Red & Black Cafe

1/11/2008 NOTE: The Red & Black Cafe has re-opened at 400 SE 12th Ave @ Oak St. with an all vegan food menu.

Date: January 17, 2008
Times Visited: Too Many To Count

Best. sandwich. in town.

There, I said it. The Red & Black Cafe makes a mean tempeh, lettuce and roasted pepper sandwich. I’d take $6.00 out of my wallet for that any day. In fact, it’s hard to go to there and pass up on it. But, if you’re not feeling a sandwich, Red & Black also has a few salad, bagels with non-hydrogenated Tofutti, daily specials featuring vegan soup & chili, special plates and Sweetpea Bakery pastries. On top of that, they offer beers on tap – and at least one will be vegan, real juice, house brewed iced teas and everything else a local coffee bar tends to offer. Oh, and other vegan sandwiches. In fact, their entire menu is veg*n. Beat that, other local coffeehouses!

The TLP consist of lightly toasted Grand Central rye, sourdough or potato bread -or- a spelt roll for an additional 50 cents, herbed Vegenaise, lettuce, roasted red pepper and my favorite marinated tempeh in town. The lettuce is big and leafy, and organic tomato or avocado is available for an extra dollar. They keep those two on a bowl with a sign on the counter, and I find that so homey, even if it’s for sale. Their tempeh bacon is the epitome of vegan smokyness. The sandwich also comes with a large side of potato chips and a pickle, in case you weren’t content enough already. The pictured TLP actually contains the darkest tempeh I’d ever had there, but fear not, it was still delicious.

I’ve found the average wait to be 15 minutes, as Red & Black is often quite bustling, both indoors and out. The vibe is laid back Southeast Portland, so sit back and read a local paper while you wait. A stage area is set aside at night for intimate acts, featuring improv, singer-songwriters, experimental music and more throughout the week. Red & Black also places an emphasis on local, organic produce and vendors.

Did I say best sandwich in town? Let me add best local cafe. Well, at least to me. -JD

The Black Dragon Noodle Bowl is a huge bowl, about the size of my head, filled with noodles smothered in a spicy peanut sauce, topped with tofu and peanut. Let me first say that the dish was worth my money for the amount of food received. Then, let me say that I won’t be ordering this again unless there are vegetables involved next time. There were too many noodles and sauce and not enough ginger tofu bites to make it through half the bowl. If I didn’t leave the left overs in a friend’s fridge I would have surely brightened up the dish at home with some broccoli, carrots, zucchini and other fresh vegetables.
This is the dish to order when you’re low on cash and need a lot of food fast. -WB

Lentil Soup

Black Dragon Noodle Bowl

TLP with chips

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Address: 400 SE 12th Ave @ Oak St. Starting January 14th, 9am – 9pm until further notice


7 responses to “Red & Black Cafe

  1. Hmmm. Sounds good. I’m thinking “I must check this out”, and at the same time don’t think I would want to eat that much noodles, chips, or bread. Conundrum.

  2. Red and Black is an awesome place to have a sandwich, beautiful salad, or filling bowl of Black Dragon Noodles (sub quinoa for the noodles because I’m allergic to wheat) and add ginger baked TOFU. They moved from their Division St location to SE Oak and 12th, recently became 100% vegan, and have many wheat and gluten free options. I occasionally went to the Division St location but the new menu is so tantalizing that I’m becoming a regular at the new spot. Thanks Red and Black!

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