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Animeal? No Thanks

Vita Cafe
3024 N.E. Alberta
Fri.-Sat. 5-12 a.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun.-Thu. 5-11 p.m.
Dinner and Breakfast
Prices: $4.95-6.95
Cash and Checks only

Eating a vegan diet is not always easy. Going to restaurants is even harder. Here in Portland we are lucky enough to have a pretty large pool of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to choose from, two of which are The Vita Cafe and The Paradox Palace. These diner style eateries offer a wide array of options at a reasonable price.The Vita Cafe, located in the newly gentrified Northeast Portland, has a cheerful yellow d?cor and ample outdoor seating for dinning in warmer weather. The Caf? is generally fairly busy but the wait for a table is never too long. They have a wide rang of food offerings including Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican and good, old, classic American meals. The staff serves an eclectic array of classic diner food with a twist. The fish and chips, chicken-fried steak and mac and cheese are all vegan. The New England fish and chips are batter-dipped, deep-fried tofu served with fries and vegan tartar sauce and the chicken fried steak is fried tempeh served with mashed potatoes and almond gravy. If you are going out to dinner with a meat eater they also offer free-range beef or the hormone-free burger with the works – which, of course, can be replaced by a Boca burger. The restaurant serves beer and wine, and if you are in the mood they also have some morning-after alcohol options like red beer and mimosas. The Vita Cafe is open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday with great choices like breakfast potatoes, tofu scrambles and biscuits and gravy. They will also make your breakfast with eggs if you are so inclined.

The Paradox Palace is similar to Vita but offers more of a lunch counter type atmosphere with an oceanic theme. The prices at the Paradox range from $1.95-5.95. The back of the menu contains a helpful glossary of food terms, explaining most everything you would need to know about your food from liquid aminos to tempeh. They serve three-bean vegetarian chili with cornbread, vegan sloppy joes, veggie lasagna and Steve’s macaroni and cheese. Paradox also offers fruit smoothies made with yogurt or tofu and vegan cookies and cakes.

The Paradox Palace is located at 3439 S.E. Belmont and the phone number is 503-232-7508. They are open Mon, Thu-Sun 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tues-Wed 9 a.m.-9 p.m. They accept cash and checks only, so don’t forget to hit the ATM on your way.

Some of the other vegetarian and vegan places to eat in Portland are Old Wives’ Tales, which is great for breakfast, Cafe Lena, Leaf and Bean Cafe, Chez What? and the Urban Onion, located inside The Daily Grind.

Now that you are informed it is easy to see that there are many selections for those of us who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. If you are thinking about changing your diet, don’t hesitate to try it out, you could be pleasantly surprised.