“Why’s this so good?” Beat Blog: Portland Vegan Food Scene

An outsider’s perspective is the crucial part of a formula that creates a great story. The Portland vegan food scene has been written by many writers and bloggers, and while their pieces don’t lack insider information they are missing an outsider’s perspective. It is this perspective in food writing that reads as enthusiasm. This type of enthusiasm shows up in a piece when you get someone experiencing the Portland vegan food scene for the first time. Articles written with enthusiasm are so much more enticing to readers who have no prior knowledge of this expansive food scene. The article A New Yorker’s Vegan Guide to Portland, Oregon by Michael Zezima, or better known as Mickey Z, is witty and written from an outsider’s perspective. You can sense Zezima enthusiasm of Portland’s vegan options with his long winded sentences that describe what Portland has to offer:

There’s vegan pizza and the vegan section at Powell’s and tofu scramble at Cup & Saucer and a vegan hair salon and vegan milk shakes and vegan food carts and vegan doughnuts and even a vegan realtor or two.

These types of sentences capture the varying vegan options that Portland has. This enthusiasm helped me remember how Portland is indeed a vegan’s haven and how I often take that for granted because I am a Portland native. Zezima is from New York and plays on Portland’s vegan culture by making fun of it. Many might find it off-putting, but it is an outsider looking in and it’s refreshing to get their perspective every once in a while:

It’s not easy for a lifetime NYC resident to admit this…but Portland (PDX) is the most vegan-friendly city I’ve ever experienced. PDX is so damn vegan, it doesn’t even have animals in its zoo. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but the supreme vegan-ness of this Oregon city isn’t just in the delirious amount of vegan food options (pizza, milk shakes, deli food, Italian food, alcoholic beverages, raw food, etc.), it’s in the general vibe.

I have read countless amounts of articles and blogs that review the Portland vegan food scene. While all the articles and blogs that I have read have been well written and a pleasure to read, they aren’t as comprehensive as Zezima’s article. It not only showcases the best places to eat vegan meals in Portland, but Zezima tells you what to expect when you go into these establishments. As you can read when he describes Bye and Bye, a vegan bar:

At first glimpse, it’s your standard hipster bar. Look closer and you’ll learn that all the drinks are made only with vegan ingredients and the menu is 100% animal-free, too. Meatball sub, tofu dog, grilled cheese, and more…all in a cool setting surrounded by Stumptown’s hippest.

Overall this article has the right amount of wit and enthusiasm to make it an easy read. What really makes this article different from many others is that Zezima is not from Portland. You will find that most of the people writing about the Portland vegan food scene are from Portland. I enjoy an outsider’s perspective when describing the scene because they are expressing their first time experiences in a new establishment and in a new city, and I find I learn more from an outsider’s perspective.

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