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Laurelwood Public House & Brewery

 5115 Ne Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR

Don't go there if you want to have a conversation

We have eaten at several of the Laurelwood locations, our favorite being, believe it or not, at the airport! This past weekend we were staying at a hotel and being vegetarian, there was nothing available on their menu so we were forced out into the city to forage for food. Heading down Sandy Blvd, I remembered that Laurelwood had a location nearby so we headed there. It was a Friday evening, pretty early stil, around 5pm, but the place was already packed! We signed in and were given one of those beeper/light up jobbies so we would know when our table was ready. Good thing because there’s no way we would have heard them calling out names. It was crazy loud in there! Fortunetly we did not have a long wait, as we were a party of two.

We ordered simple stuff but somehow they still managed a few mistakes. I ordered a salad that comes with bacon and I told the waiter “no bacon, please”. The salad showed up with bacon and I had to send it back. He told me he wrote down “no onion.” It’s no wonder because he problably was trying to read my lips or something since it was so freakin" noisy in there.

All of our hot food was warm, at best.

I took a trip to the restroom before we left the restaurant and was so suprised where the soap dispenser was located. I am short (5’ 2") and I had to stand on tip toe to reach the soap that was located way above the hot air dryer. So strange! Don"t send a kid in there alone unless you really don’t care whether or not they wash after using the toilet.

It doesn’t make me happy to write a review about an establishment being so poor, but I feel people should know that Laurelwood Pub is not consistent from location to location.

Laurelwood Spinach Salad

I actually like this salad a lot. I love the pink grapefruit slices combined with the feta cheese, candied walnuts and the orange poppy vinaigrette. It’s a really good flavor mix. This was my favorite part of my meal.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

This chili is okay. It lacks some true flavor. The addition of hot sauce helps some, but there is something missing. It is served with tortilla chips on the side and the chili itself is topped with grated cheese, tomatoes and green onion. I do appreciate that they always have vegetarian chili there, though, because it is rare in this town.

Santa Fe Burger

My partner ordered this burger and had them substitute their house made veggie burger for the meat. It was barely warm, as were the beer battered french fries that were served with it. In fact the only thing that was hot on her plate was the dill pickle! Once again, this meal was so-so. The veggie burger was pretty dry and over cooked. Very over priced. She did enjoy her beer, though.


Namaste Indian Cuisine (CLOSED)

 8303 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR

At least the Naan was good

After reading 15 very positive reviews of Namaste Indian Cuisine on, my dining partner and I were stoked to try this restaurant. We both love good Indian food In fact, since Portland lacks really good tasting Indian fare, in my humble opinion, we were even more excited that we accidentally stumbled upon Namaste when we were staying the weekend in a part of the city that we rarely visit.

Namaste offers full menu options as well as the ever popular buffet. They have both a lunch and dinner buffet, 7 days a week, which is another bonus point for this establishment. We went for the dinner buffet.

The dining area is large, and since we went for an early meal (5 pm) and the beginning of the buffet service, we were seated right away. There are dining booths on either side of the buffet station which makes it nice for maneuvering. I am a petite in stature woman and found the booth seats to be a tad on the low end for me. I felt like a little kid with the table so close to my face.

The staff appeared eager to be of help and were pleasant but reserved. The area around the buffet was well lit and most of the dishes were labeled. They have the good sense to keep the meat section separated from the vegetarian section, which is often rare in such buffets.

So, the restaurant is clean, well lit with a polite staff.

Would we return to dine there? Let’s just say it would not be considered destination dining for us. If we were stranded in that end of town again, then, perhaps. It’s not that it was bad food, it was mediocre food.

Dinner Buffet

We went for the dinner buffet. There were a lot of options to choose from, none of them were really good. We skipped the salad bar because we know what ice berg lettuce and tomatoes taste like. I filled little tins with all of the condiment dipping sauces for the table, all of them were boring and not one was spicy, an extreme disappointment. We tried the Potato Pakoras, Indian style french fries, cut into sticks and heavly battered then deep fried. They were so-so, bland and not very hot.

The Ginger Soup was okay, but once again lacked any good flavor and no heat (I mean not spicy).

Malai Kofta, homemade cheese balls in creamy nut sauce sounded good and looked promising, but it fell flat, too.

Palak Paneer – bleh! Well, the Paneer was good, but the spinach puree – not so much.

Here is the stuff that we did like:

Our favorite dish was the Navartan Khoorma. This is a mix of vegetables in a delicious cream sauce. Nice flavor.

The Vegetable Biriyani – saffron rice with small bits of veggies was good but really, can you screw up rice too much?

Aloo Mutter – saucy potatoes and peas – good for dunking your Naan in

The Naan, both plain and garlic were really good, fresh and hot.


Vita Cafe

 3024 Ne Alberta St
Portland, OR

I forgot how good this place is!

It’s been two years since I’ve dined at Vita – in fact they used to be located across the street from their present location. We went there on a Friday night and the place was packed! We put our names on the list and sat down to wait. We did not have to wait too long, less than 10 minutes. Even though the location is new, it’s still pretty loud in there, but the meal was worth a little noise. Service was good and we were very happy with our meal!

Supergrain Salad

This was a terrific salad. We chose the lemon tahini dressing. The lettuce was lightly dressed; perfect! Topped with black and white quinoa, tempeh “bacon” crumbles (yummy!), red peppers, pumpkin seeds, currants and guacamole. The salad was consumed by two of us so it was the perfect amount as we planned to share two other items on the menu.

Buffalo Tofu Wrap

This was tasty! Fried tofu pieces were a little large. I would have preferred them to be smaller as the large chunks were a bit on the chewy side. The buffalo sauce was good and could have been spicier, but we just added some Ardvark sauce, which was perfect! Lettuce, tomato and vegan ranch dressing all wrapped up in a perfectly soft wheat tortilla. It was quite good and I would definetly order this item again.

Reuben Sandwich

Served on perfectly toasted marble rye bread, this sandwich was mighty tasty. We chose the homemade faux turkey which is much better than any Tofurkey I have ever consumed (and I have consumed a lot of Tofurkey over the 33 years I have been vegetarian!). The saurkraut was perfect, not too drippy or messy. The vegan 1000 Island dressing was really good. We liked this sandwich a lot although my spouse said it was not as good as the Reuben they make at Follow Your Heart Restaurant in Southern California, but then, that’s a long drive from Portland!


Laughing Planet

 922 Nw 21st Ave
Portland, OR

Over Priced and Under Spiced

I’ve been to Laughing Planet maybe 5 or 6 times since I moved to Portland 6 years ago. It has never been a favorite place to eat. Being vegetarian for most of my life, I tend to be pretty picky about my food.

I’ve tried a few of their burritos and today tried the Nacho Mama for the first and LAST time. I was very unimpressed.

The only reason we ate lunch there today was to attend a Meetup group of vegetarians. The people are great; the restaurant however was disappointing.


I went to a vegetarian MeetUp today for lunch. My spouse and I decided to share the Nacho Mama. Basically a bowl of vegan chili with melted cheese and pico de gallo on top, served with tortilla chips. Umm, isn’t chili supposed to be spicy? It’s as if the cook had no spices available in that kitchen. The chili tasted like tomato sauce. Even the addition of a lot of Chalula didn’t help it.

It had zucchini in it. That is my least favorite vegetable (I know people think that vegetarians LOVE the particular vegetable, I however, do not. It does not belong in chili, in my opinion.).

The addition of some cumin, chili powder, cayene or better yet, habanero powder would have helped that pathetic chili out.

The Jungle Juice smoothie was pretty good. That’s what the two stars are for.

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