Word of Mouth

Portland's Vegan Push Pop Invasion Is Nigh!

Push it. Push it real good.

By Karen Brooks August 14, 2017 Published in the September 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Dreamboat Coconut’s carrot turmeric and strawberry coconut push pops in their natural habitat—Groundworks Organics’ stand at the Portland Farmers Market.

Image: Karen Brooks

“It’s called Dreamboat Coconut,” whispered trend sniffer and cookbook author Diane Morgan, pointing to a stand at the south edge of the Saturday Portland Farmers Market. “I think it’s the hot next thing.” Word was circulating about a vendor transforming childhood ice cream “push pops” with a foodie’s sensibility and a vegan’s mantra. Twenty minutes later, halfway through a frozen roasted beet and dark chocolate push-up flashing hints of maple, and seconds after destroying a whale-gray “almond charcoal” pop with remarkably nutty depths, I thought: “Morgan may be onto something.”

Vegan ice cream can never be full-fat ice cream, just as a cigar box guitar can never be a Stratocaster. But Dreamboat’s wild flavors intrigue—and who doesn’t like interactive frozen stuff on a stick?

The project actually began as “Dreamboat Coconut Yogurt” a few years ago, after California native Emily Krause migrated to Portland with dreams of starting her own company. Her fermented, dairy-free yogurt became a hit on the local vegan circuit. Customers often tried to freeze it for homemade ice cream, with no success. So, last year, she decided to take on the challenge herself, then never looked back.

Right now, her booth serves a handful of rotating, seasonal flavors with the same rough formula: 70 percent fruit or vegetables—roasted or puréed—and 30 percent coconut cream. But that’s just the beginning. Fresh herbs, savory spices, and tofu “custard” swirls figure into various pops. You might find Portland’s dark Woodblock chocolate twirled with strawberry–rose petal purée, a bright carrot push-up mingled with fresh turmeric and sweet spices, or a “buttered rum,” made with Eastside Distilling’s rum extract and golden cane syrup to create a vegan butter flavor. Yes, there’s Stumptown coffee and Hood strawberry pops. But for me the more unusual, the better.

Dreamboat is still so undercover it’s consulting with Robert Mueller, holding court at the market only every other week. But Krause’s creations are already popping up in unlikely places, from Holdfast’s Deadshot Monday bar nights to food cart pods. Is the world ready for a vegan push pop vending machine? Dreamboat’s first refrigerated, coin-op unit is coming soon to Scout Beer’s new taproom in Southeast Portland. And, sure enough, cookbook pro Morgan has already submitted a book proposal for vegan push pops—with Krause as muse and coauthor.

Find a schedule of Dreamboat Coconut “happenings” at dreamboatcoconut.com.

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