portland, or : departure.

besides being obsessed with grimm ... the other main reason for our trip to portland is my obsession with top chef + one of my various chef crushes. sitting right up there in my top 5 is chef gregory gourdet, who came in second place on top chef: boston.

funny story ... i have been living my life thinking chef gregory won since the show aired ... i even told one of my friends who hadn't watched it yet that he won. said friend then watched the entire season thinking he knew the outcome ... but, spoiler alert! ... my spoiler was wrong, so he had quite the roller coaster of emotions watching that finale.

I DIGRESS. ok, so in summation, my crush on chef gregory was one of two reasons we went to portland in the first place ... departure, where he is the executive chef, is located there.

another funny story ... departure happened to be located in the hotel we booked to stay at. a legit coincidence ... perfection, if you ask me. 

so about departure ... "chef gregory creates accessible asian cuisine using traditional techniques. we are committed to offering diners the most authentic ingredients for unique, modern, pan-asian cuisine." lovely. but the best thing? a separate. vegan. dinner. menu. what! vegan menu = love. [insert heart eyes emoji.]

i overate like never before in my life. (even our server was like, k honey you've ordered enough for 2 people. we didn't share.) here's what i had ...

steamed tempeh buns :
kimchi & korean miso. 
josh lives for a bun like this ... but i never see any vegan ones out there, so i jumped at the opportunity to try this. oh. em. gee. amazing. i restricted myself to only eating one & took the other back to our room for a snack later.

curry :
ok, it would appear this isn't on the menu anymore. which is a shame. because it was truly amazing. i've never experienced a curry where it was somehow so light & fluffy, it was literally like eating an incredible curry cloud ... that i just kept eating & eating & eating. drooling right now as i reminisce about it. 

chili tofu :
apples, peanut & szechuan pepper. 
i love a tofu dish. especially one where it's crispified. i ate every bite of tofu. but since i was so concerned about finishing the above curry, i didn't eat much of the other ingredients. 

so departure was definitely one of the best meals of my life ... as incredible as all the casual vegan options in portland are, i would say if you are looking for something higher end ... i mean, this is the spot. i would go back to portland just for two hours so i could eat here again.

another plus ... we saw chef gregory! but josh said i was forbidden from going up to say hi. so we (just me) sat in awe from a distance. all in all ... 5+ stars, 2+ thumbs up, da bomb on all fronts.

525 sw morrison street
portland, or 97204

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