new years eve at portobello trattoria

Jason and I usually stay home on New Years Eve. Unless we are on vacation or staying at a hotel somewhere, we would rather not be out on the roads.

This year, we hired a driver and went to dinner. We were back home before midnight to cheers prosecco with Basil. It is tradition for him to stick his nose in our glass, then make a face from the bubbles. The face that makes me call him Snarls Barkley.

In 2012 I have some big and fun plans involving food, and if there is a great place to kick the year off right, it would be Portobello Vegan Trattoria.

With a special prix fixe menu for New Years Eve, there were two choices for each course, three choices for dessert. Jason and I opted to order one of each and share, so we could enjoy everything. We also chose the beverage pairings.

We each ordered a cocktail to start. Jason chose the drink special, this fruity red beauty. I am not a whiskey drinker and I loved this – a wonderful blend of blood orange and hibiscus!

I almost liked it more than my drink. Almost. I chose a vibrant concoction of pepper vodka and ginger, topped with an apple garnish. I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but the lush libations I’ve been enjoying lately has me resolving to be a more creative bartender at home.

First courses:

Portobello Carpaccio:
roasted, marinated portobello mushrooms topped with pickled pepper, red onion, basil, capers, condimento balsamico. with herb crostini

A great beginning! Loved these flavors together, capers were a nice touch

House-made Macadamia-Cashew Cheese:
with petite arugula salad and house-made membrillo. with gluten-free toast

Despite a dislike of macadamias tracing back to an 8 year old Kristina eating too many in Hawaii, this was one of my favorite courses! The macadamia cashew cheese was like nothing I’ve ever tasted, and I am already working on my own version. The membrillo was a sweet addition (like quince paste) and these flavors were meant to be enjoyed together – a bite of the arugula included. Gluten free

Beverage pairing:
Brut, Gruet, Mew Mexico

Second courses:

Creamy Cauliflower Velouté:
potato, leek, fennel and cauliflower soup with roast fennel, crispy cauliflower, arancini and truffle essence

One of the gluten free offerings, and another of our favorites. The crispy cauliflower was a nice accent, and we both love arancini (rice ball). Simply genius to use them as a soup topper! Delicious flavors throughout.

Ravioli en Brodo:
roast butternut squash stuffed ravioli, with spiced apple cider and caramelized onion broth. with roasted hazelnut oil & fresh sage

Jason is not generally a squash fan, so I figured most of this would be mine. Wrong! He loved it, saying “are you telling me this is what squash is supposed to taste like?” The ravioli were pillowy sweet, and the broth was amazing – we tipped the bowl to finish it all. Fresh sage was a strong flavor that played nicely with the others.

Beverage pairing:
Pinot Gris “Tikka’s Run,” Lemelson, Willamette Valley, Or ’10 

Third courses:

Citrus Marinated White Trumpets with Truffles:
Pan roasted white trumpet mushrooms with porcini risotto, Swiss chard, truffle demi-glace and fresh Oregon truffles 

Another gluten free choice, and a good one. Hearty and comforting, this was creamy and deliciously woodsy at once. Vegan demi-glace boggles the mind.

Seitan Scallopine:
slow-braised house-made seitan with truffle-leek whipped potatoes, garlicky broccoli and brandy-green peppercorn demi-cashew cream

This still has me reeling. Being gluten-rich, seitan is not something I generally eat. This seitan? The best I have ever tasted. I have never been a “meat, gravy and potatoes” kinda girl, and was very surprised how much I loved these flavors and textures. Some serious comfort food right here. The broccoli is hidden within the potato, cozy under the seitan blanket. There was a lot of it, we both loved it, it made us happy.

Beverage Pairing:
Pinot Noir, Forefront, Willamette Valley, Or ’09 

Dessert courses:

Pear Tartlet:
with salted caramel ice cream

oh my. salted caramel ice cream is why I chose this one. then celebrated the buttery soft crust of this sweetly decadent tart.

lemon icing glazed fritters with cashew anglaise sauce 

Another amazing offering – cakey fritters with tart icing paired with a sweet cashew cream. simply perfect ending, especially with the beverage pairing:

House-made Limoncello:

We left full and happy – with Jason making plans to return very soon. For a guy from the Midwest to enjoy this as much as he did is a great compliment, indeed.

A great start to the year.


Portobello Vegan Trattoria on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    Um…wow! Everything looks absolutely incredible. Yes. I am totally jealous. I so wish we had a place like that around here. I miss being able to go out for multi-course meal like that without having to pretty much tell the kitchen what to make. At that point, I could have just stayed home :-(

  2. says

    This looks all wonderful and seems like a great start into the new year! I hope all the food went well with your tummy, despite the gluten.

    Happy New Year to you, Kris! I’m looking forward to another year of being friends with you! :)

    • spabettie says

      it was so lovely – the gluten was okay, didn’t really effect my stomach but I felt inflamed the next day. just drank a lot of water. 😀

      that will be a great part of my year as well – another year of your friendship!

  3. says

    Drooool! Looks like you’ve got plenty of alcohol to tide you into 2012. Sweet cashew cream? That sounds freaking amazing.

    I look forward to your creative home bartending adventures, Kris! And I just know you’re gonna take some jaw-dropping pictures of them! :-)

    • spabettie says

      ah, thank you, Sophia! :) I’m excited about it, I have a few ideas already and have been wanting to do some vodka infusing, too. fun stuff! :)

  4. says

    I admit, when I think of vegan food, that isn’t what comes to mind. That meal looks incredible. I still haven’t been brave enough to try seitan.

    Happy new year!

    • spabettie says

      I love when vegan food surprises people! I don’t even tell people anymore, and often they don’t really know! :) I stay away from seitan as a rule, but this was… AMAZING.

      happy new year, my friend!

  5. says

    food as art… I like it! I never drink cocktails—just my favourites, straight, but I’m definitely in a rut that way. I sipped absinthe with champagne on NYE and think I need to be more experimental. Looking forward to seeing your drink-y brain children here! Oh—how gross did *that* sound?!? 😉

  6. says

    Snarls Barkley! I LOVE IT! I am cracking up. When Andy had elbow surgery, we dubbed his scar Gnarls Scarley.

    We are planning a trip to Oregon soon and this place is making my list. The food looks amazing.

    • spabettie says

      glad you appreciated Snarls Barkley, Amanda! 😀 Gnarls Scarley is awesome too. you guys HAVE to let me know when you’re coming to Portland!!

  7. says

    Is it possible to feel full just looking at all these amazing pictures? This is how to ring in 2012. Hoping you, your boo and Basil have a fantastic 2012. May it be tasty!

  8. Natasha says

    Le sigh….you have some bitchin’ taste little chicken! My fiance and I ate sweet potato fries, and veggie samosas in our flannels and watched star trek! LOL! You did it up just fab….

  9. says

    OMG- I soooo wish we had New Year’s dinner together. Can all that food look any better? :) I’m envious! I am also drooling over those tamales on the previous post. :) Mmmmm…

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