Portland

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
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Pato
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7 years ago

I lived in Portland 1997-2000. I recently went back and it all started to come back. Food/Drinks were big when I lived there, but it is bigger now. It was a quick trip so was not able to do much besides see some great bands. The one place we decided to eat at that I had not been before was a HUGE surprise. The Driftwood Room at the Delux Hotel (formerly the Mallory). wow!. Get there early (happy hour) and order a lot of food.
Looking for someone to catch me up on the Portland food/drinks scene for the next trip. The old days were Shanghai Tunnel, Space Room, Bar of the Gods and then food at Montage or Dots. What is going on now?
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

We're going to squeeze a short trip in somewhere in March, and Portland's on the short list... I'm looking for some good intel as well.

I'm sure sinosoul probably has some strong opinions on Pok Pok :-)
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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Mike Todd
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7 years ago

I was up in Portland last year for a short visit and enjoyed just about every meal I had out.

Highlights:
Food and drink at Pok Pok and Whiskey Soda Lounge (nothing seemed dumbed down)
Lunch at Olympic Provisions (fantastic charcuterie, sandwiches, and soup)
Coffee at Stumptown (amazing beans+skilled baristas=great drinks)
Breakfast at Mother's (nothing groundbreaking, just really well made breakfast standards in homey yet lively space)

Lowlights:
Voodoo Donuts (cardboard pastry clumsily decorated with day-glow sugar Spackle)
forgettable (and now forgotten) Italian grocery and sandwich joint in downtown
themis
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7 years ago

I'm in Portland just about every summer, lately. We like to stay in the Pearl district because of easy trolley access, proximity to the International Rose Garden, and proximity to Powell's, where I usually lose my husband for four hours at a pop. Couple of nice Kimpton hotels that pretty much always have rooms on Hotwire, too. We do like the Delux, it's one of the prettiest ever, but also had good luck with Hotel Monaco with the Red Star Tavern in it. Great food, and they do an every-afternoon ice cream social in the lobby that is a hit with small children and my very sweet-toothed guy. Very eclectic rooms. Walking distance from the Rogue Taproom, too. Love their gins.

When in Portland we always have one meal at Andina and are never sorry. I like the small plates model, I like the cocktails, I like the crazy fresh pulpo, I love their beef hearts, I love their causas which are deceptively simple potato timbale-like things that I find very inspirational. Reservations are a good idea here. It's a huge place but have never seen any drop in quality from the kitchen even when it's crammed to the rafters.

I don't mind Voodoo. Best in the very early morning, I feel like everything's stale by 8:30. I am not really a donut girl, though, I get more excited about plate of bacon than a donut with one little strip of bacon. Call me crazy!

Portland also has a couple of blocks set aside for food truck use. We always hit up one of these for a lunch. SO MUCH FUN. So much good to be had-! Lots of good island and asian food. Here's a shot of a place where I got some seriously good fish & chips. Foodcartsportland.com is a good resource for research.
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Lunchbox
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7 years ago

This is all I can think of when I think of Food and Portland... My neighbors are from Portland and this show drives them nuts... :)

-- LBX

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Mike Todd
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7 years ago

themis wrote:...Voodoo. Best in the very early morning, I feel like everything's stale by 8:30.
Maybe that was the problem. My visit (which I paid purely out of a sense of duty) was sometime early in the afternoon. Even then I endured a 15- or 20-minute wait for a single donut. I did my best to rationalize queuing up with the rest of the tourists, but after 3 bites, I chucked the donut in the trash, happily noting that there were lots of great places in Portland where I could spend my calorie credits. :)
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Pato
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7 years ago

I really missed out on the Portland food scene when I lived there because my food budget was extremely limited. I lived off NW 21st & Lovejoy and would walk past fantastic restaurants every day. I missed it again on this last trip. Pok Pok, Red Star and Olympic Provisions look amazing. I have heard of Pok Pok, but never looked at the menu until now. Now i get it. Red Star and Olympic Provisions, I just feel dumb for not knowing about. That is exactly what I am looking for.

We went to Voodoo late night and the line was nuts. My wife was happy to wait and I wondered to a bar I used to like and had a drink, came back and we were almost in. She loves sweets. I do not. She got the maple bacon one and I got the voodoo doll one. She loved it. I took the head and neck off and gave mine to a girl that was about to ask me for change. Before she could get it out I said "Want a donut?" "Proper thanks maaan. Proper thanks" We liked Voodoo, but for me sweets are not my thing.

I have spent many hours in Powell's, but this time we only had about an hour. My wife bought a Powell's bag (with a bird on it) and I got a used copy of Jose Andres' first book from the tv show. I did not look at the book until we got home and noticed it was first edition signed copy. Buen provecho! Jose Andres. Powell's is like that, and Portland is like that.

If you have a chance to see a concert at the Crystal Ballroom you will love it. Bouncy floor! Really bouncy!
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Pato
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7 years ago

Andina! wow! Thanks
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uhockey
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7 years ago

Timely. Heading up for the Soundgarden show in February. Just putting together the itinerary.
misterk
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7 years ago

I spent 4.5 months working in Portland last year and would second the recommendation for Pok Pok and Whiskey Soda Lounge. Both were great and I still crave some of the stuff I had at both locations (including WSL's miang kham - roasted chiles, peanuts, dried shrimp, lime, shallot, and coconut wrapped in betel leaf).

Andina was my first dinner there, actually, and the ceviche and other dishes I had there were fantastic. I heard from the locals that it "isn't the same" as it once was, but still really well done.

I ate at quite a giant list of joints during my stay in PDX, but here are some that come to mind first (more to follow):

* Kalé - Japanese curry house with an American twist. Situated downtown, that's ALL they have. Curry stew with rice. Very minimalist menu, but what they do, they do really well.
* Ox - Argentine-inspired steakhouse. Excellent, with great wine and starters as well.
* Screen Door - Southern comfort food. While I'm not sure it lives up to the ultra-hype it gets (sometimes a really long wait), it was still an excellent meal. Split the fried buttermilk-battered chicken and the BBQ brisket, as well as the fried oysters and okra.
* Beast - French-inspired prix-fixe meal with only two seatings per evening at a communal table. One of the best meals I had in ages. The foie gras bonbon with sauternes gelee on their charcuterie plate is something I want an entire box of every day. Menu changes weekly. No substitutions or special requests. The protein course for that evening was duck and it was exquisite.
* Laurelhurst Market - A butcher by day, steakhouse by night. If you're feeling particularly carnivorous (starting off with marrow bones on toasted soft pretzel with pickled mustard seeds, for example), this is your place.
* Tasty & Sons - Excellent place for breakfast, especially if you can share a number of plates with others.
* Salt & Straw - I know, people will understandably feel very territorial with Sweet Republic being such a stellar spot for ice cream. However, S&S is definitely worth a visit. Lines were insane whenever I went, but service was always fast. Their chèvre with swirls of marionberry jalapeño jam? Amazing.

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One of many scoops eaten at Salt & Straw - chèvre with marionberry jalapeño jam

I'll add more later since there was so much good food, drink (alcoholic and caffeinated), etc.

As for Voodoo, however, it was a couple blocks from where I stayed and I always felt dumb for going in there. Something about gimmicky donuts covered in fruit loops or Capn Crunch that I can't take all that seriously. I've tried several and always scratched my head why any visitor in town would go through the trouble and taking a dozen donuts with them in a pink box to fly home with. I guess the novelty factor. If the line is long, I'd say skip it and go do something else.
pdxscoob
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7 years ago

Just moved to the Valley from Portland. Excited to find this site.

Good intel about Portland can be found at portlandfood.org

Favorite spots for us

Apizza Scholls - New Haven style pizza always in the top 5 in the country discussion.

Kenny and Zukes - New York Jewish Deli, make their own pastrami, pickles, bagels, rye bread, lox and pretty much everything else in house.

Mi Mero Mole - didn't get a chance to make it here before we left. Nick Zukin, the Zuke in Kenny and Zukes and the moderator for portland food.org, opened this place, serving guisados, that rotate almost daily.

Have more recs if interested, and you will get a ton more info from the site I listed than I could ever give you.
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Lunchbox
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7 years ago

pdxscoob wrote:Just moved to the Valley from Portland. Excited to find this site.
Good to have you pdxscoob! Thanks for the intel!
-- LBX

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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Welcome, pdxscoob! Glad you found us :-)

Oh, man, I've heard a lot about Kenny and Zuke's. No idea when I'm getting up to Portland, but it's on the shortshort list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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uhockey
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7 years ago

I leave for Portland on 2/2. The dining will be plethoric. Many of the spots mentioned above made the short list.
DesertDoc
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7 years ago

I'm hoping that Beast made the short list. The foie lollipop at dessert is not to be missed (if she serves it the night you are there). One of my best dinners of the past few years not only for the food but also the company. The communal tables of fellow food fans added a dimension to the experience.
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uhockey
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7 years ago

Dinners are:
Beast
Le Pigeon
Castagna
Tanuki
Roe
Ox
...will also be hitting Apizza Scholls, Little Bird, and Toro Bravo with people for bites pre/post dinner.

Pok Pok and many others get lunch slots.
SimpleCaveman
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7 years ago

A buddy of mine back from a recent trip said the food at Nostrana was legit. Couldn't say enough good things about Beast and Gruner either.
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uhockey
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7 years ago

Nostrana is a Friday lunch for the fish-centric menu. They've been doing a lot of Dungeness since it is of season.
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Pato
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7 years ago

I hope uhockey does not mind me dropping these links. Great stuff.
http://endoedibles.com/?p=5562
http://endoedibles.com/?p=5269
sourcetags8codes
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7 years ago

Just came back from portland. I love that city. I've heard people call it the smaller san fran, yet I found it to have a voice of its own. I didn't have much time considering it was a "business" trip but I did as much as I could. Even if that meant staying out to four am or sneaking off to a restaurant during a non food stop.

Checked out the local farmers market and was blown away but how many people actually go to the market let alone the produce selection. I cracked and had to buy some spring onions, favas, and some beautiful morrels.

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After staying up 24 hours from excitement and not eating, I dove right in to a little stand for some street food.

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Chicken a la plancha

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Chicken, kale onion salad, salsa rojo

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chilaquiles, whipped goat ricotta, salsa verde, egg.

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Pork belly, zucchini, onions.

All the dishes were served with fresh corn tortillas made to order. Man I could get used to that.

After the market, we looked at some business matters and then found ourselves at ox for dinner.

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These are dangerous. La Yapa - Rye Whisky, Fernet branca, Velvet Falernum, Grenadine, Lemon

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Sweet Pea Soup, ramps, fava, spanish olive oil

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Two kinds of empanadas
Beef - Green olives, raisin
Beet - Basil, fontina, goat

I could down many of these

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Spicy Braised octopus, tripe, asparagus, mint aioli.

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Rare lamb heart, bread, hazlenuts, wild greens.

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Sweet potatoes, maple. goat ricotta, sage

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Potatoes, horseradish aioli

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Coal roasted artichoke, espelette aioli

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Mushrooms, herbs, spinach, foie

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Head on shrimp, chili, radish

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Where the magic happens

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Mixed asado. Blood sausage, chorizo, sweet breads, skirt, short rib grilled, and hit with chimichurri.
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