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Jul 9, 2008 07:38 AM

Portland -Reed College recs

A friend of mine is heading off to Reed College in the fall and I have been trying to think of a good graduation gift idea. I am looking for a few good recommendations of places that would be walking distance to campus - i.e. cool coffee shop, great pizza joint, etc. I could then call and order some gift cards over the phone. Any advice is appreciated!

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  1. i haven't lived in portland for 5 years and i haven't been a reed student for eons but i spent close to 20 years in the neighborhood so take however many grains of salt you wish with my suggestions.
    the main business street right by campus is woodstock blvd. ("up the hill") the woodstock wine and deli is a very short walk from campus, is very popular with students and faculty/staff, and is a very serviceable high-end deli w/sandwiches, fine cheeses and meats, great wine and beer selection (full disclosure: i worked there 20 years ago) a gift certificate there would definitely get used and enjoyed.
    also on woodstock and very close is otto's sausage kitchen: more specialty meats, some of them very good, great beers (it's a german family run place) but not as much seating and not quite as inviting as wwd.
    further up woodstock the delta cafe puts out good if uneven barbecue and other southern dishes (i liked their catfish) this is very popular w/ students and local young hipsters. i'm sure woodstock has other nice places now too. that's worth investigating on line.
    to the north a significantly longer walk away (but one almost all students make, or a 5 minute bus ride) is the clinton street corridor and the parallel division street corridor. there are scads of restaurants, some quite fine, now on these streets.
    i have to recommend the old standard, dot's cafe. the food is standard pub food with their own spin and not world class but loveable for what it is. but the real draw of the place is it's atmosphere. very comfortable, kitschy, hip. it was a first of it's kind in portland and has always been extrememely popular with reed students. your friend will be going there anyway and if she has a gift certificate all the better.
    there are many, many other restaurants on these corridors, more all the time. every time i go back i hardly recognize the neighborhood. if you want to treat her to some more upscale food the writeups on vindaloo sound good (clinton and 21st) and pok pok on division serves amazing and until recently unavailable thai. and even slighly farther afield cafe castagna on hawthorne is great.
    as you research places on the web addresses that are appropriately close are (in order of closeness): se woodstock blvd. (address numbers 39xx-approx. 50xx), se clinton st. (16xx-26xx) and se division st. (12xx-39xx) and more of a stretch se hawthorne blvd. (12xx-39xx both numbers approx.)

    sorry to be so long winded but i dearly miss southeast portland. let me know if you have questions.

    1. Otto's Delicatessen (on Woodstock) has quality deli stuff. Trader Joe's (on S.E. 39th) is one of the two nearby supermarkets. There are a couple of pubs and coffee shops on Woodstock, too, but I forget their names (I don't live there any more, sorry).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dr Chow

        Thanks for the great recommendations - makes me want to plan a trip to visit. I followed up on the Dot's idea- thanks. I am mailing a check because they do not take credit cards! Now I would still like to find a coffeeshop... but if I cannot find a name of one, I can always go with the Trader Joe's standby.

        1. re: love2shovel

          Here's some info I posted in another thread about a very good coffee place not far from Reed. It is probably the best within a short walk, or bike ride:
          First Cup Coffeehouse, 4103 SE Woodstock. Stumptown coffee (maybe the best local roaster) is served, the staff seems to know their stuff behind the machine, pull great shots, etc. Very quiet, usually only a few people inside, clean, bright. etc. It's across the street from Otto's Sausage Kitchen, where a quick and cheap lunch can be had.

      2. Gino's restaurant in Sellwood comes to mind. Also, Saboros for sushi. The latter is not my personal fave, but it's jam packed every night with lines forming well before they open their doors...

        2 Replies
        1. re: AlbertaHound

          geno's is fantastic. varied italian (red sauce, seafood, etc.) and great atmosphere. another long-ish walk from campus in a different direction but it's a whole other cool neighborhood with lots of stuff.

          i agree that saburo is both wildly popular and wildly overrated. the big selling point (for impecunious hippies) is the size of the sushi pieces. they are gargantuan, really grotesquely large and not very high quality. plus the place is a real hustle.

          can't speak to the coffee question, except that there is a good student run coffee shop on campus called the paradox cafe that'll probably sell you a gift card and that'll definitely get used. they're the place on campus for late night coffee breaks in the middle of 12 hour study sessions. your friend's gonna do a lot of those.

          1. re: ericlutzker

            Saburos' is gross both in service and food, but I imagine undiscriminating college students who don't know what quality sushi is, are on a budget, and who want a lot of food for the buck will appreciate it.

            For coffee you can't beat the on-campus Stumptown brand!