Healthy Food and Yummy Treats in Downtown Portland: SCAN Symposium Review Part I

Important highlights from my trip to Portland last weekend…

1. A healthy dietitian eats dessert. 

Want proof? Search #SCANsymposium in instagram. Donuts like woah (you can see my dessert choices below though). #Flexibility #NoOrthorexiaHere

2. There is not enough time to eat all the yummy things!

If you weren’t following along on instagram and twitter April 7-10,  I was there for my favorite annual conference, the SCAN Symposium. I’ll give you more on the conference, it’s activities and conference related food and products on Monday but, today I am chatting about the food and fun that anyone can enjoy in a short weekend there.
In case you don’t have time to read about everything, here is a quick list of the places I am going to be detailing from my trip. I have only ever said this in the case of Austin, TX before but, I recommend all of them! These are now officially my two favorite foodie cities in the US.

Hop City Tavern
Stumptown Coffee (must drink)
Powell’s Bookstore
The Saturday Market (must do)
Made Here Portland
Brew Dr. Kombucha
Clyde Common
Ruby Jewel
Urban Farmer
Mother’s Bistro (must eat)
Petunia’s Pies and Pastries (must eat)

Now for the details… I flew in from Philly on Thursday and after some annoying flight issues got me there a few hours later than expected, the beautiful scenery from the plane helped me forget that I was up since 4 am east coast (1 am west coast) time. I took the super easy MAX train downtown, walked a short 1/4 mile to check in at the hotel, and ran right back out the door to explore! I made a loop down to the river and back up the easy to navigate streets to see some landmarks. I am still amazed by the greenery in a city paired with the flowing river by the water with snow capped mountains in the background. Gorgeousness everywhere! Plus, there was no traffic. What city has empty streets? Portland. Cause everyone bikes or trains or walks everywhere. I got over 20,000 steps everyday. Here are some pics I snapped while walking around.

I had packed enough snacks to get me through breakfast and lunch but didn’t expect travel to take as long as it did so I was super hungry. I made my way to the famous “food cart spot” and grabbed a vegan taco for, I kid you not, $1.50. Now, it wasn’t the best taco I’ve eaten but, I felt I checked a Portland must off the list and satisfied my hunger until dinner a couple of hours later.

Next, I made my way past some cute shops, parks and restaurants to Whole Foods to pick up some essentials for the room. I had forgotten that SCAN feeds you all weekend so I really shouldn’t have gotten more than a couple of apples and bananas but, I did get a locally made Kombucha on tap there too, so that made it all okay.

Confession: I hardly ever read books. Not because I don’t have several piled up to read but because I am so busy that all I read is scientific research studies and health articles. Good thing I enjoy that! I was reminded on the trip that audio books are an option and may have to try them. Anyway, I stopped by the famous Powell’s Book Store and explored the variety of new and used options and sat in their cute cafe/reading area a bit to recharge (literally, my phone needed to be charged). I had seen earlier (thanks Insta) that Kim was in today too so I reached out for us to do dinner together. Thankfully Kim is also an east-coaster and wanted to lay low tonight after a super long day of traveling. We met at Hop City Tavern, the yummy bar/restaurant in the Hilton where we were staying, and it was awesome getting to know each other better over good eats! We sat at the bar and Kim had a local brew while I had a Pinot Noir Portlandia. Usually not my first wine choice but a client had said it’s a great Pinot Noir region so I went with it and it was delish! We shared a pretzel (pic on Kim’s review) as well as this beet and potato hash w/ an egg (sans bacon). Great minds really do think a like and we each had the shredder salad too! It was a yummy blend of cabbage, kale, broccoli, dates, almonds and a vinaigrette.

Hit the hay early so we could be energized for the weekend and I naturally woke up around 5 cause it was really 8 my time. Yay for sleeping in! I hit the gym and answered emails on the elliptical, did some weight and TRX (yup, TRX in a hotel gym!) and woohoo! got to foam roll to end out my sesh. Super helpful after a long day of stiff travel on a plane the day before.

Friday was packed mostly with SCAN food – I was busy covering all the sessions that day including a sports nutrition focused lunch presented by EAS so, while the food was yummy, most of it was nothing to rave about. Again, I will mention that in a second post on the conference Monday. I do have to give a shout out to Purely Elizabeth though.  The single serve original ancient grain oatmeal I picked up at whole foods has NO sugar, 10 g protein and 7 grams of fiber. I added in fresh grind PB from Whole Foods and a banana and was set to recover from my workout and was energized for a long day of learning.

Day 2 was a little more exciting on the food scene. SCAN did a great morning bridge run. I did about 3.5 miles with a group that broke off in a 9ish minute mile pace and then did an extra couple of miles with Heather who I am so happy to have met!

Post run I needed Stumptown Coffee which was offered right in our hotel at the Hop City quick serve area. I had it the day before too and it did not disappoint. I got a smaller Americano than the day before and this yummy breakfast sandwich. The menu had an egg sandwich with bacon and cheese on white. Look what you get when you ask for substitutions! Whole grains, avocado, and tomato. Bam. 

After morning sessions, Kim asked if I wanted to hang with another group of RD’s and do lunch out and about rather than the lunch session. The topics being covered I knew well and the session right after was not big in my practice so, I obviously explored outside on the gorgeous 80+ degree day. Anna and Megan from Eat with Zest are local to Portland and suggested Prasad. This adorable vegan place in yogapearl wellness studio was amazing. Great environment and great Betty bowl w/ millet and jalapeno cashew dressing.

From there we stopped at the Made in Portland Store. It was awesome. {The amazing hot sauces I bought were too big though and didn’t make it through security. Their mailing system was down. I almost cried.}

Next we explored the super fun Saturday market. If you are in Portland on a Saturday, you HAVE to go experience this! If I wasn’t running back for afternoon sessions, I would have stayed longer and gotten some handcrafted cute jewelry but I browsed with some of the girls, grabbed a local ginger kombucha on tap and headed back.

That night I went out with Kim and Heather to Clyde Commons. It had a great vibe but since we were sitting up stairs it was a major food pic fail. We shared some spicy popcorn that I was surprisingly impressed by and I had a their cocktail of the day which w tequila based. No idea what else but do remember yumminess and a cute crystal glass! Below you can see my food pic fail of wild caught salmon over a garlic puree and fiddlehead ferns & crunchy farro. The salmon was good but not amazing. The fiddlehead ferns were adoreable and delicious. I need to find these in Bucks County!

Kim reallly wanted to hit up Ruby Jewel ice cream so I was just hoping there would be a dairy free version. There was! “Chocolate covered banana” here meant banana ice cream. Win! Thanks Portland food gods for understanding my #dairyfreeprobs.

We walked back to the hotel and while it was a long day it was still a little early. I had plans to meet up with a non-blogger RD not on social media who was with some high school friends in the area (crazy, right), so I stopped by the well known Urban Farmer in the mean time. One just opened up in Philly but it in no way is as cool as this one in the Nines hotel. Yes, I already ate but with all of today’s activity, convinced myself that a side of Brussel Sprouts with pear butter and pinot shallot. I really feel crazy saying this and I am so sorry but… they were better than Yardley Inn‘s. I never thought I would say that. Sorry YIG I still love you!!

Sunday started out with SCAN yoga (again, more on Monday) and because I had heard rave reviews all weekend, I ran from there to Mother’s Bistro for breakfast as soon as they opened at 8. Let’s be honest, too. After 2 days of info overload, and the conference sessions not being as great the last day (they do this on purpose), it was okay to skip the first session for an amazing breakfast. First, how freakin’ cute is this place?!

Second, this mug! The organic fair trade french pressed coffee in it was fab too (and they gave me a to-go cup for the rest) but I seriously called my mom on the walk back to the hotel. I feel like I don’t even need to tell you what this breakfast is and the pic just makes you want to eat it but, it is their tofu veggie hash with a side of freshly made sourdough. Perfection. Take me back!
  I hit two more sessions and then headed back out for a hike cause, Portland. I really wish I had made it to a waterfall but I took what I could get. The max train brought me right to Washington Park/Forest Park and a jog with lots of stops for pictures was awesome. It is so green and beautiful! My favorite area that I explored was the Magnolia Trail in Forest Park where the trees were in bloom in so many different colors! The trail was really windy and pretty too.

   I headed back, showered and packed up before Kim and I headed out for one last delicious meal. We were unsure of what to do for lunch but I was sure that I wanted to stop at Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. What we didn’t realize is that this bakery also had lunch and that the entire menu was vegan and gluten free. Whhhhat???? When you hear a bakery is famous and a must-do but you didn’t even see that it was vegan and gluten free, it must be awesome. When they have a vegan barbecue veggie bowl, you decide to get lunch too. So we both got the same meal (again) and shared some cornbread. The meal was better than the crumbly cornbread but that didn’t stop us from getting dessert to go. Really, I wanted to get like 10 things to go. I am super indecisive to begin with and then they just kept bringing out more desserts and setting them in the display. If you live in Portland I envy that you can go here daily and that you walk so much that it fits in with your calorie needs.

Seriously, look at all of these options! I went with the cookie sandwich that was filled with a espresso bourbon vanilla icing to have on the plane and a vegan salted caramel square to bring home…

Oh. Em. GEE. Later on, after Kim and I split off at the airport and my hot sauces were confiscated at security (I forgot about the fluid size rules), I decided it was time to treat myself. Unfortunately my layover was shorter than expected too and I maybe ate the caramel square for dinner. Dietitians don’t have perfect diets either. And we like sweets too 🙂

Who has been to Portland? What are your favorite restaurants, hikes and treats? I am definitely going back and want your recs!!!!


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