Food carts are about as plentiful in Portland as hipsters. They're everywhere! Something about the no-frills, fast-casual dining experiences of mobile restaurants appeals to the bearded folk of PDX, so you're bound to find some sort of meal on wheels on every street corner. Eager to absorb as much of the Portland vibe as possible, my friends and I taste-tested several food trucks across the city. My two favs were Homegrown Smoker and Smaaken Waffles.
Any place that serves up even a decent vegan breakfast gets a point in my book, mostly because finding a plant-based morning meal at a restaurant that isn't oatmeal is a pretty tough feat. I was excited when I came across Smaaken Waffles in a tiny food truck lot in Southeast Portland. The menu was a mix of vegan and non-vegan fare, but what struck me the most was that their vegan breakfasts weren't simply a tofu scramble or an Acai bowl. They went above and beyond and offered a vegan waffle sandwich stuffed with plant-based sausage and spiced apples. Woah.
I ordered one of these bad boys and was stoked to try it. They serve it up without any syrup and I found it to be a little dry. After I asked for a cup of some of dat sticky icky (lol), it was quite good! I think the waffles could've benefited from a light slathering of Earth Balance (or some other vegan butter) just to counteract the dryness of the waffles. The spiced apples were the perfect complement to the sausage and made for an exciting and unique vegan breakfast. All in all, it was a pretty good meal.
Smaaken Waffles was not the best breakfast I've had, but it's effort to deliver creative, tasty, breakfasts without animal ingredients is commendable. I definitely enjoyed my waffle sandwich from Smaaken and with a few tweaks, it has potential to be really awesome.
SE 28th and Division
Portland OR 97202, United States