So, call me a Pedalpalooza newbie, but yet again I was pleased and amazed by the turn out and success of the vegan-themed ride I led this afternoon. Similar to the Vegan Cyclist Pub Crawl, we had over 25 folks at our largest, and every venue we visited made us feel more than welcome.
As planned, we started out at Papa G's Organic Vegan Deli, where many riders sampled their cinnamon walnut scones, cornbread and cookies, as well as had some more substantial food to prepare for the ride. Next stop was Cellar Door Coffee on SE 11th and Harrison. We had warned each business that we were planning to attend, but still, I was blown away by the preparations at Cellar Door. Jeremy, one of the awesome owners, had actually collaborated with the baking skills of Dovetail Bakery to create a small buffet of baked good samples -- completely free. Lucky riders tasted earl gray cupcakes, chocolate orange cupcakes, tart cherry muffins, the famous pecan sticky buns, and some delicious scones. All along the ride it was gratifying to hear riders express excitement at discovering a new location or a new variety of baked goods, and it was especially nice to win Cellar Door some new fans, as this little coffee roasting enterprise, tucked away in the SE industrial district just west of Ladd's Addition, is one of my favorite coffee shops in Portland.
Next stop was Black Sheep Bakery at SE 8th and Main, famous for its bike-through window, though there were definitely too many of us to take advantage of that. Again, we were treated to an amazing variety of baked goods, another buffet of free samples, from peanut butter brownies to raisin studded muffins, to even a wonderfully inventive savory breakfast treat of biscuit and vegan breakfast sausage and red pepper baked into muffin form. I swear, I couldn't have planned it this well. I had no idea that so many free samples would be in store, but we all certainly appreciated it a great deal.
After a trip across the Hawthorne Bridge, we arrived at Veganopolis, which does a fair amount of baking in-house, including cookies, muffins, brownies and even carrot cake squares. I was a bit full, so I didn't sample anything, but the goods seemed to go over well. A few riders also opted for vegan root beer floats, as it was getting a bit hot at this point.
Because of the heat, it seemed good timing to hit Blossoming Lotus at NW 10th and Davis next. The restaurant/yoga studio lobby is open and airy, and my chilled live fudge certainly hit the spot. The restaurant was only moderately busy, about to hit the lull between lunch and dinner, so they were tolerant of us lingering and drinking lots of water. The vegan soft serve machine was in the middle of creating a new batch, so I don't know if anyone took advantage of that, but I would recommend Blossoming Lotus as a wonderful and refreshing summer afternoon stop to anyone, whether you're into vegan and/or raw food, or not.
Eventually we rallied and made it to our last stop, Sweetpea Baking at SE 12th and Stark. After all the unanticipated free samples, I was essentially overloading on sugar at this point, but many riders were still game to try some of Sweetpea's awesome cupcakes and cookies. I give special thanks to Sweetpea for the fact that, when we warned them the week before the event of our arrival, they responded by taking special requests for certain goods. As such they had a lot of great cupcakes ready for us, as well as my favorite phenomenon, the vegan cream cheese danish. I wished I had room for one, but I managed to convince others in the group to try it -- because really, where else can you get something like this?
Now that I'm coming down from all the riding and sugar, I'm about ready for bed. But soon I'll post about a trueben recipe B. and I are dying to tell you about.