Phew! We’re back home! We had an amazing time on our vacation, but it feels good to be home and sleep in our own bed. We had a pretty packed week, we crammed three cities into 8 days! We like to get crazy on vacay.
Our first stop was Vegas. We were really only there for about 36 hours, and that was plenty for me. Neither of us had ever been to Las Vegas, and it was definitely everything I was expecting it to be. It was chaotic, crazy, loud, entertaining, and so much more. I don’t know how people go to Vegas for a week at a time. I wouldn’t be able to hang, apparently I’m an 89 year-old woman who likes to be in her bed by 10pm. It’s fine, I can accept that.
By far, my favorite thing we did was see the Cirque du Soleil show, Zarkana. It was absolutely one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Other than that, we just walked up and down the strip, tried to take in all of the craziness, acted like tourists and ate lots of good food. I was expecting Vegas to have a few more GF options than they did, but we were able to find a couple of restaurants that were very accommodating. All in all, we had a great time in that crazy town. Our friends kept asking us “What are two people who don’t drink or gamble going to do in Vegas?!” Well duh, sight see and eat!
Restaurants in Vegas…
Buffet at The Aria – I always avoid buffets because they are a definite no-no when it comes to cross contamination, but this buffet got rave reviews online, so we decided to give it a try. They had lots of options for gluten-free items, and were good about cross contamination. Everything was labeled with whether or not it had gluten or dairy in it, and apparently the chef has a wheat allergy, so that made me feel a little better.
Mozen Bistro – They had a whole gluten-free menu with things like pancakes, french toast and even muffins. I got the pancakes, and they were delicious. Probably some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had. They have a separate part of the kitchen that is designated for the gluten-free items.
Mon Ami Gabi – I was a little bit worried when we went here because they are not an all GF kitchen, but the waitress was very helpful, and they took the precautions to avoid cross contamination. I got the chicken paillard, it came with kale and roasted beets. Yum.
Sushi Roku – Their sushi was great, and they offered gluten-free soy sauce. The waiter was very knowledgeable when it came to the sauces and marinades.
Our next stop, and the main part of our vacation was Portland, OR. I’ve wanted to visit Portland for quite a while, I’ve always heard that they have an amazing gluten free food scene, and it is absolutely true. We were beyond impressed with all of the 100% (and other very accommodating restaurants) gluten free places that they have in Portland. There were so many options that were not only gluten free, but vegan too. We were both in food Heaven, and I’m pretty sure we took in enough food to feed an army. It was glorious, but we came back so full (and happy), that all we want is kale for about a week. Ha!
The only word that Kenny and I could come up with to describe Portland is eclectic. That just about sums it up. The people were SO laid back and chill, and extremely friendly. The city was very different that anything I’ve ever seen before. It is made up of so many different neighborhoods, each having their own unique character and vibe. Seriously, it’s such a cool city, I kind of want to live there at some point in my life.
We also explored a couple of surrounding cities in Oregon. On our first day there, we drove east, out to the Columbia River Gorge. This whole little excursion was GORGEOUS. It is so green in Oregon! A far cry from Lubbock (no offense LBK). We stopped at Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in OR, and did a short little hike out there. Then we kept driving out to Hood River, one of the cutest little towns ever. We even ran across an adorable little juice bar/truck thing. The girl working there happened to be from Texas, we obviously became instant friends.
On our last day, we decided to drive out to Seaside, OR (on the coast), which was only about 1.5 hours away from Portland. It was a really cute town that was having a 4th of July parade. One of my blogging buddies, Lee, just happened to be in Seaside on the same day, but we somehow missed each other by like an hour. It was so sad!
Restaurants in Portland…
Harlow – A mostly gluten free and vegan restaurant that is super delicious. We had breakfast here, and I loved it! The people that were working were so friendly, and the food was great. We got pancakes (that were just a tad too sweet), but still amazing, and a scramble bowl with brown rice, quinoa, beans, greens, eggs and avocado. We devoured that food. It was definitely one of my favorites, I loved the general vibe.
Back to Eden Bakery – A 100% GF and vegan bakery, hallelujah! We both loved this place, so much that we went back a second time! They have sweet and savory things, and we liked everything we tried, which was a lot. Their salads were good, and we also tried a cookie, 2 different donuts, a cinnamon roll and the chili and cornbread. Sheesh, we spent some money at that place 😉
Besaw’s – Definitely not GF, but I read good reviews online about how they take precautions. We both had a burger, and they do go the extra step to avoid contamination. They put the GF bun on a plate to go through the warmer, and cooked the burger on a different flat top. The waitress was knowledgeable and knew that their house made chips did not have a separate fryer.
Teote Areperia – Another 100% GF place. The arepas were amazing. We each got a plate of pulled chicken arepas, rice, beans, and fried plantains. Oh yum!
Kure Juice Bar – I have been told that you can’t go to Portland without going to Kure, and that was great advice. Even though it was just simple smoothies that we got here, Kure was one of our favorite places. If I lived in Portland, I would spend way too much time there. I got a vanilla protein smoothie with kale one time, and then the next time got a smoothie bowl that was topped with tons of fruit, GF granola, coconut, and goji berries. I inhaled that thing. I’m definitely going to recreate it!
Dick’s Kitchen – This was Kenny’s favorite. They are extremely acommodating, and cooked my salmon burger on a different flat top. The GF buns were great, these were some of the best burgers we’ve ever had. I loved the vibe and their general outlook on food and nutrition. They are all about local, sustainable, healthy food that nourishes. Right on.
Petunia’s Pies & Pastries – Ohhhh my goodness. We loved this place! Once again, 100% GF and vegan bakery. We tried several things there, but our all-time favorite was by far the salted caramel bar ice cream. Probably the best thing I ever put in my mouth. They partnered up with Salt + Straw to create this vegan ice cream, and it was amazing.
Blossoming Lotus – Lots of GF options, and completely vegan. We stopped in for a light dinner one night, and each got smoothies and shared some vegan nachos. We loved all of it.
Mississippi Pizza Pub – This is definitely a laid back, very casual place, windows and doors open, you are practically sitting outside even while you’re inside. They make their GF dough at another facility to avoid cross contamination, and cook it in a different oven. They even have vegan cheese options, I got the vegan mozzarella and it was delicious.
Cultured Caveman – I have heard so much about this food cart that I felt like I just had to try it. They were a little more meat centered than I would have preffered, but I was kind of expecting it since it is paleo after all. The chicken tenders were really good, and so were the collard greens.
We had a really amazing time on our trip, and if you have never been to Portland, OR, you have GOT to go. If for nothing else, at least go for the food. Our vacation was refreshing, exhausting, relaxing, basically everything we needed.