|Artemis Cafe, Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 1235 SE Division St Portland OR 97202
|Hours: Mon-Thurs 7am-7pm
Friday 7am-6pm Saturday 9am-3pm
|Times Visited: 5+|
If you can draw your attention away from the new Taqueria Los Gorditos: The Restaurant, albeit briefly, let it glimpse upon Artemis Catering and Cafe across the street. The vegan-attentive, organic catering company, and cafe operate out of a spacious, corner coffee shop at SE 12th and Eliot, right across from vegan nacho land.
The philosophy of Artemis Foods is, “[as] a sustainably managed company which supports local relationships in every way we can”. The cafe features daily, showcased prepared food specials (I play the ‘ignore the chicken breasts plate’ game), an Everyday Cafe menu, and Artemis To Go options. The vegan To Go options include sides, soups, and rotating desserts. Ordering can be done in advance or at the café.
On my multiple visits, I’ve always spotted at least one vegan side dish and baked good. On my last visit, there was Citrus Spaghetti Squash, Vegan Breakfast Cookies, and Vegan Coffeecake. On top of that, there are blatant, considerate vegan options on the breakfast, lunch sandwich, and simple meal option menus. For example, the breakfast menu includes a Vegan Breakfast Panini; the lunch, a BBQ Tempeh, Olive Oil Roasted Kale, Grilled Butternut Squash, and Lemon Tahini flatbread sandwich. The vegan Simple Meal options are less exciting, and out of my normal budget for to go meals ($18/person), but it’s nice to know they’re available.
The item I’ve been most enamored with is their frequently seen, seasonal Vegan Coffeecake ($2.50). It rivals every other vegan coffeecake I’ve tried in town. The homemade cake was delightfully, simultaneously soft and crumbly, with big chunks of vanilla tinged brown sugar. It was a totally perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, or strong coffee, naturally.
The Vegan Breakfast Panini ($5.50) sounded like it could do no wrong: Smoked Apple vegan sausage and Tofutti Cream Cheese grilled between local Grand Central Yukon Gold Bread. It stands out as a quickly prepared, savoury breakfast treat, outside of the realm of bagels. The Field Roast sausage is delicious, the Tofutti is creamy, and does its job holding the sandwich together. However, I found myself wishing the golden, grilled bread was thicker, as it holds such a grand filling. One could also argue that the sausage could do with a little grilling ahead of time, to give the sandwich a little extra bite, texture wise.
The drink selection starts with classic Stumptown coffee drinks, refreshes with juices, and relaxes with loose-leaf teas, mimosas, beer, wine, and more. The Stumptown air pots and lattes are all very consistent. The café offers soy and hemp milk. I was impressed when I recently overheard a very knowledgeable barista detail the Stumptown preferences of customers! In fact, the origin of this review were the visits that stemmed out of a lovely holiday soy latte experience this past winter.
Now that Spring approaches, take your food out front and people watch the daytime crowds at Genie’s or Gorditos. There is table seating both in and outside the café. It’s been quiet every time I’ve gone, so go with a book or a friend and relax.
Artemis is open during the day, Monday through Saturday. Go for a beverage, the coffeecake, and browse the cases at this calm, neighborhood spot in a growing-ever-more-popular crossing. See if any of their fresh and creative dishes strike your local, organic, sustainable fancy!