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Vegan Tasting Menu at Farm Spirit, SE Portland

Farm Spirit, SE Portland

At first glance, the notion of fine dining seems to clash with Portland culture. White tablecloths, tuxedo clad maitre d’s, Michelin stars… none of that fussiness exists here even though PDX is frequently hailed as one of the great food cities of the country. But refined, fancy pants dining experiences do exist here, and at Farm Spirit, it just happens to be 100% plant-based. I came here for my birthday dinner, and not only was it the most refined and creative meal I’ve had in PDX so far, it’s one of the most memorable meals I’ve had all year.

To dine at Farm Spirit, you buy a ticket to one of two dinner seatings. We opted for the 5:30pm seating, which set us back $70 each, including gratuity. I won’t be dining here on a regular basis, but the price tag wasn’t bad at all for a vegan, 10-course tasting menu. If you’re afraid that you won’t feel full after eating a bunch of vegetables, don’t be. We left the restaurant delighted and pleasantly full. (If you insist on having more courses, opt for the later seating.)

Chef Aaron Adams, Farm Spirit, SE Portland

At Farm Spirit, every seat is at the chef’s table. The gorgeous L-shaped bar only seats twelve people, and it makes sense that you have to buy a ticket as it is an experience, not just a meal. Think of it as story time with Chef Aaron Adams with punk music in the background. You’ll learn about where the food comes from as you’re eating it off your plate, and chances are, you’ll probably hear a story or two about where the plates came from too. I guarantee you’ll eat some vegetables that you’ve never heard of before. Oh, and the entire menu is a surprise. Just come prepared to feast on veggies.

Here’s what we had that evening:

Seeded Rye Bread & Smoked Butter, Farm Spirit, Portland

When we arrived, the table was set with seeded rye bread and smoked butter made of aquafaba (chickpea water). There are wine pairings and kombucha pairings available, but we decided on glasses of Cab Franc Rose. A birthday dinner calls for some bubbly, right?

The amuse bouche was a delicate seed cracker topped with creamed kale, pickled strawberry, and winter cress. Tasty small bite to kick things off.

Creamed Kale, Seed Cracker, Farm Spirit, PortlandCarrot Jerky, Farm Spirit, Portland

Okay, so this is clearly the least photogenic course of the night. While it may not look pretty, this chewy carrot jerky tastes pretty darn fabulous.

Next up was a caramelized onion and summer savory fritter topped with sunflower yogurt. Think vegan bar snack served hot in a cute little skillet.

Caramelized Onion Fritter, Farm Spirit, PortlandChef Aaron Adams, Farm Spirit, SE Portland

This is where things really start to get interesting. Smoky beetroot with fermented mushroom filbert yogurt, huckleberry, herbs and pecans (?). Beautifully plated. Tastes rich and earthy, but refreshing. I was ready to lick the plate clean.

Smoky Beetroot, Farm Spirit, PortlandCarrot Rose, Farm Spirit, Portland

The carrot rose is basically one long carrot strip that has been unwound, then rewound to form what is easily the most stunning dish of the night. Topped with apricot, rosemary, meyer lemon leaf oil, frilly mustcard, and brassica flowers. Delicious. This one will have you feeling like a happy little bunny hopping through the forest.

Carrot Rose, Farm Spirit, Portland

I’ve only had sunchokes in salads, where they’re sliced paper thin and tossed in dressing, so this sunchoke and watercress soup was a welcome change of pace. Creamy without feeling heavy, while the chrysanthemum adds lovely floral notes.

Sunchoke & Watercress Soup, Farm Spirit, Portland

Forgot ants on the log, I’ll take flowers on a celery stick instead. Braised celery, celeriac puree, meyer lemon, and borage. Unfortunately, one of my flowers fell off before I snapped the photo, and I wasn’t going to attempt putting it back in place with my clumsy fingers.

Braised Celery, Meyer Lemon, Farm Spirit, Portland
Farm Spirit, SE Portland

As our empty celery plates were whisked away, I picked up a rich, delicious scent in the air. Mushroom time! I knew that we would not be leaving Farm Spirit without a ‘shroom dish. (Sorry, John!) The abalone mushroom with smoked potato puree, amara mustards, red pepper, and alliums was the “meatiest” dish of the night. The texture and flavor of the mushroom was just incredible, and the accompaniments were great too.

Abalone Mushroom & Smoked Potato Puree, Farm Spirit, Portland

Next, we went down the rabbit hole with the raspberry kefir palate cleanser. I’m sure these adorable “Drink Me!” bottles are heavily Instagrammed. Don’t worry, we didn’t disappear off to Wonderland after this one.

Raspberry Kefir, Farm Spirit, Portland

I love vegetables for dessert, and Farm Spirit totally gets me. Roasted parsnip, butternut squash caramel, hazelnut crumble, pineapple sage, and sheep sorrel. Balanced flavors and textures, not too sweet. Plus, it’s made of veggies so you can feel good about eating it.

Roasted Parsnip, Butternut Squash Caramel, Farm Spirit, Portland

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Mitzie Mee
    December 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Such beautiful dishes (except for the carrot jerky *LOL*, I think we all know what it looks like:)). Sometimes, vegetarian dishes look like they were meant to be meat dishes, but just had the meat removed. Though this menu really looks well-balanced and with a true love and understanding of the ingredients. I’m really curious about this place! PS: Love your ring too:)

    • Reply
      wazwu
      December 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Hahah, I didn’t say anything about the jerky while we were at the restaurant, but as soon as we left, I mentioned it to John. Turns out it never crossed his mind! If you ever visit Portland, we should do a blogger date here!

  • Reply
    Millie
    December 23, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Oh my goodness – this looks absolutely amazing. I so wish we had something like this in Dubai. I’m thinking I want to go there for my birthday now as well!

    • Reply
      wazwu
      December 31, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      It was amazing, and I’m sure you would love it. There were multiple people celebrating their birthdays that evening!

  • Reply
    pinayskattebasse
    December 24, 2016 at 4:18 am

    For sure you had a great night in celebrating your birthday. All food look good, I wish I was also there. :D

    • Reply
      wazwu
      December 31, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you! It was the perfect place to celebrate!

  • Reply
    Haiya Afroze Mughal
    December 24, 2016 at 7:27 am

    This experience sounds absolutely wonderful, and since I live in Dubai, it sounds like a complete bragain for $70!! I loved everything about this post! The carrot jerky looks like licorice! I can’t seem to pick which dish I’d want to try the most, everything sounds wonderful, especially aquafaba butter!

    • Reply
      wazwu
      December 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Hahah, you thought of licorice while I thought of something else. XD If you ever get a chance to visit, Farm Spirit definitely needs to go on your “to eat” list!

  • Reply
    sileas
    December 25, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Oh what eye candy! We do have a lot of refined vegetarian restaurants here in Vienna, but I can’t think of one that serves vegan food that lovely! I’d love to give that a try :)

    • Reply
      wazwu
      December 31, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      I would love to check out the veggie food scene in Vienna someday. Blogger date in the future when I finally make it out there? :D

  • Reply
    Best of 2016. Hello 2017! – Let's Nom Nom!
    December 31, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    […] Restaurants: I ate a lot of delicious things this year. It’s tough to pick favorites, but my top three spots that I won’t shut up about are Nix, Dirt Candy, and Farm Spirit. […]

  • Reply
    Best of 2016. Hello 2017! – Let's Nom Nom!
    January 1, 2017 at 10:01 am

    […] Restaurants: I ate a lot of delicious things in 2016. It’s tough to pick favorites, but my top three spots that I won’t shut up about are Nix, Dirt Candy, and Farm Spirit. […]

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