Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Accidental Vegan

So, many moons ago Melinda over in England asked me to do her a birthday favor and go around to a few bakeries and review them. She used to live here a while fact, I think she might even be a native Oregonian...not sure.

Back then, I was camera deficient, so I couldn't give her her birthday wish. But now I can!

Welcome to the first installment of:

ECL's Opinionated Opinion
on Local Bakeries

Lately while driving around I've passed this cute little bakery I had never noticed before. It looks like the storefront space has been recently remodeled, and I've seen tons of bikes parked out front.

I thought it would be the perfect little bakery to check out for Melinda.

On Monday I persuaded the Stooges to hit the neat little bakery on our way to the 'burbs. This was after we experienced a very curious lunch at this little hole in the wall, so we were a little skeptical about trying another new place.

As we parked, we noticed a ton of bikes parked outside the bakery. That could mean a lot of SE hipsters hang out there--that could be good. Then we noticed that in the same block Food Fight had set up shop. Food Fight is a vegan grocery.

My head snapped between the vegan grocery and all the bikes locked up in front of the bakery. Synapses fired, and a cold fear of dread began to settle in my stomach. "Oh god," I mumbled, "This better not be a VEGAN BAKERY."

And, it is.

100% vegan

Sweetpea Bakery
has been open for about two weeks. They have a nice big airy seating spot in the front of the store and a big open bakery behind the counter. The counter had a ton of vegan baked goods all lined up nice and pretty. And on the counter by the register they had a couple plates of unmarked samples...something like a muffin or scone or quickbread...

I tried a sample niblet, and it was spicy and pumpkiny, and a little rubbery. I was worried. These were vegan treats. No butter. No honey. No eggs. NO BUTTER!!!

I anxiously scanned the counter as a nice little vegan kid waited patiently for me to put him to work. Vegan coffee cake? Vegan cupcake? Vegan scone? Vegan cake? Or vegan cookie? So many choices, so many potential rubbery soy disappointments.

so many treats, so little butter

I decided to go with one of their little cakey things: it looks like an oreo, but in snacky cake form. Two little half moon cakes with a nice gob of vanilla frosting sandwiched between.

vegan snacky cakes

I also ordered a small chai. With almond milk.

Joelf bought a snickerdoodle.


The chai with almond milk wasn't so bad. The kid actually got that almond milk to steam pretty well. Shocking!

And the cake. I was SO nervous. What if it was caca? What's wrong with butter, people? Butter!!!

I took one bite of the little cakey thing, and I was pleasantly pleased. The cake was cake-like, not rubbery. It had a nice mellow chocolately flavor, not too sweet or rich. The vanilla frosting was sweet and crunchy...and then I realised that shortening and powdered sugar are vegan!

the bite

All in all, I really enjoyed my vegan snacky cake. Joelf later on told me his cookie was really good, too.

So if you're ever in the mood for something sweet and you're in a vegan frame of mind, Sweetpea Bakery is your new favorite place.

**Breaking news: According to their website, Sweetpea Bakery will begin serving GF baked goods this week...GF, vegan baked goods? Might have to go back...hmmm.

Sweetpea Bakery
1205 SE Stark St
Portland OR 97214
503 477 5916


  1. Love it! You always make me laugh.
    What! No butter...eggs! I love the rubbery prediction.
    But how delightful all was not lost.
    Thank you for a little tour of new Portland. Looking forward to more.
    I am a true Oregon native. I'm a valley girl( Eugene, Portland) but my heart is in Oceanside.

  2. No more vegan goods, fool! The next thing you know, you'll be riding a fixed gear bike while smoking a cigarette, getting tattoos on your face, and raising little baby vegan dirt balls. Slippery slope, ECL. Slippery slope.

  3. zetta, does this mean i shouldn't tell you i love black sheep bakery's peanut butter chocolate chip bars? those things are the bomb.

    no worries, my friend. i am too busy being a self righteous car driving omnivore to become a self righteous bike riding vegan. i just love meat and butter way too much.

  4. melinda, i'm glad you liked it! i realise now i should have taken more photos of the storefront and maybe the neighborhood, to give you a sense of time, i promise!

    the oregon coast is wonderful. i haven't been out there for over a year--i really need to go!!

  5. Anonymous24/1/08 20:26

    What did the other stooge have? I like hearing about her best...she's awesome...don't you know.

  6. the other stooge IS awesome, i totally agree. that stooge chose not to eat anything vegan, but she was kind enough to write a check for the other 2 stooges' treats.