Bay Leaf is in my old neighborhood, but back when I lived there the area wasn’t cool enough to have things like Chinese vegetarian restaurants. Now it’s one of the many areas of Portland that people say will be “the next Hawthorne” which just means that hipsters will continue to move there. The truth is that in a few years I think there will be very few places in Portland where hipsters don’t live. Gentrification sucks but it does mean more vegetarian restaurants.
My experience at Bay Leaf was probably affected a lot by how ridiculously shitty I felt. I’ve been sick and last night was the worst– I cringed every time I swallowed because it hurt so badly. I had to run to the bathroom because I needed a few minutes to cry and feel sorry for myself before digging into my food. So I might have enjoyed it more had I been in a better mood. We started out with some appetizers– the seasoned spinach was great. For my main dish I got sesame tofu, which was just ok. It was big cubes of fried tofu in a citrus sesame sauce. I thought the sauce was pretty bland– it really just tasted sweet and could have used some tanginess and spice. I also ordered a cup of hot and sour soup, which felt nice in my throat but was otherwise unimpressive. I mostly ordered it because I wanted some soup, though, not because I am a huge fan of hot and sour soup, so a hot and sour soup aficionado could probably give a more informed review. Most people at my table said their dishes were really good but I wasn’t really that excited about eating food so I didn’t try anything else. I’ll probably go to Bay Leaf again but I’ll definitely order something else. They have a lot of mostly vegetables dishes that sound really good, like their tangy eggplant.
This morning I went to Paradox for breakfast, like I often do. Even so, I cannot really review Paradox as a whole, because I have only ever gotten one thing there. I always mean to branch out but I just love the Paradox Benedict so much. It’s sourdough bread with veggie sausage, fried tofu (or eggs if you swing that way), creamy gravy stuff, tomato and lots of potatoes on the side. I really don’t need the sausage– I actually like some vegan breakfast sausage a lot but the kind they have isn’t that exciting– but I love the way the gravy soaks into the sourdough and it’s just so good and the potatoes are awesome. Paradox has the slowest service ever, but the Stumptown coffee is bottomless if you can get your server to notice that you finished your coffee an hour ago and would like some more please.