This post is in collaboration with Veganizer PDX.
Vegan southern food isn’t exactly a novel concept, but when a Southern omnivore restaurant offers vegan options, that’s definitely something to rave about. Did you miss last month’s Veganizer PDX popup at SouthFork? Let me walk you through the delicious vegan menu by Executive Chef Patrick McKee. By the way, ask chef about chickpea water next time you see him.
At SouthFork, the everyday menu has more types of meat than I can count with the fingers on both hands (yikes!), but what I learned during my initial meeting with their team is that the vegetarian dishes are quite popular. From there, the vegan popup menu follows the Veganizer concept: rather than reinventing the menu, veganize dishes from the existing menu. Instead of oysters, there’s cornmeal fried oyster mushrooms. Instead of brisket, we’ve got smoked and spiced tofu. You get the idea.
The chef’s 5-course tasting menu starts with a refreshing heirloom gazpacho andaluz. If you’re gonna go vegan, you gotta take full advantage of fresh local produce. Next up, cornmeal fried oyster mushrooms with bourbon pickles wrapped in butter lettuce, which I’m glad I did not have to share with anyone. The vegetable plate is a pretty platter of seasonal farmer’s market veggies prepared in a variety of ways — raw, pickled, braised, marinated — and served with a creamy bean puree.
The highlight of the meal? The dry rubbed, smoked, and thinly sliced tofu “brisket” with summer ratatouille. I knew I would enjoy the tofu, but I had no idea just how delicious that ratatouille would be. Who knew summer veggies could be so rich and hearty. Bonus points for doing eggplant, which is usually a hit or miss vegetable for me, so well.
The indulgent grand finale was a molasses cookie and grilled peach ice cream sandwich with blueberry compote. Now that was quite the dessert sandwich! Oh, and let’s not forget the cocktails we sipped on that were mixed with Pearl Soda Company syrups. Cheers to another sold out Veganizer popup!
Note: This post is in collaboration with Veganizer PDX. I’m the director of the local chapter of Veganizer, and SouthFork was our restaurant partner for this popup.