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current portland itin - edits/suggestions welcomed

after doin' my homework, i have come up with a pretty firm restaurant itin for our september portland trip. let me preface by saying that my husband and i are on an anniversary trip, san diego residents, and in our early 30's. we are staying in a river front condo on NW naito pkwy between the broadway and steel bridge. another couple (native PNWers) also celebrating their anniversary, will be joining us - so we will be a foursome. we'll be arriving on a wednesday, leaving on a sunday.

-lunch: carafe bistro
-dinner: north 45 pub ~ it's our kick off to the week dinner so i want to find somewhere fun and funky and casual. we like north 45 pub's menu as we're obsessed with mussels and they have 8 different preparations. woot, woot! have not found any write up on chowhound about it, but yelpers seem to give it a thumbs up.

-lunch: TBD
-dinner: andina

-going winetasting ~ elk cove, adelsheim, penner-ash, four graces, sokol blosser or maybe argyle
-lunch: picnic lunch at a vineyard ~ any suggestions as to which ones are most picturesque?
-dinner: TBD as i'm sure we will be tired/slightly toasted from the day. will either order in, or go somewhere walkable and casual near us (if such a place exists). anyone?

-lunch: deschutes brewpub
-dinner: clarklewis ~ have been in touch with the GM and we are going to set up a 5 or 6 course tasting menu. this is our anniversary dinner celebration.

-going to spend the morning wandering the market
-breakfast: screen door

any edits or suggestions? i appreciate the feedback and (of course) will post a report after we return.

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  1. North 45 also has good fries seasoned to go with the mussels. A fun, casual place.

    Make sure you check out Powell's City of Books if you're wandering around downtown on Thursday.

    Wine tastings on friday: suggest you limit yourself to no more than 4 wineries. Stoller Vineyards has an impressive new winery on a hill with a good view and their wines are great. Willakenzie Estate is also a nice facility among their vineyards and good Pinots. You may want to consider eating dinner down south rather than returning to Portland to eat. Joel Palmer house in Dayton has a great menu and their service is very nice. Lots of mushroom/truffle options since that's the owners specialty. Red Hills Provincial Dining in Dundee and Painted Lady in Newberg are also places that get rave reviews.

    You may want to check out the Portland Farmers market on Saturday morning. Even if you're not buying produce its good people watching, there will be music and demos and tasty snacks.

    Sunday at Screen Door should be fun but you could also consider Simpatica Dining Hall's or Country Cat's Sunday brunch.

    Sounds like a fun visit. Happy Anniversary.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Roy

      Skip North 45, decent bar, bad food...
      I whole-heartedly agree with Roy's Country Cat or Simpatica recs over Screen Door...
      For lunch around 21st ave try Ken's... If you require alcohol there are many cheap happy-hours close by for afterwards...
      Andina- skip it...
      Or just stop in for Happy Hour, oh, but it's still too expensive for what it is...
      Go for Beast instead.

    2. Happy Anniversary! Appreciate your doing research. Please report back. When in Sept?

      For walkable/casual near you consider Via Delizia.
      Or go "downscale" and check out our local burger chain Burgerville (I'm not kidding!) which features local seasonal stuff such as Walla Walla Sweet onion rings & blackberry shakes. Walk across Steel Bridge (lower level) to NE Multnomah & Martin Luther King Blvd.

      Picnic in wine country? Pretty much anywhere!
      Wineries: suggest Erath. Argyle is right there, so you've no excuse not to.

      On Sunday you said "market" so I assume you meant "Portland Saturday Mkt". Whatever you do, don't eat anything. You've been warned.

      Ditto what Roy said on Portland Farmers' Mkt. http://www.portlandfarmersmarket.org/ Sampling of our best bakeries & cheesemakers, plus Pine State Biscuits.

      1. My two-cents:

        1. Screen door is great. Be forewarned that breakfast lines in Portland are really long if you don't arrive within 15-30mins of opening.

        2. Andina - I like this place. If for some reason you do consider changing it up Lovely Hula Hands might be a good choice in a diff part of town.

        3. Friday dinner - Hot Lips Pizza delivers. Or a short drive over to Justa Pasta on NW 21st.

        1. leonardo - thanks! we'll be visiting mid-september, returning on the 21st. i like your erath winery suggestion. i think we may eliminate elk cove, since it's the only one that's not near anything else, and replace with erath. argyle is still our 5th on our list, kinda unsure about it. i love sparking wines, but something about it strikes me as uber-yuppie which isn't what we're hoping for.

          roy - city of books is on my list for sure! and i think we will take your suggestion and scoot around the market on saturday instead of sunday.

          newtcat - i'd love to skip andina ~ i thought the tapas menu looked good, but pricey (and i'm from the land of over-priced food here in so cal), however i'm not familiar with their portion sizes. anyhow, it was the one restaurant that the other couple chose and i'm pretty much driving the rest of the itinerary so i had to make one concession, being gracious and all :|

          seems like screen door is pretty mixed on reviews. does anywhere else in portland serve a mean shrimp & grits? that's what suckered me in... newtcat - thanks for the tip on brunch lines!

          2 Replies
          1. re: beachbunnySD

            Elk Cove is great yet it is out of the way, unless you're a sake lover, which in that case you'd have to go to nearby Momokawa.

            Do not confuse Portland Saturday Mkt (your plan - neo-hippie craft fair - either you get it or you don't!) with Portland Farmers' Mkt (mine & Roy's plan - pretty much the essence and be all-end all of PDX food)! A different world...

            Reason I asked when in Sept. was because if chocolate is your thing Sahagun will be back open. Handmade artisan single origin truffles. Mocha & hot chocolate that will change your life. Singular sodas. Five minute walk up from Powell's. Open Wed-Sat 10-6. http://www.sahagunchocolates.com/

            If you want more wine tour thoughts, scroll down through the Wine board. Many have reported there.

            1. re: beachbunnySD

              nah, andina is great. get the scallops -- they're excellent. and if you're in a drinking mood, the first cocktail on the menu, with jalapeno infused vodka, can't be beat. i adore that place.

            2. Breakfast at Screen Door is really good but yeah, get in line just before they open. Their cheese grits are great and the praline bacon is something you gotta try. Country Cat never seems to have a wait no matter how late we go and they have ham, eggs and grits with red-eye gravy. Haven't had their grits but reports at portlandfood.org say they rock. And I've loved every breakfast I've had there. Simpatica is always a great brunch choice as well.

              Urban drinks is a good resource for websites and menus. Look at Old Town or the Pearl for places within walking distance.

              2 Replies
              1. re: duckduck

                duckduck ~ that website is great - thank you! so so helpful with the mapping feature.

                leonardo ~ i was confusing the saturday market with the farmer's market. i thought they were two entities, featured in the same arena. thanks for clarifying!

                1. re: beachbunnySD

                  It's a handy site to be sure. I use it all the time. But I urge you to call ahead to confirm. Many entries are inaccurate, as in the hours may have changed or that only drink specials, not food specials, remain.

                  Yes, I could tell that you were using the two interchangeably!

                  Another site in order to take in our unbelievable food carts: http://foodcartsportland.com/
                  Take note they they are mostly weekday lunch places.

              2. if the portland hounds can humor just one more question: does portland have an equivalant to one of our our fave san diego restaurants: http://urbansolace.net/eat.php

                i have been unsuccessful in my search for a pdx counterpart thus far! urban solace is new american comfort food, very fairly priced, and well produced. emphasis on the fairly priced part!

                2 Replies
                1. re: beachbunnySD

                  I can't help out on the PDX dining scene, although I did survive a bratwurst at the Saturday market, but I did spend a last Sunday in the Dundee area at some of the wineries that you mentioned.

                  I agree with the suggestion to have a picnic at Erath as they have some nice pinots, a nice view, and a great picnic area. Personally, I would skip Four Grace, Argyle, and Sokol Blosser unless you have reasons to go there. Four Graces is quaint with some nice whites, but their pinots are not that great. I love Argyle wines including the sparkler, but the tasting room is busy and not that remarkable. Sokol Blosser was very busy, not very intimate, and I was not overly impressed by the wines. If you are going up Worden hill Rd to Erath, take some time to visit Winderlea (new winery with a fantastic view, nice wines albeit pricey) and Bella Vida (best view, very exciting drive up a very steep driveway, great wines at decent prices). There are also a couple of wineries that I did not visit (Lange and Tori Mor) in the same area.

                  1. re: beachbunnySD

                    I'm not familiar with Urban Solace, but for "American Comfort Food" I'd suggest Fife or Country Cat. Both are somewhat more expensive than the menu that you posted. For well-produced and fairly-priced food, I don't think you can beat Clyde Common, especially at happy hour. You can find recent menus for all of these here: http://www.pfmenus.com/?p=80

                  2. I would strongly suggest getting your mussel fix somewhere other than North 45. They may have many preparations but that can never make up for starting with less-than-stellar mussels, which has been my experience there.

                    I would instead move Carafe to the Wednesday dinner spot, they always have fabulous mussels (as does Paley's, but Carafe takes less planning and $$$) but will make for a far better overall meal than N45. Try Pok Pok for Wednesday lunch instead, and if you do, don't miss the drinking vinegars as an excellent non-alcoholic beverage.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jeff_pdx

                      I would definitly seconf the rec for PokPok, and for the drinking vinegars, but would also throw in a rec for their amarena cherry gimlet. very refreshing and delicious, as is all the food. It's been a year since we were there, but Le Pigeon was excellent< consider it for your Fri nite.

                    2. thanks everyone. i think we've decided to ixnay north 45 pub and eat at ten01 in the bar. menu looks much more interesting and the votes seems to be steering us to their doorstep.

                      for friday after winetasting, we'll either order in from hot lips pizza or head out to fratelli or cafe allora. if we do leave the condo for dinner, i'd like for it to be casual and easy and those two choices seem to fit the bill...

                      have done a little research on bars near our condo and the gilt club looks pretty fun too.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: beachbunnySD

                        I would pass on cafe allora. Look around on the web a bit and you'll see reports of slow and rude service. It's been a few years but that was my experience there. Took us half an hour to get menus and another customer got them after reaching past the waiter who was standing two feet from the menus and had told the man he would bring them to him.

                        1. re: beachbunnySD

                          Gilt club has a great happy hour menu and makes really good drinks, btw.

                          ten-01 is a much better choice than North 45, and $1 oysters and the truffle fries along with great drinks make one of the best happy hours in town. The restaurant menu there is also great, you can't go wrong whether at the bar or at a table.

                          For Thursday lunch go to Wildwood for an upscale experience (best crab cakes anywhere and great salads, also a very good burger) or Kenny & Zuke's deli for some awesome pastrami.