Sweet Lemon Vegan Bistro

 

Way way way way way out on Bethany Blvd, there is a strip mall. In this strip mall there are the usual suspects—a QFC (yes, those still exist. Do people still grocery shop there?), several nail salons, a few banks, a bagel shop, and a small and bright and vibrant vegan bistro. (For those of you not in the Portland area, commence eye-rolling with how lucky we are.)

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My friend and I had a lunch date (followed a few short hours later by our previously blogged about Sliders date). We like to eat. A lot. Click on this link for a review on Yelp of the damage the two of us caused at my birthday dinner.

We arrived to smiling faces and gentle reminders of the Supreme Master on the TV and the walls.

Ordering is hard when you have a whole menu to choose from. As a lifelong vegetarian, this always pleasantly surprises me. I don’t know how the majority of American do it all the time. Since I learned how to read, I’ve been scanning menus looking for the random meat-free dish. And now places like this—all vegan? Oh. My.

Starters, salads, soups, noodle dishes, rice dishes, wraps… how are two hungry gal pals supposed to decide?

When in doubt, go for the enticing descriptions and something from each category:

–> Starter

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Dancing Drumsticks
Roasted meatless drum sticks caressed with fragrant lemon grass served with spicy sauce. $5

 

–> Wrap

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Serenity Wrap
Marinated tofu, roasted garlic, onion, romaine lettuce, crispy rice sticks, red cabbage served with cucumber ranch dressing

 

–> Salad

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Enchanted Garden Salad
A delightful combination of finely shredded red and white cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, BBQ soy protein, sesame seeds tossed in Thai peanut dressing.

 

–> Soup

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Precious Pearls
Wontons filled with mushroom, soy ham, tofu, bok choy and green onion in a delightful heartwarming vegetable broth, topped with cilantro.

 

SIDE NOTE: My college boyfriend, who was Japanese American, taught me how to fold chopstick wrappers into a holder to place your chopsticks when not in use. I always thought it was SO COOL.

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I still do it every time I use chopsticks. Thank you, Geoff Aoyagi.

 

The drumsticks are out of control.They have lemongrass sticks through the center, leading to a realistic-ish and odd– yet delightful– experience while eating. The consistency, flavor and texture were very pleasing, and they were one of my favorite dishes here. The sweet and sour dipping sauce did not go well with the drumsticks, but the flavors were satisfying enough on their own not to need it.

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I really liked them. *licks fingers*

 

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It is incredible to get an option of rice paper on your wrap instead of a tortilla. I wish more places offered this.

“Hola, I’ll get the bean, rice and guacamole burrito. In RICE PAPER, if you please!”

Yeah, right.

It would be cool though!

The wrap was good—it was like a big spring roll with some bits of crispy noodles. A little more protein would have been nice. The sauce was cucumber ranch, which didn’t quite go with the wrap but was nice and creamy and incidental. I liked this wrap just fine, and managed to scarf the whole thing down quicker than you can say ‘classy’, but will likely try a different one when I go back.

 

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The salad was a nice crunchy combination of romaine, cabbage, carrots, peanut sauce and sesame seeds. The BBQ tofu on the side captured my attention prior to ordering, but unfortunately there wasn’t very much of it. What was there though was quickly eaten and appreciated by me. More tofu, more peanut sauce, and maybe a bit of spice would bring this salad from decent to delicious.

Though I have to say, looking at that picture right now while I’m writing this post, if this salad was an option at most places I frequented I would eat the heck out of it. Only when surrounded by other all-vegan glorious monstrosities ( I mean that in the most complimentary way!) does this salad pale in comparison.

 

Wonton Soup!!

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Heck yeah! I loved this stuff.I’ve never tried wonton soup before. The broth was super salty, which my mouth loved but my sodium levels probably didn’t. The soup contained mostly mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, tofu and WONTONS. Most excellent.

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I loved this soup and will most likely get it again, but not before I try their vegan pho. Because pho is magical. Now, if they had a wonton pho, I would be STOKED. I wonder if they would do that…? (Note to self: wonton pho must be tested and indulged in sometime soon.)

Note: They also have desserts—cakes and cookies—that are totally vegan. I’m spoiled by Back to Eden so wasn’t tempted, but the cookies were enticingly wrapped and I would consider getting them next time if my sweet tooth was running rampant, which tends to happen frequently.

OVERALL:

Sweet Lemon is reasonably priced, the service was very friendly, and the menu items we tried were light and fresh. It is a little far out, at a 20 minute drive from Portland Proper, but there’s enough intriguing menu items to make more visits worthwhile.

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About Janessa

I'm a travelin' vegan gal, event planner & writer who loves eating, drinking, hiking, biking, reading, writing, loving, scheming, learning, laughing, champagne-ing and gerunds.
  • I really need to hit up this place since I work out that direction (kinda). I’ve only been there once or twice with Reggie when we lived out in Beaverton and I wasn’t veg*n back then and didn’t get anything! I’ve tried one of their soy protein wraps from the deli section at Whole Foods but I’m sure it’s not the same as getting something served fresh!

    • I tried one of their wraps from Whole Foods too–definitely doesn’t compare to the fresh stuff at their cafe. Go try it! It’s good!

  • Wow, that looks super good, but I just google-mapped it from my house and it’s at least a half hour away. Le sigh. 🙁 Oh well, if I’m willing to make a food pilgrimage to LA, then I *guess* I can drive to Beavertron to do the same thing.

  • This place has been on my radar for a few weeks! We almost went there Saturday, but wound up at Vita Cafe instead. Definitely want to give it a try!