Updated 4/12/2008 We have a How-To dine at Papa G’s guide coming soon! For now, we recommend the daily specials – 4.99 for one entree and one side dish, or 7.99 for two and two.
Seven Corner Bicycles moved to SE Powell over a year ago, and it’s cute, little building was vacant until this past month, when Papa G’s took over. Formerly serving hot food items and a salad bar at the now defunct Daily Grind, I am welcoming Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli to the neighborhood with open arms.
Sure, nearby New Seasons has great vegan offerings, but Papa G’s has a more versatile selection that you don’t have to walk past meat and cheese to get to. Everything is deli style, and most dishes are by the pound (exceptions include the baked goods, drinks and soups). Main dish options are $8.75/lb and side dishes are $4.99/lb. The deli cases are like Fred Meyer’s meets the hippielicious coop of your dreams. Currently, there are bottled beverages, nondairy milks, and espresso drinks but no straight up coffee. There are casual tables inside, and my fingers are crossed for outdoor seating this spring.
The dish that’s been creating the most buzz, and I positively agree, is the BBQ tofu. The combination of the chewy texture and smoky, exquisitely spicy taste of the ‘fu with its thick sauce have me hooked. I’ve heard it compared to ‘steak tips’, and while I’ve never had those, I can see where the idea is coming from. It is served cold, but perhaps the staff can heat it if you like.
While I can’t call it cheap, Papa G’s strives to be organic, and it is entirely vegan. A recent dinner, pictured below*, cost me about $7.50 (I got an additional $1 discount with this February coupon). My salad was small, but I did have heavy items like chickpeas and tofu. I dig the ranch dressing. It’s very light (and thus cost effective) but there are also thousand island and goddess dressings available. My pictured dinner consisted of BBQ tofu, black beans and brown rice. The latter two were basic, working well with the extremely flavorful main choice.
Among the sides, the mashed potatoes with ginger gravy are herby and chunky. I prefer their mushroom gravy, but if you can accept savory ginger and mashed potatoes like my partner, you’re in the clear. I’ve only seen the coconut ‘smashed’ yams a couple times, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this decadent treat. Their mac and cheeze reminds of the first good vegan version I had – creamy, comforting, and homemade.
Papa G’s packaged tofus are definitely worth mentioning and are cheapest on site ($3). The tofu is really firm and comes in the garlicky Original and Savory Sesame. It is available packaged to go and on the salad bar – it’s great crumbled in salads or eaten plain and cold.
There’s also a breakfast bar, which features yellow tofu scramble, oatmeal, sweet grits, granola and housemade milks and yogurt. Hazelnut milk? Cashew milk? Coconut Kefir? Yes, please. Some of their items, like the tofu scramble and roasted potatoes, are pretty mild in taste. I suppose it’s a comforting notion, which means they can appeal to taste buds across the board. There are more vibrant flavors throughout day, in dishes like their Stronganoff, coconut greens, curried vegetables, that BBQ tofu again, and rotating specials. And did I mention biscuits and mushroom gravy by the pound? They biscuits were dense, but that actually wasn’t a bad thing – it just made me want more gravy. And no line! No wait! Though with their options, I won’t be surprised as that changes.
Stumptown Vegans will revisit this review, and Papa G’s, over the next few months as it develops. What a treat to have an utterly vegan deli for nights when you don’t want to cook! You simply need to decide how much you want vs. how much you obviously want to pay. There’s a lot to try, and while I wasn’t wild about the lasagna, that’s simply crossed off my list and I get to move onto trying countless other dishes.
Let us know if you have a favorite! And no offense, but a lot of the food looks straight from a table at a crunchy vegan potluck, which some people may find daunting, or delicious. Once you dig in, it’s up to you.
Rating: To Be Determined in Time!
Address: 2314 SE Division St. Portland, OR
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 6pm