On the way to and from the Portland airport
Hello everyone and I apologize for not (yet) having done my chow research. We're coming to Oregon for the weekend (from Boston), on our way to Mt. Hood for a wedding. We'll be arriving around noon and will presumably be hungry. Any suggestions for a nice lunch spot either near the airport, on the way to Mt. Hood from there, or at least a reasonable detour. Expensive (say up to $30/each for lunch) would be fine if the food is worth it, but cheap (taqueria?) would also be acceptable. We'll be in no rush.
Conversely, on our return, we'll have one evening in Portland, ending up at an airport hotel. Recommendations for fine dining and/or something unique to Portland would be most welcome.
Finally, while we'll mostly be eating wedding food near Mt. Hood, any recommendations for that area would also be appreciated.
Thank to everyone in advance.
p.s. There is one semi-vegetarian in the group so BBQ or steak house is probably not the best option, unless they do great fish.
There's a decent regional seafood chain in Oregon called Newport Bay Company. We just stopped there for lunch last month on the way from PDX to Eugene (off the 205). I'd do it again.
Also, there is a regional steakhouse (I know, I know) called Stanford's that has a location IN the airport. I think they do fish there, I'm not sure, but I believe Stanford's and Newport Bay are owned by the same parent company.
Lunch between the airport and Mt Hood: I'd go for Pho Van on SE 82nd--it's not directly on your way, but it's pretty close. It's a Vietnamese restaurant that has expanded beyond its roots as a simple pho place, but you can still eat pretty inexpensively there.
On your return, there are some decent places in northeast Portland that aren't too far from the airport. I really like Fife on NE Fremont, which I would call a fine dining establishment but which specializes in American food: http://www.fiferestaurant.com. Other ideas in northeast would be Ciao Vito (Italian) on NE Alberta and Autentica (mid-scale Mexican) on NE Killingsworth.
Here are a couple casual, Mexican joints for lunch to or fro Mt. Hood:
Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon
Only about 15 - 20 mins from the airport on the way to Mt. Hood at NE 162nd and Glisan. Awesome tamales, carnitas, and very spicy salsas. There are tables here, but you'll be ordering at the counter.
El Burro Loco
If you are looking for more of a restaurant atmosphere, El Burro Loco is closer to Mt. Hood in Welches, right off Highway 26. We've enjoyed the pork carnitas here and delicious chile-infused margaritas.
Personally, I haven't had great experiences at Newport Bay or Stanford's...I think you can do better elsewhere.
Not too far from the route to the airport (very close to exit 21A, Stark St.) is Country Cat (http://www.thecountrycat.net/). It's really worth a stop. They don't have a menu up (it changes very frequently) so here's a sample menu from 8/1/07
GRAINS & SALADS
Summer Squash and Roasted Garlic Soup with basil pesto $6
Mixed Salad of Wild Lettuce & Herbs
Tossed in "Italian, French, Thousand Island, ranch or blue cheese" vinaigrette $6
Wedge of Butter Lettuce with "green goddess" dressing & soft boiled egg $7
Moscato Marinated Peaches w/wild arugula, toasted almonds, & carrot vinaigrette $10
Baked Ricotta Cheese Toast with squash pickles & marinated tomatoes $11
Grilled Mushroom Skewer
Basted in sumer herb pesto with a marinated lima bean & pearl onion salad $10
FISH & SHELLFISH TABLE
Fish & Shellfish Chowder "Pot Pie" with fennel, celery, leeks & potatoes $7
Scalloped Hood Canal Oysters w/chopped spring onion, horseradish, & garlic bread crumbs $12
Beer Battered-Fried Whole Rock Fish with malt vinegar mayonnaise $11
Manila Clams, Smoked Country Ham & Sugar Peas steamed w/mint, sour cream, lemon & thyme $15
Salt-Baked Salmon on grilled brioche with bread & butter pickles $10
Bacon Wrapped Trout w/pan braise of farmers market spring vegetables $16
MEAT, GAME & POULTRY
Molasses & Hickory-Smoked Duck Leg
Glazed in blackberry honey with buttery English peas & fennel pollen $18
Baked Goat Cheese & Walla Walla Onion Hand Pie with shaved chickory-snap pea salad $13
Grilled Leg of Lamb on a stew of summer squash, roasted garlic, and green olives $22
Cast Iron Skillet Fried Chicken w/braised bibb leaf lettuce & grilled asparagus tossed in creamy Tabasco vinaigrette $18
Farmer’s Market Vegetable Platter
Oregon Pride tomatoes, Bodacious corn, Blue Lake beans, Florence fennel, & Crookneck squash $16
Carlton Farms Whole Hog - Rolled belly, brined chop and smoked shoulder on white corn grits with Bing cherries $19
Beer Battered Fried Rock Fish with Tartar sauce $12
Washington Mussels & Grilled Corn
Steamed in a Walla Walla onion broth with tarragon, leeks, & fennel $15
Grilled Strawberry Mountain Barbeque Beef w/pan fried polenta & creamy cucumber salad $19
Bacon Wrapped Trout w/braise of farmer’s market summer vegetables $18
Heritage Burger on onion bun w/cheddar cheese, garlic mayonnaise & onion rings $10
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Tomato Braised Romano Beans
Large Oatmeal Cookie - Served warm with a glass of milk $3
Bittersweet Chocolate Brownie $3
Thomas Kemper Root Beer Float $4
Mixed Berry Snow Cone $4
NEAR AIRPORT OR ON THE WAY TO MT HOOD
Country Cat is open for dinner AND lunch now (plus brunch) and is one of the best midscale restaurants in town. It's right next to a good Lebanese place, Ya Hala.
If you're heading out 26, you can go down anywhere along 82nd and you have lots of good choices: Wong's King (Chinese), Pho Van (Vietnamese), Pho Oregon (Vietnamese), Malay Satay Hut (Malay), Banh Cuon Tan Dinh (Vietnamese), Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese), Campbell's (BBQ), Best Baguette (Banh Mi), Binh Minh (Banh Mi). These are my favs out there.
NICE MEAL OUT
I'd choose Wildwood. Still a standout among the many restaurants in town and they do a very good job of showcasing local ingredients.