Portland and Corvallis suggestions
I'll be in downtown Portland for 4 days and Corvallis for a day and what are the places I shouldn't miss. I'm not looking for real expensive meals, just something that's decent, fresh and local. Oh, and I'm a big dessert person so if there are any really good bakeries or places with excellent dessert, I'm all ears. Thanks.
In Corvallis you might be interested in Magenta for lunch. I've only been once, but I liked what I had. They describe themselves as "organic Asian fusion" and there is at least some focus on local foods. It's close to the OSU campus too, if that's where you're headed
Magenta Restaurant & Catering
1425 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis, OR 97330
There is a very good bakery in Corvallis: New Morning Bakery. It's located downtown, I think on Second. They serve a lot of breakfast and lunch dishes in addition to awesome desserts and other baked goods. For dinner in Corvallis, I like Intaba's Wood-Fired Eatery. Intaba's uses a lot of good local ingredients.
I like the idea of New Morning Bakery better than the reality-their baked goods are decent but their entrees are never as good as I think they look like they'll be (if that makes any sense). I believe Intaba's has closed-I drive by there daily and there is a sign for a different restaurant now.
Iovino's is located on the water and has interesting and good Italian food. Right around the corner is a tiny little restaurant, called Baguette, I believe, that serves the best sandwiches I've ever had. They are Vietnamese baguette sandwiches-my favorite has incredibly flavorful pork meatballs, with shredded carrot and cucumber and jalapenos and cilantro. So good. Less than four bucks.
For fresh and local food, drive a little out of town to Philomath and go to Gathering Together Farms. They are a certified organic farm that also serves a limited menu for lunch and brunch. The food is always very fresh and very good.
Gathering Together Farm
25159 Grange Hall Rd, Philomath, OR 97370
Definitely hit Pix. The North Portland shop is probably the easiest to park at and has the best seating. But the Hawthorne shop is just down from Pastaworks and Powell's for Cooks, which is a big plus.
For bakeries with pastries, I like Ken's Artisan and Baker & Spice best. I think St Honore's look better than they taste.
I'm usually in the minority on Papa Haydn. I like it. Yes, it's focus is over-built cakes and tarts that tend to be a bit sweet, but there's a big selection and usually something that will interest you. And they allow take-out. Pambiche is similar in style, but with a tropical edge.
Sahagun and Alma for chocolates. Also Cacao for a great chocolate shop focusing on bars, many of which are impossible to get except by mailorder. (And they let you taste anything in the shop.)
Best gelato, imo, is at Via Delizia in the Pearl District.
For restaurants with good pastries, I like Carlyle, Wildwood, Ten-01, Le Pigeon, and Country Cat more than most.
Don't miss a farmers market, especially the saturday Portland Farmers Market. Don't miss Powell's for Cooks. Don't miss Steve's Cheese in Square Deal Wine if you want to taste some regional cheeses. Don't miss Oregon Wines on Broadway if you want to taste some local Pinots. Don't miss New Seasons if you want to see what Whole Foods should be like. Don't miss City Market NW for local charcuterie, top-quality seafood, produce, etc. Don't miss Mexican food if you're from the NE, especially the more divish but delightful Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon.
Otherwise, I've given my favorite inexpensive/moderate restaurant lists in lots of other threads and elsewhere.
In Portland some of the best desserts can be found at Pix Patisserie, SE Division and Papa Haydn's on NW 23rd Ave and St Honore for pure French goodies on NW Thurman.
In Corvallis, we stop for lunch on our way to the coast at Big River on Jackson St. They have great desserts and breads. But they charge a shocking $3.50 the last time we were there for a cup of coffee. I hope they've changed that.