Portland Picks with Natalie Norcross, @VeganKitten

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And we’re back with yet another round in our continuing series of personalized Portland Picks! These recommendations are from trusty Portland vegan locals and lovers, and we bet all our attendees, whether you’re arriving early or not, want to squeeze in a little time outside of the busy, busy conference schedule to wander in the vegan wonderland. In one of our very last editions, we get the scoop on the latest and greatest Portland eats & wanderings, courtesy of epic vegan Insagrammer, Natalie Norcross, aka the @vegankitten.

Her friend, @Albert_Weskie
Natalie’s dear friend, @Albert_Weskie

Your Name: Natalie Norcross

Your Business & Internet Moniker: HALO Branded Solutions, Inc.@vegankitten 

What the Vegan Kitten thinks you should totally visit in Portland…

1) Hike at the Audubon Society of Portland – See cute rescued birds and hike in the gorgeous Forest Park!

The historic St. John’s bridge. Image source: columbiariverimages.com

2) Take a picture of the St. John’s Bridge – It’s featured in Colin Meloy’s (of The Decemberists fame) book Wildwood and is the most gorgeous bridge in the world (IMO, of course). While you’re at it, stop by Occidental Brewery under the bridge for some vegan German beers, then have lunch at Proper Eats up the street!

3) See a show at the Doug Fir Lounge It doesn’t get more Portland than this. Catch some awesome live music in a venue that looks like the interior of a log cabin!

What you’re no doubt wondering – where are Natalie’s favorite vegan eats?!?

1) The vegan menu at Departure Restaurant + Lounge – Chef Gregory Gourdet has created a one-of-a-kind modern Asian menu and it’s NOT TO BE MISSED! This swanky restaurant is on the rooftop of the Nines Hotel in the heart of downtown with panoramic views of the city. Make reservations, get dressed up and enjoy the best dining experience of your life.

2) After a long night of tasting all the amazing beer Portland has to offer, stop by Robo Taco and get’cha some vegan grub! They are open until 3:30 am Thursday-Saturday and the vegan al pastor or vegan chorizo burritos will help you avoid a hangover.

Greens & Seeds roll, topped with nutritional yeast at Departure.

3) Other cities have vegan bakeries, vegan pizza and vegan pho – but where else can you find a food cart dedicated to smoked vegan meats? Homegrown Smoker is a MUST for any out-of-town visitor. I recommend the Tempeh Fakon Sammich with a side of Mac-nocheese.

Where to go for coffee, cocktails & great beer…

Coffee – The Fresh Pot makes the best soy latte I’ve ever had. Plus they have three locations and one is right down the street from Homegrown Smoker – just sayin’.

Cocktails – The Bye & Bye and Sweet Hereafter are owned by the same folks and both make great cocktails. Plus the menus at both locations are entirely vegan!

Beer – There are more breweries than convenience stores in Portland! Not really, but almost. One of my favorites is Base Camp Brewing Co. They have tons of delicious beer, it’s blocks from the Vegan Mini Mall and has multiple food carts with vegan options right outside who deliver inside the brewery. My favorite is Gonzo which makes the best falafel I’ve ever had in my life – no joke.

Super-vegan shopping?

The Vegan Mini Mall, of course! That’s why we all moved here, right?

For those wanting tattoos, haircuts & a badass workout? 

1) Scapegoat Tattoo in the Vegan Mini Mall!

2) Akemi Salon for hair!

3) PlantFit Training Studio for a good workout!

Only Portland….has the world’s best strip clubs, including a vegan strip club. You probably don’t want to include that since folks tend to get offended. But seriously, we all know it’s true!

Soy latte, Fresh Pot on SE Hawthorne
Do stay tuned for the next round! For more Portland Vegan Dining, Shopping & Tourist ideas, check out our official While You’re in Town selection and the VVC 2013 Google Map See you all so soon!