I had a college friend in town these last few days, so I got to enjoy parts of Portland that I don't really spend that much time in otherwise (well, that's not entirely true, but it's always different and feels somehow like a new experience when you are trolling around with a visitor). We went to Alberta Street and Kelly Point Park one day and the Hawthorne and Belmont area the next. When we were on Hawthorne/Belmont, we decided to try someplace to eat that I had never been before: Cup and Saucer Cafe. I've passed by it hundreds of times, and yesterday we even had to combat some man holding a clipboard, asking for our signatures, but finally we made it inside and got to enjoy listening to a child scream and a loud group guffaw about politics. Mind you, these were not deterrents per se, as we were almost starving at that point, but not many things top annoying babies and annoying table patrons when you're trying to enjoy a meal. Otherwise, the service was good, the food was great (I enjoyed the tofu scramble of the day, and my favorite moment was when the waitress asked me if I "did dairy", and when I answered in the negative, she offered me a vegan butter product), and overall, it was a nice experience, once the two crazy parties departed. There are a plethora of vegan options on the menu, and it felt like they were really okay with tweaking menu items, so you could easily make your dream breakfast or lunch a reality.
For dinner, we went to Hopworks, which I've been to before, but never when it was quite so packed. There was a 15-minute wait to sit on the patio, but that was probably due to the 20-top that was seated right before us. Otherwise, it would have been about 35 minutes to sit inside. We enjoyed the pretzel pint first, knowing that getting food would take a while, then also sampled their homemade draft rootbeer. It was delicious, with a hint of cinnamon and mint, and tasted similar to Hansen's Natural Soda. I love going there because of their organic beer, of course, but also because I feel safe in asking for vegan options. They even offer a vegan cheese substitute for pizza, which I never noticed before, but I bought a black bean burger instead, so I didn't get to try it. My favorite part of that experience was sitting next to the hanging flower plants and watching the busser water them with the leftover water from the tables. He even dryly commented, after pouring one glass down two stories to a planter below, that this is what his college education had prepared him for.
My friend is, unfortunately, leaving today, so I will not have any more chances to show her around the great city of Portland, but it's been fun trying to point out notable sites and areas while she's been here.