Portland / Vida Vegan Con #8: The End (or the dinner and lunch dates of my dreams + a 15-hour trek home)

by JL Fields on September 4, 2011

Are you still with me?  Here it is, my eighth and final post wrapping up my Portland / Vida Vegan Con experience.

After day two of the conference concluded Megan and I went back to the hotel room to rest. Well, I rested and she packed.  She was on her way home. Me? My red-eye flight to New York was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.  Always one to make lemonade out of lemons, I put the two unexpected, extra nights in Portland to good use.

That night Gena, Lisa, Nicole and I went out for a much-needed quiet dinner.  I am most definitely an extrovert but I have a threshold. I felt myself crawling inside myself (in a good way) after five days of non-stop, awesome fun.  We dined at Blossoming Lotus.  Con attendees had been raving about it all weekend so I was anxious to try it.  It was worth the wait.

A starter, to share.

Creamy Pesto & White Bean Dip served warm with grilled artisan bread and crudite, with basil oil and fresh herbs $7.5

My outstanding entrée.

Four Cheese Lasagna layers of fresh vegetable marinara, semolina noodles, herbed tofu ricotta, roasted garlic & squash mozzarella, and sesame parmesan, served on a bed of steamed greens, topped with cashew cream $15.5 (Wine: San Juan Merlot)

The food was amazing but the dinner conversation with my three friends was superb.

Blossoming Lotus on Urbanspoon

It was a perfect end to a long, fabulous, exhausting two days.  Or, was the impromptu 2+ mile walk back to the hotel the perfect conclusion?

Oh, face it, the entire evening was perfect. Thanks Gena, Lisa and Nicole!

Monday morning I slept it. It was grey and misting and I immediately nixed the idea of a run (I had run about 4 miles a day, four days in a row!)  Instead I blogged, edited photos, read and stayed in my pajamas until noon.  It was marvelous.

Then I headed out for a much-anticipated lunch date– finally, some alone time with my new friends The Spicy Vegan and Janessa.  We were all exhausted and all we really wanted was conversation and comforting food. We got both by going to PHO PDX.

phơ tofu & veggies, string beans, bell pepper & mushroom $6.5

The big bowl of hot soup filled with fresh vegetables, tofu and a lot of added jalapeno was just what I wanted on a grey day.

Pho PDX on Urbanspoon

But spending time with my two friends?

JL and Janessa (The Spicy Vegan is camera-shy!)

That was simply priceless. Hurricane Irene and Jet Blue, thank you for the bonus time with my gals!

We hugged and parted ways.  I wanted to move my body a bit so I walked over to Powell’s Books, finally! I wandered the store, in awe and slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, and eventually walked out empty-handed.  More walking before ultimately retiring to my hotel room. I didn’t leave for the rest of the day. I had leftovers as well as fresh fruit and veggies on hand so I just noshed for dinner and then hit the sack early.

Wednesday morning I was at the airport by 8:30 a.m. At the JetBlue counter the agent said “Uh Oh, your suitcase weighs over 50 pounds!” (Can you say Vida Vegan Con swag bag and vegan mini-mall shopping?) She continued “I guess you’ll need to remove some things.” To which I replied “Surely you don’t plan to charge me considering my direct flight to New York was canceled and I am now about to travel 15 hours to get home?”  She didn’t charge me.

There was another Powell’s Books at the airport.  This time I bought something.  As I walked out and down the corridor near my gate I spied the word SPA.  What?  I sauntered in that direction and discovered that yes, indeed, The DragonTree (a holistic day spa) has a location at the Portland airport!  I signed up for a 30-minute deep tissue massage with Brian.  I covered a lot of miles on foot in Portland so he worked on my legs and then focused on my neck and shoulders, the two areas that would feel the most stress on my three flights home. Thanks Brian!

I walked out of the spa and directly onto the plane. First connection: Long Beach, CA.  You may recall, I was just there last week for a family wedding. Never one to miss an opportunity to see family and friends, I let my aunt know that I had a 2+ hour layover. My aunt, uncle (and baby cousin) picked me up and we had a quick lunch at the Garden Terrace Cafe & Patio at the Long Beach Marriott.

Veggie burger (vegan, made with oats and mushrooms) with tomato-basil relish (hold, the mozzarella)

I also ordered a salad (hold the chicken, add chickpeas) which they wrapped up nice and tight for me to eat later, for dinner, on another plane.

The next connection:  Las Vegas!

I love me some Las Vegas. You know I got married there, nearly 13 years ago, yes?

When in Vegas.

I didn’t win in Vegas.

But I did win in Portland. Attending Vida Vegan Con was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I made new friends. I learned new skills. I am more in touch with what being vegan means for me.

This concludes my Portland / Vida Vegan Con recaps. Miss one? You can catch up:

Thank you for reading and joining me on the wonderful adventure!

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  • Megan (sweeton)

    I learned so much too! Re: your airline story, I have to say a lot of what I learned in PDX wasn’t about vegan stuff, but was a lesson from you about being kind and generous to service people, while also not being afraid to stick up for yourself and ask for what you want/what’s fair. You are a rockstar in so many different ways! (Jasper just licked the laptop – I think he agrees!) xo

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      This comment means so much to me. I’m so happy that in just a few short days we were able to get to know one another so well. xo

  • VeganLisa

    I’m in tears reading your recap – missing you. I’m glad you got home safe and sound. You are an amazing force, JL. Your spirit inspires all those around you. You have a wonderful ability to help others feel good in their own skin. You make people glow. I’m so happy to have had the chance to meet you in person and can’t wait for our next chance to connect. xo

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       My dear, this is how I feel about YOU! You’re so kind and generous and I’m so happy to call you friend.

  • Stephanie Christianson

    Hi JL!! It was very nice meeting you at VVC, and I’ve been loving your recaps! I have to say this one is my favorite, but only because it features Elvis ;-)

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Ha! Elvis never fails! 

  • KaRIwadd

    I never get tired of reading of your adventures, being inspired by your convictions, and learning about a world of eating and living that I really never knew existed until you introduced me to it.  So sorry about your LONG flight(s) home, but sounds like you made the most of it and handled the incovenience with patience and poise.  Keep it coming girlfriend!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Aw, Kari, your words mean so much!  You were right there with me when I went vegan and your support was so important to me!

  • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

    A perfect wrap up! I forgot to post my Powell’s photos — what a mecca that place is.

    And your wedding photo warms my heart: you look ebullient and excited and just like yourself, which is NEVER how brides look in those staged photos.

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Thanks, Gena — we were so excited that we found an Elvis (one of our wedding goals) and we couldn’t hide our delight!

  • http://twitter.com/therawproject Christine

    The Lasagna looks amazing and another great re-cap, thanks for all the VVC posts! Love all the stops on the way home too, as you know we got married in Vegas too. :-) I need to remember getting layover massages for my next trip!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Airport massage = genius.

  • Christa Shelton

    Great wrap-up JL! Your posts are amazing!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      That’s so kind of you to say!  Vida Vegan Con was huge — and so worthy of numerous posts!

  • http://dietdessertndogs.com Ricki

    Loved the entire series, but this post really made me regret not having gone–how envious I am of that dinner with Gena, Lisa, Nicole and you!  And your wedding pic is quite possibly the most priceless thing I have seen. . . . ever. :D

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Ricki, it would have been such a pleasure to have you with us for dinner. It was lovely (as was OUR dinner with our men at Candle 79!). 

  • http://almostveganchef.com/ Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    I wish wish WISH I’d made it to Blossoming Lotus!

    HAHA, I love your response to the airline lady!  Way to tell her  :P

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Blossoming Lotus was wonderful because the food was fantastic but the restaurant was not pretentious at all. My kind of restaurant.

  • Beth

    Oh my, I LOVE that wedding picture of the two of you. You both simply look so happy and thrilled!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Thanks, Beth! :)

  • http://greytveganlife.wordpress.com/ Christina

    Way to tell the airline chick what for! I’ve enjoyed your VVC series;
    almost as good as being there (the food photos are drool-worthy). Love the wedding photo with Elvis! J and I
    had a quickie ceremony in a Reno drive through chapel before he
    deployed for 6 months (and before the “real” wedding). The only thing lacking at our Reno wedding was an Elvis to pose with…

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Christina, you should try to attend the 2013 Vida Vegan Con. It was an incredible experience!

  • http://www.tiedyefiles.com Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

    I’m so glad the delay worked out for you, it sounds like you made the most of it. I’m pretty bummed you’re done recapping the conference, I want it to happen again now!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       I’m bummed, too!  And I really would love another conference soon. Is every weekend too much? LOL

  • http://spabettie.com Kristina @ spabettie

    I have enjoyed ALL of your recaps, my friend – you definitely have a way with words and it’s not just because you are talking about my city that I follow each and every word! glad you were able to see Powells, and go to the spa!! a couple of my old employees work there. 

    I LOVE the wedding photo – that is classic, something I would do!! :)

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Ha, thank you so much!

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  • http://veganinarkansas.blogspot.com/ Sheridan

    That lasagna looks divine! I’ve already told Bianca that our next vacation/road trip needs to be one where we can easily order vegan meals. Ha! I don’t have many options in Little Rock, so I would be happy to take a trip somewhere just to sample the cuisine where I can be guaranteed it’s vegan. So naturally, I’m totally drooling at all of the food pics from the conference and surrounding restaurants!

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  • http://healthysparx.com/ Corinne Taeed

    O. M. G. Dying for some of that lasagne and veggie burger!  YUM! I wish we had something like Vida Vegan Con in Australia. Oh well, might just have to jump plane there!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Corinne, I hear the next one may be in Chicago in the (U.S.) spring of 2013!

      • http://healthysparx.com/ Corinne

        That’s perfect! I just spent a month in the states last year and only got to spend one night in Chicago but it was our favourite city of them all. Spring would be around April May next year?

        • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

          Yep, I heard May (-ish).  I suggest you subscribe to the VVC blog (http://vidavegancon.com/) so that you can keep up the news, location and date!

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