Thursday lunch in PDX: delicious, delightful and dairy free
September 4, 2016 4:54 AM   Subscribe

I have the opportunity to eat lunch in Portland, Oregon this Thursday. I want to eat an amazing lunch - delicious, delightful and dairy-free. Recommendations?

What would I qualify as amazing?

  • Food that delights: is innovative in some way, preparations or combinations you don't usually see, or is so well prepared that you're compelled to stop talking, close your eyes and savour the experience
  • Must be delicious! No point in eating molecular asparagus foam if it's not actually tasty.
  • Daily free: either interesting dairy free options at a regular restaurant or a restaurant that specially caters to dairy free (vegan, kosher, raw etc).
  • If there's something that is usually kind of normal but through some magic has been created dairy free (dairy free cheese platters, dairy free fried chicken and waffles, dairy free French food, etc) this would totally fit the bill.
  • Meat and seafood are awesome; vegan and vegetarian food is also awesome
Money is no object. I have one shot at this and I want to eat something awesome. But it must be Thursday lunch time.

Thanks for your recommendations!
posted by mosessis to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if it's open for lunch, but Ned Ludd in North Portland is always my choice for a fine dining experience. As the name suggests, it's a locally sourced, etc etc type place. I do t know specifically about dairy free but I am near certain that they should be able to accommodate that.

One other place you might consider is Andina, which is in downtown, and serves Peruvian food. Again they will almost certainly be able to accommodate dairy free, but I don't recall there really being any dairy in their food much anyway.
posted by phack at 6:20 AM on September 4, 2016

Vtopia Vegan Restaurant & Cheese Shop
(open 12-3 & 5-8 on Thursdays)
posted by ainsley at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2016

Okay, one more . . . I had one of the best meals of my life at Higgins. I am vegan and still they came through. Since you only have one shot at lunch in Portland, it really is worth a look. Located downtown, local ingredients, top notch service. Opens at 11:30am on Thursdays.
posted by ainsley at 8:12 PM on September 4, 2016

Not incredibly fancy, but I love the following vegan places in PDX: Blossoming Lotus, Sweetpea Baking, Back to Eden, and they are all open for lunch.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 8:22 PM on September 5, 2016

Thanks! These are really great suggestions.

Ned Ludd sounds awesome but is unfortunately dinner only. Higgins also looks awesome - I think I'll try to have lunch there. Vegan cheese shop! Shop of my dreams. I'll definitely stop there to pick up some supplies to take on the road with me along with whatever cakes and pastries I can rustle up at the bakeries. Perfect!
posted by mosessis at 12:37 PM on September 7, 2016

Reporting back:

Went to lunch at Higgins and it was wonderful. The tomatoes there were some of the best tomatoes I have ever had! Dairy free was not a problem at all; the waiter knew the menu back and forth and was able to confidently advise on allergens without checking in with the chef. Good service, too. Overall a great experience.

Picked up a bunch of treats at Back to Eden. Stand out favorites: savoury spinach and mushroom tart, cinnamon bun, lemon merengue pie. But everything was really really tasty. And even though it was also gluten free I was impressed with the quality of the cakes and crusts.

Also picked up a bunch of treats at Vtopia. Some of the best vegan cheese I've had. No off flavours and pretty good texture. You'd never mistake it for the real thing but it was very enjoyable for what it was. I put together many cheese platters from their wares over the course of the weekend and was consistently delighted. Of their prepared food, the Caesar Salad was phenomenal and was only exceeded by their Camembert Bacon panino - wow.

Thanks also to the Mefite who let me know there was a Portland Meetup on Thursday afternoon! It was very fun to sip delicious beer in a beautiful courtyard with mefites.

It was a very successful trip. Thank you for all your recommendations!
posted by mosessis at 5:28 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you for reporting back - I hoped you would! So glad you enjoyed your time in Portland!
posted by ainsley at 9:47 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

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