With limited time in Portland, I knew I had to start working my way through my gastronomic to-do list before the International Food Bloggers Conference began in earnest.
First thing in the morning, Cheryl and I made a pilgrimage to Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the coffee mecca of the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, my inability to read a map properly made our path to java nirvana more circuitous than anticipated. “SE” and “SW”? Greek to me. Maps confuse me with all their wiggly lines. I’d never flinch at eating scorpions or beef testicles, but I’m the kind of gal who’d finish last in The Amazing Race ’cause I can’t navigate worth a damn.
Lynne was already waiting for us when we arrived. The smell of coffee at Stumptown was intoxicating — I perked up even before I spied the impressive array of coffee drinks and magazines available to all the hipster caffeine junkies who wander in.
I ordered an espresso con panna, not realizing that the “panna” — cream — came in the form of canned whipped cream rather than as a splash of heavy cream. My bad. But it was still a fantastic cup of coffee.
After properly caffeinating ourselves, we strolled around the neighborhood and quickly spotted a long line of people jonesin’ for fried sugary gluten at Voodoo Doughnut.
I swear: if I’d been here just a couple of years ago, I would’ve totally camped out in line for a chance to munch on a few (dozen) doughnuts. Now? Not so much.
Lynne and Cheryl had to return to the hotel for their book signings, so I picked up my new friend Shaun to accompany me to the Cultured Caveman food cart. This was to be Shaun’s first foray into Paleo eating, and I had a feeling I’d picked the perfect spot.
In fact, I’d been eager to visit Joe and Heather, the owners of Cultured Caveman, for months — ever since I got wind of their Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of their business. Their video was charming and funny, and I was thrilled to participate in their fundraising efforts and spread the word about Portland’s very first Paleo food cart. I couldn’t wait to come to Portland so I could drop by for a meal.
Joe and Heather didn’t disappoint. The dynamic duo behind Cultured Caveman are exactly who I’d imagined them to be: warm, genuine, charismatic, smart, intrepid entrepreneurs. (Besides, they mentioned that a few of their menu items are actually based on my recipes, so how could I not love them? With me, flattery’ll get you everywhere!)
Waiting at the food cart to join us for lunch was Kyra Bussanich, the beautiful and talented Paleo-eating, CrossFitting, gluten-free baker from Crave Bake Shop — and winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! How awesome was it that she hand-delivered a box of award-winning gluten-free treats for me to take home? (Honestly, I hope I can resist the urge to eat all the goodies before I return to the Bay Area.)
And, of course, when my good buddy Diane Sanfilippo showed up, it was a super-Paleo party in Portland! (I think Oregon marks the fourth or fifth state in which I’ve hung out with Diane. Only forty-five left to go!)
I was delighted to meet a number Joe’s and Heather’s fans, too. Clearly, the Cultured Caveman food cart is THE place to be if you’re a Paleo eater.
And with good reason. The eats are superb.
I sampled as much food as I could cram into my mouth. I started with the crisp, flavorful coconut flour crusted chicken tenders fried in tallow…
…the hearty bone broth…
…the sweet and savory bacon wrapped dates and almonds…
…(which, by the way, make perfect Paleo “croutons” for the colorful kale salad)…
…and a side of rainbow fries served with homemade ketchup.
For dessert, I inhaled a hot chocolate cupcake from Kyra. When I bit into this beauty, I’m pretty sure my eyes rolled into the back of my head.
Even after two solid hours of food, laughter, and conversation, I didn’t want to leave.
But alas, it was time for me to head back to the conference, so we said our reluctant goodbyes.
I really ought to have taken more photos of the remainder of my day. I should’ve taken snapshots at the presentations I attended, or at dinner with my new IFBC buddies. But I was tired, the lighting was dim, and our dinner was at Ned Ludd, where I’d just eaten and snapped a whole bunch of images the night before. So I decided to put the camera away for once, and just soaked it all in.
I did manage to take one more photo, though. To cap off a day of super Paleo power, here’s a shot of me and Chef Gregory Goudret at the Taste of Oregon and Gourmet Fair at IFBC:
He’s not just an award-winning chef. Chef Gourdet also happens to be a Paleo-eating, ultra-marathoning CrossFitter.
AND he’s been named Portland’s Hottest Chef of 2012.