan bakery, and it did not disappoint. Sweet Pea Baking Co took my heart with their absolutely incredible strudels. They have this berry strudel.....well I ate Dean's and then ordered him another one.....and then later on ate the other one..so there's that. Get double of those because you won't want to share! Their donuts were also super fun and creative flavors like pink lemonade, chocolate mint, pumpkin and pecan, and more. Their donuts definitely have the old-school donut feel; more cake-like in texture than the usual airy donuts of today. I really enjoyed that--they were dense. Their gluten free brownies are good, but you can tell that gluten-free is not their emphasis. What also scored high in addictive qualities were their snicker doodle cookies! GIANT cookies, by the way.
This spot was definitely in my top three dinner spots ever for vegan food in terms of finding "meaty" meals. Next Level Burger really did take it to the next level with their Signature Burger, which was just so freakin' good. It was everything I wanted in a savory burger: flavor, melty cheese, great sauce... (I ordered my burger half Swiss half cheddar- DO that!) And it all melted so seductively, it just meshed, man. I honestly think this burger would be absolute perfection if it was a double-patty burger. It was a mushroom and quinoa burger, so not as dense and full as your average black bean patty, but the flavor was loud and proud, my friends. Dean got the all American, which he wasn't obsessed about but enjoyed it. It had tempeh bacon and was a more "meaty" patty, so was a little more dense and crunchy than he would have liked, but for those really missing meat, this is a good choice for you. Again, the flavor was everything you'd want from a burger, it truly hit all the spots. We didn't order fries, just a kale salad, which was HUGE- you may want to share with a friend! I loved the dressing of the salad, light and citrusy, and they massage the dressing on so its not too heavy. Overall, Next Level Burger is a top-3 hot spot you have to try!