My husband and I visited Portland one weekend in early May, and while we hit all the spots we wanted to see in two days, I truly felt like I could stay for another five just to eat. In that spirit, I am thrilled to share today’s guest post with you, from Jess Scone, of Get Sconed! & Stumptown Vegans.
I can quickly name things I dig about Sizzle Pie, the instantly hip pizzeria on Portland’s lower East Burnside: the rotating, creative variety of vegan slices on the top shelf, the astoundingly thin crusts, the (way) late night hours, the salad and slice deal ($6), the Ms. Pac Man table hiding in the back, the attention to detail in the space itself and from the kitchen, the classic bar seating at the window, the freaking breakfast pizza - etc.
Let’s start with the latter, the intriguingly named Drugs Benedict breakfast slice. From sight and description alone, it’s just as exciting (and distracts from) the whole egg and bacon topped non-vegan pies out on display. It’s a wonderful, non-traditional slice, with that super thin crust (admittedly, I’m a native New Yorker and gushing), a thin layer of creamy white bean spread, gobs of fluorescent scrambled tofu, hunks of greasy hash browns, salty bacos and slices of green onion.
If you’re looking to spice it up, there’s an array of hot sauces, including local offerings from Secret Aardvark and Thai and True, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and shakers of nutritional yeast. Start your day off with this breakfast indulgence, beat away that hangover, and contemplate pairing it with a tiny mimosa or espresso stout for the brunch drink special ($6) or stick to a fountain soda in a cup straight out of childhood memories. A similar vegan breakfast slice features Upton’s spicy seitan chorizo and fresh cilantro. If you don’t avoid this controversial herb or can pick it off, you’re gonna want to try it.
Come lunchtime, hit up the slice and salad deal ($6) with the Rabbit or Caligula vegan salads. Both are available small or full sized anytime. The small size is part of this solid pairing, casually yet boldly served on its own pizza pan (see photos). The Caligula salad is vegan by default (duh, don’t ask for the asiago upgrade) but you have to make sure to request a ‘vegan’ Rabbit, as ranch goes both ways. If you’ve been missing Caesar salad in your life, go for the creamy and garlicky Caligula with romaine lettuce, croutons and fresh black pepper. My go-to, the Rabbit, pairs red leaf lettuce with yellow hot peppers, sliced tomatoes, red onions, croutons, bacos and vegan ranch. If pizza isn’t your thing, you can always order a full sized salad for a decent meal. If you’re gluten-free, there’s hope - there’s talk about adding homemade gluten-free onto the menu in the future. I mean, it’s Portland, of course there is.
Back to the pizza, vegan topping choices include Daiya, Soy Curl, Upton’s seitan and vegan pepperoni topped pies, caramelized onion spread, nutritional yeast, and recurring appearances (on non-vegan pies, to boot) of a delicious cashew pesto sauce. I consider Daiya a gooey acquaintance I can tolerate on occasion, sparingly, and credit to Sizzle Pie for not overusing or relying on it. Slices are fairly priced for the creativity and ingredients involved (avg. $3.25-3.75), while the pies are on the higher end ($17-$28). There’s nearly always a slice of the Spiral Tap, with caramelized onion spread, marinara and nooch in the case when I visit, but it’s hard not to opt for the New Maps Out of Hell whenever it’s encountered. Again, that creamy cashew pesto deserves your time and Soy Curls done right - especially on pizza - are tasty in their own right. Sprinkle on some Daiya, make that crust whole wheat, and you have yourself the No Conditions.
No matter what you’re ordering, you can’t help but feel a little badass in Sizzle Pie. It’s amazing to realize that slices of pizza with cashew pesto spread, soy curls, black olives and veggies are actual possibilities on the inner Eastside, and coming this summer, filling in the pizza void across from the downtown Powell’s. There’s no delivery yet, but a girl can dream.