PDX for 3 days, where to eat?
I am a former Portland resident and LO! how things have changed since i left my job at Zefiro's 7 years ago.!!!.Since leaving, i've found almost very other cooking magazine has come out out with an article entitled:"you left too soon, Portland's restaurants are HOT!"
so, sorting through all the magazine hype, I need to know from my fellow chowhounds where the best meals in PDX can be found....My dude and I'll be in town for 3 days in summer, where would you all recommend to go... I know about paley's and Wildwood, but can you all recommend something else that is a portland must...?
It's hard to tell where you're coming from (Florida, NJ, Spain?), but there are two main trends in Portland: 1) midscale/artisan comfort/traditional/ethnic foods, often prepared by chefs you would expect to find in higher-end restaurants, 2) local/seasonal fine dining.
Obviously these are trends that were already underway when you left, but they've continued to move forward.
In the former category, I would put places like:
Apizza Scholls (East Coast Pizza)
Nostrana (Wood Oven Pizza)
Ken's Artisan Pizza (Wood Oven Pizza)
Podnah's (Texas BBQ)
Taqueria Nueve (Mexican)
Nuestra Cocina (Mexican)
Pho Van/Silk (Vietnamese)
Pok Pok (Thai)
Siam Society (Thai)
In the second category are obviously places that you're familiar with like Higgins, Wildwood, and Paley's Place. For the most part, though, places have have become either more "sophisticated" in style or more casual:
Lovely Hula Hands
I'm sure I've skipped several and others were a bit tough to categorize. It'd be actually kind of interesting to hear your take on 23 Hoyt since I understand it in many ways to be the rebirth of Zefiro.
These would be my favorite 10 at this moment (before you ask again):
One problem is that Olea and Carlyle just switched chefs, otherwise I'd suggest either of those as one option. I've had good meals at each since the switch, but things weren't firing on all cylinders either.
Wow! What a list.!!...i went to the pdx site youl listed after reading yer post and cannot believe the amount of food related events that are taking place there...holy crap!!...if it weren't for the rain and my persistant sense of SAD depression in those erstwhile months, I might have just stayed.....after hanging up my chefwhites and joining the (normal) world of weekends off, health insurance and such, I've (Im)permanently situated myself in Jersey (go figure), though spend as much time -and money- eating my way around the country/world..
I've seen Le Pigeon mentioned a few times in magazines and I'd like to check it out...Do you have an opinion of ClarkLewis? and/or Ripe (I think)- the "dinner party" restaurant/not a restaurant opened by the same duo?
Lastly: aside from the Saturday market, do you know when/where farmers markets happen during the week?
Great website, by the way!!
Clarklewis was just sold (to Bruce Carey) and all the principles in the original restaurant are gone, including the original chef and the "duo". However, the "empire's" seed is flowering throughout the city's restaurants. I think Gabe Rucker's Le Pigeon is the prime example. But Tommy Habetz is doing good work over at Meriwether's. And Troy MacLarty (you might remember him from such restaurants as Chez Panisse, Saucebox, and Ripe Family Supper) has really improved Lovely Hula Hands. Ripe's problem was never the food, imo. It was business sense.
The Portland Farmer's Market has a Wednesday market downtown that's already going. The Thursday Eastbank market, which is at least as good, starts up soon. One of my favorites is the People's Farmer's Market on Wednesday evenings. Very small but lots of unique stuff. The Interstate Farmers Market starts up this week on Wednesday afternoons as well.
Most of Oregon's markets can be found here:
Lots of great choices in PDX now -- it is amazing how much has changed since we arrived here in January 1998.
If you plan to make it a culinary visit here are 3 choices each for breakfast, lunch, dinner that were not open last time you were here. Most of these are great places for lunch & dinner too.
Le Pigeon (Dinner)
Park Kitchen (Dinner)
Carafe Bistro (Lunch) (weekday's only)
Chennai Masala (Lunch)
Wong's Seafood on Divison (Dim Sum -- ok more like brunch)
Genie's Cafe (Breakfast)