homegrown smoker…and a german spaniard comes to portland

Where have I been? Well, preparing for Vegan Iron Chef, attending Vegan Iron Chef, then recovering from Vegan Iron Chef. But I’m back in action, baby. Not with a Vegan Iron Chef recap—I want to wait until the video is available and I can get some decent photos ready for you—but this post does feature one of our raffle donors, Homegrown Smoker.

In their new location in SW, down in PSU territory, Homegrown Smoker is a sweet little shack in a pod of food carts at 4th and College. I’d never been to the other location, and since I’m not in this area, um, ever, I probably wouldn’t have gone to this one anytime soon if it weren’t to pick up gift certificates. So glad I did. I got a Smoker Sandwich with smoked soycurls, hold the sauce—rude, right? To go to any BBQ-type joint and not get the sauce, which is their signature? Well, I’m Michele and I hate sauces. (Hi, Michele.) Anyway, the sandwich didn’t need any. So big I could barely manage it, what with my teensy mouth, but the soycurls weren’t too squishy and the flavor was amazing. The smokey hits you right away, then there’s the pepper on the back end. Big thumbs up.

I’ve since been back, dragging along Tom and Kati, the German lass from Spain who’s spending a month in Portland. That’s right, two months in the U.S. and half of that is in Portland, where she’s eatin’ vegan the whole time. Well, both of them loved Homegrown, Kati getting the Macnocheeto (a burrito with mac ‘n’ cheese and soycurls), and Tom getting the SloSmoMoFo (basically my sandwich with sauce and slaw on it, in addition to another side—a hefty meal). We split one of the specials for the day, fried coconut-battered Oreos. Oh, hell yes. The creamy middle sort of melts into the cookie, which gets soft and cakelike. One was enough for each of us—splitting that last one put us over the top. 

So back to our foreign friend. In her first week she’s been to Bye & Bye, Hungry Tiger Too, Vita CafeLaughing Planet, and (the now famous) Red & Black. Annnd she just happened to be here for Vegan Iron Chef, where she won two raffle prizes at the After Party. Not a bad start to a U.S. tour.

It’s interesting to have her perspective on our city and its veg-friendliness. We soooo take this for granted now. And as for Americans who don’t live in Portland (or any other growing veg-friendly city) we have mail order, which is pricey but possible. She’s scrambling in Barcelona for the simplest of ingredients, like gluten flour to make seitan with. When she visited family in Germany she stocked up on shelf-stable tofu because it’s so hard to get. Every day she’s floored by how fantastic Portland is, unseasonable rain or not, and keeps brainstorming ways she could stay here. So you Portland boys out there, if you think a blond with a German accent is flirting with you, she probably is, but it’s only for the Green Card.

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