Portland, OR Special Anniversary weekend Nov 18th (Recomendations needed!!!)
I am celebrationg my 3rd yr anniversary in Portland.
We are staying at the hotel Vintage plaza ( I had to save up all year to stay there becasue I am a full time student. It's where we had our honeymoon.
Well, we are on a tight budget but looking for some great places that has FABULOUS food with out the high prices.
So, Here is the plan, 9am Sat, she gets a massage, then, we drive up to Portland for lunch.
** I was thinking of a great sandwich shop with soup. Not the "i'm on a diet" sandwiches, but hearty sanwiches with good bread and meats. I found :
**Lunch: Grand Central Bakery & Cafe,1444 NE Weidler. What do you think?
I don;t know if this place is good or not. As long as the place is clean and has great food. I think there is another place
** Dinner: We like greek, but are open. maybe $7-12/ person... Romantic is a +.
** Dessert: Papa Haydens, I heard it is great, but if you all think there is abetter place, let me know.
** Breakfast on Sunday: ?????
We have a car, but want to avoid too much driving. We want to spend out time having fun, and not in traffic.
Thanks for all your help. I know a lot of you are very skilled in knowing where the great places are. :)
I'm quite happy to eat at Grand Central Bakery, but it's more of an every day kind of place. If you wanted something a step above that you could try Ken's Artisan Bakery in NW Portland: http://www.kensartisan.com/index.html
They might not offer quite so many sandwiches as Grand Central, but they are a little better.
Probably the best Greek restaurant would be Eleni's Estiatorio (http://www.elenisrestaurant.com/), but it might be a little beyond your budget. The Sellwood restaurant is not too far from the east side Papa Haydn. The atmosphere is somewhat romantic.
A better dessert choice (IMHO) is Pix (http://www.pixpatisserie.com/). My impression is that Papa Haydn has more things like tarts and cakes where you get a slice of it, which Pix has things that are crafted more individually.
If you want to minimize driving but you can do without Greek food, you could try Pambiche (http://www.pambiche.com). It has excellent Cuban food, but it's possible to eat pretty economically there. Also, it has fantastic desserts--not quite at the level of Pix, but maybe approaching Papa Haydn. I wouldn't say that it's very romantic (but it is fun), and on a Saturday night you'll have to wait for a table.
Grand Central, I agree, is fine, but as described above. It's "clean & good" though.
Try Ken's Artisan, Pearl Bakery, or Crema.
For Greek go old school, been around forever, still outstanding: Alexis. Downtown on Burnside about 2nd Ave.
It's just a chocolate shop, open Saturday only til 6 pm, but you must go to Sahagun for the best hot chocolate ever, plus some truffles to die for. http://www.sahagunchocolates.com/
Downtown a few steps off Burnside, 10 NW 16th.
Don't bother with Papa Haydn's (that's the spelling if you are looking it up). Huge slices, that's about it.
Go for a huge Rueben at Kenny's and Zuke's for lunch.
For dinner, I really love Eleni's in the Pearl. http://www.elenisrestaurant.com/
You can walk there from your hotel. It's a gorgeous place with low lighting and great service. Not to mention the excellent wine list and food. Small plates are so darn sexy!
After dinner, walk to Cacao, http://www.cacaodrinkchocolate.com/
and have a decadent hot chocolate for dessert.
Want a nightcap? Saucebox is a great nightspot, and just down the street from your hotel.
Even excluding the fact that I don't like the food at Alexis much, it's pretty far from romantic. It's a dank hole in the ground with echoing walls and blaring belly dance music. Eleni's isn't that much more expensive, and you get what you pay for. If you want cheaper and want to stay in the Mediterranean with similar influences, try Karam. It's not especially romantic, but it's pleasant inside and the food is really good (Lebanese/Middle Eastern). And it's not far from where you're staying, only a few blocks.
Cacao, like Sahagun, unfortunately closes early-ish. Pix is a good choice with two locations, the north Portland one being more conducive to romance. I like Papa Haydn better than most, but it's not Pix. Another option would be to go to a restaurant besides Papa Haydn that has good desserts. Steven Smith at Carlyle is making some of the best in town right now. I also like the stuff at Fenouil and since they make smaller, lower-priced desserts, you can get a selection of three or four for the price you'd get two at other places.
For breakfast you could stay in downtown and go somewhere walkable, like Mother's, The Heathman, or Bijou Cafe, all of which are decent (my preference is in that order). If you want really good breakfast on Sunday, I'd try Simpatica or Le Pigeon. They're both relatively nearby across the river, very short drives. Most places on Sunday will require a wait unless you get there near opening or closing or happen to hit it just right somewhere between.
While I don't want to necessarily steer you away from Kenny & Zuke's, which I'm part owner in, note that we only serve pastrami sandwiches, plus breakfasty items, whereas a place like Grand Central and the others mentioned, all excellent, will have broader choices.
Also, check out my tip sheet:
I like Eleni's in the Pearl too.
And after the chokingly dry slice of cake we had a Papa Haydns on NW23rd (more than once) , I would go somewhere else for dessert..anywhere else for dessert!