Yard House Opening

Hello again!! Nice to see your handsome little faces back here.  I took a little blog hiatus for a few months (helloooo, attention span! Nice to see you again.) and when I came back, an update completely dismantled my blog. Whoops! It took over a month and the kindness of a knowledgeable friend to help me get it back up and running. So now things are back to normal, I’m stoked, and ready to blog again!

 

Last week, I received an invite to the Yard House‘s grand opening at Pioneer Square in Portland. Color me intrigued! Gardein features prominently on their menu, so the assumption was there’d be some vegan munchies to try. Of course I was also looking forward to trying their beverage offerings. Yard House is primarily known for the beer selection; the Portland location has over 130 beers on tap. Whaaaat?! That’s my idea of heaven. Gimme all your beer.

 

A small sample of the beer selection

A small sample of the beer selection (I tried the Avery White Rascal.)

Yard House drink menu

Yard House drink menu

 

The drink list was extensive with pages and pages of beers, beer cocktails, mules, bubbly cocktails, martinis, mixed drinks, wines, and more.  The excitement!   When my guest and I arrived, we were handed two drink tickets each and ushered to a table reserved for us. We quickly found out that there were not any passed vegan appetizers; there were several vegetarian items, but nothing vegan as is. Disappointed, we made the decision to at least try several of the cocktails from the drink menu if we couldn’t eat anything. It didn’t hurt that we were given a handful of extra drink tickets. Party time.

 

ALL THE DRINK TICKETS

GIVE US ALL THE DRINK TICKETS

 

We tried many, many, many cocktails. For science.

 

A Manhattan and a Beer

A Manhattan and an Avery White Rascal. And a butt.

 

Hendrick's/Aperol cocktail on the left, and Heaven on the right: Hendrick's Gin, St Germain, Lillet Blanc, citrus agave syrup and orange bitters

Hendrick’s/Aperol cocktail on the left, and a French Gimlet on the right: Hendrick’s Gin, St Germain, Lillet Blanc, citrus agave syrup and orange bitters

 

My favorite was the French Gimlet (pictured above) and the Moscow Mule. I love it when bars serve Moscow Mules in traditional copper mugs.

Our server was great, and sent out one of the managers, Sean, when she realized we were interested in sampling vegan food, not the vegetarian options. He explained that a lot of the Gardein products are prepared using non-vegan methods; egg wash or buttery sauces, for example. Sean promised to look into this for vegans dining at Yard House in the future, and mentioned they’re looking into allergens listed for all the food their vendors provide. In the meantime, he was able to put together a dry Gardein sample with baby corn and bok choy.

 

Gardein samples

Yard House veganized Gardein samples

 

Sampling the Gardein

Samplin’ the Gardein

 

Not very exciting on one hand (the orange sauce wasn’t vegan); but on the other hand: vegan chicken! At a chain restaurant! That tastes good!

I’m always a bit surprised in Portland when chefs and owners don’t realize the pull of bringing in vegan and health-conscious customers with ready-made menu items, and it’s especially odd when a restaurant has an entire section devoted to a vegan product and then goes out of their way to unveganize it, but I do have hope that after being settled in Portland a bit, Yard House will be able to offer a few vegan options.

 

** Yard House invited me as a guest to sample their food and drink, but I received no compensation and it did not impact my review.