Flash back to 1987, when Belinda Carlisle released a song with this lyric: "Oh baby, do you know what that's worth? Oh, heaven is a place on earth." Flash forward to present day. I just experienced heaven on earth. And this song runs through my head every time I think about that fateful day.
(I am sorry, it had to be said).
So, I have been hearing things about this vegan restaurant in Portland for awhile now. It's called Portobello Vegan Trattoria and they offer an ever-changing seasonal menu with gluten free options. I had looked at their online menu a handful of times, but had not gone yet.
Anyway, a couple of months passed and thanks to LivingSocial, I got a sweet deal and my hair cut at Fancy! Hair Salon, which just so happens to be located next to Portobello. My hairdresser, Lu (love her!) and I had a mouth-watering conversation about vegan, gluten free food and she mentioned Portobello. After talking and getting a great haircut - I knew it was a must try!
We got there on a Friday at 5:30pm, which is when the open for dinner. Unfortunately we waited in the freezing cold with other patrons for nearly 15 minutes, before they unlocked the doors. I felt as though it was a bit of an off-night for them (I hope), as they were still assembling menus when we entered and it took a long time for them to even seat everyone, even though the restaurant was empty. I forgave them as soon as I sat down. Why?
Because they have awesome tables and a really beautiful wall made from recycled wood. Every table has a cute glass bottle full of water and they have letter-pressed menu covers. They offer the kind of vegan food you have to go to a restaurant to get, it's fancy! The biggest reason I forgave them? They have gluten free, vegan, pizza dough.
Andrew and I looked no further than the list of pizza selections. I ordered the Daiya pizza, which came with Italian Daiya cheese, basil and the most delicious home made pizza sauce ever. The crust was... well, lets just say I honestly thought they made a mistake and didn't give me gluten free crust. It was crispy and delicious like an Italian pizza crust. I told Andrew I bet my crust was even better than his non-GF. He was too busy inhaling his pizza to hear me. He ordered the Arrabiata pissa. It came with hot peppers, sausage, garlic, spice chili, fennel marinara, Daiya and chili oil. It was fancy. Again, I questioned the "vegan-ness" of the sausage. Too good to be true.
I felt like I was in a scene from "Eat, Pray, Love". I felt like I was sitting in some cute little Italian restaurant in Italy eating the world's best pizza. I savored each and every hot bite. And for $11, I could barely eat half of it! The left overs were equally as enjoyable.
Andrew declared it his new favorite restaurant (I still remain Blossoming Lotus loyal, how have I not had that post yet?!). I declared it "fancy ocassions" and "birthday dinner" worthy. But here is the best part - it is also "every day" worthy. We both got 2 massive pizzas for less than the price we would pay for an over done, cheese-less, gf-vegan pizza at Oasis Cafe on Hawthorne. In fact, we could have split one pizza and been comfortably full. Though, when I mentioned this to Andrew, he protested that it's so good and he would want a whole one to himself.
There were other items on the menu we want to try, but I fear we'll never be able to order anything other than the pizza. Andrew's golden birthday is this month and he has already put in his request for dinner...
Please excuse the iPhone photo. It does no justice!