So, guys, this new job as a waitress has been kinda kicking my ass as of late. Today and yesterday I did my first (and second) a.m. shifts. These start at 7:30am and I'm scheduled to 3pm, which I work til (well, technically the a.m. shift person doesn't end up leaving til 3:30) unless the call-in shift person comes in because it's busy and then if it gets slow the a.m. person leaves....which is what happened today. I was happy for it though. I got to leave almost 2 hours early. Last night my feet were totally tired and I pretty much watched tv the rest of the day in my bed. (There's no digital convertor box in the living room) It was nice and lazy and my feet felt much happier by evening time.
I love working part time like this. I wish I could always do this. The French consider 25 hours a week part time, right? They are so right....
So, let's see....let's talk about vegan stuff....Me and the aforementioned Jess will be doing a joint post soon, so look for that. Maybe Friday?
Actually, I think I will just talk about the restaurant I work at. Just to give it some love, since I didn't include it in my favorite breakfast places. I work at Paradox Cafe. It's been around for years here in Portland, but the current owner has owned it for only a few. Paradox and Vita Cafe were owned by the same people, but sold to different people, which is why they share a lot of the same menu items but now differ in decor and new menu items. Paradox's owner worked there before buying it and she's a nice lady named Bonnie. She seems to be honestly interested in our (employees) welfare and she reminds me a bit of a couple of my other former bosses. This is diner food, but she wants to make it as healthful as possible, which is one of the reasons corndogs are no longer on the menu. She said the corn outside could squeeze out about a 1/2 cup of oil after being fried.
Before working here, I maybe had eaten there once for lunch or dinner. I always ended up with breakfast food. Usually the #1 (tofu, potatoes, and a wheat biscuit with added side of almond gravy to go atop the biscuit) or I'd split the #5 (biscuits and gravy, vegan sausage, tofu and potatoes) with my sister. The tofu is not the most flavorful, but with ketchup and your choice of 4 hot sauces (Srirachi, Chalula, Green Tabasco, Aardvark), it's good. It is marinated tofu, I just can't really taste it. The seasoned breakfast potatoes are some of the tastiest in town. A few times we ordered them (before I worked there) they were lukewarm, but I think when you go and it's busy they do a whole bunch of them at once instead of per order like they normally do, so you have a chance of getting some that may have been sitting around awhile.
Their homemade wheat biscuits and almond gravy were the first vegan biscuits and gravy I ever had, so I have a special place in my heart for them. Even when the biscuits aren't soft or even warm, I can deal. I do wish they would be replaced with a more "buttery", less healthy version. You can get the gravy with their homemade herb and onion bread (cutely called the H.O.G.), which is pretty tasty.
Their vegan sausages used to be from Morningstar, but they now make their own. I would say they're a lovechild of the Morningstar real-like sausage patty and Laurelthirst's very hippy, not-like-real-sausage-at-all sausage. They have something I don't like in them. I think it's fennel seeds, but it doesn't infect the whole patty and so I can eat still them.
One other item I used to get on occasion is their corncakes. Those things are damn tasty! I've not seen a person able to eat the two cakes in one setting. They're very filling and wheat free! You can get them solstice style with nuts and....something else. Can't remember what it is...Or you can get them Mexican style (but they're not on the breakfast menu -which doesn't matter since everything on the menu is served all day- and they're called Tamales, but they're not in corn husks or anything, some people get annoyed by that) with salsa, guacamole, sour cream (you can get vegan sour cream!) and jalapenos. So good! Those jalapenos are hot, be warned!
So when I started working there, I started trying various things on the menu so I would know what it was like and since I really hadn't eaten much besides the items above. (Warning- I may forget a couple of ingredients) I really enjoyed the Thai Stick Salad: spinach leaves, almonds, button mushrooms, red peppers, crispy tempeh sticks, all tossed in a spicy thai dressing. I would get it without mushrooms next time. Not a huge fan of uncooked mushrooms.
The Tempeh Gyro is a favorite among customers (including my friend Jacob- hi, Jacob!). It's tempeh with lettuce, tomato and a special vegan yogurt sauce in a pita. The Treehugger is Dave's Killer Good Seed, vegan cream cheese, guacamole, tomato, lettuce and Tofurkey slices upon addition. I think I'm missing some ingredients in there....I think next time I would sub hummus for the guacamole. I haven't tried our hummus yet but a customer asked for the recipe, so I assume it's good.
The specials vary morning and evening, it's the chef's choice and sometimes they make dang good choices. Like today. The boss lady was working and she had made a killer good cashew gravy. The herb and onion bread were topped with grilled onions, tofu, spinach and mushroom and then covered in the cashew gravy. So! Good! Y'all! A big plate of that for $6.50. Their specials usually are well priced so make sure you take a peek or ask the server what it is.
Their homemade soup is also tasty. Boss lady's been trying out Soy Curls and she made a real yummy soup with those the other day. It was like a Beef Vegetable and there was one lady that I gave a sample to that actually thought it was beef (the soup was called Rosemary Potato & Love).
Almost everything on the menu is vegan. What's not vegan: hamburger (duh! but the veggie burger is vegan even though it doesn't specify that), chicken sausage (another duh), cheddar cheese, real sour cream, Swiss cheese that's on the Reuben and their waffles. Everything else is vegan and there's probably a substitute. They don't have vegan cheese slices, but their two cheese sauces are so good. There's a nacho cheese sauce and another one called Mac & Cheese sauce that's used on the benedicts and on the mac & cheese that's no longer on the menu but can still be ordered. They can do a scramble upon request if so desired but there's none on the menu.
Remember that green onions come on top of just about everything (and margarine if it's that kind of item, i.e. pancakes and toast) so just request them to leave off if that's not your thing. During the week, before 10am, items called numbers, as in the #3, are $1 off.
The service used to kinda suck, but I feel like it's gotten better (after all, I work there...heh) but because it can be so slow with only bursts of busy, there may be only one server if you're there during the week and the food is cooked to order and can take some time. If you're rushed for time, a good bet is the regular biscuits and gravy (herb and onion bread is thick and can take a long time to toast up, keep that in mind if you order soup b/c it comes with it).
Go check it out!