Every now and then we get a chance to venture and travel to other parts of the US…especially one of our favorite cities, Portland, OR. We were excited to hear that one of the local Paleo food trucks, Cultured Caveman, had recently expanded to open their first brick and mortar cafe/restaurant location.
Cultured Caveman started as Portland, OR’s first Paleo food truck, successfully receiving funding from a Kickstarter campaign a few years ago. Since then, they have grown from one food truck originating on the famous Alberta Street to three food trucks (one in Downtown and on Hawthorne), and now, to an actual sit-down eatery in northern Portland near Kenton Park right off of I-5. We knew right when we got off the plane that we wanted to grab lunch here, and found our expectations greatly exceeded.
The space inside was open and plentiful. You order your plates and food at the bar (where you can also get two different kinds of kombucha on tap or a Bulletproof Coffee mocha), and take a browse at the mini “paleo store” set up to the side. Not only are they a mini restaurant, but a seller of several locally made Paleo goods and treats, such as 100% dark primal chocolate, cod liver oil, paleo cookies, grass-fed jerky, “LEGALIZE RAW MILK” t-shirts, and a fridge of pre-made paleo foods in a jar to take home on-the-go.
If stocking up on Paleo items from the shelves wasn’t entertaining enough while waiting for your food, you could also grab a book from their mini primal bookshelf to browse through (a great way to check out a recipe book before getting it on Amazon!).
And of course, on each table was a little reminder to bus our own tables, and also a reminder that we, as customers there, were supporting the local farmers and small businesses.
Never had we had so much trouble deciding WHAT to get on the menu, as there were not just 1-2 options (as there are at most restaurants, usually with a heapful of substitutions to follow), but the entire menu was full of several gluten-free, no-dairy, no-soy choices. There were starters, salads, sides and entrees, a “kids’ menu”, and the menu was very open to listing all the ingredients in the dish. In fact, we’re pretty sure that the majority of the items found on this menu are actually Whole30 compliant, if you’re into that program.
We decided on the Brazilian Pulled Beef with a side of Bacon Broccoli Slaw, as well as the Pork Carnitas Tacos with a side of Carrot, Parsnip & Cauliflower Mash (the entrees come with a side included).
We were enthralled at the quality, presentation and taste of our food. Paleo tacos?! the soft shell had an incredible tortilla-like texture that held up well to the smoky pulled pork. Although the mash looked like sweet-potatoes, it was a gorgeous orange from the carrots and had a bright and slightly spicy taste. The Brazilian pulled beef was a savory and eclectic mix of spices and coconut. And of course, can’t go wrong with bacon and broccoli!
Before we headed out, we grabbed some bacon-wrapped almond dates as “dessert.” Spectacular.
SO, WHEN’S DINNER?
We’re extremely excited that some restaurant owners and chefs are jumping onto the paleo bandwagon and starting up cafes, restaurants and food trucks that cater to a primal and/or gluten-free diet. In fact, Blackies Bulldog Tavern, near our territory in Smithfield, RI, just launched an exclusive paleo & gluten-free menu with a whole slew of food items for the dietary-restricted eater.
We certainly hope that more of these paleo-friendly places will catch on in many locations, not only to grow our primal community but to just bring more awareness about this way of eating to the masses.