Saturday, January 19, 2008

What is a Portland Vegan Reuben?

Since I became vegan over a year ago, I've been on a personal quest to sample all of the vegan reubens to be had here in Portland, Oregon. I have to admit, back when I ate meat, a hot, melty reuben made with corned beef and sauerkraut was one of my favorite things to order. Fortunately, after sampling some of what Portland has to offer, I have developed a similar affection and craving for a well-crafted vegan reuben.

Somewhat inspired by the website Portland Hamburgers, I decided to take this quest to the blog, and document my findings with ratings and pictures. I will try to post weekly with a new Portland Vegan Reuben. In the past, I have experimented with creating my own reubens, from homemade corned seitan or tempeh, so you might see a few recipes interspersed midst the reviews.


On this website, you find postings marked TRUEBEN. What is a TRUEBEN?

A TRUEBEN is a reuben that comes vegan as is, and is generally advertised as such. This means vegans can partake without having to worry about substitutions or asking for the sauce on the side. However, a vegan reuben isn't just any old vegan sandwich. There are four integral components that it requires. Note that fake cheese is not one of them, simply because I don't think a super-processed imitation cheese is necessarily an asset to any sandwich.

1. A hearty vegan protein source, preferably not made or distributed by ConAgra or Phillip Morris. This will usually be tempeh, mushrooms or a house-made seitan.
2. Sauerkraut (though cabbage in another form, or another picked vegetable, is sometimes acceptable)
3. Rye bread
4. A vegan Thousand Islands or Russian dressing or "special sauce"

Ideally, every posting on this website would be a TRUEBEN. I am aware that many restaurants and pubs offer vegetarian reubens, disappointingly usually just a regular reuben with a gardenburger instead of the meat. However, some of them could be quite good with a little doctoring, so I feel I should leave that option open. You never know what you might find. In the case of vegetarian reubens, I will do my very best to let you know how to order them vegan, but please don't send me angry e-mails if you find that some bar's bread had milk whey in it or something. I'm only human. Please do all your own asking as well.

With that, onward! Check back for reviews and recipes, and if you are local to Stumptown, feel free to leave a comment recommending a PVR that just needs to be blogged about.


jd/Stumptown Vegans said...

The ones that come to mind, that I think still exist are Vita/Paradox, Lion's Den, Proper Eats, Red & Black (Tempeh Mushroom) and hmm..Veganopolis.

TJF said...

Thanks for the tips! I didn't know about Lion's Den, so I'll be adding that to the list. I also heard that since Valentine's expanded their menu, they now have a vegan reuben.

I will be posting a review of the Vita Cafe's shortly. I heard that the Paradox and the Vita Cafe used to be owned by the same folks, and I know their menus are similar...Would going to the Paradox to try their reuben be redundant? I guess I'll find out.