When you’ve got food issues, eating out can be a very frustrating experience. You never know if you’ll be contaminated by something you’re sensitive to. Not only that, but I hate seeming so picky when ordering off the menu. I have to ask a lot of questions: Is it gluten-free? Can you be sure to leave the cheese off? Oh, there’s soy in it? Can I see a list of ingredients? Is it made with potato vodka? It’s hardly worth the trouble to the restaurant or to me! So, we don’t go out much.
On the other hand, Portland is a great city for the food-sensitive crowd. I know of a handful of restaurants that go out of their way to cater to people with food restrictions. When I’m in the mood for a burger and fries, Dick’s Kitchen is just the ticket. They use 100% grass-fed beef that is so tasty my mouth is watering just writing about it. Plus, their yam “not-fries” (they’re baked!) are the perfect accompaniment to their burgers. They offer a “naked” option meaning no bun, though they do have gluten-free buns available on request. And their Paleo Parfait is the perfect finish. It’s a scoop of chilled cashew cream with fresh berry compote and cocoa/almond “cookie” crumbles on top, sweetened only with a bit of real maple syrup. To. Die. For.
Another favorite place is Cultured Caveman. Owners Heather and Joe go above and beyond to serve awesome paleo eats out of their 3 food carts and new brick and mortar restaurant. I can eat pretty much anything on the menu and know it won’t kill me. Ok, that’s being a bit dramatic, but they don’t use any ingredients that would send me running to the bathroom. Plus they’re really great people doing really amazing things with healthy food. What’s not to love?
For our anniversary in June, Andrew and I tried Brooklyn House and we had a lovely experience. After welcoming us, the server asked if we had any dietary restrictions. Love that! Located in an old house, the ambiance is comfortable, warm, and welcoming. The food presentation was beautiful, well timed, and definitely tasty. It was the perfect place to really enjoy a romantic meal with my beloved.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jade in Sellwood. I LOVE their food! The Southeast Asian inspired menu is mostly gluten-free, they carry three varieties of kombucha on tap, and their patisserie offers many options for the gluten-challenged. They know me by name I’ve been there so much, but what better way to be welcomed to a friendly, neighborhood spot. Before my mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and subsequent move to memory care, I used to get her take-out from Jade every week. It was one of the few things I could get her to eat. And they still ask how my mom’s doing. (I’ll bet she’s missing their food!)
Though I’ve only been there once, I have to mention one more place: Departure Restaurant + Lounge. As a moderator on Diane Sanfilippo’s team, I’ve been invited to a special Paleo dinner there tonight where Chef Gregory Gourdet is preparing a meal that I will be able to eat without asking any questions! To say I’m excited is an understatement! I will be reporting back tomorrow, with pictures!