Back in October, my dear friend, Kris and I decided to head up to Portland for a short week. It all started back in the summer when Kris and I went to a local tattoo parlor here in the Verde Valley for our Vegan ‘V’ matching tattoos. The parlor used all vegan products in their process. We both realized that the next tattoo that we each wanted was an Ahimsa symbol. For me, it truly is reflective of what being vegan means to me. In fact, while you know me as Veganification®, the actual name of my company is Ahimsa Wellness, LLC.
So, as Kris and I conversed about our Ahimsa designs, we both had different visions of them and where there were going on our bodies; however, we agreed that it definitely warranted a Vegan Tour of Portland, with the impetus being that our tattoos would be done at Scapegoat Tattoo, which is located in the Vegan Mall in Portland.
Thus, plans for our trip took shape. I’ll be doing several blogs to bring you up-to-date on this trip. However, since it also centered around Vegan food experiences, I’m starting with the crème-de-la-crème of restaurants – Farm Spirit, owned by Aaron Adams, who is also the head chef and culinary genius.
Farm Spirit’s dining experience is a pre-fixed, nine-course communal dinner for only 14 people at each sitting. Although they will be moving to a new space in March, 2019, their current location is a sort of L-shaped bar where every guest has an up-front-and-center view of all the plating, which is done right on the bar’s service counter. With deft hands and incredible precision, all the courses are meticulously plated. So beautiful, in fact, that you almost didn’t want to disturb the food. But alas, overcome by the myriad of aromas coming from our plates, we heartily and happily dove in.
Adam wasn’t there that evening…he had a stellar excuse, his grandmother was in town visiting. We were swooned by Kei, that evening’s head chef; Mia, who served all the beverage flights (more on that in a moment); John, the sous chef; and back of house, Melissa. The team of chefs operated with incredible fluidity, a finally tuned orchestra. Watching them work, oftentimes plating with tweezers for the finite finishing details, was an absolute thrill for the food snob. I was completely captivated and enthralled the entire evening.
Titillation with Every Bite
Each of the nine courses were a gastronomic delight, titillating not only my taste buds but also my sight, smell, touch, and even sound (the last minute heating on a portable burner, the clinking of plates and glasses, the soft-spoken chatter amongst the chefs and guests, the music – a mix of contemporary artists that included Billy Joel and other notables).
If you are taking someone here for a first date, be prepared for the person to immediately fall in love with you. It’s really that good. It’s the entire package. And that’s coming from the food snob who grew up twelve miles from Manhattan on the Jersey side and also lived near Philadelphia for nine years so who frequently traipsed into both cities for outstanding vegan fare.
The evening was composed of a mélange of unique tastes, textures, flavors, complex yet retaining the integrity of each and every ingredient. For that night’s menu, the common thread throughout each course was a touch either a hint or a bold smoke flavor. But, even the smoke flavor varied tremendously from one course to the next.
If you ever find yourself in or near Portland, this is a definitely MUST-GO restaurant. You make your reservations online, as it is pre-fixed and pre-paid. I promise, you not only won’t be disappointed, but also that evening’s meal will become your barometer with which every meal afterwards will be compared to.
To accompany your genuinely outstanding meal, you have the choice of several beverage flights—a Cascadian Natural Wine Flight, a Housemade Temperance Flight (which was a variety of Kefirs, Kombucha, and ginger beer), and an Oregon Beer and Cider Flight.
So, stay tuned until next week, when I tempt and tease you with descriptions and photos of every course!