Vida Vegan Con

VVCIII Takes On…Austin!

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If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!

Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…

austin_grid

Austin, Texas. May 29-31, 2015.

That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.

We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:

  • lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
  • our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
  • just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because you know we’re gonna try to jam as much Vida Vegan and Austin as we can into this double-stuffed weekend.

So when can I register?!

Official, regular registration opens August 1, 2014, BUT we’ve got a special little Early Bird action going on as part of our next announcement:

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
Much, much more info to come right around the corner, but Early Bird discounted registration and a very limited availability of more-inclusive weekend packages will be part of this program to make stronger connections among our community. It’s a mutual support system, with some really cool perks for you and a more open line of communication for us. Seriously, sit tight and stay tuned. We’ll hip you to everything you need to know before the program opens (and the Early Bird options are available) on June 13.

So can I be a speaker?!

Once again, we’ll have an entirely open application process, but it will be fiercer than ever. Based on attendee feedback, we’ll have more specialized presentations, panels, and hands-on workshops, which means fewer multi-speaker classes. More details to come, but start preparing your submission now—we’ll be looking for thoughtful, original proposals. The application window will be open May 9–July 9.

 

welcome_austin_bootMARK YOUR CALENDARS!

May 9–July 9: Speaker Application
June 13: Membership Drive opens (Early Bird registration)
August 1: Regular registration opens

 May 29-31, 2015: Vida Vegan Con III

Excited?! We are! Spread the love with the official hashtag: #VVCIII

The Countdown to VVC2015: Introducing the Vida Vegan Street Team!

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Hello, hello! Vida Vegan Headquarters is back with some really big news that will hopefully bring even more folks to future Vida Vegan Cons!

We’re introducing the new Vida Vegan Street Team, and all are welcome to join!

Trust me, your friendly organizers are no strangers to budgeting (here’s something you don’t see on Instagram: all the dang bowls of clean-out-the-fridge lentil soup I eat), and we totally get that registration costs are simply not in everyone’s budget. Once again, we will be offering full registration scholarships and relying on some very special assistants as we run around a new city, but we wanted to make it possible to volunteer and actually attend all the classes you want. The Vida Vegan Street Team concept is here to make that happen.

In return, based on the number of hours and type of activity you’re able to contribute over 2014-2015, Vida Vegan offers a special token of our appreciation: a point system to earn big discounts—and potentially cover the entire cost of registration for Vida Vegan Con III. Full details over here.

Interested? Read that link above and sign up by filling out this quick form. Potential speakers are welcome to come on board!

Oh, okay. We bet you’re wondering and we’re this close to announcing the GIANT news of just when and where our third conference will take place. We can’t say it seriously enough: if you’re signed up for our newsletter, you will hear it first!

Month of Memories Presents: Some Foxy Q & A with Ashlee Piper of The Little Foxes

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Hey there! Welcome to the next post of our latest Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds. 

We’re now joined by the adorably sassy Ashlee Piper, author of the “compassionate fare and cunning vegan style” blog, The Little Foxes, and official Vegucator around town.  Let’s see what she had to say about her first foray into the land of Vida Vegan Con…

Ashlee Piper at VVC2013, via The Little Foxes

Why Ashlee, just what have you been up to this summer?

Doing cooking demos, conferences, reviewing bushels of badass products, cooking up a storm, and visiting the dog beach with my pups. I foresee some road trips and camping on the horizon, too.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

Because a gathering of vegan bloggers in a town that is a vegan mecca sounds like, and actually is, heaven.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

I loved Fran Costigan’s class on doing quality food demonstrations and workshops. I love her approach and warm vibe, and I learned so much. I also loved Hannah Kaminsky’s class on food styling! Gotta get an eye-dropper and mister, stat!

How has your blog [www.thelilfoxes.com] changed since the three-day conference?

I’ve become more dedicated to it, diligent in posting, and more collaborative. VVC gave me the opportunity to connect with other marvelous bloggers and I love the sense of community. I’ve also become more proud of my blog and bolder about advertising, promoting, monetizing, and growing it.

Blogging is totally a real career and I appreciate VVC for spotlighting that!

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I am a much more dedicated and careful recipe tester now. I also take care to, with my limited camera phone resources, take better pictures of my meals. I’ve also found that simpler is better. Sometimes, as food bloggers, we get more caught up in impressing one another with molecular gastronomy and complicated ingredients and techniques than creating recipes that are attractive to people interested in making good vegan food. VVC helped me to focus on creating recipes that are fun, but approachable.

Who were you really excited to meet?

Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. But everybody, really. Everyone has so much to contribute to this movement.

Any nice surprises you’d like to share? Special memories of VVC2013?

Dancing to Melisser’s grooves, eating my weight in food, late-night karaoke with cool peeps, and MY GOD, all of the vendors and food at the conference. That swag bag ain’t no joke. Oh, and I loved the Vegan Game Show.

Vegan Battle Royale! (aka the VVC Game Show). Photo by J. Legume

So, have you started reading any new blogs?

Heck yes. So many that I cannot keep up.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?

More video blogs. I love ‘em and want to start doing more myself. I find text blogs to be amazing, but sometimes (especially mine), all that text can be very labor intensive and tough to read.

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC?

Maybe a guided networking reception? I’m very outgoing, so meeting people isn’t a problem for me, but I noticed that other folks are very shy and not ready to self-promote. It might be cool to have a guided networking workshop or something where people can talk about their blogs, goals, and whatever they might need improvement or assistance with. (Noted! We’ve got some creative ice breakers up our sleeves…)

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend?

Are there other events (Why, yes!)? I’m always down to attend stuff in Chicago. And by golly, if VVC is in Chicago next year, you best hit me up. :)

(One more note: We‘ll keep that in mind and will certainly be there at some point!)

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 

VEGGIE GRILL and Departure.

Veggie Grill feasting, image via The Little Foxes

Thanks for sharing, Ashlee! Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into VeganMoFo, and we’ve got lots more in store.

Check out Ashlee’s spirited VVC2013 recap, appropriately titled Vida Vegan Con: Where Bloggers Eat Their Weight in Food

Besides her blog, you can also catch up with Ashlee on Instagram @ashleepiper and on Twitter @Thelilfoxes

More (Late) Summertime Q & A with Julia Legume

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Hey there! Welcome to the next edition of our latest Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters! These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, seasonal shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds. 

We’re now joined by a devoted (and super appreciated!) member of the VVHQ support team and recent host of Portland’s Pop Up! Taco Shop!, Julia Legume 

Julia shows her support for Chimp Sanctuary NW.

So Julia, what have you been up to this summer?

Park Ranger-ing, watching Wheel of Fortune, petting every dog and cat I see in the streets of pdx.


Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
I’m dating one of the organizers!

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

Vegan Professionals in a Non-vegan World with Janessa, Fran, Julie, and Grant– good stuff dudes

 

How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 

I think one more person reads it.

 

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I tasted Upton’s bacon– and now I eat a lot of it at home!

How Julia brunches at home: hot biscuits & Upton’s seitan bacon.

 

Who were you really excited to meet? 

Heather Spork (who happened to be a vendor with Galaxy Foods), Madeleine.teacup and SweetT from the PPK forums, and Jojo!                 (veganinbrighton).

 

Any special memories of VVC2013 you’d like to share? 

The Chicago Vegan Foods Teese nacho machine!!!!

 

So, have you started reading any new blogs? 

Travel blogs, basically. The Gay Backpacker — I like his style.


What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?

Less recipes/ how to’s with packaged ingredients, more thoughtful and creative dishes that are inspiring

 

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC? 

Team building exercises. Mandatory. (Noted!)

Here’s Julia, helping assemble the SWAG bags.

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend? 

Pool parties, pizza parties, slumber parties, hikes, campouts, dodgeball, Vegan Olympics.

 

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? (as if you could resist!) 

DUH EMAME’S ETHIOPIAN FOODCART DOWNTOWN.

Combo platter, Emame's Ethiopian
Combo platter, Emame’s Ethiopian

Thanks for sharing!


Our Month of Memories Q & A series will continue far into VeganMoFo.

Here’s Julia’s VVC2013 recap: Vida Vegan Con, I love you. For her latest & greatest, check her out on Instagram, @donna__noble.

 

Month of Memories: A Few of Janessa’s 2013 VVC Faves

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MY LOVES
MY LOVES

VVC2 was a wirlwind of a feel good vegan social media weekend, and even in the middle of the storm, I found a few things that I absolutely cannot live without ever again, if I had a choice in the matter.

From top left:

Wayfare Maple Ice Cream: Made from oats, this creamy and smooth non-dairy ice cream is now the benchmark for all other vegan ice cream brands and flavors. While I love me some So Delicious and Coconut Bliss, this oat-based dreamy creamy pint is my new jam.

Tofurky BBQ Chicken Hot Pockets: Growing up vegetarian, I never indulged in hot pockets as a kid, but as an adult, this hot, sweet and tangy with tofu in a convenient pocket of bread is sure to be a delightful occasional indulgence when I’m back in the States. I ate several of these throughout the VVC weekend.

Tatly Vegan Temporary Tattoos: This company donated veggie-themed temporary tattoos the the VIP ticket-holders of the Galarama. I seem to have ended up with one in the aftermath of VVC, so I stuck the booklet in my backpack with me to take on my travels. I love the idea of temporary tattoos that are vegan, and though of course the vegetables are my fave, all their other themed books are adorable and fun.

Myoko Schinner’s Vegan Cheese Platter: Seriously. Artisan vegan cheese is taking over the country, and Miyoko’s ground-breaking book Artisan Vegan Cheese seems to be leading the pack. She put together a GORGEOUS plate of her cheese for the Galarama, and I found myself eating as many crackers loaded with cheese as I could.

VVC on Stage: I just love working with Jess and Michele so much, and love getting to be in a whole  building/city filled with like-minded vegan bloggers, authors and social media users. The people involved are always my absolute all-time fave thing from the conferences!

A Simple Now & Then: Location is Everything

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Apparently I’m supposed to go off and celebrate aging tonight, so it’s time for a quick Now & Then glimpse into the VVC memory bank, looking back at the rooms where everything but the classes took place at both Vida Vegan Conferences.

We’re talking the main ballrooms, which housed meals, opening & closing talks, announcements, exhibitors and receptions. We had a lot of fun pulling off VVC2011 in its first year, and then absolutely fell in love with the Portland Art Museum once we quickly began location scouting and planning the next one, realizing that we had to fit a lot more folks & room for exhibitors in.

Do you remember both of them?

VVC2011 at University Place: roughly 150 attendees jam-packed into into this Portland State conference center 

VVC2013: quite grander inside the Kridel Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum with nearly 300 in attendance

As always, we like to get creative with our space — it’s a must!

What’s next? Why, you’ll have to wait and see…we’re always on the lookout for new event spaces, in Portland and beyond (and then some!)

Feel free to send suggestions our way!

The VVC Shop Is Now Open

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vvc-2013-mug

Did you forget to get yourself a special Vida Vegan Con water bottle or t-shirt at the conference? Sort of wish you had an extra mug? Or maybe you didn’t go to the conference this year but still want to pick up some new VVC gear.  We get it, and we’ve got it for you in the Vida Vegan Shop.

The truth is, we strive to keep our registration pricepoint low (free for some) and our sponsorships accessible, so more people have the chance to join us at our events. And we have lost sponsors for refusing to give them our mailing lists, send out sponsored emails, or allow them to present demos at the event—and we feel OK with that. We’re proud to stand up and say no to demands we feel would upset the positive, inspirational, creative vibe of the Con. (Obviously, our sponsors help make these things happen, and we truly do love the ones we work with—and hope you do too.)

That means it’s largely the three of us ladies doing as much of the work ourselves as possible to keep costs down. That also means when you buy a t-shirt, you help us put together a deposit toward the next event without us having to compromise the integrity of Vida Vegan organizers and attendees.

You have no idea how greatly we appreciate that. We’ll hug you all next time we see you, seriously.

Thank you, and enjoy!

THANK YOU #VVC2013!

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Thank you so much to the attendees, speakers, and sponsors of the second (sold-out! internationally attended!) Vida Vegan Bloggers Conference!

This event, the now three-day extravaganza (plus, another Galarama), has grown so much, and we thank you all so much, for making it even more than what we ever thought it could be. Your friendly organizers have spent the past two years pouring our hearts and minds into this event, and constantly get chills from the community that’s grown from our vegan bloggers conference—for writers and readers alike.

There’s so much more to say, and so much to reflect on, but we need some sleep (and kale), and we’re sure you do too.

We’re emailing our attendees for feedback (and a ticket giveaway to the next Con, what the hey?), so be on the lookout for that, and as always, stay tuned right here for updates on what and when and where our next shindig(s) will be.

In the meantime, go blog (better than ever!) and peruse all the #VVC2013 hashtags on Instagram and Twitter and all over. We’ve seen lots of folks live-blogging and recapping already, and remain in awe.

vvc2013 wideshot
VEGANS!
We can’t say it enough: THANK YOU!

VVC II Anticipation: Friday’s New Product Spotlight & Meet the Exhibitors

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One of the roughly 400 bajillion new elements we’re introducing to Vida Vegan Con II is the legit New Product Spotlight on Friday afternoon. This spotlight happens at the very opening of the Exhibit Area (11:30am), located inside your home base for the weekend: the Kridel Grand Ballroom, where all meals, refreshments, announcements the Expert Corner, All Things Vegan Radio (and more!) will reside.  All of our snazzy, supportive exhibitors will be providing samples for your enjoyment during this Spotlight (most of which, non-surprisingly, will surely offer very tasty bites)…some of which may be brand spankin’ new!

Here’s the scoop with our full lineup of 2013 Exhibitors, listed in alphabetical order. Any new product picks they’ve told us about are included below, but hey, every table will have plenty to share and discuss, no doubt! 

  • Attune Foods, Erewhon Buckwheat & Hemp cereal
  • The Better Bean Company 
  • Bob’s Red Mill new Grains of Discovery product line features Amaranth, Chia Seed, Farro, Kamut, Millet, Quinoa, Sorghum, Spelt and Teff from around the world
  • Chicago Vegan Foods > We haven’t heard about a new product just yet, but there will be S’mores at the Friday night Pop Up and Nacho Teese at the Saturday Build-a-Bowl lunch buffet. You know what to do.
  • Coconut Bliss Salted Caramel & Chocolate Pint, Strawberry Love Bars, Cafe Latte Bars
  • Compassion Couture Cornelia Guest Roxy Clutch, Neuaura Arisa, Cri de Coeur – Pia & Matt & Nat Cara in Ocean (tabling on Saturday & Sunday!)
  • Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs, Vegan Buttery Flavor Popcorn, Vegan Aged White Cheddar Popcorn & P.B. Popps, travel-sized coconut peanut butter
  • Go Veggie! Strawberry Cream Cheese Alternative
  • Heidi Ho Cheeses Chia Cheese Sauce
  • KeVita Mojita & Daily Cleanse flavors
  • Missionary Chocolates Coconut Palm Sugar Truffle (tabling on Friday & Sunday!)
  • Nasoya Nayonaise Original & NayoWhipped
  • Pacific Foods Organic Refried Pinto Beans, Organic Baked Beans, Organic Refried Black Beans, Organic Refried Black Beans with Green Chiles, Organic Vegetable Lentil & Roasted Red Pepper Soup, reduced Sodium – Organic Spicy Black Bean & Kale Soup, Unsweetened Hemp Original Non-dairy Beverage, Unsweetened Hemp Vanilla Non-dairy Beverage
  • Pacific Northwest Kale Chips Cascade Ranch flavor
  • Peanut Butter & Co bigger 28 ounce jars of all their flavors
  • So Delicious Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Milk Beverage, Barista Style French Vanilla Creamer, Barista Style Orginal Creamer, Gluten-Free Cookies & Cream Frozen Dessert (look for this last one being debuted during their Sunday Ice Cream Social)
  • Tofurky Artisan sausages: Andouille, Spinach Pesto and Chick’n & Apple
  • Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan. They’re not sampling at their table, but, it will be in Sunday’s ‘The Sandwich Board’ lunch buffet so go get some!
  • Vegan Cuts the latest Vegan Cuts Snack Box, featuring 7 or more vegan products, ranging from sweet treats to household fun stuff.
  • Wayfare  ♥ We Can’t Say It’s Ice Cream

More to come at 11:30am on Friday…

If you’re tabling and have a new product to include, let us know and we’ll announce it all on Friday at the Spotlight.

The full list of exhibitors and sponsors is located here.

Portland’s Late Night Vegan-Friendly Spots

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Hey, wild things and night owls!
Your vegan vacation has finally arrived and we bet a few of you might be thinking, ‘so what’s going on after the Galarama?’ Fret not, Portland has quite a few late night options for those looking for beer as well as those seeking a place to hang out with fellow vegans. And if you’re seeking just another bite of vegan Portland, you’re in luck – the OLCC (Oregon’s liquor commission board) requires bars to offer food, and it’s often some of the tastiest food in town. 
The quintessential Bye & Bye
Here are some recommendations for where to go in Portland after 9:30 pm (when the Galarama ends), starting with NW Portland and the Pearl District, the closest to Staver Locomotive:

NW/Pearl District

  • Slabtown for vegan gyros & falafel (all vegan menu!)

  • BridgePort Brewpub for microbrews & fancy vegan bowls, open til midnight on weekends

  • Coffee Time cozy spot on NW 21st that’s open til 1am on weekends

 

Downtown/SW

  • Ground Kontrol amazing arcade open til 2:30 with tons of vegan options for a few bills, including cashew cheese nachos & pretzels to pair with your pinball delights, and a special late night menu, too  (21+ after 5pm)

  • Petunia’s Pastries gluten-free, vegan bakery with Stumptown coffee & cocktails, open til 10 on weekends (and offering 15% off for VVC folks)

  • Powell’s Books wander the multi-block bookstore til 11pm, and then pick up a slice at…

  • Sizzle Pie is seriously vegan-friendly and seriously open til 4am on weekends, plus, has gluten-free crusts for personal pies

  • VooDoo Doughnuts the downtown location has outdoor seating for you to stop and enjoy your yeasted or cake (or both) vegan doughnuts

  • Tube it may be divey and packed, but we hear there’s a new menu and they’ve still got the Professor Nanotears (lil english muffin, ham tube, cheeze & chipotle delights)

  • XV in case you want a little yam fries and curried ketchup while you dance the rest of the night away… there’s also the seriously delicious EmergenC mojito

  • Backspace gamer cafe with Stumptown Coffee, Tao of Tea, and plenty of vegan sandwich and salad options. Open til 12am on weekends.

  • Lúc Lác Vietnamese restaurant & lounge that’s open til 4am on weekends. Vegan & gluten-free options. We recommend the Tofu Salad Vermicelli Bún.

 

Downtown VooDoo Doughnuts…..the line is usually shorter when night falls

Inner Eastside

  • Sizzle Pie yeah, there’s two on the street. Go Portland. This one is also open til 4am with vegan options in the case.

  • Star Bar has a vegan lemongrass banh mi, which is always a plus in our book, plus, a bunch of options that are vegan or can be veganized with Field Roast and whatnot.

  • Robo Taco vegan-friendly taqueria with a grilled pineapple Soy Curl filling that’s open til 3:30am on weekends

  • Dig a Pony Hip bar with sweet drinks, a BBQ tempeh sandwich and fried plantains for the vegans. Open til 2am.

And Southeast…

  • Hungry Tiger Too …the legend of the vegan corn dog (and tofuffalo) is true. Open til 10pm daily.

  • Pied Cow SE Belmont cafe with outdoor garden, hookahs, tea & beer (get food elsewhere). All ages & open til 1am on weekends.

  • Rimsky-Korsakoffee House intimate coffeeshop ‘speakeasy’ open til 1am on weekends

  • Southeast Grind 24 hour coffeeshop with Stumptown Coffee, down on SE Powell Blvd

  • Sweet Hereafter damn fine cocktails, mocktails (ask at the bar) and equally tasty all-vegan menu (the Buffalo Soy Curl sandwich is bomb – and available as a bowl or gluten-free wrap, and they have the best miso chive cheese), plus, raw cheesecake. Gets packed at night, heads up!

  • Townshend’s Division Street Teahouse open til 10pm with possibly the loveliest tea selection in town

  • Whiffies the one-and-only fried handpie cart with sweet and savory vegan options. Go get it.

    BBQ Tofu fried pie, Whiffies
  • Potato Champion! located across from Whiffies with vegan poutine and mini dipping options for their Belgian-style frites

  • White Owl Social Club Come on, you know we love them. Surely, a few of you are ‘members’ by now!

  • Dots Cafe This Clinton Corner joint is pretty much a Portland institution (even under new owners) with their tofu sauce, cocktails, sweet booths and velvet paintings.

 

North/Northeast

  • The Bye & Bye Once again, you know it, you love it, and you’ve probably got a Mason Jar of *something* in your hands, and are awaiting a Meatball Sub or Weeping Tiger sandwich.

  • The Old Gold This bar on N. Killingsworth offers signature cocktails, house-popped popcorn and a tofu banh mi – they pretty much expect Janessa *all* the time.

  • Townshend’s Alberta Street Teahouse open til 10pm, just like the one in SE, but this one gets even more bonus points because you can bring Back to Eden treats and sundaes inside. Duh.

 

Karaoke Spots

  • Suki’s You may fondly remember this from our visit post-Con in 2011, and just a lovely, lovely, divey dive. Practically speaking, it’s still your best bet for karaoke fun downtown!

  • Voicebox If you like singing in the shower, you just may prefer karaoke in private rooms. Open til 2am on weekends (all ages til 9pm).

  • Chopsticks Fun karaoke spot on E Burnside located by plenty of bars on NE 28th. Offers vegan fried rice (have to ask for it) Open til 2:30am on weekend.

  • The Alibi Tiki Lounge Intense and vibrant karaoke spot with a tropical theme. Located on the Yellow MAX Line. Also open til 2:30am on weekend. Great if you’re staying in the neighborhood.

Skip: The Boiler Room downtown and their stupid cover charge.

Late Night Delivery

  • Taco The Town really, late-night, taco delivery totally exists……via bike, no less (with vegan options, naturally)

  • Hammy’s Hey baby, this pizzeria delivers to the Eastside til the wee hours and has both housemade vegan Parmesan and Field Roast Italian sausage. Holler.

If you have a suggestion, add it below!
Feel free to start your own informal VVC meet-ups…..karaoke, anyone?  For more Portland Vegan Dining, Shopping & Tourist ideas,check out our official While You’re in Town selection and the VVC 2013 Google Map