Note: The Pearl District location has closed.
To list the Blossoming Lotus as a breakfast place seems to demean it. Even calling it a place that serves breakfast doesn’t remotely do it justice. How about this? On its Web site, the Lotus calls itself “a vortex of positive and loving vibrations for all to experience.” Seriously.
Portland’s Blossoming Lotus (there’s one on Kauai, also) is in the lobby of Yoga in the Pearl, and from the fountains, the healthy-happy staff, the bamboo, and the sunshine to the stylish hard-body Pearlites, it’s just about the healthiest damn place in town. And there’s not one ounce of snootiness about it.
And, yes, the Lotus does serve breakfast — only five breakfast-specific options — but the larger lunch menu is also available starting at 7:30 a.m. Of the food, the Web site says, “Our cuisine is prepared and served with mindfulness, gratitude and the intention to heal and nurture. . . . Respect for the earth and the principles of nonviolence guide us to utilize the abundance of the plant kingdom in all of our recipes.”
If you’ll allow me to cut through the New-Agey stuff, everything served is organic and vegan — even the beer. Ditto the “soft serve,” which is made with soy milk. And then there’s the word live. It kind of jumps out at you from the menu, like when my dessert-oriented eye wandered to an offering called “Live Pecan Pie.”
Although it’s fun to think of a pecan pie hopping around, refusing to be eaten like the lobster on the old “Muppet Show,” at the Lotus live means “raw,” and many of the selections, including two on the breakfast menu, are raw. And lest you think vegan means “veggie burgers” and raw means “salad,” how does this sound for breakfast? Breakfast Parfait with live granola, fresh fruit, and cashew nut creme. Buckwheat and Walnut Granola with fresh and dried fruit and nut milk. A breakfast burrito (tofu, black beans, and veggies), a Tofu Scramble with carrots, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, and good ol’ hot oatmeal with maple syrup, fresh fruit, raisins, and Brazil nut milk.
Since the lunch menu is available all day, you should wander off into the world of wraps and bowls and sandwiches; there’s only one non-dinner entree above $7, and everything will leave you glowing with health — even if you feel like only a visitor in the world of health, yoga, and raw food. I think of trips to the Lotus not just as a cheap, healthy meal with some great people-watching, but rather as time spent among folks who usually keep guys like me at bay. Facing the young, smile-adorned staff, I feel guilty asking for coffee — as if I should promise not to scratch myself or talk about football while I’m there.
I exaggerate to make a point: The Blossoming Lotus isn’t just about nutrition; the cafe refers to itself as a “model” and the official slogan is “Bringing peace to life.” Sitting in the sunny, relaxing cafe, you can see it’s meant both ways: bringing a little peace to your life and trying to give life to a larger peace.
“Bringing Peace to Life”
Address: 1713 NE 15th St. Portland, OR 97212
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 a.m – 4:00, Sun-Thurs 5:00 p.m. – 9 p.m. Fri-Sat 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Sunday Brunch Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
$7–11 (Visa, MasterCard, no checks)
Wait: You order at a counter, but it can be tough to get a seat at times.
Seating: About 20 at tables, a few outside.
Large groups? Wouldn’t work.
Portion size: Smaller than most.
Coffee: Sleepy Monk Fair Trade.
Other drinks: Teas, chai, rice/soy/Brazil nut milk, smoothies, fresh juices, beer, wine, sake.
Feel-goods: Everything is organic and vegan; most of it is local.
Health options: Bountiful; many dishes are raw.